Monday, 25 January 2010

Welcome to 2010

It's the International Year of Biodiversity and for the Rapproachment of Cultures, half way through the Decade of Education for Sustainability but right at the start of The Transition Decade.

What ever way you look at it there's a lot going on, there are a lot of changes happening and the oft quoted adage of think globally and act locally is being put in to practice through the projects of the Progress Association.

If you've been wondering what to do with your spare time why not chat to one of the Committee members or come along to the meeting and see where your talents take you.

The Progress Association meets on the 1st Monday of every month, February 1st 7-9pm is the next meeting.

Nature Watching

Ref: Central Coast Nature Watch Diary
  • Ringtailed possums have their babies in their pouch
  • Feral cats have their first litter of kittens
  • Seeds of the Grey Mangrove wash up along the shore
  • ‘Spitfire’ caterpillars mass on Eucalyptus trees
  • Blackbutt, Eucalyptus pilularis, is in flower attracting Rainbow, Scaly-breasted and Musk Lorikeets

A little local ringtail possum found on Amelia Street in January.
The Native Animal Trust Fund was called to the rescue on
0418 628 483 (0418 NATIVE)

What’s On Locally In February

Monday 1st: Progress Committee meeting 7-9pm at Hall
Monday 8th :Transition Steering Group 4-6pm at Hall
Monday 15th:Fit n Trim Challenge starts– Hype Fitness
Thursday 18th :Toronto Garden Club,10am Scout Hall
Wednesday 24th: Landcare-Where to now– 4.30-6.30pm Landcare Office
Thursday 25th -Landcare for Youth,4-5.30pm Landcare Office 
Saturday 27th and -Sunday 28th Transition Town Training—venue to be confirmed.
Tuesday 9th March Lake Macquarie Landcare Network AGM  4.30-6.30 at the Landcare Office

Affordable Housing in Carey Bay to be managed by Community Housing Provider

The affordable housing that is being built at 48 Excelsior Pde as part of the Federal Government’s stimulus package will be tendered out to a community housing provider once it's built. This means Dept of Housing will not be involved the allocation of, or management of the units this will be in the hands of a 'professional housing provider'.

Ms Hinchcliff from the Dept of Housing is unable to attend the February meeting to discuss the 6-unit proposal due to personal commitments, however she provided an update of the process and gave a commitment to introduce the manager of the successful tender to the Progress Association.

The following brief description of what community housing is comes from the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, the peak industry body for housing associations in NSW.  Housing associations are not-for-profit managers and developers of low cost housing.

Community housing provides affordable rental housing to people on low to moderate incomes, housing over 18,000 households all across New South Wales. 

The majority of the housing provided is subsidised by government and is part of a broad social housing system that includes community housing, public housing and Aboriginal housing. 

Community housing has a well deserved reputation for innovation.  It is 'people centered' and approaches housing issues locally.  It has a strong emphasis on involving tenants in decisions about their housing.

What's the difference from public housing?

The main difference is that it is managed by a local organisation with strong links to other local services.

Because it is an independent not-for-profit organisation, it is not managed by government.  But it is still accountable to government for how it houses its tenants.

Because community housing organisations try to be particularly responsive to local needs and tenant needs, there will often be tenants on its board or providing advice. 

Another difference is that although a higher rent than in public housing is charged the full difference is received back through Commonwealth Rent Assistance. This means tenants need to apply for Rent Assistance when they begin their tenancy.

The Development application can be tracked through LMCC’s website with the following reference MISC 79/2009 - Miscellaneous Applications.

The future of the figs

In December Cr Gissane requested information about the Fig Trees in Toronto. The following information has since been provided.

The fate of Toronto's fig trees will be determined by the outcomes of a new LMCC  town centre project that will thoroughly investigate Toronto's main street with all information gathered pertaining to the trees helping to develop a way forward.

LMCC recognizes that a long term solution is needed to help address all issues financial, environmental and emotional regarding the trees. The Fig trees have been assessed and are deemed healthy.

The town centre project will look at the issues that will affect LMCC's ability ‘to maintain, future economic development and community needs. It will help prioritise areas to focus upon and develop a master plan.

LMCC recognizes the trees are indeed an important part of the main street landscape and contribute much to the character of the area. The investigation and master planning process will look objectively at the area and develop long term solutions that retain or improve the character of the streetscape.

LMCC continues to perform increased footpath inspections…to minimise any chances of trip hazards.  The most recent inspection was on the 5 January 2010. 

Inspections are also undertaken on the root intrusion of the Figs on the footpath, in particular the impact the root intrusions have on the storm water systems.  Whilst it is recognised that there has been some impact of the tree roots on storm water pipes, to-date there has been no formal insurance claims submitted to Council for damage to storm water facilities.

Local Business Buzz

Welcome to Trevor of Café V8 which is now open for business at the Carey Bay Shopping Village on Laycock Street. Café V8 is offering a range of gourmet takeaway priced from $5-7 with free fries. In addition to fast food there's also fast coffee, Trevor personally roasts the coffee beans and there'll be an SMS order service where you can ring through your order to pick up on the way. Café V8 is open from 8am to 8pm every day of the week, including Sunday.

It's on again... the Hype Fitness Fit'n' Trim Challenge 2010. If you've made the 'lose weight-get fit' New Years Resolution (again) this is one way to make sure it happens in 2010.
The winner of 2009 Challenge lost an incredible total of 43cm and 13 kilos over 11 weeks with just a little sweat and perseverance. Anyone can become the next success story, it's all about making exercise a part of your life. The endorphins that get pumping after the exercise are a great happy-high if you need to break the bulging blues and before you know it you'll have the body you've always wanted. Free classes and specials for participants. Starts Mon. Feb 15th, 2010.  Phone 4959 8386 or stop in and visit Hype Fitness at Carey Bay Shopping Village.

Congratulations to Helen and Carl Leary of Westlakes Trophies Framing and Engraving who recently received a WOW award from the Toronto Chamber of Commerce for exceptional customer service, attention to detail and being wonderfully community minded business people.

The Tillegra Dam- We’re already paying for it.

Did you know that we’ve already started paying for the construction of Tillegra Dam within the 32.6% increase on our water bill? The interesting twist here is that the dam hasn't been approved by State or Federal government as yet.  

The Wilderness Society is building a community campaign aiming to inform as many people as possible, that they are indeed paying for an unapproved dam.  
There is a form letter on the Wilderness Society's website which outlines some objections to the dam such as the 50% cost increase since the announcement of the proposal, the proposed damage to one of the last free flowing healthy rivers in NSW and the impact  on the Hunter Estuary Wetlands.

If you’d like more information call The Wilderness Society ph 4929 4395

Can you spare 2 hours per month?

Coal Point School Canteen has 5 days per month with no volunteers on the roster for 2010. Can you spare 2 hours (9.30-11.30am) one day per month to help prepare the food? Please email  Kylie-Ann
email  if you would like to help. Anyone can help – you don't have to have children at the school. No experience necessary. Full induction provided. You get your  lunch for free!

GYO-Grow Your Own

The local Toronto Garden club has an action-packed year planned designed to help your grow your own. The club's next meeting will be at 10am on Thursday, February 18 at the Toronto  1st Scout Hall, 74

Excelsior Parade. The meeting consists of a trading table from 9.30am, a guest speaker on Water-wise Gardening and a raffle with a $30 prize.

The next outing is on the fourth Thursday of the month, 25/2/10, there will be no formal meeting. The  visit will be to the Constable Garden and Cellar Door at 205 Gillards Road, Pokolbin, between 10am and 12.30pm.

Speakers for meetings in the hall that are coming up include
March: Growing Herbs And Their Uses
April : Weeds
May: Soil Preparation and
June: Crop Rotation.

Visits out will be to Wallis Creek Water Garden at Mulbring in March and to Shortland Wetlands in April.
For more information contact Jan Hissey

Living on the waterfront? You’re living in the riparian zone.

The Hunter- Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority has a FREE resource kit available- Where Land Meets Water -to help landholders better manage their riparian zones.

The kit describes riparian land as "any land which adjoins, directly influences or is influenced by a body of water. Most people associate riparian land with streams, billabongs, wetlands and lakes. However, riparian land, includes farm dams, drainage lines, the floodplains connected to streams, and estuaries and tidal interchange areas."

The Coal Point-Carey Bay peninsula has its fair share of riparian zones, there are numerous drainage lines that direct water from the ridge to the lake, there are intermittent watercourses that run through Burnage, Gurranba and Threlkeld Reserves, there’s the waterfront and of course the Carey Bay Wetlands . Riparian zones are special places which need special treatment because of the impact on the land by the water. 

For hard copies of this handy resource contact Vanessa Malicia at the CMA's Gosford office on 4337 1202 or email

The documents can also be downloaded from the CMA website

Landcare season is on again

The Landcare Resource Office, now located just near the roundabout on the approach to the Five Islands bridge, Toronto Rd, Teralba, is open for business again after the summer break.

On Wednesday 24th  Feb Landcarers will be meeting from 4.30 to 6.30pm with a free BBQ to share ideas for the future of community driven landcaring across the city.

On Thursday 25th from 4-5.30pm the Landcare 4 Youth Network will be gathering for the first time to discuss ways of supporting young people to care for the land. Youth, 3-25, are most warmly welcome to come along and put forward ideas for projects and options for networking. If you can't make the meeting contact TIN 4969 1500 with your ideas.

Have you got a few spare hours? Volunteers are invited to help out at the Landcare Resource Office with a variety of jobs and activities, or on the Green Team supporting groups with bush regeneration activities.

On Tuesday  9th  March the Lake Macquarie Landcare Network’s AGM will be held from 4.30 to 6.30pm at the LRO.

Call the LRO to register your interest for the above activities - 49210392.

Transition Town Steering Group update

The Coal Point Transition Town Steering Group (CPTTSG) has been meeting regularly and been planning a year of activity focussing on awareness raising  through a series of movies & speaker sessions and culminating at the end of the year in a Live More Use Less Festival to be held locally in Gurranba Reserve and at the Hall.

In February the group is hosting a Transition Training workshop on 27th -28th February. The trainers are from the Bowral Transition group, made famous for their stance on excluding bottled water from Bundanoon, the Bundy on Tap campaign.

The training covers the context for transition, an overview of the 12 principals of Transition, visioning, awareness raising, the initiating group, the psychology of change, open space technology, Joanna Macy activities and transition networks. It is an inspiring session and people from Transition Town Newcastle are also coming along.

The cost for the 2 days of training is $50, or $30 conc. Morning/Afternoon tea and lunch are provided. Email for more information. Places are limited.

Apologies for those awaiting the film festival extravaganza in January, it was decided mid December that many people would not be around so instead there’ll be regular movies shown over the upcoming months.

The Committee Confabulation

The February Committee meeting of the Progress Association will be held on Monday 1st February 7-9pm at the Hall, with a light supper provided. All members are welcome to attend and join in some interesting discussion.

The Transition Town Steering group meets the 2nd Monday of the month 4-6pm at the Hall. Planning for the awareness raising events is underway and anyone willing to lend a hand is most welcome to come along and find out a bit more.

The Membership renewals will be arriving very shortly. Apologies for the delay but in the cause of good governance a privacy policy for dealing with email addresses was needed so that it was clear for what purposes the email addresses would be used. 

A copy of the draft policy can be seen at or if you would like your own mailed to your inbox send a request to

Alcohol Free zones in the Reserves of Coal Point?
On New Years Eve at Birriban reserve a considerable crowd of revelling youth, partied on into the wee hours causing disturbance to the local residents through abusive language, not-so-indiscreet displays of overt affection and lack of use of public toilets and rubbish facilities for disposing of personal and other kinds of waste.

This gathering appears to have suffered from the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption in the reserve. There have been other incidents recorded in local reserves of anti-social alcohol-induced behaviour as well.

A suggestion has been put forward to consider alcohol- free zones in the reserves as a way of addressing this issue. This issue will be discussed at the February Progress meeting. Any comments or suggestions are most welcome.

Agenda items for the February meeting include  alcohol-free reserves, the privacy policy, events for the year, the Annual General Meeting, Environmental Education Grant submission for introduction to the community brochure and Transition Group events.