Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Community Monitoring at Stansfield Close

LMCC's Community Ecosystem Monitoring event today revealed that there were 40 native plants and 11 weeds in the area that was sampled.
There were local volunteers and council staff who laid out a 50 X 20m quadrat, aligned northeast, GPS coordinates were taken and counts of flora and fauna taken. 
Birds, habitat features, scats were all looked for. The idea is to get a really good idea of the environmental assets in our own backyard.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Dates for the Diary

  • Saturday 30th April 7-10pm Progress Hall  Music Hall Variety Night 
  • 1-7 May International Composting Week
  • Monday 2/5/11 4.30 pm Council chambers- LMCC council meeting Subdivision proposal 
  • Monday 2nd May 7-9pm at Progress Hall-CPPA monthly meeting 
  • Saturday 14/5/11 10-11am , 54 & 56 Amelia St VegeTTable garden tours & talk
  • Monday 16/5/11 from 9.30amYural Reserve makeover
  • Local Landcaring each Thursday Ring Robyn for details  4959 1507 
  • Saturday 21st May 1-3.30pm- Swansea Centre Swansea Climate Change Forum-Speaker Mark Diesendorf- How can we mitigate or adapt to Climate change
  • Tuesday August 9 National Census Census collectors wanted.  More info at

A night out, a good cause and some great entertainment

...what more could you ask for on Saturday 30th April between 7-10pm.
The Music Hall Variety Night for the Premiers Disaster Relief Appeal is almost upon us.
All proceeds from the night will go towards the appeal.
The line-up is confirmed, the program in place all that is needed is some happy-go-lucky folk to come along and join in.
You will be welcomed by roving minstrels as you settle in to your seating, you'll be amazed at the adventures Bill Carney-Larrikin Poet has recently endured in the Barrington Wilderness. Ross Browne's unique style of puppetry will have you perplexed but pleased and then the toes will start tapping as the urge to take to the floor is controlled by the Bay Bootscooters. The adrenaline will continue to flow as Russ Redford harnesses his  harmonica to heavenly tunes. A few laughs will be on the cards with the Carey Bay Navel Band's inaugural performance and there's more...but you'll have to come along to experience it.
There are still places available give Warren a ring on 4959 4991 or on his mobile 0412 159 701.

How wide is your neighbour's frontage?

As mentioned in the April Chronicle there has been a few DA's around the place that have caused considerable anguish for long term residents concerned about the changing nature of the suburb, the loss of its bushland qualities and lack of regard for the existing community members.
One DA which is proposing to allow subdivision which does not comply with LEP standards of a 14m street frontage, instead proposing 11.29m could set  a whole new precedent for the area.This DA will be discussed at LMCC's Standing Committee Meeting on 2nd May at 4.30pm. The Progress Association has been given public access. Come along and lend your support and find out how councillors and Council staff think.

The new & improved Local Environment Plan is on its way...this year

The Community Environment Network (CEN) recently hosted a networking session to discuss the new Local Environment Plans that are rolling out across the State in an effort to standardise zonings and meanings across local government areas.
At the CEN’s meeting Gosford, Wyong and Lake Macquarie’s approaches to the LEP were presented and a real appreciation for the effort LMCC takes to protect the environment was evident in the comparison.
Gosford Council apparently has no clause to protect biodiversity, will not release maps to allow for community clarity on zonings and is indeed heading towards conservation lands being opened up for residential and recreational development, with 130 requests for rezoning lodged, many after the community submission period had closed.
Wyong Council is moving along with its plan identifying corridors, and fitting in with recently developed settlement strategy and North Wyong Shire structure plans. They are aiming to complete their LEP by June 2011 and have a draft LEP and zoning maps in place. They also had a process in place for residents if they wanted their property’s zoning considered for change.
Lake Macquarie City Council is a lot further along than its coastal cousins with the new LEP sitting with the Department of Planning awaiting comment to allow for community feedback.
The new LEP provided an opportunity to update LMCC’s  vision documents to guide the Council upto to 2030. There are new visions that deal with population growth and land supply within the context of The Lower Hunter Regional Strategy, climate change and the impacts on sea level rise, an integrated 10 year community plan and the City’s global footprint.
Some of the deliberations that have arisen from the transition to the new LEP include matching existing environmental zonings to a reduced number of new environmental zones, the status that the lake will be given and investigation zones. The new LEP will provide a hierarchy of town centres e.g Wyee is B1,Toronto B2 ad Charlestown B3
The zoning for the Lake was put forward by LMCC as W1-natural waterway as it is a natural structure that is subject to natural processes. The Department of Planning would prefer a W2 zoning-recreational waterway, the same category as the man-made Penrith Lakes system. The community will be allowed to comment when the draft is released.
Along with the new LEP will be an updated version of the Development Control Plan to make the document more user friendly and mirror the automated version.
Some maps of local interest include the foreshore building line, flood control land and land acquisition. Maps for the proposed new LEP can be found at
The Planning  2011 e-newsletter goes in to the details of the process to date

Putting our best foot forward

The Progress Association is keen to pursue safe pedestrian options around the area and it appears that now is a pretty good time to be thinking about it with Council in the process of reviewing it cycleway strategy this financial year and the footpath strategy in the 2011/12 financial year.
Advice from Council is that residents are now no longer required to contribute to footpath costs. Council does still charge residents for kerb and gutter. The rate as highlighted in Councils Pricing Policy 2010/2011 is $120 per lineal metre.
The process for Council to initiate investigation into the provision of footpath and/or kerb and gutter is via written request. 
The Progress Association is keen to identify areas of  specific concerns in regard to where footpath and/or kerb and gutter should be installed and then submit these to Council, highlighting the particular streets and the specific issues.
If you have an area that you want considered please pass on the details or post in on the blog.

International Composting Awareness Week: 1-7 May

Organically-active material buried without air in landfill causes over 3% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by producing methane. This same organic material could abate climate change by sequestering carbon back into the soil as compost. 

Getting the Winter crop underway?

The second inspiring installment from the VegeTTable talks to get you growing.
Recap: It all starts with the soil and location location location.
  • Vegetables grow mainly in the top 6cm of the soil, so it’s up to you as a gardener to make the best soil. Think of your vegie patch as a lawn improvement device.
  • Face your garden North to North-east if possible to catch the most rays.
  • Start small with a 1m square, it's big enough. Make it easy to access all around the patch.  Once you've got the hang of it expand a bit at a time.
  • Tools of the trade include a spade, fork, rake and hose
  • Soil preparation is important.Break up the clods, add organic matter, dynamic lifter, blood and bone, dolomite (MgCO3 )
  • Mulch is magic. Cover the surface, to reduce evaporation, keep the soil cooler in summer and warmer in winter
  • Compost is dug into the's international compost awareness week soon
  • If you don't have enough room for a garden and want to delve into pots as the preferred growing medium styrofoam boxes are very versatile as growing pots. Ceramic/earthenware that are not glazed need to be lined with plastic because they loose water through evaporation. 
Sowing Seeds
  • Read the back of the back, we live in a temperate climate and use by dates matter
  • For an instant garden lettuce and spinach are great and you can pick the leaves all year round.
  • Parsnip seeds only last a year at the most but are quick growers
How to sow?
  • Use a rake handle to make a groove, the drill.
  • Water the drill and remove any lumps
  • Sow the seed, the smaller the seed the shallower the drill and cover over
  • Put a stick at either end to remind where you planted
  • Thin out when second set of leaves emerge
What to sow in May
  • Seed : broad bean, cabbage, cauliflower, onion, pea, spinach
  • Seedlings: cabbage, celery, leek, onion, silver beet, spinach,turnip
The VegeTTable group will meet on the 2nd Saturday of the month 10-11am at various gardens around the community to gather ideas, advice and support. Contact Geoff for more information on 4959 3470
Handy Tip- There is a manure selling business at 110 Macquarie Rd Fassifern, about 400m past the train station turnoff. They sell chook, cow and horse manure at very reasonable rates.

Tinkle Your Way to Happiness - Sharon Ellam

There’s something about creating your own music that is food for the soul. It calms – it uplifts – it excites – it fulfills. It’s about this ‘soul food’ that leads adults or retirees to seek piano lessons. For me, teaching piano to adults is FUN!
As a child, we learn piano simply because we want to, or our parents want us to. The reasons for learning as an adult are so much more exciting! A grey nomad knocked at my door recently to ask for lessons. At his ripe old age he was still meeting a childhood challenge. His aunt (who he lived with) had told him that despite his 3 cousins learning piano, he wouldn’t have the ability. So today he arrived to meet that challenge!
Mothers sometimes learn because they want to join the fun with their kids – or because they want to keep up with them. 
Whatever the reason – whatever the style of music preferred – whatever the age, adults can still learn piano! And believe it or not, they advance quicker than most children!
Some locals have seen my blackboard in Laycock St opposite Hype. It says that I teach ages 4 – 104 years for fun or exams (some of my merry adult students suggest I should give a discount for age greater than 104 years). I teach from home on a Yamaha Gold Series Upright piano. The piano is so beautiful that on a good day the birds sing along & the kookaburras even join in!
If you want to contact me you can do it by:
Phone 0419 161516, email

Community Comments and Collaboration

The Progress Association has been dabbling around the edges of social media with the Chronicle blog for the past year or so.
The blog has an untapped potential to provide a space for comments on articles that are posted. Until recently the comments have not been allowed but in the spirit of openness and community collaboration comments will now be encouraged in order to get feedback and inform the community debate on local  happenings and topics.
As with all online dealings there is an expectation that the conversation will be courteous, respectful and of the same tone as off line conversations. Looking forward to hearing your views.

Contacting the Committee?

The Committee are a group of locals who enjoy contributing to the community and believe in the objectives of the Coal Point Progress Association, working for the betterment of the  community. People usually join a Committee because they have something they want to give or share, usually expertise, passion and dedication. They are all volunteers.
Our current Committee can be contacted at the following email addresses or by phone
  • Suzanne Pritchard, President, editor of the Chronicle
  • Ian Dennison, Secretary and energy expert
    John Gill, Treasurer and Sustainable Neighbourhoods contact
  • Robyn Gill, local Landcare coordinator. 
  • Barbara Lawrenson, Vice President, social organiser 
  • Jean Austen long term resident, local historian
  • John Greenhalgh, long term resident, landcarer 
  • Tony Dynon, Hall Maintenance Man 
  • Warren Sinclair, Health and social enthusiast

Progress Hall

Progress Hall is a community asset owed and maintained by the Progress Association, a rarity in Lake Macquarie.  
Progress Hall is a great community venue with a stage, kitchen, toilets and disabled access, seating and tables for 150.  Very reasonable rates of $12.50/hour make it a great venue for a group gathering. Party rates vary from $75-150 depending on the size with a refundable bond of $350 is required.
Margaret Vero is the Hall bookings coordinator and can be contacted by phone 4959 1477 or email 

Are you a local business and want to share your expertise locally?

There are some sponsorship spaces available in the monthly Chronicle, the cost is $35/month. You can run the sponsorship as often or as little as you like. 
All you need to provide is the information you want mentioned and if you have a logo or image, the electronic file. 
The Chronicle is letter boxed by Progress volunteers to 1265 local residents. The sponsorship goes towards maintaining the Hall for community use and Landcare projects. 
The Chronicle is produced 11 times a year and is compiled and edited by Suzanne Pritchard. If you would like more information contact Suzanne.

Sustainable Neighbourhoods Snapshot

The Sustainable Neighbourhood process is moving along with monthly meetings being held by the steering group and council's facilitator. 
A very interesting survey seeking our thoughts about where we live will be delivered to our letterboxes by Easter which will feed in to the local community workshop proposed for Late May or early June.
At the April meeting the idea of having a community forum to better understand the Development Application process was touted and received support by those present. 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Dates for the Diary

Monday 11/4/11 7-8.30pm at Progress Hall 
VegeTTable group meeting

Saturday 16/4/11 10-11am , 54 & 56 Amelia St
VegeTTable garden tours & talk

Monday 18/4/11 from 9.30am
Hampton-Jabiru Sts Landcare day

DEFERRED -To be advised: 
Monday 18/4/11 5pm Council chambers- LMCC council meeting
Subdivision proposal

Wednesday 20/4/11  9am-noon at Stansfield Close
Community Ecosystem monitoring

23rd -  24th April .
Toronto Railway Station Centenary event

Saturday 30th April 7-10pm Progress Hall
Music Hall Revival

Monday 2nd May 7-9pm at Progress Hall
CPPA monthly Committee meeting

Monday 16/5/11 from 9.30am
Yural Reserve makeover

Local Landcaring each Thursday
Ring Robyn for details

 4959 1507 

Music Hall at Progress Hall

Roll Up Roll Up...the Progress Association is putting on a local social fundraiser to provide a fun time outing for locals and to support the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal to assist those affected by the natural disasters in Queensland from Dec 2010 to Feb 2011. All funds raised will go towards this appeal.
The line up for the night has been confirmed with talent that will razzle, dazzle, enthuse and enthrall.
A combination of musical artistry, puppetry, bush poetry, dancing, comedy and historical film footage will provide the backdrop to friendly camaraderie and general joi de vie. 
The aim of the night is to have everyone leaving with a smile on their face and a song in their heart and to herald in the return of the musical hall.
The guest artists include 
  • Dazzling Di Lenham-Mistress of the Accordion
  • Razzling Ross Browne-Master of Puppetry
  • Ready Russ Redford- Harmonicist Extraordinaire
  • Bring-It-On Bill Carney-The Bluechip Bush-poet
  • The Bay Bootscooters-Line dancing lovelies from Nelson Bay
  • the Carey Bay Naval band and 
  • a few extra bits to get the blood pumping. 
All this and more (you will be providing the more),can be a part of your fondest memories if you come along on Saturday 30th April from 7pm for the modest admission price of $10pp, $20 for a family. 
Bookings are essential to help in setting up the Hall. So grab some friends and book a table by ringing Warren on 4959 4991 or mob 0412159701.

Local Environment Plan Guidelines or Grief?

The Local Environment Plan as a guideline for development is causing considerable grief in the local community at present with cumulative 'minor amendments' culminating in major impacts, street frontage 'standards' disregarded for subdivision and inconsistencies  in proponent/opponent deadlines for dealing with Council compounding stress.

The Progress Association is interested in better understanding the planning instruments and is pursuing a public community meeting with Council officers and representatives to clarify the LEP guidelines and processes that are resulting in conflicting messages and outcomes from the original intent of the Lifestyle 2020 vision. A date is yet to be determined. Some of the issues of concern are outlined below.

In the meantime the CPPA is encouraging locals to attend the Council meeting, most likely early May, when the application is discussed and determined. This is an opportunity to better understand the process and what is at stake, especially in regards to subdivision standards in our community
The Council hearing in regards to DA 16/2009 had been proposed for April 18th but was deferred pending more information from the proponents. Opponents to the subdivision have been denied public access and so community support is needed.

Sub Division standards: e.g DA 16/2009-A resident is facing a subdivision proposal that was originally a prohibited 1 into 3 lot subdivision/dual occupancy, resubmitted as two lot subdivision and new dwelling, which did not change any features of the questionable subdivision only the dedication of land to Council being removed. The DA proposal does not comply with LEP standards of a 14m street frontage, instead 11.29m is proposed setting a whole new precedent for the area disregarding the current LEP standards.  This will be discussed and determined on 18/4/11. 

Minor Infringements: e.g DA 301/2010-Residents are facing a 2m high planting in lieu of a colourbond fence, down to the foreshore which effectively creates a visual and physical barrier in the neighbouring areas and permanently changes the outlook. The new development will include two double car garages, a 9.8m long hobby store and the house. Ten  'minor infringements' were allowed including overdevelopment of the site, front and side setbacks contrary to council controls and fencing beyond the foreshore building line as part of pool and fencing. As these were all considered 'minor'  no re-notification was triggered denying the opportunity for negotiation or further comment by interested parties.

If you are interested in following Development Applications around the community LMCC provides a DA map at  and there is also 

Local Landcaring

 A new Landcare site in our area on the corner of  Hampton and Jabiru Streets, will have it's first Green Team day on 18/4/11. This beautiful little remnant is a reminder of the variety which can exist right at our backdoor.

On  May 16th Yural reserve at the northern end of Laycock Street will be getting a makeover, with the support of the Green Team and thanks to funding from the Hunter Water Landcare Assistance Fund. A mulched garden bed will be created and a BBQ lunch will be provided.

Jason Harvey as been appointed as the new Landcare Coordinator for LMCC commencing 2 May 2011. Jason has strong local connections and we wish him well in his new role.

LMCC’s Community Ecosystem Monitoring program involves Council staff, and volunteers, surveying bushland areas (owned by Council,) across the City to provide a measure of the health of different bushland vegetation communities.

Community Ecosystem Monitoring
The reserve at end of Stansfield Close, Coal Point, is one of the 50 sites that will be surveyed on Wednesday 20 April from 9am-12noon.
The survey records both native and exotic species within the plot, medium and large trees, regeneration of canopy species, hollow bearing trees canopy cover and evidence of wildlife. 
Contact Robyn Gill for more details if you would like to participate on any of the days.

THE SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBOURHOODS PROGRAM Toronto, Carey Bay, Coal Point and Kilaben Bay

Lake Macquarie City Council understands that residents have a strong connection and commitment to their environment and in response has established the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program. After success in many other areas of Lake Macquarie, the program is now in the early stages of its development in Toronto, Carey Bay, Coal Point and Kilaben Bay.
Through the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program Council is committed to working with residents to help them to develop local plans and actions that will protect and enhance the natural features of neighbourhoods, reduce their ecological footprint, and build their capacity to respond to relevant environmental issues and events.  
Involvement in the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program also builds strong community relationships as citizens embark on a journey together to discover the values and strengths of their neighbourhood, uncover the wealth and depth of existing community assets, develop their local plans, and work alongside their neighbours on projects that they decide will enhance their neighbourhood amenity.
As part of the program development process, all residents in Toronto, Carey Bay, Coal Point and Kilaben Bay will receive a Sustainable Neighbourhoods survey in their mailbox toward the end of April 2011. 
By completing and returning this survey, residents can share their views about what is important in their community. Surveys completed and returned by the date specified on the survey will also go into the draw to win one of three Crest Earth Smart power boards valued at $120 each. On average, the power board reduces household power use by around $50 per year.
Once survey results are collated, a Sustainable Neighbourhood community workshop will be held in the local area.  Residents who have indicated on the survey that they would like to know more about the program will be invited to the workshop.  From here, residents are able to choose how they would like to be further involved in the program.  
If you would like to know more about the program please contact Kelly Wood, Lake Macquarie City Council, on 4921 0333 or email

VegeTTable Talks

The VegeTTable group will start regular 2nd Monday of the month meetings 7-8.30pm, at the Hall as of Monday 11th April.  The session will include,
  • Q & A/trouble shooting
  • a special interest subject
  • a trading table to share produce
  • a brag or moan session.
The other aspect to the group’s gatherings will be garden visits to showcase or support local vegetable growers.
 These will be on  the Saturday following meeting 10-11am, the first visit at 54-56 Amelia Street, two gardens to think about how they tend their crops. 
April In the Veggie patch
Jobs to do: Prepare the area to be planted by top dressing with compost and blood and bone. Dig in and rake over.
Sowing and Growing:
Seed: broad bean, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, onion, silver beet
Seedlings: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, silver beet, lettuce
If space is limited make a herb garden in a polystyrene box. Place Styrofoam chunks for drainage and shade cloth in the bottom to prevent soil escape, fill with potting mix and plant with herbs such as thyme, parsley, chives. Place box in sunny position on a verandah or patio.

Angela Edwards Appeal

Our thoughts for strength and peace go out to the Edwards family, on accepting the recent passing of their mum Angie. If you would like to contribute to the Angela Edwards Appeal the Toronto Rotary Club is facilitating donations with 100% of moneys collected are guaranteed to go to the Edwards children. Cheques made out in favour of "Rotary Club of Toronto" with a note attached indicating "Angela Edwards Appeal" can be sent care of Jarvis Business Advisers; P.O. Box 799 TORONTO NSW  2283

Tai Chi Tuesdays with Rosalie

Do yourself a favour Coal Point residents and try Tai Chi with Rosalie. You will feel fitter, more relaxed and balanced. Rosalie is a very patient and skilled teacher.  The classes are held every Tuesday at the local progress hall at 6.30pm at a very reasonable cost. Support her and your local community hall at the same time -Patricia Ryan 

Introducing the Progress Committee 2011

Suzanne Pritchard  — President       Ian Dennison  — Secretary
Barbara Lawrenson  —  Vice President         John Gill   Treasurer  
Robyn Gill  — Landcare projects       Tony Dynon — Hall projects
Jean Austen , John Greenhalgh , Warren Sinclair 

The Committee meets on the 1st Monday of the month, 
7-9pm at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd, Coal Point.