Thursday, 5 February 2015

Lots to celebrate and more to come

The Progress year has started with a strong beat and looks like a crescendo is looming throughout 2015.
Already there have been Australia Day Awards received, a review the CPPA’s constitution undertaken and a trial of the landholder backyard surveys completed. 2015 is looking to be a very progressive year around the Coal Point peninsula.  
Australia Day accolades have been bestowed upon the Coal Point Progress Landcare crew and Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) as joint winners of the Lake Macquarie Community Group of the Year. Additionally Suzanne Pritchard was nominated as Citizen of the Year and local Steve Dewar was honoured with the Volunteer of the Year award. 
From the Australia Day Awards program the Coal Point Landcare tribute was summarised thusly  “the huge amount of time donated to protecting these  (local) valuable assets is a testament to the group members’ generosity. Coal Point Landcare group’s ongoing commitment of 20 years is not only hugely beneficial to local ecosystems but is also an inspiration to the wider Lake Macquarie community”
The TASNG team’s synopsis stated “the extraordinary outcomes TASNG has achieved provide a shining example of what it takes to make a real difference, having influenced government town planning decisions using education and engagement as a channel for creating positive behavioural change and providing many hours of hands-on work to restore and rejuvenate areas of Toronto.”
Steve Dewar was recognised as “being the driving force behind the Tossers Can Be Binners project…(his) enormous passion, commitment and generosity sets him apart as an outstanding volunteer and citizen of Lake Macquarie.

Membership renewal to these great groups is now due.
Congratulations one and all!
L-R Margaret Byrnes, Steve Dewer, Judy Hughes, Robyn Gill, Mayor Jody Harrison, Greg Piper MP, Suzanne Pritchard, Jean Austen, Lois Simpson. 
Not in picture:  Dianne Onslow, Nico Marcar, Tricia Hunt, Tony Stephens, John Gill, Tony Dynon, Ian Dennison.

P Platers – egg on their face

There has been a spate of vehicles being egged around Coal Point-Carey Bay over the past few months and the affected neighbours are putting together a class action to sue the offenders for the thousands of dollars worth of damage that the eggs have caused to the vehicle’s surfaces.
At least 7 residents along Coal Point Road have been repeatedly impacted as well as locals in Barina Avenue.
this is not a local car
A P-Plated vehicle was sighted conducting the offence but details of the vehicle could not be obtained.
The attacks have been occurring between Wednesday and Friday nights. The repeated nature of the malicious attacks has locals fed up.
Do you know what your P-Plating offspring get up to?
Have you noticed the eggs disappearing from the fridge?
The class action that is being put together could end up a very expensive exercise for not only the perpetrators but their parents as well.
If you have any information or have been a victim of this crime please lodged the incident with the NSW Police event notice line on 131 444.

If you would like to be put in contact with the locals who are seeking compensation please forward the request to the Progress Association by email or post PO Box 329, Toronto and your details will be forwarded.

Are you a latent Landcarer?

There are many people in our community who embody the landcare ethic of stewardship, working to protect or improve their land for the future. The Environmental Trust funded Threatened Species project is offering support to local latent landcaring landholders who’d like to find out a little bit more about what treasures abound on their bushland block.
A bush regeneration guru is available to tour your turf with you for an hour or so to point out the precious natives, the worrisome weeds, any significant habitat features which you may or may not be aware of, as well answer any questions you’ve been pondering about your plants or planting plans. 
A tour report will be provided to assist you in your ongoing stewardship. 
If you’re interested is taking up this offer contact Suzanne so an appointment can be made.

Formosa Lily- Elegant but Evil

The Formosa (Taiwan) Lily is again raising its beautiful but wicked head along Coal Point and in many gardens and backyards. 
This white weed is choking out native vegetation in many bushland areas around Lake Macquarie and spreads at an amazing rate. 
Hand weeding is the best option for home gardeners. Remove the bulb, taking care not to leave any bulb scales in ground. You may have to remove some of the surrounding soil to catch small bulb-lets that break away from the parent plant. At the very least, cut down the flowering stem before the plant sets seed, as the hundreds of papery seeds in each flower can travel quite a distance. 
A big bunch of Formosa flowers makes a very attractive floral arrangement and prevents the seed set.
Locals Lois Simpson and John Sharples have compiled a handy picture guide to removal which can also be viewed below. 
There is a Grow Me Instead guide which offers up some non invasive alternatives. 
Burkes Backyard did an exposé on the weed as well.

The 'movie' above has a new slide every 10 seconds...lots of time to contemplate the issue

Will you adopt some local shrubbery?

Last year 1270 plants took up residence in our reserves. You may notice them as you wander past; they often have a white tipped stake alongside them. 

If you have some extra water in your bottle feel free to give your tree or shrub a drink each time you pass. A little water can go a long way to ensuring their survival.

Proposed New Constitution for Coal Point Progress Association

The committee is proposing to replace our current Rules with a new Constitution.  We plan to put this as a Special Resolution at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 13th April.  Full details of what is proposed, and why, are being emailed to all members (if we have an email address) and are available to all other members (or anyone else) on request.  Members can request an email or a hard copy.  Others will be by email-only.  Please pass requests to any of the committee or by email to
The main reasons for the proposed change are
  • The laws governing Associations changed a few years ago and we'd like to our constitution get more aligned with these changes
  • We lost our status as a Registered Charity many years ago and would like to get it back
  • We'd like to broaden our area of interest to include not just Coal Point but also the surrounding areas
  • All members are strongly encouraged to get involved, by reading the proposal and giving any feedback and ideally by coming to the AGM to discuss and vote on it.

Proposed changes to the Objectives of the Association
The original objectives of the Progress Association reflect the times in which the Association was established they are
  • To provide means whereby residents and ratepayers of the Coal Point Area may individually and collectively interest themselves in, and work for all matters concerning the benefit of the community in general and of the Coal Point Area in particular; (The Coal Point Area shall comprise all properties facing Ambrose Street; Excelsior Parade from the road junction with Ambrose Street south to Laycock Street; all properties facing Laycock Street to the Kilaben Bay waterfront; and all the Coal Point peninsular to the south thereof).
  • To acquire and maintain such property as will enable the Association to carry out its purpose most efficiently;
  • To raise and maintain the standard of development within its area;
  • To seek an equitable expenditure of Council and Water Board revenue and loan funds;
  • To raise money for charity; and
  • To do all such other things as are conducive or incidental to the attainment of the above objects or any of them.

The current Committee is proposing the following objectives that are felt to embrace the intention of the founding members but reflect the current and hopefully future aspirations of the community. The redefining of the objectives is also aimed at supporting the Association’s case for seeking Charitable status.
The proposed new objectives of the Association are:
  • To enhance the natural environment of the Coal Point peninsula and surrounding areas by protecting, preserving and regenerating indigenous flora and habitat for fauna.
  • To advance social welfare, community spirit and sustainability in the Coal Point and surrounding area through community education and engagement.
  • To acquire and maintain such property as will enable the Association to carry out its objectives most efficiently.
  • To do all such other things as are conducive or incidental to the attainment of any of the above objectives. 

Potential Sale of Progress Land

The Local Environment Plan aims to preserve the Coal Point ridge line as "Conservation" zoning.  Council has for many years identified parts of existing lots backing on the ridge line as "acquisition" - i.e. the Council would like to buy those parts of the lots and thereby expand the ridge line conservation area.  The land at the "top" half of the Progress Association’s block (behind the hall) is one such area.  
The committee believe that having this land in community ownership and zoned as "conservation" land is fully consistent with our objectives, and would also provide a substantial injection of funds.  The committee intends to put a special resolution to the AGM in April to allow the current or a future committee to explore (and if terms are satisfactory to conclude) such a sale.  Note that no change is proposed to ownership of the hall or the front part of the lot.  All members are encouraged to express any opinions on whether this is a good idea!

All of these items, the Constitution, The Objectives and the sale of land are decisions of the CPPA membership. The March meeting will be an opportunity for discussing these proposals and developing the motions to be put at the Annual General Meeting on April 13th.

Membership Renewals

Membership Renewals are on their way Single $8 and family $13 with option to join or renew membership in TASNG of $2 per adult.
If you’d like to join download the membership form for The Progress Association and contact the Treasurer, John Gill 

Landcare Roster for 2015

Every Thursday local Landcarers frolic about in our reserves. There is always lots to do and interesting things to discover and everyone is welcome. There is a rotating reserve roster that sees all the reserves get a bit of landcaring action throughout the year. 
February- Carey Bay Wetlands
March-Burnage Reserve
April-Gurranba Reserve
April School Holidays- buffer planting along the edge of Carey Bay Wetlands
May-West Ridge Reserve
June- Laycock St South Reserve
July- Carey Bay Wetlands and Hampton St link
August-Burnage Reserve
September-Gurranba Reserve
October-West Ridge Reserve 
November-Yarul Reserve/Ambrose St Reserve
December- Carey Bay Wetlands and end of year BBQ

On the 1st Thursday of each month the Trees In Newcastle (TIN) team go Threlkeld Reserve and Lake Macquarie Landcare’s Green team lends a hand with the local landcare 

The Threatened Species Project provides additional support each week in the form of additional Landcare volunteers from TIN, a bush regeneration expert and lunch.

Special Sightings of Summer Birds

The Summer Bird Survey around Coal Point has been conducted and the highlights included

Olive-Backed Oriole
The raptor alarm, provided by the local Noisy Miner gang, went up at Carey Bay Wetlands and just in time to see an Australian Hobby dash overhead. These birds will race over the canopy hoping to ambush some small bush bird. The Noisy Miner alarm call is well known throughout the bird community and serves them well. 

A second time observation of White-browed Scrubwren (2 individuals) at Norumba Reserve is exciting. 

Whipbird calls were confined to the bottom of Burnage Reserve this time around. A probable female bird appears to have returned to this site after nearly two years of wandering elsewhere. 

Channel-Billed Cuckoo
A wonderful close encounter with a Variegated Fairy-wren family at West Ridge was an absolute delight. Both parents plus two recently fledged youngsters were discovered within some grass and other low vegetation. The youngsters were fully-feathered, however tail development was not very advanced. 
Another sighting of a Brown Goshawk as it was harassed by the local Noisy Miners on West Ridge. 

An adult Olive-backed Oriole with a dependent but fledged juvenile was found at Stansfield Reserve. 

Sitting quietly and calling softly in a shrub at Threlkeld Reserve was an apparently abandoned juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoo.