Sunday, 20 December 2015

Dates for the Diary

Whilst the Progress people have a few weeks of well earned rest there's still lots to do.

LMCC Activiites

Each January Lake Macquarie City Council offers a series of free events and activities, for all ages, as part of the Explore Our Great Outdoors program. The program aims to raise awareness of the uniqueness and importance of Lake Macquarie's natural environments.  

For the complete list of Explore Our Great Outdoors events, please go to

CPPA & TASNG activities

  • Landcare resumes 14th January
  • Seed Collecting 19th  January:  9-11:30am
  • CPPA Committee meeting 8th Feb: 4-6pm Progress Hall
  • TASNG Committee meeting 10th Feb: 5-6:30pm The Hub, 97 The Boulevarde
  • Seed collecting 16th Feb: 9-11:30am

’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la lala la la.

The Progress Association’s merriment started mid November winning the Peabody Landcare & Environment category at the NSW Regional and Community Achievement Awards. Along with a rather flash trophy came a $2500 cheque that has helped to cover the costs of the storm damage on CPPA property earlier this year. Yeah team!
The recognition came in the week the CPPA was celebrating 20 years of locals landcaring on public reserves and in their bushland backyards so it was fantastic to be able to celebrate the award at the 20 years-on landcaring BBQ and the fun filled trivia night.
The 20 years on trivia tournament tested local and international knowledge and much happiness filled the hall. The success of event was due to the 50 locals in attendance, the skills of Tony Parrott’s commentary and the generosity of the local sponsors who provided $1500 worth of prizes for the night. 
Landcare has been an amazing umbrella under which to bring our community together to care for the one thing we all have in common, our beautiful bushland peninsula. A corridor that is home to threatened species, endangered ecological communities and fabulous flora and fauna. Being recognised and honoured as Landcare stewards of this very special place was a wonderful tribute to everyone in our community.
And then there was more joy to our world, we found out that our application for charity status was accepted … one step closer to updating the governance structures of the organisation and reducing costs … hopefully. Happy dance!
And if that wasn’t enough an evening phone from Yea Merry Gentleman, Greg Piper MP informed us that the CPPA had successfully applied for a Community Building Partnership grant. Greg mentioned that the CPPA has done a wonderful job keeping the hall in community ownership and generating conversations throughout the community.
The project, Safe and Sustainable Solutions to ensure Progress Hall’s survival, will receive $19,993 to install solar panels, a water tank, renew some roofing and guttering as well as replace the chairs and purchase a chair and table trolley to enhance WHS.
This grant will improve the facilities and safety at the hall for hall users as well reduce bills and enhance sustainability. Hopefully to the hall will come all yeah faithful joyful and triumphant. 

If there are any locals interested in quoting for an aspect of the job please contact one of the CPPA Committee.

Well wishes to all and special thoughts go out to…

  • Ross McGrath for a speedy and full recovery with gratefulness that he will enjoy this Christmas
  • The family and friends of Don Allen, who recently passed away

Farewell to some fine food.

If you enjoyed a local pizza from Bella Fresca over the past few years you will have noticed that as of 24/11/15 their doors were closed for good. 

Nicole, Chris and family would like to pass on “a massive thank you to the community for all the love and support we have received over the past 3 years it has been such an enjoyable and learning experience for us and we have loved it. We would like to wish you all a happy and joyful Christmas and a great new year.”

Backyard Habitat Health assessments

Would you like to find out what bushland treasures are on your block? What plants are natives and which are weeds and what to do about them? Do you know what makes good habitat and if you have any? These questions can have the answers provided with a Backyard Habitat Health Assessment.

A bush regeneration expert will wander across your block with you answering any questions you have about what is it and what do I do with it? The information collected will then be compiled into an informative guide for you to keep as a handy reference.

There is no cost as it is funded through the Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project. 

You will have to be or become a member of the Progress Association to access this opportunity.  Contact Suzanne via the Progress Association

Seedsons Greetings

On the 3rd Tuesday of the next 3 months a seed collection expedition will be happening around Coal Point under the guidance of Trish Barker from Trees In Newcastle. The outings go from about 9-11.30 am and are a great opportunity to expand your botany and see the bushland through seedy eyes. If you’d like to come along contact Suzanne through Progress email, facebook or phone.

Some images of the beautiful local seeds have been captured by John Sharples recently and can be viewed on the website and facebook pages.

Pony Club Update

There have been a few comments on for a name for the ‘Pony Club’.
In the last Chronicle the site was referred to as Hale’s Dairy, but evidently it was Moss’ Farm and on checking the history lake Mac site an image refers to Haling’s Dairy (was active 1930’s). Does anyone have any details about the history of the area they can share? The suggestion of an aboriginal name Puntei Reserve has appealed to some. Do you have any naming ideas? Please let the CPPA committee know. 
In November LMCC advised it had started the long promised Recreational Land Plan for the Toronto Area and the uses for Pony Club land will be up for discussion. 
Correspondence from LMCC has stated that “Council has plans to establish some recreation facilities on the area categorised as sportsground, which will be determined with the preparation of the Toronto Recreation & Land Plan”.

The Pony Club land currently has two classifications to it, a ‘Natural Area’(Green) category and a ‘Sportsground’ (Yellow) category. 


A plus for Pedestrians

The Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood group received a Christmas present as well. They were awarded a Community Building Partnership grant for $8700 to improve pedestrian access and safety between Ambrose and Jarrett by installing crushed gravel and other suitable surfaces. LMCC agreed to match the funding. 
This grant is a huge step forward in improving pedestrian access in our community, with no plans in the next 20 years for footpaths it looks like it will be community initiatives such as this that will provide the best chance of getting a safe place to walk. This project will be a model that will hopefully support other groups and other areas looking to address the same issue.

Tossers can be Binners 2

Toronto High School students entered a competition to design some signs for a Clean-up Australia Day Campaign on 6th March 2016, involving the fast food restaurants in Toronto. Three of those signs were chosen to be made into metal signs and these will be displayed on bins and driveways of those restaurants. McDonalds franchise in Toronto, in particular, has joined the campaign and a media event will take place there on March 6 to educate the public that Tossers Can Be Binners and fast food rubbish detracts from our area and impacts on the health of the lake.

LEAP students lend a hand

Each fortnight during November and December Toronto High School’s year 7 LEAP class ventured out to Coal Point to assist with the surveying of Tetratheca juncea along the West Ridge. 
What a crew! Each session saw 17-21 enthusiastic students, the amazing Ms Havercamp and Mr Banks form into 3 survey groups. The team came out well prepared having researched the threatened species and set up recording proforma for the data entry.
During the first session the teams identified and tagged the TJ clumps. For the next two sessions they recorded the location on GPS and entered the data about the size and weed threats onto tablets. Over a hundred clumps were located and all of the survey data transcribed ready to be uploaded onto Bionet
The THS crew also monitored nestboxes in the survey area and to everyone’s joy a family of Squirrel gliders were recorded in one of the boxes, reinforcing the benefits for additional habitat options.

The THS crew were supported by Joel, Glen and Harvey from TIN’s landcare team who provided surveying and on-ground expertise in weed identification as Formosa lily and Asparagus fern were targeted during the field trips. Additional thanks to Coal Point Public School for providing their facilities for water stops.

Homes and habitat

As the weather warms up, smoke wafts through the air and the buzz of chainsaws drown out the cicadas, are you wondering how to find a happy balance between lifestyle choices and habitat values for wildlife? A publication from the Nature Conservation Council- Creating bird-friendly gardens in bush fire prone areas makes good holiday reading. Here’s an excerpt.

Many people live near the bush to see and hear native birds and other wildlife. Having them visit makes a garden more interesting and habitat gardens help wildlife by providing stepping-stones to bushland.

However, living near the bush can also bring the risk of bush fire. One of the main ways to reduce the risk is a well-designed and maintained garden that acts as an Asset Protection Zone (APZ). An APZ is a fuel-reduced area surrounding a built asset such as a house or shed. It is a key element in reducing the impact of bush fire along with house and property maintenance and a Bush Fire Survival Plan.

An APZ can also provide habitat and offer food, shelter and water for native animals. This fact sheet is a guide to creating an APZ that attracts birds and other wildlife and helps protect your home from bush fire.

Another local resources available is Landcare Fact Sheet 9- Fire Retardant Plants . It contains plants suitable for our area you can pick up a copy at the Landcare Office or download it.

Draft Hunter Regional plan and Hunter City

It looks like Lake Macquarie will be able to stand alone as an independent Council…hoorah! 
But the State government’s plans for the region go beyond the local government boundaries with the Draft Hunter Regional plan and  Draft plan for Growing Hunter City, being recently released and comments due by 28 February 2016.
There are four goals in the draft Hunter Regional Plan 
1. Grow Australia’s next major city- Hunter City
2. Grow the largest regional economy in Australia
3. Protect and connect natural environments
4. Support robust regional communities
Where is Hunter City you may be wondering? It is described in the plan as “the metropolitan area extending from Toronto and Swansea in the south to Raymond Terrace in the north and from Newcastle Harbour in the east to Lochinvar in the west. It has emerged from the expansion of Newcastle and its surrounding towns and has a rich history and strong growth prospects for the future. Today, Hunter City is the State’s second largest and the nation’s seventh largest urban population. “
The ‘Hunter City’ landscape is divided into five districts and it looks like the Coal Point peninsula is the southern boundary of the this proposed entity. 

The two draft plans are available on line at and there is a ‘Have your say’ opportunity as well.

Lake Macquarie Parking Strategy

Do you have any thoughts about parking or walking around our area? LMCC is providing an opportunity for you to share your thoughts on the ‘Have your say website’. There’s an interactive map that invites you to share your thoughts by dragging an icon and completing a comment box. You can clearly mark problem areas and identify parking issues, parking ideas, walking ideas, cycling ideas or general comments. 

It is a great chance to highlight the needs and concerns of our community in regards to pedestrian safety. It doesn’t take very long…and is much easier than writing a letter to Council, give our community a Christmas thought and make your thoughts known. To date there are only a few comments in our area, and you can even like or dislike existing comments.

DAs in Play

The list below has been abridged from Lake Macquarie City Council’s Application Tracking system. It has been compiled to support community understanding of developments in our area. Please consult LMCC’s website for details and a complete listing.
  • 66A Brighton Avenue 3 Tree removals. Approved
  • 135 Excelsior Parade :  Private Construction Certificate Childcare Centre. Approved
  • 151 Excelsior Pde- Multiple Dwelling housing & Strata subdivision. Approved
  • 21 Grant Road. Dwelling Alterations and addition. Under Assessment
  • 37 Grant Road. Dwelling Additions and Pegola. Waiting for Outstanding Fees
  • 1 Killara Close. Retaining Walls. Approved
  • 91 Jarrett Street: Removal of three (3) trees: Approved
  • 3 Laycock Street Carport: Approved
  • 36 Laycock Street: Installation of a Fire Sprinkler System Within Existing Aged Care Facility
  • Applicant. Approved
  • 1A Rofe Street: Dwelling Additions. Scanning of Application Documents
  • 2 Robey Crescent : Dwelling Alterations & Additions – Awning. Under Assessment
  • 15 Robey Crescent: Boatshed. Awaiting information requested
  • 23 Robey Road: Dwelling Alterations and Additions and Garden Wall. Approved
  • 14A Whitelocke Street : Residence & retaining walls. Under Assessment
  • 14B Whitelocke Street. Dwelling House. Approved
  • 268 Skye Point Road. Residential Addition – Studio. Approved 
  • 149 Skye Point Road. Alterations & additions. Under Assessment