Monday, 4 April 2016

Dates for the Diary

  • Very soon- Asset Protection Burn at Stansfield Reserve
  • Monday 11th April-, 4-6pm CPPA monthly meeting, Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd
  • Wednesday 13th April-5-6pm. TASNG monthly meeting. The Hub 97 The Boulevrde
  • Friday 15th April- sunrise Local Bird Surveys with Tom Clarke. RSVP for details to Suzanne Pritchard (see Committee contacts)
  • Saturday 16th April 9am-noon. Butterflies and Bugs. The Landcare Resource Centre. RSVP
  • Sunday 17th April 9am-noon National Tree Day planting at Carey Bay Wetlands
  • Tuesday 26th April- DA410/2016 submissions due.
  • Landcare Every Thursday 8:30-1:30pm 
    • April 2016
      • 7th,21st Burnage Reserve
      •  14th, 17th Carey Bay Wetlands 
      • 28th Hampton St Link


AGM rescheduled for community meeting

The Annual General Meeting of CPPA has been rescheduled to 9th May in order to hold a community meeting to discuss DA 410/2016 a 20 dwelling 2-storey development that spans Brighton Ave to Excelsior Parade.
The CPPA monthly meeting on April 11th  4-6pm will focus on discussing and compiling community concerns and alternate concepts for DA 410/2016. Please bring your ideas, experience and alternate artistic impressions.
The CPPA has sought and received an extension for the submission period to allow for community discussion and comments to be gathered. Submissions are due on 26th April, close of business. 

The Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) meeting on Wednesday 13th April at 5pm at The Hub, 97 The Boulevarde will have Councillor Kay Fraser present to hear community concerns. All are welcome to attend.

National Tree Day

Everyone is welcome to an autumn National Tree Day planting on Sunday 17th April from 9am-noon at the Angela Close end of the Carey Bay Wetlands. A  border-buffer of local native plants, Blue Flax Lily-Dianella, will be planted to protect the Endangered Ecological Community that is the Carey Bay Wetlands. 

The planting will be along the back fence lines of neighbours to the reserve. This planting aims to protect the edges of the wetland from weed invasion.

A BBQ for all and a Treasure Hunt for children is on offer. Please BYO gloves and any planting tools you have.

Toronto Streetscape Update

Community and business presentations on the Toronto Streetscape plan were delivered in March. The groups were advised that only the southern side of The Boulevarde would be upgraded. There is no funding for the northern side due to the unforeseen expenses associated with the water mains.
The works program includes the decommissioning of the 100 year old water main which runs down the middle of The Boulevarde and replacement of the 40year old water main adjacent to the footpath.
These major works will require the simultaneous removal of all the fig trees on the southern side. This will happen in May.
The streetscape renewal will start in July and be undertaken in 50m sections. It is forecast to take 12-18months to complete the process.
Why not take a memorial fig photo and share it on CPPA’s Facebook page.

The DA of the day –DA 410/2016- 2 Brighton Ave to 131-133 Excelsior Parade.

From this
To this

Images taken from the Building Plan off LMCC's application tracking website.

A leaflet to sign or pass on is available here
summarised submission is available here.

A Development Application (DA 410/2016) has been lodged that, if successful, would have great visual and community impact on residents of and visitors to (by water and land) the Toronto area, especially along the Coal Point peninsula.

This article provides a summary compiled by CPPA and TASNG on the proposed development based on documents provided on Lake Macquarie Council’s (LMCC’s) application tracking website.  Community comments posted on this webpage and Facebook page are welcome and will be included in the CPPA’s formal submission. 

DA 410/2016 proposes to consolidate three existing lots to provide dual frontage from 2 Brighton Avenue to 131-133 Excelsior Parade covering 7,700m2 on the south-eastern edge of the medium density zone. Twenty (20) two-storey, 3 bedroom dwellings would be constructed with ingress from Exelsior Parade and egress from Brighton Avenue.

To accommodate this development 215 of the 218 existing trees on the block (i.e. 99%) would be removed. These 218 trees currently form the highly visible, vegetated ridgeline above Ambrose Street, Carey Bay. The site is very visible from the Carey Bay Shopping Village, Aged Care facility and the surrounding hills of the Carey Bay catchment and adjacent streets, from the water and as far away as Belmont and Eleebana. The tree-lined ridge provides a movement corridor for bird life from the Carey Bay wetlands to the lake foreshore.

The almost total loss of tree cover would be devastating for visual impact, contrary to the developer’s claim that ‘visual impact will be acceptable’ (moderate to minor impact). LMCC’s Scenic Management Guidelines define ‘devastating’ as any development becoming ‘the dominant feature of the landscape to which other elements become subordinate and significantly affects and changes the character of the community’.

The lots proposed for development are at the most eastern boundary of the medium density residential zone (R3) and Toronto Scenic Management zone 5, adjacent to the the low density (R2) residential zoning of Carey Bay and the Scenic management zone 5 of Coal Point. We therefore argue consideration should be given to a transition zone between LMCC’s Scenic Management Zones 3 (Coal Point), and 5 (Toronto) and the medium and low density residential zones.

Indeed, we argue that this location could be seen as closer to Carey Bay/Coal Point than Toronto in both biophysical and social characteristics. Although this site is not on a major ridgeline, it is a high visibility ridgeline. The site is not characteristic of the retail/business/residential mix designed for the Toronto scenic zone 5 which aims for active street frontages and development appropriate for town centres.

Therefore, we urge consideration should also be given to the Zone 3 Scenic guidelines which state:

  • The height of building and structures does not extend above the physical ridgeline, not the tree-line 
  • Existing ridgeline vegetation which provides a dominant backdrop to views from the lake is retained. 
Even under Scenic Zone 5 guidelines it is stated that buildings should be of a scale that does not dominate views from the lake nor breach the tree-line of surrounding ridgelines. 

The proposed development has seven (7) dwellings extending above the physical ridgeline , 99% of the trees have been earmarked for removal, and limited consideration has been given to design the development to minimize vegetation clearance. The scale and context of the development is excessive for the site and the community in which it is situated.

In addition, qualities specific to the desired future character of Zone 3 include protecting key landscape elements including native vegetation, achieving a balance between built form and the natural landscape and providing ‘green breaks’ between areas of development. The proposed development shows scant regard for the existing vegetation. The density, scale and spacing of the development is inconsistent with the existing character of the bushland suburb community. There is virtually no balance between the proposed built form and the natural landscape. Hard surfaces will cover the majority of the site.

DA 410/2016’s Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) claims the vegetation has ‘nominal habitat value’ yet identifies hollow-bearing trees, 10 bird species, an amphibian and the Little Bentwing Bat (a vulnerable species) as being present on the site. From local bird surveys that have been undertaken, the Carey Bay Wetlands is known to have more bird species that anywhere else on the Coal Point peninsula.

The arborist’s report on the proposed development identified 15 trees of high retention value, including two with habitat values and one with numerous cavities providing nesting opportunities. The arborist’s report also stated that the development’s encroachment on the root zone of one of only four (4) ‘retained’ trees, plus the removal of the surrounding trees, may destabilize the retained tree in the long term. DA 410/2016 ignores the advice of their arborist.

Vehicle access to the site is proposed to be one-way ingress from Excelsior Parade, one-way egress onto Brighton Ave and with 130 car movements a day projected. The Brighton Ave exit is a narrow, elevated service road with a difficult turn and with short sight lines from the Ambrose street corner. All residents in the proposed development would be subjected to all car movements within a few metres of their dwellings via the one-way meandering road. There has been no provision made to support pedestrian journeys to local shopping centres or Toronto by installing community footpaths.

The proposed development’s SEE states ‘No building exceeds the 10m height control. There are no significant impacts on the streetscape and the amenity and visual impact in considered acceptable’. The visual impact on privacy of the adjacent neighbours or the pre-school that is under construction is said to be minor or negligible, yet all adjacent neighbours will have their privacy compromised. The proposed side setbacks for many of the dwellings will compromise a reasonable level of privacy for adjoining neighbours, especially those on on Ambrose St and Brighton Ave.

Solar access is compromised, with four of the 20 proposed dwellings receiving less than 3hr of sunlight, which does not comply with the Development Control Standards. There is no discussion of the impact on the preschool which is under construction. The proposal makes no provision for community space and yet purports to be for family living. All public space is compromised by the vehicle access.

This proposal compromises core elements of the vision of the Lake Macquarie Strategic Lifestyle 2030 document, which has a vision for the city where the environment is protected and enhanced and where the scenic, ecological, recreational, and commercial values and opportunities of the Lake and coastline are promoted and protected. Strategic direction 1:13 states the ‘scenic natural beauty of the City is maintained and enhanced, and buildings or structures visible from the Lake and coast …exhibit high quality design sympathetic to their setting.’

We acknowledge that multi-dwelling housing is permissible in the R3 Medium Density zone however DA 410/2016 is not meeting the objective of ‘maintain and enhance the residential amenity and character of the surrounding area’. On the contrary it detracts from the residential amenity of the existing residents and alters the character of the surrounding area.

The increasing development pressure for medium density housing over consolidated landholdings should provide an opportunity to construct development that is in character with and retains the values of the existing area. DA 410/2106 states the block as being too narrow to retain the trees. We suggest that a more appropriately scaled development is the solution.

It is imperative that the community state their expectations regarding this and other proposed or planned developments between Jarrett and Ambrose Streets that will span the ridge between Brighton Avenue and Excelsior Parade. If accepted, this proposed development will set a precedent for significant loss of local tree cover, visual (scenic) amenity and community character.

The CPPA has sought and received an extension for the comment period to allow for community discussion and comments. Submissions are due on 26th April, close of business.

The CPPA monthly meeting on April 11 4-6pm will focus on discussing and compiling community concerns.

The Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group meeting on Wednesday 13th April at 5pm will have Councilor Kay Fraser present to hear community concerns.

A sample letter summarizing the points above is available here to assist you in making a submission.

Submissions should be submitted by 26/4/16 and emailed to or  addressed to

General Manager
Lake Macquarie City Council
Box 1906

Re: DA 410/2016-2 Brighton Avenue: Demolition of Existing Dwellings, Lot consolidation, Construction of 20 Multi Dwelling Housing & Associated Infrastructure and Services. 

A pyric epic …Come on baby light my fire

The Doors mightn’t have been thinking about asset protection when they wrote their very famous song but somehow it seems very relevant to the Hazard Reduction Burn planned for the reserve off Stansfield Close.
The time to hesitate is through…
The long awaited burn may happen in the next month, possibly even next week depending on the rain.
No time to wallow in the mire….
We’ve been trying to dry out the moist weed infested gullies so that optimum burn temperatures can be reached for ignition. The large woody weeds have been treated and felled.
Try now we can only lose…
Additional hands from LMCC’s Landcare Bush Regenerators & the Fire Mitigation team as well as Trees In Newcastle’s bush regenerators and volunteers have been helping Coal Point landcarers prepare the burn area by cutting a containment line, refreshing the Asset Protection Zone and treating weeds to make sure we do all we can for a good environmental burn.
And our love become a funeral pyre…
Our much loved bushland will arise from a seedbank that needs heat to geminate whilst the asparagus fern will burn and hopefully be pyrically thwarted.
Come on baby light my fire…
The RFS and Fire & Rescue advise there are a few things that you might want to do if you start smelling smoke in the air.
As the prescribed burn will generate smoke, hot embers and heat, it is important that you consider undertaking the following actions:

  • Keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke entering buildings
  • Cover outdoor furniture to prevent ember damage
  • Retract plastic or synthetic pool covers to prevent ember damage
  • Remove washing from clothes lines
  • Ensure any outdoor pets have a sheltered area
  • If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities
  • If smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice
  • If you are driving a vehicle, slow down, keep windows up and turn headlights on

It is normal for smoke to be visible up to 24 hours after the prescribed burn

For your safety, neighbours adjoining the area are requested to remain away from, and not enter the burnt ground to aid post-fire restoration.

Homes and habitat

As the smoke wafts through the air 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 can provide an answer. 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. 

A local resource 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. 

A visit to the demonstration garden at the Toronto Fire Station is also inspirational to view the Fire Retardant Garden.

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. These listing were from the period 1/02/16 to 31/3/16
  • 23 Robey Road: Dwelling Alterations and Additions and Garden Wall. Approved
  • 7 Grant Road: Garden Shed: Awaiting DA Determination
  • 21 Grant Road Dwelling Alterations and addition – Approved
  • 11 Killara Close: Slipway: Application lodged
  • 43 Coal Point Road: Dwelling House. Application lodged
  • 215 Coal Point Road: Alterations and Additions – shed. Under Assessment
  • 365 Coal Point Road: Remove One (1) Tree: Refused
  • 108 Coal Point Road: Swimming Pool Compliance. Awaiting Allocation
  • 5 Lorron Close: One (1) Into Two (2) Lot Subdivision: Under Assessment
  • 14B Whitelocke Street: Dwelling House. Approved
  • 81 Skye Point Road: Remove Twenty Two (22) Trees: Withdrawn
  • 106 Skye Point Road: Dwelling Alterations & Additions &Pool with Associated Safety Barriers. Under Assessment
  • 206 Skye Point Road: Alterations & Additions to Existing Deck. Approved
  • 20 Jarrett Street: Dwelling Additions & Swimming Pool with Associated Safety Barriers. Scanning of Application Documents
  • 6 Wyera Crescent .Dwelling Additions & Alterations. Approved
  • 8 Wyera Crescent: Carport.: Under Assessment
  • 6 Jonquil Close: Swimming Pool:Awaiting Allocation
  • 10 Jonquil Close: Dwelling House. Approved
  • 53 Excelsior Parade: Alterations and Additions - Garage and Carport. On Notification/Advertising
  • 49 Excelsior Parade: Dwelling Additions and Alterations. Awaiting Information Requested
  • 12 Laycock Street: Removal of four dangerously large trees. Refused
  • 17 Brighton Avenue: Dwelling Additions, Alterations and Detached Garage: Under Assessment
  • 25A Brighton Avenue Alterations and Additions to Dwelling House.: Under Assessment
  • 57 Brighton Avenue: Dwelling Additions, Alterations and Deck: Scanning of Application Documents
  • 2 Brighton Avenue: Demolition of Existing Dwellings, Lot consolidation, Construction of 20 Multi Dwelling Housing & Associated Infrastructure and Services. Under Assessment.