Saturday, 30 December 2017

DA UpDAte - 151-155 Brighton Ave

 Amended DA 1835/2016

An early Christmas present arrived on 11/12/17, notification of the amended application DA1835/2016 for the waterfront development on the Hirecraft Marina site, with a due date of 2nd January. 

Thankfully the CPPA request for a one month extension was vigorously pursued by Clr Wendy Harrison and now a more reasonable submission due date of 30/1/18 has been granted.

Local residents, the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group and CPPA have reviewed the amended plans and believe it is still too big, too bulky, does not meet the zoning intentions and is out of character with the area. Additionally it sets a very dangerous precedent of 4 storeys on the waterfront and denies the opportunity for an expanded Edward Gain Park.

The documents relating to the DA can be viewed on LMCC's Application Tracking Website.

The details of the concerns are 

This is a once in our lifetime opportunity to express our desire for this parcel of land to be considered as an extension of Edward Gain Park, LMCC has both a plan and a budget allocated...all that is need is a strong community will.

The objection to DA 1835/2016, 37 residential units and mixed use development is on the following grounds:


The proposed development is adjacent to the foreshore at the extremity of the Toronto business area surrounded by low-medium density residences where foreshore building heights are 1- 2 storey single dwellings. This development is out of context with the foreshore development in Toronto and more broadly across the City. It sets a dangerous precedent for 4-storeys directly on the foreshore. The building height limits need to be strongly enforced at this waterfront location.

Increased urban density on the site can be achieved with 2-storeys that complement the existing neighbourhood, comply with the Town Centre Structure guidelines and fulfills all the ambitions of increasing density around the town centre without compromising the existing character.


The scale of this development is excessive for the site. A 2-storey proposal would provide for considerable residential intensification, as part of the Business Zoning, on this consolidated land holding. The proposed 3-4 storeys will overlook and overshadow the children’s playground and compromise the quietude that this public spaces provides.

Considering the size of the landholding available the DCP guidelines for setbacks and breaking of built form by having 4 buildings should be maintained and enforced. Enforcing the recommended setbacks would allow for landscaping to soften the bulk and scale of the building mass.

The 4-storey architectural element that exceeds the height limit and provides a ’strong corner element’ is a grandiose statement that compromises adjacent resident’s visual amenity. The strong corner element can be clearly stated by a massive 2-storey structure adjacent to residences. The visual combination of this proposal and 94-96 Brighton Ave provide definition to the town centre limits.


Within the Toronto area, increased density has been exclusively NOT on the foreshore. The dual frontage and foreshore access allows for a more community compatible design. Whilst the proposed development may have access to sunlight and ventilation, adjacent neighbours to the east will be overshadowed and have their privacy compromised, along with the public playground, Edward Gain Park.


The proposed development contains minimal landscaping with the majority of the landscaping and recreation benefits being achieved due to proximity of Edward Gain & Goffet Parks. The communal lawn area will serve an aesthetic function and soften the ground level foreshore but it is unclear how the public/private space relationship will be achieved.

The visual impact for residents in proximity to the proposed development is significant. Whilst it is acknowledge the streetscaping will improve the overall visual amenity, there is a loss of visual quality. Additionally the building dominates the outlook from public reserves and obscure a significant easterly view of the lake from the public spaces. Greater consideration needs to be given to reducing the bulk and transitioning the scale from the adjacent 2 storey residences.

The site is adjacent to parkland on the west and currently has large and established trees on the eastern boundary, opportunities to retain existing vegetation as a buffer and large tree planting to support transitional elements and reduce the visual impact should be considered.


This B2 zoning is isolated from the Town Centre, having parkland between it and any other business and being located on the foreshore. The site has more in common with the low density residential zoning and as proposed is not in character with surrounding area.

The intent of B2 land zoning definitions do not reflect the intent of the proposed development. The B2- Local Centre zone aims to provide a range of retail, business, entertainment and community uses, encourage employment, maximise public transport, encourage walking and cycling, create spaces with a community focus and provide housing as part of mixed use developments, all products of primarily commercial/business enterprises.

The three commercial tenancies proposed in this primarily residential development is not in the spirit of the B2 zoning. The construction of a Residential Flat Building within the B2 zone is prohibited under the LEP in the B2 zone. The retail, business and community objectives of the B2 zone are not being met by this proposal. To the contrary the development will be utilizing the public reserves for amenity and public parking for overflow without contributing any of the desired objectives of the B2 zoning.


It is appreciated that public access to the foreshore will be improved however the bulk, scale and size of the development will impact on the amenity of the coastal foreshore from Edward Gain and Goffet Parks, public places.


In a climate changing world efforts to optimise energy efficiency and water reuse through innovative design to need be more thoroughly implemented in this proposal. This proposal has an average National House Energy Rating of 5, which is below the recommended 6 for apartments, with poor performance of 20 units below 5. This design does not support the Lake Mac 2050 recognition that climate change will have a real impact on the city.


The Toronto Recreational Land Plan identified the area as a major park expansion and playground extension, it would more than double the existing playground area. The outcomes of this planning document have been finalised and a budget allocated for the land purchase and park expansion.

It is the intent of LMCC to have this area as a community asset and this is worthy of consideration to achieve significant community outcomes in an area set to accommodate considerable population growth. This opportunity will be forfeited if a building is constructed on the site, denying the growing population of a significant recreational asset.

Please make a submission to Council you can write your own letter or use the information 

Friday, 1 December 2017

It’s been an amazing year

On behalf of the Coal Point Progress Association and
Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group
we wish you all a safe, happy, family-fun-filled festive season and a magnificent and peaceful New Year full of hope and fulfilment!

Looking forward to 2018

Art and Craft Show returns

Can you believe that it has been six years since the last Art and Craft show at our Hall? It was also the official launch of the six year $250,000 Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula (TSLS) project which will be wrapping up in the same way, with an Art and Craft show on the weekend of 29th June-1st July 2018. This rather special community event not only showcases the local artistic talent but it is a fantastic community gathering, definitely a date for the diary!

Mega-Mural on Hunter Water Reservoir

During 1st Term 2018 local youth artists will benefit from the TSLS project with the Hunter Water Reservoir on Whitelocke Street getting a mega-mural makeover by Toronto High School Students, local primary students, local street artists and the community. This showcase of youth talent will transform the graffiti-plagued water tank into a celebration of the local flora and fauna.
  • Graffiti Dan will be providing the professional support, mentoring and guiding the artistic endeavours. 
  • Origin Energy, the TSLS project, Toronto Lions, Lioness and Sustainable Neighbourhood groups have all offered financial support to make it happen. 
  • The mega-mural will culminate in a Youth Week (13-22 Apr) public event with BBQ and a celebration of the completed mural…another date for the diary.

Bush Regeneration

Other project activities that are already underway include 8 days of professional bush regeneration support, four of these at Stansfield Reserve following up from the burn (incl. Nov 29-30) and four days in the narrow reserve that links Laycock Street to Hampton Street, (incl. Dec 13-14). The link reserve will also be the location of the National Tree Day community planting in April-May.

Membership Form Complete, Detach Page & Return

The Coal Point Progress Association sincerely thanks the community for their ongoing
support. The membership form can be downloaded.

The membership fees for 2018 have been kept at $8/individual and $13/family.

The Coal Point Progress Association’s objectives are:
  • To enhance the natural environment of the Coal Point peninsula and surrounding areas by protecting, preserving and regenerating habitat for indigenous flora and fauna.
  • To advance social welfare, community spirit and sustainability in the area through community education and engagement.

The membership form includes an option to join the local Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) for $2 per adult

The TASNG’s webpage outlines the projects and structure of the Group.

The TASNG has a broader geography, encompassing Toronto, Kilaben Bay as well as Carey Bay and Coal Point and all of their objectives complement that of the Coal Point Progress Association.

TASNG’s vision is to be proud of our neighbourhood, maintain and improve access to natural beauty and cultural heritage, promote sustainable growth and tourism and foster a community of environmentally and active citizens.

The CPPA Committee hopes that you will join us in 2018 in what is shaping up to be another exciting year for the community and the environment.

Why join the CPPA?

The CPPA has been a part of the local community since 1946 and built the Hall in 1951. We like to think we’ve made a difference in our area.

The more members we have the more representative we are of our community. Membership doesn’t mean you have to actively volunteer, although that’s always nice, it does mean you support what we do. It’s a way of giving your community organisation a bit of a pat on the back for a job well done.

Why join Now?

The CPPA year aligns with the calendar year and so we not only get to celebrate the festive season but we also invite one and all to support our efforts for the coming year.

This year we have streamlined the membership process. The membership form is either your renewal form or a chance to join up for the first time. We are hoping that by providing four different ways to get the form and membership fee to us we can avoid calling on our volunteers to hand deliver renewal notices. 

What does the CPPA do?

Our community has some unique assets being a peninsula with a green corridor that supports abundant birdlife and flora. Over the past few years we’ve seen increasing pressures on our community assets. The CPPA advocates and acts for the protection, preservation of the bushland qualities and supports a sustainable community driven lifestyle that locals who live here enjoy and value.

  • We keep an eye on Development Applications that may impact on the broader community and support residents to understand the DA process.
  • We apply for (and regularly get) funding to undertake community projects, with over $320,000 of successful grants gained in the past 20 years.
  • We own and maintain the Progress Hall, to provide a space where locals can gather and enjoy activities like yoga and taekwondo or celebrate events such as parties and science week. 
  • We landcare weekly on the multiple reserves along the Coal Point peninsula, protecting habitat for threatened species and amazing our flora and fauna, and reducing the weed threat to bushland neighbour’s yards.
  • We provide a community communication conduit via the Chronicle, website and facebook page.
  • We collaborate closely with the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group on projects to achieve broader sustainable goals in minimising and controlling waste and improving pedestrian-cycling infrastructure. 
  • We make submissions to all levels of government on issues that affect our community such as the Lake Mac Boat Storage Strategy and Short Term Holiday Rentals Options paper.

So why not share some community spirit this festive season and join up. The Progress Association team would love to have your support.

Members Morning Tea

In 2018 we’ll be hosting a members morning tea on Saturday 10th Feb from 8:30-12:30 at our hall where you can drop in and

  • join up or renew your membership 
  • share morning tea 
  • pick up some information on native plants and local weeds 
  • get a free banksia for your garden 
  • chat about local projects 
  • watch ‘Guarding the Galilee’ to understand the Adani issue 
  • meet the Committee. 

The Coal Point Chronicle-opt out option

There will be no January Chronicle as the CPPA team have a well-earned rest over Summer. The Chronicle is hand delivered by volunteers to 1500 local letterboxes. We do not consider it junk mail or advertising material but a community communication tool. We do respect your decision to refuse the newsletter though. Please advise us if you don’t want to receive one in your letterbox.

Christmas Bells + Kitty = Joy to the World

Roughly half of Australia’s cats are pets, and they also take a considerable toll on wildlife. Cat’s kill more than one million birds every day across Australia, roughly 3-4% of our birds each year.

While recognising the many benefits of pet ownership, we also need to work to reduce the detrimental impacts. Fortunately, there is increasing public awareness of the benefits of not letting pet cats roam freely. These include cats less likely to run away, get into fights or get injured and reduced territorial behaviour such as spraying or looking for

a mate.

By being responsible pet owners and using predator-deterrent tools such as such as bells and collars, cat owners can help to look after the birds in their own and neighbours backyards and local bushland, and hence contribute to conserving Australia’s unique wildlife.

The Progress Association has a remote camera that is easy to use and available for loan to members to photograph which animals are visiting your backyard. You may find some neighbourly possums or your neighbour’s cats. The first loan yielded some interesting images. “ I’ve spent 25 years creating habitat for the local wildlife in my backyard so it was great to see the possums at my place but really distressing to see the cats, one of which visits several times every day and night. The camera was really helpful in explaining the mystery growls, cat fights and death squeals ”

The images may help to identify a nuisance cat which is defined as one that
  • makes persistent noise that occurs or continues to such a degree that it interferes with the peace and comfort of any person in any other premises 
  • repeatedly damages property of others. 
If a nuisance cat affects you, Lake Mac recommends the following actions:
  • talk to the neighbour, they may not realise their angel is creating a bother 
  • drop them a polite letter if you can’t have a conversation 
  • contact the Community Justice Centre to get mediation 
  • apply for a nuisance order 

More information on LakeMac’s web

Beyond Plastic Pollution

Nico Marcar and Steve Dewer from TASNG provide the following report from the recently attended 3-day Beyond Plastic Pollution conference. The event was organised by the Boomerang Alliance and focused on the impacts of plastic on the marine environment.

Around 6 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic pollution enter oceans annually worldwide, with small and micro plastics being an increasing concern.

One trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide and used for an average of 12 minutes each.

The key to marine health is to reduce entry of plastics into rivers, creeks and lakes (and reducing the amount of stormwater as well).

Behavioural change is needed, especially in lower socio-economic areas, to cut down on plastic litter. Some councils have banned balloon events, others plastic utensils, etc. This pollution is very obvious with the increasing number of severe storm events. There are an increasing number of organised clean up actions and educational events targeting tourists, cafes, markets and fetes.

One Perth company, UST, is implementing a basket system for regular collection of plastics from stormwater drains called Catch Basin Insert. Along with the plastics the company found that blocked drains are a breeding ground for mosquitoes!

Scientists around the world are working with various groups (e.g. Globelet, Tangaroa Blue) and citizens to assess the extent and distribution of pollution. Governments are working on policy via UN forums.

A key focus throughout the conference was on the Circular Economy and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which may take the form of a reuse, buy-back, or recycling program. Examples of recycled products include plastic pallets, plastic-bitumen materials for road making, biodegradable plastic made from cassava, seaweed and palm oil (Indonesia), use recycled plastics to make new products (e.g. clothes/fabrics (e.g. Waste2Wear), shopping bags (e.g. Onya), computer cases (Dell) and sculptures.

New recycling initiatives being investigated in Australia include child car seats, solar panels, textiles, building materials, energy storage materials, automotive recycling.

DAs in Play

Have you missed pursuing the active DAs? 
Here is an abridged list of local activity from 1/10/17 to 30/11/17. It has been compiled to support community understanding of DAs in our area.
Please consult  Lake Macquarie City Council’s Application Tracking system for details and a complete listing.

Some of the larger DAs at the moments are
  • 25-27 Kilaben Road: Construction of kerb & Guttering, associated stormwater construction and tree removal: Awaiting information requested 
  • 20 Laycock Street: Multi Dwelling Housing (22 units): Under Assessment.
Other local DAs are
  • 128 Coal Point Road: Alterations and Additions and Retaining Walls: Approved
  • 133 Coal Point Road: Proposed Recreation Structure, Slipway removal of existing rails , Approval of existing wall: Lodged 
  • 49 Excelsior Parade: Dwelling Additions and Alterations - Amendment: Approved 
  • 20 Laycock Street: Multi Dwelling Housing (22 units): Under Assessment 
  • 264 Skye Point Road: Tiled Deck & Timber Screening: Approved 
  • 31 Grant Road: Garage Extension: Under Assessment 
  • 31 Hampton Street: Dwelling House and Secondary Dwelling: On Notification/Advertising 
  • 94 Excelsior Parade: Recreation Facility (Indoor Gymnasium): On Notification/Advertising 
  • 58 Kilaben Road: Dwelling House and Demolition of Existing: Under Assessment  
  • 41 Lake View Road: Dwelling: New Application Under Assessment 
  • 14/17 Laycock Street: Community Facility - Modify Consent: Scanning of Application Documents 
  • 18 Puntee Street: Patios: Approved 
  • 21 Puntee Street: Dwelling House - Alterations & Additions: Scanning of Application Documents 
  • 41 Ridge Road: Demolition and Dwelling House: Under Assessment 
  • 76 Skye Point Road: Dwelling House - Alterations & Additions and detached Garage: Check New Application 
  • 114 Ridge Road: Garage addition, Ensuite, Deck and Plunge Pool: Approved 
  • 172 Skye Point Road: Patio Cover:Under Assessment 
  • 202 Skye Point: Alterations and Additions to Existing Boat Shed: On Notification/Advertising 
  • 264 Skye Point Road: Tiled Deck & Timber Screening: Approved 
  • 29 Whitelocke Street: Secondary Dwelling & Retaining Wall: Approved

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Magpie Mass Murderer in our Midst

On the 9th October, 21 magpies were found on and around the perimeter of Coal Point School and Rofe Street. The EPA was advised and autopsied a bird. A Facebook post reaching 13,213 people highlighted the considerable community distress this caused.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is asking for the community’s help to catch a suspected bird killer after recent reports of 21 Magpie deaths at Coal Point. A local consortium is putting up a $5000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

Laboratory analysis of one of the dead birds by the EPA has shown high concentrations of pesticides including Fenamiphos and Fenthion, both of which are not readily available to the public.

The EPA has warned residents of Coal Point to keep a close eye on their pets. The EPA knows people have used food in the past to lure and kill birds. Please make sure your pets do not eat anything foreign when on their daily walks.

If you see anyone disposing of food or chemicals near open spaces such as ovals or parks, please call the 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555

It is an offence under the EPA’s legislation to use pesticides in a manner that harms non-target animals. The maximum penalties for this are $120,000 for an individual. It is also an offence to cause danger or harm to an animal by littering and maximum penalties are $3,300.

Crowding out Carey Bay or a Sustainable Settlement for the future

A development application(1865/2017) for 22 dwellings at Carey Bay, behind the Carey Bay Preschool landlocked by Laycock and Amelia Streets, is on display for community consultation with comments due by 10/11/17…next week!

A similar proposal was put forward in 2013 and withdrawn. Since that time the number of trees and canopy cover has been reduced by half as Planning for Bushfire Protection, making what was a reasonable vegetation corridor less viable for permanent habitat but still useful for foraging for local wildlife.

The proposed development has taken into consideration some the issues that had been raised previously and is now proposing 11 three-storey, two 2-storey and 9 single storey dwellings.

The application states “it is a development that provides a mix of housing types that allows families and individuals requiring smaller housing to reflect their individual circumstance, to relocate within their community and remain close to family, friends and employment. This increases social and community cohesion”.

If you have lived in the Coal Point-Carey Bay area in the bushland setting that dominates

these suburbs would you live here?

A community meeting of concerned residents identified the following issues:

  • Privacy of adjacent preschool, neighbours and aged care is compromised by elevated dwellings overlooking backyards with minimal setbacks of 1-1.74m in places on the northern boundary.
  • The bulk, scale and size of the design is out of context with the single storey residential bushland community aesthetic in the area. There is little effort made to protect the existing vegetation and maintain the density, scale and spacing of the existing community character. The low-rise residential-bushland character, which makes the area desirable, is being used as a selling point, yet the development does little to retain these values.
  • The proposed 3-storey units will set a precedent within the medium density zoning that will compromise the community character of the neighbourhood.
  • There is an absence of any communal space to support the children of new families to play in safety, or the gathering of the residents in communal activities.
  • Of the 72 trees originally on the site only 8 are to proposed be retained, 7 on the southern border to provide a foraging corridor and one on the northern boundary. The majority of the bushland aesthetic is being gained from the adjacent neighbour’s yards and landscaping.
  • The potential for denning and breeding habitat of the Squirrel glider, a threatened species, is discounted.
  • The landscaping design is ambitious and will not achieve the desired balance of built and vegetation form, especially on the northern boundary due to the landscaped area being only 1-2m wide. The heavily redacted landscape plans make it very difficult to assess the overall landscaping design.
  • There are concerns for the health of adjacent neighbours trees and shrubs’ root zone being impacted upon by the installation of the stormwater pipe that circumnavigates the site, less that 1m from the boundary in places.
  • Concern for the capacity of the existing stormwater pipe to cope with the runoff generated by the predominantly hard surfaces and how the subsurface flow from the natural catchment and shallow groundwater in the central gully will be able to exit the site. There were three different site sizes quoted within the documentation ranging from 7387m2 in the vegetation plan to 5958m in the stormwater plan, along with references to 6145m2 and 6257m2.
  • Oversupply of car parking spaces at the expense of landscaping or trees that could be retained, 38.5 required and yet 45 provided.
  • The overstated benefit to the local businesses at the Carey Bay Shopping village as 8 of the identified business beneficiaries are no longer operating.
  • The short-term impacts on neighbours, particularly the preschool, during construction has the potential to be deeply distressing to young people and compromise the quality service and safety currently being offered.
  • The long-term impacts of increased traffic on the access road will compromise the safety and peaceful environment in which the preschool currently operates, the increased traffic entering and exiting the site onto Laycock street is an additional safety hazard for children arriving at and leaving the centre. 
  • The proposal states “it is unlikely to be significantly impacted by rising temperatures causing a greater risk of bushfire given the distance the site is from the nearest bushfire hazard”, however half of the vegetation has been removed from the site in the name of protection from bushfire
  • The Nationwide House Energy Rating indicates 15 of the 22 units will have below 5 energy ratings, with four dwellings having rating of 6. This is an inadequate response to rising temperatures and the associated heating and cooling costs associated with climate change. Retaining mature vegetation provides immediate shade and is insurance against extreme heat.
It is acknowledged that the development
  • Aims to retain a foraging corridor and provide three nest boxes, along with a landscaping plan that includes foraging foods for local fauna. 
  • Has proposed a bio filtration system to address nutrient laden runoff.
  • In the concluding paragraph of the proponents Statement of Environmental Effects it is stated that the development can be carried out … without acceptable impacts upon the natural environment. 
It is agreed that there are unacceptable impacts on the natural environment and for this reason and others stated above these concept plans are unacceptable as a desired future for the Carey Bay community.

There is the potential for the land at Carey Bay to be inspirational living that raises the bar on sustainability and aspires to the 2050 vision that council is professing.

It is Council’s duty to ensure their vision is realised and the development application reflects that vision.

If you would like to support a better outcome please consider making a submission on DA1865/2017 in the next week to LMCC, Box 1906, HRMC NSW 2310, There is a letter available on the CPPA website, or use the Chronicle content above, the due date is 10/11/17, next Friday.

Dare to dream a new concept for the Carey Bay site?

The Carey Bay site offers an opportunity to implement best practice sustainable housing and demonstrate the 2050 visions for the city that LMCC is espousing.

It has the perfect location to provide a sustainably established community but to do this there needs to be common space for people to gather such as a meeting room or communal shed, or a community garden where neighbours can interact.

Houses designed for optimal energy efficiency to combat a changing climate, consideration for renewable energy generation and storage on site, a resilient internal energy network with energy sharing.

At what point will we as a community start to do things differently. We will not fix the bigger problems of climate change facing us all by doing the same things, the same way only bigger.

If you would like to explore a more sustainable concept plan for the land at Carey Bay please get in touch with the CPPA to arrange a time to meet and talk further. The future is what we make it.

Neighbours Noticing Nature

Local bird enthusiast Graham shared his nestbox success story…

“I made a nestbox for the Eastern Rosellas, it was a bit special ‘cause I put it on a steel pole so the rats, cats and possums couldn’t get into it. The first year…nothing, the second year the mum fledged 5 out of 6, one left dead in the box. This year there are six birds that are half fledged as at 12/10/17.

The Noisy Miners make it hard for the parents though, whenever they come back to the nest to feed the young, they’re at ‘em, not just one but the whole mob.”

Landcare legend Robyn Gill has been keeping an eye of the flock of 7 wood ducklings
off Wippi Reserve.

“Mum and Dad are still in charge but the fledgelings are not swimming in a straight line anymore (rebellion?) & Dad is keeping an overview. We've only seen up to 5 ducklings survive to fledge before and usually rapidly dwindling to 2 or 1. I hope this year's success is a good sign about fewer predators”.

A local who backs on to the West Ridge made these observations on 6/10/17

“we have a few nests in my back yard – I spotted 4 possums on Friday night (2 together and 2 single ones in opposite corners of the garden!). I have also heard the odd baby ring tail call in the evening (around 9.30pm) and very early morning (I dropped my husband at the train at 5.40 this morning!) but I haven’t found them yet. To be honest, I wasn’t going to look too hard as I don’t want to frighten them, but it would still be good to know where the little ones are in case there are predators around. Thankfully, one of the neighbours’ intrepid cats passed away a few months ago, but my night cam picked up another cat that I had not seen before, together with a neat track of paw prints right over the full length of my car!.

Would you like a nestbox? The CPPA will be putting in a bulk order for a variety of wildlife nestboxes to be built in the new year. Email or ring advising what wildlife you’d like to share your backyard with.

Spring Bird Survey

Whilst the magpies were dropping off their perch Tom Clarke was conducting the Spring Bird Survey for the Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project. The full report is available on the website. Here are the survey highlights.

The discovery of a relocated ‘new’ bower along the riparian zone of Puntei Creek at Carey Bay Wetlands (CBW) proving how resilient the Satin Bowerbird is. It has found refuge within a tangle of exotic plants upstream of its previous location. The new bower is well built and adorned with all the usual pretty bits of plastic.

The sighting of a Blue-faced Honeyeater at CBW was just as fleeting as it was rare in these parts. It is likely that this bird is found more often in the various gardens of the residential environment nearby.

The unmistakable calling of a Rufous Whistler along the West Ridge resulted in another species new to the project list. This is a common summer migrant to the Hunter where it can be found breeding in all types of dry woodlands and forests.

Other Summer visitors common to Coal Point have turned up of course, most notably Eastern Koel and Dollarbird. Interestingly those wonderfully primeval cries of the Channel-billed Cuckoo were not heard at all.

The air was filled with exuberant noise at Threlkeld Reserve with the raucous Sulphur-crested cockatoos have returned along with the Dollarbirds.

Friendship Foreshore Picnic

Enjoy a friendly start to the weekend by getting to know your neighbours and local community members.

The first of these friendly affairs is a spring Community Picnic being held from 5.30pm onwards on Friday 10th November. Meet at Toronto Rotunda on the Foreshore.

Bring your own food, drinks, seating and games to share. Bring your guitar or your knitting needles or dust off the cricket set. Enjoy a friendly start to the weekend by getting to know your neighbours and local community members. A family-friendly event. All welcome, supported by TASNG and CPPA.

DA Update- Hirecraft Marina site

DA/1835/2016 for a Mixed Use Development at Brighton Avenue / Wharf Street, Toronto.

A SEPP 65 Urban Design Review Panel meeting was held on 13 September 2017 and made the following recommendations.

The site is an important and significant one in the township of Toronto and beyond, and is visible both within the heritage context of the township, and more broadly from many locations on and around the Lake. It represents the most easterly extent of commercial development within the town centre, and offers an outstanding ongoing opportunity to contribute to the vitality and economic viability of the area. As such, it is considered important that the Wharf Road ground level be an activated commercial frontage.

The Panel suggests that in Council’s future planning for this locality, consideration might be given to public domain improvements to Wharf Road and Edward Gain Park that better integrate the main village centre with this ‘dislocated’ part of the business zone and to the adjoining waterfront and marina.

The Analysis provided by the applicant is of assistance in considering the proposed heights of the development, and in identifying the strategy of separating Building A from the eastern Buildings B and C, in order to share views and reduce visual bulk. This strategy is supported, but its execution needs reinforcing substantially via a greater separation between the forms as outlined above. Likewise, greater physical separation and usefully-scaled deep-soil landscaping is required to assist in the interface between the residential dwellings to the east and the subject Business-zoned site.

The Panel considered principally the siting and massing of the buildings. It did not provide specific comment on the architecture. Subject to the comments above the scheme should be further developed. This should include levels of the adjoining residential zoned lands and cross sections showing built form relationship and separation and a broader setback analysis.

LakeMac Parking Strategy

Did you know?
  • Walking and cycling to local shops is good for business and the local economy and is essential to the success of revitalisation strategies. 
  • Space allocated to bicycle parking can produce much higher levels of retail spend than the same space devoted to car parking. 
  • LakeMac is one of the most car-dependent cities in NSW due to the polycentric urban form. 
  • Car ownership in Toronto - 42% own one car, 14% have no car. 
  • Perception of parking difficulty in Toronto was 21% found it easy to park 43% difficult. 
  • Hardest time to find a parking spot is 10am-2pm on Thursday. 
Toronto will be the 3rd centre to have a Transport Management Plan developed that will aim to: 
  • Increase parking space turnover in high demand areas to improve parking availability. 
  • Better distribute demand for parking across the whole centre. 
  • Reduce congestion and the number of cars circling. 
  • Increase the pedestrian environment and connectivity from underutilised parking areas to the main activity areas. 
You can make a submission on LMCC's Draft Parking Strategy whilst it’s on public exhibition until 30/11/17

Monday, 9 October 2017

Hunter Intrepid Landcare visits Coal Point

by Callum Reedman
On Saturday the 23rd of September, Hunter Intrepid Landcare descended on the Coal Point Progress Association, to participate in the event: “Squirrel Glider Surveying and Spotlighting at Coal Point”, within the Ridgeline bush remnants of Coal Point.
The event brought 11 participants from all walks of life along to survey the Squirrel Glider population and replace fallen nest boxes. 
Monitoring was performed by climbing a ladder up to each box and peeping in to the Glider residence, an extremely cute and rewarding experience for us if perhaps a bit scary for the Gliders. 
We looked for the visible signs of habitation, as to whether the boxes contained green leaves, or old nest signs like that of brown/grey leaves, alongside whether animals were inside, and if so, how many. 
For most of the participants, this was the first time Squirrel Gliders had been viewed outside of posters, if at all, and it was certainly an exciting time to view not just 1, but ten of the endangered Squirrel Gliders across multiple next boxes with six occupying just one. Much excitement and photographs abounded. 
We also helped replace fallen boxes, which are needed to extend and replace the tree hollows that are critical habitat for the Squirrel Gliders. The locations of the replaced boxes were logged via GPS and will hopefully become a home to a growing Squirrel Glider population in the near future.
The event ran for approximately 6 hours, culminating in a spotlighting session that night, whereby the group along with local families, sought to see whether we’d be able to catch a glimpse of the Gliders from earlier on. 
While we didn’t find any Gliders, we did spot 3 possums and a Boo-Bok Owl that, with the unique experience of exploring the bush by torchlight and the great company of friends, made for a fun night.
Overall the event was a roaring success, having replaced 2, and checked 9 nesting boxes we found 10 gliders across 3 boxes and 1 box with Rosellas. 

An enormous thanks to the CPPA for inviting Hunter Intrepid Landcare to share the lovely wildlife gems which reside in their suburb’s backyard as part of the Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project and to Chris Mclean for running the spotlighting event along the West  ridge. 

Dig In & Celebrate National Gardening Week 8-14 October 2017

The Inaugural National Gardening Week celebrates the simple joys of gardening and the environmental, social and health benefits it brings. Whether it be maintaining a few pots on a balcony, a suburban or a bushland backyard, the enjoyment, the improved mental and physical wellbeing and the satisfaction gardeners gain from ‘getting their hands dirty’ is universal.
  • Would you like to join a garden club? Toronto and Districts Garden Club Inc meet 3rd Thu 9.30am (Feb-Nov) Contact Doug Treloar 02 4959 1826 
  • Want to get involved with planning the local community garden? Visit the Scout Hall on Excelsior Parade. 
  • Feel like learning about gardening in the bush? Catch up with the landcare crew on Thursday any time from 8:30 till 1pm 
  • Plan your next garden makeover with a locally inspired landscape plan for slopes or to create a fire retardant garden from the resources on the CPPA website
  • Purchase a native plant. They for sale from $4.35 from the Landcare Resource Centre, 80 Toronto Rd, Booragul any Tuesdays, 8am-1pm. 
  • Add another dimension to your garden and create a habitat haven. 
The are some great ideas on the Backyard Buddies website such as
  • Add mulch - to encourage bugs which make great food for birds 
  • Add rocks and logs - to give skinks and frogs somewhere to hide 
  • Add a bird bath - as clean, fresh water will attract many buddies 
  • Add a nest box - to give a great home to a bird or mammal family 
  • Add locally native plants - as this provides excellent food, shelter, and nest sites 
  • Add an understory - to give small birds somewhere to hide in the shrubs and plants that grow under trees but above your groundcovers 
  • Add a frog pond - as frogs will love it, and other buddies will love a drink and a splash 
  • Add a cat run, or keep your cat indoors - to keep your backyard buddies safe 
And you don't have to do it all at once!

Your backyard buddies will appreciate any improvements you make, and it's awesome to watch your backyard evolving over time.

But one thing is for sure - if you build it, they will come.

Sustainable News


The AGM of the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) will be held on Wednesday (11 October) at 5 pm at the HUB (97-99 The Boulevarde, Toronto) and will be followed by the monthly meeting. All welcome!

TASNG would love to welcome new faces who would like to see our beautiful Toronto even more sustainable and thriving. Please let your friends and colleagues know.

If you would like to consider nominating for a committee position, feel free to contact TASNG Secretary (Lois Simpson) on 4959 5863 to find out more information. All positions are open!

Pamper Care Project

The LT Creek Sustainable Neighbourhood Group is working with the Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre to help people in West Lake Macquarie who are homeless or disadvantaged.

The Pamper Care Project collects donations of personal care products for distribution to those who need it most.

Donations can be taken to the drop off basket at the Blackalls Park Pie and Cake Shop.

Catherine Wroe- Wildlife carer

Very sadly, in early September I found one of the powerful owl chicks dead not too far from the water tank. It had been attacked - most likely from a fox... it may have come to ground because it was not well and then got attacked.... we can't be sure... The good news was that I saw both parents and the other young last week, so fingers crossed that this one makes it.

Care to comment on what you want our community to contain?

We live in a very picturesque lakeside community which is beginning to suffer from the increasing impacts of STHL. Our local amenity and the neighbourliness of the place we call home is under threat from non-resident business enterprises.
Unlike city-based STHL where visitors go out to enjoy the surrounding area, our lakeside community is the destination point where the visitors recreate and relax at the venue, bringing in the necessary supplies to lubricate their enjoyment of the area.
The Coal Point-Carey Bay area is a residential zone that has always had a number of onsite host B&Bs that have quietly co-existed amongst the community generating an income stream for the owners and supporting local businesses. This permissible usage in a residential zoning is accepted. 
The rise of online booking systems and investor-owner income streams for absentee hosts is changing the nature of the clientele and the community impacts. Without a host on site the arrangement constitutes a serviced apartment, as such it is not permissible in a residential zone. 
It is incompatible to have tourist-zone impacts in a residential area not designed for such. The increasing number of Party Houses comes with an increased number of people for which the house was not designed, accompanying excess noise, and additional impacts on parking and privacy of residents. These tourist zone impacts compromise the amenity and ambience of a family-centric neighbourhood. 
To avoid the increasing impacts of STHL on a residential community of neighbours the following position is being proposed on the Options Paper. 
  • Industry regulation is required as self-regulation by non-resident hosts is a conflict of interest
  • There needs to be a planning framework to protect the intent of residentially zoned land
  • A metropolitan approach is warranted as the region transitions to Hunter City
  • 30 day annual limits for non-resident hosts will ensure community amenity is maintained
  • The amenity and privacy of existing community of residents and families should not be compromised by solely business enterprises in a residential zone. 
There is a letter detailing these options available on the website to download and submit to The Director of Housing Policy.

Other feedback options on the NSW Planning & Environment website include a submission form, or a survey to complete.

Submissions due by 31/10/17

Director Housing Policy
Department of Planning and Environment
GOP Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

Short Term Holiday Letting (STHL):

Response to the Options Paper Short Term Holiday Letting in NSW (July 2017)

Thank you for the opportunity to provide a submission to Short Term Holiday Letting (STHL) in NSW Options Paper July 2017
As a resident of a very picturesque lakeside community I am concerned about the increasing impacts of STHL on the local amenity and neighbourliness of a place I call home.
Unlike city-based STHL where visitors go out to enjoy the surrounding area, our lakeside community is the destination point where the visitors recreate and relax at the venue, bringing in the necessary supplies to lubricate their enjoyment of the area.
The Coal Point-Carey Bay area is a residential zone that has always had a number of onsite host B&Bs that have quietly co-existed amongst the community generating an income stream for the owners and supporting local businesses. This permissible usage in a residential zoning is accepted.
The rise of online booking systems and investor-owner income streams for absentee hosts is changing the nature of the clientele and the community impacts. Without a host on site the arrangement constitutes a serviced apartment, as such it is not permissible in a residential zone. It is incompatible to have tourist-zone impacts in a residential area not designed for such. The increasing number of Party Houses are often excessively loud, accommodate an increased number of people for which the house is not designed which impacts on parking and privacy. These tourist zone impacts compromise the amenity and ambience of a family-centric neighbourhood.
To avoid the increasing impacts of STHL on a residential community of neighbours I offer the following recommendations on the Options Paper.

Industry Regulation is required.

All businesses have some form of industry regulation. The more the industry impacts on those around its field of operation the greater the level of industry compliance required.
As STHL is operating in a residential zone the impacts on the surrounding families needs to be regulated. Self-regulation will not affect a solution to the problems associated with having tourists impacting on a residential zone.
An independent government body that has the capacity to monitor the occupancy levels, enforce compliance and issue fines is required, as would be expected of any business that operates at the scale and spread of the STHL industry.

Regulation through the Planning System

People purchase a house in a low or medium density residential zone because they desire the amenity and friendliness associated with familiarity of neighbours and a home context, otherwise they would live in a business or tourist zone.  It is unreasonable to change the nature and the expectations of the zoning to accommodate solely business enterprises.
If SHTL is to be a part of the residential schema then it is imperative that the values and amenity of the residential zoning are maintained. This could be achieved by having Complying, Exempt and Prohibited regulation criteria as outlined below.
Exempt Development would be when the STHL
·       Is registered and has a licence
·       The owners live on site
·       There are no more than 4 guests on site at any one time
Complying Development would be when the STHL
·       Is registered and have licence
·       The owners do not live on site
·       There are no more than four (4) guests on site.
·       The use is limited to 30 nights per year 
Development Application would be when
·       The owners do not live on site
·       There are more than 4 guests on site
·       The host wants to operate greater than 30 days per year
Prohibited Development (In Residential Zones)
More than ten (10) guests on site should be prohibited in residential zones as – this is getting to the size where guests should be accommodated in Tourist Zones.

A Metropolitan approach

The options paper aims to differentiate between metropolitan and regional areas. With the transition of our area to ‘Hunter City’ the metropolitan criteria should be applied, as it is inconsistent to be touting the area to be metropolitan and the second largest city in NSW on one hand, but still allowing a regional context in which to develop and promote business on the other.  

30 Day Limits to the number of total days per year

In a residential zone there is an expectation that you will be able to enjoy the amenity and solitude of your home. Within this context one has to consider how much disruption to privacy and amenity is reasonable.
I would suggest as part of complying development no more than 30 days be acceptable. This is still almost every fortnight, or once a month, which would be a significant impost on neighbours.
Limiting visitor days is consistent with standards adopted in cities around the world and AirBnB’s own data which states majority of hosts made their properties available for 25 nights each year, on average, and generated about $4500 of income”.

The Community Ethic of STHL

AirBnB founder Brian Chesky states “At the heart of our mission is the idea that people are fundamentally good and every community is a place where you can belong”.
It is fundamental to our community that all who have chosen to live here on a permanent basis still feel that they belong, know their neighbours and can enjoy a home that they have emotionally and financially invested in.
On-site hosts provide continuity of community context.  Non-resident investor driven hosting is compromising the integrity of our community.

In summary

  • Industry regulation is required as self-regulation by non-resident hosts is a conflict of interest
  • There needs to be a planning framework to protect the intent of residentially zoned land
  • A metropolitan approach is warranted as the region transitions to Hunter City
  • 30 day annual limits for non-resident hosts will ensure community amenity is maintained
  • The amenity and privacy of existing community of residents and families should not be compromised by solely business enterprises in a residential zone.