Tuesday, 20 June 2017

5 down 1 to go

The Year 5 report on the Threatened Species Last Stand project has be lodged, reviewed and given an Excellent overall rating. The Environmental Trust reviewer congratulated the group “on another solid year of achievement. The project has maintained high standards in terms of delivery of on-ground works, monitoring results, volunteering and community engagement outcomes and it appears to be in an excellent position to delivering its overarching objectives”

A summary of Year 5

The progress to date continues to be exciting and rewarding with 2,539 landcare hours contributed in Year 5 continuing to move on ground outcomes in a positive recovery trajectory on all of the reserves. The expanding local landcare team continues to meet each Thursday morning for 5hr with several individuals putting in additional hours, especially at the Carey Bay Wetlands.

The hazard reduction burn at Stansfield Reserve has added an extra dimension to the project that manual weeding could not provide. The regeneration of the reserve after the burn has been inspiring to explore and monitor and has provided a unique insight into the floristic composition, the resilience of the seedbank and the weed responses. It is proving to be a great educational asset for the impacts of garden escapes.

The monitoring of fauna and flora continues to reap new information. Several new species of birds have been spotted, the presence of Sugar Gliders along with the Squirrel Gliders confirmed on the West Ridge, another Powerful Owl fledged and the annual flora survey has added 22 new species to the list, with the Stansfield list having 59 new species identified in the three quadrats.

Year 5 saw 3 powerpoint presentations delivered, 3 site tours of Stansfield Reserve, 2 TAFE field days and 2 workshops sessions provided to local and regional groups on the project activities.

Regular communication with the community saw 9 editions of the Chronicle produced and letterboxed. An increased use of social media, facebook and mailchimp, saw the facebook following double. The production of the verge and bank-planting guide to encourage and simplify selection and use of local native plants is available on the website.


July Events

Winter Bird Survey

The Winter Bird Survey is planned for Monday 10th July 7am-11am. Wandering through the local reserves with Tom Clarke’s avian expertise available adds another level of appreciation to our local bushland. Every visit turns up a birding treat. If you’d like to come along meet at the Scout Hall by 7am, wear suitable clothing for walking and the weather, BYO water, snack, binoculars and camera.

Native Trees are Tremendous

The Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteers Network will be hosting a Super Saturday Session on Native Trees at Progress Hall on Saturday 15th July 9:30am-12:30, including lunch. A variety of speakers will share information on Native Trees endemic to our area, how to protect and enhance Native Trees, backyard Native Trees and the effects of fire on Native Trees. Bookings can be made with the Landcare Resource Centre 4921 0392.

Progress Patter

Sale of Progress bushland to commence.

LMCC has made an offer to buy the bushland behind the hall to expand the reserve. At the 2015 AGM this process was endorsed if the price was right…and it is.

Hall HooHa

Your community hall is in need of a maintenance working bee which has been set for Saturday 8th July 9:30am-12:30. The aim is to ensure everything is in tip top shape for the upcoming Science Week Extravaganza. All welcome, contact Tony for details of jobs.

Meaningful mounds emerging

Local Landcarers have been rounding up weed menaces, making mounds of Mothers of Millions (MoM) and turning fields of Fishbone Fern into hummocks of would be humus.

Gurranba Reserve has the mother of a patch of MoM (Bryophyllum delagoense).This pesky persistent succulent is coming into bright red flower now and is an easy to pull out plant. If you visit Gurranba Reserve with your canine companion (it’s leash free) you could easily fill a bag of MoMs whilst Fido frolics. It’s a great kids pull-out-plant too because it has camouflage capability. Just when you think you’ve got them all, there’s always another one lurking in the shrubbery, a great holiday Treasure Hunt activity. If you want to add some MoMs to the pile at the park the landcare group will happily keep an eye on them.

The West Ridge Reserve, just up the hill from the School, is another spot Landcarers have been making efforts removing Fishbone Fern. This garden escape has a tendency to run rampant and the amount of fishbone fern plant material is formidable. It is being kept contained on site and will be watched.

Fishbone Fern is a native of Queensland and does well in its state of origin, we have some local supporters that could well give it the heave-ho if given the chance such as Rasp Fern (Doodia aspera) and Maidenhair fern (Adiantum hispidulum.

Would you like to know what local plants are in the area? The updated flora list from the 2017 Flora surveys is now available


Seeking Science Week Sponsorship from Booming Businesses

Did you know that sponsoring the August Science Week extravaganza counts as a tax deduction? As the End of Financial Year rapidly approaches it is not too late to support this local educational endeavor.

So far our amazing community has chipped in $2900 and the CPPA has been active seeking additional funding. We are committed to hosting the event. It costs $6372 to loan and transport Questacon’s Travelling exhibition, $200 for extra insurance and there are other expenses. More details about the event are on the website.


Reconciliation Reads

In the past 6 years two “eye opening” books have been published in Australia about the nature of the Australian landscape at the time of European settlement. Both authors have carefully searched archives, diaries, reports, letters, drawings and paintings from the early days of settlement as well as extensive archaeological evidence about management of the environment by Aboriginal people. The first of the book reviews by Robyn Gill is below.

Bill Gammage in 2011 published The BIGGEST ESTATE on EARTH HOW ABORIGINES MADE AUSTRALIA. He found that “early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife it evoked a country estate in England.” He attributed this to “an extraordinarily complex system of land management” by Aboriginal people “using fire and the lifecycles of native plants to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year” (“firestick farming” – virtually a form of mowing).

Many details of this management process and the sources of the information are the focus of Gammage’s book. He concludes that, “once Aboriginal people were unable to tend their country it became overgrown and vulnerable to the hugely damaging bushfires we now experience.”

Interestingly, low intensity “cool burning” is being widely used again as a way of stopping the hot fire outbreaks. The low to medium intensity hazard reduction burn promoted by Landcare, facilitated by LMCC and carried out by Fire and Rescue on the Coal Point Ridge recently has had great results in reducing flammable material and also in regenerating the local vegetation so it competes better with weeds. Many rural Landcare groups are holding field days with titles such as COOL BURN INDIGINOUS FIRE MANAGEMENT FOR PRODUCTIVE PASTURES.

This book has been well recognised as making an interesting and compelling case for a different way of looking at our land and its history.It is available at Lake Macquarie Council libraries.

The second book review will follow in the July Chronicle.

The Fern & the Burn...The Movie

On April 6th 2016 a patch of bushland off Stansfield Close went up in smoke. The Hazard Reduction Burn was conducted to protect property and generate environmental outcomes, particularly trying to reduce the Asparagus Fern, Privets and Olives that had escaped from gardens and been running rampant over the local natives for some time.

A six minute movie has been made to share the transformation of the reserve since The Burn. If you haven’t been for a walk through Stansfield Reserve in the past year the movie shows what you’ve missed out on. 

The video was made possible with funding from Hunter Local Land Services from the Australian Government's National Landcare program


TASNG paving the way

An $8,700 Community Building Partnership Grant gained by The Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group and supported by CPPA has paved the way to improved pedestrian access and safety along Brighton Avenue. The 18-month project saw an expanded commitment by LMCC to provide the concrete path over the initially proposed crushed gravel surface.

This project is a significant win for pedestrians in our area. We are very grateful to Council for coming on board, in the face of competing demands, and to the NSW government for support

Greg Piper MP and LMCC’s Matt Brogan officially opened the footpath on 2nd June with lots of happy locals in attendance. The event was covered by the local media and can be viewed online

Is this the last straw?

There is a problem. The plastic bottles, bags and takeaway containers that we use just for a few minutes use a material that is designed to last forever.

These plastics break up, not break down – becoming permanent pollution. Every bit of plastic ever made still exists and in the first 10 years of this century the world economy produced more plastic than the entire 1900's!

Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it. Joining the challenge is quite simple...choose to refuse single-use plastic during July.

We are part of the solution and can act by:
  • Avoiding products in plastic packaging by choosing alternatives
  • Reducing where possible by opting for refills and remembering those shopping bags
  • Refusing plastics that escape as litter e.g. straws, takeaway cups, utensils, balloons
  • Recycling what cannot be avoided
Are you in for the Plastic Free July Choose to Refuse challenge? Sign up at  http://www.plasticfreejuly.org

Toronto Streetscape update

The $2.1 million Toronto Town makeover is moving along in the planned 50m stages with a projected completion date of December.

A service relocation problem, especially the Telstra pit, west of the Pemell St intersection has meant that section was delayed.

The LMCC team are currently working on Stage 4 east of Pemell St for 50m, where the retaining walls are currently being refurbished.

Stage 5 is due to commence in July- August, on the easternmost café precinct, as it’s less busy over winter.

Overall tree numbers have been reduced from 28 to 22 with a commitment from LMCC to try and get as many as possible in as they reduce heat and provide shade.

DA UpDAtes

2 Brighton Avenue- 133 Excelsior Pde

Over 80 locals attended the on-site hearing on 15/5/17.Afterwards at the conciliation conference the developer provided a revised concept plan but it did not have enough detail for the experts to make an informed decision and so to avoid a protracted process the Commissioner determined that no in principal agreement had been met and a date would be set for a hearing at the Land and Environment Court in Sydney. All objectors will be notified of this date when it is set.

DA 1835/2016 151-155 Brighton Avenue (Hirecraft marina)

The last item on the Application Tracking website is 17/3/17 from the CPPA requesting an update on what’s happening. Upon further enquiry with LMCC the CPPA has been advised that as it is a major development, permissible within the zoning, the developer been requested to provide an urban design analysis, prior to any assessment, this is a complex document which takes time to prepare.

DAs In Play

You can keep up to date with developments in the area through Lake Macquarie City Council’s Application Tracking system. The abridged list below has been compiled to support community understanding of developments in our area. Please consult LMCC’s website for details and a complete listing.
Listings below are from 13/4/17 to 18/6/17.
  • 17 Amelia Street: Enclose Deck: Approved
  • 29 Amelia Street . Alterations and Additions. Approved. 18/05/2017
  • 58 Amelia Street. Dwelling Additions/Alterations. Awaiting Information Requested. 12/05/2017
  • 29 Ambrose Street. Garage. Approved. 27/05/2017
  • 47A Brighton Avenue: Dwelling House and Demolition of Existing Dwelling: Awaiting Information Requested
  • 17 Coal Point Road. Part B149 - Dwelling House and Garage. Approved. 18/04/2017
  • 23 Coal Point Road. Demolition of Dwelling House. Awaiting Information Requested. 12/04/2017
  • 23 Coal Point Road: Dwelling and retaining walls. Awaiting Information Requested. 26/04/2017
  • 77 Coal Point Rd: Dwelling House and Ancillary detached Garage/Shed - Amendment: Under Assessment
  • 128 Coal Point Rd: Dwelling House Alterations & Additions: Awaiting information requested
  • 226 Coal Point Road. Dwelling Alteration & Additions. Awaiting Information Requested. 05/05/2017
  • 254 Coal Point Road. New Garage. Under Assessment. 15/06/2017
  • 108 Excelsior Parade: Alterations and Additions to Dwelling Including New Garage and Driveway - Convert Existing Shed: Approved 16/06/2017
  • 151 Excelsior Parade: Footpath works for Multi dwelling housing: : Awaiting Information Requested
  • 57 Jarrett Street: Attached Side Carport to Footings. Approved
  • 14 Jonquil Close: Dwelling House: Approved
  • 38 Kilaben Road. Dwelling House – Amendment On Notification/Advertising. 23/5/17
  • 1/17 Laycock St: Child Care Centre: Awaiting Information Requested
  • 4/17 Laycock Street. Building Alterations (Internal) and Change of Use to Food and Drink Premises. Approved. 08/06/2017
  • 7 Robey Crescent. Dwelling Alterations & Additions & Attached Secondary Dwelling: Under Assessment. 13/04/2017
  • 4 Rofe Street: Cabana: Approved
  • 20 Skye Point Road. Dwelling Alterations & Additions. Under Assessment. 04/05/2017
  • 47 Skye Point Road. Dwelling House Additions. Scanning of Application Documents. 16/6/17
  • 74 Skye Point Road. Dwelling House, Garage, Swimming Pool, Alt & Adds to Boatshed. Under Assessment. 22/05/2017
  • 78 Skye Point Road: Dwelling House - Alterations & Additions, Boat Shed, Water Recreation Structure: Awaiting information requested
  • 201 Skye Point Road. Granny Flat. Approved. 11/05/2017
  • 202 Skye Point Road: Garage: Approved
  • 228 Skye Point Road: Dwelling House, Swimming Pool with Associated Safety Barriers and Demolition of Existing Dwelling: Awaiting Information Requested
  • 308 Skye Point Road. Proposed Jetty. Awaiting DA Determination. 02/06/2017
  • 308 Skye Point Road. Dwelling Alterations & Additions. Approved.12/05/2017
  • 380 Skye Point Road Removal 2 Trees:  Approved