Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Science of Sustainability featuring Questacon's Earth quest

Months of planning and anticipation is about to come to fruition as time stands still for Science Week. One week with two weekends means several super-hands-on science sessions are available for all the community near and far to attend on 12-13 August and 19-20 August, or perhaps during the week.

What will be on show?

  • 15 Earth Quest interactive exhibits from Questacon will spark an interest from Outer Space to Inner Earth. 
  • A mini festival of the best short science films from Scinema - (no popcorn though). 
  • Some local sensory exhibits around our feathered and furry friends with nestboxes built by the Toronto Men’s Shed 
  • An observation trail in the bush out the back to wander along and discover some field science and the impacts of fire on garden escapes. 
Over 400 students have booked in for the mid-week sessions, which is very exciting including two sessions with the Hunter Home Educators-Schoolers. Some mid week 9am sessions are still available.

Whilst bookings aren’t essential for the weekends, if we do get overwhelmed with enthusiasm those with a ticket will get in and numbers will have to be regulated. If you’d like to lend a hand contact us.

Bookings can be made through Eventbrite- The Science of Sustainability – Questacon’s Earth Quest exhibits-Community.

National Tree Day Planting perfect for Threatened Species

This year’s National Tree Days have been a celebration of community enthusiasm. 

On Schools Tree Day 120 Stage 3 students and Kinder buddies from Coal Point Public School planted 240 Blue Flax Lilies and native grasses as a border to the expanding Squirrel Glider Garden that has been growing since 2015. The joy and skills exhibited by these students was inspirational.

On the community-planting day, Sunday, The Rotary Club Toronto Sunrise pitched in and
planted with perseverance and purpose, 1260 plants forming an instant forest on the site of the decommissioned water tank and Whitelocke Street edge of Hunter Water’s land.

Thanks go out to Hunter Water for providing the resources not only for making the planting possible but also for providing professional bush regenerators to tackle the weed infestation that was compromising the integrity of the West Ridge Reserve.

Overseeing the planting were our resident high profile Powerful Owl duo (Ninox strenua). The avian intel is that the pair have produced another chick this year due to the amazing hundred year hollow that is home-sweet home.

Rod Warnock, Wildlife Photographer, captured some amazing photos of the Powerful Owl on National Tree Day. He’s also taken this photo of a Regent Honeyeater that was at Blackalls Park recently, just a flutter away. The Regent Honeyeater is listed as endangered because it has been badly affected by land clearing. A lot of the planting of winter flowering plants that has been undertaken for the Threatened Species Last Stand project is an attempt to increase the numbers of nectar producing trees for Regent Honeyeaters and Squirrel Gliders. If you see the Regent Honeyeater please share the joy it’s quite rare.

More information about it is on the Birds in Backyards website

Want to plant a tree in your backyard for your own personal National Tree Day?


There’s lots of good reasons to plant a tree, the recent native tree workshop hosted by Lake Macquarie Landcare provided some great information about local native trees. 
Ann Loughran from Warners Bay Landcare & Trees In Newcastle provided list of suitable not too tall, local native trees that could serve a variety of functions such as shade, privacy, screening, windbreaks, be ornamental, bird attracting, have featured flowers, edible fruit and just look real pretty.

Seven local lovelies  

Banksia serrata
Forest Oak - Allocasuarina torulosa
Grey Myrtle Backhousia myrtifolia
Old Man Banksia - Banksia serrata
Willow Bottlebrush - Callistemon salignus
Tuckeroo - Cupaniopsis anacardioides
Blueberry Ash – Eleocarpus reticulatus
Snow In summer – Melaleuca linarifolia

The Landcare Resource Centre at Teralba sells local native plants to the public. Phone 49210392 for more information on plant availability.

To B or not to Air B & B… that is the question!

The popularity of short-term holiday letting (STHL), through on-line platforms such as Air B& B, has seen a rapid growth in this form of accommodation nationally, regionally and within our own local area.

Whilst this form of accommodation supports tourism it is important that this not be done to the detriment of people, families and communities that reside in residential neighbourhoods.

In recognising that there needs to be a balance, the State Government released an options paper on 20th July 2017 that details a proposed regulatory and planning framework to deal with Short Term Holiday Letting in NSW.

The report is comprehensive and provides details of the experiences of how cities overseas have dealt, through regulatory and planning framework, with this rapidly growing form of accommodation that at this point, is largely unregulated in this State.

In the context of Lake Macquarie, short-term holiday letting is a permissible use in a residential zone where the permanent residents live on site. This is essentially the traditional bed and breakfast model that has successfully operated around the lake for years.

Problems have occurred in some areas, with the more recent operations, where owners DO NOT reside on site. These problems generally stem from the owners not being on site and therefore rules on noise, parties etc aren’t enforced. In these situations, the adjoining owners bear the consequences of poor behaviour when guests aren’t respectful of the fact they are staying in a residential environment. These types of operations, where owners DO NOT live on site are currently prohibited in Lake Macquarie in a residential zone. Effected neighbours, in these circumstances, have described the experience as like living next door to an unregulated hotel in a quasi tourism zone, not a residential neighbourhood.

The options report is available for community comment until 31st October 2017. A copy of the report can be downloaded on the following link and submissions made on the webpage.

It is very important that the community engages in this process, if the policy settings aren’t carefully considered and understood, the impact on the amenity of people in the community could be dramatic. Some planners believe this is one of the most significant issues to impact on the liveability of communities we will experience in a long time.

If you have any questions or have had any issues relating to STHL, Greg Piper’s office would like to hear from you, contact details are:

Phone 4959-3200

Email address:

$30 for your thoughts on Sea-level rise

Do you have a young family and/or are from a diverse background?

Lana Frost from the Department of Geography and Planning at Macquarie University would like to talk to you about preparing for sea level rise.

Everyone that completes a 1hour interview will receive a $30 gift voucher. All the research interviews have to be completed by mid August so timing is crucial.

The research project is part of a Master of Research and will produce a case study of understandings of fairness and social justice in planning for sea level rise in Lake Macquarie.

If you are interested in this research, please Lana Frost on 0400 612 829 or email

Intrepid Landcarers are coming

The roving Hunter Intrepid Landcare tribe are coming out to Coal Point during Biodiversity month on 23-24 September to assist with the annual Squirrel Glider nestbox monitoring. If your 18-30ish and want to get involved with this dynamic group get in touch through Facebook

Intrepid Landcare provides a common space to inspire, connect and empower young people to join local environmental initiatives in their communities.

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 8/7/17 to 3/8/17.
  • 6 Alkira Street: Boundary Adjustment, 1 into 2 Lot Subdivision and 2 Dwelling Houses - Amendment To Consent: Check New Application 
  • 47A Brighton Avenue: Dwelling House and Demolition of Existing Dwelling: Awaiting Information Requested 
  • 77 Coal Point Rd: Dwelling House and Ancillary detached Garage/Shed - Amendment: Awaiting information requested 
  • 128 Coal Point Rd: Dwelling House Alterations & Additions: Awaiting information requested 
  • 226 Coal Point Road. Dwelling Alteration & Additions. Under Assessment 
  • 254 Coal Point Road: New Garage: Approved 
  • 269A Coal Point Road: Fence: On Notification/Advertising 
  • 279 Coal Point Road: Jetty: Approved 
  • 38 Kilaben Road Dwelling House – Amendment- Approved 
  • 1 Laycock Street: Steel reinforced swimming pool and associated pool surrounds: Under Assessment 
  • 1/17 Laycock St: Child Care Centre: Under Assessment 
  • 1 Oakhampton Court: Dwelling Alterations and Additions: Under Assessment 
  • 7 Robey Crescent :Dwelling Alterations & Additions & Attached Secondary Dwelling: Awaiting Information Requested 
  • 20 Skye Point Road Dwelling Alterations & Additions. Under Assessment. 
  • 47 Skye Point Road. Dwelling House Additions. Awaiting information requested 
  • 74 Skye Point Road. Dwelling House, Garage, Swimming Pool, Alt & Adds to Boatshed. Awaiting Information requested 
  • 78 Skye Point Road: Dwelling House - Alterations & Additions, Boat Shed, Water Recreation Structure: Awaiting information requested 
  • 228 Skye Point Road: Dwelling House, Swimming Pool with Associated Safety Barriers and Demolition of Existing Dwelling: Awaiting Information Requested 
  • 268 Skye Point Road: Detached Dual Occupancy and Strata Subdivision: On Notification/Advertising 
  • 268 Skye Point Road Residential Addition - Studio – Modification-Approved 
  • 296 Skye Point Road: Dwelling Alterations and Additions: Scanning of Application Documents 
  • 308 Skye Point Road. Proposed Jetty. Approved 
  • 27 Whitelocke Street: B149 - Dwelling House: Awaiting Allocation 
  • 29 Whitelocke Street: Secondary Dwelling and Retaining Wall Under Assessment 
  • 151-155 Brighton Av (Hirecrafft Marina) Awaiting Information Requested. From the Application Tracking website it appears there has been a meeting held on 12th July and a document provided on the Capital Investment Value of the proposed project of $14,779,520.