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A similar proposal was put forward in 2013 and withdrawn.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