Sunday, 26 May 2019

Community Comments due 29/5/19 on Council’s Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and Operation al Plan 2019-2020 – Let’s Make it Happen.

As promised some discussion points to consider in making comment on Council’s Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and Operational Plan 2019-2020 – Let’s Make it Happen.

Correspondence to Council on their document can be uploaded directly to their website or posted to:

The Chief Executive Officer
Lake Macquarie City Council
Attention Council and Corporate Liaison Coordinator
Box 1906 Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310

Dear Ms Cameron,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Council’s Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and Operational Plan 2019-2020 – Let’s Make it Happen.

I would like to make the following comments on this document.

Let’s make genuine community consultation happen.

The document dedicates quite a bit of space (p20-22) to show Council’s commitment to community engagement. It talks about incorporating advice and recommendations, keeping the community informed and acknowledging concerns, working together to the maximum extent possible and implementing what the community decides.

As a resident of Toronto I would like to see Council walk their talk.

With regard to the proposed 6-storey development on Bath Street, council’s community engagement aspirations have fallen well short of the mark.

Let’s make genuine community consultation happen!

Let’s include people in the language of growth - a great thing to happen.

It was only last year that Council was talking about planning for and implementing improvements to town centres and villages. This year they’re planning for and implementing improvements in economic centres and suburbs.

The community and the people have been extracted from council’s growth language, and it shows in councils shiny-big-is-beautiful economic development mentality, that threatens the township of Toronto and the community that live in and around it.

As a resident of the Toronto area, the concept of a town centre clearly implies that people and the environment are part of the mix, the village provides a sense of community.

Let's include the community and make  people-places happen in our town centres!

Let’s make integrated planning happen

It appears Council has conflicting strategies with their ‘Unique Landscape & Lifestyle & Wellbeing’ focus area at loggerheads with the ‘Diverse Economy’ focus area.

Strategy 1.2.2 states “ensure Council-owned land is managed to protect and enhance natural environments”, with actions including a city-wide foreshore rehabilitation program. The Bath Street land that Council owns has considerable potential to protect and enhance our natural environment. Protecting and enhancing the Toronto Foreshore Park aligns with Council’s strategy, let’s make that happen!

The Delivery Plan says it will 'Investigate feasibility of the development of the Toronto Foreshore Master Plan', which is a planning only process. It appears we will have four years of planning for a foreshore park, which everyone wants whilst Council’s developer-arm can aspire to plan and build a 6-storey construction that no one wants to ‘create recurring income and increase return on investment’ (strategy 4.3.2)

Let's make the enhanced Toronto Foreshore Park happen!

Let’s make due process happen

Council has allocated $25 million over the next four years to progress the Bath Street

Commercial development. This is without a concept design, let alone a Development Application or any community consultation.

Of all the new capital works proposed across the city for the next four years (over $31 million) the Bath Street development accounts for 81% of the spend, $25 million, whilst no money has been allocated to even explore alternative council-owned sites within the town centre.

Let’s make sure all the options have been considered before anything happens.
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Thursday, 9 May 2019

Where would you like to see $25million spent? - TFPG update May 2019

All of us living in the Toronto area should be feeling rather special!

Over the next four years (2019-23) approximately $31million is proposed for capital new works across Lake Macquarie under the ‘Diverse Economy’ focus area but of this total about $25million is for the multi-storey commercial development on public foreshore land at the Bath Street site, with nearly all of the costs forecast for the last two years (*p. 51).

By including these costs into its budget prior to lodging a DA, Council appears to be intent on ramping up to build this complex as the developer and perhaps explains why it is digging its heels in and doing lip- service to any community consultation regarding their 6-storey foreshore proposal.

Over the next year the ‘feasibility of the development of the Toronto Foreshore Masterplan’ is also being undertaken which includes tasks such site investigations, specialist studies, master-planning and concept designs. There are funds allocated from developer contributions to make this happen from 2020-2023 under the Lifestyle and Wellbeing focus area.

So we, the community, again have another opportunity for comment on Council’s plan, they want input, they say;
“Engaging with key stakeholders and the community is fundamental to Council’s operations, as it helps to improve and guide decision making by collecting and collating multiple perspectives and ideas from members of the community and people or groups potentially affected by those decisions. The end result is not necessarily about gaining universal support for a project or a decision. It is about fairness, transparency and involving key stakeholders in Council processes, as appropriate, so they understand the drivers of projects and what they mean for them as individuals and for their community or City as a whole. “ (*p20)

The document goes on to state “This Plan has been developed based on a range of feedback from stakeholders and the community.”

This is clearly not the case with the Bath St proposal. The community, a major stakeholder, has not been consulted about the proposed 6-storey-$25million development. Indeed community comments that have been made have been misrepresented and undervalued (Toronto Foreshore Park Masterplan-see April Chronicle) and ignored (Petition containing 5000 signatures).

With $25million being allocated under this plan, one would have assumed that the community concerns had already been addressed and brings the integrity of operational planning process into question.

The public land that spans the Toronto Foreshore Park from Bath St to Wharf Rd is our community asset, we are being invited to comment on how our council is proposing to spend our ratepayer dollars. The TFPG is advocating for an improved landscaped park with community facilities at the Bath Street site as part of the Toronto Foreshore Parkland.

The community has until 29th May to comment on Let’s Make it Happen - Draft Lake Mac Operational Plan 2019-20 and Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021*

There are various ways to do this including making comments on an online map, completing an online survey or writing a letter simply stating you object to a $25million allocation for a development which the community has not had a chance to comment upon.

The TFPG and CPPA websites and facebook pages will be posting discussion points to consider in your submissions.

What’s the point of community consultation?

 In 2017 Lake Macquarie City Council won both Australasia Organisation of the Year and the International Organisation of the Year from the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). This group seeks to promote and improve the practice of community and stakeholder engagement that affects the public interest throughout the world. 

So it’s quite a feather in Council’s cap and the award is proudly displayed in the LMCC foyer. The Shape Lake Mac online systems with maps and feedback options and surveys look wonderful and gather lots of comments.

How all this information is interpreted and valued is a completely different matter.

What is important at this point is that there is a vehicle for community comments to be made and our community needs to take advantage of the offer.

Council is once again asking for feedback from the community and this time it’s on the Draft Lake Mac Operational Plan 2019-20 and Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 -Let’s Make it Happen

The plan contains strategies, details of planned projects and projected budgets. The community are encouraged to take a look and respond.

Within this plan there has been $25million set aside for the Bath Street site, it wasn’t in last year’s plan.

It appears Council has already decided it’s going to build something quite big on the public foreshore land next to the Royal Motor Yacht Club.

A summary of the Bath Street Budget Bonanza is on the TFPG May Update.

Please consider taking a few minutes to write a letter to Council about their $25million budget item

Making a World of Difference through volunteering

Every month CPPA volunteers are making a difference locally. There are meetings to mull
over, a newsletter to write and distribute, our own hall to maintain and our landcare group average 177hr/month in our local reserves. There are lots of reasons why volunteers do what they do and Volunteering Australia has managed to summarise a few of them :
  • 93% of volunteers saw positive outcomes as a direct result of their voluntary
    Landcare volunteers
    repairing steps and erosion at
    Ambrose St Reserve
  • Volunteering plays a vital role in the development of social cohesion and social connection – both of which help alleviate loneliness.
  • Volunteering provides pathways towards employment through the development of skills, networks and values which are increasingly sought after in professional environments.
  • Volunteering provides an outlet for the exploration and development of personal interests outside the workplace.
  • Volunteering extends across all areas of Australian society, from the arts, education, emergency services, sports and environment to health, community welfare, aged care and disability services.
  • Volunteering Australia defines volunteering as “time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain”.
  • Australian volunteers contribute an estimated $290 billion to the national economy annually, yielding a 450% return for every dollar invested.

The CPPA is looking for a couple more active volunteers to participate in the committee, the group that coordinates the activities of the Association. If you’d like to find out a bit more come along to the meeting on May 13th at Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd, 3:30-5:30pm.

Welcome to Toronto

How would you like to feel warm & fuzzy every time you drove into Toronto along Awaba Rd or a twinge of sadness every time you left? There could be a little bit of your sweat and toil to remember Toronto by in the welcome garden that is being planted out at the entrance to our town.

The TASNG crew along with Rotary, Lions and Lioness’ are making a difference to the Toronto welcome mat on Wednesday 15th May. Between 9am and noon you are invited to come along and plant out the Welcome Garden, in front of Hymix on Awaba Rd.

Wear sturdy shoes and remember your sun protection. Please bring gloves, a trowel and a hi-vis vest if you have them. Morning tea is being provided by the Lioness Club of Toronto.

Bird Surveys April ‘19 -Rob Palazzi

Female Satin Bower Bird in nest
Carey Bay Wetland reserve is showing a stable variety of bird species, with slowly increasing numbers overall. Noisy Miner numbers are on the increase as are Rainbow Lorikeet numbers. The Satin Bowerbird has built a new bower and we look forward to a nest - fingers crossed.

Norumba is showing a similar pattern to other reserves with a stable variety of species and rising numbers overall. Noisy Miner numbers are on the increase, and others are holding their own. The male Satin Bowerbird from the Carey Bay Wetland reserve appears to use Norumba part time and was recorded again this month. The Pied and Grey Butcherbirds normally seen here were missing this month, but appear to be regular residents. A variety of Lorikeets and Parrots are present and are regular visitors here as well.

Burnage reserve is showing it’s usual low numbers but variety is fairly stable and numbers a bit up (although not this month).

West Ridge Central is showing a stable variety of species with steadily increasing numbers
Spotted Pardalote
recorded. Increasing numbers of both Rainbow Lorikeets and Noisy Miners over the last year or so have contributed to this increase. A sighting of one Spotted Pardalote and one Golden Whistler this month is very welcome. Some Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were using the reserve as part of their northerly migration. Michael has reported sighting another Satin Bowerbird bower in the reserve - we had one for some time a few years ago - good to welcome him back. Eastern Rosellas are apparently on the increase in this reserve as well.

West Ridge South is showing overall slow decline in numbers (note Noisy Miners and
Golden Whistler
Rainbow Lorikeet numbers steadily increasing so others in decline) although variety appears stable. This last survey (April) saw a couple of nice returns - the Golden Whistler and Grey Fantail to note two.

Stansfield: Numbers slightly up (mostly Noisy Miners) but variety fairly constant.

Trends for Threlkeld: overall numbers steadily down and number of species reducing steadily. Specifically : Lorikeets and Rosellas stable, Magpies down Noisy Miners up. Can only speculate as to why these changes.

All images: Rod Palazzi

Grounded in Truth Walk Together with Courage

This year’s theme aims to foster positive race relations, acknowledging the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the broader community must be grounded in a foundation of truth.

Whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage.

The world has changed our knowledge has changed, the ‘truth’ that we were taught has changed.

For us all to grow together as a community it’s time relearn the past.

If you haven’t read the award winning Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, it is capable of

generating a profound shift in understanding from what many of us were taught. Dark Emu provides an opportunity to appreciate the complex culture of our first nation people.

“Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians, it allows the reader to see Australia as it was before Europeans arrived — a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent”. In June, Young Dark Emu- A Truer History will be published for young readers. (Booktopia)


The 2019 Heaven Can Wait Charity Sailing Regatta (HCW) is done and dusted and proceeds totalling $40,000 have been handed over to the beneficiaries – The Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW and Lake Macquarie Marine Rescue (who provide on water support during the running of the regatta).

The HCW is primarily a fundraiser for the Home Help Program, an initiative of the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW, which assists terminal and recovering cancer patients who, because of their condition, are unable to fulfil their domestic responsibilities. The program supports patients who need help with activities such as lawn mowing, house cleaning and many other domestic chores.

2019 was the 13th running of the HCW Regatta and fundraising this year brings the total amount raised for the Hunter Branch of Cancer Council NSW, to more than $300,000.

DAs In Play as at 8/5/19

Here is an abridged list of local DA activity as at 8/5/19. It has been compiled to support community understanding of DAs in our area that may impact on our community character.
Please consult Lake Macquarie City Council’s Application Tracking system for details and a complete listing.

There does appear to be a bit of a subdivision theme to this month's listings.
  • 22 Brighton Avenue: Multiple Dwelling Housing, Subdivision and Demolition - Section 4.55(2) Amended Plans: Under Assessment
  • 161 Brighton Avenue: Mixed Use - Residential Flat Building (6 units) and Commercial Premises -: Amended Plans- Awaiting Information requested
  • 69 Coal Point Road: 1 into 3 Lot Subdivision:  Awaiting information requested
  • 158 Coal Point Road: 1 Into 2 Lot Subdivision: Awaiting information requested
  • 323 Coal Point Road: 1 into 2 Lot Subdivision : Check new application
  • 176 Coal Point Road: Dwelling House & Demolition of Existing Structures: Under Assessment
  • 27 Hampton Street: Remove five (5) Trees: Approved

Carey Bay Preschool Trivia Night