Sunday, 8 November 2020

A conversation on Collaborative Housing in our community.

This edition of The Chronicle has some grand plans for you to contemplate as the Progress Association considers its purpose, place and potential within our community. A facilitated forum is planned for Saturday 28 Nov (face to face) and Monday 30 Nov (online) to explore a local collaborative housing opportunity, Bush Blocks, and what we as a community can do to shape the place we call home. 

In 1946 our community purchased land and built a hall which has provided a shared space and common ground for locals for 74 years. We are hoping to mobilise the same community spirit to once again fashion our community for the future, by exploring a collaborative housing model to build homes where people share common ground, common spaces, common assets and a common attitude to treading lightly and minimising their impact on the local bushland and the planet.

The ridgeline of our peninsula is becoming an increasingly fragmented remnant wildlife/ecological community, as its connection to the wider bushland to the West is eroded by development. Looking at the DAs In Play and those in the pipeline it’s not hard to see that this trend is continuing, with local multi-dwelling development on the rise. The combination of our profit-driven economy and Council planning instruments is leading to large blocks with beautiful trees being transformed into dense concrete and brick constructions, with little consideration for the social aspects needed when people live in close proximity. 

The Progress Association would like to explore and implement an alternative multi-dwelling model that is founded on building community resilience, innovative community focussed design, and smart, small and sustainable housing, ideally built by local trades people from local suppliers, aiming to accommodate dwellings on existing bushland blocks - without unduly compromising the role of those blocks as a wildlife connection corridor along the peninsula for our threatened species and the common ones. 

“Collaborative housing is a movement that’s revolutionising the way homes are designed, built, lived in and valued. It encourages participation, sharing and community-building, while recognising that every household wants privacy, security and financial autonomy.”

Doing development differently, without a profit driven margin, reduces building costs and provides a community driven alternative to downsizing whilst supporting local construction businesses to take advantage of the growing sustainability/retrofitting sector and strengthening our community’s resilience against future shocks arising from climate change.

With interest rates at an all-time low and the Reserve Bank holding them there for at least the next three years, the Progress Association is keen to nurture the initiation of a community driven collaborative housing model to provide an additional housing option that respects the local community and protects the local environment. 

A parcel of land at 20 Laycock St, behind the Carey Bay preschool, is currently on the market. This provides a rare opportunity to enter the collaborative housing market, whilst also building a local knowledge bank and a transferable model to deliver a new housing option for our community. 

The land at 20 Laycock St site is on the market for $1.6million. It has an approved DA which can be modified to reflect the aspirations and intent of the people wanting to be involved in the collaborative housing project. 

The CPPA is seeking:
  • Ethical investors and philanthropists to support the project. Here’s a proposal document which outlines the idea. It will be updated as more detail develops.
  • Potential owners wanting to build and own a residence within the community. There’s a survey, Register of Interest, so we can keep in touch. 
  • Supporters willing to offer time and expertise in fields of architecture, legal, finance, trades, town planning etc. The Register of Interest survey will gather your offers.
  • Members and donors willing to support the community driven aspects of the proposal, such as the facilitated conversations, and an end of year fundraising campaign, there’s a donation page where you can make a contribution. 

Gatherings of Interest

A professionally facilitated forum by The Change Agency’s James Whelan will explore the collaborative housing model and gauge local interest in progressing the idea and what local support is available. Face to face and online meetings will be held.

Saturday 28 Nov. 1-4pm Face to face at Progress Hall The COVID capacity of the hall is 30, RSVPs are essential via the booking page

Online on Monday 30 Nov. 6:30-8pm Registrations essential to receive the meeting link invite. 

Anyone interested in learning a little more, connecting with like-minded people and exploring the concept is welcome. Attendance is a not a commitment to anything, merely interest in an innovative concept.

For more information or assistance in registering contact Suzanne 0438 596 741,

The CPPA is also applying for a grant to develop the local collaborative housing model. Information submitted in the The Register of Interest survey will greatly assist the application which is due on 16/11/20. If you have any interest at all please consider sharing your thoughts on the survey.

Where to go to find out more or get in touch ?

A Collaborative Housing - Bush Blocks webpage has been set up on the CPPA site as a place to share and update information and resources.

What is collaborative living? The Collaborative Housing Guide says
Collaborative living is a new way of thinking about home, work, community and how we live our daily lives. Inspired by demographic and social change, it is also a response to rising living costs, the housing affordability crisis, the ‘loneliness epidemic’ and the growing ecological footprint of cities. 
Collaborative living is about building stronger communities by emphasising social connection and looking for beneficial ways to share resources and pool skills. The sharing economy is one example of collaborative living, collaborative housing is another.

A CPPA ‘Bush Blocks’ sub-committee has been formed to explore and scope the concept of a sustainable collaborative housing project, if you’d like to get involved please get in touch.

A personal declaration of interest in collaborative housing- Suzanne Pritchard

I moved into my house on Amelia Street 30 years ago. The bushland over the back fence belonged to several neighbours who owned 120m long blocks, with an intermittent creek crossing them and eventually flowing into a pipe under the preschool at the corner of our mutual back fence. Back then this land was zoned for low density. Around 2005 the zoning was changed to allow for medium density housing because of the proximity to the Carey Bay shops. 

Over the years I’ve watched on as the preschool sold their bushy backyard to expand their preschooler capacity and three more neighbouring blocks were sold and the long bushland backyards subdivided off to create what is now the 20 Laycock St site.

I’ve met the owner on several occasions as various development plans were put forward and I started planting out my backyard to buffer the inevitable, but as the trees next door were felled my heart broke and I began to question if there was another way of doing development. I started buying lottery tickets.

Thinking about alternatives to density dominated development is something I do every time I wash the dishes and gaze out my window, every day when I’m in my garden, wondering how an individual can make a difference. Every month when I write the Chronicle and compile the ever-expanding list of DAs in Play I think about how can we do development differently, every time I put pen to paper to comment on behalf of the CPPA on the next multi-dwelling DA creating community concern. It’s really no surprise that eventually a solution popped into my head.

I’ve been the president of the Progress Association for 25 years. I joined up to protect the awe-inspiring bushland that I had the good fortune to live amongst, and in doing so learned that you can’t care for trees without caring for people. The skills I’ve learned and the knowledge I’ve gained has significantly shaped my personal and professional life, and my outlook on the community.

It would appear that perhaps everything I’ve done has put me in the right place at the right time to do something, to make a difference, beyond my back fence, for the benefit of many and the beautiful bushland that I feel so fortunate to have been able to experience and enjoy for so many years.

As the President of the CPPA I’ve been forced to assess the organisation’s relevance within the community and the untapped potential of the asset it owns. As a daughter of ageing parents I see the need for living arrangements that support and connect people to friends and provide security of accommodation. As a neighbour to a community changing development I have the motivation to contribute to a different vision.

I realise some people may think that personal interest is at play. Rest assured the collaborative housing proposal can be applied anywhere, it’s just that my place in the community and the roles I serve have allowed me to see there are other options out there. With everything that has happened locally and globally this year, and with 20 Laycock St up for sale, now seems like a really good time to do something about making a lasting positive change.

My personal plan is to this this through, I’m looking forward to ensuring the relevance of the Progress Association within our community. I want to be part of the solution. I want to make the highly improbable possible or at least give it my best shot. I do believe the world is changing, there’s growing recognition we have to do things differently and collaborative housing appears to be a step in the right direction.

I hope you can join me on Saturday Nov 28 or Monday 30 Nov to talk it through and see if we’ve got what it takes to make our community thrive into the future.

Footpaths where people are please.



Or P.O. box1906 Hunter Regional Mail Centre 2310

Here are some ideas, but your own words are best, plus a photo if you can.

From the south and east of Toronto, only two streets feed into town.

1. Brighton Ave leads to the lower end of town and has a footpath its full length.

2. The upper end of town, including the library, post office, Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, doctors and dentists, etc. is accessed via Excelsior Pde, where pedestrian thoroughfare is fragmented, rough and, in some places dangerous or non-existent.

The south side of Excelsior Pde is impassable because of the terrain.

The north side, at both eastern and western ends of the block between Jarrett and Pemmel Sts, has lengths of paving, some concrete, some bitumen, and very patchy, but navigable on foot.

The 200m long middle stretch, however, is navigable only with the greatest care and has no footpath at all. It is the missing link and demands attention.

Trip hazards are caused by the edge of driveways and exposed tree roots.

Eroded areas are uneven, rough and loose underfoot.

Space for walking narrows to 30-40cms, a real risk, especially on bin collection


When forced onto the road, the shoulder is narrow to non-existent and traffic is frequent.

This section is totally unsuited to prams or strollers, dangerous for parents with little ones, and challenging for dog-walkers.

It is forbidding and dangerous for the elderly or less able, and totally impossible for wheel chairs.

In the interests of pedestrian amenity for shoppers and commuters, cleaner air, sustainability, thoroughfare for the less able, and the physical well-being of all our residents, a safe footpath in Excelsior Pde is essential.

Join in and Join Up - TASNG News

CPPA membership aligns with the calendar year and the annual renewal process will soon get underway with members receiving an update on their membership status in November. 

The December Chronicle will include a membership application so everyone can have the opportunity to support your local progress association and TASNG and early in the year we’ll be reminding you of the amazing things we’re hoping to achieve to inspire your support.

There is a membership form permanently available on the website.

Kilaben Bay gets The Chronicle...but for how long?

At the request of community members and to support the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) the distribution of The Chronicle has been temporarily extended to include all of Kilaben Bay.

To continue the expanded distribution into 2021 Kilaben Bay members are needed along with supporters willing to letterbox the newsletter. If you’re interested in exploring what your membership supports and what ‘The Chronicle’ typically covers please explore this website or you can sign up to receive an email version of the newsletter. C
ontact Tony (4959 4533) if you’re interested in hand delivering 50-100 newsletters.

Notice of the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group
Annual General Meeting

Members of the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 11th November, 2020
5.00pm – 6.00pm

Toronto Community Centenary Hub
97 The Boulevard
Toronto NSW 2283

RSVPS essential to: Tricia Eldridge

For additional enquiries email Secretary

Follow us on FaceBook
Another way to keep up to date with Toronto Area Sustainable
Neighbourhood events and activities


Council considered a report from staff at its meeting held 28th September, 2020, regarding the Bath Street site. The report recommended that Council now proceed with design, and obtaining Development Consent, for the previously mooted “boutique café” (with potential for some hire facilities) but still retain the site as commercial Operational Land. Obviously, most people thought that this café was a much better outcome than the original proposal of a commercial building of up to six storeys high. 

The details on the actual size and extent of the café building with a large deck, were very generalised and vague, with the Mayor at one point in the meeting referring to it as a restaurant. Councillor Wendy Harrison moved to both define the size of the development and to reclassify the site as Community Land, that would become part of the adjoining Foreshore Park.

Council adopted that part of Cr Harrison’s motion defining the size and extent of the development, but not the other part to reclassify this Council owned property to Community Land. The only argument presented for this position was the claim that commercial Operational Land classification provides staff with more business opportunities and easier leasing arrangements. This was disappointing given that the legislation really only provides for very minimal controls to protect basic community interests or standards, when leases are granted for private businesses to operate on Community Park Land.

Council’s own planning documents show that Toronto needs more park land to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and the increasing number and size of apartment blocks in the nearby area. The decision not to incorporate the Bath Street site into the Foreshore Park therefore seems very short-sighted.

Earlier this year Council purchased a privately owned property at Swansea that adjoins a foreshore park so that the park could be expanded. At Toronto, Council already owns the land and there is a demonstrated need for parkland. The community is entitled to ask why there is such differential treatment between the two suburbs?

DA In Play to 5/11/20

The CPPA endeavours to provide a summary of active applications in our area as outlined in the table.

Please consult LMCC’s website for a full listing:

  • DA = Development Application
  • BC = Building Information Certificate
  • TA = Tree Assessment
  • CC = Construction Certificate,
  • CDC = Complying Development Certificate,
  • REF = Review Environmental Factors
  • SC = Subdivision Certificate.
  • MU = Mixed use
  • RFB = Residential flat Building

Pre-DA to ponder

There’s a new tool available to see what council’s plans for housing supply within our community are prior to the DAs being lodged, it’s the LMCC Urban Development Program (UDP). It monitors our City’s residential development pipeline in both greenfield and infill areas. A link to the UDP is on our website.

On the map you can see pre-development applications are in process at
  • 2 Brighton Ave for 18 small lot dwellings
  • 149 Excelsior Pde for 20 small lot dwellings
  • 163-167 Excelsior Pde for 28 small lot dwellings
  • 44 Brighton Ave for 10 small lot dwellings
  • 114 Carey St has 129 RBF MU dwellings
  • The Carey Bay Squash Courts has 23 RBF MU dwellings

Also shown are the approved 5 lot subdivision at 25-27 Kilaben Rd and 22 dwellings at 20 Laycock St.

Where are the community spaces and footpaths to support this growth?

Friday, 2 October 2020

Naturespace construction about to commence

The Coal Point Public School - Naturespace and Community Hub project is about to start construction. Here’s an update from The CPPS Naturescape Team.

The education trail that forms almost half of the Naturescape project will soon be under construction. It is proudly funded by the NSW State Government.

The trail will be built around the periphery of the top field at the school. Our successful contractor is an expert in track design and construction and we’re excited to have his team start on site in the next couple of weeks. To date, the trees in the area (including on adjacent Council properties) have been assessed by an arborist and pruned as needed to provide a safe environment for users of the trail.

Be aware that access to the school from the Coal Point Ridge Track may be limited at times of construction. Please help the project by following signage and/or instructions of the contractor if passing through on your walk/run/ride.

The Naturespace component of the project adjacent to Rofe Street is still in the final stages of design. Jamie Russell from Metiri Consultants in Toronto is providing civil engineering services. His team has kindly provided more services than their contract states in support of this local community project. We’re hoping we can move quickly to have this second stage of the project in construction in the next couple of months, to meet the timing requirements of the grant.

Part of finalising the Naturespace design will be choosing play elements to be incorporated into the activity zones we’re creating. We’re hoping to involve the kids through their classes. Covid restrictions have limited our community outreach but there may also be opportunity for community feedback and participation in planting activities. Please stay tuned and send us a message if you’re interested in being involved.

Further updates, community consultation and other opportunities for involvement will be posted on the project Facebook page, Coal Point Primary School Naturespace & Community Hub.

Scouts have regrouped

Diane Bellette, our local Scouts coordinator is pleased to announce Carey Bay Scout Group now has two Scout leaders. We can now welcome Scouts into our group. Girls and boys 11 to 14 years old. Scouts provide young people with the opportunity to take part in a range of activities that teach important life skills. Scouts learn essential outdoor safety skills as well as participate in a variety of physical and intellectual challenges. Epic bushwalks and camping expeditions, getting out on the water in a kayak, canoe or sailboat or even going up in a plane are just some of the adventures Scouts get up to!

Our Cub section also has room for girls and boys 8 to 11 years old. Cubs focus on exploring the outdoors & living an active lifestyle in a safe and friendly environment. They are introduced to traditional Scouting skills such as tying knots and take part in outdoor adventures such as camping, rock climbing, abseiling, bushwalking, sailing, gliding and flying, canoeing, and billy-karting!

Joey Scouts is for boys and girls aged 5 - 8. The focus is on fun and friendship, and provides a gentle introduction to a world of challenges and adventures through Scouting. Joeys are encouraged to express themselves creatively, through games, stories and craft activities. From building monsters and spaceships from scrap items, to growing plants from seedlings and science experiments all Joeys develop a strong sense of belonging and an understanding of the world around them. Joeys learn how to socialise with other children and help other people.


“Operational” intrigue overides community needs at Bath Street?

Council considered a report at its meeting held Monday 28th September, on the outcome of the token and limited “community consultation” for the proposal to construct a boutique café on the Bath Street site. The report provided the outcomes of the survey along with a recommendation that Council formally proceed with the café proposal.

The café is certainly a far better proposal than the previously mooted six storey apartment building. It appears to be welcomed by the community and the Toronto Foreshore Protection Group (TFPG), with 77% of the 420 survey respondents being either supportive or very supportive of the proposal.

Concerns still exist, however, with this proposal, that things aren’t as good as it may initially appear for the desperately needed community parkland. Some 64 survey respondents picked this up and unprompted by the survey, raised the need to reclassify the land as Community. Following closure of the online survey, four TFPG representatives accepted an invitation from Council officers to attend a meeting.

This meeting was advised of the intention to keep the proposed site as Operational Land, which from a Council perspective, makes it primarily a commercial operation. This also means that at a later date the café could be sold and/or extended both in size and height. The reason given for this unusual approach was supposedly that it gives Council greater freedom in business negotiations, including longer term leases. The report also claims under “Economic Impacts” that it will allow the provision of businesses “not allowable on Community Land.”

Such an approach to management of this important site is questioned, as while the Local Government Act does have some limited controls on businesses conducted on parks to provide for community protection, they are not unduly onerous. The Act steps out the processes that permits long term leases, enabling Council to grant leases for up to 21 years (even 30 years can be granted subject to the consent of the Minister). Proposed leases on Community Land are often advertised in the classified section of newspapers and are common practice throughout the State including Lake Macquarie. Why not at Toronto?

During discussions with Council the comment was made by the Council representatives about the likely small return to Council of this current business proposal, which is starting to ring alarm bells for local residents. Most people don’t object to Council undertaking some property development to increase its revenue base. It is, however, of real concern when property and business development is allowed to predominate over Local Government’s primary responsibilities of providing facilities and services to the community. Council cannot just singularly treat this important waterfront site as a short-term money-making project. It needs to apply good planning to ensure an integrated outcome for Toronto, considering all the community’s needs with attractive urban design and function that encourages visitors and promotes economic development.

While most people would be happy with a modest café on the site there is a great need at the same time to acknowledge the recommendations of both State and Council planning guidelines, suggesting important public owned waterfront land be made community parkland. In September last year Council resolved to investigate the option of reclassification of all or part of the Bath Street site to Community Land and to date (one year later) there has been no formal response to this particular resolution.

Unfortunately, the vague building concept varies in detail from time to time regarding both the building size and actual business operations, with the Mayor referring to it during the meeting as a “restaurant.” Fortunately, Cr Wendy Harrison moved an amendment to establish a maximum size for the development and also requested the site be made Community Land. The motion was successful in firming up the maximum development size but the Community Land proposal did not have sufficient supporting numbers to be successful. There is evidence though that some Councillors are beginning to appreciate the importance of this public waterfront land being reclassified and fully integrated with the long-awaited Foreshore Master Plan for our park.

Can you help us get Matt Kean, keen to #CleanUpCoalAsh?

The Hunter Community Environment Centre’s (HCEC) new report Out of the Ashes II is being released early October and sets out clear policy pathways, that if adopted by the NSW Government will:

  • Stop the spread of harmful heavy metal pollution, impacting species and water quality in Lake Macquarie, the Upper Cox’s river and the Central Hunter Valley
  • See the beneficial reuse of coal-ash increase and boost the sustainable manufacturing sector in regional NSW
  • Make the full remediation and revegetation of these polluted sites possible.

Last year, our Environment and Energy Minster, Matt Kean appeared in NSW Parliament alongside Greg Piper MP spruiking coal-ash reuse, and the HCEC needs your help to hold him to his word.

You can join a COVID-safe gathering at the Coal Ash Inquiry Hearings Tuesday 6 October, 12:30pm outside the Lake Macquarie City Council Chambers to show your support to all those giving evidence at the second public hearing.

The public hearing will be live-streamed. 

Can you support the #CleanUpCoalAsh social media campaign with messages to the Minister Kean (@Matt_KeanMP), urging him to take action on coal-ash ?

What’s in a name?

The local landcare group have been exploring names for the bushland patches we care for on the West Ridge and off Stansfield Close. Names provide for a connection to the history of the area and a sense of place and most of our reserves have aboriginal names.

Research by Robyn Gill resulted in naming Puntei (a narrow neck of land) Creek in 2005, which never had a name, and last year Killibinbin (shining water) Reserve the spacious grassy foreshore reserve, overlooking Kilaben Bay at the southern end of Laycock Street and Puntei Park, the grassy leash free area bordered by Hampton Street and Excelsior Parade, received their monikers.

We’d been tossing about a few names for our unnamed reserves; Kollai (timber, trees, wood), Keelkeelba (Grass tree place- they are spectacular at the moment on the West Ridge) and Weemilah (a good view) when Lisa McKendry did some extensive research and discovered the original name for what is now Coal Point.

Tirabeenbah Mountain

In 1841 it seems Coal Point may have been known as Tirabeenbah Mountain.

Recently I was looking at an 1841 map of ‘Awaba or Lake Macquarie’, which can be found on the Hunter Living Histories website. It has local geological notes and Aboriginal place names marked. The Coal Point peninsula is clearly marked in ink ‘Tirabeenba’. (‘Ebenezer Colliery’ and ‘wharf’ are printed on the map). The article suggests that the written notes on the map may have been made by the Reverend W. B. Clarke, a geologist who visited our area in 1842.

Curious about this, I did a search and found another early reference to ‘Tirabeenbah Mountain’. In 1842 W. B. Clarke wrote an article for the Geological Society of London about the fossil pine forest in the area now called Fennell Bay. In describing ‘Awaaba’ and the peninsula, he says “very recently coal works have been opened about 4 feet above the level of the water in Tirabeenbah Mountain”. Also, a small map marks the peninsula as ‘Tirabeenba’. This document and others are available on the University of Wollongong website.

The Ebenezer Colliery mentioned above in the 1841 map was the source of the name Coal Point. This coal mine was owned by the Scottish Reverend Lancelot Edward Threlkeld. In those early days, Reverend Threlkeld documented the local Awabakal language with his Aboriginal friend Biraban (his name means Eaglehawk). Threlkeld, in his book, ‘An Australian Grammar’ (1834) writes the names of places are generally descriptive, for example Tirabinba means the toothed place. In the ‘Common Places’ section of the book he writes “Ti-ra-bé-en-ba - A long point of land tooth like; from Ti-ra, a tooth.”

There is also good evidence that early names for the Toronto/Coal Point Ebenezer Estate, belonging to Threlkeld, were Derahbambah, which means rising ground, and Punte which means a narrow piece of land, as outlined in the book “Reid’s Mistake”(1967) by K.R. Clouten.

Perhaps, others may be able to enlighten the Punte/Tirabeenbah/Coal Point Chronicle with some naming suggestions?

More interesting local history

Locals Living Life

There are some amazing people within our community doing wonderful things for the greater good as well as supporting local initiatives.

Here are what two locals are getting up to.If you’d like to share your story please get in touch.

Knitting, Tatting and Nervous Breakdowns

Alison Bryson is currently involved with the CPPA exploring how we can create
‘green-space communities’ and has just published Knitting, Tatting and Nervous Breakdowns. Alison explained “Given the topic and the current situation of more people experiencing anxiety as a result of Covid-19, I’m keen to share this lived experience with others.”
“You’ve no idea what’s happening to you, have you?” the doctor asked.
She was right.

In 2010 Alison Bryson had a nervous breakdown. She didn’t know people who had breakdowns. She didn’t know what to do with herself being unable to work. She didn’t know if she would recover and be able to live independently again. She just didn’t know.

This is her story of not recognising herself or the mind that she’d known for forty years, of being looked after by her parents in the Scottish village where she grew up and of the people and activities she encountered, that brought joy back into her life.

The book is available through all major outlets as paperback or e-book; Amazon, Book Depository, Angus & Robertson, Fishpond, Booktopia

The Great Cycle Challenge

Nico Marcar is an active landcarer and advocates for better cycling across the City through LMCC’s Active Transport Advisory Group and Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance. This October, he’s taking part in the Great Cycle Challenge to fight kids’ cancer!

Nico’s reasons for participating are clear.

“Research is vital to support cancer prevention and treatment. This 
requires funding.

Cancer is the largest single killer of children from disease in Australia.

Kids should be living life, not fighting for it.

And so I am riding and raising funds to support the Children’s Medical Research Institute to continue their work into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and finding a cure for childhood cancer.

I’ve set myself a goal of 500 km.

Your support through donations to my fundraising page will help to give these kids the brighter futures they deserve.”

DAs In Play to 1/10/20

The CPPA endeavours to provide a summary of active applications in our area as outlined in the table.

Please consult LMCC’s website for a full listing:
  • DA=Development Application
  • BC= Building Information Certificate
  • TA=Tree Assessment
  • CC=Construction Certificate,
  • CDC= Complying Development Certificate,
  • REF= Review Environmental Factors
  • SC=Subdivision Certificate.

Walk Safely to School Day was a great success on Sept 11.

What a way to start the day! The walking bus was full on Walk Safely to School Day. The Carey Bay route proved to be popular with 14 children, 11 adults and 2 dogs on board. The children enjoyed the nature trek, walking, running and chattering along the way. The parents enjoyed the safety, the scenery and the chance to be social as well. The dogs were very happy and well behaved on leashes.

The route worked well with people joining the bus at Laycock St, at Whitelocke Street, happy friends very excited about seeing each other.

Everyone arrived safely and happily at school, there was only one trip on the last steep slope, where the track narrows and the tree roots are exposed, but like a true adventurer the happy traveller jumped up and journeyed on.

The parents are keen to make this a regular Friday event and the Coal Point Parents facebook group will be used to plan and share the info.

Congrats everyone on giving it a go it’s a big step forward in making our community more resilient, friendly and safer.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Friday 11 Sept - Walk Safely to School Day Route

The walking bus is revving its engine.

We've walked the route to review and eliminate potential risks, minimising road crossings and ensuring high visibility when we have to cross.

The walking bus driver and two conductors are all on board,  we only need some passengers to make the trip.

There are some super sights to see along the way, the mega-mural, spectacular views and bushland in bloom.

The route is outlined below with approximate times, depending on number of children and the pace. 

Everyone is welcome to come along for the walk and join us along the way. 

If you'd like to RSVP that will give us a guide as to the numbers, contact Suzanne at

Wednesday, 19 August 2020


The Toronto community has welcomed the recent news that Lake Macquarie City Council will place a modest café on the waterfront at Bath Street site and not a six-storey apartment tower.

On the surface the community’s two-year campaign to preserve the public foreshore for recreational use looks to have been successful, however, community unease still exists that Council is not following up with all of its previous decisions to protect this key piece of public waterfront for future generations.

The concern is that the ‘operational’ land of the proposed café and car park could still be sold off to a developer and, under the current zoning, be built upon at higher density.

Council’s resolution of September 2019 to defer further work on the large commercial development at Bath Street also included the integration of this site into the Toronto Foreshore Masterplan and initiating a process to reclassify the site as ‘community’ land.

Unfortunately, the community is still in the dark over Council’s implementation of the other aspects of last year’s resolution, still waiting almost 12 months later! 

In the past few years Council has reclassified numerous ‘Community land’ holdings around Toronto to ‘Operational land’, allowing the lots to be commercially developed or sold. It would be equitable for the Toronto region to regain some public land by reclassifying the Bath St site to ‘Community land’ for future generations .

TFPG and community leaders want Council to respond to the urgent need to provide more and not less recreational parkland for our rapidly growing population. The COVID crisis has brought even more awareness of the need for open-air public recreation.

TFPG is advocating for the Bath Street and adjacent ‘operational’ land to be reclassified and rezoned as ‘community’ land in perpetuity. Community classification does not preclude a long-term lease of compliant businesses such as café, information centre or equipment hire.

TFPG are encouraging the community to respond to the Council's online survey and include a comment about the importance of permanent protection of all the public foreshore as ‘Community land’.

Council’s very brief online survey is providing an opportunity for the community to say what features they would like to see included on the Bath Street parkland. The survey is open till Monday 24 August.

Make your comment count.

How will you be Fighting for Planet A?

The CPPA is getting on board with the Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s the ABC’s latest do-gooder campaign hosted by Craig Reucassel which explores how we can all reduce our individual and collective carbon emissions. The documentary series aims to empower and motivate Australians to take action on climate change and they provide a Carbon Counter and a community solutions plan too.

One of the community solutions put forward by ‘The Fight’ is to take part in the
‘Walk Safely to School Day’ on September 11.

Transport is a huge contributor to carbon emissions. Walking is not only good for the environment, but also has a favourable impact on our long-term mental and physical health – plus it’s free!

The CPPA, Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) and Coal Point Public School have taken up the challenge and will be putting our best feet forward by having a go at getting a Walking Bus on the move. 

What’s a Walking Bus?

A walking bus is a fun way for local children to walk to school together, thanks to adult volunteers and parents who walk with the group. The Walking Bus is accompanied by at least 2 adult volunteers, a ‘driver’ at the front and a ‘conductor’ at the rear.

For the Sept 11 event, which routes will be walked and the number of children who can join in will be determined by how many adults are keen to get on board.

COVID has changed many of our habits, our work days are different, our commute is not what it used to be. This is creating an opportunity to try something different. A way to build some exercise in the day, have a wander through some of our amazing bushland and enjoy some quality time with the kids and break down the fear of walking as a way of getting to school safely.

If you’d like to be a part of this community drive to reduce driving and help our kids get comfortable with walking to school get in touch with Suzanne by phone 0438596741 or email A video conference will be held on 31/8/20 with interested adults to work out what we’d like to see happen and map out a route.

Here are links to more reading about the Walking Bus concept.

The National Walk Safely to School Day site 

How to start a Walking School Bus Resource page. This includes a how to start guide, parents survey, participation pledge and certificate 

A 4-page pdf guide on how to get a Walking started 

Have an individual stoush for the Planet.

To celebrate National Science Week the ABC launched its Carbon Counter that allows you to see how much CO2 you could save with just one change to your lifestyle. If you want to do something about climate change but aren’t sure where to start, the ABC Science Carbon Counter can help you identify simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint – and see how much CO2 you would save.

Could you have shorter showers? Or try eating kangaroo instead of beef? What difference would composting make? You can compare the savings from different challenges to choose the one that suits you.

Climate change is a daunting problem that requires society-wide solutions. But Carbon Counter shows that individuals can also make a difference, especially if we work together.

Toronto Scouts Donation Drive

When the Toronto Scouts reopened 12 months ago they soon realised that a lot of their gear was either mouldy or so old it had to be thrown out. In addition, during the 5 years the group was closed many people had keys to the hall & lots of stuff went missing.

So the Scouts are on a mission to raise funds to start replacing the gear they need.

The Scout group has been actively fundraising and would like to thank the community for the support so far. A special thanks goes out to Mark & Leanne Shields from Shields Auto. They have donated kayaks & life jackets plus tables & are sponsoring the first order of our group shirts.

The next fundraising target is to buy tents for the troop. It’s hard to imagine a scout without a tent.

To make a donations contact Diane by email: or their facebook page

Centennial Coal’s Myuna Coal Mine - Modification 2 proposal

Centennial Coal’s Myuna Coal Mine - Modification 2 proposal aims to haul 1million tonnes of coal/year along Wangi and Wilton Roads as the proposed route between Myuna Colliery and Cooranbong Entry Site. The proposal is on exhibition until 27 Aug.

Greg Piper MP has created an e-petition which states “NSW Planning will soon consider an application by Centennial Coal to truck one million tonnes of coal per year over busy public roads in western Lake Macquarie. This will create 62,400 truck movements a year, or one every three minutes during the specified times of operation. This must not be allowed to happen.”

There are two ways to make a comment.

1. Sign the e-petition put forward by Greg Piper MP -Stop Centennial Coal putting 62,000 coal trucks a year on public roads in Western Lake Macquarie

which requests the Minister for Planning and Legislative Assembly to:

  • Reject Centennial Coal’s application to move a million tonnes of coal a year over public roads in Lake Macquarie;

  • Ensure that future applications to allow coal haulage on public roads in Lake Macquarie are rejected, except for when there may be an emergency short-term need to provide ongoing power generation.

Petition link:

2. Make a Submission to the NSW Government's Major projects portal. You have to create an account, which is easy and then there’s a space for comments or you can just tick a box.

proposed coal haul route
From the Myuna colliery Modification report

Beyond Our Backyard

Early August was Landcare Week and our local team celebrated with the completion of a little video, Beyond Our Backyard. It highlights our landcaring efforts, showcases the wrap technique for treating large quantities of weeds and celebrates our local bushland. The video was created by Suzanne Pritchard on behalf of the CPPA as part of a Digital Storytelling course sponsored by the Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance.

What we’ve been weeding

Landcarers spend a lot of time weeding because that releases the natives from the
grip of super tough, vigorously growing, abundantly seedy weeds that can easily gain an upper hand and outcompete the locals for light and water.

We have a list of over 100 common weeds that we deal with in our local reserves. They flower and seed at different times of the year and each have a particular extraction technique.

The weeds we’ve been dealing with lately include; 

Mother of Millions aka Bryophyllum delagoens - removed by carefully plucking them out of their camouflaging hidey-holes and bagging them up for a trip to the tip.

Thunbergia alata
Black-eye Susan aka Thunbergia alata,
not the threatened species but the orange petalled-black centred weed with dainty fragile stems that need to be traced back to the ground and carefully dug out by the roots.

We’re constantly dealing with exotic grasses that escape from under the fence of neighbours, or are brought in on equipment and vehicles of maintenance crews. Buffalo grass gets chipped out with a mini mattock, Guinea grass can be chipped out or cut with a gyprock knife in a circular sweep around the roots.

Turkey rhubarb in bag
Turkey rhubarb tuber...mmmm
Another favourite that puts some variety in our landcare session is Turkey Rhubarb-Acetosa sagittata. This rambling, arrow-leaved, vigorous vine smothers anything in its path, produces a mass of wind borne seeds and grows an amazing chain of underground tubers, which provide quite a bit of enjoyment whilst digging them out.


Eco-Angels Outcomes 
Clean up rubbish

On Sunday August 9, the Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance organised a citywide cleanup in order to highlight the increase in plastics litter during the current Covid19 crisis. Rubbish collected included plastic takeaway, gloves, masks, wipes and especially coffee cups as well as other rubbish! Toronto Lions Park was one of 5 cleanup areas and 23 full bags of rubbish were collected there, plus lots of broken furniture. Well done to the community for helping!
Eco angels clean up
The Toronto Eco-Angels

Australians use about 130 kg of plastic per person each year and up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean. Australians use about 10 million straws each day and 1 billion Takeaway coffee cups each year, mostly going to landfill! There is a push to increase the use of plastics during the Covid19 crisis but recent research points out that Coronavirus may last longer on plastic than other surfaces.

One hundred and twenty five world health experts have defended the safety of reusables during the pandemic. There are safe ways of using reusable coffee cups without cafe staff touching them, so encourage cafes to start using them again. Also, Queensland is to ban single use plastic straws, stirrers and plates, etc. joining South and Western Australia and the ACT, as well as 112 countries and cities. So, let’s get the NSW Government to ban them as well. Let’s back up our wonderful community members who cleaned up at Toronto Lions Park last Sunday!

Pamper Care Report

Pamper Care turned three in July. In the last financial year, the project assisted approximately 100 people. We have networked with a local school, Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre and OzHarvest which has seen food go to families in Blacksmiths, Belmont, Charlestown, Windale, Warners Bay, Speers Point, Blackalls Park, Wangi, Dora Creek and Bonnells Bay.

DAs In Play to 19/8/20

The CPPA endeavours to provide a summary of active applications in our area as outlined in the table.

Please consult LMCC’s website for a full listing:

DA=Development Application

BC= Building Information Certificate

TA=Tree Assessment

CC=Construction Certificate,

CDC= Complying Development Certificate,

REF= Review Environmental Factors

SC=Subdivision Certificate.


The approval for Anglican Care’s the Aged Residential facility on Laycock Street has been granted.

It went before the Hunter Central Coast Regional Planning Panel on 15th July by videoconference.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

How would you like your Foreshore/Pool?

“How hard is it for a local council to give the public what it wants?” asked Samantha Hutchinson in her CBD column in the Sydney Morning Herald of 4 June 2020. “Near impossible” was the answer.

No she wasn’t referring to Lake Macquarie City Council but to Georges River Council in southern Sydney which is working through a planning process to upgrade a local pool.

Georges River Council began by sh
utting down the Kogarah War Memorial Pool before the new pool had even been designed. Then in May 2020 councillors decided to build the new pool at nearby Todd Park.

Yet a planning report obtained by Ms Hutchinson revealed that “almost three-quarters of residents who made submissions asked for it to stay in its original location”.

Nevertheless, the new pool will have a water slide. Residents were asked for their thoughts on a water slide: “How many said yes? Less than 1%”.

Now Georges River is a long way from Lake Macquarie so it may be hard to see the relevance to Toronto.

But, in the ongoing saga of Council’s proposed high-rise building for the Toronto Foreshore, the community has long argued for the Bath Street site to be integrated with the foreshore parkland with improved recreational amenities.

So Council’s recent r
esponse to the question of “Why was the community not asked to provide input into which scenarios were chosen for the ‘Sustainability Review” is perplexing:

“SGS Economics are a specialist consultancy firm that were engaged as a sub-consultant… SGS methodology sought to remove as much subjectivity from the process as possible and provide Councillors with an independent analysis of the site with respect to the potential uses. The ideology behind the different potential uses is not to identify specifically what the future use will be, but rather to compare a number of different scales of use, hence why their analysis ranges from a “Do Nothing” approach right through to a “Precinct Plan”.

The scenarios being examined by the consultant are: 
1) do nothing 
2) open space, park 
3) park with cafe 
4) compliant development for community purposes 
5) 4-6 storey residential development with commercial space 
6) as for (5) but with serviced apartments, and 
7) as for (5) and (6) but with a Precinct Plan.

Even after Council had in September 2019 walked away from endorsing a proposed Precinct Plan and unanimously voted to defer further work on the proposed mixed use apartment building, we now have a consultant being paid to examine a Precinct Plan and high-rise residential and serviced apartment buildings as part of a series of ‘scalable options’!

The community has provided many suggestions for the future use of the Bath Street site, but we are not being consulted because that would be ‘subjective’. Meanwhile Council staff and the consultants are happily playing ducks and drakes with several options that the community has already rejected.

In August 2019 Mayor Fraser assured a packed public gallery that she had “listened to the community” and that any decision “will not be without proper consultation with the community and lengthy discussion about what the community wants“. Perhaps Council staff need to be reminded of this?

Westlakes ratepayers know how it feels to be shut out of decision-making that directly affects them.

At least the Georges River community was allowed to comment, even if the comments were then ignored.

The Westlakes community still has not been given any say on the future use of the Bath Street site !

Perhaps it’s time we spoke with Ms Hutchinson and the Sydney Morning Herald. They may better be able to find out what has happened to the Foreshore Master Plan and who is so determined to resurrect the high-rise apartment tower.

Naturespace and Community Hub Update

Coal Point Public School's (CPPS) parent project team is in the exciting phase of designing the Coal Point Public School - Naturespace and Community Hub. A concept plan with an education trail and play zones was shared with the Coal Point Public School teaching staff, prior to Covid-19 restrictions, and received useful and positive feedback. The project team are now developing activities for the school students to provide input into the concept plan, which they will receive early third term.

The Naturespace and Community Hub will be built around the periphery of top field, an area that currently gets little use. Once the project is completed it will get lots of use, and so it has been necessary to assess the risk posed by the trees currently growing in the area. An arborist has completed this assessment.

During the school holidays the project team marked the proposed route for the education trail with pink paint and flags. A specialist trail builder measured and recorded the alignment of the trail. His team have prepared a scoping document, which is being used to cost the trail. Further updates, community consultation and other opportunities for involvement will be posted on the project Facebook page -Coal Point Primary School Naturespace & Community Hub.