Friday, 20 March 2020

What kind of kind neighbour are you?

The COVID-19 concerns are real and changing the way we relate to each other. Whilst face-to-face contact is less desirable, the options for connecting online are very real and with the NBN rolling out locally over the next month much more accessible.

The CPPA is exploring ideas to keep our community connected and caring for each other.

  • This could be a facebook group...Nice Nearby Neighbours where we can post support ideas and chat
  • We might be able to host online catchups or social watch parties.

If you have any ideas or expertise in social media that you'd like to discuss please contact Suzanne  

Have you thought about dropping a hello card into your neighbour? This connection card makes the introduction easy Whilst the cuppa and the BBQ might be out of the question, knowing who lives across the road may ease concerns of isolation.There's also a simple introduction card or a piece of paper will do.

Neighbour Day is the last Sunday in March 29/3/20, a great time to check in with those who may need a hand or just to know there is someone out there.

TFPG Update March 2020


Wednesday 25 March, 4:30-6:30pm
Toronto Multi-Purpose Centre
Chat to Council Staff and get an update on the Toronto Foreshore project

Toronto Foreshore Protection Group representatives met recently with Mayor Fraser and three Council staff. Based on our current understanding it appears that commencement of foreshore upgrades as per the Toronto Foreshore Master Plan (TFMP) would not commence until mid to late 2023. So, why is this likely to be the case? There are several reasons for this but they all stem from liberal interpretations of the six September 2019 Council-adopted recommendations. Seemingly unwarranted delays in progress is the outcome. The recommendations pertained to both the Bath Street site and the rest of the foreshore. Even though recommendation D called for the physical area of TFMP to include the Bath Street site, Council is still dealing in fact with the both ‘projects’ separately.

The major reasons claimed for the delays are:

1. Recommendation A (ii): Council has interpreted this as a review of Council’s entire LGA property portfolio, not just those in Toronto, which is what the community had thought. Be that as it may, the two-staged process that Council is employing to do this means a significant time delay in reporting back (at least mid 2020). Why should this be the case you might ask?

2. Recommendation B: Council has indicated that the process to reclassify [non-Bath Street site]from ‘operational’ foreshore land to ‘community will take at least 18 months (late 2021) but more probably not until 2022/23. Why you might ask, when Council only has to advertise for 28 days an intent to change the classification of public land before passing the resolution to change.

3. Recommendation F: Council has interpreted this as the need for a detailed consultancy project which will consider the merits of a suite of options (including ‘do nothing’, ‘parkland’, ‘mixed use development consistent with the LEP’ and ‘6 storey mixed use development’) against the four ‘pillars’ (economic, social, sustainability and governance) of Council’s Sustainability Policy for the Bath Street site. This process will take until at least mid 2020 to complete. Council has stated that such a process is necessary to assess ‘future use and design elements’ as desired by councillors via this recommendation. But why is Council even considering the do nothing and mixed use commercial options when these have already been ruled out by the community and clearly stated, for example in the Phase 3 engagement report, petitions, meetings and media articles?

4. As a consequence of the above, further work on developing the TFMP (recommendation E) is also on hold as Council considers this to be contingent on F.

Therefore, the community is once again poorer for having to wait for several more years before any improvements occur in spite of the approx. $9M of contributions having been available now for a number of years!

Council elections are due in September 2020. It would be disturbing if the delays in process were simply delaying tactics so that a new Council could reassess the situation. Surely this was not the intent of the September 2019 recommendations?

CPPA membership & AGM

A dedicated committee and 154 members support the activities of our local Progress Association. The majority of members are silent supporters as a show of endorsement for our community endeavours. Whether it be landcaring our reserves, sharing information and creating community conservations via The Chronicle or maintaining our hall as a space for members to meet, your support is greatly appreciated.

Membership renewals are due by 31/3/20. After this date you will be unfinancial until 30/6/20 at which point you cease to be a member.

Here is a membership form or contact the committee and we can join you up.

Our community is one thing we all have in coming, it is our home, our place of memories. The CPPA has been a part of the community since 1946 and is committed to helping shape our future so that the values of our community can be retained. Your support is greatly appreciated.

AGM 17/5/20

The AGM of the CPPA will be a little different this year and be held on a Sunday afternoon, 17th May. The CPPA Committee is looking for willing locals to assist with the deliberations and running of the CPPA as the organisation evolves to address the needs of the community in challenging times. Feel free to contact any of the committee to find out more.

RMS road shoulder issues.

As you would know there are a number of RMS maintained road sections in the wider Toronto area that have narrow and/or undesignated road shoulders which are a major hazard for cyclists. In our area it is really only Wangi Road/Cary Street/Main Road and Awaba Road - these are state roads.

The TASNG is compiling a list of specific sections that we will forward to RMS for their consideration in the first instance. Please send any suggestions to

Landcare...good for your well-being

Weekly landcaring is back in full swing with 141hr of bushland regeneration already undertaken in January. It’s easy to see how 1982hr were achieved in the past year. The social and dedicated group have an inexhaustible passion which they are happy to share.
World Wetlands Day didn’t go by unnoticed, a productive landcare session was held at Puntei Creek Reserve, the new name for the landcare site previously known as Carey Bay Wetlands, and part of the larger Puntei Park.

In case you didn’t think landcaring was good for you, a 2019 study by the University of Exeter found spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and wellbeing. Dr Mat White, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the study, said: "It's well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people's health and wellbeing but until now we've not been able to say how much is enough. The majority of nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home so even visiting local urban greenspaces seems to be a good thing. Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit."

Landcare sessions are anytime from 8am till noon on Thursdays.

Can you find a Formosa Lily?

Local landcaring legend Lois has this to say…How lucky we are to have so many neighbours who support efforts in ecological restoration and management. The tossing of rubbish or garden refuse into our reserves is so rare and damage is so minimal the odd truck tyre or bicycle rims hardly dents our smile, and with a heave-ho to Clean Up Australia Day they went, along with an abandoned dinghy.

But today's excitement is about one particular milestone. As I walked along Coal Point ridge, I found just one Formosa lily to dig out. Just one! Over the years, locals have been looking out for this virulent pest, slowing its spread and removing it from their patch. Perseverance is paying off. Of course, the war is not won, but I feel we are almost there. Hurrah, Coal Point! Our little part of the world is in good hands.
A handy picture guide to removal is available for viewing below... just cutting off the flowers before they seed will stop their spread.

Hoons beware

The pedal to the metal brigade might like to take a more sedate approach to motion in2020. One resident has been “shocked at the speed at which some locals, some on P’s, that use the straights in Excelsior Pde and Coal Point Road as Con-rod Straight at Bathurst. I have a couple number plates that I will ask Police to contact to let them know they’re being watched”.

At 50km/hr it takes a 72 seconds to travel the 1km from Laycock St to Jarret St along Excelsior Pde, at 80km/hr it’s 45seconds…what is 27 seconds worth?

A gong and a BAM for great grants

It's Official- the TSLS project is complete

The Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula (TSLS) project was officially signed off on 23/12/19, a satisfying way to round out the year. A heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the project.

The feedback from the Environmental Trust was effusive in their praise, rating the project as excellent, and providing the following comments;

Condition across all (Landcare) sites has improved and are now on a strong
recovery trajectory, evidenced through a thorough monitoring program. Ultimately, these improvements will result in enhanced opportunities for reproduction and dispersal of threatened species including Powerful Owl, Squirrel Glider, and Black-eyed Susan (Tetratheca juncea) as well as several non-threatened native species. 
A staggering 25,400 hours of volunteer time toward delivery of the project and involvement in on-ground activities was reported...the regular attendance of Landcare volunteers has tripled over the duration of the project. 
Awareness raising amongst volunteers and the wider community has been achieved through development of more than 300 resources and running of 125 events. Collectively, these events interacted with over 4,000 people directly, with a significantly greater number reached through media promotion of the events and project works. 
Involvement of school students from local pre-, primary and high schools has been extensive with over 1,700 students involved in a range of on-ground activities and awareness raising events specific to the local bushland environment, integrated with school learning outcomes through school curricula. 57 stakeholder groups were engaged through or with the project. 
The monitoring techniques applied over the project duration effectively demonstrate improvement in site condition. Highly useful information has been generated, vindicating the regeneration methods used by contractors and volunteers on the target weeds, the installation of nest boxes, and the benefits of applying fire to sites heavily infested with Asparagus Fern. Bird surveys indicate an increasing pressure from Noisy Miner use at the sites. Diversity within the vegetation strata (particularly in the lower and ground layers) is key to ensuring smaller birds can persist in the sites. 
The Community Bush Regeneration program was designed to support community groups to deliver positive bush regeneration outcomes for and with their local communities. This is exactly what this project has achieved.
Congratulations on accomplishing more than was expected … The outcomes are testament to six years of hard work and dedication by all directly involved with delivery of this project.

On the 2nd April the landcare sites that received attention throughout the 6-year TSLS Project (2012-2018) were tobe reviewed using the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM), on behalf of the Environmental Trust. This process will formally evaluate the impacts on threatened species and threatened ecological communities, and their habitats, and the impact on biodiversity values. The is part of a review of the 6-year grant structure, a timeframe which had not been previously trialled.- The BAM visit has been postponed due to COVID-19.

Thank you to everyone involved in the project 

Winter gatherings at the hall welcome

The 2018 Community Building partnership grant was also wrapped up in time for New Year celebrations. Sustainable Solutions for Progress Hall Stage2-Excellence in Energy Efficiency, has seen Progress Hall reach levels of comfort never before experienced. Underfloor insulation, air conditioning, possum proofing and new fans and LED lights on the stage have made the hall an all-weather community space which is currently being enjoyed by yogis, artists and community members celebrating special occasions. Hall hire availability can be viewed at

Community comments for Council’s consultations

The start of the year has been shoulder to the wheel and nose to the grindstone for the CPPA and TASNG brains-trust, with many hours spent reviewing council documentation, deliberating over surveys and developing comments on strategies that are shaping the future of our town, the City and the environment.

LMCC Housing Strategy 2019

The ‘Let’s Thrive Housing Strategy 2019’ explored how we’ll live, where we’ll live and how much land was going to be clear felled or infilled for this purpose. Some excerpts from the CPPA submission are:

The Carey Bay Medium density zoning and the Excelsior Pde/Brighton Ave corridor area offer a strategic opportunity to diversify the housing mix within the community and support the downsizing of the ageing population within the context of an engaged community that values its bushland assets.

The connection to our local bushland through bushland corridors and parklands gives our peninsula community a unique point of difference. The bushland aesthetic accompanied by the proximity to the lake is highly valued and makes our community ‘highly liveable’. Maintaining the community aesthetic and values, retains and builds on the fabric of the community.

Our community offers an opportunity to ‘Facilitate innovative design and delivery mechanisms’ to provide for the mix of social and cultural diversity. The identified action within the strategy to amend planning controls, to encourage, smaller dwellings, secondary dwellings and small-scale infill and compact alternative housing types provides opportunities to reimagine community that will be resilient in a climate changing world. Sustainable settlements with design options that are community focused, share community assets and reinforce communal spaces are acknowledged as important in redefining our communities of the future and planning controls need to facilitate these options.

Within the context of Carey Bay precinct, any changes to the LEP/DCP need to be commensurate with the scale of the B1 zoned ‘shopping centre’ and the surrounding low-density zone. The small shopping complex has been used to justify the medium density zoning around Carey Bay and is increasingly referenced as justification for excessive development. This centre is constrained by its location and surrounded by both low and medium density. Low density zoning still dominates our community and any increase in density needs “To maintain and enhance the residential amenity and character of the surrounding area.”

Blanket decisions to “Increase height limit for the R3 Medium Residential zone and B1 Local Centre zone to better accommodate residential flat buildings” will not reflect the scale or context of these zonings within our community and this action is not supported.

The predominant zoning within our community is low density. Any review of setbacks, width and lot size needs incorporation of transition zones between low and medium density zonings, to protect existing residents’ “scenic, aesthetic and cultural heritage qualities of the built and natural environment” and retain the bushland connections and corridors.

The facilitation of community discussion within the Carey Bay medium density zoning and surrounds would be a welcome action to arise from this strategy. Providing residents with the opportunity to partner in the transition of the community would provide opportunities to explore and masterplan the transition to increased density instead of piecemeal development proposals. Engaging with the community in this manner would provide a new methodology to achieve infill requirements with a community consensus, additionally providing opportunities for existing property owners to consider infill options on their land. Global megatrends that are predicting an increase in cooperative structures and enhanced democracy would align well with this approach.

The Coal Point Progress Association looks forward to discussing with Council an innovative and collaborative locality-based approach to the delivery of diverse housing supply within our community, which protects our local environment and ensures that our residents continue to be able to have options to live amongst our community with their family and friends.

You can read the CPPA’s complete Housing Strategy submission here.

Draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027(ESSAP) 

The Draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027(ESSAP) also received local scrutiny. The CPPA was involved in the development of the response submitted by Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group, whole-heartedly endorsing their submission. The following comments were made in addition to the TASNG submission, both of which are available on the CPPA website.

The ESSAP is a crucial document to ensure the long-term health and maintenance of the unique environmental assets of our City. The connected bushland that still spans the City provides a point of difference to other urbanised centres and a considerable head-start on meeting UN Sustainability Development Goals. This sets our City apart from our urban neighbours, Newcastle, Central Coast and Sydney.

A Strategy that values the biodiversity, connectivity and environmental services provided by native vegetation would endeavour to reverse the loss of native vegetation cover which is currently embedded in the ESSAP at 57.5% and strive for 60% cover, a point at which the integrity of the ecosystem function and environmental services are sustainable and providing an economic contribution.

The projected loss of 70ha/year of native vegetation cover is not sustainable. At a point, below 60% vegetation cover, the integrity of the ecosystem function and environmental services provided becomes compromised and increasingly additional resources are needed to be expended to furnish the services that vegetation cover supplies by virtue of its existence. It is a false economy to deplete a resource in the short term without any regard for intergenerational equity and the escalating climate change impacts that are being experienced.

Within this context an economic model that is driven by value adding to the existing vegetation assets, using them to connect communities and encourage recreational endeavours through appropriate infrastructure, would proffer opportunities to drive an eco-tourism market that supports retention and protection of native vegetation for the social and economic health of the City.

The next document for consideration is the Coastal Management Program exploring issues to ‘identify new opportunities to improve the health of our lake, waterways and coastline while maintaining community access and recreation in these areas.’ Ideas on the future management of the lake are being sought. This plan will resonate with the protection of the foreshore and may provide guidance on how the Toronto Foreshore Masterplan rolls out.

Catch Up with the Coal-ash Community Alliance-POSTPONED

It’s been 12 months since the Myuna Bay Sport & Rec Centre closure triggered by the potential collapse of Eraring’s Ash dam wall. The local Coal-ash Community Alliance is hosting a community awareness gathering at Wangi Workers on Wednesday 25/3/20, 6pm to update on the problems of the accumulating coal-ash in our community. POSTPONED

At the February Power & Pollution Summit, Bronya Lipski (Environmental Justice Australia) revealed that a comparison of licenses undertaken on operational and coal-ash remediation showed Australia is decades behind international standards and is exceptionally poorly regulated. This has resulted in short and long-term health impacts which are responsible for 300 death/year.

Lisa Evans from the USA-based Earth Justice shared the American experience where in 2008 an ash dam breach contaminated a 121ha river system, including high value waterfront properties, and killed more than 40 people who were involved in the clean-up relocating the toxic sludge (they were discouraged from wearing adequate PPE so as not to alarm people of the danger).

This event triggered a reform on the safe operation of coal-ash dumps in the USA which included:
  • Groundwater monitoring for all contaminants at the boundary of the ash dam & public access to data
  • Stringent limits on toxic pollutants in groundwater
  • Closure of all unlined wet coal ash basins
  • Groundwater restoration when contamination limits were exceeded
  • Engineering controls and siting restrictions for ash-dams
  • Structural stability standards
  • Safe closure of all coal-ash dumps, with monitoring for 30 years including corrective measures for breaches
  • Financial assurance for clean-up on closure
These measures are something our community can aspire to as the coal-ash dam clean-up associated with the closure of Eraring and Vales Point looms in the next decade. On the up-side the closures provide opportunities to create jobs in the remediation of the sites. The more thorough the clean-up the more jobs created, which has the potential to release 3000ha of waterfront land back to the community, remove the threat of ash-dam wall collapse, along with protecting the long-term health of the environment and community and generating new local industry in coal-ash reuse.

The CPPA made a submission to the inquiry into the costs for remediation of sites containing coal ash repositories and was been invited to give evidence at a hearing on 27/3/20, but it has been POSTPONED.


The CPPA endeavours to provide a summary of active applications in our area. Please consult LMCC’s website for a full listing.

DA=Development Application, BC= Building Information Certificate TA=Tree Assessment, CC=construction Certificate

Due to community feedback on what kind of DAs get published in The Chronicle we will be extending the DA list to include all local DAs within the Chronicle distribution area (Coal Point-Toronto). As one local expressed “If a DA would upset a neighbour or other resident in the close vicinity of the intended works, then it must mean it would be development which should not be approved without good reason or proper investigation and consultation”.

If you have any comments to make on the CPPA’s DA listings please let us know. It is a community service we undertake for the benefit of our residents.

Listings From Jan-March 2020


A significant approval for one of the larger developments within our community, 22 units,  was recently granted at 20 Laycock Street, behind the preschool.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2020-27 Comments due 9/3/20

An extension to comment on the draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2020-27 was granted till 9/3/20.

Representatives from the CPPA and TASNG have spent many hours reviewing the document and survey which unfortunately was not very easy to digest or navigate. The product of these deliberations is the basis for the CPPA submission.

If you have time to comment please feel free to endorse the considered review provided by the 
community submissions prepared by Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group and the 
Lake Macquarie  Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance

LMCC Draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027

On behalf of the Coal Point Progress Association (CPPA) thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027 and providing an opportunity to better understand the document at the community workshop attended on 26/2/20.
The CPPA was involved in the development of the response submitted by Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) (Appendix 1) and so whole-heartedly endorses this submission. The following comments are made in addition to the TASNG submission.
The ESSAP is a crucial document to ensure the long-term health and maintenance of the unique environmental assets of our City. The connected bushland that still spans the City provides a point of difference to other urbanised centres and a considerable head-start on meeting UN Sustainability Development Goals. This sets our City apart from our urban neighbours, Newcastle, Central Coast and Sydney.
A Strategy that values the biodiversity, connectivity and environmental services provided by native vegetation would endeavour to reverse the loss of native vegetation cover which is currently embedded in the ESSAP at 57.5% and strive for 60% cover, a point at which the integrity of the ecosystem function and environmental services are sustainable and providing an economic contribution.
The projected loss of 70ha/year of native vegetation cover is not sustainable. At a point, below 60% vegetation cover, the integrity of the ecosystem function and environmental services provided becomes compromised and increasingly additional resources are needed to be expended to furnish the services that vegetation cover supplies by virtue of its existence. It is a false economy to deplete a resource in the short term without any regard for intergenerational equity and the escalating climate change impacts that are being experienced.
Within this context an economic model that is driven by value adding to the existing vegetation assets, using them to connect communities and encourage recreational endeavours through appropriate infrastructure, would proffer opportunities to drive an eco-tourism market that supports retention and protection of native vegetation for the social and economic health of the City.
It is unfortunate the structure of the document and survey has made the community consultation process difficult to share in any meaningful way. The CPPA has in the past endeavoured to provide community summaries on significant documents however the time required to process this document has overwhelmed even the most committed of community representatives. 

Suzanne Pritchard
President- Secretary, Coal Point Progress Association

LMCC Draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027Submission by Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group March 2020

General comments

Lake Macquarie City Council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027 (ESSAP) is a very important Council document both for the community to evaluate and for Council to implement.
Council has widely articulated the importance of its Sustainability Policy. This policy has four ‘pillars’ - environment, social, economic and governance. ‘Under this policy Council commits to making an equitable contribution to all aspects of sustainability (environmental, social, economic and sustainable governance) for Council and the City.’ The ESSAP could elaborate on the meaning of ‘equitable’ and how the philosophical intent translates to actions.
This ESSAP focuses on the environment pillar and, as such, it provides a critical balance to the economic-centric view of the world held by some. Because of its wide ramifications, environmental sustainability in its broadest sense is arguably the most important issue for the community and therefore should be for Council. As such, this document must be robust and integrate with all other strategies across Council.
However, the ESSAP document is quite complex in content and presentation, as are many of Council’s strategic documents. Thus it requires a considerable investment of time to properly assess and respond to. This is especially true of the stated actions. Because of this, only a small proportion of the community will likely respond. A shorter summary of the themes, targets and actions is required. The current summary section reads more like an introduction.
The Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) has chosen to put a submission together. We believe that the on-line survey is not helpful for gauging community response. This is also the case with other strategy surveys. The recent community workshop held at Charlestown was certainly useful and enabled those present to highlight key areas needing attention. However, we note that two workshops were cancelled because of insufficient interest. In order for Council to better engage with the community for this and other strategies we suggest that a meeting of some community members and Council be convened to consider alternative survey models.
We appreciate the complexity of issues surrounding the concepts of ‘sustainability’ and that the ESSAP aims to identify linkages with other Council strategies already commenced and planned. We keenly support Council’s lead in pursuing sustainability development goals (SDGs) and aligning with state, federal and international initiatives.
With respect to SGSs, it is not clear what is meant by ‘percentage of our targets mapped to the four pillars...’ nor the value in presenting these statistics.  Perhaps the ESSAP could start with the SDGs as the end-goal and the framework to be used, and then the objectives, targets and actions  built around them.  For example, how is ‘no poverty’ being addressed unless residents have affordable housing, a significant issue for Lake Macquarie LGA? Page 7 could be better placed further back in the document.
Interestingly the document does not include a definition of ‘sustainability’, though there are several possible definitions and Council’s four-pillar Sustainability Policy are referenced. Perhaps something like the following could be used or expanded on: ‘the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance’ or ‘the capacity for the biosphere and human civilisation to coexist’.
We note that Council has employed a Circular Economy Leader and trust that this will allow Council to better put sustainability measures in place. However, we also note that ambitious sustainability goals can be at odds with Council’s consistent messages about economic development and desire for ambitious population growth targets. It would be useful if the ESSAP provided commentary on the importance of the environment within the four-pillar sustainability policy.
We suggest that the aspirations of the ESSAP should be bolder in line with the urgency of climate change and alignment with SDG timelines. Lake Macquarie LGA is part of the larger Hunter Central Coast region and NSW. Therefore some commentary on collaboration to achieve aspirations, particularly around issues such as large-scale renewables, transport, circular economy and biodiversity, would be relevant in this document.
Perhaps section on ‘Targets’ should be logically placed after the ‘Themes’. It’s important to get the context right before the targets are presented because the targets will determine the efficacy of the actions and vice versa.
There are a number of references in the targets to 2007 and 2019 ‘baseline’ years but no further  elaboration. The ESSAP needs to provide figures for these years and sources of information in order for us to interpret the value of the targets presented.
We anticipate that both Council and Councillors will embrace the sentiments expressed in page 6. On page 11, we note that ‘Diverse economy’ and ‘Connected Communities’ are not recognised in the theme of “Protecting and enhancing our natural landscapes”. In addition, without ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, our ‘Unique Landscapes’ will be impacted.
There are too many actions listed. They are mostly not measurable and therefore it is difficult to see how they relate to the stated targets. This is a pity because in their own right they are interesting and important. In their current presentation, the actions are related to ‘issues’ which have not previously been elaborated on and focus on inter-strategy interactions. This is confusing and the vast majority of residents will just ‘glaze over’ them. There is too much to absorb and in a timely manner. Surely, the actions should be related to achieving the targets? We suggest that there should to be an additional section within the document labelled ‘Action and Delivery Plans’ or similar that is simpler and shorter and shows how the [smaller] number of actions will lead to each target being met.
We have focussed our feedback on the targets (pp. 18-19). We have elected not to comment separately on the individual actions but generally concur with comments made by Charlestown Sustainable Neighbourhood Group and the Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance.

Strategic Theme 1: Protecting and enhancing our natural landscapes

1.1 Maintain at least 57.5% native vegetation cover in the City.
How was this figure arrived at? Currently we understand that this figure (for remnant native vegetation) is 58.5% (37588 ha) as mapped in 2018 with an average rate of clearing of 70 ha per year.[1] What is the current and expected future rate of clearing and what is the definition of ‘clearing’, i.e. complete and/or partial? According to a 2018 Council report on biodiversity 2050, the percent native vegetation cover is expected to decline to about 51%[2]. Based on Council’s Environment Enhancement 2023[3] statement calling for a 25% reduction in the rate of land clearing, shouldn’t we expect closer to 50 ha per year?  How does 57.% fit with Council’s suggested 40% greenfield development target? The physical distribution of land clearing throughout the LGA is also important, with most of the projected green fill sites being in west ward and parts of the north ward.
1.2 Improve the condition of 30% of public land with high conservation value compared to 2007.
What is the % of total LGA area that is public land with high conservation value? Why is this phrased as relative to 2007 base line? To what degree will such land be improved. Why is 30% chosen? Is this to line up with the existing State of the Environment reports? How much improvement has already occurred since 2007?
1.3 No net loss in connectivity of ecological communities from 2007 baseline.
We support this target. However, why is the 2007 baseline chosen?  There should be a focus on the health of the connection as well as the presence of a connection.
1.4 5% increase in area of the City (land and water) with conservation status compared to 2007 baseline
We support the thrust of this target. However, why 5% and why relative to 2007? What has been the change between 2007 and 2019 in land with conservation status? The Ecosystem Enhancement 2023[4] recommendation is 20% increase in area of public and/or private land with conservation status (excluding the lake).
1.5 20% increase in lake and waterway health compared to 2007 baseline
Why 20% and why relative to 2007? What has been the change between 2007 and 2019 in lake waterway health? Surely water quality is much better in 2020?
1.6 Achieve a ‘100% Water Cycle City’ state
We support this target.
1.7 90% of residents place a high value on the health of the natural environment (beaches, lake and bushland) of Lake Macquarie
We support this target.

Strategic Theme 2: Supporting Resilient Communities

2.1 Natural disaster risk reduction strategies in place for 100% of the City’s extreme and high risks.
We support this target. However, the recent bushfire and climate change impacts have demonstrated that much of the LGA is now considered high risk and risk assessments need to be updated. There is also opportunity to engage citizen helpers in times of storms and bushfires to support other personnel.
2.2 Climate change risk reduction strategies in place for 100% of the City’s extreme and high risks
We support this target, but refer above. 
2.3 100% of known contaminated public land assessed for risk to human health and prioritised for risk mitigation measures.
We support this target. However, what is the figure for known contaminated private land? For example at Eraring and Vales Point Power stations?
2.4 Air quality emissions in the City meet the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure
We support this target. Air quality monitoring should be installed across the lake and targets set for each. The environmental risks from the ash dams and air pollution from Eraring and Vales Point Power Stations need to be properly assessed and Council need to keep lobbying state government to do this.
2.5 70% of residents believe they have the information and resources needed to prepare, respond and recover from adverse events
We support the thrust of this target but why 70% is chosen should be clarified? Should it be ‘households’?
In addition, Council needs to consider how climate change and lack of vegetation cover impact on the ‘heat island effect’ in our urban centres and how this can be partly mitigated through an urban revegetation policy.

Strategic Theme 3. Creating a sustainable city and communities

3.1 57% reduction in City-wide per capita and total Council greenhouse gas emissions from 2007 baseline.
We support this target, but how is the figure of 57% arrived at and why is this relative to the 2007 baseline? What is the 2007 baseline line compared with 2019? There should also be emphasis given to reducing consumption and demand for energy resources, as well as energy efficiency.
3.2 12% reduction in City-wide per capita and total Council drinking water consumption from 2007 baseline.
We support the thrust of this target and note a small increase in per cent reduction on Sustainability Engagement 2023. Is ‘drinking’ water the same as ‘potable’ water? However, we would like to see a more ambitious target, closer to 30%, given the recent drought and climate change impacts. Continued education is the key to reducing daily water consumption thereby reducing the need for potential infrastructure spend by Hunter Water on a dam or desalination plant.
3.3 Increase active transport (walking and other) to 15% of total trips (Transport for NSW Household Travel Survey - Data by LGA).
We support this target. It is a rather complex area that is currently being pursued under the Active Transport strategy, including rolling out appropriate infrastructure. Both strategies can work closely together to achieve both the health benefits and assessment of the likely to impact on reducing air pollution, greenhouse gases and energy consumption. Achieving this target will also require continued communication with State government to improve links to public transport.
3.4 80% of residents report taking positive actions to source renewable energy and/or conserve water and/or undertake active transport trips.
Whilst we support the thrust of this target, we would like to know why ‘and/or’ is used and what is defined as a ‘positive action’. The three activities cannot be directly compared either due to the metrics needed or lack of quantification or both. What is the goal of this target and how will it be monitored? This target should be expanded to include businesses.

Strategy Theme 4. Responsible consumption and production.

4.1 30% reduction in the per capita ecological footprint of the City from 2007 baseline.
We are not clear what is meant by this target and how it can be measured. Ecological footprint is a ‘resource accounting tool’ and not an accurate measurement. This is the same ‘higher level target’ as indicated in Council’s Sustainable Environment 2023 statement, however there is no reference to 2007 baseline there. Why is there again reference to 2007 baseline? How much have we already progressed from that baseline?
4.2 To divert 75% of waste from properties serviced by Council (residential and commercial) away from landfill
We support this target. However, there is an issue (perceived or actual) with how much waste is actually recycled and not sent to land fill. This needs to be addressed to give the public confidence in the system.
4.3 To divert 90% of construction and demolition waste generated and managed by Council operations away from landfill
We support this target.
4.4 100% of Council tender specifications include recycled products, where a functionally and economically viable alternative to new materials is available.
We support this target. This figure should be expanded to include reused and sustainably sourced products. How are ‘functionally and economically viable alternatives’ assessed, and by whom?
4.5 Increase the number of businesses in the region involved in Circular Economy manufacturing, design, reuse, repair and recycling of materials by 20% from 2019 baseline
We support this target. How will it be implemented? Why is a 2019 baseline used here? Is it because there was no earlier baseline? More effort needs to go into publicity and creating jobs in the circular economy.
4.6 90% of residents believe it is important for residents of Lake Macquarie to reduce their resource consumption.
We support this target in principal. However, we believe that it is insufficient for residents to just ‘believe’. The wording should be expanded to include a target for residents ‘reporting’ reduction in resource consumption. This is an important and complex issue and at the heart of increasing community understanding of the need for a ‘circular economy’. Dealing with over and inappropriate consumption is the key to a sustainable environment.

[2]    LMCC (2018) Summary Background Technical Report for Lake Mac 2050 Strategy – Biodiversity, Lake Macquarie Combined Ecological Layer 2018 prepared by Robbie Economos for Lake Macquarie City Council
[3]    Lake Macquarie City State of the Environment report 2018-2019 p. 6
[4]    Lake Macquarie City State of the Environment report 2018-2019 p. 6