Tuesday, 16 June 2020

An Affable AGM

The online AGM was attended by 14 locals and saw the stalwart committee re-elected for another year of guiding the good ship Progress. Additionally a fruitful discussion was held post-AGM exploring the potential of a conservancy fund that supports sustainable living.

The four wheels of experience on the finely tuned Progress powerhouse of a machine include:

  • Tony Dynon, who will continue to coordinate the delivery of the Chronicle and provide a voice of reason and guidance on community thought, as he has done since 2001 when he first joined the committee.
  • Ian Dennison, whose intractable grip on the Treasury will ensure due diligence and well considered actions on all aspects of the organisation; this is his 10th year of spurring on sustainability within our community.
  • Harvey Mitchell, who will continue to support where needed, and ensure any risk is well thought through as he has enthusiastically done since joining the committee in 2017.
  • Suzanne Pritchard who will continue to contemplate and respond to community needs against the backdrop of respecting our unique bushland environment in a climate changing world, the same driver that saw her join the committee 25 years ago.

Thanks were given to Robyn Garrett for her contributions towards managing the membership and Veronica Lund for auditing our accounts.

The full Annual Report is available online and summarises the activities of the past year including the membership breakdown, hall usage, grants completed, DAs deliberated upon, submissions lodged, communications shared, activities we’ve supported and a summary of landcaring in our reserves.

Overall the past year has been one of maintenance. Maintaining the energy levels of the Committee by not taking on too much, maintaining the hall with upgraded energy efficiencies, maintaining the membership by reinforcing membership criteria, maintaining our reserves with regular landcare and maintaining awareness of threats to community spaces and sense of place through advocacy and community communication.

Even though it was supposed to be a slower paced year there was still enough going on to keep the committee active and the community informed and engaged, which was underscored by the local enthusiasm for supporting local ‘My Community’ projects.

The CPPA’s involvement with the Toronto Foreshore Protection Group, awareness of local DAs and active engagement with LMCC’s community consultations has provided an abundance of opportunities to consider what kind of community we value.

The summer bushfires, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic have further highlighted the need to consider what a resilient community looks like. How can connections be maintained, what is a ‘better’ way?

The CPPA is in a unique position in time and space to be able to explore possible solutions. Can we create a precedence that protects and values our bushland for future generations whilst sustainably supporting and strengthening the existing community to function and flourish? Is there a pathway that builds connections that can withstand difficult times?

What is a Conservancy?

The post-AGM conversation provided a starting point for a turning point with a meaningful dialogue occurring on the concept of a conservancy. Five interested folk have agreed to explore the potential of a conservancy fund that would support sustainable and social living whilst protecting remnant bushland and building community. Since the AGM the Conservancy Crew have met online and are in the process of a fact-finding mission to investigate existing models, of which there are many, and meet with local politicians and council officers.

Footpath priorities - Nico Marcar

Pedestrian & Cycleways Working Group of TASNG

The COVID crisis has seen a marked increase in pedestrian activity in our area, both for excercise and commuting. However, we are all too aware of the need for more footpaths in our area to support safer walking if this heightened pedestrian activity is to continue. A good example is the much-used recent footpath extension along Brighton Ave to Ambrose Street, lobbied for by TASNG and CPPA.

However, Council has scarce resources (as we know), grant funding is limited and footpath construction is expensive. Therefore prioritisation is required.

Council’s draft Walking Cycling Better Streets Strategy is due to be released in a few months. It will include information about the priortisation process for footpaths. The majority of construction in the next 4 years will be focussed on:

Primary and secondary routes (popular walking routes) and crossing facilities within a 15 minute walking distance of economic centres and 10 minutes for local centres (also includes most train stations). Projects within these areas that also service schools will be prioritised.

  • Priority routes to schools
  • Bus stop connections
  • Alternative construction materials are also being considered where appropriate.

Council is considering how best to prioritise and apply for recent government infrastructure grants as post-COVID economic stimuli.

It’s always worth making a suggestion for where footpaths are badly needed and seem to fit as a priority, but bear in mind the above-mentioned constraints. One such example recently put forward is along Excelsior Pde between Jarrett and Pemmel Streets. 

Email suggestions like the one below to nico.marcar@gmail.com.

Encouraging and Facilitating Perambulation in Toronto

To the south and east of Toronto shopping centre, there are only two streets leading to the centre. Brighton Ave feeds the lower end of town and has a footpath its full length.
Excelsior Pde feeds the upper end of town, including the library, Woolworths, Aldi, doctors and dentists, etc. 

Pedestrian thoroughfare is fragmented, rough and, in some places non-existent and dangerous. Residents of Kilaben Bay and much of Carey Bay must run the gauntlet along Excelsior Pde to walk to the centre. The alternative is to drive.

In the interests of sustainability, cleaner air and the physical well-being of our residents, exploring the feasibility of a footpath would be most welcome.

Excelsior Pde between Jarrett St and Pemmel St.
  • The block is less than 400m long.
  • The south side of the street is impassable because of the terrain.
  • The north side is the only alternative.
  • It has stretches of footpath at both eastern and western ends, some concrete, some bitumen and very patchy, but navigable on foot.
  • The middle stretch has no footpath at all and is navigable only with the greatest care. (Photos)
  • It is less than 200m long.
  • It is crossed by several driveways.
  • 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 days.
  • This section is totally unsuited to prams or strollers, difficult for the elderly or less able, and totally impossible for wheel chairs.

Buy Local...Support Local

Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group are asking our community to buy local, as our local businesses have been doing it tough. Get down to Toronto to buy a coffee, a takeaway meal, a magazine, some clothing or some new household items.

Our survey shows most shops are open...Clothing shops, the newsagent, barbers, butchers, bakers, pet supplies, florists, jewellers, chemists, dry cleaners, Allira Op Shop, etc are all open and need our support.

In particular, we can support our takeaway outlets: Subway, Nargis’, Turkish Takeaway, Thai Square, Toronto Thai, Dragon Sky Chinese, Cafe Déjà Vu, Miranda’s Cakes and Pies, Toronto Fish Shop, as well as our great coffee shops where we can now dine up to 10 people (Tinto’s, Hughzies, Greg &Audrey’s, Casanova, Double Take, Cafe 2283, Belluno’s, Boulevarde Coffee Hub, King &Co, Boulevarde Cafe Larder, Michel’s and Cleavers).

Looking after our local businesses is as easy as strolling down to Carey Bay Shopping Village.

The Goods cafe are keeping the community caffeinated and well fed with fruit & veg boxes now available. They are also supporting the local landcare crew by accepting spare coins that combined may buy a muffin or cuppa or two for the landcare morning tea, a way to say thanks to the landcarers that are looking after our local bushland whilst supporting the café.

While you’re waiting for the coffee to brew have a sqizz at the Westlakes Trophies, Framing & Engraving gift options and start planning for that unique end of year gift, engraved or framed with care and consideration. Carl & Helen are long-term community supporters and supporting them whilst they sort through the impacts of the COVID-induced shortened sporting season would be a neighbourly gesture.

Carey Bay Hair Art are back in the chair on Thursday and Fridays for your grooming pleasure. You can book your seat by phoning 4959 2926.

MelRose Cakes are still cooking up a storm with everything made fresh to order. If you’d like a special treat, orders large and small are most welcome for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, macroons and cake pops. With wedding cakes being the main business line for Mel, COVID has put a hole in the cakepan of life. Call Mel to discuss your sweet treats on 0407 427 099.

Carey Bay Laundry and Ironing Services are still operating Monday to Friday. The B&B business downturn put a few creases in their plans. As restrictions are lifting the demand will too, but in the mean time ring John (0418 673 020) to confirm the best time to drop by.

Hunter Back Care is open for business to attend to any COVID-induced constrictions that may have emerged over the past few months as we’ve been doing things differently and in different positions. Call 4959 5966 to book an appointment.

Ninety percent of Shane’s Seafood business shut down when the lockdown happened, but thankfully the newly refurbished retail shop doubled its sales. A bigtime thankyou from Tony to all the locals that supported them during the COVID crunch.

Omni Dreaming is always open by appointment and has seen an increased demand for meditation, card readings and a friendly ear as a way of dealing with the COVID uncertainty. Whilst group activities are still on hold personal consultations can be arranged by calling Clair 0407 758 424.

Carey Bay Cellars “can’t thank our customers enough for all their support and encouragement, the way the local community has banded together has been fantastic.”

The Jetty Man has been operating on Lake Macquarie 20 years as of May. Luke and Tina Stansfield would like to give much thanks to their local clients and they truly appreciate the support of everyone past and into the future


TFPG Update June 2020

The community is disappointed at Council’s snail pace on resolving the acknowledged need for more parkland in Toronto. Council’s resolution of 23 September 2019, which included deferment of work on planning for a 6-storey commercial development on the Bath Street foreshore site, was subject to a number of other actions. It is this detail and interpretation that is causing the angst with the community and, we understand, with some Councillors.

Amongst these actions, or part thereof, was to review the best future use of the Bath Street site against Council’s Sustainability Policy. We understand that consultants have been engaged. Council’s published timeline shows that this review will be finalised between July and October this year with the outcome of this review likely to be used to determine the future use of the land. This is despite there being no consultation (seeking information or advice) with the community on the future use of this important public land.

Whilst sustainability reviews are good public policy in themselves, these can be very subjective. Great care is required in the numerical weighting assigned to the different components and, more importantly, choosing which particular options are to be modelled. Unless this decision making is open, including community input, then outcomes can be easily biased. We are not aware of an open and transparent process with this review design so whilst not wanting to appear cynical, do not hold high hopes of a true outcome when it arrives between July and October.

The Council decision to adopt a closed-door approach to community input into the future use of this public land at Bath Street is perplexing, particularly as it is at odds with the Local Government Act which requires Council to act in the interests of the “local community” and Council’s own City Vision which supports “shared decision making”. Apparently, Toronto must be excluded from this, unlike other areas in Lake Macquarie. We note, for example, that the development and rebuilding of the badly fire damaged Awaba House includes a Community Reference Group. Newcastle City Council recently decided to upgrade the Newcastle Ocean Baths without community input, resulting in community outrage. Council fortunately changed their procedures and through working with the community instead, developed better processes and outcomes. A Council and community working together saves time, money and ensures good outcomes for future generations.

During this entire Bath Street fiasco, Council also appears to have ignored the economic value of an attractive park and the economic stimulus that such a facility can provide to a town and community. There have been many investigations and reports prepared worldwide on the economic benefits of attractive parks and particularly waterfront parks. Peter Harnik in his article “Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System” certainly recognises the significant role in stimulating tourism but it also acknowledges increased property, health and community cohesion values, as well as the economic value of reducing costs of treating stormwater runoff and improving air quality. Other authors identify that waterfront parks when combined with good urban design enhance the “local identity” of a place which acts as a drawcard for visitors. Locally one only has to look across the lake to Warners Bay where the economic impacts of a waterfront park are very obvious.

Imagine the tourism potential for Toronto and surrounds from an attractive Bath Street park with some recreational based community facilities. This could form part of an entire improved foreshore park, with a link to an upgraded Greenway path for cyclists and pedestrians through to Fassifern.

To quote the acclaimed architect Elizabeth Farrelly - an “unalterable truth: our parks are absolutely our shared lifelines and, as our lives become more constrained, our parks become all that more essential.” With the rapid population growth and apartment blocks being built in our area, Council’s own planning documents identify that the population growth rate around Toronto is projected to be 20% and will require “an additional 2.12 hectares of community land by 2030 for open space and recreation facilities.” Our area urgently needs this public Bath Street land to be included as an attractive park.

Unfortunately, it appears that Council is not interested in consulting and finding out community wishes so please take the initiative yourself and tell Council and your Councillors what you would like to see on this public land.

Keep up to date at http://tfpg.org.au/ 

Birding About

Rob Palazzi conducts a monthly bird survey around Coal Point- Carey Bay, ably assisted by Michael Paver. They’ve been monitoring a Satin Bowerbird nest on the West Ridge over the past 10 months and have provided some background on the bower habits of the local bowerbirds.

"The Satins like all birds need a rest period to get a break from the non-stop worry about breeding! The effort needed and the motivation to keep at it (bower-building) probably doesn’t go 12 months of the year. What will be interesting is how that old bower shows over the next several months.
The other bower in the Carey Bay Wetlands has been non-functional for some time now. It is unlikely, given the distance separating the bowers, that this is the same bird, so we might see both become active again come spring. Michael and I often see a male in Noorumba and he will sometimes fly off in the direction of the Wetlands reserve. There appears to be at least one female around that area as well. We have also recorded the two sexes down the school end of the Ridge, so probably two pairs.
Of note otherwise - the numbers of lorikeet (particularly Musk) will be reducing as the Spotted Gum blossom fades. They also like the Swamp Mahogany, which is flowering now, although there are only a few of these trees in the reserves.

We found a few of the smaller birds this month particularly on the Ridge reserves. A lone Lewin’s Honeyeater (a first for our surveys) plus a pair of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike were nice visitors." 
Images courtesy Rod Palazzi.

Landcare Returns

The weeds haven’t been practising social distancing and have certainly taken advantage of the landcarer lockdown but that’s all about to change as the Landcare team emerges from the enforced hiatus.

Along with a willingness to tackle the weeds in our local reserves the landcare line-up are keen to share their weedy wisdom with all those who have been beating about their bushy backyards over the past few months. At 10am each Thursday there’s an opportunity to bring your weeds (or natives) along to the landcare morning tea and find out what you’ve got growing and if it’s friend or foe.

The landcare locations are mentioned in the Chronicle and the exact location details can be found on the online calendar or by ringing or leaving a message with John or Lois 4959 5863.

Burnage Carnage: 

Whilst landcarers have not been permitted to work in the reserves it was truly distressing to find that someone had been giving Burnage Reserve a workout. 

Dumping of household rubbish, destruction of trees that had been nurtured for years and the mass movement of soil to create a bike jump have left the volunteer landcarers saddened as they prepare to return to activity and prepare Burnage reserve for a National Tree Day planting on 2nd August, if COVID conditions allow.

Help keep Coal Point Barleria free.

It's always that time of year to tackle Barleria, it never rests and has the potential to be a massive problem. 

  • Individual plants and stems can be manually removed, taking care to ensure that as little as possible of the root system is left behind.
  • If total removal is difficult, the removal of flowers and immature fruit will help reduce new infestations.
  • Do not add the weeds to your garden compost unless you can leave them in a bin of water for 3 months (to kill the seeds) before re-using.
  • Thicker stems can be scraped and painted with undiluted Glyphosate.
  • Or you can you can spray foliage with diluted herbicide. As the leaves are shiny, mixing in a surfactant will improve results. (Some brands already include it.)
  • Regularly spot spray re-emerging seedlings for a year.

Neighbourhood Watching

Over the period Thurs 14/5 and Sun 17/5 five cars belonging to locals had their tyres knifed and punctured in the Coal Point area. 

The incidents were reported at the Toronto Police station,(02) 4088 1099. 

So keep an eye out for tyre-tearing types.

DAs In Play to 9/6/20

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: https://www.lakemac.com.au/Development/Planning-and-development-services/Application-Enquiry.

DA=Development Application, BC= Building Information Certificate TA=Tree Assessment, CC=Construction Certificate, CDC= Complying Development Certificate, REF= Review Environmental Factors, SC=Subdivision Certificate.

Trees In Newcastle is still open

You can view the species available here