Saturday, 9 October 2021


Annual General Meeting

You're invited to the online Annual General Meeting of Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group on Wednesday 13 October, 5pm, via Zoom

Register in advance for this Zoom meeting:

The AGM Agenda will be

1. Welcome – Acknowledgement of Country
2. Attendance & Apologies
3. To confirm the Minutes of the AGM held on 11 November 2020.
4. Reports
5. Election of Office bearers - To elect an executive committee
Nominations for each of these positions should reach the Secretary at least ONE week prior to the meeting date. Please email
6. To determine an annual membership fee.
7. To conduct any other business as required.

The October monthly meeting will follow the AGM

Looking after Locals after lockdown

As we emerge from our health hiatus and tentatively step forth along the road to recovery, spare a thought, and some cash, to support our local business that have done it tough over the past months. If you can buy local, you’ll be keeping our community humming along and providing the goods and services we need.

Transitioning to plastic free

The NSW Plastics Action Plan sets out several actions to better manage plastics and reduce their environmental impact, including phasing out some of the most littered plastic items through new legislation.

The Action Plan targets are to work towards national waste targets including:
• phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025
• ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, starting in 2021
• reduce the total waste generated in Australia by 10% per person by 2030
• recover an average 80% of resources from all waste streams by 2030
• significantly increase the use of recycled content by government and industry.

TASNG are starting to plan for the next phase of our Plastic Free Lake Mac campaign, with a focus on supporting our local businesses to make the transition away from plastic items such as "reusable" thick plastic bags, veggie bags, coffee cups, plastic cutlery, stirrers and straws.

What are your ideas about ways to help local businesses, and how would you like to be involved? Please let TASNG know. If there are businesses we can support in Toronto to transition through writing grants and providing information we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime you can recycle a whole range of soft scrunchable plastics through the REDcycle program at Woolworths and Coles

Candidates Forum 23/11/21 and Council Elections 4/12/21

2018 Community meeting crowd

This event has been rescheduled for the 23rd November.

West Ward residents will be asked to cast their vote for

Mayor and four West Ward councillors on Saturday December 4th.

The Toronto Action Group (TAG) has combined with other Westlakes community and Sustainability Neighbourhood Groups from Toronto, Five Bays and Rathmines, to host a Candidates’ Forum to get to know the councillor and mayoral candidates.

Due to COVID concerns, only candidates and event coordinators will be present at the venue however the audience will be able to view the discussions online and get responses to the questions they have submitted to the candidates.

What are the issues they'll be championing? What is their community background and how will they represent the community?

The past few years have highlighted how much and how little some councillors do for the local community. Do we want invisible placeholders or active champions?

This forum is the beginning of our 3-year relationship with our reps. and this is our get to know you speed date.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the candidates or an issue you’d like to hear their thoughts on?
• Email -
• Facebook -
• Drop a note in to the CPPA letterbox (197 Skye Point Rd)
• Post it to PO Box 329, Toronto.

The TAG team will be collecting and collating questions to pose to the candidates on the night.

Register to attend the online forum here.

The July Chronicle Article below provided more background to why the Forum is being held.


The postponed Council elections of last year will now be held on Saturday 4th September this year. Westlakes residents will be asked to cast their vote for Mayor and four West Ward Councillors.

The Toronto Action Group has combined with other Westlakes community/sustainability groups to host a West Ward and Mayoral Candidates’ Forum online. 

We won’t know until November 4th who the candidates will be. But we already know the issues that affect us. Some are very local (e.g. kerbs and footpaths) whilst others affect most of Westlakes (e.g. traffic, parking, lake access and loss of trees).

Council has made progress on environmental, social and economic health. The Toronto Foreshore Masterplan, the Walking and Cycling Strategy and the draft Lake Activation Strategy hold out hope of further improvements.

Nevertheless, there have been some huge frustrations. Not least were the wasted two years arguing over the proposed multi-storey apartment block on Toronto’s foreshore that the community was not asked about and never wanted. Increased building density is being poorly planned with more and more traffic clogging roads and chasing less parking space.

Behind all of this is an often fractured and strained relationship with the present Council and Councillors. Some ward Councillors have been reluctant to consult with their community. Wendy Harrison (retiring) has done so but with little support from her fellow Councillors.

It’s not just politics. The new organisational structure and attitude of senior Council staff have made community engagement much more difficult. Under the new structure, staff work in project teams across departments, many of which have been renamed and reinvented. Some staff appear to be happy with this arrangement, others not.

For residents it is now hard to find out who is responsible for what. Council has become opaque. For example, the Toronto Foreshore Masterplan was managed not by Planning or Parks but by Property & Business Development, while Rathmines Park masterplan was managed by Asset Management.

Residents are ‘consulted’ on a plethora of strategies and plans through the ‘shape.lakemac’ website. Their representations and submissions are ‘summarised’ in engagement reports, but it is usually hard to spot any changes made. Staff recommendations are put to Councillors, a few questions are asked, not necessarily answered, then the report is endorsed.

Is this ‘good governance’? Is the community being treated with respect? Are Councillors being treated with respect? Should ward Councillors actually support their communities on things that matter? Or should we just put up with the status quo?

Candid questions for the Candidates

The Candidates Forum will be an opportunity for community members to find out a little bit more about the people who want to represent us, their interests and their reasons for being our local representatives.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask them or an issue you’d like to hear their thoughts on?

The TAG team will be collecting and collating questions to pose to the candidates.

Send an email to with your question, or use the TAG facebook group to pose a thought-provoker or drop a note in to CPPA letterbox or post it to PO Box 329, Toronto.

Register to attend the Candidates Forum via Eventbrite. Both online and in-person attendees will need to register.

Did you know? The Bath Street site is NOT part of Toronto’s Foreshore Park.

The Council resolutions of September 2019 specified that Council was to ‘consider’ reclassifying part or all of the Bath Street site to community land.

Council documents state that a Park is a parcel of community land that Council manages and maintains as parkland for the benefit of residents and visitors.

Because the Bath Street site (4 Bath Street and 1B Victory Row) is classified operational land, Council has now confirmed that it is not part of Toronto’s Foreshore Park, even though it is part of the Foreshore Master Plan (FMP) area.

Council officers are insisting that keeping the Bath Street site as operational is consistent with the resolution, but has given no formal reasons.

It seems that the ‘consideration’ of reclassification by Council officers has been superficial and they are trying to avoid public scrutiny.

This is not good enough. As long as the status of the land remains ‘operational’, it is possible for Council to revive a high-rise development or sell off this waterfront land.

And there are still some Victory Row lots that have yet to be reclassified, although Council has agreed to do so, so they also lie outside the boundary of the Foreshore Park.

With the delayed Council elections now to be held in December, it is time that the Mayor and West Ward Councillors tell us their position on the boundaries of the Foreshore Park. This is particularly important given that Council’s own planning documents identify that, given the rapid population growth, Toronto is in need of additional parkland.

This Council has wasted a ridiculous amount of time and resources trying to foist an unwanted high-rise development onto our precious strip of foreshore. The Master Plan offers a way forward but it won’t integrate all of the foreshore into a park whilst the Bath Street site remains operational land.

As they say, it’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through it.

Will Council act in good faith or not?

Our Big Bushland Backyard

Almost a decade of Bird Surveys comes to an end

Since 2012 the CPPA has been fortunate to have had the support of enthusiastic bird surveyors recording the presence and noting the absence of our fine-feathered friends along the Coal Point peninsula. Between 2012-2018 Tom Clarke (left) undertook quarterly surveys. He handed the baton to Rob Palazzi (right) and Michael Paver (centre) who upped the ante with monthly surveys until the recent COVID lockdown. The sightings and pictures have been a regular part of the Chronicle.

The dynamic duo is now moving on and we offer our sincere thanks to them for their enormous contribution to our understanding of the local birdlife. The CPPA has been provided with a fantastic record of our local birdlife. Knowing what we have in such detail means we can also try to protect it. To have bird surveys covering almost a decade is a rare gift. Sincere thanks to Rob and Michael for providing your expertise and insights.

If you like looking at birds October 18-24 is the Aussie Backyard Bird Count hosted by Birdlife Australia.

If you’d like to be involved in regular bird surveys please get in touch with Suzanne at

Neighbours noticing nature

Local wildlife carer Catherine recently mentioned there are some Painted Button-quail about in Coal Point and she had a quail in care that had been caught by a cat; luckily there were no major injuries and it was released a few days later. Catherine mentioned there always have been quail here, but they are declining in numbers.

Rob Palazzi commented “our bird surveys have no records of the Button-quail, but that is sort of to be expected given that we walk through for a very brief check each month, and it is unusual to flush them when we stick to the tracks mostly.

The Painted Button-quail are known to forage using a curious twirling behaviour that results in a saucer sized flattening of the grass - if you find these it's a good diagnostic for their presence - almost as good as hearing a whipbird and calling that a definite presence! Good that the cat did no serious damage (this time) to the bird you found.”

The other wildlife that flitted through our bushland forest recently was a small wallaby/pademelon/kangaroo. It was sighted bounding about Burnage, gambolling at Gurranba and caught on dashcam at Oakhampton Court. As with the July sighting of the quoll, it is so good to know that we still have the capacity to receive wildlife through the connectivity of our bushland.

A note of neighbourly distress. 
"Two large, seemingly healthy gum trees were
removed from the front yards of adjoining properties last week - by separate contractors. It was very distressing considering these trees were so majestic, providing homes for nesting magpies as well as a safety net for possums and other local wildlife.

In the 37 years we’ve lived here we’ve watched maggies nesting in these trees - so sad to see the huge gap that remains. And so sad to hear the chain saws and munchers so regularly in Coal Point now."

Landcare Longings

National Tree Day was Tree-mendous

On the last Saturday before lockdown (31/7/21) 23 locals, visitors and Mayor Kay Fraser, spent a glorious morning planting for National Tree Day and the sharing BBQ lunch on the grass at Gurranba Reserve.

The month-long preparations to get the 2m strip bordering the path relatively weed free meant the 200 Lomandras and Dianellas could be planted and watered with a tender touch. The aim of this planting was to provide a protective edge to the unique foreshore vegetation, to hopefully stop the encroachment of the exotic grasses into the native vegetation and reduce the need for mowing.

It was a very happy day for one and all thanks to the wonderful organisation and collaboration between CPPA and TASNG as we celebrated Our Tree City status and wallowed in the spectacular outlook from Gurranba in the company of like-minded mortals.

(Lois sharing her landcaring wisdom with the Tree Day crew)

Beating about the Bush- Lois Simpson

Has Australia ever been so physically fit!?! So many people out and about walking!

And then you realise just how lucky we are, living in our bushland suburb, where, even unconsciously, our souls are soothed, our well-being is enhanced and we are armed to return to our more isolated existences.

Take opportunities to move slowly through the bush in our reserves. Nearby, a couple of grey butcherbirds are nesting (photo John Sharples). Their song begins early and finishes at sunset. How can you not admire their musical talents? Next, a flash of emerald as a king parrot swoops by. For them, habitat hollow real estate is at a premium.

Did you know that 75% of Australian birds need hollows to nest in...and that trees take decades, or even centuries to form those hollows? Every tree is precious, even a dead one, for our feathered friends and meandering marsupials.

After fire, flood and drought, nature has given us its best this spring. The vegetation is lush and alive as each species takes its turn to parade its colours - and when the vegetation is healthy, it underpins the health of the whole web of life.

Now is the time to breathe in the bush, to listen to its music and to admire its display. Covid has wreaked havoc, and yet has provided us with this one good chance.

Mother-of-millions on the March

Whilst the community effort at Gurranba has greatly reduced the number of Mother-of-millions, this prolific spreader is increasing in abundance outside of reserves, along the verges and footpaths in our community.

It has been growing prolifically over this last year because of the rain but can thrive in the harshest of environments. It is a constant battle, as every tiny branchlet will grow into a new plant...and the little branchlets will fall to the ground unnoticed and colonise immediately. It is spreading from yards and roadsides faster than we can spread the word, but fight on we must, as this poisonous plant has no known enemies in our country.

It is high on the government weed list and it is illegal to sell it in many parts of Australia.
If you clean some up from your yard or verge, please bag it and place in your landfill bin. Every little bit helps...and our city's natural places will be ever so grateful, along with the landcaring locals who spend many an hour mindfully removing Mother-of-millions so that our local plants can continue to thrive.

Photo by John Sharples with landcarer Rod and a mega Mother-of-millions, (Bryophyllum delagoense) 

Hansard Hero from 8th June 2021

Recognition of a community champion went into Hansards earlier this year. Whilst Lois' (left in above pic) kept it quiet, CPPA and TASNG felt a bit of local recognition was merited.

From Hansards

Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie)—Lois Simpson from Toronto has worked tirelessly to protect flora and fauna throughout Lake Macquarie for more than two decades. She has volunteered with numerous environmental projects and organisations over that time, and her dedication to bush regeneration has been relentless.

Lois says she always feels comfortable in the bush and has long recognised that looking after our bushland is not about aesthetics but about maintaining a stable web of life.

As Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteer Network's deputy chairperson, she worked hard to make sure Landcare continued to operate during COVID-19 and personally replanted much of Toronto Lions Park.

She is passionate about educating the next generation on delicate ecosystems and has worked with Fire and Rescue NSW to build a model fire retardant garden at their Toronto station.

Lois has also been involved with the Coal Point Endangered Species Project where she worked to save valuable habitat. She is also secretary of Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group, a member of Toronto Lions Auxiliary and spent nearly 20 years volunteering with Toronto Scouts as a cub leader.

I congratulate Lois and thank her for all she has done for our local community.

Climbing out of COVID, clambering back climate change, the continual challenge.

The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report of 9th August states “Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change.”

An infographic Worlds Apart- A story of three possible warmer worlds highlights our choices.

An ABC article on the IPCC report cited Leslie Hughes, Professor of Biology at Macquarie University and councillor at the Climate Council, as saying:

"What we do by 2030 would determine our future. There must be no new oil, coal or gas exploration or infrastructure. We've got to stop subsidising fossil fuels. We've got to electrify everything and then run everything from renewable energy. We've got to change our diets.We've really got to change most of the ways that we do things. But we know how to do it and there are ample opportunities to do so."

The Climate Council recently launched an
interactive Australian Gas Exploration Map, which demonstrates just how much of Australia’s pristine land and waterways are under threat from gas companies. Australia is already one of the world’s largest liquified gas producers, and yet, new gas projects are being proposed across the country.

On our door-step the Kurri Kurri gas-fired power station proposal is “locking us in for catastrophic climate impacts. Building a government-owned gas power station in the middle of a climate crisis is the equivalent of asking the Australian public to jump onto a sinking ship without a safety raft” according to the Climate Council. 

What can we do locally? Supporting a transition to renewable energy away from coal and fossil fuels, moving towards electric vehicles, protecting our trees and the natural areas that link them, and eating less meat. All the small actions will add up…it’s what got us into this predicament in the first place, it will get us out of it too and COVID has shown us that we can change the way we do things. This time it will be for the health of the planet and all its inhabitants.

Newstan Mine Extension proposal for 15 years.

The Newstan Mine Extension Project aims to extract up to 25.9 Mt of coal at a maximum rate of 4 Mtpa at the Newstan Colliery over a 15 year period. Mining would include first workings, partial extraction and total extraction by bord and pillar techniques.

In 2019, Myuna Sport and Recreation Centre was closed due the integrity of the Ash Dam and its infrastructure should an earthquake hit the City. Issues of concern around this project which proposes to mine under the ash dam include:
  • Subsidence,
  • seepage of heavy metals into Lake Macquarie
  • the integrity of the dam floor
  • contamination of ground and surface water.
The proposal states "Conservative protection barriers have been adopted in the mine design to minimise subsidence impact risks to overlying infrastructure such as the Main Northern Railway, Eraring Power Station and Eraring Ash Dam and sensitive surface water features such Stockyard Creek, Kilaben Creek, and Stony Creek."

The Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group has prepared a submission with reference to local impacts and is available here for you to review and consider in any personal submission.

You can send your objections to and click on “make a submission” button. Click “I object to the project” then add your comments or upload your submission.

Submissions are due by 19/10/21 via the NSW Planning Portal.

Great Southern Bioblitz 2021- Lake Mac City - 22-25 October

Over the past few months of exploring the local surrounds you may have noticed an occasional fungus, a periodic petal or two, the abundance of birds, the incessant insects, those tremendous trees, superb shrubbery, and groovy grasses. Their presence has helped to keep us present and provide much needed respite from the constraints of the COVID cloisters.

The Great Southern Bioblitz is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge this biodiverse abundance in our backyard, a way of saying thank you to the silent majority and recognising their place in our community space… and you’ll get find out the names of these floral and faunal friends.

All you need is a camera and computing capacity to upload to inaturalist, a very easy-to-use app/desktop application. A community of citizen scientists will assist with the naming.

Lake Macquarie City will be joining in the Great Southern Bioblitz from 22-25 October 202. In addition to increasing awareness of what we have across Lake Mac’s suburban backyards, parks and nature reserves, we can see what is recorded in this snapshot of Spring across three continents.

You‘ve still got time to learn how to use  inaturalist app, here’s an instructional run-through.

Nico's Great Cycle Challenge

During October Nico Marcar is once again taking part in the Great Cycle Challenge to fight kids' cancer!

Nico is combining his passion for cycling with assisting a worthy cause, supporting the Children's Medical Research Institute to continue their work into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and finding a cure for childhood cancer. Cancer is a very serious disease and it is the largest single killer of children from disease in Australia.

Please consider supporting his challenge by making a donation through his fundraising page

Time to hang out at The Naturespace Hub

Have you been for a walk in the 'Coal Point School – Naturespace and Community Hub' project? The project sits between Rofe Street and the corner of the school that connects to the ridge trail.

The final stage of the project is now complete and the plants are in. That means the Naturespace area is now play-space perfect (a custom picnic table and some signage will be installed during the school holidays) and ready for fun. Please keep in mind that the area is on school property and as such, is open to the community outside of school hours.

The project funds were awarded in 2019 by the NSW State Government as part of their Community Grant program. We've been working for a while through COVID delays and the impacts of wet weather and soaked ground in the early part of the year to bring the project to life. The education trail has been complete for a while and now the Naturespace area is also complete and open for kids and the community to enjoy. Thanks to everyone in the community for the support the project has received and the local businesses that have contributed to the project. Thank you to Ros Cornish for propagating most of the plants for the project. We hope they can adapt to their new home without too many losses.

This new community resource will need the ongoing support and watchfulness of the community to stay playable. Every plant that is meant to be there has at least one stake, partly for protection and partly so we can all identify the weeds. We'd like the stakes and intended plants to stay. If you see any weeds coming up we'd love for you to pull them out and leave in a pile by the gate. Thanks!

Further updates will be posted on the project Facebook page, 'Coal Point Primary School Naturespace & Community Hub.'

by The Naturespace Project Manager – Lindy Hulton-Larson

Westlakes Trophies Welcome and Farewell

Carl and Helen from Westlakes Trophies Framing & Engraving at Carey Bay Shopping Village wish to announce that they have sold their business and are going to retire.

“We would like to thank our loyal customers, some of whom have been with us for over 21 years, and we consider treasured friends. It has been a wonderful community to be in business and we appreciate the local support we have had. We feel fortunate in that the new owner, Daniel Cunningham, is very capable and has so much enthusiasm, and we feel confident will continue to grow the business.

Daniel is looking forward to meeting the locals when lockdown finishes. He intends to run the business in a similar manner and looks forward to a strong working relationship with existing staff, Sukira & Pika, and new staff member Rob”.

DA In Play 1/9/21 to 8/10/21 & Two different DAs

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
List of DAs

Two very different DAs on our doorstep

A DA with a difference to comment on
 163-167 Excelsior Parade - DA/2459/2021

Demolition, Multi Dwelling housing and a 3 into 26 lot Strata Subdivision.

A development application with a difference, one that has attempted to retain some of the vegetation! On page 17 of the Statement of Environment Effects the proponent states in regards to Landscape and Tree Planting – "We highlight that the design is specifically derived around retention of existing significant vegetation on site and within the road verge. The designer has taken great care to ensure significant stands of vegetation are retained at the front, centre and mid-block interface portions on the allotment."

Some images of the proposal's location and context  follow:

DA/2075/2021 (44-46 Brighton Avenue, Toronto)

Aggressive encroachment and dangerous precedents:

In contrast to the vegetation retention approach proposed above, local residents have recently been commenting on a DA which not only proposed clearing of all vegetation on the block but also vegetation on adjacent blocks.

Those of us who live around or travel along Brighton Avenue and Excelsior Parade have noticed the increasing loss of vegetation and birdsong as developers have moved into the ‘medium density’ rezoning between Pemell and Ambrose Streets, combined blocks and turned them into tightly packed units.

DA/2075/2021 (44-46 Brighton Avenue, Toronto), now being assessed by Council staff, pushes the limits even further in seeking to squeeze nine units into two former house blocks just along from Jarrett Street (one of them with the spreading liquid amber that is so glorious in autumn).

The developer seeks to build right up to the side and back fences with a gun-barrel drive/watercourse up the middle.

That involves not only the removal of all trees on the site but also the removal of adjacent mature trees on the southern side and at the back. It constitutes a drastic encroachment upon those neighbouring properties.

Obviously it is not practical to slice off half a tree, branches and roots, along a fenceline and expect the other half to remain intact. Such aggressive action would create a hazard. Either the other half must be viciously trimmed in the hope of eventual re-growth, or it must be removed.

Of course there is a legal right to seek removal of encroaching hazards, but is not reasonable to submit create potential hazards and demand encroachment rights without prior consent. There is no ‘right’ to cause collateral damage.

Neighbours have objected. Council’s Streetscape/Landscape Referral Response addresses some of the harmful impacts but downplays or ignores others.

If Council were to approve this DA, it would set an appalling precedent. The whole ridgeline from Pemell St to Ambrose St would become a clearfell zone and be turned into a hard-surface, bird-free, built environment with massive stormwater run-off into the lake and no outdoor residential amenity.

Building codes are belatedly addressing the worsening heat-island effects of rising temperatures (climate change) combined with urban densification and wide expanses of unshaded heat-absorbent surfaces. Science has established that vegetated neighbourhoods can be at least 10% cooler than exposed built environments, thereby providing more comfortable and more healthy residential amenity.

Some Sydney Councils have become pro-active in addressing heat-island effects. LMCC should also address this worsening problem as part of its strategy for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The developer will clear, build, sell and leave. LMCC and ratepayers will own the problem in perpetuity, so we need foresight and good planning now. This DA is the clearest possible example of poor practice not only in precinct planning but also in climate mitigation and adaptation.

Let us hope Council does proper due diligence and holds its nerve.