Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Energising Events

Coal Point Progress Committee Meeting :
Mon 9th March, Progress Hall, 197 Skye Pt Rd 4-6pm

Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group:
Wed 11th March The Hub, 97 The Boulevard 5-6.30pm

Toronto Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast: 
March 26th 7.00am - 8.30am 
Toronto Multi-purpose Centre,9 Thorne St, Toronto
How to successfully network and the skills involved

Keeping Backyard Chickens Workshop:
Saturday March 28th 9am-12pm, The Hub,97 The Boulevarde How to keep chickens in your backyard. RSVP to council 49210333 

Jazz on the Lines:
Sunday March 29th 1pm to 5pm
Hosted by The Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise in aid of Westlakes Driver Assist Program 2015.
Jazz, Wine & Fine Food at the Toronto Heritage Railway Station
Call Anne on 49594107 or 0401208503 to buy your tickets.

Bush Tucker Field Day:The hands-on will introduce participants to a range bush foods and traditional medicines whilst enjoying a walk through the Landcare site.The menu for the day will include bush tea, native jams, fish and kangaroo cooked in native herbs and spices.When: Saturday 21 March, 9.30am – 2pm
Where: Osmon Reserve, corner of Lakeside Drive and Wallarah Street, Swansea
RSVP: to 4921 0392 or email lro@lakemac.nsw.gov.au

Wicking Garden Bed Workshop:

Learn the principles behind these low maintenance garden beds and how they can reduce your water bill!
 Where: Teralba Public School, York Street, Teralba
When: Saturday 21 March 2015, 9am-12pm
Refreshments provided. Bookings essential. Contact 4921 0333.

Bush regeneration master class:hands-on training sessions teaching weed removal techniques, plant id skills and answer all your questions about vegetation management.
  • Tuesday 3 March - Dora Creek
  • Thursday 5 March - Kilaben Bay
  • Tuesday 10 March - Belmont Wetlands
  • Thursday 12 March - Kilaben Bay
  • Tuesday 17 March - Belmont Wetlands
Participants of all experience levels are welcome to attend.Morning (8.30 – 11.30am) and afternoon (12.30 – 3.00pm) sessions will be offered. Lunch will be provided. 'To RSVP to any of these sessions, contact 4921 0392 or email lro@lakemac.nsw.gov.au

Hunter Water Cleans Up Carey Bay

Clean Up Australia Day came a week early to Carey Bay Wetlands when Hunter Water came to the rescue to address an environmental incident that had been putting sewage into the Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest, an Endangered Ecological Community.
The local landcare team became aware the wetland was ‘a bit on the nose’ and reported the finding to Hunter Water just before morning tea. By lunchtime the advanced troop was out undertaking an inspection, treading where few have dared to tread and discovering what appeared to be solid ground was really an island of not much substance. Carefully maneuvering over a fallen log bridge to the inspection hole, the blockage in the sewer main was identified, the emergency call put out and an explanation of the process provided to the landcare crew.
Within an hour the mains un-blockers were there, the bog-logjam was released and the sewer system was once again flowing. Fortunately the lay of the land meant that spill was contained within the wetland system and not flowing directly into Puntei Creek and thence the Lake.
…then came the clean up.
Over the next few days the offending substances were sucked from the wetland and fresh water flushed through the ecosystem. The landcare crew were informed that water samples would be taken before and after the clean up treatment.
A week later and back landcaring at the wetland and the birds had a song in their voice, the landcarers had a song in their heart and no pong in their noses and the Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest showed very little sign of damage from all the activity.
Sincere thanks to Hunter Water for the expeditious Clean Up of one of our local treasurers.

Looking gloriously green from the excess nutrients
Looking like a Swamp Oak Floodplain forest should, Sea Rush-Juncus kraussii in the foreground, with the surrounding canopy of Swamp Oak- Casuarina glauca

Want to catch up?

Have you been wanting to  talk to someone about your block of land and what help you can get to look after the natives and remove the weeds? 
There’ll be an opportunity to catch up at the Seniors Expo on Friday 20th March at the Workers Club. Drop by the stall and have a chat about the hows, whens and what fors of the Threatened species last Stand on the Coal Point peninsula project.

Can’t make the expo…send Suzanne a message

Advance notice of Motions

This year’s Annual General Meeting will involve some big issues which we would very much like to discuss with our members.
This is a communication from the committee of  Coal Point Progress Association Neighbourhood Watch & Landcare (CPPANWL), to give you advance notice of two special resolutions the committee intends to put at the upcoming AGM in April.  The draft wording of the two special resolutions is:
Special Resolution 1: Adopt New Constitution
That the draft constitution attached to the AGM Notice of Meeting and titled "Coal Point Progress Association Incorporated (Established 1946) Constitution" be adopted in place of the existing Rules, subject to approval by the regulatory authorities.
Special Resolution 2: Sale of Part of Association Land
That the land identified as "Land Reservation Acquisition" on the maps published as part of the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014, being part of the association's land at 197A Coal Point Road, is to be sold to Lake Macquarie Council subject to:
  • the land remaining zoned as Environment Conservation (E2), and 
  • the acquisition price being consistent with other similar Council land acquisitions.

The AGM is scheduled for Monday 13 April, 7-8.30pm, at Progress Hall.

A formal notice of meeting will be issued in the second half of March to all financial members.  In addition to flagging these intentions in the February and March Chronicles we have sent this advance notice to all members who have given us an email address, in an attempt to get the most widespread and effective engagement with members as practicable on these important proposals.  If you have any comments or concerns, would like to become a member or would like to suggest any changes to the wording of these two proposals, please reply before the 13th March, by email to cppasecretary@gmail.com or to any committee member. Electronic copies available upon request.

Proposed sale of Part of Association Land

The Local Environment Plan aims to preserve the Coal Point ridgeline as "Conservation" zoning.  Council has for many years identified parts of existing lots backing on the ridgeline as "acquisition" - i.e. the Council would like to buy those parts of the lots and thereby expand the ridgeline conservation area.  The land at the "top" half of our block (from about 20m behind the hall) is one such area, and the equivalent parts of the lots on either side of the hall are already owned by Council.  Note that no change is proposed to ownership of the hall or the front part of the lot.
The committee believe that having this land in community ownership and zoned as Environment Conservation (E2) land is fully consistent with our objectives, and will contribute to helping the Council maintain a sufficiently large and contiguous area of land to be a viable, and substantial, conservation area.  The proposal would also give us a substantial injection of funds, and might result in a reduced land valuation and therefore a reduced rates assessment (Council rates being one of our biggest annual expenses).
If the special resolution is approved at the AGM the current committee intends that the immediate successor committee should open discussions with the Council and at least register an interest in selling the land.  It is unlikely that any sale will eventuate in the current financial year, but we should be able to, in effect, "join the queue".  We understand that the Council has a standard approach to valuation of land to be acquired and the committee's intention is to negotiate a price that is equitable with prices the Council has paid for other similar part-lots.

An Invitation is extended to all members of the Progress Association to discuss these proposals at the March meeting or with Committee members so that your comments can be included in the preparation of the documents for the AGM to be held at the Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd 7-8:30pm Monday 13/4/15. A light supper will be served on the night. 

T.R. – Terrorising the Region by Lois Simpson

Tyrannosaurus rex? No, but just as bad - it’s Turkey Rhubarb!  This insidious weed (Acetosa sagittata) is a native of South Africa. It thrives anywhere other than in the driest ground, spreading out of sight underground, with potato-like tubers forming along lateral rhizomes, which can be over a metre long. They are very tricky to remove. The above ground foliage, with its bright green arrow head shaped leaves, grows vigorously and will smother supporting vegetation. This pest is having a last flush of flowers before autumn. If these small clouds of pale green to pink flowers appear in your yard or nearby bushland, try to bag them securely and place them in your land-fill bin. The light seeds are carried far by the wind and there is no natural biological control to slow their numbers. 
Above: Turkey Rhubarb tubers have been found as big as rockmelons. 
The stems snap easily and care is needed to trace them back to the soil and dig them out.
Below: A prolific seeder, this is an easy way to locate it.

More Furry Friends by Robyn Gill – Landcare Group

Pic. John Gould [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,
 John Gould, F.R.S., Mammals of Australia, Vol. III Plate 25, London, 1863
In the past year, while working at Carey Bay Wetland with its quite large tidal creek, landcarers have found dead three Native Water Rats (think of Rat in The Wind In The Willows). These are Australia’s largest rodent with scientific name Hydromys chrysogaster which refers to its golden belly fur, and were known as Rakali by Aboriginal people.
Native Water Rats are elusive and shy, semi-aquatic with partially webbed feet and very prominent whiskers. They are thought to fill the same niche in the environment as the Otter in the northern hemisphere. 
It’s lucky we have any left as during the depression of the 1930’s they were hunted for their water repellent fur when a ban was placed on imported fur. Earlier, during the Bubonic Plague, a bounty was put on rats and many of the locals were killed although the imported Black Rat was the culprit (as shown in some photos of the time). 
There is now a study underway in Sydney Harbour to observe them as it is thought they might be able to play a part in control of the Black Rat because of the larger size of the Rakali and its ability to defend territory if the invader can be reduced in numbers.

Feral cats and foxes are major predators but there is a also concern that they are being put at risk by coming into contact with baits aimed at the Black Rat, so care should be taken with placing of these baits.