Friday, 4 July 2014

What goes bump, scrabble scratch in the night?

Can you tell at 15 paces, in the dark, what local animal is peering at your from the treetops? 

Dr Chris McLean can and he’s offered to guide some local untrained eyes to peer into the night and discover the presence of our nocturnal neighbours. The early darkening winter nights and the blossoming of winter flowering gums make this an ideal time for spotlighting.

Dr McLean is an arboreal animal specialist, which means he knows the animals that live in the trees and is very good and identifying them from a glimmer of eyeshine or a chatter in the distance.

A family friendly spotlighting expedition is planned for Saturday dusk, 19th July from 5.30pm-7pm to explore the local bushland and identify the night-time animals in our bigger backyard.

RSVP by 18/7/14 is essential to provide the meeting place and confirm the numbers. Contact Suzanne Pritchard on 0438 596 741or by email to 

National Tree Day at Gurranba Reserve

Preparations for National Tree Day are well underway at Gurranba Reserve with the solarising sheets of plastic secured against the elements. Stray sticks were used to spread the stress of the pegging process. With four weeks to go until the planting event it will be interesting to see the effect of this non-chemical treatment of weeds.

A pile of mulch will be arriving at the reserve in the week before the planting. A thick layer of mulch will be spread after the planting to suppress and control the weeds in the new planting of Themeda grasses.

Themeda Grass growing at Gurranba
Coal Point Public School students will be undertaking the major planting of the native grasses on Friday 25th July between 12:30 and 1:30pm. Parents are welcome to attend.

The community event on Sunday 27th July between 10am-noon will complete the planting and mulch the site. Refreshments will be provided. All are welcome, BYO buckets, mulch-forks and wheelbarrow.

Stray sticks were used to
help spread the stress on the plastic
and prevent them lifting
in the wind (again)
If you have any questions about the National Tree Day planting process at Gurranba Reserve please contact Jason Harvey ant the Landcare Resource Centre on 4921 0392.
The plastic sheets help
trap the heat and kill the weeds

Strategies for a Changing Economy- Survive and Thrive

On Sunday 29th June 200 people packed into the hall of Cardiff North Primary school to hear Nicole Foss and David Holmgren talk from their permaculture perspectives on what they see as the impending societal changes that will result from a sharp and rapid contraction in the economy, triggering a period similar to the Great Depression.

They discussed the shift required in community relationships needed to buffer against an “Energy Descent’, a time when resource shortages impact on every level of society. They described how rebooting our dormant household and community non-monetary economies are the best hedges that ordinary citizens can make along with getting out of debt, downsizing and making significant purchases such as long lasting useful items like tools or agricultural land. 

Building trust and connections within the community was touted as a way of being able to respond quickly to changing conditions and having a strong network of support already established would put some communities in a stronger position to react quickly if needed…early adopters of permaculture principles would be well placed to be able to surf the period of change. 

Building community connections and local resilience to economic and energy ‘shocks’ are some of the underlying premises of the Sustainable Neighbourhood philosophy. 
The next meeting of the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood group is July 9th 5-6.30pm in the meeting room at the Toronto Library, all are welcome, the future may very well be what we make it…it is worth thinking about.

David Holmgren…How you can change the world with permaculture

Nicole Foss on Finance and Bubbles

An excerpt from Nicole Foss’ talk Facing the Future- Mitigating a Liquidity Crunch is provided here for your contemplation.

Despite the media talking up optimism and recovery, people are not seeing the supposed good news playing out in their own lives. As we have discussed here many times before, the squeeze continues on Main Street, while QE has generated asset bubbles at the top of the financial food chain. Complacency reigns, but this is the endgame. Increasingly delusional collective optimism, based on illusory wealth for the few, has ben the driving force for 2013, even as the smart money has been selling everything not nailed down for most of the year – cheerfully handing the empty bag to a public that demands it. It’s been a five year long party, where, demonstrably, no lessons were learned from the excesses preceding the previous peak, and the consequences that followed from it.

Now, as a result of throwing caution to the wind again (mostly with other people’s money of course), we face another set of consequences, but this time the hangover will be worse. Timely warnings are rarely credible, as they contradict the prevailing wisdom of the time, but it is exactly at this time that warnings are most needed – when we are collectively irrationally exuberant on a grand scale. We need to understand the situation we are facing, in order to see why this period of global excess will resolve itself as a global credit implosion, what this means for ourselves and our societies, and what we can hope to do about it, both in terms of preparing in advance and mitigating the impact once we are confronted with a new, sobering, reality.

We are facing an acute liquidity crunch, not the warning shot across the bow that was the financial crisis of 2008/2009, but a full-blown implosion of the house of cards that is the global credit pyramid. Not that it’s likely to disappear all at once, but over the next few years, credit will undergo a relentless contraction, punctuated by periods of both rapid collapse and sharp counter-trend rallies, in a period of exceptionally high volatility. The primary impact will stem from the collapse of the money supply, the vast majority of which is credit – a mountain of IOUs constituting the virtual wealth of the world.

This has happened before, albeit not on this scale. Since humanity reached civilizational scale we have lived through cycles of expansion and contraction. We tend to associate these with the rise and fall of empire, but they typically have a monetary component and often involve a credit boom. Bust follows boom as the credit ponzi scheme collapses. Mark Twain commented on one such episode in 1873:
“Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society. Who shall say that this is not the golden age of mutual trust, of unlimited reliance upon human promises? That is a peculiar condition of society which enables a whole nation to instantly recognize point and meaning in the familiar newspaper anecdote, which puts into the mouth of the speculator in lands and mines this remark: — ”I wasn’t worth a cent two years ago, and now I owe two million dollars.””

Few recognized at the time that the ensuing financial panic of 1873, at the culmination of a period of speculative excess, was going to lead to a long and grinding depression. The signs were there, as they are today, but few connected the dots in advance and understood what was about to unfold and why. Few ever do at comparable points in time.

Unfortunately, humans are not good at remembering, let alone learning from, and applying, the lessons of history. The information is available for those who care to look – far more information than people had access to at previous junctures – but not in the mainstream media. The media’s role is to reflect and amplify the mood of the time, spinning events in accordance with it in a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Real information – the kind we need if we are to face a future more challenging than anything most of us have ever experienced – is found elsewhere, with independent voices contradicting received wisdom when it most needs to be contradicted. That has been our task at The Automatic Earth for the last six years. We cover the events of the day, placing them in the context of the bigger picture we have developed since January 2008.

We (The Automatic Earth) aim to make complexity comprehensible, so that people can identify the most immediate and most significant threats and prepare themselves to face them. At the present time, the threat people most need to appreciate is a liquidity crunch, hence this is a major focus of our most recent Video Download release – Facing the Future. It is well underway in some parts of the world already and many more countries will find themselves affected in the not too 

DA’s in Play

Following is an update on the progress of various Development Applications (DA), Subdivision Construction Certificates (SCC), Tree Applications (TA), Building Certificates (BC), Privately Certified Construction Certificates (PCCC) and Miscellaneous Applications (MISC). 
This list is compiled for community awareness as a snapshot of the local activity and a complete listing and details can be found on LMCC’s Development Application Tracking website

  • Approved: 1 Laycock Street CAREY BAY
    Description: Dwelling Alterations and Additions
  • Approved: 30 Ambrose Street CAREY BAY
    Description: Dwelling additions and alteration to garage - Amendment
  • Council Assessment: 91 Excelsior Parade CAREY BAY
    Description: 1 into 2 Lot Subdivsion
  • Under Assessment: 20 Laycock Street CAREY BAY
    Description: 24 Multiple Dwellings
  • Lodged: 43 Grant Road COAL POINT
    Description: Swimming Pool Certificate of Compliance
  • Under Assessment: 120 Skye Point Road COAL POINT Description: Retaining Wall - Swimming Pool and Associated Safety Barriers
  • Awaiting Allocation: 215 Coal Point Road COAL POINT Description: Dwelling House alterations and additions; Demolition of structures -Amendment to consent
  • Under Assessment: 350 Skye Point Road COAL POINT Description: Workshop and Carport
  • Approved: 125 Skye Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: Dwelling House and Detached Deck
  • Approved: 132 Coal Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: B149 - Dwelling, Garage & Swimming Pool
  • Approved: 83 Skye Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: Kerb and Guttering works
  • Approved: 287 Coal Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: Removal of One (1) Tree
  • Approved: 17 Grant Road COAL POINT
    Description: Dwelling Additions and Deck
  • Under Assessment: 70 Coal Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: Alteration / Additions
  • Awaiting Information Requested: 144-146 Skye Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: Foreshore Development - Jetty
  • Approved: 182 Skye Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: Deck Additions
  • Awaiting Information Requested: 69 Coal Point Road COAL POINT
    Description: One(1) into Three(3) Lot Subdivision
  • Under Assessment: 151 Excelsior Parade TORONTO
    Description: Multiple Dwelling Housing - 23 Units
  • Approved: 23 Hampton Street TORONTO
    Description: 2 Lots into 23 Lots Subdivision

Nesting boxes as home-hollows

Squirrel Gliders in  Nestbox
Every animal needs a home and the majority of Australia’s tree dwelling mammals use tree hollows. Since European settlement, clearing of land and felling of old growth trees has left a shortage of home-hollows. It takes over 100 years for some habitat hollows to develop as fungi and termites take their toll on the tree trunk and this is where nest boxes can make a huge difference to the survival of the local species.

The Threatened Species Last Stand project is about supporting the local wildlife and this year the aim will be to increase the number of habitat options for the threatened Squirrel Glider by installing nest boxes. Nest boxes are a great way to share your bigger backyard, watch the local wildlife and get to know them.

On Saturday 9th August as part of the Hunter Region Landcare Network’s meeting at Progress Hall there will be a workshop session on assessing the best location for nestboxes and installation techniques. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting or just the workshop session.

On Saturday 6th September to celebrate Threatened Species Day there will be a local BioBlitz with a mass installation of nestboxes supported by Lake Macquarie Landcare’s Super Saturday Session. The aim is to install at least 30 nestboxes throughout our community. These home-hollows will then be monitored for occupants and will allow us to work out the extent of the Squirrel Glider population in the area.

Would like a nestbox at your place? If you would like a nestbox installed in your bigger backyard please contact Suzanne  to get the process in progress. 

Forest Owls, Fungi-mapping & fossils

Lake Macquarie Landcare’s Super Saturday Session on July 12th at the Landcare Resource Centre has something for everyone. Starting at 9.30am a presentation about the Forest Owls in our area will be given followed by a call to action to record the distribution of 100 of the more common fungi in the area via the fungi-mapping project. A break for lunch and then it will be off fossicking for fossils in the Tingirra Heights Insect Fossil beds, pondering the preservation of rare winged insects of the past. RSVP is essential to the Landcare Resource Centre on 4921 0392

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

DA’s in play

Please note this list is not exhaustive and is an attempt to list DA’s that may be of community interest. Details should be sought from the Application Tracking website of LMCC
  • Council Assessment - 91 Excelsior Pde: 1 into 2 lot subdivision
  • Awaiting Information Requested - 23 Hampton Street: 2 Lots into 23 Lots Subdivision
  • Awaiting Information Requested - 69 Coal Point Road: One(1) into Three(3) Lot Subdivision
  • Awaiting DA determination - 144-146 Skye Point Road: Foreshore Development - Jetty
  • Under assessment - 151 Excelsior Parade: Multiple Dwelling Housing - 23 Units
  • Under assessment - 20 Laycock st: 24 Multiple Dwellings
  • Under Assessment -132 Coal Point Road: B149 - Dwelling, Garage & Swimming Pool
  • Under assessment - 83 Skye Point Road Kerb and Guttering works
  • Under assessment -287 Coal Point Rd: Remove 1 tree
  • Under assessment - 17 Grant Road: Dwelling Additions and Deck
  • Under Assessment - 182 Skye Point Road: Foreshore Development - Slipway & Jetty Extension
  • On Notification/Advertising - 70 Coal Point Road: Alteration / Additions
  • Approved - 6 Beale St: Garage & additions to patio/renew existing garage & pergola
  • Approved - 7 Stansfield Close: Attached Patio to Existing Deck.
  • Approved - 1 Ellis Cl: Dwelling House
  • Approved - 47 Skye Point Rd: Remove 2 trees
  • Approved - 30 Ambrose Street : Dwelling additions and alteration to garage