Temporary Path Closures Imminent
- You may have seen signs like the one above near park entrances. Six committee members were able to participate in a hazardous tree review of the park conducted by Council park management along with arborists, maintenance people and its contractor.
- The idea is to address dangerous trees or branches especially near paths and seats – while retaining habitat where possible (it is a bushland park after all!).
- Trees have been temporarily dotted (yellow means removal (possibly not complete), white means pruning). Please click here for more information.
- The “pole tree” in Furness Park is also to be removed along with the crossed poles and signs warning cyclists of a potential hazard.
- The work should be done in the next few days (Thursday 30 & Friday 31 October) – weather depending. Temporary path closures will be necessary.
So far, we’ve been very lucky (touch wood!) with the windy Spring days in September and October. There have been branches down – but no substantial tree losses.
- Committee has received notification that our Communities for Nature application has been successful – $4,854 for the coming 12 months to cover restoration of the Northern and Southern “corridors” (below) in Kalang Park:
- Next steps are to finalise the funding deed with Whitehorse Council, submit our orders for about 2,000 plants for the planting season next year and to get on with site preparation.
- Worker bees will be pleased that there’ll be plenty of planting work next year!
New Residential Zones in Whitehorse Approved
- The new residential zonings for all of Whitehorse were gazetted on 14/10/2014 as the C160 Amendment to the planning scheme.
- The long-expected clauses to protect neighbourhood character also came into force.
- As can be seen from the map below, with the exception of Laburnum Primary School and housing on the other side of Middleborough Road, the neighbouring housing is all zoned NRZ7 – which gives the Creeklands park a measure of protection against inappropriate development on its boundaries in future.
- If you’d like more information on the zonings, please visit: http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/schemes/whitehorse/maps
60 Main Street at VCAT
- The VCAT hearing took place on 12/9/2014. Because Mr Hewet (Senior Member, VCAT) had not made his decision before the planning scheme changes in Whitehorse took effect on 14/10 (refer above), they now need to be considered.
- The property at 60 Main Street falls into the NRZ7 zone. The SLO2 overlay applies and the Bush Environment neighbourhood character now also applies.
- Parties to the hearing are able to file written comments regarding the impact of the planning scheme changes by early November. Presumably, the tribunal’s decision will follow shortly afterwards.
Spring Bird Count Report (18/10/2014)
- Our spring bird count was a very successful event as usual with 22 people participating and 30 species observed including a high level of successful indigenous bird breeding – please click here for a fuller report including a link to the survey results.
- Please visit our Bird Counts page for links to all survey results to date.
- If you missed our event and would like to practice for next year, there is bird survey coming up at the Yarran Dheran Reserve (Mitcham, Melway Map 49 B7) on Saturday 15 November 2014 at 8.30 AM. Bookings are essential, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by 7 November 2014. Bill Ramsay, member of BirdLife Melbourne and keen birdwatcher will lead this walk.
Working Bee Report
- Our next working bee will be Sunday, November 9th 09:00-12:00 near Pakenham Street along the northern park boundary, north of the Frog Bog in Kalang Park (nb not the wetlands!).
- Weeding was the focus of the morning’s work at our October working bee on Sunday, 19/10. It was a good day and good site for weeding – even though the weather was warming up, the area was shaded by larger trees. It was great to see so many Friends attending – thank you so much for participating!
- Please click here for a fuller report including interesting before-and-after shots which highlight the achievements of the day.
Tree Near Bowls Club
- Friends may remember the photo of a majestic, if challenged, Brittle Gum in last month’s news. The photo shows what’s left.
- Although somewhat unsightly, the remainder of the tree will protect the site while newer plantings get established.
- Although not everyone’s cup of tea (groan!), the teapot art installation struck a chord with several Friends. Some “volunteers” have assisted with running repairs to prop up the spout and retrieve the teapot’s lid’s handle when it blew away in recent strong winds.
- Alas, the repairs were only temporary – the teapot looks more like a squat tankard now – sans spout and lid handle… Cheers!
Kalang Pavilion – Community Consultation (28/10)
- Another round of community consultation was undertaken by Council on 28/10 at the Bowls Club. Ward Councillors and Council officers spoke to the latest concept plan for the Kalang Pavilion.
- It’s now 2.5 times the footprint of the current 50 year old facility (above) – the footprint having been reduced somewhat from the original concept plan presented at the first meeting. The revised design has the pavilion slightly more south and extending a shorter distance along the fence line.
- Council’s architect justified its siting (where the old pavilion currently is) by ruling out two alternatives (one closer to Kalang Street and the other near the Bowls Club where the cricket nets are). The new size was justified as the minimum needed to meet current standards.
- The Council’s chief arborist justified the planned tree removals via tree studies and assured neighbours regarding impacts on trees on private property following a test trench dug via “air spading”.
- Council has ruled out use of the pavilion as a party venue but does want to increase the value of the asset to the community by encouraging usage by groups such as the U3A. Council also ruled out the installation of lights which, for example, might enable night football training.
- Council also reported the results of car parking and traffic surveys – both issues are obviously of great concern to neighbours. Council’s position was that the new facility’s usage won’t be significantly different from current usage and that the studies show that current utilisations are typical of similar streets throughout Whitehorse.
- Because of the redesign following concerns expressed at the first consultation, Council reported that the development’s start has now definitely been delayed – so will not now start in February, 2015. No new target start was nominated.
Seventh Day Adventist Campground adjacent Blackburn Lake
- Amended plans for six 5 and 6 storey residential aged care blocks on the Seventh Day Adventist campground on Central Road adjacent to Blackburn Lake have disappointingly gone directly to VCAT – avoiding Council and public consultations.
- A significant number of mature indigenous canopy trees in the corridor will be destroyed to make way for the project if it is approved.
Plant of the Month
- Plant of the Month is the Kangaroo Apple– Solanum aviculare. This is a fast-growing but fairly short-lived shrub that can pioneer new ground (eg after fire) creating shelter while other plants regenerate more slowly.
- The photo above shows a plant that had regenerated naturally in the land adjacent to 60 Main Street. Unfortunately, it and another nearby have since been pulled out (!) – we think by well-intentioned park users wrongly thinking them to be weeds (or “weed”?).
- It looks like this specimen in Furness Park when more mature:
- It has large, glossy, dark green leaves with clusters of violet flowers in spring. The oval fruits start out pale green in colour which changes to yellow, orange and red as they ripen in late summer. The fruit were “bush tucker” for Aboriginal people – but were only eaten when very ripe because they are thought to be poisonous at other times.
Weed of the Month
- Weed of the Month is Chilean Needle Grass – Nassella neesiana. The Monday weeders have removed four clumps found growing in Furness Park on the hill near the path leading to the bridge.
- Unfortunately, we can’t show you a photo because it was removed as a high priority. It also needs expertise to identify because it looks quite similar to good indigenous grasses such as the common native tussock grass (Poa labillardieri). Fortunately, some of our team have training in the identification of grasses.
- The weed has been found before a few years ago. The original infestation is thought to have come in on vehicle wheels when the bridge was installed in 2010.
There have been some interesting sightings in the area in addition to those reported in our bird survey report:
- White-faced Heron
- Ibis near Sheehan’s Road
- Carp fish removed from the pond at Laurel Grove !