Park News – November, 2014

Grant Works!

  • Work has already started on our our Communities for Nature project – work has started in the Southern Corridor with two rounds of site preparation and work has also started on a Periwinkle infestation in the Northern Corridor.
  • The photo shows a section of the Southern Corridor (near Kalang Oval), looking north across the creek channel, showing the indigenous over-storey vegetation and dense infestation of Wandering Trad (Tradescantia albiflora):

southern corridor 1

  • In relation to the Melbourne Water grant projects, the parkland adjacent to 60 Main Street is coming along very well.   In particular, the grasses are growing well and are now flowering:

grasses - 60 main street

  • Our thanks and congratulations to all our Friends who have worked at that site – its regeneration seems to be going very well indeed.  By the way, a couple of our Committee people are planning to attend a Wild Grasses of Victoria training course shortly.  Hopefully, the park will benefit from their knowledge in identifying and regenerating indigenous grasses.
  • Progress on the Billabong has been slow.  After a three month hiatus, Council has met with Committee briefly on-site to review Council’s latest changes to the design.  We have concerns about some aspects that have been referred back to the engineering department – we expect to meet again very soon.

Final Working Bee for 2014

  • Our final working bee for 2014 on Sunday, November 9th near the Frog Bog in Kalang Park was a great success – as the photo shows, three passing surgeons from Box Hill Hospital decided to “chip in”!

surgeons

  • Not really!  The photo shows part of our crew using face masks as a precaution against dust when loading up the flotilla of wheelbarrows we had there.
  • We weeded, watered and mulched.  We haven’t done much of the last two for several years but the threat of a very hot and dry summer is pushing us to protect our younger plants in exposed areas.
  • Our indefatigable working bee coordinator (Mary) said:
    • Watching that mulch pile vanish was like watching a film clip in fast forward.
    • I never thought it would be so easy and had ideas of having to finish it off tomorrow.
  • We had a great roll-up (nearly 20 people hard at work or there for a chat and a cuppa) – and plenty of folks brought their own barrows as requested.  Thank you all for making the morning such a huge success!
  • The next working bees are not until May next year.  Please visit here for the dates to pencil into your diaries.

Kalang Pavilion

  • At a well-attended public meeting on 28th October, Council spoke in detail on its revised plans for the pavilion (somewhat reduced in size from the original), its choice of site and traffic/parking studies conducted in surrounding streets.
  • We understand there was a long follow-up meeting on 19th November between the neighbours most affected and council.
  • Following the delays in community consultation, another project will leapfrog the project – a delay of at least 6 months is now expected.

60 Main Street – Still No Decision

  • Because VCAT had not made its decision before the planning scheme changes in Whitehorse took effect on 14/10, objectors to the totally inappropriate development at 60 Main Street were initially given until early November to advise any impacts of the planning changes.
  • VCAT then undertook to give objectors 14 days more time to lodge comments after it became apparent only some objectors received proper notification.
  • This time has now lapsed – so a decision must surely be imminent (?).
  • You’ve probably seen the bollards which delineate the park/60 Main Street boundary.  One of the units would be positioned near, and would be taller than, the young Blackwood behind the bollard and the vagrant in the picture below:

vagrant

Corridor News

  • Nature is taking over nicely at the 1 Lake Road reserve.  The photos below show Kangaroo Grass regenerating naturally and beautifully (thanks to the efforts of the Wednesday weeders up there)  and black ducks enjoying a feed in one of the new ponds.

one lake road

Dog Issues Becoming a Real Problem

  • Several of our Committee members are dog-lovers and enjoy walking their pets in the park – always on-lead of course.  No doubt, many of our Friends do the same.
  • Sadly though, there are some who apparently think it is fine to let the dogs go off-lead as a kind of fashionable act of civil disobedience because “my dog never does anything wrong”.   It’s not true of course and not on – dogs must be on a leash at all times everywhere in the Creeklands.  This helps protect small developing plants, helps you to pick up their droppings more easily and also prevents wildlife being frightened away (or, dare we say it… being eaten, killed or maimed).  It also helps prevent problems with children, bike riders, walkers and other dogs.
  • Not only are dogs not allowed off leash but it is illegal for dogs to enter waterways: whether creek or wetlands. This Whitehorse bylaw is to protect not only the ducks and other aquatic wildlife but also the aquatic plants.
  • Helpfully, the November Whitehorse News contains an article on “Walking Your Dog” and a useful map of dog-off-lead parks – which we reproduce below:

whitehorse off lead parks

  • If you’d like to read the full article, please visit here (page 5).  If you need more details like Melway references, please visit here.

The Way We Were (1963)

  • We are fortunate to have permission to publish several photos of the creek in flood and related remediation and development works by the old MMBW and Council.  The photos have been provided by Frances (one of the pioneers of  Pakenham Street near the creek) and were originally taken by her former next-door neighbour (Mary).   Our access has been  facilitated by the Laburnum Primary School archivist (Ruth).    Our acknowledgement and thanks to those people for sharing these interesting photos and their stories with us.
  • The photo below shows “the swamp” in flood taken from a house a couple of doors down from the school (towards Canterbury Road)  showing the Bowls Club site through to the creek in flood in 1963:

swamp

  • Locals called that area “the swamp” – because it flooded quite often.  The flood in question occurred on Australia Day, 1963 after 5 inches (about 125 mm) of rain was recorded.  This happened despite the creek having been “barrelled” and redirected to eliminate some meandering – which contributed to the frequency of flooding.   The Bowls Club was not built until 1967.
  • This 1953 subdivision shows the original meandering of the creek at that spot.  The street going up and down is Pakenham Street – but the northern and southern legs weren’t connected to cross the creek until 1962.  Note that Billeroy Street no longer exists.  The right hand side (now part of the car park adjacent to the Bowls Club) was deleted in 1980.  The left-hand side went later – though we’re not sure when.

dwyer estate

  • We’ll provide some more of the photos in later editions.

Plant of the Month

  • Plant of the Month is the Yellow BoxEucalyptus melliodora (Latin for honey-scented).  Strangely, we haven’t featured one of our most significant canopy trees before – it is a medium sized and sometimes tall eucalypt.  Our Yellow Boxes are flowering beautifully at the moment – much to the delight of the local fauna.  They often have a yellowish tinge to their trunks and are among the best trees in the park.  This example is near the Laurel Grove bridge on the southern track towards Main Street:

yellow box blossom

Weed of the Month

  • Weed of the Month is the Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica).  It is native to Europe and perhaps cute in a cottage garden with its dainty blue and yellow flowers – but a prolific weed in the park.  They are biennial or short-lived perennials growing to about 30cm high that self-seed to come back for many years (hence their name).  They tend to be easily pulled out – but best done before seed sets!  This example is also near the Laurel Grove bridge – near the path to Laurel Grove South:

forget me not

Fauna Sightings

  • There have been some interesting sightings as usual.  Tawny Frogmouths have been spotted on the ground during daylight (an unusual behaviour).  There is also a family of young Kookaburras near the Garie Street playground.  White-faced Herons (probably the ones that bred in Linum Street) are regular visitors – though are continually harassed by the local Noisy Miners!
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