Building on Success!
- Our second Working Bee for 2017 on Sunday, 11th June was another success on a beautiful sunny winter’s morning – continuing in the moderately difficult planting situation between the Scout Hall and the bridge in Blacks Walk. Committee is very pleased that the second community planting under our experimental “Mulch up and plant up” project completes the project in that area for this year.
- This project won a significant Melbourne Water 2-Year Community Grant – there will be more work to do next year in adjacent areas.
- Numbers of participants were down a little, perhaps due to the long weekend – but the number of plants planted was a little up – with 316 shrubs / grasses and a couple of Eucalypts going in near the footbridge in Blacks Walk.
- Note too that we used our spiffy new signs for the first time – to warn people we are working ahead and also to provide contact details for new people who might like to join us. Ruth’s picture captures one of them ahead of the action further down the track.
- In the meantime, our Maintenance Team has been busy weeding and in-fill planting further along from the working bee area in Blacks Walk (towards Middleborough Road) and, more recently, on the northern side of the creek in Kalang Park near Main Street.
Next Working Bee
- Next Working Bee will be this coming Sunday 9th July 09:00-12:00 near the Blacks Walk Footbridge on the northern side of the creek.
- Main tasks will be weeding, then in-fill planting. We’ll send out a reminder later in the week.
Another Illegal Mulch Dump
- Another illegal dumping occurred in Furness Park near Heath Street last week along the boundary of the regeneration area that our Friend Juliet has been painstakingly looking after – quite near where another dump occurred in 2013 where the illegal mulch dumper was eventually fined nearly $1,000 with a conviction recorded. In that case, an astute neighbour noted the perpetrator’s registration details and Council did the rest (hooray!).
- Please be aware that, sometimes, Council legitimately drops quality, weed-free mulch in the park – usually sourced from indigenous fallen trees in the park. Council’s ParksWide trucks are white with a blue/green logo on the side – these are the “good guys”.
- Any other truck dumping “mulch” should be viewed with suspicion. What can YOU do ? Take a photo of anything else and/or get the truck’s registration number – and report it to Council’s Customer Service on 9262 6333, or e-mail details and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org . Council will prosecute these people – it costs a lot of money (ie our rates) to clean up their messes. On a smaller scale, residents should never dump lawn clippings or other garden waste into the park.
- Why do they do it ? We assume “cowboy” operators save the costs of legal green waste disposal by dumping in the park. No doubt, they charge their customers for waste disposal – so make a tidy profit at the expense of damaging the park and making the council (ie the community) bear the costs of rectification through removal and disposal.
- We feel it is important to maintain a record of the changes to the landscape in our park as our plantings grow and exotic vegetation is removed over the years.
- To this end, we started taking photos from the same location (photopoints) every 5 years or so beginning about 1990. We kept these photos from 60-70 photopoints in old-technology photo albums.
- We announced our Photopoints project in our November web news last year. Our challenge has been to digitise the old photos, take a new set and present this pictorial record on our website . So far, the 8 photopoints for Furness Park are available as a proof of concept for evaluation.
- The following photos are an example of one photopoint looking West at Main Street on the South side of the creek towards Kalang Park:
- They illustrate how the photos might be used. We note:
- The park looks much more like bushland today – as it should be. Native foliage in general appears denser as time progresses – even in specific trees.
- The livery of the former City of Nunawading appeared on the first (1990) sign. Some young saplings just visible to the right of the sign in the grassed area indicate that the planting process had begun.
- Large woody weeds to the right of the path in 1990 – a Monterey Pine, a Poplar and others were removed. From other photos for that photopoint, we know it happened between 2002 and 2006.
- The medium sized Liquidambar near the start of the path on the left was dying in 2006 and was later removed.
- The park had been designated “Land for Wildlife” by 2006. Actually, the diamond shaped sign is still there!
- Some sort of structure or weed barrier was in place in 2006 prior to the top of the creek bank being planted up.
- The entrance treatment preventing vehicular access has changed significantly over the years.
- The bridge railings and crossing treatments changed significantly in the 2017 photograph. The sweeping driveway had also changed – with an additional drain being installed.
- We’d appreciate feedback on image quality, usefulness and suggestions for improvements from interested Friends. Please visit the following link: https://blackburncreeklands.wordpress.com/activities/photopoints/furness-park/ and let us know via e-mail.
In the Corridor
State Government Changes to Residential Zones
- Our park (zoned the green PPRZ, yellow PUZ1 and blue UFZ in the diagram above) is surrounded by housing in the NRZ1, NRZ3 and GRZ1 zones (the latter being along Middleborough Road). On the 27th March, State Government changes to the state-wide residential zones came into effect. The changes have been enacted apparently without public or Council consultation and neighbouring developments may well affect our park.
- On the negative side:
- Maximum height levels in the NRZ zones have been increased from 8m to 9m (2 storeys) with additional height possible where land is affected by flooding and/or sloping ground.
- The NRZ subdivision limit of 2 dwellings has been removed.
- Maximum height levels in the GRZ1 zone have been increased from 9m to 11m (3 storeys) with additional height possible where land is affected by flooding and/or sloping ground.
- Except for height/storeys, the distinction between NRZ and GRZ is blurring.
- On the positive side:
- There are new minimum garden area requirements at ground level which depend on lot size. These should assist the Corridor.
- However, the reduced footprint sizes implied may encourage 3 storey developments in GRZ zones.
- If you’d like to know what zone your place is in, you can obtain a free online Planning Property report from: http://services.land.vic.gov.au/landchannel/jsp/reports/ReportsIntro.jsp
Events and Notices for Your Diaries
- Rakali Talk – every now and then a rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster), also commonly known as a water-rat, is spotted in our creek. It is a largish (23-37cm) indigenous rodent which lives in burrows on the banks of creeks etc. Our colleagues at Yarran Dheran are presenting an authoritative talk on the animal which you might like to attend.
Plant of the Month
- Plant of the Month is the Hop Goodenia (Goodenia ovata).
- This is a tough bright green shrub with small yellow flowers in spring and summer that generally copes well in all conditions including the hottest weather and and moderate frost. There are several good examples around the Furness Street bridge:
- It’s easy to grow – a good garden plant that responds well to regular clipping by thickening up. It also offers good protection for small birds and attracts butterflies .
Weed of the Month
- Weed of the Month is Oxalis or Soursob (Oxalis pes-caprae).
- It is indigenous to South Africa and is an invasive species here. Our photo shows it trying to crowd out indigenous grasses planted in the area adjacent to 60 Main Street.
- It has clover-like leaves and raises a yellow flower from winter to summer. It spreads rapidly from underground bulbs which are often unwittingly left intact when the top parts of the plant are “weeded”.
- Crimson Rosellas, King-Parrots in abundance, flocks of Corellas flying overhead at dusk, Gang Gangs have returned and the occasional Common Bronzewing sightings.
- If you ever wondered why they are called “Bronzewings”, Ruth’s beautiful picture above, taken of one lying down on the job at our last working bee, will give you a good idea why!
- Also, two foxes were spotted in Kalang Park near the oval (a recent radio report had it that the average Melbourne fox population density is 16 foxes per square kilometer!).