Author Archives: takver

Planting mini-parade through Fawkner streets

In recent weeks we have had a burst of activity in carpentry through collaboration with Urban Bush carpenters enabled by a grant from City of Moreland Council Celebrating Place program.

IMG_9488-600x900-building-fawkner-farmersWe have had four workshops where people have been able to use carpentry tools to create some useful gardening furniture with assistance of the Urban Bush Carpenters.

At the workshops we created a bench and five wicking planter boxes from old timber pallets. Of equal importance was the process of joining with others to build social community and community resilience.

The planter boxes are located at the Fawkner Community House in CB Smith Reserve, on the nature strip on Jukes Road, and at the Community House new extension at 95 Major Road.

On Saturday we planted summer crops in the new community planter boxes and held a wheel barrow procession through Fawkner streets from one site to another. It was a merry procession with ukelele, singing and various percussion to the enjoyment of the several children as part of the event.

We were joined at the planter box on Jukes Road by Cr Meghan Hopper, Mayor of Moreland, and Federal MP for Wills Kelvin Thomson. Cr Hopper joined in the planting.

The Fawkner Women’s Choir sang two songs as part of the celebrations at Fawkner Community House.

Kelvin Thomson spoke briefly on population and food security saying

The way that we are going in terms of population increase and unsustainable practices means that there are real problems and challenges further on up the road. It is already true that many people around the world don’t have enough to eat on a day to day basis, but this problem is likely to get worse and to be exacerbated by the energy inputs and the amount of carbon required to transport food from where it’s grown to where it’s being consumed.

The message out of all that is that we need to be more self-sufficient and to be able to grow and produce our own food. I think that is a terrific message to be conveying to people here in Fawkner as well as building all manner of living skills as part of that process. I am really delighted to seeing it in action.

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Urban food security

Urban food security is an important issue seldom widely discussed. I did some literature research in this area in early 2014 and wrote the blog article Tackling food security with a growing population, climate change and peak oil. Urban food security was also considered in my literature review conducted earlier this year into Heatwaves, Climate change and Melbourne where I noted:

While there is some concern by government of aggregate impact of climate change on agriculture and food production, little attention has been paid to the fragility of food supply chains and the role urban agriculture could play in urban resilience for urban populations. This has resulted in the upsurge of the Transition towns movement, an increase in suburban farmers markets, backyard permaculture gardening and informal food swaps. Burton et al (2013) detail in a qualitative study the growing interest in urban food security and backyard permaculture utilising two case studies of the Gold Coast and Melbourne as examples. This study provides a window on local communities already responding to climate change by building more resilient communities.


References:
Burton, P, Lyons, K, Richards, C, Amati, M, Rose, N, Desfours, L, Pires, V, Barclay, R, (2013), Urban food security, urban resilience and climate change, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, pp.160. http://www.nccarf.edu.au/publications/urban-food-security-resilience-climate-change

Englart, John (2014) Tackling food security with a growing population, climate change and peak oil http://takvera.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/tackling-food-security-with-growing.html

Time to Extend Route 19 tram to Fawkner and Campbellfield #vicvotes

Extending the No 19 tramline to Gowrie Station in Fawkner has been proposed by the Greens this election. It is part of an initiative to fill missing tram links amounting to an extra 56 kilometres around Melbourne at a cost of about $840 million.

Rather than trams terminating midway between focal points, it is suggested they be extended to meet train stations or shopping centres to improve their functionality and intermodal usefulness.

The proposal for adding a number of tram extensions to the network is not new. The Public Transport Users Association have had plans for several years which they continue urging policymakers to adopt. The Greens proposal for 17 tram line extensions totalling an extra 56 kms was initially unveiled in July 2014.

The Greens also advocate the purchase of another 50 locally built E-Class trams to also alleviate some of the pressure on Melbourne overcrowded trams, especially in the northern suburbs. The Greens cost the extensions at about $15 million per kilometre as against the cost of $1 billion per kilometre for East West Link. Some have raised ‘Can the Greens tram plan be taken seriously?‘ (Alan Davies, Crikey) yet public transport commentator Daniel Bowen argues that Tram extensions: Not as expensive as some claim.

Other than the Route 19 tram, the Route 112 tram extension along Gilbert Road to Edwardes Lake Park, then up Edwardes street to terminate at Reservoir Station also makes a lot of sense to me enhancing intermodal connections. The other routes I’ll leave to others to discuss the merits of.

You can read the Greens tram initiative, routes and maps yourself.

What I want to talk about further is extending the No 19 tramline to, and perhaps past, Fawkner.

Route 19 Tramline extension

The Greens proposal for Route 19 involves extending the tram track up the middle of Sydney Rd to Fawkner Shops (via Gowrie Station). The map seems to indicate it would terminate in the centre of the road near Gowrie Station rather than actually connect to the Fawkner shops in Bonwick street. Taking the tram tracks down Jukes Rd might be a little problematic.

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I would not stop this extension at Gowrie but continue it further across the Western Ring Road and Mahoneys Rd to the Campbellfield shopping centre precinct. This makes enormous sense and provides better public transport and pedestrian access from Fawkner to the Campbellfield shops and avoids the morass of bitumen and cars on the Sydney Road intersections with Western Ring Road and Mahoneys Road (a real nightmare when on foot)

That strip of Sydney Road in Fawkner also features several motels catering to visitors to Melbourne, including the Meadow Inn Hotel-Motel, Hume Villa Motor Inn, Ibis Budget Fawkner, and the Fawkner Star Motel. A tram line on Sydney Road would encourage those visitors to leave their cars in motel car parks to catch the tram to Coburg, Brunswick or even into the city or to the Campbellfield shopping Centre.

The population of Fawkner and Hadfield are also increasing with more medium density sub-development so the tram extension would also cater to this population growth.

Upfield rail line needs upgrading to allow increased services

The railway Stations of Gowrie and Fawkner provide a wide catchment, with many people driving and a few cycling to these stations to commute to work.

The Upfield rail line is already operating at near capacity during peak periods with an increased frequency on this rail line overdue. There is a case for duplication of the track to Craigieburn and electrification from Upfield to Craigieburn to close a loop and enable more freqent service.

Upfield train approaching Gowrie Station

Greens candidate for Brunswick Tim Read suggested at the Moreland Transport forum that the duplication of the Upfield line past Gowrie and possible electrification of the existing track to Craigieburn would close a transport loop to Craigieburn and allow greater capacity and frequency of services on the Upfield Line. He was the only candidate at this forum to raise this potential.

The extension of the Sydney Road tram to Campbellfield would make a real difference in alleviating pressure on the capacity of the rail service to meet peak demand, while increasing public transport patronage.

Trams are especially efficient for smaller journeys and this tramline extension would help connect those living in Fawkner and Hadfield to other urban focal points in Campbellfield, Coburg and Brunswick.

Intermodal connection with High Speed Rail at Campbellfield

The tram extension to Campbellfield would also be a useful intermodal connection to the proposed Melbourne North station at Campbellfield on the preferred High Speed Railway alignment that uses the Upfield rail alignment (underground from Gowrie to Southern Cross). (See High Speed Rail – Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – Chapter 4 on Alignment and station locations)

There are those who say this tramline duplicates the Upfield rail service, yet both services are popular and well used. It is likely any extension would increase public transport patronage.

The Northern suburbs of Moreland could sure do with a little bit more public transport infrastructure.

Fawkner gives a grilling to Broadmeadows MP Frank Maguire

Collen Jones from Fawkner Strengthening Committee opening the Forum

Collen Jones from Fawkner Strengthening Committee opening the Forum


Broadmeadows is one of the ALP’s safest seats in Victoria with over 20 per cent two party preferred margin to the Liberals. Because it is safe it gets largely ignored by the Liberals when in office, and to a lesser extent, also ignored by the Labor party who direct more funding for projects in their marginal seats.

The electorate is located in northern Melbourne stretching from the northern suburbs of Glenroy, Hadfield and Fawkner in the City of Moreland up to Dallas, Broadmeadows, Westmeadows, and Meadow Heights in the City of Hume. It is located across the Federal seats of Wills and Calwell.

Fawkner is a socially disadvantaged suburb in the southern part of the Broadmeadows electorate. Although historically the suburb was once part of Broadmeadows Council area along with Hadfield and Glenroy before the Kennett era council amalgamations, now it is part of the north eastern ward of Moreland Council.
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Climate change is #OnMyAgenda in Fawkner for the G20

Australia is hosting the G20 and climate change is not on the agenda. Come along to a screening of ‘Reasons for Hope‘ film and a discussion to show that Australians want climate change #OnMyAgenda. Local resident John Englart will lead the discussion.

When: 6.00pm Saturday 15 November
Where: Fawkner Community House, CB Smith Reserve
Bring a plate of food to share.
You’ll join friendly local people who care.

Click here for details and to RSVP:

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was pushing for climate change to be off the agenda at the Brisbane G20 meeting at all. However the United States and France have exerted pressure and it will be listed as a minor item under Energy Efficiency.

As climate change has been taken ‘off the main agenda’ by the Australian Government, the Australian Conservation Foundation is organising for people round Australia (and elsewhere) to put climate change #onmyagenda in self organised events and parties from November 12-15. Anyone can organise an event for their community. You can register your event here.

John Englart, as a member of Sustainable Fawkner and Climate Action Moreland is holding an event called Climate change is #OnMyAgenda in Fawkner on November 15, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the Fawkner Community House.

If you wish, you may also attend Sustainable Fawkner’s monthly meeting 4pm to 5.30pm, Come a little early to do a little bit of veggie gardening in our community garden.

The #OnMyAgenda event will start about 6pm. All welcome.

John is a member of Sustainable Fawkner, Climate Action Moreland and has been blogging on climate issues for over 10 years.

Thanks!

Broadmeadows #vicvotes candidates forum at Fawkner

vicvotes2014-fawkner-leafletThe Fawkner Community Strengthening committee have organised a candidates Forum for Fawkner for Tuesday evening 11 November, 6.15pm-8pm at John Fawkner Secondary College, 51 Jukes Rd, Fawkner.

Most of Fawkner was previously in the Thomastown state electorate with sitting Labor MP Bronwyn Halfpenny. An Electoral Commission redistribution has moved the suburb of Fawkner into the Broadmeadows electorate held by sitting Labor MP Frank McGuire.

The election is due to be held on Saturday 29th November 2014. Come along and listen to candidates, ask them questions. The person elected to state parliament will represent you for 4 years. This is your chance to quiz them and the policies they are standing for.

RSVP to the event on eventbrite

Fawkner Candidates meeting 11 November Brochure

Tuesday 11 November: Candidate details
Fawkner Candidates Forum for seat of Broadmeadows. 6.15pm-8pm at John Fawkner Secondary College, 51 Jukes Rd, Fawkner
Broadmeadows candidates (so far):
Frank McGuire (Labor) Facebook page
Jaime de LOMA-OSORIO (Greens) Facebook page
Mohamed Hassan (Voice for the West) (website)

August food swap plants some fruit trees

planting our fruit trees

planting our fruit trees

Our small orchard was planted today comprising apple and plum trees in our community garden.

We also enjoyed leftover Ferguson Plarre cake donated to the Empowering Moreland Forum plus fresh coffee and tea and sharing winter produce, mainly winter greens and lemons.

Victoria brought along some exquisite sticky date pudding with warm caramel sauce that simply melted our tastebuds.
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Threat to Merri Creek Path with Sale of Lakeside Secondary College site

20140726-Merri-creek-path-sale-lakeside-sc
Merri Creek forms an important parkland for the north-south length of Fawkner and Reservoir. It is also an important corridor for wildlife and for users of the Merri Creek Shared bike path which winds its way along the creek sometimes on the east and sometimes the west bank.

The path uses the east bank of the creek behind the Department of Education site in Reservoir, where Lakeside Secondary College once stood. The title to the this site at 31 Radford St, Reservoir extends down to the creek verge. The Educational Department wants to sell the property and has requested the site to be rezoned for Industrial use.

Several hectares of the site lie outside the school fence on a bend of the Creek and have been planted and managed for about 30 years by Darebin Council, as part of the Merri Creek open space corridor.

If the creek frontage is sold without transfer of title to the Crown or Darebin Council, access to and use of the Merri Creek Shared pathway could be threatened.
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Autumn bird survey along Merri Creek

1. Friends of Merri Creek have an informative session on the birds of the Merri and northern Melbourne, on Tuesday 29 April. Please register (see details in flyer below).

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2. Friends of Merri Creek quarterly bird survey – 18 May 2014

IMG_1085_black_faced_cuckoo_shrikeA couple of Autumn events to do with local birdlife. Come along to observe and count cool weather avian visitors at the next Friends of Merri Creek bird surveys on Sunday 18 May, 8.45-10.30am.

The survey at Bababi Marning will be a week later, on 25 May, 8.45-10.30am. No need to register beforehand.

Beginner-birders are welcome to the surveys, as well as experienced birders. Bring binoculars if you have them, and drinking water, closed-in footwear and a sunhat. Preferably wear sombre colours. No dogs, please.

How about visiting a part of the Merri that you haven’t seen? – choose a site from the list below.

Survey meeting points:
Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Road grasslands), Fawkner: Meet on Merri Path at end of Jukes Road, Fawkner (Melway 18 A2).
Egan Reserve-Harding St-Strettle Reserve: Meet at the steps at end of The Grove, East Coburg (Melway 30 A3).
Coburg Lake Reserve: Meet near the car park, Lake Grove Coburg (Melway 17 H10).
Edwardes Lake: Meet at the playground adjacent to Griffiths St, Reservoir (Melway 18 E5).
CERES to Moreland Road: Meet at the seats on the Merri Path at rear of CERES near Blyth Street, East Brunswick (Melway 30 B7).
Phillips Reserve, Merri Park: Meet at the end of Victoria St, East Brunswick, at barbecue shelter (Melway 30 B8).
Hall Reserve- Yarra Bend Park: Meet at the Rotunda, Hall Reserve, Clifton Hill (Melway 2D D1).
Galada Tamboore: Meet at the end of Hatty Court, Campbellfield (Melway 7 K6).
Galgi Ngaark (Craigieburn Grasslands): Meet at the O’Herns Road gate off Hume Highway (Melway 180 E6).

The survey at Bababi Marning will be a week later, on 25 May, 8.45-10.30am. No need to register beforehand.
Bababi Marning (Cooper St Grasslands): Meet outside the Istrian Social Club, Cooper St Epping (Melway 387K10).

Minibeasts and microhabitats – an illustrated Guide

Native Flax

Native Flax

Brian Bainbridge, President of the Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association and also a member of Sustainable Fawkner, will present an illustrated guide to creating a habitat garden using local plants to attract a diversity of wildlife.

This is a Moreland Library service Readmore Event

Where: Coburg Library
When: 6.30 pm, Thursday 1 May 2014

Register for this event online

Chilling out at a hot February Food Swap

Inspecting the graden produce

Inspecting the graden produce

Come along this Saturday 8 February and share produce, commiserate over lost plants and frizzled vegies with the summer heatwaves, and make plans for Autumn.

We’ll retreat to the House if it’s too ridiculously hot. We have a volunteer offering to bring icy poles so we can chill out!

The Melbourne weather forecast for Saturday is for the temperature to reach 40C. “Hot and sunny. Light winds becoming north to northwesterly 15 to 20 km/h in the middle of the day then becoming light in the late afternoon.”

Temperatures overnight on Saturday are expected to stay high at 30 degrees, approaching the overnight minimum record. The record high minimum temperature of 30.6 degrees was set on February 2, 1902 and matched on January 12, 2010.

20140115-Jacana-heatwave-electricity-transmission-DSC03741-w640
Food Swap
Saturday 8 February
10.30 am – 12.30 pm
Fawkner Community House
CB Smith Reserve
Jukes Rd Fawkner

Remember in this hot weather to stay cool, drink lots of water and keep a look out for elderly neighbours who may be feeling the heat. Put out plenty of water for pets and bird life and other native animals, especially if you live near the Merri Creek nature corridor.

More information on health and heatwaves from Moreland Council, and Victorian Department of Health.