Merri Creek bird survey, May 2017

Red-capped Robin


Are you up for some bird surveying in May along Merri Creek? Here is your chance to do some citizen science and help survey the birds at this time of year. Surveys are on 7 May and 21 May, with the Fawkner survey on the latter date.

Beginner-birders are welcome to the surveys, as well as experienced birders.

Bring binoculars if you have them, and closed-in footwear, sun-hat or raingear if necessary, and drinking water.

No dogs, please.
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Oppose development on old NuFarm dioxin manufacturing site in Fawkner

There are plans to build warehouses on the old Nufarm Chemicals site in McBryde St Fawkner. This site was highly contaminated with dioxins when it was operational.

A campaign by local residents who were effected by the toxic fumes, particularly Elsie Snowden from the Fawkner Progress Association succeeded in closing the plant down.

Local residents are opposed to any development occurring on the site because even cement footings for warehouses will pierce the clay cap and could cause the toxic fumes to be released again. Local residents are forming an action group to oppose the proposal and to make sure that the current generation knows how toxic this site is.

The original #EPA audit of the site only audited the two central sites of the old factory and not the surrounding sites which are likely to also be contaminated.

Residents meetings:
When: at 2 PM – 4 PM on Saturday 22 April
Where: Fawkner Community House, 95 Major Rd
,
See Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1913771872174971/

The next meeting of the action group to stop development on the toxic site at 102 McBryde st will be on:
Wednesday 3 May, 7pm @ the 95 Major Road site of Fawkner Community House.

Community meeting – Thursday 11 May, 7pm @ Fawkner Senior Citizens Centre
Sue Bolton has initiated a public meeting in her role as a councillor. The meeting is on Thursday 11 May, 7pm at the Fawkner Senior Citizens Centre.
Speakers at the public meeting are: Harry van Moorst (Western Region Environment Centre & long-term campaigner on toxic chemical issues); Percy Pillai (Health & Safety officer for Australian Workers Union & rep for retired workers with serious health effects from spraying the chemicals produced on the Nufarm site in Fawkner); Brian Snowden, local resident; Sue Bolton, plus others (seeking an environmental scientist)

There are more background details both from Cr Bolton and Council officers in the report and motion that was put forward by Cr Sue Bolton at Moreland Council meeting 12 April 2017. I have excerpted the 3 page item from the publicly available Council agenda : NOM19/17 TOXIC SITE IN FAWKNER (D17/109333)
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Upgrade for Merri Creek Park at Campbellfield while connecting cycling paths remain missing

Panorama of Merri Creek and Merri Gorge, Campbellfield

The State Government announced $1.7 million upgrade to develop visitor infrastructure, including 6km of new bike and walking paths, at Merri Creek Park in Campbellfield. But we are still to see any commitment to build important bicycle shared use paths in Campbellfield: the extension of Merri Creek Trail and Extension of the Upfield bike path to Barry Road at Upfield.

The Money for the Merri Creek Park facilities comes from the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) fund. The 6 km of new paths will improve some community access to the 650 hectare green space in Campbellfield, which hosts nationally significant native grasslands. It is a real pity there is no public commitment from state MPs to fund the missing links that would help connect the park and local residential suburbs.

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Consultation on Camp Road Level Crossing Removal (implications for Upfield bike path)

Looking north up the railway line at Camp Rd Level Crossing

Loomking north up the railway line at Camp Rd Level Crossing

Today I went on a scouting trip along the Upfield railway line to Camp Road, the site of a level crossing removal to start in the later part of 2017 and be completed by 2019.

I have come to the conclusion:

The Upgrade of the Camp Road level crossing needs to include either a tunnel for cyclists as part of the railway in trench design, or pedestrian lights to allow cyclists to cross Camp Road in safety.

The consultation and community engagement is at The Meadows Greyhound Racing track.

  • Monday 6 February 2017, 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The Meadows, 80 Northcorp Boulevard, Broadmeadows.
  • Saturday 11 February 2017, 10:00am to 12 noon. The Meadows, 80 Northcorp Boulevard, Broadmeadows

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Extending the Tram through Fawkner – Moreland Council Survey

Sydney Rd Median strip between Major and Lynch Rds

Sydney Rd Median strip between Major and Lynch Rds


Moreland Council have announced a Survey on extending Sydney Road tram through Fawkner. This is gratifying to see, although it is just the first step in a campaign to have the No 19 Sydney Road tram service extended past it’s present Bakers Road, North Coburg terminus.

In November 2014 we argued it was time to Extend Route 19 tram to Fawkner and Campbellfield. There is a strong argument that the tramline should be extended to the Campbellfield shops, and build a public transport interchange linking the tram terminus with the Upfield train line (which also needs upgrading to dual track and electrification to Craigieburn) and east west bus routes along Mahoney’s Rd/Camp Road. (Bus interconnect includes: 902 – Chelsea – Airport West SMARTBUS Service, 530 Campbellfield – Coburg via Fawkner, 531 – Upfield – North Coburg via Somerset Estate, 538 Somerset Estate Broadmeadows via Camp Rd)

This would add substantial amenity to residents in Fawkner and Hadfield in accessing a range of shopping centres, including the Campbellfield shops. It would also add amenity to the various motels along Sydney road in Fawkner, encouraging their patrons to leave their cars parked and travel through Moreland by tram and train.
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Upfield Bike path: shared use upgrade to cemetery footpath does not go far enough for cyclists

This footpath from Lynch Rd will be shared use

This footpath from Lynch Rd will be shared use


One of the anomalies facing cyclists accessing the Upfield Bike Path from central Fawkner was either using Sydney Road in a 70km zone or riding on the footpath next to the cemetery, an illegal act unless accompanying children.

Sustainable Fawkner suggested and lobbied candidates as a quick fix the footpath next to the cemetery from Box Forest Rd to the police station should be made a shared use path. (see End of Post)

We have just heard from our new Councillor Ali Irfanli (Facebook) that the footpath along Sydney Rd near the cemetery will be re-designated a shared path between Lorne St and Lynch Rd.

It will be signposted as such in the next 4 – 6 weeks. The costs of these works has been assessed as minor and is managed within the existing Council budget.

While we appreciate this change, it does not go nearly far enough to resolving an anomalous legal and safety issue for Fawkner cyclists.
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Bird surveying along Merri Creek – November 2016

Red-browed Finch

Red-browed Finch


Friends of Merri Creek: You’re invited to the November bird surveys along Merri Creek. See meeting points below.

On Sunday 20 November from 8:45am – 10:30am
at Galada Tamboore, Egan-Strettle Reserves Coburg East, CERES Blyth St-Moreland Rd, Kirkdale-Merri Parks, Clifton Hill, Edwardes Lake and Galgi Ngarrk/Craigieburn Grasslands.

On Sunday 27 November from 8:45am – 10:30am
at Bababi Djinanang and Coburg Lake.

Beginner-birders are welcome to Friends of Merri Creek surveys, as well as experienced birders. Bring binoculars if you have them, and closed-in footwear, sun-hat or raingear if necessary, and drinking water. No dogs, please.

Survey meeting points:

Galgi Ngarrk (Craigieburn Grasslands): Meet at the O’Herns Road gate off Hume Highway, Somerton (Melway 180 E6). Note this survey can take up to 12 noon to complete.
Galada Tamboore: Meet at the end of Hatty Court, Campbellfield (Melway 7 K6).
Egan Reserve-Harding St-Strettle Reserve: Meet at the steps at end of The Grove, East Coburg (Melway 30 A3).
Edwardes Lake: Meet at the playground adjacent to Griffiths Street, 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).
Kirkdale Reserve & Merri Park: Meet at the end of Victoria Street, East Brunswick, at barbecue shelter (Melway 30 B8).
Hall Reserve Clifton Hill: Meet at the Rotunda, Hall Reserve, Clifton Hill (Melway 2D D1).
Coburg Lake Reserve: Meet near the car park, Lake Grove Coburg (Melway 17 H10).
Bababi Djinanang: Meet on the Merri Path at the end of Jukes Road, Fawkner (Melway 18 A2).

Our Man in Marrakech at COP22 UN climate talks

John Englart in Marrakech

John Englart in Marrakech


It’s a long way between Marrakech and Moreland, but Fawkner resident and member of Sustainable Fawkner has made the journey to attend the United Nations climate talks.

Before he left he organised a brief interview with the Moreland Leader, which was published on 7 November.

Moreland Leader 7 November 2016.

Moreland Leader 7 November 2016.

John will be attending some of the negotiating sessions as an official observer on behalf of Climate Action Moreland. He was at the opening plenary session on Monday.

He will also be attending briefing sessions with the Australian lead negotiator Patrick Suckling, various side events and forums that are organised as part of the conference, and perhaps an opportunity to meet Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Energy and Environment minister Josh Frydenberg.

His attendance at the conference was accredited through the Climate Action Network Australia, one of the regional nodes of the global Climate Action Network. He is working with other CAN activists from around the world at the conference in articulating stronger action on climate change at the global level.

It is also an opportunity for John to catch up in person with other grassroots and policy activists that he corresponds and interacts with.

Here is a picture of John with Irish environmental scientist Dr Cara Augustenborg at COP22 discussing climate and politics in Ireland and Australia (and the US election). The smiley earth ball was used in the opening ceremony of the conference.

John Englart & Dr Cara Augustenborg

John Englart & Dr Cara Augustenborg

He attended the press conference of NGO groups responding to the surprise election of Donald Trump. The mood was more somber and more determined after the election results, that action on climate, if anything, needs to be increased as climate impacts of extreme weather become more apparent.

One of the interesting insights he has seen in Marrakech is the integration of urban agriculture in the city landscape, with olives, date palms, and citrus trees adorning many of the streets and parks. Perhaps that is one idea worthy of investigation in Moreland Council’s upcoming urban food strategy.

Moreland Council turning Green – 2016 Council election results

imagine-moreland-in-2020

The results are in. Moreland Council is turning more Green. The Greens will have 4 Councillors in the new Council, with Labor aligned Councillors numbering 3, Independents 3, and Socialist Alliance 1.

Congratulations to the successful candidates elected to Moreland Council from North East Ward: Natalie Abboud (Greens), Annalivia Carli Hannan (Labor aligned), Ali Irfanli (Independent from Fawkner), and Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance). They reflect the diversity of our community and will represent us in the (hopefully) good governance of our local city council.

Sue Bolton established a strong record of regular ward meetings and community engagement and was the only Councillor in NE ward recontesting. She was elected in second place, attracting many second preference votes.

Ali Irfanli campaigned strongly as the only candidate from Fawkner and picked up a large proportion of his vote from the two Fawkner polling booths. He defeated former Councillor (2004-2012) Tony Helou for the last position.

Irfanli will now need to carefully balance the priorities of Fawkner with Coburg and the municipality generally. He will be one of the more conservative voices on Council, but that is not necessarily a bad attribute.

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Fawkner Festa 2016

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Are you ready to rumba with the Bongo Brothers? Or be mesmerised by the sweet voices of the Moomba Park Primary school choir or Fawkner Community House Choir? Or watch the incredible music of Ustad Khalil Gudaz, a Master sitar player performing traditional Afghani and Indian music. Maybe you just want to do some middle eastern hip hop, or try some circus skills.

Come along for an afternoon of inclusive performance and community entertainment at this year’s Fawkner Festa.

The Fawkner Festa 2016 will take place on Sunday 6 November 2016 at CB Smith Reserve from 12 – 4 pm.
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