Author Archives: John Englart

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.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Fawkner Festa 2016

20161022-fawkner-festa-sign-img_2999

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.
Continue reading

Flax Lily & Blue-banded Bee Wild Pollinator Count

20161026_flax-lily-bluebanded-bee-count

Ever wanted to be a citizen scientists? Here is your chance to help out in Fawkner.

Merri Creek Management Committee and Friends of Merri Creek invite you to participate in the Flax Lily & Blue-banded Bee Wild Pollinator Count.

What: Flax Lily & Blue-banded Bee Wild Pollinator Count
When: Sunday 13 November, 10am-12.30pm
Where: Meet in the Parklands at the east end of Jukes Rd Fawkner
(Melway 18 A2).

Visit the Lily and Blue Banded Bee project sites, place a Bee Hotel & count the wild pollinators!

Refreshments will be provided.

Phone Ray or Monica at MCMC 9380 8199. This project is funded by Victorian Government’s Threatened Species Grant and the many generous donors of a crowdfunding campaign!

Matted Flax-lily (Dianella amoena) at Bababi Djinanang native grassland Fawkner

Brunswick: Montfort Park alienation from the public realm

Fencing out the public Montfort Park, Brunswick

Fencing out the public
Montfort Park, Brunswick

The issue of open space and Montfort Park in Brunswick has been raised by the initiation of a community petition and Facebook Group. Although I live in Fawkner, I care about open space and environmental issues across the municipality. This is also a park that I used to use so there is a personal connection.

Montfort Park is at the corner of Henkel St and Wendel St in Brunswick. The park, and the old scout hall next to it, were sold to a community group by Council in 2003, but with conditions on the use of the open space land, that it’s title of Montfort Park continue and that the park and it’s facilities be developed as a basketball court or similar and remain accessible to the public.

It is now all concrete, a basketball court and open space, and surrounded by a 3 metre steel fence. Local residents argue it is seldom used and remains inaccessible for public use.
Continue reading

Candidate Engagement on community issues for Moreland Council election 2016

20161013-ne-ward-forum-morelandvotes

The election was held Saturday 22 October. See the election results.

In my article on candidates standing for NE ward I provided a matrix for what community surveys each candidate had responded to. Other people have also written candidate profiles for Moreland’s three wards:

Candidate profiles:

South Ward:

North West Ward

North East Ward

I decided to broaden my matrix on survey engagement to all candidates across the municipality. This is a relatively neutral way to assess engagement by candidates with community groups on issues, while leaving the content of their responses up to voters to investigate.

Surveys conducted by community groups included: Climate Action Moreland on climate change, sustainability and climate emergency; Moreland BUG on cycling; Bicycle Network; Pentridge Community Action Group on Pentridge Development (NE ward only); Music Victoria on support for local live music; and Alliance for Gambling Reform on Pokies reform.

I have put together this matrix so you can see at a glance who responded to each survey. Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot paper. Current Councillors re-contesting having an asterisk in front of their name.
Continue reading

Who is standing for NE ward of Moreland Council in 2016?

neward-posters-500w

For Moreland Council North East ward, which Fawkner is a part of, 4 Councillors are to be elected, from 20 candidates standing. See VEC Moreland City Council 2016 Nominations. The following is the list of candidates as they will appear on the ballot paper. Climate Action Moreland have done a simple survey of candidates on climate and sustainability policies which are worth checking out. Two candidate forums have been organised so far for North East Ward.

The election is on Saturday 22 October. See the election results.

Candidate Forums

Fawkner Community House have invited North–East Ward Council candidates to a community forum with Fawkner residents about how candidates will represent the interests of people in Fawkner if they are elected at the council election this month.
When: Sunday 9 October 2pm to 5pm
Where: 95-97 Major Road Fawkner
Details: Fawkner Community House

Save Coburg and Pentridge Action Group are organising a candidates forum to hear from candidates and ask them questions.
When: Thursday, October 13 at 7 PM – 9:30 PM
Where: Coburg Uniting Church on the corner of Louisa St & Victoria St, Coburg
Registration: Facebook Event details
Storify Report: Urban Development in spotlight at NE Ward #MorelandVotes candidates forum

Pentridge Community Action Group reported: “Show of Hands from Candidates present at the Moreland Council NE Ward Forum re question posed by Prof Hamel-Green on opposing > 4 storey development in the Pentridge Precinct. Candidates with hands raised are George Georgiou, Sue Bolton, David Nunns, Antonio Bonifazio, and Imogen Jubb. A late response was made by Francesco Timpano”.

A third candidates forum organised at Merlynston.
When: Tuesday 18 October 7.30pm to 9pm
Details: Facebook event

Continue reading