Author Archives: John Englart

Saving native trees in the Darol Ulum College – Evans Reserve land swap

Darul Elum College – Evans Reserve landswap

I attended Moreland Council on Wednesday night. One of the items for consideration was the land swap with Darul Ulum College and Evans Reserve. Although I have no in principal objection to the land swap – council will not loose any land as part of Evans Reserve – I am concerned about the seven native trees in part of Evans Reserve that will be swapped.

One tree is located towards the north east corner of the land to be swapped, and the other six are in the south west corner of Evans Reserve.

I did get to ask a question, which prompted an addition in the land swap motion later in the meeting. An extra point was added to the motion for Council Officers in the land swap negotiations to try and ensure the seven native trees were saved as part of the deal.

So more car parking for Darul Ulum College (a good thing) but it adds to the urban heat island effect (a bad thing). Saving these seven trees is important if they can be incorporated as part of the expanded car parking, especially given the recent Urban Forest Strategy adopted by Council which stressed the importance of saving trees in the private realm.

No guarantees at this stage, but I am hoping these trees can be incorporated as part of the new car parking land in Darul Ulum College as part of the land swap deal. If not, then the College will have angered local residents.

The College needs to pull their weight when it comes to climate action, even in such a small thing as retaining seven native trees in an extended car park.

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Developer to close Upfield Bike Path at Jewell station for 2 years

Artist impression: NeoMetro development to close Upfield path for 2 years from Oct 2017 to 2019

Sometimes issues in other parts of the municipality affect Fawkner residents, as well as residents of other suburbs. If you are a cyclist and use the Upfield path to commute into the city past Jewell Station this will directly affect you.

An apartment development in Brunswick next to Jewell station will close the Upfield Path for over two years.

I have checked out the NeoMetro website and the development has lots of ‘sustainable’ features including a rooftop garden and emphasises city living , and appears to emphasise pro-cycling living.

Why then does the development close down one of the major cycling arterials in the City of Moreland? And not just for a few days, or a week or two, but for two whole years?

There is something hypocritical in a supposedly pro-cycling development that closes one of the major cycling arterials in our city for two years or more.

My next major thought was how the hell did this development proposal entailing closing the Upfield Path for two years get through Moreland Council? Well, Councillors?
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Vale Helen Lee: Fawkner swim teacher, community activist, food swap co-ordinator

It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Helen Lee on 13th September 2017, one of the co-ordinators for the Fawkner Food Swap for the last few years.

Helen has lived in Fawkner since 2009, many of those years with her partner Rachel.

Helen was a swim teacher at the Fawkner Leisure Centre instructing children in water safety and swimming. She had previously done swim teaching at the Brunswick and Coburg Swimming Pools.

She also participated in tree and grass plantings and the bird surveys conducted by Friends of Merri Creek at Bababi Djininang at the end of Jukes Road. She was involved in a local gardening group.

Panorama of native tree planting at Fawkner -IMG_7788-IMG_7801
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Trains terminating Coburg instead of Gowrie for Level crossing removal

Sign at bus stop opposite Gowrie Station on Sydney Road

Updated 5th October: with a response from Frank Maguire MP, and response from Level Crossing Removal Authority. Update 9 October with response from Metro Trains re disability access for replacement bus service

Public Transport Victoria and Level Crossing Removal Authority have failed to explain why trains will terminate at Coburg Station instead of Gowrie Station.

Due to Level Crossing Removal activity at Camp Road trains will terminate at Coburg station from 8.30pm Thursday 26 October to the last service on Monday 30 October. A bus service from Coburg to Upfield will replace the train. This disruption will be repeated during November and December.

Unfortunately buses aren’t as friendly for wheelchair users, or for cyclists who use the train. What about people who use mobility scooters? Will they be catered for? These people are particularly negatively affected, as well as regular users of Batman, Merlynston, Fawkner and Gowrie stations.

I don’t see why trains can’t terminate at Gowrie, where there are points north of the station before the M80 bridge allowing a train to go beyond the station then come back heading to the city.
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Council rejects development application for Fawkner toxic site

residents oppose development of toxic site

At the Urban Planning Committee last night Council unanimously voted to reject the development application for the toxic site at 102 McBryde Street, Fawkner.

The site owner wanted to erect two 7 metre tall warehouses which would involve drilling 16 holes for the foundations through the clay cap that seals dangerous dioxin contaminated soil.

At a previous information session the environmental auditor that the company employed admitted that test drill holes found levels of contamination consistent with 1995 levels.
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VicRoads have no plans to extend Upfield Bike Path to Barry Road

Someone with a sense of sign humour at railway bridge

Arising from letters I sent in August, I have had a response from a policy advisor from the office of the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan dated 18 August 2017 regarding the Upfield Bike Path extension, and it’s not good. There are no plans by VicRoads to extend the Upfield bike path past the M80 ring road, this is despite the dangerous nature of Sydney Road for cyclists through Campbellfield.

Hume Council at their August Council meeting also advocated for VicRoads to build the Upfield bikepath extension.
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Friends of Merri Creek local flora program gains biodiversity funding

Congratulations to Friends of Merri Creek for receiving $50,000 in community biodiversity grant funding from the state government for their program: The Secret Seven: Seeds for our Flora’s Future.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio visited the sheoak woodlands at Moomba Park in Fawkner on September 14 where the announcement was made that an additional $4 million will go towards community-based projects in the latest round of grants under the Biodiversity On-ground Action program. (See Ministerial press release)
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EPA acts on Salsa spill at Campbellfield

While Fawkner residents still have unanswered questions with the EPA over the Fawkner toxic site, a recent spill in Campbellfield was promptly acted upon by the EPA.

A spill of tomato salsa from Baxters Foods Australia P/L, of Jesica Road, Campbellfield into a drain that connects with Merri Creek brought prompt action of a fine issued for $7773 and a notice and a legally enforceable instruction to the company to modify and install controls to ensure waste from the site is not able to enter the soil or stormwater.
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There are 36 threatened species in Moreland

Matted Flax lilly

Here in the City of Moreland we have a highly urbanised environment, but we still have parks and creeks that permeate through our suburbs. A wealth of natural species, including at least 36 threatened species, manage to co-exist with human settlement and all of our buildings and roads.

Today – September 7 – is National Threatened Species Day, and we should pay attention to the species threatened with extinction in both our local environment and nationally.

Here in Moreland some species have learnt to live among the houses and roads and in the street trees we have planted.

Many more live in the parkland environments along watercourses and flood mitigation basins and wetlands, including along Merri Creek, Moonee Ponds Creek and Merlynston Creek.

A few find some refuge along the Upfield rail verge. Some find solace and nesting holes in mature trees and live among our dead in the Fawkner and Northern Memorial Cemeteries.

At least 36 threatened species partially live or visit Moreland. Many are bird species which visit the area, but we also have moths, lizards, dragons, fish, frogs, flying foxes and grassland flowers. Each is unique.
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Plastic Flower Protest at McBryde street toxic site

Residents of Fawkner gathered on Sunday for a public meeting to discuss the toxic legacy site at 100 and 102 McBryde street and the surrounds. The meeting was held at Fawkner Public School, kindly provided by the school principal.

A development application to erect warehouses at 102 McBryde street is currently before Moreland Council Urban Planning Committee. A Council Officer proposed motion was given to Councillors an hour before the last Urban Planning Committee meeting. As this is a contentious issue Councillors voted to defer a decision on this application to September.
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