Category Archives: events

Fawkner residents urge upgrade to the #Upfieldline

Sheridan Tate from Coolaroo speaking outside Gowrie Station

Fawkner residents rely on the Upfield train line as the primary public transport link into the city.

Residents and others from up and down the Upfield line attended a rally on Saturday in Bonwick Street to push for more trains, track duplication and upgrade of the Upfield line. See full report (including speeches) at the Upfield Transport Alliance: Duplicate the Upfield Line needs to be a priority says Fawkner Rally.

While residents at the very south of our suburb can walk to the Bakers Road tram terminus to catch the number 19 tram down Sydney Road, for most Fawkner residents this is simply not an option. (Sustainable Fawkner supports extending the No 19 tram all the way to Campbellfield)

The bus service that winds it’s way through Fawkner streets linking Coburg to Campbellfield is necessary and important, but also lacks the speed and frequency for city commuters.

Our service frequency on the Upfield line is 20 minutes, but more problematic is the single track between Gowrie and Upfield stations that limits the ability to increase the service frequency. Even when the Metro rail tunnel is complete by 2025, the single track will still limit service frequency on the line.

But it’s not only service frequency that’s a problem, it’s the reliability of the service.

When any problem happens on the line and there is a major delay in the Upfield timetable trains are short shunted at Coburg station. While residents in Coburg and Brunswick might not notice much change, all the residents at Batman station and further north have to wait for up to 40 minutes or longer for a train. This makes people late for work, late for important appointments.

A number of Fawkner residents spoke including John Englart from Sustainable Fawkner, Abdul Aziz a local Fawkner train commuter, and Joe Perri from the Fawkner Residents Association.

Residents along the Upfield train line transport corridor are represented by three state MPs: Tim Read, the Greens MP for Brunswick; Lizzie Blandthorn, Labor MP for Pascoe Vale; and Frank McGuire, Labor MP for Broadmeadows. So far only Tim Read has supported giving upgrade of the Upfield line a more urgent priority.

Sustainable Fawkner resident John Englart hand delivered an invite to Frank McGuire’s office:

We have known for 5 years that Upgrade of the Upfield line is urgently needed. The work is in the Melbourne Rail Network development Plan published in 2012, but listed as not to be done for at least 15 years.

A $5 million dollar report on upgrading the Upfield line and extension to Craigieburn along the Somerton link was completed last year, but the government is refusing to make this report public. See the ministerial response in the article on the Extend the Upfield Bike Path campaign website.

Five years ago Metro Trains urged urgent track duplication of the Upfield line. This has been ignored by the Andrews state government.

Track duplication should be done as a priority project in conjunction with level crossing removal in Coburg that will likely start later this year, to minimise disruption to passengers.

Have a read of this January 2014 Age report by Adam Carey: Single line to Upfield worsens north-west rail woes

A four-kilometre section of single track railway in a sparsely populated part of Melbourne is causing transport problems all over the north-western suburbs, Metro says.

The Upfield railway line, one of Melbourne’s quietest, goes from two tracks to one at the end of the line between Gowrie and Upfield stations.

The single track section can only accommodate one train at a time, creating a bottleneck that has long condemned Upfield line passengers to 20-minute waits between trains, even as several other lines in Melbourne move towards 10-minute frequency.

Metro has called for the single-track section of the Upfield line to be duplicated by 2017, arguing that services on the line should be increased “towards a 10-minute frequency”.

In a proposal to the state government, Melbourne’s rail operator says the single track should be duplicated because it also puts pressure on the Craigieburn and Sunbury lines, two of Melbourne’s busiest and most prone to peak-hour overcrowding, because all three lines are linked in a northern group.” Read more

It’s way past time that Lizzie Blandthorn MP and Frank McGuire MP take up the issue of urgent upgrade to the Upfield Line. Residents of the northern suburbs are sick of being ignored.

Sustainable Fawkner has endorsed the Upfield Transport Alliance campaign

Riff Raff marching band: we need more trains

The Fawkner rally to Upgrade Upfieldline

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The Green Chain – Film Fundraiser for Toxic Free Fawkner

Toxic Free Fawkner is campaigning to get the properties that were part of the old NuFarm site cleaned up and opposing inappropriate development of these properties.

Later this week the group will be showing a film to help raise funds for the campaign. This is to raise money for a VCAT case about the toxic site at 102 McBryde St Fawkner.

This site isn’t any contaminated site. It is one of a small number of sites in Australia that is contaminated with dioxin.

Several dangerous chemicals were produced on the site, but the most dangerous one is dioxin. Dioxin is a by-product of the chemicals that were produced on the site 24-D and 245-T. These two chemicals make Agent Orange if they are mixed together.
The group are screening a film about the impact of dioxin on a New Zealand community and the campaign to get the site cleaned up.

Details:
Thursday 19 April, 7.30pm
Fawkner Primary School, corner Lorne St & McBryde St, Fawkner
(enter from McBryde St)

Entry $15 waged/ $5 concession/ $20 solidarity
Children Free

Register to go on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1711045325645164/

Flood Risk to Coburg North when super storm hits Melbourne

1-in-100 flood mapping for Coburg North along Merlynston Creek

I hope you didn’t have too much planned this weekend. It might be good to stay home and see how waterproof your house is when the thunderstorms start rolling in on Friday afternoon, and are expected to keep on dumping torrential amounts of rain all weekend.

Expect flash flooding in low lying areas. Merlynston Creek at Coburg North is likely to flash flood. Take care if you live in the vicinity of the 1-in-100 flood zone for Merlynston Creek, particularly around Sussex Street and Boundary Road. Visit the SES page for Moreland Council for local Flood information.
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Fawkner Festa celebrates diversity in Community

On November 12 Fawkner held it’s community festival in CB Smith Reserve. By all accounts a festive occasion with some beautiful summer weather.
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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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Toxic site angers Fawkner residents

Two properties in McBryde street Fawkner were the location of a NuFarm factory which manufactured herbicides, agent orange and other chemicals in the 1960s with dioxin a noted byproduct. The site has been called one of the top 10 most toxic sites in Australia.

Although residents forced the closure of the factory in the early 1970s, it was another 15 years before any site cleanup was done. The last time there was any official inspection was 1995. It is believed that the contaminated area is larger than the two properties where a clay cap keeps much of the contaminated soil contained.

This week the EPA Victoria have taken some soil samples to test for an array of toxic chemicals. What we really require is a thorough environmental audit of the entire site with community input to ensure full transparency on the testing regime. It is suspected that the area of contamination is much wider than the boundaries of the two properties being talked about, so testing should encompass this broader area.

One of the fears is that any development on either site risks penetration of the clay cap and exposure of contaminated soil to the air. This may pose a wind blown toxic danger to residents over a wide area.

The EPA says the clay cap is currently sound but plans shown in the permit application indicate “works for the proposed redevelopment are likely to penetrate the clay cap”. The question that needs to be asked: Are you okay with developers gambling with the health of residents and workers on a known toxic site? Continue reading

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
,

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 – 10pm @ 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.
Register at Facebook event

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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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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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).