On November 12 Fawkner held it’s community festival in CB Smith Reserve. By all accounts a festive occasion with some beautiful summer weather.
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.
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.
Questions were raised about the Fawkner toxic site in McBryde street at Moreland’s August Council meeting regarding EPA site testing, environmental audits, testing the footpath, and whether all information was provided to planning application objectors. A report on these questions will be presented at the September Council meeting.
So we have dioxin contaminated site at 100 and 102 McBryde st, Fawkner, and now VicRoads wants to subdivide 104B McBryde street just north of the contaminated site.
Perhaps 25 houses and a road to go in. The subdivision plan encroaches closer than 50 metres to Merri creek which means it fails to comply with Moreland’s open space strategy.
We need a full and open environmental audit of the contaminated site and surrounds before we do any sub-division and development. That’s simple precautionary principle.
The risks from living near a toxic site are not clear, but if not managed properly could have a high impact on population health. We have already seen cancer clusters on McBryde street and in Reservoir in the surrounding area to the NuFarm site in the past.
Therefore we need to use the precautionary principle and oppose this sub-division development until we know the long term remediation and management of the toxic site is in hand.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.