Category Archives: news

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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Wash up from the Coolaroo fire: class action and pollution of Merlynston Creek

Photo by MFB

On 13th July a mountain of fire erupted in bales of recycled plastics and paper at the SKM Recycling facility in Maffra Street, Coolaroo producing voluminous smoke and fumes. Sadly, the extensive water employed by the Fire Brigade to try and bring the fire under control made it’s way with contaminants into local waterways, primarily Merlynston Creek.

Smoke and fumes from the mountain of burning plastic and paper in the SKM recycling plant in Coolaroo caused several hundred people to evacuate from their homes in the immediate area. At least 110 homes in the immediate area were door knocked for evacuation on the Thursday evening due to very poor air quality readings.

Even the Upfield train line was closed down for a time on July 14, with buses replacing trains from North Melbourne to Upfield.

The smoke plume and fumes spread over and affected residents and workers in a wide area including the suburbs of Meadow Heights, Dallas, Broadmeadows, Campbellfield, Coburg, Fawkner, Glenroy, Pascoe Value, Roxburgh Park, Strathmore and Westmeadows.
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Fawkner Toxic site Moreland Leader story jumps to conclusions to soon

Jumping to conclusions too soon is bad reporting. The following story was run by the Moreland Leader on Monday 17th July yet we are still awaiting the results of tests for furins and dioxins from Germany from the EPA test samples.

Residents have also queried the methodology for the EPA test samples, being limited to surface water samples only from behind the factory and from Merri Creek, offering only a very limited assessment of surface signs of contamination associated with the whole area. The EPA April tests did not take any samples from 100 or 102 McBryde street for testing.

The news report also does not take into account that the owners agents raised at the Planning information and discussion meeting on 29 June that they have drilled some holes to test the depth of the clay cap at 102 McBryde street, and their limited testing of the soil beneath the cap found it was still contaminated at a level consistent with the 1995 environmental audit report.
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Question in Parliament on Fawkner Toxic Site

Just for the record, this question was asked in State Parliament on 8th June by Greens MLC Colleen Hartland covering both reform of the EPA and the management plan for the Fawkner Toxic site.

The EPA conducted tests in April. I understand these tests amounted to surface water from behind 100-102 McBryde Street and water in Merri Creek. The question needs to be asked: were these tests sufficient to report “no contamination beyond the site”? We don’t know the exact location where these samples were undertaken. We are still waiting for test results from Germany regarding furans and dioxins.

See below for a 1990 map indicating the possible extent of contamination:

1990 map of toxic zone area to be fenced off in Fawkner

We do know that the owners have drilled some holes to test the depth of the clay cap at 102 McBryde street, and their limited testing of the soil beneath the cap found it was still contaminated at a level consistent with the 1995 environmental audit report.

You can access the 1995 Environmental Audit report at the EPA Interaction Portal. (Enter Transaction #: 8000314 for Audit Report, Executive Summary and Appendices)
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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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