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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Hume Council wants Upfield Bikepath Extension as part of Camp Road level crossing removal

Excerpt from Hume Council walking and Cycling Strategy Action Plan 2010-2015

The Upfield bike path, a shared use path that thousands of cyclists and pedestrians use every day, strangely doesn’t go all the way to Upfield. In fact it doesn’t exist, except as a poor dirt track in places beside the railway line, within Hume municipality. But Hume Council is now on board to make this path happen. Will the Labor State Government come to the party?

The bike path currently finishes at Box Forest Road in Fawkner.

Extending the path up to Barry Road and Upfield station during the Camp Road level crossing removal would make a great deal of sense, opening up to many Hume municipality residents and cyclists a safe route to Brunswick, Coburg and the Melbourne CBD.
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Questions on Toxic site raised at Moreland Council

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.

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Why local communities don’t trust EPA Victoria

EPA is changing? May 2017

Whether it is the Morwell mine fire, toxic soil contamination in Fawkner or the Fire in Coolaroo we need the EPA to be a champion for the community, but to do that it needs adequate resourcing, including in house scientific expertise, a rapid response for monitoring pollution events, willingness and resources to enforce regulatory compliance, and a change in the behavioural culture with regard to engagement with local communities to champion environmental justice.

Earthmatters program on 3CR community radio looked at the changes to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA Victoria) through the prism of two local communities and Environment Justice Australia. The program was broadcast on Sunday, 30 July 2017.

These interviews explain longstanding community reticence regarding working with the EPA, in trusting their methodologies in often slow deployment of monitoring and testing, and their poor communication and engagement with local communities.

Listen to Wendy Farmer from Voices from the Valley (Facebook) in Morwell and Brian Snowden from Toxic free Fawkner (Facebook) on two community experiences with the EPA Victoria.
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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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