Lions Festival 2016

img_0974This year’s festival was superb, sunny with a light breeze, and well attended. OFF’s stand, was adjacent to the Bush Care and Oatley Heritage sites, and we all benefited from the locations with the public going to each of our stalls. img_1045

OFF had a good range of materials, both free and for sale. Our Oatley Park brochures were popular, particularly the bird brochure, and Shaun Keys-Burn produced a nice set of greeting cards using the brilliant photos of Peter Mercer. These sold well and raised over $100.

img_0972We had a good range of plants for sale, courtesy of the East Hills Aust Plant Society and Menai Wildflower Group. We sold about 75% of the stock and were very happy to share the proceeds with the suppliers.

img_1037 This is OFF’s best opportunity for public exposure. We benefited by gaining 5 new memberships on the day, and distributing many membership packages. It was a good day; many thanks to the volunteer staff, and to those who arranged our stall

What Next for Oatley Bowling Club Site?

p1000594It is disappointing that the Georges River Council is pursuing action to alienate public land.

A development application to consolidate the lots at the former Oatley Bowling Club (OBC) site was approved (9/9/16) by the Independent Hearing Assessment Panel (IHAP). Whilst this DA does not include any construction and operational works, community members addressing the panel stated that it is integral to the rezoning planning proposal submitted in conjunction with this DA. 

p1000351Despite the consolidation, the OBC site is STILL in Myles Dunphy Reserve, given the following statements in the IHAP report…. ” The lots will remain in one ownership and still form part of the public reserve and community land. ” See Friends of Oatley Website for more on the campaign to keep public land public

In September 2010 the former Hurstville Council decided to rezone the former Oatley Bowling Club site in Myles Dunphy Reserve from Open Space to Residential. Georges River Council is now proposing to rezone the site to SP2 Infrastructure (Seniors housing) as per 2014 council resolutions.  There are no height limits in SP2 zones whereas residential zones are limited to three (3) storeys. Documents from two closed door meetings in 2014 have been finally made public (3/8/16). It appears council resolved to build more than 80 seniors residences including tower potentially up to 9 storeys  for it to be financially viable. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

p1000600p1000597

p1000362A Planning Proposal Should be in the next few months – This should include traffic and access, contamination, train noise and vibration, hydraulic services, as well as bushfire, ecological and planning studies.

As part of this stage there will be opportunities for the community to provide their feedback to Council via community information sessions.

 

The community can to keep up to date on this issue

pop-up-picinic-group-21-aug-2016by following Friends of Oatley website ; and Facebook sites  Myles Dunphy Reserve ;

Myles Dunphy Reserve Backyard ;

Oatley and Surrounds

Georges River Councilmail@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au
State Member Mark CoureOatley@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Federal Member David Coleman  - david.coleman.mp@aph.gov.au
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lime Kiln Bay Awareness Project Report

Lime Kiln Bay (LKB) wetland was constructed in 2000 to improve aesthetics of the area and quality of water draining into Lime Kiln Bay reed beds, mangroves and the bay itself and then into the Georges River. The wetland and surrounding bushland represent a significant community asset. There are increasingly significant environmental impacts on the wetland from urban development that are causing a deterioration in the natural qualities of the area.

A5. Lime Kiln Bay wetlandsProject Objectives

  • Raise awareness in the catchment community of the wetland’s presence, value and significance

  • Increase community understanding and appreciation of wetlands

  • Increase community involvement in wetland monitoring and adjacent bush regeneration programs

  • Reduce pollutants deriving from the catchment (litter, sediment, etc)

Summary of Project Outcomes

Mark Coure 25 Nov (2)Your guide to Lime Kiln Bay Wetland

Ten thousand copies of brochure were printed and at project end date 7,600 had been distributed throughout the community; 4500 via letterboxes of all residences in the catchment and the remainder via schools, public and government offices, libraries etc and via community contact events.

Drain message stencilling:

DRAINS ARE JUST FOR RAIN, KEEP IT CLEAN, DUMP NO WASTE, DRAINS TO LIME KILN BAY WETLAND, DRAINS TO RIVER, and A STYLISED FISH LOGO, were used to spray paint 322 messages onto 129 drains/ sites at high visibility zones throughout the wetland catchment

IMG_1683Guided walks around the wetland:

Four 2-hour guided walks were conducted over a period of four months. These attracted a total of 73 participants.

Website and Facebook pages:

A page on the OFF website was set up for the project and postings were also made to OFF’s Facebook site.

IMG_1021 Community events and other contacts:

A total of 8 public contact events (face-to-face) were held (eg Oatley Lions Festival, Australia Day function etc) where the project was promoted directly to an estimated 470 people. In particular the use of the Australian Museum’s catchment model at the 2015 Oatley Lions festival attracted a lot of attention particularly families with young children.

Project implementation and management:

All the proposed project elements/activities were successfully completed over a 12 month project life. The total project cost of $4,618.17 was just $68.17 over the budget (grant amount) of $4550. OFF will not be seeking any additional funds. Over 600 OFF volunteer hours were contributed to the project.

Conclusion:

Given the small sample sizes of before and after project surveys, there was no conclusive statistically significant, discernible difference between pre and post situations. However, from the number of interactions OFF members had during the course of the project and anecdotal evidence, we believe that the range of strategies employed for awareness raising of the wetland and associated stormwater issues has been effective.  OFF will continue to distribute the brochures, conduct walks and promote the wetland/stormwater message at community events in the normal course of its future activities.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

2016 Federal Election – Candidates for Banks

Arms_of_AustraliaA questionnaire was sent by Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society to 3 candidates for the seat of Banks to  gain insight into candidates’ position and/or opinion on a variety of environmental issues before the coming election. The questions and candidates’ answers are published below as they become available. Answers are in order of receipt.

Philippa Clark – Greens

Chris Gambian – Labor

David Coleman – Liberal

 

Section 1: Candidates’ personal positions on environmental issues

Personal Question 1 Do you believe current Climate Change is real and represents a major threat to our world?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – Yes

Personal Question 2 Do you believe Climate Change is predominantly caused by human activity as concluded by the majority of scientists, eg, by the IPCC and CSIRO?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – Yes

Personal Question 3 What demonstrable actions have you taken to minimise your personal and your household’s environmental footprint?

Clark – Our household has water tanks, solar hot water and solar panels. We grow our own fresh vegies and herbs and avoid using heating or air conditioning by using plants and blockout shades to effectively control the temperature inside the house. While I drive quite a bit these days out of necessity, I much prefer to take the train or my trusty scooter to my destination!

Gambian - I try to communicate by email and work electronically as much as possible. I have a young daughter, and my wife and I are conscious about how our actions will impact on her future. Our household recycles and we have a compost bin. We also try to do things like take our own water bottles with us when our family us out and about rather than buy plastic bottles, and take our own shopping bags to do the grocery shopping (when we are organised enough to!)

Personal Question 4 Over the last decade what are the significant and demonstrable actions you have taken to protect and enhance the environment.

Clark - I studied horticulture when I was younger however I don’t have many chances to use the hands-on environmental skills – I have a desk job – which is a shame. However, I contribute to the cause in non-hands-on ways where I can, by writing letters and emails, signing petitions, donating and volunteering for various environmental organisations, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Keeping councils accountable for their dodgy environmental governance is a particular hobby of mine.

Gambian - As an active member of the Labor party, and candidate for Banks, I am proud of our policies relating to the environment and climate action. I believe that strong public policy is the way to secure the most significant of changes needed, including those to protect the environment.

Personal Question 5 What are the significant environmental problems you believe are relevant to the Banks electorate and the country and what actions have you taken to protect, restore, or advocate for the environment?

Clark -  I am very concerned about the health of the Georges River and surrounding bushland – particularly since Sydney Water’s ageing and overflowing sewerage systems continue to pose a threat to the water. One of my major campaigns this election is to clean up Yeramba Lagoon in the Georges River National Park. This once-beautiful spot has been allowed to stagnate and is sadly infested by noxious weeds. The Greens want to see tidal flow returned to the lagoon, the weeds removed and the lagoon dredged so that this problem doesn’t reoccur.

Gambian – The bushland and waterways of this area are to be treasured. In May this year, I was proud to announce $300,000 funding to the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service for the restoration and regeneration of Yeramba Lagoon. This will restore the natural tidal flow, improve water quality and reduce aquatic weeds.

Section 2: Environmental Issues

Question 1 Will you support legislation to enact a ban on both mining and gas extraction from all designated water catchment areas, for example the Georges and Woronora Rivers in Sydney?

Clark – Yes  In relation to CSG, the Greens support a full ban on CSG extraction activities across NSW, not just in water catchment areas.

Gambian – Labor recognises the community concerns about the extraction of gas from coal seams, shales and tight formations. When we were in Government, Labor added a Water Trigger to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to cover CSG and large coal mining developments. This ensures that if these projects impact water resources, then they are rigorously assessed under the EPBC Act.

Question 2 Do you support the enactment of “No-Go zone” legislation to exclude mining and gas extraction from prime agricultural land and environmentally significant areas?

Clark – Yes. See also answer to Question 1.

Gambian - Labor’s policy will extend the protection provided by the Water Trigger to ensure that any shale or tight formation gas developments that impact water resources will also be subject to a full assessment under the EPBC Act and approval from the Minister for Environment, including an assessment by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

Labor will ensure full assessment and management of environmental and other impacts, including on water reserves and co-existence with other agricultural activities.

It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to protect Australia’s most precious environmental assets, including prime agricultural land.

Question 3 Further to Question 2 above, do you support additional supplementary funding for and to address: the growing threats posed by climate change, bush fires, feral animal population growth, and noxious weeds? What measures do you propose?

Clark – Yes  We have announced our support for more money to our firefighters as we realise they are on the front line of climate change. We want to see more government investment in renewable energy and electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. In relation to feral animals, I support humane culling but only as a last resort.

Gambian – As part of a Labor Government, I would, of course, consult with relevant Ministers to secure funding for environmental projects in the Banks electorate.

Question 4 What level of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) do you support as Australia’s actions in response to climate change?

Clark – 100% renewable energy is possible, essential and affordable. This election, we are campaigning for 90% renewable by 2030.

Gambian – Labor is committed to ensuring a 50% of Australia’s energy is from renewable sources by 2030. For more detail, please see Labor’s climate change policy at: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/ , under “Acting on climate change, protecting the environment.”

Question 5 Do you support a fair Australia wide mandatory residential solar feed-in tariff which encourages increased use of renewable energy? Would you discourage the increase of fixed costs for consumers with solar systems connected to the electrical grid?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – I personally would support a sensible initiative that encourages the use of solar energy. The details of how such a scheme would work would need extensive consultation to ensure a system that was effective, practical and fair. A Shorten Labor Government will initiate an Electricity Modernisation Review including a review of the National Electricity Market (NEM). The Review would consider the role of feed-in tariffs. You can read about Labor’s plan for cleaner energy here: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/cleaner_power_generation

Question 6 Do you support the establishment of more Marine Parks, to assist in conserving Australia’s marine environment? Where do you envisage these parks would be?

Clark – Yes  We want to restore the coastal network of marine sanctuaries that was abolished by the Abbott government in 2013. In particular this election the Greens are supporting a Sydney Marine Park and a marine sanctuary on the Northern Beaches (including Long Reef and Cabbage Tree Bay).

Gambian – In November 2012, 40 new Commonwealth Marine Reserves were proclaimed by the Labor Government. A Shorten Labor Government will re-commit to both our expanded network of Marine Parks and a Fisheries Adjustment Package to ensure any impacted fishers will be assisted with any impacts from expanded Marine Parks. The Labor position can be found here: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/marine_parks

Question 7. What measures do you support to preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef?

Clark – Our initiatives include:

  • $500 million in grant funding to improve water quality

  • $1.2 billion Reef Repair Loan facility to help farmers transition to low-polluting methods and reduce fertiliser runoff

  • Reverse funding cuts to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

  • No Adani coal mine!

Gambian – Our Great Barrier Reef Plan has three pillars:

  • Science and Research: Improve science and research and monitoring of reef issues to ensure the protection and sustainability of the Reef is based on the latest, specialised science. This includes an additional investment in climate and reef science at the CSIRO of $50 million.

  • Direct Environmental Investment: Integrated direct investment to improve water quality, land management, agricultural and transport sustainability and environmental impacts.

  • Reef Management: Improve Reef management architecture and incentives to fix the fragmented and uncoordinated approach that has for too long characterised Reef management and conservation.

You can read more about Labor’s Great Barrier Reef plan here: http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/great_barrier_reef_plan

Question 8. Do you support the establishment of a federal equivalent of the NSW ICAC and the limitation of donations to political parties to ensure that there is no undue influence from companies particularly developers, mining companies, etc. whose activities can be detrimental to the environment?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – I’m not sure how such a body would work, however I would be happy to discuss any specific concerns you have in relation to improper political influence by companies.

Question 9. Will you encourage investors, including superannuation funds, banks, financial advisers etc. to divest from coal related companies to encourage the transition to a clean electricity future required to assist in the mitigation of climate change?

Clark – Yes

Gambian – Transitioning electricity generation to renewable energy is critical to reducing carbon pollution. We want to see Australia return to being a front-runner in renewable energy investment. Labor’s policy settings will see lower power prices, carbon pollution reductions and thousands of jobs across Australia. With 20,000 Australians currently employed in the renewable energy sector, Labor has identified this as a growth industry.

Question 10. Will you push for the federal establishment of an over-arching and uniform Australia wide container deposit legislation, similar to those in South Australia and the Northern Territory and promised by the NSW government, to help in the fight against litter?

Clark – Yes

Gambian - A Labor Government would actively support the states in developing their own container deposit schemes, but if this hasn’t happened by 2020, Labor would revisit the issue with an eye to federal legislation.

Longwall Coal Mining is Jeopardising Water Supply

cordeaux 239 people participated on our Picnic at Cordeaux dam on 1/5/16 to protest about environmentally damaging longwall coal mining projects in the Metropolitan Drinking Water catchments.  Most of those were members of Oatley Flora and Fauna who sponsored the day, but there were also  some present from The Georges River Environmental Alliance and National Parks Assn, Macarthur.

Cordeaux3

Our particular focus was to oppose the proposal to extend the Dendrobium mining operations in the Cordeaux and Avon Dam catchments, as that was our location for the day. This project has done the most harm yet seen in terms of both draining  precious water yielding swamps and tributary streams, and yet the state government is on the verge of a further approval.

Attached is a report that some participants urged me to compile. It summarizes the current dam threatening proposals; The Metropolitan Mine in the Woronora, The Russell Vale Project in the Cataract as well as the aforementioned Dendrobium project. Included is some scathing evidence against the continuation of damaging longwall coal mining beneath our precious drinking water assets, from the governments’ own agencies and instrumentalities including the NSW Dam Safety Committee, the PAC Commission of Inquiry and Water NSW. It is therefore not surprising, that some of the comments included from participants on the fieldtrip, reveal a level of incredulity, appalling surprise,  that our state government not only permits, but even encourages coal mining that threatens drinking water supplies, and that it applies a third world standard of environmental regulation, in what is  supposedly our first world country. Apart from objecting to the appalling damage that is occurring, a discussion of the financial fragility of some of the proponents, and their poor record in terms of ethical governance added extra concerns.

Report by Picnic organiser Sharyn Cullis (1May 2016)

Please take the time to read paper by Sharyn Cullis which details why coal projects in drinking water catchments is wrong. 

Coal projects in the drinking water catchments 

FullSizeRender

Committee member Matt Allison wins Banks Volunteer Award

Congratulations to Matt Allison  who was presented with a Banks Volunteer of Award on 6 April . The event was organised by member for Banks David Coleman with presentations made by special guest Julie Bishop MP at Club Rivers .

Matt Allison is passionate about caring for the natural environment and has contributed much to our organisation. He has been a member of the committee of OFF for 15 years and for the past six years, our Program and Publicity Officer. That role includes finding 10 speakers for our monthly meetings, up to a year in advance, and liaising with them to produce publicity and ensure the program is delivered smoothly. Matt’s selection of top-class speakers has ensured high attendances at our meetings and generated interest in, and understanding of, a wide range of natural history and conservation topics.

Matt has also provided expert advice to OFF on bush regeneration and, despite the demands of running a full-time business, contributes many hours of voluntary work to our projects, cheerfully and willingly. With another committee member, he has been instrumental in re-activating the Bushcare program in Oatley Park.

Oatley Historic Walk

On Sunday 3 April we (about 6 but grew to 9) commenced our walk in the Povelli Café and Deli with the large photos on the wall. We discussed James Oatley’s Sydney history before reading the words on the plaque opposite the Clock. Walking through the Memorial Park we remembered the splendid Kogarah Council on 1920’s that made it a Park before walking down through the old railway cutting between the Community Hall and Guide Hall. Janet Austin told us about the plaque commemorating the old Como rail bridge being maintained for the pedestrian and cycle way it is today.

The Como Bridge and Neverfail Bay followed and then the long walk to the Charles Street lookout. To the Oatley Pleasure gardens where David Koffel stated he was seeing things he had never known after only 43 years in Oatley!

Back to the St Pauls Church, the new plaque at the old War Memorial site and back along Letitia to the Radio Theatre and School of Arts.

0006 Oatley Bay  from Charles Street Reserve 1926a Oatley Radio Theatre

It took nearly 3 hours and the walk was revealed to many new discoveries or details of our suburb. Apart from those places mentioned above we looked at several other features along the way.

Thanks to the enthusiastic group who came and their additional knowledge that added the enjoyment to the morning walk.

Report on Historic Walk of Oatley  by Leader Rodger Robertson

Lime Kiln Bay Wetland Guided Walks

W5.royal spoonbillEver wondered where your stormwater goes and what happens to it?

As part of the Wetland Awareness project OFF will be conducting free guided walks around the Wetland to show interested people how the quality of stormwater runoff is improved and the abundant native plants and wildlife that the wetland supports.

Saturday 20th February, 2016 3pm – 5pm
and
Saturday 19th March 2016 3pm – 5pm

 

Meet at corner Waterfall Rd and Acacia St. Oatley

Wear sturdy shoes and a hat, bring water and sunscreen
CLICK HERE FOR PROJECT FLYER

 

2016 Annual General Meeting

Right version white eye Green card

Our AGM was held at the RSL Oatley on February 2016. Secretary Liz Cameron presented the minutes and report for 2015. President Graham Lalchere’s speech reflected on OFF activities through a lense of  “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally”. CLICK HERE FOR FULL Presidents AGM Address

Election of  2016 committee was overseen by David Crawford acting as returning officer.

President  Graham Lalchere

Vice Presidents- Alan Fairley & Graham Fry

Secretary Liz Cameron

Treasurer – Rodger Robertson

A full list of committee members will be posted on line as soon as our program for the year is published.

The official part of the meeting was followed by a dazzling array of members’ slides.  Alan Fairly – Elora & Ajanta Caves in India; Shaun Keays-Byrne Oatley Park & OFF activities; Graham Fry – Smiggins  trips; Sharyn Cullis – Small African Fauna ; Phil Andersen -  Large African Fauna Melina Amerasinghe – Sri-Lanka; Graham Lalchere – Central & Western Australia.

The meeting was followed by supper. With a generous spread of  goodies available members mingled till closing time.  The new venue worked well with equipment and catering facilities.

 

 

Drains are for Rain

The Leader 20 Jan 2016 Its clear drains are for rain so butt out
Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society  is painting messages on drains in the Penshurst, Mortdale and Oatley area to remind people of what drains are for and what their misuse can do to wetlands and river systems. Their current target is the drain system that flows into the Lime Kiln Bay wetland.
 
Leader published the photos and LKB/ drain stencilling story in Wed 20 January 2016 edition..
It is on-line on The Leader website.  There is room on the website version for the public to make comments.