Appeal to New Councillors to Save Bowling Club Site

The society has written to the new Georges River Councillors informing them of the history of the acquisition of the land on which the Oatley Bowling Club (OBC) was built and issues important to the community in retaining the site for recreational community use. 

Please write to your Councillors asking them to consider retaining the site for community recreational use.

Click here to read – OFF letter to Georges River Councillors on planning proposal for OBC_

 

 

Three facsimiles below are of 1944 Hurstville Council minutes that relate to the original acquisition of the land on which the former Oatley Bowling Club is situated.

Council minute 680 on 16/11/44- The blocks of land that make up this reserve were acquired in 1944-45 by council for a park

 

 

 

Minute 680 states quite clearly that the land was purchased for a park, lists the blocks bought, and includes all of the blocks on which the Bowling Club was built.

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 884 – Grant for acquisition of the lands.

 

 

 

Plans of Management for Royal, Heathcote NPs & Garawarra SCA

Oatley Flora and Fauna Society submitted a discussion paper on the Plans of Management for Royal, Heathcote National Parks and the Garawarra State Conservation.  Read OFF submission.

  • The paramount consideration should be protection of the natural values of the reserves. Protection of these values is the reason the reserves were established and it is required under the National Parks and Wildlife Act requires. The two National Parks in particular, should be managed first and foremost for their natural values
  • The focus should be on protection of entire plant communities and overall biodiversity, not specific species.
  • Recreational activities in the reserves should primarily promote an understanding and appreciation of their natural values.
  • No new mountain bike tracks should be made in the reserves, and existing tracks that are causing erosion or damaging natural features, should be closed. Other venues and tenures of land can provide for these activities in the region.
    It is curious that the NSW Government should consider the necessity to provide extensive opportunities for mountain bike activities in natural reserves while reducing opportunities for commuter cycling in the city, where it poses no harm to the environment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney Tree Canopy Study

Preliminary research data from 202020 Vision made in a submission to Greater Sydney Commission in April 2017 shows changes in tree canopy and hard surfaces from 2009 -2016 in local government areas in Sydney. A full report ” Where the Trees Should Go” is expected later this year. 

It is is interesting to note:

  • Hurstville Council looses tree canopy cover where as Kogarah Council becomes positive.
  •  Kogarah and Hurstville councils both have about a 5% increase in hard surfaces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cultivating Murder – Cost of Protecting Native Vegetation

Cultivating Murder movieOn 24th April, 75 members and guests were treated to a premiere showing of the crowd-funded documentary film “Cultivating Murder” by Film Projects. This is a collaborative effort from Director Greg Miller and Producer Dr Georgia Wallace-Crabbe. It features the story behind the murder of OE&H compliance officer Glen Turner in 2014 by Ian Turnbull, who happens to be one of the wealthiest farmers in NSW.

Glen turnerGlen worked on the frontline of habitat and wildlife protection in the Moree district and was investigating the illegal land clearing operations of the Turnbull family. The Turnbulls would purchase grazing landholdings and any remnant native vegetation on the property was bulldozed to improve the cropping potential of the land. However these remnant copses were clearly home to native wildlife (like locally highly threatened koalas) and, as such, were protected by state government legislation. Previously repeated large scale land clearing prosecutions of the Turnbulls meant they had already racked up multiple million dollar fines. In spite of this they continued clearing land. While Glen had been filming these further violations, Turnbull cold- bloodedly murdered him in front of an OE&H colleague. This witness would help to ensure a murder conviction but the killer died within 12 months of his effectively life sentence.

The film is a tribute to Glen and his family but it goes far beyond this personal tragedy. It highlights the greed of certain landholders and the political pressure they have placed on our present State government which has caved in ensuring the watering down of native vegetation protection laws*. This had originally been designed by scientific experts to protect the already critically endangered remnants. But as Ian Turnbull’s son says dismissively outside court: this tragedy will happen again unless the government stops contesting farmer’s business plans.

Click here to see more at Cultivating Murder Website

Click here to follow on Facebook

Native VegetationThe Native Vegetation Act and the Threatened Species Conservation Act were replaced in November 2016 by the Biodiversity Conservation Act and Local Land Services Amendment Act. OFF made a submission on the draft legislation pointing out many shortcomings. Now the draft regulations for the Act are on exhibition for six weeks from 10th May.

OFF will make a submission and OFF members are encouraged to do so too.

Details on the NSW Government website

 

 

An Expedition to Spitzbergen in the Arctic

magdalena-fijordGary Schoer, OFF member and extensive Polar traveller joined us once again in November to share his photos and assessment of the beauties of and threats to the Arctic. Gary took us with him on a Aurora Expedition small group expedition to the Svalbard Archipaelego which includes its biggest Island, Spitzbergen, in between Northern Norway and Greenland. 

 
puffinsWhile Gary was fortunate to see and capture some great images of seabirds such as puffins, Northern Fulmars, Ivory Gulls and Guillemonts to name a few, he gave additional insights into their conservation status and particular threats which are causing many populations to plummet in the last 20 years or so.
 
calving-arcticThe smoking gun seems to be especially the rapid increase in average air temperatures, reduction in amount of sea ice especially thicker multi-year ice. In some areas average temperatures have increased by as much as 10 degrees celsius, causing the frozen soil of the tundra to melt and even creating additional pine forests where once there were no trees over many parts of the Arctic. 
 
IMG_9926bear


 
Gary had to travel to 81 degrees North to see 6 of 7 polar bears sighted on the journey on sea ice, which was virtually absent further south…a big change over as little as 15 years since OFFS members Julian and Annette Sheen were there. One other bear was sighted on a small glacial moraine island where it may have had to swim quite a distance to get access to Arctic tern eggs…a pressure on a bird that has flown 15 000 km from Antarctica to breed there.    
 
flowersSo, as Gary emphasised, everything is connected. The changesd size of populations and average body length of the important bird-food fish  may be contributing to sea bird losses.
 
While we in Australia and more temperate worlds argue about how to effect behavioural and fuel use changes to keep average world temperatures below 2 degrees above recent historical levels, the animals, plants and indigenous people who live there are well past that target, and we can only hope that sensible and strong political efforts will stope what we are seeing in the Arctic creating a tipping point that will affect ecosystems well beyond the poles.
magdalena-fijord
 

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

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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
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird on the Brink – Regent Honeyeater

P1000348Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) volunteers have been helping ANU PhD candidate Ross Crates with his research into the ecology of the Regent Honeyeater, one of the most endangered birds in the country.Capertee NP Regent HE  12-18_10_2015 174There may be as few as 600 individuals remaining in the wild. 

25 Flora and Fauna Society members and friends helped to make 80 Regent Honeyeater and Friar Bird nests over a two week period in August. Ross will use these artificial nests (with false eggs) in Capertee National Park to ascertain which birds and mammals predate on the Regent Honeyeater eggs and young. The nests are now in place with cameras to track predators.

P1000286Ross’s research is aiming to identify the major threats to the survival of the Regent Honeyeater in its woodland habitats. Reducing threats such as nest predation and loss of woodland habitat can contribute to the Regent Honeyeater’s long term survival in the wild.

 This work follows on from his fieldwork into their habitat when he used motion sensor cameras, including one donated by Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society. Ross will present his findings at one of OFF’s regular monthly talks in 2017.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

P1000179 P1000189 P1000323 P1000262 P1000280

 

 

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.

New proposed legislation threat to Biodiversity

The NSW Government has drafted legislation that will weaken protection for biodiversity in our state. The titles of the legislation – Biodiversity Conservation Bill and Local Land Services Amendment Bill are misleading and obscure their true purpose.

The bills will actually allow increased damage to the natural environment through less-regulated land-clearing. The bills will remove a legal requirement that  land clearing should “maintain or improve” biodiversity and will facilitate widespread destruction of native vegetation in both country and urban areas. Nature will pay the bill for this ill-conceived legislation.

In 2014 the 10/50 Clearing Code of Practice was introduced to allow residents to remove vegetation to protect their homes from bushfires. It was so widely abused by landholders clearing vegetation for other purposes that the code had to be modified only two months later. Government data shows the state’s farmers have lopped paddock trees at an accelerating rate in the past 18 months even before a new land-clearing law eases controls further.

One of the key changes in the draft bills is the expansion of the use of self-assesable codes – these will allow land-holders to clear trees more freely, with less supervision. Often these paddock trees will include old trees with hollows that provide shelter and nest sites essential to birds such as owls and parrots, and many other animals. They are nature’s boarding houses. “The Offset” plantings proposed in the bills won’t provide hollows for many, many years.

Our Society does not want to see another vegetation-clearing fiasco in our leafy neighbourhood, or in the rest of the state. We have taken a symbolic slice of wood (salvaged from a tree removed under the 10/50 Code) to Oatley MP Mark Coure’s office to express our concern. Written on the wood (pictured) was the message. “We ask that you urgently withdraw the draft  NSW Biodiversity legislation & act to ensure strong laws to protect our wildlife, amenity, soils & climate. Gymea Biodiversity Review Community”

Concerned residents throughout Sydney have been have been contacting their local Members of Parliament. OFF members also attended attended a protest on 24 June outside Premier Mike Baird’s office in Manly.

For more information, sign petition or help to make submission see Stand Up For Nature Website Submissions are due 28 June 2016.

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