Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chilworth Handrail washed away

It was good to see that M2 Project has left open the path through the construction camp under the M2 viaducts in Chilworth Reserve for the whole Christmas period. 
However it was sad to see that the recent heavy rains, and large branches flooding down Devlin's Creek, has swept away part of the handrail that M2 project kindly built for users of the path.  Let us hope the project will see fit to repair the handrail.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NWRL Project Application Lodged

The NWRL project have advised the Trust that the Project Application has been lodged with NSW Department of Planning, and details will soon be up on their website.
The proposal includes a service area on Cheltenham Oval near the netball court, providing services to the underground tunnels.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New South Wales Nurseries up for sale

According to a news article:

Forests New South Wales says change is needed in its loss making retail nurseries and that is why they are being outsourced.  Tenders open tomorrow for leases on nurseries at Dubbo, Muswellbrook, Gunnedah, Narrandera, Wagga and Cumberland in Sydney.  The nurseries employ about 30 full and part-time staff.

The director of land management and forestry services, Ross Dickson, admits the agency has not applied the necessary focus on the retail nursery network to make it more successful.  However, he says the Government focus is on commercial plantations.

Some staff feel Forests New South Wales imposes overhead costs that make the nurseries unviable and that if a proper budget was provided, they could compete with the private sector.

According to a letter to the BCCT from one of the Nursery staff:

Forests NSW Nurseries are the Australian Plant Specialists and have been growing trees for over  100 years.  Forest  nurseries are spread throughout NSW providing expert local knowledge, plants for local conditions and the best planting advice and hence growers for revegetation and the future of our forests.
These Nurseries are renowned for an extensive range of rare and unusual as well as hybrid garden shrubs. Stock is rarely purchased and runs on minimal cost via propagation methods (cutting & seeding) in order to produce plants that meet both personal and council requirements, and after all, where can a Gumtree be purchased these days?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

First Anniversary of the BCCT Blog

It is now one year since the BCCT Blog was opened.  Since then we have had 2576 page views, with "History of Carmel, 115 Beecroft Rd" being the most viewed with 95 readers since it was posted in March 2011.  "Optus work in Cardinal Avenue", although only posted on 15th November, is already the second most-viewed post.

The Trust's View on the Northern Freight Line

Upgrading the Northern Rail line to accommodate additional freight capacity is based on a short term view which fails to take into account the development of significant distribution hubs along Sydney’s western orbital ring road.  It also fails to realise the development and employment potential that could be generated by a new freight rail connection traversing the western boundary from Campbelltown through to Windsor and onto the Hunter Valley and northern NSW.

The missed opportunity to open up the transport dead end at Windsor removes the potential to develop integrated commercial and industrial employment zones at Schofields, Riverstone and Windsor, and relegates those communities to longer and longer commute times to find employment.

The upgrading of the Northern Rail Line simply perpetuates the 'Destination Sydney' myth peddled by Government transport planners, and places increased pressure on an already stressed line.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Annual General Meeting

The 2012 AGM of the Trust will be held in the Cheltenham Recreation Club on Monday 26 March.  We intend to have presentations on the Northern Rail Freight Line project (the third track being laid between Epping and Pennant Hills), and how this will affect 2119 residents.
Nominations for places on the Committee are invited, contact the secretary on
Felicity Findlay is not standing this year so we definitely need more nominations for Committee members from Cheltenham.
2012 memberships are being taken, if you make your payment by EFT please send the treasurer a note or email ( giving your address, and contact details.

Optus Work performed in Cardinal Avenue

In our blog of 15 November we reported on evidence of trenching very close to a number of young blue gum trees in Cardinal Avenue Beecroft. 

In response to our letters, Council and Optus have investigated, and Trust officers recently met with staff of CLM Engineering, the Optus contractors who performed the work.  CLM stated that they used a variety of techniques to complete the work however they had undertaken hand excavation and tunnel boring when in close proximity to the trees. 

Our officers accept that the trench was not continuous and that there were sections where tunnel boring was used to retain tree roots.  Boring was used to go under driveways and footpaths, but photographs taken soon after the work was performed indicate that continuous trenching was employed where there was lawn, apparently regardless of the proximity of trees.

The Trust's consulting arborist is of the view that this will have damaged critical roots, and the Trust has therefore asked the Council to continue the investigation.

Media Release – Northern Sydney Freight Rail

The Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust supports the movement of freight by rail rather than road.  However the Trust has major concerns regarding the planned widening of the rail corridor between Epping and Pennant Hills.

There currently is no publicly released Environmental Impact Statement for this project.  We estimate that the new freight line will result in the destruction of some 800 trees and significant loss of commuter parking at Beecroft and Cheltenham stations.

The main North line was laid in the 19th century, and is inadequate for a modern freight network.  The new third rail is required only so passenger trains can overtake freight trains struggling up these steep gradients. The severe flange squeal from longer wagons traversing these tightly curved tracks affects residents over a wide area.  Freight train noise has become much more objectionable since electric locomotives were replaced by noisier diesel locomotives, used because the rail link to Brisbane is not fully electrified.

The Trust sees no logic in having the main freight corridors for rail and road passing through some of the steepest, most elevated parts of Sydney and through heavily populated areas.  The BCCT supports the strategic option of a new road and rail Hawkesbury River crossing upstream of existing crossings and directly linking the M7 with the F3.  

Parallel construction of new road and rail links could achieve significant savings and link the freight lines between Brisbane and Melbourne as well as being well positioned to the freight and logistics centres now located at Eastern Creek.

Michael Stove

President, Beecrooft Cheltenham Civic Trust.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rail Freight Corridor

A $1 billion rail freight corridor upgrade between North Strathfield and Newcastle would add to the number of freight trains operating on the Northern Line each day.
The upgrade, to be completed by 2016, was announced by Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese at a news conference with Premier Barry O’Farrell this morning.
The project would also lift the corridor’s capacity by 50 per cent, from 29 to 44 freight trains a day.
The upgrade was designed to increase freight train movements, reduce carbon emissions by more than 100,000 tonnes a year and take 200,000 trucks a year off the state’s roads.
“Sydney is the biggest bottleneck on the main line between Melbourne and Brisbane,” federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said.  The Federal Government would spend $840 million on the project with the NSW Government contributing $214 million.

More information is coming available:
  • The third track through our area will allow passenger trains going north towards Hornsby to pass freight trains climbing slowly up the hill in that direction. 
  • Construction will start March 2012 and complete in June 2016.
Initial assessment of the effects on Beecroft and Cheltenham suggest that main area of contentions for our community will be: 
·         The loss of the west side Cheltenham Rail car park, resulting in increased street parking
·         Widening of the Cheltenham Rd Bridge
·         Increased noise impact on residential dwelling
·         Need for sound attenuation on the locomotives hauling these long freight trains
·         Added pollution from poorly maintained diesel locomotive engines
·         Additional impact on the Beecroft CBD from some of the above and loss on the parkland, the children’s playground adjacent to the railway station and most likely part of the adjacent car park.
·         Widening of the Chapman Ave and other bridges.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cables DownUnder

The chairman of a national lobby group has told a Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network (NBN) laying cables underground may increase reliability and decrease health risks. Peter Downey, the chairman of Sydney Cables Downunder said by laying fiber optic cables underground instead of hanging them overhead would reduce the likeliness of the destruction of communication wires by bushfires and address occupational health issues.
Downey pointed towards massive underground communication networks that are expanding and operating successfully overseas and suggested that Australia should follow their example.
He said reliability shouldn’t be compromised with cheaper solutions because underground cables would increase both efficiency and reduce offset costs such as cutting down trees to build new power poles.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rail Flange Noise and Other Matters

The BCCT is associated with the Cowan Rail Noise Steering Committee, exploring options for reducing rail noise on Sydney railways.  They have just advised us that they are planning a meeting in Cowan on Monday, 5 December 2011, 10:00 am – 12 noon, at the Cowan Community Centre, located at Cowan oval at the end of Chandler Ave Cowan.
Given the rather short notice and distance involved, so far no member of the BCCT committee is able to attend.  If any BCCT member interested in this problem wishes to go as an observer, please contact to discuss.
Meanwhile a recent article on the net describes very well the technical aspects of the problem.  Good reading about the whole problem of rail vs road, especially for freight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blue Gums Stolen!

Six Sydney blue gum trees planted by Ryde Council in Miriam Park at West Ryde have been stolen!  New exotic plants have been planted in their place.
The blue gums were planted by Ryde council workers on Friday October 28, and were reported stolen on Monday.  This demonstrates that residents need to be alerted to the plantings, and asked to be vigilant to try to prevent such thefts.
It also demonstrates how important it is to preserve and protect the mature blue gum trees we do have!  Not as easy to steal as new plantings, but quite capable of being destroyed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

79-87 Malton Road Application Rejected

The application to subdivide the above property into five lots has been rejected by Council in accordance with Clause 51 of the Environmntal Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

BCCT President's Report for 2011

2011 seems to have flown by, as the end of the year approaches it is appropriate to look back on the year and how Beecroft and Cheltenham were impacted.
However, firstly I would like to thank all of our Bulletin distributors, Brian Sippel and his helpers, for their efforts throughout the year. I would also like to thank my fellow committee members for giving up their time for the good of the community. We have a dedicated committee with expertise in advocacy, law, architecture, planning and environment.
This year the Civic Trust has been involved in:
* Clean Up Australia Day.
* Organisation of two very successful bush walks.
* Negotiations to have the Murray Farm Road bridge open with one lane controlled by lights instead of closure and improving pedestrian access.
* Having rail deadeners installed on the tracks between Cheltenham and Beecroft. We hope that TORFMA units will be installed to reduce the flange squeal from freight trains.
* Negotiations with Hornsby Council to improve the outcomes of the Housing Development Strategy for Beecroft.
* Negotiations with Hornsby Council to improve footpaths and drainage.
* Lobbying to save critically endangered Sydney Blue Gums and to improve street tree plantings.
* Reviewing all development applications for properties in 2119.
* Holding displays to inform residents of the impacts of high density housing and of the plans for the North West Rail Line.
* Holding two very successful public meetings and distributed five Bulletins to every residence in 2119.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take Care when digging near Blue Gum trees

This paper relates to the earlier post about recent telecoms work in Cardinal Avenue.

AS4970 The Protection of Trees on Development Sites defines the relevant rules, and applies to all interested in integration between trees and construction This Standard was prepared by the Standards Australia Committee EV-018, Arboriculture.  This Standard provides guidance for arborists, architects, builders, engineers, land managcrs, landscapc architects and contractors, planners, building surveyors, those concerned with the care and protection of trees, and all others interested in integration between trees and construction. The installation of in ground cabling is considered a form of construction.
Blue gum trees belong to a Critical Endangered Ecological Community, and are protected by a Threatened Conservation Species Act. Legal controls and Liabilities under common law need to be considered before disturbing the ground around these species.

Sydney Blue gums have a broad shallow root system with the majority of their feeding and anchoring roots confined to a depth of 30 - 60 cm below the surrounding soil.

The trenching that took place, most likely to a depth of 45 - 60cm as this is the required depth to place communication services in the ground, would have severed about 40% of the trees roots.

The cutting of roots close to the trunk within the structural root zone affects the tree’s stability and cutting roots further to the drip line of the foliage, known as the tree protection zone, severs the important feeding and anchoring roots.

The Structural Root Zone (SRZ) is an area around the base of a tree required for the tree’s stability in the ground that is necessary to hold the tree upright. The SRZ is nominally circular with the trunk at its centre.

The Tree Protection Zone (generally close to the edge of the outer foliage drip line) refers to an area around a tree to provide a specified area above and below the ground for the protection of a tree’s roots and crown to provide for the viability and stability of a tree to be retained where it is potentially subject to damage by trenching and excavation.

The main functions of roots include the uptake of water and nutrients, anchorage, storage of sugar reserves and the production of some plant hormones required by the shoots. In order for roots to function, they must be supplied with oxygen from the soil. The root system of trees consists of several 'types' of roots found in different parts of the soil and is generally much more extensive than commonly thought. The importance of roots is easily overlooked because they are not visible, that is 'out of sight, out of mind'.

 Damage to the root system is a common cause of tree decline and death and is the most common form of damage associated with trenching and excavation. In addition to lateral root spread being underestimated, root depth in trees has also been grossly exaggerated. Deep root systems or taproots are the exception rather than the rule. Most roots of most trees are found in the very top of the soil. The vast majority of these roots are small non-woody absorbing roots which grow upward into the very surface layers of the soil and leaf litter. This delicate, non-woody system, because of its proximity to the surface, is very vulnerable to injury.

Optus Work Performed in Cardinal Avenue

The Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust notes with great alarm the work done recently, apparently by Optus staff or contractors, in Cardinal Avenue.  It appears this work has been conducted in complete contravention of regulations and guidelines.

A row of significant mature Sydney Blue gum trees located within the Cardinal Avenue nature strip had their roots prejudiced and probably severed during the installation of communication cables, laid into a newly installed Optus box.  This work may very well result in the death of these trees, which have taken many decades to reach maturity.

These photographs show the evidence left visible above ground when the work was discovered by Trust officers.

In the middle of the trail of destruction is a new Optus box which is why we assume Optus contractors are responsible.

We included in our letter to Optus a paper explaining why the work performed is expected to have such devastating consequences on these magnificent trees.  The paper will be added as another post in this Blog.

Optus has been requested to investigate and report on this work and advise what remedial action or compensation is intended.

Meanwhile residents of Beecroft and Cheltenham should be alert to the hazard represented by these rogue contractors, and challenge them if they start endangering more trees.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

M2 Early Conversion to Fully Electronic Tolls

Message from the Hills M2 Project:

The NSW Government has reached agreement with the operator of the Hills M2 Motorway for the conversion of the motorway to cashless or fully electronic toll collection on 30 January 2012
The conversion three months ahead of schedule has been facilitated by the Hills M2 Upgrade and will allow the timing to align with the conversion of the Eastern Distributor by Airport Motorways Limited, the operators of that motorway.
The introduction of cashless operations follows the successful conversion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2009 and the Sydney Harbour Tunnel in 2007. Consecutive governments have indicated their commitment to transition the Sydney Motorway network to fully cashless operations.
Cashless operations will ensure a simpler, safer and faster journey for motorists. Cashless operations will remove stop-start conditions and queuing at key bottlenecks on the motorway, including Pennant Hills Road interchange and the main toll plaza, servicing the Christie Road off-ramp and the Herring Road on-ramp.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tree Replacement

One of the more thought provoking statements at the recent Open Meeting was from Councillor Michael Hutchence who said trees don’t live forever and must be managed. He suggested that residents should proactively plant new trees.  He also pointed out that owners are reluctant to plant trees that they may later not be able to chop down.
It is worth seeing how Ku-ring-gai Council addresses this issue.  Clause 4.3.6 of their DCP 38 for Residential Dwellings has a Tree Replenishment clause, "Landscaping proposals shall contribute to the replenishment of trees so as to maintain and restore the treed character of Ku-ring-gai."  Lots of less than 850sqm must support at least 3 treees, and so on up to lots above 1,500sqm which must support ten trees.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Plans to Demolish a Lovely Old House

The Trust is objecting to a proposal to subdivide the lot on which this lovely old house stands, and to demolish the house.
This is one of only a relatively few such landscapes within this State let alone the Shire.  The Trust has suggested an alternative to demolition would be to retain the house in its classically fine location and condition, and build a sympathetic extension in the large space at the rear.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Open Meeting a Great Success

About 200 residents of Beecroft and Cheltenham attended the Open Meeting on Monday 31 October, along with the Mayor, C ward Councillors, and senior planning officers from Hornsby Shire Council.

The meeting started with presentations on Transport, Heritage, Tree Preservation and Development Control by BCCT Committee members.

The meeting was then given an excellent presentation by James Farrington on the justification of, and intentions for, the five storey development of the Beecroft Shopping Village.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shoddy Telecom Work on the Streets of Beecroft

The Trust has written a strong letter of protest to Hornsby Shire Council about appalling damage done to the pavement in Cardinal Avenue by a telco company.
We await a response, but expect to be told that the Telco contracted the work to some back street company and therefore cannot be held responsible for this destruction.  This apparently new cover appears to have been installed as part of the work.
The greatest concern is that almost certainly some of these beautiful trees will have had their root systems destroyed by this vandalism and will soon die.  There must be a way to stop this!  The Trust is exploring the options.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Neighbourhood Watch Meeting

Next meeting of the PH1 Neighbourhood Watch is at 7:30pm on Wednesday October 28th, in the committee room at the southern end of the Roselea Community Centre underneath the stage.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

M2 Project Noise Concerns in Beecroft

The Trust has received a copy of a letter sent by residents to the Director of the M2 Widening Project, expressing grave concern about the noise issue north of the M2 Viaduct over Chilworth Reserve, around Austral Avenue, Fiona Rd, and Chilworth Close.

The letter requests "in the strongest possible terms" that sound barriers be fitted to a section of road west of Murray Farm Road on the northern side of these viaducts.  Apparently the original M2 designers decided noise barriers weren't required for a 200 metre stretch of the M2 there because the noise dampening effect of the Chilworth Reserve bushland would dampen the noise before it affected residents in properties to the north of the park. 

It is worth commenting that this decision did not show very much respect for the recreational users of the reserve!  Those walking in this area are exposed to very high traffic noise which will get much worse with the extra traffic now anticipated after widening.

That original decision clearly needs to be reviewed now that the road is being widened specifically to provide for increased traffic with increased noise levels.  The Trust supports the letter writers' views and seeks opinions from other affected parties.

The Trust will raise this issue at the forthcoming Open Meeting, 7:30 Monday 31 October in the Cheltenham Recreation Club, The Crescent, Cheltenham.  All residents of Beecroft and Cheltenham are welcome to attend.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Funding for Community Building Projects

NSW State Government has announced a Community Building Partnership Fund with $300,000 available to each electoral district to contribute towards the cost of community infrastructure.
Applications close 31 October.
Details can be found at
The Trust would welcome suggestions for such applications.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Epping Town Centre Study

Hornsby and Parramatta Shire Councils are evaluating a study to "explore the potential for the Town Centre to accommodate increased residential and employment growth". The study will be on exhibition until 28 November 2011 at the Hornsby Shire buildings, at Hornsby and Epping Libraries, and at various other locations, and there will be Community Drop-in Sessions advertised in local papers.
Submissions are welcome until the closing date, 28 November, by email to and there is a discussion forum at
The next cab off this rank is likely to be the Beecroft Shopping Village redevelopment, so start practicing the many ways of expressing your views.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rail Noise

Following is an extract from a letter by John Hay of the Cowan Rail Noise Steering Committee:

Dear Sir,

I was very interested in your comments about rail noise and acknowledge your Association’s agreement to join with us and possibly other community groups in a combined approach to the Government, to have rail noise properly controlled.

I found the letter from the Minister for Transport to Mr. Beringer (ML11/04676 -19 Sep), very informative, especially the statement that “The Freight and Regional Development Division (F.&.R.D.D.) of the new Transport for New South Wales will lead the development of strategic plans for freight and will be responsible for freight regulation management including emissions, noise and compliance standards.”

The Minister is to be congratulated for taking this step. For residents affected by “wheel squeal” and other noises from freight train operations this is good news. It is the first step away from RailCorp and its involvement with rail noise and freight management.

As mentioned in my earlier email, Cowan residents have been complaining to RailCorp about rail noise since early 2009, and in July 2010 were told about the Beecroft monitoring system. I noticed the Minister also raised this in her letter to Mr. Beringer.  Of note is the fact that Beecroft monitoring commenced nearly 4 years ago and still wheel noise is a problem.

In the Minister’s letter reference is also made “to a device that applies lubricant to rails at curves in the track.” From information on RailCorp’s website this technology is known as a “friction modifier device”. Even after 15 years of use and various stages of improvement, RailCorp is still unable to combat wheel noise.

On 22 August 2011 Mr. Matt Kean M.P. Member for Hornsby, advised a meeting of Cowan residents of a proposal by RailCorp to trial two Top Of Rail Friction Modifier Applicators (T.O.R.F.M.A.) to the rails at Cowan. These units place a small amount of a lubricant type solution to the top of the rail rather than on the inside edge.

The substance of the proposal by RailCorp was for the trial to be conducted over 12 months and to provide quarterly updates to the community on the progress of the trial. The residents accepted the proposal with the proviso that the trial lasts no more than 6 months and should it not be successful that the noise improvement program be outsourced to a third party.

This conclusion highlights the point of frustration that Cowan residents have now reached from their dealings with RailCorp. Residents look forward to a positive response from the Minister regarding their conditional acceptance of the T.O.R.F.M.A. trial. 

As Cowan residents have exhausted all trust in RailCorp, it is the reason why we want to move to the E.P.A. for rail noise management or, as now mentioned in the Minister’s letter to
Mr. Beringer, possibly to the new F.&.R.D.D. for a more positive outcome.

As the new F.&.R.D.D appears to be in its infancy it might be an ideal opportunity for a combined community approach to be made to the Minister for Transport, requesting that the community at large have some input into the level of rail noise it is prepared to accept and how it should be regulated.  I propose to again contact other interested groups shortly.

In closing, I hope the above comments are of some assistance to you and members of your Association. I trust that we may keep in touch particularly on the progress of a combined community group for dealing with rail noise issues.

John Hay
Cowan Rail Noise
Steering Committee

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Appointment of General Manager Hornsby Shire Council

Following received from Nick Berman:

As you will be aware, Council’s General Manager Robert Ball will retire on 17 October 2011 after more than 19 years service with Council.

The Councillors and I are pleased to announce that Council’s Executive Manager Planning, Mr Scott Phillips, has been appointed to the position of General Manager and will commence  immediately from Robert's retirement.

Scott has been with Council since August 2008 and comes with a wealth of experience, having previously worked at the NSW Department of Planning and Campbelltown, Fairfield and Wyong Councils.

Having only joined Council relatively recently and worked in many different organisations, Scott comes with fresh ideas and lots of experience.

Congratulations to Scott. I know the Councillors, staff and I are looking forward to working with you.

Best wishes to Robert for a relaxing and happy retirement.

Nick Berman
Hornsby Mayor
Hornsby Shire Council

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Open Meeting for Beecroft/Cheltenham Residents

The BCCT will host an Open Meeting for Beecroft/Cheltenham Residents on Monday 31 October at the Cheltenham Recreation Club, The Crescent, Cheltenham, starting 7 for 7:30pm.
We are hoping for attendance by the Mayor and Councillors of Hornsby Shire Council and the State MP.
Items to be discussed include heritage, rail, transport and development.
Probably the main item will be the unexpected sudden gazetting of 5 storey rezoning for the Beecroft Shopping Village.
Come along and have your say!

BCCT Spring Walk

The BCCT Spring walk is this Sunday 18 September, Thornleigh Oval starting 2pm at the corner of Handley Avenue and Ferguson Avenue Thornleigh.  As the walk goes through the Lane Cover National Park, no dogs this time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rail Flange Noise - TORFMA response

This comment was posted in relation to an earlier blog.  Thank you, Rail Corp

Report noise or other pollution in the rail corridor 1300 656 999 Customer Relations Unit Rail Corporation New South Wales PO Box K349 Haymarket NSW 1238 Telephone: 1300 038 500 (switchboard) Fax: (02) 8202 2111 E-mail: Use the feedback form at the CityRail website.

"We regularly provide axle alignment feedback to the freight operators Pacific National and QR National so that they can consider addressing axle misalignment on their wagons. We also provide regular progress reports to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water to enable appropriate management by the environmental regulator." NOT working...Plan B, please, NSW Government.

North West Rail Link Information Meeting

The Trust has been invited to send five representatives to attend an Information Session at the North West Rail Link Information Centre at 299 Old Northern Road, Castle Hill, at 11:30 on Wednesday 28 September.

If you would like to be one of the five, please register with

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beecroft Village To Be Turned Into Highrise!

According to a report in the Northern District Times, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard gazetted the Hornsby Housing Strategy on Friday, allowing residential and mixed-use developments up to five storeys in height in Hornsby Shire Council including the Beecroft Shopping Village.

The BCCT had been given no warning of this despite frequent requests for information.  The last that Trust members were formally told was soon after the election when we were told that the issue was "on hold".

The article in NDT says the gazetting allows for a mix of townhouses, five-storey and eight to 10-storey residential and mixed use developments in 10 suburbs.
The Housing Strategy is part of the previous state government’s Metropolitan Strategy, which identified that Hornsby Shire must provide 11,000 dwellings by 2031.
Hornsby Mayor Nick Berman, Deputy Mayor Michael Hutchence and council staff met with Mr Hazzard to discuss the strategy.
“We forwarded all the submissions from residents about the Housing Strategy on to the minister,” Cr Berman said.
“Now that the state government has adopted this strategy, it must come good on its promises to improve the necessary support infrastructure and services such as roads, public transport, schools and hospitals for our growing population.” For more information go to or phone 9847 6760.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

HSC Tree Preservation Order

From 6 September 2011, the rules for tree preservation in Hornsby Shire will change.
Council’s current Tree Preservation Order is enforceable until 6 September 2011.
The Trust has protested to the Shire that the option selected by Council is not the one believed to have been favoured by the majority of respondents to the earlier submission.
Details of the new rules are at:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Advertising on the M2 Murray Farm Bridge

NSW Infrastructure proposes to install advertisements on the Murray Farm / Kirkham Road over the M2.  Their application, "DA 031-07-2011 Advertising Signage and Replacement of Existing Bus Shelters along The Hills M2 Motorway" refers.  Details are at:

The signage is proposed to have a back-lit fluorescent light box.  The printed advertising graphics will be applied on the front face of the light box.  Fluorescent tubes are proposed to be fitted at the rear of the light box. 

To directly answer your question my understanding is that these signs will have built in lighting at the back of the screen display. 
Submissions on this proposal close on 9 September!

Obstructed Nature Strip and Dangerous Tree

Some time ago the Trust, in response to complaints from locals, brought the state of the nature strip outside a property to the Shire's attention.  We also asked about a tree with very dangerous looking sharp spikes.  Council identified the tree as an introduced Class 3 pest, a Honey Locust tree, whose spikes can puncture car tyres.
We are pleased to advise that last Friday council staff removed the offending tree and tended the nature strip.

Golden Kangaroos Reprieved for the moment

We understand that Council decided to delay a decision on 179 Beecroft Rd until November.  This will permit the matter to be discussed at an open meeting the Trust is proposing to hold in the Cheltenham Recreation Club on Monday 31 October.  We are expecting a good turn out from the Council, and urge all concerned Beecroft and Cheltenham residents to attend.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Golden Kangaroos Being Evicted!

The Golden Kangaroo Band has advised us that Hornsby Council is considering a recommendation to sell their band-hall at 179 Beecroft Road to developers! Most worrying is that the band were given less than one week's notice to respond to the proposal, which is slated for debate by Hornsby Council on 24th August 2011.
So the band needs your immediate help. Please send an email or a letter, or make a phone call, to Hornsby Council supporting the band and protesting strongly about the lack of community discussion on this topic.
Read more about this, and about the band, at

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How the NWRL will benefit Beecroft and Cheltenham

The BCCT Committee supports the proposed plan for the North West Rail Link because it will have great benefits for our suburbs. We are pleased the State Government is determined to build this much needed infrastructure.
The proposed tunnel from Epping to Cherrybrook avoids a huge and ugly dive point off the Main Northern Line which would have been difficult to construct with ongoing rail traffic. It would have been 6 tracks wide at the junction and required quadruplication of the entire track as well as rebuilding our stations.  The Village Green would have been resumed as a construction depot and residents would have been greatly inconvenienced for a long period of time.
In general, the key advantages of the direct tunnel from Epping to Cherrybrook (green alignment) as stated in the North West Rail Link, Options Review Report are:
􀂃 It would have the lowest life cycle cost, including a capital cost indicatively between $20
to 60 million less than other options, and reduced ongoing operation and maintenance
􀂃 It is shorter than the other four alignments by between 230 and 650 metres.
􀂃 It would have the least construction impacts including the shortest construction period,
smallest volume of spoil generation (up to 36,000 cubic metres less spoil) and the least
spoil haulage truck movements.
􀂃 It would provide the best ride quality because it is straighter than the other alignments
and has no reverse curves.
The green alignment would also have the following additional advantages:
􀂃 It would have the shortest journey time by between 5 and 24 seconds.
􀂃 It would require the least maintenance.
􀂃 It would consume the least energy and generate the least greenhouse gas emissions
during construction and operation.
􀂃 It would not impact the approved corridor for the Epping to Parramatta Rail Link."

As far as Beecroft and Cheltenham are concerned, this tunnel option will have the least impact on residents.  By providing much needed effective and efficient public transport for people living in The Hills district, road traffic and parking in our suburbs will be reduced. It is a great win for 2119.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

History of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust

Australia’s First Civic Trust: a community focused on preserving its environment & heritage.

On a fine spring day in 1963, residents of one of Beecroft's many attractive tree-lined streets noted a number of long timber poles lying on the road verge, and a number of very deep holes dug ready to receive the poles. Several engineering-wise residents of the street realised that the poles were for high tension electricity mains, the erection of which would mean cutting down, or at the least, ruination of a number of fine gum trees lining the street.

Overnight the affected residents were alerted and the Sydney County Council, the electricity supply authority concerned, was inundated with requests to divert its supply line to save the trees. Local Members of Parliament became involved, the press sent its reporters and photographers, and feeling ran so high that Departmental engineers held a street meeting with the residents on the site.

The result - a simple solution. It was found that with very minor variations to cable lay-out, and the pruning of only a few branches, the line could still go through as intended, sparing the trees and the character of the street - and the expense of tree felling was saved. More importantly, it led to the formation of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust (BCCT) in 1964.

This, Australia's first Civic Trust, has done much since its foundation, to put the case to both State and Local Government as well as to Statutory Authorities for the survival of what remains of our passive and defenceless natural beauty and for the citizen who wishes to continue to enjoy this natural beauty and other desirable civic amenities.

The Trust was formally incorporated under the New South Wales Incorporation Act of 1984 on 5 December 1988    
Extract from BCCT constitution

As a practicing Horticulturist, Landscape Architect and Consultant Arborist it has been a privilege to be elected by the Beecroft Cheltenham community to serve for the past 5 years as a voluntary member of the BCCT Committee.

The elected 10 members of the BCCT Committee provide expertise in Law, Architecture, Planning, Science, Real Estate and Property, Engineering, Education Business Management, Landscape Architecture, Horticulture, Arboriculture and Surveying.

My specific role within the committee is to deal with Development and Housing matters with a specific focus on the horticultural, landscape, arboricultural and natural environment concerns.

The sub-committee receives throughout each month from Hornsby Shire Council copies of Development Applications lodged within the 2119 post code areas, and is invited to view the application and appended plans / reports and make comments on the application in a written submission to Council by a notification end date within 14-21 days.

To address the above it involves site inspections and assessment of:

·         All proposed development sites, report writing and correspondence in some cases related to objections or non compliance with statuary planing codes applicable to the proposed development
·         Impact on remnant stands of Critically Endangered Ecological Community plantings of Blue Gum High Forest and Sydney Turpentine Iron Bark Forest.
·         Significant planting of native vegetation introduced to the locality
·         Heritage and significant plantings that are of a Cultural valve to the community
·         Street and Habitat trees
·         Riparian corridors and waterways

Council Planning Meetings are attended monthly where necessary to address the Councillors and the Executive Officers with regard to lending support to applications or to expand objections to poor and over development, loss of trees, impact on heritage sites, waterways and environmental  matters before the Council.

The sub-committee of the Trust assists when requested by Council with Development Application before the Land and Environment Court of NSW to provide expert witness evidence in the areas of Horticulture, Arboriculture and Landscape Design.

The tasks performed by the Trust are constant and demanding but in the end very rewarding, knowing that we are leaving future generations with a community built on a strong stewardship towards preserving a small yet important fragment our of natural environment and heritage.

Stuart Pittendrigh MAIH, FAILA, M.Arb. Australia
Consultant Horticulturist, Registered Landscape Architect & Registered Consultant Arborist

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rail Flange Noise - TORFMA (Top of rail friction modifier application)

Following is Gladys Berejiklian's response to a letter from the Pennant Hills Civic Trust:

"Thank you for your email of 20 June 2011 regarding rail noise and diesel fumes.
I appreciate your concerns, and have noted your views.  I am advised that RailCorp is currently trialling a new device which is placed on the track, usually before a curve. This device releases a small amount of lubricant onto the top of the rail, which then spreads along the curve. Although it may not completely eliminate wheel squeal, if the device proves to be effective in reducing noise, it may be installed in the Beecroft and Pennant Hills area.
I am further advised that most diesel train locomotives have filters on their exhaust systems, but it is recognised that some emissions may still occur including when there are mechanical problems. I understand that you can report any freight train that you observe emitting excessive smoke to the Rail Greenline on 1300 656 999.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me.
Yours faithfully

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tree Preservation in Hornsby Shire

From 1 September 2011, the rules for tree preservation in Hornsby Shire will change.  Council's current Tree Preservation Order (http.// is strictly enforceable until 1 September 2011.
Trees protected by the new Tree Preservation Order from 1 September 2011:
Trees that are indigenous to Hornsby Shire - (download list of Trees Indigenous to Hornsby Shire at http'!/
Trees growing within designated Heritage Conservation Areas (8S noted In the Hornsby Shire Heritage Development Control Plan) or trees that are listed as heritage items within the Plan
Trees exempt from protection under the new Tree Preservation Order (from 1 September 2011):
Trees that are not indigenous to Hornsby Shire, not growing within designated Heritage Conservation Areas (as noted In the Hornsby Shire Heritage Development Contr I Plan) and not listed as hentage items within the Plan All noxious weeds

Trees less than three metres in height

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

M2 Widening - Project Information Meetings

The Hills M2 Upgrade team advise they will host 3 community information sessions in early August.  These community information sessions will provide residents and motorway users with an opportunity to speak with members of our team about current and upcoming work. We invite you to come along and ask any questions you might have. Session dates and locations are:
  • Western Zone
    Tuesday 9 August, 6pm - 8pm

    Winston Hills Public School hall
    Hillcrest Avenue, Winston Hills
  • Eastern Zone
    Thursday 11 August, 6pm - 8pm

    North Ryde Community Centre
    201 Cox's Rd, North Ryde
  • Central Zone
    Saturday 13 August, 12:30pm - 2.30pm

    Epping Heights Public School hall
    128 Kent Street, Epping

Lions Club wins Top Web Site award

We are pleased to record that the Lions Club of Beecroft / Cheltenham won the prestigious international award for the best Lions Website, at the International Lions convention in Seattle, with more than 100 countries attending.  There are many really good things on the site, including a Business Directory.

Meanwhile the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust is building a new website that should be on line soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chilworth Handrail

Over the weekend I caught people crossing the creek, which was in flood, using the bottom rail of the new Transurban / Leighton handrail! 
After the heavy rain, it was interesting to see all the footprints in the mud, showing how many people are using this path over the weekends.  Some stepping stones would be nice, over the muddy areas.

Beecroft in Bloom 10 Sep - Art Show

Invitation to Artists

Beecroft Lions Art Exhibition for 2011 will be held Friday 9th and Saturday 10th September 2011. Artists are invited to contact Hugh Talbot

Beecroft in Bloom 10 Sep - Stalls

The Lions Club of Beecroft Cheltenham advises that a limited number of spaces are available for market stalls at the Beecroft In Bloom festival, Saturday 10th September 2011. Inquiries to Trish on 0449 165017 email: . The Lions Art Exhibition, bands, market stalls,  face painting,  jumping castle, animal farm, and more attractions are planned for this year! Proceeds go to community projects locally, nationally [...]

Monday, July 18, 2011

Heritage Committee of Hornsby Shire Council

This Wednesday night Hornsby Shire Council will be debating a report to discontinue the operation of the Heritage Committee and of the Heritage Assistance Fund.

The Heritage Assistance Fund allowed Council to provide by way of grants to assist owners of heritage properties. Because the total of the fund was only $60,000 pa its utility is limited. Its abolition will not be too significant.

However the Heritage Committee should play an important role. This committee should comprise local members of the community with knowledge of heritage matters who voluntarily provide their time and expertise to help Council understand matters of importance from a heritage perspective. Without this assistance Council will make decisions, especially planning decisions, without highly significant guidance and information. Because decisions often require local knowledge it is not the sort of information that can be bought on a consultancy basis.

The Council Business Paper suggests that the current Heritage Committee costs $30,000 pa to service. This seems a significant amount for a voluntary body and it is a matter for Council to manage its own finances but reduction in the amount spent should not mean that the Committee and its role is abolished.

If Council proposes to make planning decisions without this guidance then local residents are likely to see far more decisions that fail to pay due regard to their interests.

This appears to be the only committee suggested for abolition on the grounds of budget cuts.

The Civic Trust urges all members to immediately contact their local councillors to oppose the abolition of the committee.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Building the NWRL

This excellent brochure from NSW Transport provides a general overview of the likely methods of construction, and of the planned route, for the North West Rail Link.  Unfortunately the brochure isn't easily readable on this blog, but it and more can be seen by asking for Peter Hewitt at Ray White Beecroft in The Module, Beecroft.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

NW Rail Link is rolling!

Design of the NWRL will begin next week, after the State government announced the project's first major contract.  AECOM Australia will test the track layout, how it connects to existing CityRail links, and how many harbour crossings will be needed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beecroft in Bloom 10 Sep

The Lions Club of Beecroft Cheltenham will be holding Beecroft in Bloom on Saturday 10 September.  The Trust will have a stand there, and anyone joining the Trust on that day will be deemed to have joined for 2012.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New BCCT Committee Members

At the July Trust Committee meeting, two new committee members were proposed and accepted - Emma Heyde, and Anthony Whipps.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chilworth Reserve Handrail over Devlin Creek

As shown in this photo, Transurban / Leighton have built a most excellent handrail over the slippery rocks of the path across Devlins Creek.  This was built in response to a request by the BCCT.
This picture shows how the widening work is progressing, with many of the two extra pillars completed.