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.