Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lovely Tree Coming Down Tuesday

This beautiful white mahogany tree will be cut down on Tuesday, as part of the residential development on the corner of Beecroft Road and Chapman Avenue.

At the JRPP hearing we insisted that this tree would be a magnificent asset to the Beecroft Shopping Centre, once the Module is completed with it's public open space opening out onto this lovely tree.  The JRPP found for the developer and approved the removal of the tree

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stringybark Ridge park under threat

The Trust believes the draft Berowra Valley National Park draft Plan of Management threatens the bushland status of the Stringybark Ridge bushland park near Thornleigh.
If you agree with the following sentiments, please lodge comments before 7 July 2015 by email to:  You may want to include the following points, as you see fit:
1.      I support the use of Stringybark Ridge for passive recreation as defined in the National Park's Masterplan for Stringybark Ridge 2007.  This includes the use as a low key camping area for users of the Great North Walk.
2.      I oppose the establishment of a sportsground or sporting facilities at Stringybark Ridge for the following reasons:  a.  It is illegal under the National Parks and Wildlife Act  b.  There is insufficient space to provide adequate parking  c.  Soil disturbance will lead to weed encroachment  d.  Impact of water and nutrient runoff on surrounding bushland   e.  Night lighting will disturb the behaviours of nocturnal birds and animals  f.  Exclusivity -the sporting fields will only be used by a limited group of people.
3.      I do not support the revocation of the National Park land for sporting fields
4.      I oppose the construction of a mountain bike track near Stringybark Ridge, or anywhere else in the park, because mountain biking within bushland is not compatible with the objectives of the National Parks Act. Bike riding should be confined to the existing management trails.
5.      I agree with the statement in the draft plan that horse riding is not a suitable activity within the park.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Autumn Walk

A great success today.  We had a total of 37 walkers.  The longer walk traversed the Byles Ck catchment .  the shorter walk inspected the ETTT reconstruction of Cheltenham Station and the proposed seniors housing on Sutherland Rd.
Councillor Robert Brown attended.
We had representatives from STEP.
Rod talked about early sawmilling in the area and about the creation of the Field of Mars Common and its gradual reduction from the sale of Crown land through subdivisions to finance much needed infrastructure such as the railway. (nothing has changed in 200 years)
We talked about the Malton Rd 6 lot subdivision as well.
The weather was perfect and afternoon tea was superb

New Ruling on Apartment Sizes

Land and Environment Court Justice Sheehan made a ruling in a dispute between Botany City Council and developer Botany Developments Pty Ltd over the size of 158 units in a three to six storey complex. Justice Sheehan said the widely used standard of the “rules of thumb” included in the Residential Flat Design Code was not the guideline that should be followed for minimum sizing, as set out in State Environmental Planning Policy 65, and an adjoining table in the code which lists dramatically larger sizes is the correct guideline. The table advises at least 58 square metres for a one bedroom apartment, and 91 square metres for a two bedroom apartment. Botany City Council's own development control plan lists 75 square metres as the minimum size for one bedroom dwellings.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

79-87 Malton Rd - Letter to the Minister by NCC

14 May 2015
Byles Creek Valley, Beecroft
Dear Minister Speakman, 
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) is the peak environment organisation representing more than 130 member organisations across New South Wales. Together we are committed to protecting nature and conserving wildlife, landscapes and natural resources.
We have been contacted by members of the Beecroft and Cheltenham community regarding a development application at 79-87 Malton Road, Beecroft which could threaten the integrity of high conservation value bushland in the Byles Creek Valley. This area is part of a 40 hectare strip of land linking Lane Cove National Park to Pennant Hills Park and serves as habitat for many endangered flora and fauna species.
The Development Application (DA 94/2013) would result in the clearing of undisturbed bushland, fragmenting the important wildlife habitat and leading to a critical loss of connectivity between populations. 
We understand that a range of threatened species including the Swift Parrot (listed as endangered under the EPBC Act and TSC Act), Grey-headed Flying Fox (listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act and the TSC Act), Powerful Owl (listed as vulnerable under the TSC Act), Giant burrowing Frog (listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act and the TSC Act), and Red-crowned Toadlet (listed as vulnerable under the TSC Act) have all been recorded in the area.
Additionally, the Gang-gang Cockatoo, whose population in Hornsby and Ku-Ring-Gai local government areas is listed as endangered in NSW, has been identified at the site.  This endangered species has significant conservation value as it is the last known breeding population of the species in the Sydney Metropolitan area1. The Gang-gang cockatoo usually frequents forested areas with old growth attributes for nesting and roosting purposes, and the site is therefore an important habitat area for this species.  

At its council meeting on 11 March 2015, Hornsby Shire Council unanimously resolved:
“to write to the Minister for the Environment… seeking the NSW Government’s commitment to purchase 79-87 Malton Road, Beecroft on the basis that it provides important habitat for a diversity of native flora and fauna including several threatened species such as the Gang-Gang Cockatoo endangered population and the vulnerable Powerful Owl and Grey-Headed Flying Fox and forms part of an important wildlife corridor that allows species to disperse and transfer genetic material between local reserves and Lane Cove National Park”2.
The National Parks Establishment Plan 2008 and its proposed replacement, the Direction Statement for National Parks Establishment 2015-2020, both clearly state that the long-term viability of many reserves and of the whole protected area system rely on the maintenance of vegetated corridors between reserves or other core areas of native vegetation as they enable species to move across landscape and mitigate to new natural or climate conditions. This particular area of land joins Lane Cove National Park and Pennant Hills Park and should therefore be considered for high priority acquisition and protection by the National Parks and Wildlife Services.
The proposal, together with two additional proposals that are expected to follow, will lead to the clearing of land for residential development and significant destruction of important high conservation land which is habitat for threatened species. We note that further clearing is likely to occur due to the 60 metre Asset Protection Zone required by the Rural Fire Service. Approving this development application would set an unfortunate precedent regarding similar development projects in the area.
We support calls from the community and Hornsby Shire Council seeking the NSW Government’s commitment to purchase 79-87 Malton Road, Beecroft and to provide permanent protection as part of the National Parks Estate, on the basis that it provides important habitat for a diversity of native flora and fauna including several threatened species such as the Gang-gang Cockatoo endangered population and the vulnerable Powerful Owl and Grey-headed Flying Fox and forms part of an important wildlife corridor.
Kate Smolski        Chief Executive Officer  Nature Conservation Council

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wall to Wall Trucks on Chapman Road

This pic was taken on Chapman Avenue Thursday morning, showing a line of B-Double trucks waiting to get into the central development on Chapman Avenue. 
One of the workmen told me that they are starting to demolish the remaining buildings at the Croft development at the western end of Chapman Avenue next week.  The Grove development at the eastern end has a huge pile of excavated earth clearly waiting for another fleet of B-Doubles.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Trust Autumn Walk this weekend!

The Autumn walk is described in the post on this blog dated 1 April.  Recognising that the advertised autumn walk is longer than normal, it has been decided ALSO to hold a shorter walk for those who feel the full walk is a bit daunting. 

The full walk involves two hours of steady  walking.  There are steps along the bush tracks, the occasional puddle and a small creek crossing, but it's still a bit much if you have a dodgy knee or heart.
The short walk will be shorter and slower.  It will do a loop, up Day Rd to Sutherland Rd where there will be a brief talk about the proposed seniors development at 14-18 Sutherland Rd .  Then along to Kethel Rd to Malton Rd and meet the main walkers at the Malton Rd subdivision site at about 3.30pm.  There will be a short talk about the subdivision and its impact on the biodiversity in Byles Ck
Then both groups will combine and walk back to Day Rd via the bush track along Byles Ck.
Expect afternoon tea about 4. 10 at the end of Day Rd.

Epping to Chatswood Rail Shutdown

Jacob Saulwick posted an excellent article in today's Sydney Morning Herald, describing how train services in our area will be disrupted for almost a year in late 2018 to early 2019.  State government intends, as part of the North West Rail Link, to shut down the Epping to Chatswood tunnel while the track, signalling system, and platforms are modified to match the NWRL driverless mini-trains.

Apparently businesses around Macquarie Park are beginning to express serious concerns about how buses can be used to substitute for the existing heavy rail passenger service.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Parking Around Beecroft Shopping Village

Hornsby Shire Council's 'solution' to the problem of construction traffic at the new developments along Chapman Avenue is to take away public parking space! 
The new signs are not yet up but the builders have fenced off most of the north side of the street.  This comes at a really bad time for local residents, with the Module parking area, 95 spaces, about to be taken out of use.  We are invited to contact Traffic and Road Safety for more information, but there is no offer of community consultation.
The developer's construction plan should include providing space on site for the trucks waiting to load.  Yesterday there were three B Double trucks blocking Chapman Avenue waiting for their turn to go on site.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kiss and Drive Parking at Cheltenham Station

Lachlan May gave a presentation at last night's BCCT Committee Meeting on parking issues at Cheltenham Station, based on the submission he made when the ETTT first presented their intentions, as discussed in a letter he had published in the NDT on 25 February of this year.

This extract from the NSW brochure shows how the parking on Sutherland Road has been altered, making it impossible for people to deliver commuters to the station and exit cleanly.  In the past, such people had entered the car park, driven to the end of the space and dropped their passenger, then left through the exit at the other end.  This was an efficient way of minimising commuter cars parked around the station, because all who could do so would leave their cars at home!

Under ETTT plans now, the large number of such "Kiss and Drive" cars trying to drop commuters off at the station will find it impossible using the double width access to the park.  They will either go into the car park and attempt a U-turn inside the car park, completely blocking the car park, or more likely they will park briefly but illegally outside the station grounds, blocking the road.

Lachlan, and the BCCT, ask why this change was implemented.  Two single access paths take up no more room than the proposed double exit, but allows continuous flow of traffic through the restricted space.

Bill Aitkin receives BCCT Certificate

At Tuesday's committee meeting Bill Aitken being awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for dedicated community service over 40 years publishing the Monthly Chronicle newspaper