1st March 2016

Page 12

NEWS DESK Erosion control THE use of grass to control erosion at Daveys Bay, Mt Eliza, and Portsea will be promoted at a lecture organised by the South Eastern Centre for Sustainability. The Vetiver System is based on using a cultivar of vetiver grass to stabilise eroded areas. The grass, developed in India as a low cost solution to a range of environmental problems by the World Bank in the 1980s, has been used in Australia to stabilise mining sites, treat sewerage and along contaminated creek banks. Dr Paul Truong, of Veticon Consulting, will speak at the $100 a head “Controlling and preventing erosion using vetiver grass� lecture on 9 March. Participants will also be taken to view eroded sites at Daveys Bay and Portsea. The South Eastern Centre for Sustainability’s vice-president Elizabeth Lisinski said Dr Truong’s “unique approach� to controlling erosion is “endorsed in over 100 countries�. “The methodology is tried and trusted and, above all, exceptionally cheap to implement as opposed to other conventional methods in addressing erosion,� Ms Lisinski said. There is no charge for members of the centre. The lecture will be delivered 3.30-5pm Wednesday 9 March at the Melbourne Business School, Kunyung Rd, Mt Eliza. Email enviro1@live.com.au or call 0402 827 782.

Meeting’s quiet start, noisy finale Blairgowrie Yacht Club Monday 22 February – the year’s first community meeting. A capacity house, which got its fill of healthy food and news of progress in the shire, especially works completed and on foot in the local ward, Nepean. COUNCIL Watch has great affection for coastal council meetings. One is usually able to find a seat where, if the subject at hand becomes a drone, the waters of Port Phillip lull the senses. The evening started with a presentation on what was occurring in the ward – much of which had the nautical flavour one would expect on this narrow neck of land, with oft-wild Bass Strait on the port side and the tranquil bay gleaming to starboard. After the meal break came the business, preceded by housekeeping – apologies, conflict of interest and so on – then word that the peninsula’s municipal emergency management plan had passed its three-yearly audit yet again. Then mayoral commendations and letters under seal were presented to the peninsula’s Australia Day honours recipients.

This newspaper has previously recorded the recipients – eight prominent citizens, including business people, community workers and one whom CW feels it is fair to describe as an ancient mariner – but must report that the presentations were made far from the audience and in a subdued light. After questions – one asking whether closing Rye tip will mean higher tipping fees while illegal dumping continues unabated – came the midyear “Reforecast report� setting out how budget savings of $2.693 million have been allocated. One spending area is a further $300,000 on “dumped rubbish cleaning, prevention and education programs�, leading CW to wonder whether the total spend in this area is achieving anything at all. Entire lounge suites are turning up on beaches.

tom and top gondola stations, from “Whitehaven� in the Colorbond range to a new hue, “Mangrove�, a recent addition to the kaleidoscope. This came warmly recommended by planners, who said it was “considered to represent a superior outcome, given the lower reflectivity value associated with the use of a more muted tone�. And, they continued, “Mangrove� was “more complementary to the landscape setting of Arthurs Seat� – an aesthetic bonus previously applied to the colour – bright blue – they supported as appropriate for the gondolas that will soon glide unobtrusively up and down the escarpment. With only a notice of motion to go, CW thought he was in for an early night. It was not to be. From this point in the agenda it was on for young and old. So often in council meetings these days, the best is saved for last – or, if not the best, the most exciting. You must now, dear reader, turn to the news pages for the notice of motion and a plethora of matters of urgent business. David Harrison

Pt Nepean open for heritage grants

Day of indulgence A Moroccan tent at Peninsula Hot Springs, Wednesday 17 February, was the meeting place for 20 peninsula women with one thing in common – they have breast cancer. Their “Day of Indulgence� included an art therapy session in which the women expressed “where they are at� in their journey, and what was important to them, breast care nurse at Think Pink, Andrea Cannon, said. Over lunch, speakers talked about breast cancer from new treatments, to specialist lingerie, to tips on dealing with cancerinduced debt. The afternoon ended with a massage and peer-support sessions and a relaxing plunge in the hot springs – with volunteers joining in. For details on Think Pink and its programs for sufferers of breast cancer and their families, call 9820 2888 or visit thinkpink.org. au

Other shire priorities are buying land, detailed design of street lighting – part of the carbon neutral policy – road and car park maintenance, tree management and high-pressure cleaning of major activity centres. The report that accompanied this item went into shire budget figures in such painstakingly precise detail it was difficult, later in the meeting on another matter, to comprehend how some councillor allowance figures could be, as stated by councillors, so inaccurate. But that is a matter for another report. Next, protection of two important areas of the shire, Beleura Hill in Mornington and the Birdrock/Clarkes Ave precinct in Mt Martha, were dealt with. Stripping away the required bureaucratic and technical language, proposals for these two precincts are generally supported after minute examination and receipt of public submissions. Such matters are not rushed. The Arthurs Seat Skylift matter was back, for another change to plans. This one was an aesthetic matter, being the roof colour for both bot-

The Quarantine Station at hearitage-listed Point Nepean.

FLINDERS MP Greg Hunt is urging community groups and individuals to apply for grants to “to engage with and raise awareness of� Point Nepean. Point Nepean is the only one of 104 places on the National Heritage List in Mr Hunt’s electorate. “I encourage community organisations and individuals who want to engage with Point Nepean to consider making an application for a grant,� Mr Hunt said. “Grants of between $2500 and $10,000 are available to undertake activities that promote community engagement and raise awareness of places on Australia's National Heritage List.� Mr Hunt, who has long been a critic of successive Labor state government plans for Point Nepean, has advocated tertiary institutions (initially the Launceston-based Australian Maritime College and then Melbourne University) be allowed to establish campuses on the former Defence property. The current government – after reportedly paying out the Point Leisure Group which wanted to provide accommodation based around hot springs – is now working on proposals to develop Point Nepean based on plans drawn up in 2010.

The Community Heritage and Icons Grants are aimed at raising awareness and recognition of places on the heritage list. “I have long been a supporter of Point Nepean and its rich heritage. It is a special place on the Mornington Peninsula and it is vital that we preserve and protect this important part of our history for generations to come,� Mr Hunt said. “This is an opportunity for us to continue to support, enhance and celebrate Point Nepean.� Mr Hunt said Point Nepean has a rich cultural heritage as an indigenous gathering place. “It is also the nation’s oldest quarantine station, which housed migrants following the Gold Rush in 1851. People who arrived by boat and had contracted diseases were sent to Point Nepean to be treated. “Point Nepean also has a strong military history, with guns placed at Fort Nepean in 1886 to protect Australia’s borders from invasion by foreign troops. The first shot fired by Australian forces in World War I was fired by batteries at Fort Nepean.� Details: www.environment.gov.au/ community-heritage-icons-grants. Applications close 22 March.

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Western Port News 1 March 2016

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