Thank you for continuing to support the Nepean Ratepayers Association.
I hope this Newsletter finds you all in good health. I trust you have all had the opportunity to enjoy summer on the Peninsula, it has been pretty good weather wise.
During 2018 the NRA continued to work on your behalf, monitoring Council decisions impacting on the Nepean Ward; monitoring planning applications and lodging objections where required; identifying hazards on our roads and footpaths and ensuring that problems are resolved to reduce the risk of accidents and injury; alerting the Shire to instances of poor care and maintenance of our parks, streetscapes and public spaces; and contributing to community consultation processes on a range of matters including: the Green Wedge Plan, Police Point Park and the Neighbourhood Character Study.
We have worked closely with our two Councillors Hugh Fraser and Bryan Payne and thank them for their continued efforts to lobby the Shire on our behalf.
For 2019 we have already identified some projects that will require our attention: the Continental Hotel in Sorrento and other proposed commercial developments; the Coppin Road footpath; the implementation of the Point Nepean National Park Master Plan; the restoration of the Portsea Beach; and the continuing progress of the Rye Township Plan.
The Neighbourhood Character Study
This Study is being undertaken by the Shire to identify and define the distinctive and valued elements of neighbourhood character in residential areas and develop neighbourhood character guidelines that will help protect the existing character and ensure new buildings respect our established townships, settlements and natural environment.
The first phase of this project, engaging with the community and obtaining feedback from community groups like the NRA, is almost complete. We expect the draft neighbourhood character guidelines and precinct statements to be available for public comment sometime around May 2019.
More information about this project can be found on the Shire’s website and it is something we all should take an interest in to ensure the preservation of what we all value here on the Peninsula.
Stringer Road Tennis Courts
As a result of ratepayer advocacy the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has opened the Stringer Road Tennis courts as a community facility. Just go and enjoy this facility for free. Blairgowrie ratepayers (Community 3942) are now advocating for the upgrade of this facility.
St Johns Wood Road
Ratepayers are continuing to advocate for making St Johns Wood Road the principal "boulevard” for Blairgowrie. The Shire is now budgeting for improvements near the Blairgowrie shops and continuing the removal of environmental weeds. We would like the Council to prepare a master plan for Blairgowrie similar to the plan developed for Rye and other Peninsula townships.
As you know last year the Government decided to ignore all expert advice and reports and build a rock seawall at Portsea.
After some very active lobbying the Government was persuaded to halt all plans to build the rock seawall and undertake some further investigations into how best to restore the beach and prevent further erosion.
The Shire is now far more active on this issue than it has been over the past nine years and as a result the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is now engaging with the Shire and are developing a new strategy towards fixing the problem.
When this consultation is formalised and agreed we are hopeful that we will be able to deliver some very good news.
Coppin Road Footpath and Roadworks in Sorrento
Construction is about to commence on a footpath in Coppin Road Sorrento, linking Melbourne Road and Point Nepean Road. This will create safer pedestrian access between both Primary Schools and the bus route along Coppin Road. The project will include road widening and drainage works and is scheduled for completion by June 2019. The NRA is supportive of this project and believes it will improve the safety and amenity of the area for residents and visitors and particularly for school children and users of the public bus service.
Some of our members and other ratepayers have raised concerns about the use of Special Charge schemes to fund such projects, where ratepayers on the impacted street are required to part fund the work.
This is a potential point of difference between the views of holiday home owners who have little interest in contributing to infrastructure projects where there is little perceived personal benefit, and permanent residents and regular users of the area.
Given we aim support all ratepayers we will continue to monitor the use of special charge schemes to fund such projects and welcome all views.
Membership and the Annual General Meeting
Thanks to those of you who have already renewed your membership for 2019. A membership form is included at the end of the Newsletter for those of you yet to renew.
The number of financial NRA members has been declining for some time. It seems that individuals are more likely to join local advocacy groups such as the NRA when a significant matter is directly impacting on them. There does not appear to be as much value placed on the advocacy efforts of local groups for matters that have implications for the whole community. To ensure that the work of the NRA continues, we need to increase our membership. You can help by telling your friends, families and acquaintances about the NRA and what we do.
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday May 19. Details of the time and venue will be provided shortly.
Bruce Harding from Blairgowrie has indicated that he will not be seeking re-election to the Committee. With his departure and the departures of Rae Riley, Sue Leeming and Beth Cowling last year, our Committee will be quite small. In order to continue to represent your interests effectively, we need more people willing to get involved and support the work of the Committee. If you are interested, or know someone who is interested in joining the Committee or providing other support, please contact me or one of the other Committee members.
We rely on members to keep us informed regarding matters of concern including the performance of the Mornington Peninsula Shire.
Protecting the environment, ensuring sustainable development, maintaining and improving the facilities for residents and ensuring we can all move around the Peninsula safely are matters that are important to us and require our ongoing attention to ensure they are also priorities for Council and the State Government.
Without the efforts of local residents, groups such as the NRA and other volunteer organisations on the Peninsula, I am in not doubt that we would not have the existing natural environment and amenities that are currently available for our enjoyment and use. We must continue this work and need your support to do this.
|NEWSLETTER – February 2019