Newsletter

NEWSLETTER – June 22

Dear Members

Hopefully, this Newsletter finds you all in good health. 


Annual General Meeting and Community Forum

This year’s Annual General Meeting and Community Forum was held at the Rye Hotel on Friday 6 May at 5.00pm. Thanks to Peter Houghton and his team for hosting us.The following people were elected to the Committee: Christine Granger, Graeme Hill, Joan Hoskins, Mechelle Cheers, Michael Bachelor, Jill Sands, Lloyd Eldred and Colin Watson.  Lino Tarquinio did not seek re-election to the Committee after many years of involvement.  I want to thank Lino for his contribution over the years and in particular his commitment to ensuring that matters of concern for the residents of Blairgowrie are identified and addressed. 

At the following Committee Meeting the office bearers for 2022 were confirmed:

President – Colin Watson,
Vice President – Graeme Hill,
Treasurer – Michael Batchelor,
Secretary – Jill Sands

In a written report provided to attendees, I highlighted the key issues keeping the Committee busy in recent months: •    the Aged Care Facility proposed at 3233-3235 Point Nepean Road, Sorrento.

•    The planning application to convert the former Sorrento Lodge into affordable accommodation for workers in the hospitality industry•    Mornington Peninsula Shire (MPS) inaction on addressing car parking issues in Sorrento

•    Application by Mr Fox to extend his land titles to the changing high-water mark on Point King Beach

•    The Continental Hotel Development

•   Police Point Park, Portsea. 

I also expressed my concerns regarding the future and effectiveness of the Coalition of Community Groups (main groups being the NRA, the Nepean Conservation Group, the Nepean Historical Society and the Sorrento Portsea Chamber of Commerce) given that our Ward Councillors are no longer interested in attending monthly meetings with this group. This is further limiting opportunities for communication between community groups and councillors  Following the AGM, attendees were provided with the opportunity to raise matters that needed NRA attention.

Matters raised included:

the future of the Coalition of Community Groups;

better communication between residents, community groups and councillors;

the apparent absence of a Public Consultation Strategy for Nepean Ward Councillors given it’s a critical part of their role; the status of the Sorrento Township Plan;

and plans to develop MacFarlane Reserve which have been discussed with local sporting groups.

The following motion was raised and endorsed by attendees: The NRA accepts the need for a Community Forum to improve communication within the Ward.  The NRA will consult with other local Community Groups and initiate a Community Forum.


Proposed Residential Aged Care Facility, 3233 – 3235 Point Nepean Road, Sorrento (P20-0826)

This proposal was for a four level Aged Care facility. The NRA were among many objectors. We believed the proposed development to be excessive in terms of built form, detracted from the character of the neighbourhood, failed to achieve a net community benefit and would detrimentally impact neighbours. This planning application was refused by MPS in 2021 and the Developers referred the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The NRA attended the VCAT Hearing into this matter in February and April 2022. The Tribunal came to a decision in May endorsing the original MPS decision not to grant a permit.The VCAT decision was welcomed by the NRA and supported our view that this site was not suitable for the proposed development. It also highlights the difficulties associated with fighting Developers with deep pockets. The MPS and objectors engaged legal representatives to put their grounds for objection to VCAT, no doubt an expensive exercise. However, without this legal expertise and expense the outcome may have been quite different.It also serves as a reminder that we need to be vigilant about planning applications in our area to ensure that what we love about the Peninsula is preserved.

Rye Township Plan

The Council endorsed the Rye Foreshore Concept Design in May this year subject to amendments. The amendments, supported by the NRA, have addressed most of the community concerns with the final design. The Rye Foreshore Concept Design, prior to amendments, had clearly moved away from what was identified by the community as important in the 2017 consultation phase. The community was clear about wanting ease of access to parking close to the pier, beach, playground, and picnic facilities. It was also clear about retaining bay views, leading to the removal of camping in the centre of town. We are concerned that this is another example of Council not fully considering community feedback, provided during public consultation processes.

Detailed design work will now go ahead with construction work commencing in 2022.

Proposed Residential Aged Care Facility, 3233 – 3235 Point Nepean Road, Sorrento    (P20-0826)

This proposed development is between Bowen Road and St Pauls Road. Access to this property is via a narrow service road.

The plan is for a four-storey (above basement) residential aged care facility with 84 rooms. This development will occupy the whole block with minimum setbacks.  

29 car parking spaces have been included which is not sufficient to accommodate staff let alone visitors. This will cause considerable congestion on the service road and nearby streets.

The proposed development is excessive in terms of built form, detracts from the character of the neighbourhood, fails to achieve a net community benefit, and will detrimentally impact neighbours. We believe that the proposed application should be rejected by Council.  

We have submitted an objection to this this development and urge others to do the same. We believe that Councillors have called this in, meaning that Councillors are seeking more information and will make decisions regarding this development, not Shire officers.


Budget

The MPS adopted its budget for 2022/23 on 7 June. The budget can be found on their website at  Annual Report & Budget - Mornington Peninsula Shire (mornpen.vic.gov.au).Specific capital works for the Nepean Ward include:

      $832,000 for the continuing delivery of the Rye Township Plan

•    $781,000 for the Sorrento Museum to build the storeroom addition and other essential works

•    $100,000 for detailed design work for improvements to the Rye Early Learning Facility

•    $180,000 for Peninsula Trail concept development at Blairgowrie Yacht Club,

•    $100,000 for Peninsula Trail concept development at Hughes Road

•    $200,000 for detailed design work for the Peninsula Trail at Whitecliffs

MPS has also announced an increase in the rate cap to 1.75% for the next financial year.


Sorrento Ferry Terminal Upgrade

You have no doubt noticed the work around the ferry terminal in Sorrento. This is the beginning of a long-term plan to upgrade the existing ferry terminal. Speed limits in the area have been reduced to 40kmph and upgrades to Hotham Road between The Esplanade and Hotham Road and the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Point Nepean Road and Hotham Road are planned to commence in June.   Travellers to Queenscliff will have noticed work on the new ferry terminal there which is due for completion late in 2022.

Portsea Beach

Efforts to force the State Government to fund action to restore the Portsea Beach have not been successful.

There are rumours of groynes, a Marina and sea baths, however neither the Department of Environment, Land and Water and Planning or MPS have confirmed or committed to anything.


Blairgowrie Foreshore

A new manager for the WhiteCliffs to Cameron’s Bight Foreshore Reserve, Max Patton was appointed last year and has instigated some new community engagement projects, including environment education programs for school children and a Junior Ranger Program. Details and monthly reports are available on the foreshore’s website.

The WhiteCliffs to Cameron’s Bight Foreshore Reserve is managed by a committee of management. Up to now this committee has been made up of DELWP appointed volunteers. Other foreshores in the Nepean Ward are managed independently by the Shire Council for DELWP.

Currently the structure of this particular foreshore reserve committee is changing to a higher category (a Board) in which the members will be paid sessionally. In the interim there is a small transition committee in place. All camping and operational matters continue to be managed by the Manager and his staff.


Sorrento Cemetery

Locals will be aware that the Sorrento Cemetery is now maintained and managed by the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust for the Department of Health. The original community volunteer trust had appointed an on-site manager, Tracie Cook. Tracie has recently retired so the small office in the Cemetery is no longer staffed. The Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) has decided unfortunately not to restaff the office. The office used to be open weekdays and was always a fairly busy place. Locals and visitors with queries or interment bookings now must call the SMCT number on the gate. The gates of course remain open daily for visits to graves.


NRA Website

Our website is our primary way of keeping members up to date so make sure you are a regular visitor.

You can easily provide feedback, become a member, and check out some of the issues that the NRA engages in via our website.

You can comment, make suggestions, raise issues, and express opinions via the feedback page. These comments will be reviewed by the NRA Committee, and we can contact you to discuss further.

Our web address is https://www.nepeanratepayers.com

Take a look and provide some feedback!

Yours sincerely

Colin Watson

President






We strongly encourage you to become involved with the group in your area.

Camerons Bight

Engaging the Nepean Ward in supporting a sustainable community

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