Category Archives: Reports

Vale Liz Henry

(David Berry August 2014)

Farewell Liz – It is indeed a sad time for your family and all your friends and colleagues.

Liz loved many things but a few stand out (in no particular order):

  • Cricket
  • The Australian Broadcasting Company (the ABC or ʻAuntieʼ)
  • Her pet cats to whom she was a loving and faithful retainer
  • Her ʻspiritualʼ home at Skenes Creek • The Essendon football club and
  • Her passionate advocacy for the natural environment.

Liz also possessed beautifully crafted handwriting skills as evidenced in the many reports she submitted as Bungalook Nursery Coordinator, a position she held with distinction for over 20 years.

Liz was also actively involved in numerous community organisations primarily focused on the protection and enhancement of the natural landscape within Whitehorse.

I have had the privilege of working with Liz on many of these committees including:

  • The Whitehorse Community Indigenous Plant Project/Bungalook indigenous plant nursery
  • The Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society (over 12 years)
  • The Wurundjeri Walk Advisory Committee (over 12 years)

Liz also served on the Wandinong Sanctuary Advisory Committee and the Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association Committee as a responsible, conscientious and hard-working representative for many years.

Liz possessed many admirable qualities including:

  • A passionate advocacy for the natural environment of Whitehorse
  • An enviably high level of botanical expertise
  • A sound understanding of plant nursery production techniques
  • Excellent plant identification skills
  • A thorough knowledge of seed collection techniques
  • Expert weed Identification and weed management skills

Liz was also a frequent contributor of topical articles to various newsletters and other publications and was always vigilant and responsive to those development proposals that threatened the natural environment in Whitehorse.

Liz was a highly valued committee member and volunteer whose personality, skills and experience will be sadly missed in the Whitehorse (and larger) communities.

Goodbye Liz – and thank you from all your ʻenvironmentalʼ friends and the Whitehorse community.

Planning Permit Application for the Retirement Village Complex

As of early March 2014 a decision has yet to be made by Whitehorse council on the fate of the permit application for 131-173 Central Road Nunawading.

The owners want to build seven multi-storey buildings containing 151 residential units, an auditorium, café and shop with associated road, path, fence and car park construction. The site is one of the most important natural sites in private ownership within Whitehorse. So much so that it has an Environmental Significance Overlay and a Significant Landscape Overlay protecting the endangered and rare Valley Heathy Forest on the land.

All-in-all over 80 trees, mostly indigenous, will be destroyed to make way for the development if the permit is granted.

The tree society committee has compiled a list detailing the important features of the trees to be removed (including species, height, canopy and trunk diameters, habitat value, worthy of retention rating and location on the site) and we can only conclude that over 75% of these indigenous trees must be retained! The only reason for destroying them is that they are sited on the massive building footprint for the proposed development.

These trees have been dismissed as ‘scattered trees’ by both the proponents and the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). We think they are far more important than this crude description and deserve to be fought for, saved and protected.

SDA Retirement Village Complex

Planning Consultation Forum for the Proposed Retirement Village Complex at 131-173
Central Road Nunawading
Over 160 submissions have been received by Whitehorse City Council in opposition to the
proposal to build seven multi-storey buildings containing 151 residential units, an
auditorium, café and shop with associated road, path, fence and car park construction.
All-in-all over 80 trees, mostly indigenous, will be removed if this development goes ahead.
According to the Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) placed on the land by council
in 2008:
‘ … The site contains remnant native vegetation of very high local conservation
significance. This includes the presence of:
– A remnant of the endangered Ecological Vegetation Class (Valley Heathy Forest) with
Very High conservation significance rating and habitat score in excess of 0.4.
– Large hollow bearing trees.
– 15 plant species of bioregional conservation significance

This site of botanical significance plays an important role in contributing to the biodiversity
of the area around Blackburn Lake Sanctuary.  This Ecological Vegetation Class is severely
threatened to the extent that records indicate only about 470 hectares remain out of the
20,000 hectares that may have existed in the Gippsland Plain Bioregion.  Any
development, particularly subdivision, within the property needs to be appropriately
managed to ensure the long- term protection and sustainability of this biodiversity …’

This land is considered so important it is the only site in Whitehorse to have an
Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO1) and a Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO5)
applied to it.  Indeed it is one of only two sites in Whitehorse with Environmental
Significance Overlays (the other being 15 Virgillia St. Blackburn North).

The Consultation Forum was held on Tuesday 29 October with over eighty concerned
members of the Whitehorse community in attendance.  The forum, organised by Council
and mediated by Mr. Bruce Turner, aimed to:
‘ … Generate a shared understanding of the proposal and any issues and concerns
from all perspectives and to explore ways that the concerns might be addressed …’

A multitude of issues and concerns were raised by the community (the meeting lasted for
over 3.5 hours!) yet the responses from the representatives for the proponent were minimal
or rambling and for the most part evasive.   So the last aim of the forum was not achieved
i.e. there was very little exploration of ways that the concerns about the development
might be addressed.

The Tree Society had a list of 25 questions on the environmental impacts of the
development.  However, only one of these questions was answered (it was confirmed that
80 trees were to be destroyed in the construction of the retirement village).  Our list of
questions and concerns will be forwarded to Council’s Planning Department in the hope
that answers will be provided and reason prevails.

Other community representatives raised the following issues in relation to the proposed
unsympathetic overdevelopment of the site:
• Scale, character and visual amenity (particularly in reference to Cromwell Court
residents and the Central Road frontage)
• Other environmental impacts (e.g. impacts on Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, noise,
fumes, lighting, exhaust fumes and litter)
• traffic, parking and safety; drainage, built surfaces and other infrastructure and
construction impacts

Council will make a final decision on the proposal in February/March 2014.

Interested in reading more? Click here for a full copy of the  Newsletter November 2013