January 17 - 23, 2016: Issue 247
Just before Christmas 2015 some great news came to our attention through the Pittwater Offshore Newsletter about an updated, lovely to look at and delightful to read news website for Western Pittwater - we were so pleased we placed it in our Community News page immediately and still haven't taken the Notice down.
The Internet has provided all of us with access to information once not readily available. A website is an opportunity to share news and events and stories. When used with a focus on being a positive platform, community websites are a chance to create and store records, to celebrate and honour what matters to us, and through them we get to give everyone a voice.
As a resource for those whom they have been created for they are second to none and, as we may readily testify, are connecting and even reconnecting people with people, and can empower and benefit whole communities. Those that are well curated are not only a beautiful delight for the eyes, they are user friendly, easy to navigate, easy to find what it is you're looking for.
All this has brought back an element of democracy to all media, allowed us to hear all the voices making all the songs and have a 'go to' place for what is relevant to us.
This week we are privileged to share a more in depth insight into WestPittwater.com.au - West Pittwater being the place many sail, hike or ferry to when we need a big dose of the original, unadulterated, pure and pristine Pittwater.
Our grateful thanks to Wayne Lazarides for all his work in putting this page together and to the West Pittwater Community Association for their curatorial of its content.
What is the West Pittwater Community Association website?
The purpose of www.westpittwater.com.au - is best defined by the vision of the West Pittwater Community Association:
To be a supportive community, encouraging and promoting civic pride, interest in community affairs and goodwill amongst residents.
To protect local fauna and flora and generally preserve West Pittwater and its environs.
To secure essential facilities including public wharves and reserves and to protect private and public property.
To speak with one voice and represent the interests of the Western Foreshore community when in discussion with Pittwater Council and other relevant government bodies.
The WPCA website provides a forum for the better realisation of these objectives.
Why/when was this created and launched?
www.westpittwater.com.au was launched on 12 December 2015 and superseded the old website site: www.wpca.org.au.
Development of the new website commenced in January 2015. At that time, the WPCA created a website sub-committee comprising Lesley Stevens, Melinda Broughton, Jane Jobson, Michelle Wiener, Paul Purvis and Martin Didsbury to work with local residents
Wayne and Sandra Lazarides to develop the new WPCA website.
The website was a voluntary collaboration between all parties.
The site was created to help provide a communicative vehicle for the West Pittwater Community – to give them a strong social, political and community voice. The site also provides an educative resource and knowledge base for residents and prospective or new residents.
The Scotland Island website www.scotlandisland.org.au provided the inspiration. It is a site with a strong local focus and caters brilliantly to the needs of the Scotland Island Community.
The nature of offshore living is quite different from onshore.
There is a steep learning curve for new residents, from transport and parking issues to building, home maintenance and even basic services, such as sewerage, telecommunications and water.
The unique natural environment of the Western Foreshore requires a more sensitive attitude towards native fauna, flora and sustainability. ie turning outside lights off at night helps to diminish the human impact on nocturnal wildlife. So there needs to be a resource where information, protocols and attitudes are documented, voiced and in some cases, debated via forums like the website.
WPCA felt that technology would provide an additional opportunity for the community to learn, educate, communicate and develop.
What is the area that comprises or is termed 'West Pittwater'?
The West Pittwater Community is spread along the Lower Western Foreshores of McCarrs Creek in the south to Morning (Towlers) Bay in the North. All properties on West Pittwater are water-access only.
Webmaster Wayne Lazarides - what is your background and reason for doing this work?
As a new resident of the Western Foreshores, Sandra and I were impressed by the strong sense of community and camaraderie. People are always quick to be inclusive and help those who have decided to make the foreshores their home.
We fell in love with the environment, the tangible sense of community, and the diverse and often eclectic nature of people in the Bays. It felt like home.
To us it was natural to want to support this ethic and it wasn’t long before the opportunity presented itself.
David Orr, the person we bought our boat from, was then secretary of the WPCA and one day walking along the jetty towards home, we got talking.
As it turned out, the West Pittwater Community Association’s website was in need of updating - our business just happened to be involved with brand design and website design, development and construction. So it was a ‘natural’ fit. Over the course of the
next year we worked with the sub-committee to produce the current site.
What are the different website pages and what are they for?
The website has a lot of content already and we are actively looking for content to improve it.
A few features are:
• A type of Western Foreshores ‘Ebay’ – A For Sale and Notices area where anyone who lives offshore can sell, buy, rent or post a notice. This area came about because many offshore residents post notices on the jetties – and of course it’s a long way between offshore communities, so often selling stuff was difficult. Hopefully this will make it easier – already there has been strong
• A Service Directory – This is so that residents can find well-regarded trades and services that service offshore communities. We make sure that they will service offshore residents and/or have had experience dealing with offshore communities. It’s still early days, but this area is already gaining traction and is building steadily.
• Events and Local News Alerts – This is a powerful and still not well known subscription service that notifies locals of three main areas of interest:
1. Events calendar Alert – Including: Foreshore Fireshed dinners, Co-op Club Performances, and local Bushcare and RFS meetings.
2. News Alerts – For members of the WPCA (join if you’re not a member already) we send special alerts of high awareness news such as extraordinary council meeting, RFS burns, Bushfire warnings etc. We also send fortnightly news and blog bulletins specific to West Pittwater residents.
3. For Sale and Notices Alert- A monthly subscription that highlights the latest items for sale.
• Community Forum – This is a member’s forum where West Pittwater members can start discussions about local issues or events. This area will be a great resource to canvass opinion and to understand what people think about certain issues. This area is as yet largely unknown but has great potential.
• WPCA Minutes and issues that are relevant to the community – Such as Church Point car park discussions and decisions, Agendas and Minutes for WPCA Committee and General Meetings.
• Other areas include - Walking tracks, offshore protocols and useful information about septic systems, water tanks, boating, parking, tree management, RFS information, a detailed list of weeds and bush regeneration groups. And more.
Do you accept story contributions from others, and if so, what format would you like these to be in (text/images) and to whom should they be sent?
Yes – contributions are readily accepted. There is a team of volunteer editors that are responsible for content. Articles and blog material are of interest and may include stories about the community of a humorous, factual or historical nature.
Images should be of good quality. Larger is better but please keep individual files to around 1-2MB and no larger than 5MB.
Text should be digital with basic formatting – no tables or excel documents please.
Please send all material to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those not familiar with Pittwater, what are the main differences between West Pittwater and East Pittwater in terms of:
Wikipedia aptly describes the geography of Pittwater:
Pittwater extends from Mona Vale and Warriewood in the south, along the eastern ridge of the Barrenjoey Peninsula leading to Palm Beach and along the western ridge of the Lambert Peninsula leading to West Head. The eastern parts of the catchment are largely urbanised whilst the western parts are primarily Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Within the Pittwater lies Careel Bay, Refuge Cove, Saltpan Cove, Horseshoe Cove, Crystal Bay, McCarrs Creek, Browns Bay, Elvina Bay, Lovett Bay, Morning (Towlers) Bay, Portuguese Bay, Coasters Retreat and The Basin. Scotland Island is located within the estuary.
Pittwater contains a diversity of estuarine habitat types including mangrove wetlands, saltmarsh, sand flats and seagrass meadows, including threatened areas of coastal saltmarsh.
The area covered by the WPCA is geographically considered to be The Lower Western Foreshore (see Map). Residents here are solely water access only. Eastern Foreshore residents are all onshore residents.
It is impossible to put the people of West Pittwater into a single demographic. They include musicians, artists, writers, tradespeople, environmentalists, public servants and professionals of all kinds. This is what makes West Pittwater, including Scotland Island,
They tend to be united in their love of sailing, surfing, environment, arts, food or community – or all of them.
What I have discovered is that the common thread is the commitment to community on some level. It’s almost impossible not to be involved with your offshore neighbours in one way or another. You tend to rely on them.
West Pittwater is more a retreat than an escape. A sanctuary.
The natural environment is inescapable in West Pittwater. It has just about everything on land in Australia that could bite you – brown snakes, death adders, funnel-web spiders, mozzies, leeches, ticks and a myriad others.
You are living in a National Park. It’s not a gentrified environment, nor should it be.
Better that man bends to the will of nature than that nature is forced into the will of man.
There are few places left like West Pittwater in the built environment. So, from my perspective, it is preferable that it is retained just as it is. That’s the joy of it. (Well maybe not the bities!)
Water access only
The main difference between East Pittwater and West Pittwater is that communities in West Pittwater are all water-access only – cars are parked on the “mainland”. There are no sealed roads and no gutters.
The West Pittwater Community Association began as a Progress Association in 1954.
Local resident Marg Molloy recalls those early days.
When we first bought our Little Lovett Bay boatshed in the mid 1900s it was a little brown shed leaning over a lopsided jetty like a drunken sailor. The boys were aged eleven and four. We all loved it with a passion.
Pittwater Council was not even a glimmer in local eyes back then, and all of us with jetties on permissive occupancies knew that the Minister could cancel them at the Minister’s whim so everyone paid up and shut up. However, fees were minimal and further crumbs of comfort came from the fact that our vendor told us he would refund our money if the P.O. was cancelled within five years. Still the fact that there was a local residents association was the best comfort of all.
The first meeting of the West Pittwater Progress Association we attended was held in the old fire shed in Lovett Bay. It was chaired by President James Kennedy (Jake) Menary while Jean Cunningham of Little Lovett Bay was Secretary. I don’t recall the Treasurer as little money seemed to change hands. Jean may well have carried out the double role.
To make room for people the old vehicle in the shed was driven outside, and the elected committee sat on rickety chairs at a makeshift table. Attendees sat on boxes or whatever else was to hand. Each brought something to eat and a cuppa was offered at the meeting’s end. Looking back it seems that most of what was proposed which smacked of “progress” was not countenanced – more like a non–progress association - but the intent was to look after the Pittwater paradise and keep it from ugly change.
The Association’s 21st birthday was held at Tarrangaua where guests were greeted with a coloured tag – yellow for resident, blue for weekender, and red for original family/owner. It was held on Australia Day – but which year it was held is lost in years of protest and progress.
While today’s Association is built on the efforts of past committees, the 2006 AGM proved how far, and how well, we old-timers are looked after by the younger residents.
I’m sure Jake Menary would be astonished at the breadth of information and effort today’s committee encompasses.
Does westpittwater.com.au have an ethos or motto? - eg, ours is For, About and By Pittwater.
I’m not sure West Pittwater has a motto, but it does seem to have common goal – Food. And the ‘taste for a culinary adventure’ is always accompanied with an appropriate beverage. Rarely does a day go by when someone in West Pittwater is not praying on the shrine.
On a more serious note…Perhaps the most appropriate guiding ethos, is best summed up by the four main pillars of its constitution:
The WPCA Supports its members and the community by
• Providing a Collective Voice
• Helping to Facilitate Happy Communities
• Protecting the Environment
• Representing the Community to Government
The WPCA recognise that we are stewards of the character and the unique environment of West Pittwater. Few communities have been able to maintain this delicate balance.
Who is the West Pittwater website for - residents or visitors?
The website is mainly for residents. The content is tailored for them and on the whole is intended for them.
Logo was developed specifically for the WPCA by Wayne and Sandra Lazarides and their graphic design business - © West Pittwater Community Association.
In text at Base: Burn Off at Rocky Point. In text mid page: Lovett Bay. In text at top of page: Goanna - photos by Lesley Stevens.
Elvina Bay Santa - photo by Michelle Wiener.
Winter Elvina Bay - photo by Wayne Lazarides
Portugese Beach - photo by Wayne Lazarides
Waterfall - Elvina Bay - photo by Paul Purvis.
Copyright West Pittwater Community Association, 2016.