October 29 - November 4, 2017: Issue 335

Bad News Story Turns Into GREAT News Story: Sacred Ochre At South Avalon Beach To Be Retained Through Positive Response

Neil Evers, Aboriginal Support Group Manly Warringah Pittwater at South Avalon Beach on Wednesday October 25th, 2017
The immediate response of Councillors and staff of the Northern Beaches Council this week to residents concerns over the disturbing of Sacred Ochre at South Avalon as part of the installation of the coastal walkways and cycleways stretching from Manly to Palm Beach meant what was tears on Wednesday was a cry of joy by early Thursday morning.

Earlier on Wednesday residents contacted Pittwater Online, distressed that this clay, used for painting and ceremony where the ochre that is ground up and mixed with water is not available, was being disturbed and soon to be covered over. Pittwater Online asked Neil Evers (ASGMWP) to come and look at the disturbed ground and he then contacted those overseeing such heritage in the Manly office and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Councillor Sue Heins was also immediately onto the situation when made aware of what was going on. Work stopped from that minute on while the situation was assessed.

On Thursday Neil contacted us to relay the information that the ground was being looked at by OE&H and a decision had been made by Council to reconfigure the path to go around this site.

The incident is a great example of how community engagement can excel and a great reminder of how your input to the current consultation (see below) will ensure best practice creates best outcome. 

The matter also serves as a timely reminder that if any Aboriginal Engravings or Relics are unearthed during any building works or road or path construction all work is to cease immediately and the Aboriginal Heritage Office (AHO) and Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are to be notified.

As there are many with memories of shells alike the midden found in Angophora Reserve or those recorded at Clareville once being part of this South Avalon beach landscape, this nook of the beach may have been used as a ceremonial site alike that which was where Pittwater Park at Palm Beach now is - making it a sacred or ceremonial site. 

Aboriginal sites in NSW range from large shell middens on the coast, to small surface scatters of stone artefacts on the inland semi-arid plains.
They can include: natural sacred sites, occupation sites, rock art, cemeteries, story sites, such as North Brother Mountain in Dooragan National Park,massacre sites, missions.

Ceremonial grounds are sites where initiation ceremonies, marriage alliance ceremonies, tribal meetings, and other important social functions were held. They are places of great significance to Aboriginal people.

The primary piece of legislation which protects Aboriginal cultural heritage in NSW is the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974(NPW Act). 

Under the NPW Act it is an offence to harm (destroy, deface, or damage) or desecrate an Aboriginal object or Aboriginal place, or in relation to an object, move the object from the land on which is has been situated.

The week's good work caused an investigation into what may still be in Avalon Beach - if we had eyes and knowledge to recognise such... Avalon Headland and Bangalley have a number of Aboriginal heritage sites.  

One of the most well known echoes NBC's determination to conserve and points to one incident towards conservation soon after Avalon Beach was opened to development by A J Small that led, fortuitously, to the conservation and protection of one of these sites - that which is in Angophora Reserve.  


Connecting The Northern Beaches: Comment On Online Map

Thanks to an interactive mapping tool, the community can now see the works being delivered to connect the Northern Beaches, including 36km of coastal walkways and cycleways stretching from Manly to Palm Beach. Northern Beaches Council Mayor Michael Regan said the map is a one-stop shop for information on how Council is delivering the $22.3 million Connected Communities program.

“As we progressively connect the Northern Beaches through walkways and cycleways linked to B-Line transport hubs and services, this map helps the community connect in an online space.

“We want to give residents a clear overview of planned works as well as the opportunity to make comment,” Mr Regan said.

The Social PinPoint map provides the community with an opportunity to view the overall program in one location and can be zoomed in to identify individual projects.

Clicking on map pinpoints brings up details about that project and shows whether work is current or proposed. It also gives users the opportunity to learn more or have their say.

The map will be regularly updated as works progress on the program, which forms part of Council’s $32.6 million Connecting Northern Beaches  infrastructure investment partnership with the NSW Government.

Bilgola SLSC Set To Open Surfboat Season With The 'Billy Boats Carnival'

Some of Bilgola SLSC's Boat Division - AJG Pic.
Bilgola Blackmores Surfboat Carnival Saturday 4th November 2107
Bilgola SLSC: www.bilgolaslsc.org.au

Next weekend the spectacular and exciting sport of surf boat racing re-commences with the first carnival of the season at Bilgola Beach. Billy, as it is affectionately known throughout the Northern Beaches, has been hosting the season opener for decades. The summer’s first competition event is much anticipated, where the Northern Beaches crews come out of the winter hiatus and match skills and fitness off the beach. Surf Lifesaving Sydney Northern Beaches branch is the largest and most competitive surfboat racing community across Australia, in fact SNB has more competition crews than all of Queensland combined and always at the top end of that competition is Bilgola.

This week we run a special insight as Profile of the Week courtesy of Mark Fitzgerald, Boat Captain at Bilgola HERE
Fitzy and Sparkles (sweep).

B-Line Rally Calls For A Common Sense Approach To A Potential Problem

Proposed roundabout demonstration by residents last Sunday, a not quite streamlined approach to transport  - photo supplied
There was a good gathering at Newport Beach last Sunday of people opposing the B-Line proposals for Newport.

Despite the misconception that those attending the rally are opposed to a new bus service, the opposite is true. What was articulated is that they would welcome an improved bus service, which the current proposals do not deliver.

A Petition was circulated, details and link below, and 549 signatures collected on the day but many more rolled up. 

Residents state;
“The latest proposal for a roundabout at Neptune Road is so vague and lacking detail I/we believe it’s deliberately misleading.
The existing bus layover is way too small to accommodate a regular bus stop, a B-Line stop and up to three B-Line buses. Trees will go as a result.
If a single lane roundabout is constructed it must be at least 30 meters diameter + barriers + nature strip and footpaths.
This will not only encroach upon a long-term resident's property but sections of the north end of Newport Beach car park, along with the netball courts, will be taken over.

What is also being spoken of is an unconfirmed plan by Transport NSW to take the property on the Northern corner or the front yard of same.
This juncture of Neptune and Barrenjoey, “Isley’s Corner,” as its known by the locals, will be 100 years old this year and used to be a store and tea house. The property, stone wall and steps were built by Eric Isley and is still owned and occupied by his family.

Those attending the Newport B-Line rally formed a 25 to 30 metre circle where Neptune Street meets Barrenjoey Road, the site of the bus roundabout designated for the northern end of the beach. A huge cheer went up as the L90 passed, apparently now regarded as a better option than the bus schedule being proposed under the new timetables.

The idea behind creating a roundabout of the specified 25 metres (plus the two lanes) using attendees, was to illustrate this idea will create a bottleneck for a system which is meant to streamline public transport with a key focus on making it faster per the Greater Sydney Commission's 'half hour' to get to work, or anywhere - Mona Vale is where everyone north of Newport will have to work per this structure being implemented - and only will they get there 'on time' if they travel between 5 and 6.30 a.m. and catch a bus from Careel Head road in.

Peter Mayman for community groups north of Newport, asks why 4 buses to Manly per hour but only 1 bus each hour into the city? 
(the new L90 timetable means this bus will only run during off-peak times, and only once an hour - E89 and E88 services are only limited to a few hours in morning and afternoon - the new 199 service from Palm Beach to Manly will mean commuters must change at Mona Vale to travel into town).

Others beyond the bends, outside of Mona Vale or at Ingleside and Elanora, state this is just one of a reduction in services instances the new timetables has shown up and may make what is now in place seem zippy by comparison to catching a 'milk run' through many backstreets prior to ever getting near where they may catch a main road bus. 

Peter Middleton from the Newport Residents Assoc. reported that all the golden rules of public transport planning had been broken – our government has bought 38 double decker buses before they had even worked out the route and how they would fit it. 

More than a few people state the loading and unloading of people on double deckers will take longer than what is currently in place. 

Nick Carroll, representing surfers and tradies, said poor government planning is occurring all over Sydney.

Selena Griffiths, former Pittwater councillor, expressed her disappointment that the Dept. just ignored all local transport experts contributions. Selena also explained that commuters and students, if they continue to live on the peninsula north of Newport, will face obstacles with increased travel times and the need to change buses if they wish to speed up their commute outside of peak hours or outside of Avalon's main strip.

Pittwater residents already upset that they were forcibly merged into a mega council now feel the state government rides roughshod over community wishes – with many seeing the push to run B-Line services to Newport as the precursor of what GSC Revised draft North District Plan document (page 69) released this week have slated for Mona Vale as a priority, the ‘urban activation’ of Mona Vale. 

This draft has changed the word 'intensification' for this new definition, but the meaning is the same; Urban activation precincts aim to deliver more housing in places with access to infrastructure, transport, services and jobs - a process commenced in 2012, alongside discussions about not forcibly merging councils. If the B-Line qualifies Mona Vale, Warriewood and Ingleside for this, then Newport would be next per the same criteria.

More stringent opponents to cheek by jowl over-development prior to infrastructure being in place have commenced a push to have the whole of Pittwater Heritage listed along the lines that have proved so successful overseas - Carmel is being touted as a great example.

MC of the rally, Michael Peschardt, said we all want improved public transport but the government's B-Line is a problem masquerading as a solution.

Videos of what some speakers stated run HERE, courtesy of Pittwater Pathways.

The Petition:

I will not support the extension of the B-Line to Newport without having a fully developed and researched plan to judge. Everything exposed to us as yet threatens to increase traffic congestion, threatens our local and beach parking, threatens our trees and threatens our village life. I want a public transport solution that works for the whole Peninsula.

Download petition at link above. When complete send to PO Box 1180 Newport NSW 2106 or hand in at a Newport residents Association meeting. Next NRA Meeting is Tuesday 21st November 2017 at the Newport Community Centre, The Boulevard Newport at 7 pm.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing Wins Leg 1 Of The Volvo Ocean Race

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew crossing the line first in Lisbon
L to R: Charlie Enright (USA), Tony Mutter (NZL), Simon Fisher (UK), Mark Towill (USA), Hannah Diamond (UK), Damian Foxall (IRL), Stacey Jackson (AUS), Nick Dana (USA), and Tom Johnson (AUS) Photo: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race. 28 October, 2017
Sunday October 29th, 2017: 1.22 a.m. AEST
Vestas 11th Hour Racing have won Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the finish line in the River Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday afternoon. 

It's a tremendous victory for American skipper Charlie Enright and his team, who earn 8 points for their efforts (including a one point 'bonus' for winning the leg).

It wasn't easy. The wind shut down on the final approach, and an early morning lead of 34-nautical miles over second-placed MAPFRE was whittled down to 10-miles, with the finish in sight, but the current in the river even pushing the leaders back out to sea in some of the lulls.

But the crew on the Vestas boat held their nerve, tacking first up and then down, zigzagging towards the line, into agonisingly light headwinds. 
"It's incredible," said Mark Towill, Team Director, from on board the boat moments before the finish.

"What a way to kick off the event. It’s been an incredible performance for the team... It's been a challenging leg. We still have a lot to improve and long way to go... Today is our day, we'll enjoy it, but then we have to get back to work and focus on the next leg."

Charlie Enright is the third American skipper to win Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The others were John Kostecki, on illbruck in 2001-02, and Paul Cayard on EF Language in 1997-98.

Both of those teams went on to an overall victory – so the omens for Charlie Enright are certainly good.


Highly Esteemed Bushcare Officer Leaving Northern Beaches For Northern Rivers

Helena Dewis, the lady who has been so successful at making bushcare here something we all enjoy contributing to, is moving on to a new position in the Northern Rivers region.

Helena Dewiss is taking up a new job with the Conservation Volunteers of Australia, the group responsible for the Eastern Curlew project,  in Northern Rivers region (formerly Wetlands Care Australia).

There she will be helping farmers to understand and implement more sustainable practices and hopes to have bushcare volunteers from here visit to learn about larger scale Wetlands Restoration projects

She also hopes to develop a program suited to people suffering from Mental Health issues in the Northern Rivers region to engage in bushcare and the benefits that derive from reconnecting to the great outdoors during times of stress.

Under this lady Pittwater's Bushcare volunteers groups grew to become the largest on the Northern Beaches and Helena has left our bushcare program with things in place, such as each group now having a supervisor, so things will continue on her departure.

Helena says Pete Seigler, who once held a similar position, is great - as are two others now taking on her work.

“I will be leaving the Northern Beaches for the well-watered pastures of the Northern Rivers region next week. I've loved working with you all to protect our gorgeous bushland and beaches. Your commitment to, and passion for the local environment has been absolutely inspiring and I really will miss the camaraderie, the morning tea competitions and bake-offs and most importantly, the opportunities to learn from you." Helena said this week.

"I will be taking on a role that aims to engage rural landholders amongst other conservation projects and leave knowing that the Northern Beaches Bushcare program will go from strength to strength under the guidance of the awesome Bushcare team that is Michael, Catriona and Peter. 

If you have any enquiries about Bushcare activities or events please contact Michael on 9942 2766 or email michael.kneipp@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au.

It's been a privilege.

Thanks everyone for your amazing efforts and continued support! 
I hope to see you again down the tracks :).”

Moving to the Northern Rivers area will be a returning home for Helena who went to university at Lismore and has many friends and five godchildren in the area.

“This position was just too good to turn down.” Helena explained, “It combines so many of my interests and even though it may be a pay cut, it offers me a chance to do something really good.”

Pam Bateman, Noxious Weed Officer with Council (2013), Helena Dewis, Bushcare Officer, Marita Macrae, Pittwater Natural Heritage Association. Picture by A J Guesdon, 2013 - Asparagus Fern Out Day At Careel Bay


Spring In Pittwater

Orb Weaver spider being taunted by the recent influx of flies we experience every late October - early November
Native bush flowers are thriving after this week's much needed rains.

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