October 15 - 21, 2023: Issue 601


Mona Vale Road West Upgrade Funding: $348 Thousand For Planning In 2023-24 State Budget As Government Focuses On Reconnecting Communities With NO Road - $25 Million Spend Allocated In 2022-23 Previous Government Budget Hard To See Behind The Growing Taller Piles Of Dust

Mona Vale Road West, near Kimbriki

to the left heading east 200metres

There have been numerous discussions in the community in recent weeks regarding funding for the Mona Vale West Upgrade project. As run in the Mona Vale Road East Upgrade: September - October 2023 Pictorial Update of Issue 600, the 2023-2024 NSW Government Labor budget, tabled on September 19, provided $348,000.00 in funding for planning works for the Mona Vale Road West widening from McCarrs Creek Road Terrey Hills to Powder Works road and the Baha’i Temple. 

The allocation may be read in the Budget Paper No.3: Infrastructure Statement.

This was the process for the Mona Vale East upgrade as well.

On June 25th 2014 then Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay and Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes announced work would start on the first stage of the Mona Vale Road Upgrade Project next week.             

“The NSW Government provided $1.5 million to upgrade this section of Mona Vale Road after a tragic crash in October last year,” Minister Gay said.

The accident Mr. Gay was referring to was the tragedy where a tanker, carrying 18,000 litres of fuel, rolled on its side, burst into flames and collided with cars on Mona Vale Road at about 3:40pm on Monday September 30, 2013, causing the deaths of two people and injuring five others.

Prior to this, on June 5 1998 father-of-four Silverio Garcia, and 13-year-old girl Nicole Everson, were killed when an out-of-control sand truck ploughed into his vehicle and then into her home and killed her instantly. 

That tragic accident was less than 100 metres from where the petrol tanker rolled.

The June 2014 announcement followed on from a March 2014 statement that work would commence in June.

Those works included Mona Vale Road being widened to two lanes westbound between Foley and Daydream streets and an additional lane will be installed through the roundabout to improve traffic flow; Resurfacing; New signs, line marking and safety barriers will be installed; and the westbound bus stop will be moved closer to the roundabout, where a new bus bay will be installed, and power and light poles relocated to allow the road to be widened. 

“Plans for the broader upgrade of the 3.1km eastern section of the corridor between Mona Vale and Ingleside are expected to be released for community consultation in the second half of this year,” the MP for Pittwater said then

Subsequently, on 21 October 2014 then Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes encouraged motorists to have their say on the early concept designs for the next stages of the Mona Vale Road upgrade project. 

Work to prepare concept designs for the 3.4km section of Mona Vale Road between Ingleside and Terrey Hills and the 3.2km section between Ingleside and Mona Vale actually commenced in 2011 and both stages involved widening the corridor from two to four lanes and the installation of a central concrete barrier to improve safety.

The concept designs were on display until Friday 14 November and included a bullet point list for both the east and west upgrades of Mona Vale Road.

However it was not until June 2016 that Pittwater's MP could announce that $10.5m will be allocated to progress the 3.2km project, between Foley Street at Mona Vale and Manor Road at Ingleside, from planning and design to construction.

The announcement stated that 'The long awaited $90 million upgrade of Mona Vale Road between Mona Vale and Ingleside will now get underway with funding in the NSW Government’s 2016-17 Budget.'

The project was due for completion in 2020 as per the statement.

Then, again, in June 2017, the Member for Pittwater announced funding had been allocated in the NSW Government’s 2017/18 budget to commence construction of the Mona Vale Road Upgrade. 

Tenders for the now $150 million eastern section of the project between Mona Vale and Ingleside were to be advertised following a $17.5 million allocation to kick start construction. That announcement followed 'the completion of necessary planning and preliminary works over recent years'.

In November 2017 the community was invited to 'have its say' on the council's proposed lease of lands connected with the Mona Vale road upgrades. 

Construction tenders were to be advertised shortly and contractors selected early the following year, 2018.

On February 28 2018 the Member for Pittwater announced the NSW Roads and Maritime Services is progressing plans for the upgrade of Mona Vale Road East, between Ingleside and Mona Vale, with tenders for the project now invited

In March 2018 the then RMS announced a $7.5 million animal crossing overpass would be built along Mona Vale Road West this week. The 40-metre Mona Vale Road West overpass will link Ku-ring-gai and Garigal National Parks. Fauna exclusion fencing will prevent the animals crossing elsewhere.

Then NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said the $7.5 million project would include vegetation to entice native animal species to cross the 40-metre overpass;

'We want to ensure that area, surrounded by two National Parks - a very important area, part of the lungs of Sydney - that we protect that native wildlife by putting in the appropriate infrastructure to protect them into the future,' NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said. 

The wildlife bridge was to be the first of its kind in Sydney, although at present, the one just being completed on the MVR East upgrade was built first.

On November 2nd 2018 the Member for Pittwater announced the NSW Government had awarded the construction contract to Georgiou Group Pty Ltd and onsite works were expected to commence in February 2019, after the summer holiday period. The project was then expected to be completed in 2022. 

On Tuesday January 29th 2019 the contractor was to commence preliminary works such as installing traffic controls, such as barriers, signs, linemarking, setting up the site compound for the project team and delivering materials and equipment to site. Preliminary works were to include removing trees, shrubs and other vegetation on both sides of Mona Vale Road between Daydream Street, Mona Vale, and Lane Cove Road, Ingleside.

In March 2019 the MP for Pittwater reminded residents of a 60k/h speed limit had been introduced as the project was underway. 

In May 2019 Pittwater Online News ran the first of a series of pictorial updates and updates from the RMS, soon to become Transport for NSW. This was to place on record these historic changes to this road and the implications changes have for a community. This had been preceded by a celebratory History page as the commencement of works finally became imminent, Roads To Pittwater: The Mona Vale Road in September 2018.

This timeline records the progress from an idea in 2011 to early concept designs in October 2014 to June 2016 planning and surveys to a January 2019 commencement of works, along with the finessing of details such as the truck arrestor bed and installing fauna exclusion fencing along the work site. The processes of upgrading already in place roads, and finding money to allocate towards the escalating costs of the same in annual budgets, is not changeable whichever political party wins government and works as the incumbents for the whole of a state's population.

In June 2022 the MP for Pittwater announced more than $400 million has been secured in the NSW Budget to progress Pittwater’s major infrastructure projects. This included  $340 million over the next 4 years to upgrade Mona Vale Road West, or around $85 million dollars a year, with $25.0 million allocated for a 2022-23 spend.

Work on the, by then, announced as a $250 million Mona Vale Road East project, was expected to be completed within the next 12 months, with the latest, September 2023 Update, stating the contractors are on track to be done by late December this year. 

The Mona Vale Road West Upgrade entails upgrading 3.4 kilometres of Mona Vale Road from two lanes to four lanes between McCarrs Creek Road, Terrey Hills and Powder Works Road, Ingleside.

However, what that $25 million spent on Mona Vale West upgrade works from June 2022 to June 2023 is hard to see in driving from the Baha'i temple to the western end of McCarrs Creek road. The piles of dirt alongside the road, all moved from the East upgrade by the contractors for that section, seem to have grown taller, but little else appears to have been done for that $25 million investment. Nor has any announcement been made about who has done that $25 million dollars worth of work or when they were awarded the contract.

Perhaps it's a Dickensian thing - piles of dust and what's going on behind them - a mystery withheld from we obtuse regular folk. Perhaps that $25 million was spent on concept designs, and sculptural maintenance of the piles of dust. 

How much was being allocated in the Coalitions 2023-24 Budget of the remaining $315 million, should another term have been won, and what that allocation would be spent on had not been announced.

Dickens' pile of dust from Our Mutual Friend

Mona Vale Road West's growing piles of dust, courtesy of the Mona Vale East upgrade

The new incoming government has said numerous times since taking charge that NSW is in serious debt across all its government departments. Announcement after announcement has stated the books are not good, that the previous government intended to borrow billions more to balance them, and the state has serous financial problems. 



Avalon Community Library Celebrates 40th Anniversary

L to r: Geoff and Collette Searl of the Avalon Beach Historical Society, who put the history and photos together, Craig Boaden, founding member technical advisor to the ACL, newly re-elected Mayor Sue Heins, Library Association President Meg Dunn and (at front with Meg), Helen Clark who was Head Librarian for the Avalon Community Library for 4 decades.

A wonderful reception hosted by Council and ACL volunteers to celebrate 40 years of Avalon Community Library officially opened a historical exhibition of the library on Friday evening, September 29 2023. The actual anniversary is October 28, but taking advantage of the 2023 Labor Day long-weekend for a party, ACL volunteers and Council hosted a Historical display for the community to visit in the Avalon Recreation Centre.

The library began as a collection of donated books with a highly motivated committee, fortunate to have the guidance of professional librarian Craig Boaden (current Avalon Preservation Association President). This group of residents were, and are, yet another example of the strong community involvement in this special part of the world, Pittwater.

The mark of a great library is its capacity to be a community hub. Libraries connect people to information and connect people to people. They are safe havens for children, providing after-school homework help, games, and book clubs. They allow the curious to access out-of-print tomes, give fans of history oral histories and photos from the past, provide access to computers and, in the case of Avalon Community Library, host Autor Talks, allowing those who like to put pen to paper themselves hear how a book evolves.

Most importantly they provide free borrowing of books; both for study and for the delight curling up with a great book from a brilliant storyteller brings. They allow you to hear others' voices, feel what characters felt - realise you are not alone. 

Books are important for the mind, heart, and soul - they educate, inspire, enjoin us to limitless horizons. More than that, they give you access to how we thought in the past, allow you to run your hand over a page from 200 years ago when raised print may be felt on paper, ascertain how we are thinking now and ponder what may come in the future.

They are places of enlightenment.

The History page this Issue runs the short speeches given by current ACL Library Association President Meg Dunn, Mayor Sue Heins, and Mr. Boaden and below this, some captures from what was on display for those who missed it, and which requires no explanation from us due to the excellent work of and records, photographs and artefacts kept by Geoff and Collette Searl of ABHS and ACL members, along with some of the volunteers who attended, all of whom deserve a hearty round of applause for their dedication to those young and older who enjoy nothing better than curling up with a great book.

HUGE thanks to Meg Dunn and Jane Park, current Head Librarian for the Avalon Community Library, and all the volunteers who look after you all at Avalon Community Library. 

Congratulations on your 40th Birthday ACL!

Meg Dunn  and Jane Park



Bayview's John Forbes To Be Inducted Into NSW Hall Of Champions - Layne Beachley To Be Elevated To NSW Sport Legend Status

Palm Beach Sailing Club's and past Olympian John Forbes will be inducted into the NSW Sport NSW Hall of Champions next month. The announcement, made on October 12, also includes the news that another local champion athlete, seven-time world surfing champion, Layne Beachley, AO, will be officially recognised as a Legend of NSW Sport at the prestigious rebel NSW Champions of Sport Ceremony at International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, on Monday, November 20.

Layne - from laynebeachley.com

The Awards ceremony will also see five NSW sports greats inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions. They are the aforementioned John Forbes (Yachting), along with Heather Garriock (Football), Mathew Helm (Diving), Brett Lee (Cricket) and David Palmer, OAM (Squash). 

NSW Hall of Champions Committee Chair, Alan Whelpton AO, said the elevation of Beachley to Legend status and the accomplishments of the five inductees during their distinguished careers earned them worthy selection.

“Layne enjoyed a career which set the benchmark for other surfers to follow, and she continues to be an inspirational voice today,” said Whelpton.

“The five inductees John Forbes, Heather Garriock, Mathew Helm, Brett Lee, and David Palmer are recognised for their outstanding sports careers which saw them reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. They represented their country, state, sport, and themselves with distinction and inspired a new generation of athletes to follow in their footsteps.”

Sport NSW Chief Executive, Stuart Hodge, paid tribute to Beachley and to the five new inductees.

“Layne has been a champion for surfing in and out of the water. Her elevation to NSW Hall of Champions Legend status is a magnificent acknowledgement of her immense contribution to surfing, and to sport more broadly,” said Hodge.

“We also welcome John, Heather, Mathew, Brett, and David into the Hall of Champions. They join other NSW sports greats who have served NSW and Australian sport with honour and distinction,” added Hodge.

The gala Ceremony dinner will also celebrate the achievements of NSW athletes, coaches, administrators, and organisations across 13 Award-winning categories including Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Year with a Disability.



Sydney To Auckland Ocean Race Winners: Let The Celebrations Begin!

Crew of Frantic, Skippered by Mick Martin, awarded the Sir Lipton Cup Trophy as winners of the inaugural Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race 2023. Photo: RPAYC

Wallaby wins International Trophy! Mick Martin, ex-wallaby and his crew onboard Frantic Racing have won the inaugural Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race 2023.

The team from Frantic Racing, skippered by Mick Martin, were presented with the Sir Lipton Cup trophy est. 1919, on Friday October 13 for winning the inaugural Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race on IRC.

Congratulations also to Mayfair who have claimed 1st on ORC and Antipodes who have claimed 1st on PHS. With the teams celebrating today dockside at the Wynyard Pavilion in Auckland.

The fleet was small on numbers, but big on adventure! Frantic Racing, Antipodes, Mayfair, Painkiller and Intiy - Forever are the first five to take up the Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race challenge. Three have already Conquered the Tasman and the organisers, RPAYC, are looking forward to Intiy and Painkiller joining the celebration in Auckland.

Full report HERE

After clearance by Customs the crews received Steinlager beer, a new, and very special, ‘I conquered the Tasman’ T-Shirt to mark the occasion, as well as the obligatory and eagerly awaited hot shower. The winner under IRC also received the Sir Lipton Cup Perpetual Trophy. Photo: RPAYC


Celebrating + Supporting Young Carers During National Carers Week (October 15-21 2023): Local Events List From Mona Vale To Manly

National Carers Week is set to take place from October 15th to 21st, 2023, providing a platform to raise awareness about the 2.65 million Australians who selflessly provide care and support to their family members or friends. This year Your Side is putting a spotlight on young carers, people up to 25 years old, who dedicate their time and energy to assist family members or friends with disabilities, mental health challenges, chronic conditions, substance dependence, or frailty. 

With over 235,000 young carers across Australia, it's crucial to acknowledge their essential role in caregiving. While many young carers find fulfilment in their responsibilities, it's important to recognise that inadequate support can adversely affect their health and wellbeing, schooling and pathways to employment and the time they have to socialise with friends.  

Meet Cheryl, a 9-year-old Young Carer

Cheryl, a remarkable 9-year-old, is one such young carer. She helps care for her Mum, who struggles with anxiety, and her grandparents, both of whom have dementia. Cheryl assists with household chores, food preparation, and supports her grandparents with mobility. Despite the challenges, Cheryl finds comfort in helping those she loves. 

She shared, "When I was little, my grandparents cared for me, and now I am caring for them. It's just really nice to help people you love. My favourite young carer activity has been camping. The Carer Gateway is a gate to happiness, friendship, and support, and I have made a lot of new friends. My family is really happy for me."  

Meet Ben, a 15-year-old Young Carer

Ben, aged 15, plays a crucial caring role for his older brother, who has an intellectual disability, a responsibility he's embraced for the past four years. Balancing his caregiving duties with school was challenging for Ben, impacting his academic performance and social life. However, he found support through the young carers program offered by the Carer Gateway. Ben now receives tutoring, leading to improved school performance, and participates in numerous young carer social events.  

"My grades have got heaps better at school and I go to a lot of young carer events which is cool. I loved the pizza-making event we did the most. If you are a young carer, you should check it out," said an enthusiastic Ben. 

Your Side, as a Carer Gateway service provider, help young carers achieve their goals, offers tutoring to establish good study habits and balance school with caring responsibilities, can arrange respite so young carers can, organise counselling and peer support sessions, look into upskilling and employment pathways courses and even assist with driving lessons! 

James O’Keefe, Young Carer Consultant at Carer Gateway, said, "The young carers program supports carers under the age of 25. It can help relieve pressures at school, stress at home, and help young carers find work. And it is fun!" 

National Carers Week 2023 aims to shine a light on the invaluable contributions of young carers like Cheryl and Ben and the support available to them through the Carer Gateway.  

To learn more or access these services, visit www.carergateway.gov.au or call 1800 422 737, Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm local time. 

Let's come together to recognise, celebrate, and support young carers across Australia during National Carers Week 2023.  

Your Side’s Community Engagement Team will also be attending various events throughout Carers Week to chat to people and carers more about the Carer Gateway so they can sign-up for support. 

Local events list HERE


Seal Pup Rescued At Newport Named 'Narrang' Has Been Rehabilitated By Taronga Zoo, Re-Released - Returns To Our Area: A Reminder To Maintain 80 Metres Distance From Seal Pups - The 'Seabirds To Seascapes Project'

The colony of Long-nosed Fur Seals sighted in Pittwater and along our beaches consists of a bull seal with females, juvenile males and also pups. Based on on the rocks beneath Barrenjoey, they have been coming and going for the past decade. What started as four seals has grown to become twenty plus seals in recent years. They are seen from Bayview and Church Point to Careel Bay and come ashore to rest, with seals delighting residents from north Palm Beach to Manly where and when they visit our sands.

These seals breed between October to December. During the breeding season, they come ashore and establish territories. Females are defended by the resident male in these territories.

During the gestation period females remain mostly at sea and only come ashore just before the birth of the single pup. Immediately after birth the mother begins sniffing the new-born pup to better identify when she has to find it after a trip out to sea. Pups are fairly mature at birth, and within 60 minutes they start suckling for about 7 minutes. Eventually the suckling can exceed half an hour. Pups are weaned at around 4-6 months old but still can remain with the mother until 12 months old.

Australian seals are threatened by sharks, Killer Whales, commercial fishing, entanglement with fishing gear and swallowing of plastic bags. You can help by ensuring our beaches are kept clean from plastic or any littler. If you see a plastic bag, pick it up and dispose of it. If a seal eats plastic, it cannot digest it which will result in a very slow and painful death for the animal. This can easily be avoided if people stop littering.

It is important that both people and dogs keep away from Australian seals. This was brought in sharp focus on Monday October 9 when news from Victoria broke that a fatally injured Australian fur seal pup was found on McCrae Beach following a dog attack. Although this beach is an off-leash one for dogs during the daylight savings months, Victorian laws state dog owners must keep their pet at least 50 metres away from a seal on land. Dogs also must not enter the water within 50 metres of a seal when they are present.

Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers are investigating the incident following a report from the Melbourne Zoo Marine Response Unit (MRU) who were alerted to a wounded juvenile fur seal by a member of the public. 

A similar attack on a seal that had hauled out to rest at Long Reef Aquatic Reserve by an offleash dog, in a no dogs area, occurred in November 2020, leading Council and NPWS to track down the owner and issue a fine. 

Dog attacking formerly resting seal at Long Reef. Photos supplied

In New South Wales, as in Victoria and across Australia, seals are a protected marine mammal. Our seals were hunted to the point of extinction in the 19th century and although they are recovering, there are still laws and rules in place to protect them. In NSW Arctocephalus forsteri has a Conservation status of Vulnerable.

Approach distances in NSW for seals are based on where the seal is located and if a pup is present. A seal is considered a pup if it is up to half the length of the adult. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment states that if a seal comes towards you, you must move back to the minimum approach distance.

The Department's rules are:

Approaching a seal when it is in the water

Seals are agile swimmers with strong flippers. When a seal is in the water you must keep at least:

  • 10 metres away from the seal
  • 80 metres from a seal pup
  • 100 metres for a drone 

Approaching a seal when it is hauled out on land

Seals haul out to rest after foraging at sea. If a seal feels threatened, it may show aggression by yawning, waving its front flipper or head, or calling out. Seals are very agile and can move fast on land, using all 4 limbs to run. When a seal is hauled out on the land you must keep at least:

  • 40 metres away from the seal
  • 80 metres from a seal pup
  • 100 metres away from the seal for a drone.

Vessels watching seals resting on the rocky shore must also keep back 40 metres or 80 metres if a pup is present. Limit the time you spend watching because it can be stressful for them. It is likely you are not the only vessel to approach them that day.

In late September Taronga Zoo announced a third Long-nosed Fur Seal has been released and tagged as part of the NSW Government’s Seabirds to Seascapes project in a bid to help unlock precious data about how seal species are using Australian waterways.

The female Long-nosed Fur Seal, who is estimated to be approximately 10 months old, was found extremely lethargic and underweight along the headland of Pittwater’s popular Newport Beach in August. The seal, which has been given the name ‘Narrang’ which means ‘little’ in the Sydney language (Dharug Dhalang) also had evidence of Cookiecutter shark bites.

A member of the public called ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia) who then notified the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service who collected Narrang and brought her to the Taronga Wildlife Hospital for urgent assessment and care.

“The little seal had been there all day and was easy to approach and to collect which is particularly unusual behaviour, as a healthy seal would refrain from being caught and move away from humans if approached,” said Anthony Muyt, Ranger, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Upon arrival at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Narrang the seal was given a general anaesthetic to allow the team to take x-rays and blood samples, while also assessing her overall health. The results were largely normal, although tests showed she was slightly anaemic.

Narrang Being Rehabilitated at Taronga Wildlife Hospital. Photo: Taronga Zoo.

Taronga’s Wildlife and Rehabilitation and Rescue Coordinator Libby Hall said: “For the first few days the seal was still quite weak and slept a lot and needed a lot of assistance to feed – it was touch and go. Now, after a month of being in care, her wounds have healed, her appetite is back, and she is lively again. All these signs tell us she’s ready to be released back into the wild, and there’s no better feeling,” said Hall.

Seabirds to Seascapes Senior Project Officer Kate Akkerman said: “This is the third Long-nosed Fur Seal released as part of the NSW Government’s Seabirds to Seascapes project. It is significant not only because we have a healthy seal back in the wild where she belongs, but because we have a chance to track her and see just how she uses and interacts with her environment. This is crucial information that helps us know how we can help protect these iconic species,” said Akkerman.

So far, the data collected from Narrang's tracker shows that she has travelled approximately 25km since her release and is spending time around the rocky headlands of our northern beaches, more than likely feasting on food. She has returned to her home waters and beaches.

If you do happen to spot Narrang on her journey you can log your sighting at  www.wildsydneyharbour.com

If you spot a sick or injured seal, please call NPWS at 1300 PARKS or ORRCA on (02) 9415 3333.



Spring In Pittwater 

Turimetta Moods, October 11, 2023 - photo by Joe Mills

Pittwater Online News is Published Every Sunday Morning

 Past Features   Archives (pre 2014)

Pittwater Online News was selected for preservation by the State Library of New South Wales and National Library of Australia. This title is scheduled to be re-archived regularly.

Archived Issues (2014 on) may be accessed herepandora.nla.gov.au/tep/143700

Past Issues are also listed on site on the Community News page, by month.