Year: 2013

A PILOT from Albury and his young female passenger escaped injury when their light plane flipped onto its roof when landing at Tyabb airfield last Saturday morning at about 7.15. The pair had flown from Albury, leaving just before 6am. The Cessna 182S Skylane was halfway along the runway when it flipped and sustained “substantial” damage, according to the Aviation Safety Network website. The cause of the incident has not been released. Police and Tyabb CFA volunteers were called to the airfield and the plane was later removed by crane. It was the second incident at Tyabb airfield in the…

NEW restrictions on walking dogs in Mornington Peninsula National Park are now in force, with pet owners warned they face hefty fines for breaches. Dogs are prohibited at all times along an additional seven kilometres of coastline between Portsea and Flinders and can only be walked on leashes between sunrise and 9am within a limited number of signposted areas in the national park. Areas where early morning on-leash walking is permitted include a 14km section of coast between Sorrento and Rye, and signposted areas at Portsea surf beach, St Andrews beach and Flinders ocean beach. There are a number of…

POLICE divers conducted a final search last week for the body of a New Zealand student who disappeared in rough surf off rocks near Blairgowrie after he had jumped in to rescue a friend a week earlier. Divers conducted an extensive search of the rocky coastline at Pearses Beach last Wednesday but were unable to find the 20-year-old man’s body. Underwater search efforts – following the Melbourne University student’s disappearance on Wednesday 6 November – have been hampered by poor weather and rough seas. Police search and rescue officials said no further dive operations were planned in the area at…

THE centenary of Anzac is to be commemorated in Flinders with a diverse range of community projects. Flinders federal MP Greg Hunt used Remembrance Day on Monday to announce that the Flinders Anzac Centenary Community Grants Committee has approved 22 local projects from across the Mornington Peninsula, Western Port and Phillip Island. The projects will be put to the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Senator Michael Ronaldson, for final approval. The new government has boosted funding to Flinders to $125,000, a small increase on the $100,000 already allocated by the previous government. Projects approved include a re-enactment of the firing of…

FRANKSTON Hospital has been re­vealed as among the state’s worst-performing emergency departments, failing to meet the majority of targets set by the state government for timely treatment of patients. Victorian hospital annual reports tabled recently in state parliament show nearly all emergency departments struggled to transfer patients from ambulances within specified time frames over the past financial year. Frankston Hospital, which is operated by Peninsula Health, was able to transfer patients from ambulances within the required 40-minute time frame just 56 per cent of the time – well short of the target of 90 per cent set by the state…

CONSTRUCTION of the $14 million Arthurs Seat chairlift could start as early as next spring and be completed before the end of 2015, says project chief Simon McKeon. Mr McKeon, head of Arthurs Seat Skylift, said it was hoped to submit a “package of reports” to Mornington Peninsula Shire and Parks Victoria before the end of the year. “If all goes well, we’re hoping to get approval by the end of the first quarter of 2014,” he told The News. “We’ll run a tender process with major chairlift makers such as Poma and Doppelmayr, and hope to start assembly and…

Police are appealing for witnesses following a road rage turned criminal damage incident, last month in Frankston. On Thursday 31 October, the victim was driving along Hillcrest Road, when he noticed a man riding erratically on a motorcycle. Both the victim and the motorcycle turned into Bloom Street where the abuse began. Initial verbal abuse soon elevated, as the offender began kicking the victim’s car – a Hyundai Getz used for driving lessons. In an effort to escape, the victim turned into Lardner Road but was followed by the offender who sped up on his motorcycle, and continued to kick…

SLEEP is a wonderful thing.  It provides time to relax and recharge and escape the everyday grind. But with morning comes reality, and for Hannah Swinnerton, that reality has been one of sheer terror. Getting up each day was difficult because she knew what awaited her at school: heartless, relentless and terrifying bullying. Hannah can’t recall exactly when it started; in her mind it was a constant. For her entire school life, Hannah was bullied. From prep to year 12, Hannah would head off to a certainty no child should ever have to face. Everything suffered. Her grades, as she…

MORNINGTON Liberal MP David Morris has slammed the previous state go­vernment over its “botched” Morning­ton pier project. His criticism comes just weeks before Parks Victoria names the suc­cessful tenderer for the replacement of the outer, condemned section of the pier. In May 2012, the state government announced it would spend up to $15 million to replace the outer section with its 125 pylons, which had been closed since August 2010 after a series of storms weakened the structure. In the Parliament last week, Mr Morris said the project had gone “seriously off the rails” under the Brumby Labor government. “In…

THE weather was terrible– low cloud and driving rain. Marc Perdu and Christian Tiriault, pilots of Spirit of Nouméa, discussed turning back to Adelaide, but they had an appointment to keep. Besides, anyone willing to circumnavigate Australia in a tiny plane isn’t lacking in a sense of adventure. This wasn’t the first expedition undertaken by the New Caledonian men. In 2011, they flew from Paris to Nouméa and in 2012 flew the same route in reverse. This year, it was Australia, with an expedition from Nouméa, counter-clockwise around Australia, and then back home again. “We had clear and sunny weather…

VICROADS is trying to offload the Esplanade onto Mornington Peninsula Shire. The shire and VicRoads have been discussing the status of shire roads for many months but councillors were briefed for the first time last week. VicRoads can force the shire to take ownership of the so-called government road but it appears the roads authority is adopting a conciliatory approach. The state government authority has told the shire it wants to downgrade the Esplanade’s status from an arterial to a local road, and give it to the shire. It told the shire the road is mainly used by locals but…

MORNINGTON Life Saving Club is in deep water after clearing an area behind its clubhouse on Mills Beach as well as starting internal renovations without a permit. The club removed sand that had built up behind the building over several years, disturbing an Aboriginal midden site. It placed two shipping containers in the cleared section as a storage area for new equipment. It also started renovating shower and toilet areas on the ground floor, which had been affected by rising damp. The existing facilities were insufficient for a growing membership. The clearing has triggered an investigation by the Office of…

JOHN Bloggs’ life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was left feeling “lost” and unsure of the future after the cancer was removed and he was in remission. On the advice of a dietician, Mr Bloggs joined five other participants in a seven-week cancer rehabilitation program run by Peninsula Health. The program aims to improve quality of life, in particular the physical function, fatigue, stress or anxiety and diet of cancer survivors. It includes exercise, education settings and self-management strategies. “After I had received my treatment I felt cut off. It was more of…

THE controversial Dromana quarry tip plan is dead. Quarry owners R E Ross Trust will officially announce on Tuesday it will not appeal the Environment Protection Authority’s refusal to grant a permit, which was handed down last month. The decision brings to an end one of the most controversial and hated proposals on the southern peninsula for many years. A government source told The News that Ross Trust chairman Ian Vaughan would announce the decision on Tuesday night at a meeting of Peninsula Waste Management’s community reference group. Ross Trust owns PWM as well as Hillview Quarries in Dromana. The…

THE restored grave of acting Prime Minister James Fenton will be unveiled at Mornington Cemetery at 3.30pm on Sunday 27 October. James Edward Fenton was an MP 1910-34 including acting PM for five months in 1930 during the Great Depression, one of the most tumultuous times in Australian politics. The unveiling will be the culmination of a campaign by Dunkley MP Bruce Billson and Mornington and Dis­trict Historical Society to restore the grave. About $10,000 for the work came from the federal Labor government’s Your Community Heritage Program. Historical society member Val Wilson, who conducts tours of the cemetery and…

THE Environment Protection Authority has knocked back an application for a rubbish tip, or landfill, in the old Pioneer quarry on the Arthurs Seat escarpment at Dromana. It was announced on Friday morning with the EPA saying the proposal did not comply with “threshold issues around groundwater, construction design and management”. The decision is a blow to tip proponent Peninsula Waste Management and its owner R E Ross Trust as well as Mornington Peninsula Region Waste Management Group of which Mornington Peninsula Shire is the sole member. The waste group had earmarked the quarry as a potential tip site in…

Victoria Police is preparing to activate fixed speed cameras along Peninsula Link for the first time within the next two weeks. Six camera sites have been installed, with two point-to-point sections and three instantaneous detection points in each direction. Police are also issuing a warning to Peninsula Link road users after more than 7500 motorists were detected speeding during a recent 14 day live testing period. More than 500 motorists were detected travelling 15km per hour above the posted speed limit and 66 of those drivers would have lost their licences. Six drivers were detected hooning at speeds of 45km…

AN overzealous ranger who removed “anti-tip” signs from roadsides in Arthurs Seat, Red Hill and Dromana last Saturday has forced Mornington Peninsula Shire to issue a public apology. The shire posted a statement on its website on Sunday after receiving complaints from Peninsula Preservation Group members and other anti-tip sign owners. Shire officers delivered the signs to a PPG member’s home on Sunday. The statement said rangers would return a number of “no tip” protest signs “that were mistakenly impounded on Saturday”. Claire Smith, the shire’s manager of environment protection and community safety, said signs had been removed from “the…

CRIME on the Mornington Peninsula decreased slightly over the past 12 months, des­pite an almost 24 per cent rise in the number of rapes reported and a 51 per cent jump in sex offences. Also of concern was a 43 per cent surge in serious drug offences such as trafficking and manufacturing. Growing use of methamphetamine (also known as ice) was highlighted as the most significant drug issue. The latest Victoria Police statistics for the year to 30 June show the total number of crimes recorded on the peninsula fell 0.1 per cent from the previous year, compared to a…

POLICE are hunting a man and woman over the theft of a “much-loved family pet” from outside a home in Hargreaves St, Mornington, last week. Bailey, a small, white shih-tzu cross, was let out from the front yard of his home by his owners about 2.30pm on Monday and disappeared a short time later. Witnesses reported seeing a man and woman park their vehicles at either end of Hargreaves St in order to catch the frightened pet. “They were seen chasing the dog up and down the street until it was picked up by a passer-by, who then handed it…

An elderly man has had his license suspended after blowing more than three times the legal limit in Carrum Downs on Sunday night. The 85-year-old Seaford man was intercepted by members of the Frankston Highway Patrol in Ballarto Road just after 7pm. After supplying a positive preliminary test, the man attended the Carrum Downs police station where he allegedly returned an evidentiary reading of 0.18% Leading Senior Constable Scott Woodford from Frankston Highway Patrol said it was unusual to find a person of that age driving under the influence of alcohol. “It’s disappointing that people who obviously should know better…

Arson and Explosives Squad detectives have located a small amount of explosives at a house at Frankston. The News believes the explosives to be gelignite. A local tradesman doing building works at the property today came across the explosives secreted in the house and alerted police immediately. Frankston SES were called in to help after the initial gelignite was removed from the property. They helped clear the area so the Bomb Response Unite could do a thorough search. The explosives will be taken to a quarry in Skye and disposed of under the direction of the forensic explosives chemist and WorkSafe…

PENINSULA Link freeway has been open for seven months but the authorities are still discussing the location and types of locality and tourism signs. The freeway opened on 17 January but there were no signs on the four-lane road showing traffic where to exit to reach Baxter, Hastings and the Western Port side of the peninsula. Dunkley federal MP Bruce Billson weighed in to the issue late last week when he said a Coalition government would contribute $175,000 to “refresh and update the ‘Tour Peninsula’ tourist directional signage and to correct location signage errors such as omitting the Baxter township”.…

A DISASTER was narrowly averted after a heavy street light plunged more than 10 metres onto High St Hastings in the midst of busy late-morning trade last week. The light fitting broke off a 10-metre pole in high winds at about 11.30am on Monday, crashing to the roadway outside the ANZ Bank at the corner of King St. Staff members at a nearby business said it was only good luck that saved someone being seriously injured or killed. “It just came crashing down all of a sudden. There was a loud smash; it sounded like a car accident,” said an…

FAKE social media reports have sparked public panic over a supposed organised dog abduction ring targeting pets around Frankston and the peninsula. Police have moved to allay fears that beloved pets were being stolen from Frankston and peninsula homes to be used in, or as bait for, illegal dog fights, as reported in widely circulated Facebook postings. “It’s all fake. It’s simply not happening,” a Victoria Police spokesman said. “We have investigated this thoroughly and can confirm there’s absolutely no substance to the reports.” Police have been swamped with reported sightings of a White Toyota ute and other “suspicious activities”…

THE state government has called for tenders to replace the condemned, outside section of Mornington pier. Replacement of the 75-metre long section will cost at least $13.5 million, allocated by the government last year. Work is expected to start later this year and be completed in late 2014, subject to weather and contractor avail­­ability. The value of the project is likely to see pier contractors from far and wide submit tenders. Mornington MP David Morris said the design for the outer section and wave protection would ensure “this iconic pier will continue to provide a destination for the residents and…

RESIDENTS have been watching the slow march of nature reclaiming habitat in what was once an explosive industrial site – the Mt Martha quarry. Peregrine falcons use the exposed rock faces as nesting sites while white-faced herons prowl among puddles for tadpoles and frogs. However, the fenced-off quarry is seen as an “asset” by Mornington Peninsula Shire, land that can be sold and developed. Until a few months ago, the shire had allowed the quarry on the Esplanade between Mt Martha and Safety Beach to be used as storage for rocks and soil destined to combat erosion at McCrae. But…

THE last of 74 large concrete wave screen panels was lifted into place on Mornington pier’s middle section last Thursday. Completion of installation is a significant event in the long-running saga to make the harbour safe from westerly and northerly storms. Carrum Downs-based K V Johnson Constructions started installing the panels – 43 on the outside of the pier and 31 on the inside – in late June. The screens are 1.2-metres wide on the bay side and 1.6-metres wide on the harbour side with some up to 6.7 metres long. Made in Geelong, they weigh about 15 tonnes each,…

SOCCEROO Archie Thompson loves taking his own children to soccer training and weekend matches. He’s now using his football knowledge to develop a program aimed at promoting soccer’s fun and enjoyment to other youngsters. He was at Padua College in Mornington on Friday promoting his Archie Thompson School of Soccer, which is aimed at teenagers who are already playing at school or a club, or those keen to give soccer a try. “I have often been approached to be part of holiday and after-school soccer programs, although I have never found the one that really fitted the way I thought…

MEMBERS of the public are being asked to turn over any old steamy pictures they may have hidden away as part of a new line of inquiry into the shire’s past. Mornington Peninsula Shire is looking to collect any photographs or memorabilia from the now-defunct Red Hill to Bittern railway to help reconstruct the historic line’s history. The Red Hill–Bittern line was opened in 1921 mainly to carry produce from the highly productive orchard areas of the peninsula to market in Melbourne but was closed just over three decades later in 1953. The shire council has commissioned a heritage management…