For safety’s sake, it’s time to remove beach boxes
Port Phillip Conservation Council attended the Department of Land, Water and Planning’s Mount Martha north beach stakeholder group meetings, overseeing the $1.5 million federal grant for beach renourishment initiated by then Flinders MP Greg Hunt (“Beach closed in face of ‘cliff collapse’ fears” The News 22/11/22).
DELWP advised the grant was specifically for beach renourishment, however several members demanded consideration of other options to “save” their beach and boxes. Unhappy their ideas for hard engineering (rock groyne) were not in the mix, they demanded to see the funding agreement between the two governments. The copy provided confirmed DELWP’s advice.
Meanwhile, DELWP was undertaking studies at Mount Martha north, investigating both the beach erosion and the unstable cliff face behind. The study found no engineering treatment would return sand long-term to the beach without adverse impacts, so DELWP determined hard engineering was not appropriate.
The geotechnical study confirmed a deep clay lens existed within the cliff, rendering it unstable, posing risks to the beach and boxes below, and even the Esplanade above. Despite being the land managers and coastal management experts, DELWP was in a no-win situation, required to deliver beach renourishment – at best a window dressing exercise.
When the beach boxes were built geotechnical, and climate change-related threats were not well known. Now, the futility of trying to beat back nature has become apparent. The beach boxes will increasingly be under siege from these forces and, when they succumb again, will diminish the beach amenity and safety for all.
With risks of cliff slippage from above and climate change driven increasingly severe storm surges and sea level rise to the front, to protect public safety and avoid squandering public funds on the unwinnable, it’s time to remove the remaining boxes from Mount Martha north beach.
Jenny Warfe, secretary Port Phillip Conservation Council
We are new to Mount Martha and the gorgeous Mornington Peninsula and are dismayed to learn that Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, which appears not to have an environment department, allows the total clearing of all vegetation on a suburban blocks slated for development.
Bare blocks readied for development are a sad, but common sight. The total lack of regard for existing mature trees, or indeed any living plant, which could be preserved while still enabling a development, is beyond disappointing.
Many of these trees have stood for decades and pose no risk. A lot of us don’t have the two to three decades it takes for newly planted trees and small shrubs to grow to maturity.
With the climate warming, our local environment, wildlife, and our residents suffer when beautiful shady stands of mature trees are unnecessarily chopped down for the convenience of developers and builders. Such mature trees provide habitat for the myriad birds of the peninsula and should be protected wherever possible.
Some councils in Melbourne put a substantial financial bond on large trees that must be retained when a site is developed.
Come on Mornington Peninsula residents, lobby your councillors and insist that the council stop perpetuating this scorched earth policy.
Alison Burkhardt, Mount Martha
Outdoor dining via “parklets” or on footpaths, next to gutters, should no longer be permitted (“Outdoor dining denied, for now” The News 22/11/22). It was a temporary COVID relief measure to assist mostly coffee shops and cafes to operate safely, make money and survive. It is, for the pedestrian public, at best a nuisance and sometimes a severe obstruction and disruption, particularly at tourist peak, as well as often taking very scarce prime parking spaces.
The food hospitality industry is notorious for low wages, disagreeably scattered work hours, insecure casual jobs – mostly seasonal; and many instances of wage theft.
With the crisis over, why should council add to their profits? If cafes want to offer outdoor dining or cups of coffee, let them go rooftop, buy extra land, or move to suitable premises.
It is not as if these pavement businesses are important, irreplaceable, or even of much use.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council intends to consult with the community on the matter. What good would that do, and then what?
Brian A Mitchelson, Mitchelson
Rubbish a priority
Ratepayers, as individuals, are unable to exert any influence on council decisions (“Self centred” Letters 29/11/22). They need to belong to some community action group which has its views promoted by a “spokesman”. The views expressed are not necessarily a reflection of the members at large but those of a committee of the chosen few.
Local government touts itself as the “third tier of government”. It is no such thing and if one takes note of comments throughout all states of Australia it is the one that is far and away the least popular.
There are still far too many local councils infested by people who are overpaid, often grossly, and promoted beyond the level of their own personal capacity.
A political party that comes out with a policy to strictly define the responsibilities of local government will get huge support.
Our own council cannot properly address the basic problem of rubbish collection at beaches during the peak summer period. The number of available bins is pathetic, and the rubbish collection contractors’ staff will not get out of their vehicles to pick up the overflow.
We get the regular self-congratulatory expose in Mornington Peninsula Shire’s own publications, touting pet projects of councillors and their friends, yet basic responsibility for rubbish collection, drain cleaning, road maintenance, parks and gardens are committed to second place behind fanciful projects like the proposed [performing] arts centre.
Barry Rumpf, McCrae
Clearing the view
Wonderful relief to get our rural and coastal views back again now that most of the recent state government political wannabees have demounted their political mugshots from in-your face-locations. I particularly must congratulate the Freedom Party candidate who managed to scale electricity poles and not get electrocuted while sticking his mug shot out of harm’s way. That was certainly taking his “freedom” philosophy to new heights.
Loved seeing the youthful doctor and the young Liberal candidate looking happy in their usually closely coupled display along most major vantage points. What a delightful couple they made.
Sadly, the even more youthful Green candidate didn’t have the big bucks that his rivals had, despite Climate 200 spending many thousands of dollars in pretty printed portraits all over our Mornington. Perhaps this young pretender should have applied for Teal status and grabbed all that extra advertising funding. It certainly helped with the independent Teal doctor as she definitely won in the picture over exposure stakes.
Back to normal and merry Christmas to all your readers.
Ian Morrison, Mount Eliza
It was with some sadness but no surprise to read some of the letters to The News regarding the recent state election.
It appears that denigrating the people of Nepean for voting for anyone other than a Labor candidate is the way some people think. It is a poor reflection of their understanding of how a democracy works.
This is the standard response after a Labor government or candidate is voted out. But it belittles the whole process of voting. Perhaps these people need to understand that there are different opinions to the ones they hold, and these opinions are just as valid. Personally, I would not admit voting for a member of a party that holds the democratic process in such contempt.
Stephen Fisher, Rye
Return to ‘wilderness’
The Oxford definition of pyrrhic is “won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor”. That just about sums up the jubilant blue crowd, safely ensconced in the luxurious surroundings of the Continental Hotel, Sorrento last Saturday night.
The good burghers have again succeeded in imposing their will on the Mornington Peninsula population.
They’ve managed to replace a hard working successful local member with a former professional tennis player. A representative who will be the most junior member of the smallest rump of an opposition there’s been in the last 50 years.
The peninsula has returned to the wilderness of a (Liberal) representative unable to achieve anything, that has been our sorry lot for all but four of the last 25 years.
Surely it’s been better inside the tent looking out, than outside the tent looking in. (You know how it goes)
So good luck [former Labor MP for Nepean] Chris Brayne. You’ve been an inspiration and a role model.
To our incoming member: have fun waving the blue flag. Game, set and match.
Mike Wilton, Safety Beach
Thank you, Chris
There was one sad result after the state election on 26 November, and that was the loss of our very popular local member [for Nepean], Chris Brayne.
Chris is passionate about the Mornington Peninsula and from the moment he was unexpectedly elected in 2018, he set to work to bring change and improvement to an area that had been largely ignored and taken for granted for many, many years.
Chris’s legacy is easy to see in massive school and transport improvements, upgrades to the Sorrento ferry terminal, upgrades and restoration to the Rye pier and the McCrae lighthouse and other infrastructure and social investments.
The passion that Chris feels for this area can be seen in the amount of hard work he did and by election day many, many people had met Chris and had a chance to speak with him. Standing with him at the polling booth, it was apparent how respected and well-liked he is.
I would like to thank Chris for the work he has done over the past four years to bring improvements to the peninsula. It was so refreshing to know we had a member who listened and cared, and it is now unfortunate he can’t continue with the many projects he wanted to complete.
Thank you Chris.
Marilyn Merrifield, Rye
‘Toxic’ poll scenes
As a member of [former Nepean MP] Chris Brayne’s campaign committee I want to say how disappointed we are that he was not re-elected.
As Chris pointed out during the campaign he has worked hard to achieve for Nepean as a number of schools, sporting clubs and people who use local buses can testify.
However, [Liberal] Sam Groth must be congratulated on winning the seat.
I would have to say though that my experience of handing out how-to-votes for Chris during pre-polling and on polling day was one of the most toxic that I have experienced.
We had a Liberal volunteer screaming out that [Victorian premier] Dan Andrews was corrupt and a liar, police were called after voters complained about being harassed by her.
One woman held up a sign saying Dan Andrews Nazi, as she walked into the polling booth.
Freedom Party volunteers were spruiking [former US President Donald] Trump-like conspiracy theories, including advising people to use a biro rather than a pencil so their votes could not be altered.
I hope that now Sam Groth has been elected he will embrace a gentler approach and work to bring the community together.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye
I was not one of [former Nepean MP] Chris Brayne’s biggest fans and am sure that [the new member for Nepean] Sam Groth is a good guy.
I do find it thought-provoking that the voters in Nepean voted out the person who has delivered the most to Mornington Peninsula for many years and voted for someone who cannot deliver for at least another four years.
Maybe too many bought into the crapola put forth in the press, which for the most part was just looking for headlines, with News Corp actually going out of its way with its blatant anti-Labor campaign to try to sway the results. A great testament to mainstream media, their objectivity and agenda.
When Liberals were in government and our local member was education minister, very little was delivered to the peninsula.
We have been in a funding drought for years as the big business lobby group Committee for Mornington Peninsula has pointed out on several occasions with its “subtle” campaign implying the fault of Labor and its anti-lockdown agenda to garner Liberal votes.
Amazing to think that people would actually vote for a party, not their best interests.
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
Letters – 300 words maximum and including full name, address and contact number – can be sent to The News, PO Box 588, Hastings 3915 or emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org