Author: Liz Bell

FLINDERS Community Association has stepped up its Save Flinders Pier campaign over summer and is towing a mobile promotional trailer through holiday destinations along the Mornington Peninsula. The Save Flinders Pier trailer with the iconic weedy seadragon pictured on the side has already attracted public attention in Rosebud, Rye and Red Hill; with Sorrento and Portsea next on the list. Association spokesperson Charles Reis said the intention of the trailer was to raise awareness. He said the group is encouraging holiday-makers from other parts of the peninsula to visit the Flinders pier over summer to assess its condition for themselves.…

“VIRTUAL fencing” designed to stop wild animals crossing in front of vehicles is about to be trialled along a two-kilometre section of a “hot spot” road in Boneo. Mornington Peninsula Shire has been working with the community, specifically the Mornington Peninsula Wildlife Action Group and Greens Bush Association and has already bought virtual fencing for the trial. The technology uses audio and visual alarms to deter wildlife from crossing the road when vehicles are passing. It is triggered by approaching headlights and creates a virtual barrier of sound and light. Victoria Carter, of the wildlife action group, applauded the shire’s…

RECREATION Aviation Australia is investigating an incident at Tyabb Airport on Thursday afternoon, when strong wind is being blamed for blowing a light aircraft off the runway. Neither the trainee pilot nor the instructor was injured when the aircraft came off the runway on landing. A report on the incident will be made by the RVA and Peninsula Aero Club. Club president Jack Vevers said televised media reports of the incident were surprising, given the plane had already landed safely and no one was injured. The two people helped from the damaged aircraft before emergency services arrived were later checked…

ADVOCATES of protecting the Mornington Peninsula’s green spaces are celebrating a significant step forward in their fight for green wedge protection. In a pre-Christmas announcement, Planning Minister Richard Wynne authorised the shire’s proposed Planning Scheme Amendment C270morn to rezone 10 parcels of land – seven of which are outside the urban growth boundary – from special use to green wedge or public conservation and resource zone. A council statement said the rezoning aimed to protect the shire’s highly valued open spaces from development, resolve anomalies in the planning scheme, and ensure the zoning of the sites “reflects their intended use…

BALNARRING resident Valda Angus says there is no secret to her longevity: It is simply a lucky trifecta of a positive attitude, a happy marriage of seven decades, and having “the best daughter in the world”. Ms Angus, 100, now lives with her daughter Gayle Anderson, but for 69 years lived with her husband Victor in Frankston, after buying a block of land after the war and building their home. Their marriage was a love story that started after a trip to the old Frankston carnival and then a meeting at the Frankston railway gates, where they were instantly smitten…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire says it is investigating ways of improving disability access and has now rolled out wheelchair-friendly beach matting at Mount Martha and Sorrento. The mayor Cr Anthony Marsh said improving disability access to shire beaches was the focus of January, with beach matting also being rolled out later this month at Mothers Beach, Mornington, and next to the piers at Rosebud and Rye. But disability advocates say there is a “fundamental accessibility problem in the region” and more needs to be done. One parent whose three-year-old who uses a wheelchair said the shire had been slow to act…

A LARGE council-commissioned mural in Mornington’s Main Street has been painted over and will be replaced because it too closely resembled work by a European artist. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council paid $5000 for the mural as part of its graffiti prevention project around Mornington and Hastings. Council representatives and the commissioning artist Adrian Boyle unveiled the mural on 20 December, but the council was later told that Portrait of a Local Fisherman was too similar to a street mural in Switzerland. That information led to the mural being covered up and later painted over. The council’s community activation manager, Natasha…

THE COVID crisis is escalating on the Mornington Peninsula as the population swells over summer and the health system buckles under enormous strain. Staff shortages at Peninsula Health and rising COVID-19 cases in Frankston and on the peninsula threatens to cripple the health system, with health workers struggling to keep up with demand and reports that up to 40 per cent of nurses have resigned. There are reports from staff that ambulances are being forced to divert patients away from Frankston Hospital and some are having to “ramp” for long periods while they wait for confirmation of where patients can…

DESPITE his modesty and unassuming demeanour, Mornington Peninsula-based swimmer Chris Yencken is something of a legend in swim circles. At 66 and boasting a level of fitness many men half his age would envy, the retired banker is gearing up for his 36th Portsea Swim Classic, an event he has participated in every year since its inception in the 1980s. Yencken first took to the sport of swimming at three, when his mum enrolled him in swimming lessons at Sorrento baths. He has barely spent one day out of the water since and is now a regular competitor at swim…

THE unexpected death of one of Mount Eliza’s most loved residents, Percy the peacock, has elicited an outpouring of grief from residents who knew and loved him. Expressions of sadness and anecdotes about Percy, right, and his local travels flooded local Facebook pages this week as news spread that he was found on Thursday (16 December) with injuries so severe he had to be euthanised by a vet on the following Monday. It is believed he was hit by a car and sought sanctuary in long grass until found by residents concerned that he had not been seen for four…

IT’S been a life punctuated by parental and societal abandonment, cruelty and betrayal, near-death experiences and fragmented relationships, yet Mornington’s Klaas Kalma’s glass remains “half full”. Surprisingly, none of the obstacles have stopped the feisty survivor from living life to the full, and now, at 77, Kalma gives readers another glimpse into his fascinating life story in his second novel, Distant Echoes. Part auto-biographical, part fiction, the book follows on from his 2011 novel, Creeping Shadows, to tell more of the life story of Jobe, a likeable larrikin born in war-torn Holland at the start of WWII, who then faces…

THE Frankston-based Peninsula Community Legal Centre has welcomed the support of high-profile domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty in the fight to stop funding cuts that could cripple the service and the community. The legal service has helped thousands of low-income clients to access free legal advice and representation every year since opening 40 years ago, with the majority of clients seeking help with family law and domestic violence-related matters. The centre’s chief executive officer Jackie Galloway said domestic violence was a “scourge” on the Frankston community, and free legal help for those affected was essential to keep them safe, housed…

MORNINGTON Peninsula horticulturalist Lisa Brassington knows that crops and ducks sometimes don’t mix, but the crafty inventor has come up with a simple solution to the problem that leaves both unharmed. Ms Brassington, who works at Peninsula Fresh Organics in Baxter, has spent the past three years watching ducks shift from foraging for insects to organic leafy green produce as they take advantage of what she calls “the best buffet in Baxter”. Wanting a solution that would save crops without hurting the ducks, she combined her education in rural planning and physics with her love of farming to come up…

THIS year’s six-week team challenge at Mt Eliza Bowls Club attracted 26 teams, up from 10 when the competition began last year. Coordinator Gordon Sanders said residents had embraced the idea of competing in 45-minute games, which allowed friends and families to enjoy the social and competitive side of the game, even with little former experience. He said the club had recently installed two synthetic greens with lights, and started the challenge to recruit players and make the most of the warmer days and evenings while they lasted. “We got 26 teams this year, which meant more than 100 non-bowlers…

HOMEOWNERS in Mt Eliza’s prestigious Ranelagh Estate have defended their rights to embrace modern architecture in the wake of claims that new developments are changing the character of the 1920s “garden estate”. Their claims come in the wake of protests from a group opposed to what it calls “inappropriate” development. The Ranelagh Residents Association and several other property owners have appealed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) against a planning application for a two-storey house in Rendlesham Av. The association, led by architect Victoria Grounds, is trying to retain what it says is the estate’s unique neighbourhood character.…

PRESSURE is mounting to stop demolition of the iconic building that once housed Manyung Gallery in Mt Eliza. More than 400 people signed a petition in just three days to prevent the loss of the building. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has approved plans to turn the Nepean Highway site into a childcare centre, but demolition orders were put on hold until 31 March after the owner of  neighbouring Licciardo’s Bar and Grill, Rob Licciardo, took the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Archaeologist and Mt Eliza resident, Peter Jupp, who organised the petition, said the building should be…

LAST year’s protests which forced Mornington Peninsula Shire to scrap its plans for a concrete footpath in Somers has prompted talk of a new community supergroup to represent residents in the seaside township. While the Somers Village Community Association (SVCA)  had a minor win at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last year when the council’s case was rejected, the battle is not over, as council prepares to pursue another footpath scheme. Somers Residents Association (SRA) president Gerry Lewis, whose group supported the council’s proposal to build the concrete paths, said residents needed to “work together”. Plans to build a…

NOT too many 15-year-old girls would voluntarily shave off their hair, but for Rye teenager Jemma Tolson, the loss of her enviable long tresses is a small price to pay to help others. The year 10 Rosebud Secondary College student is raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave and will say goodbye to her mane on Thursday in front of the entire school. Jemma’s grandfather died of leukaemia two years ago, but the idea to be brave and shave was a seed planted long before that. “I have thought about it for years as a good way to…

RYE residents are being asked to help shape the future of the community and have a say on what happens to 7.2 hectares of vacant land in French St. A group of residents have set up a campaign website called the French St Project to encourage Mornington Peninsula Shire to keep the land for community use. The council has indicated initial support for reserving the land – zoned public open space – and has opened up the issue for comment with an online survey asking for suggestions. Campaigner Heidi Duell said a community meeting organised by the French St Project…

FOR Mt Martha resident, father of three and Melbourne firefighter Rob Newton, the path to becoming an author was anything but conventional. It started innocently a few years ago with a series of funny, lively and “embellished” letters about his life to his brother Chris, in Sweden. It soon spiralled into a whole lot more, as Chris and his friends became intrigued with the crazy made-up tales Rob was spinning and egged him on to send monthly “instalments”. “I was never very good at writing letters, so I just started making things up and the stories just grew and grew,”…

FOR Mt Martha residents Tony and Leeanne O’Connor, the Mornington Peninsula’s natural environment and abundance of wildlife are the jewels in its crown. The O’Connors have rejected the lure of the development dollar and the temptation to keep up with the Jones’s to create a sustainable lifestyle and wildlife haven on their five-acre property. Since buying their bare block 17 years ago, the O’Connors have transformed it into a sustainable habitat, complete with a wetland, vegetable and fruit gardens, and nature corridors. With limited funds and a passion for sustainability and recycling, Tony built his own mud-brick, solar-passive house using…

RESIDENTS of a historically-significant “garden” suburb in Mt Eliza have launched a legal challenge to protect the character of the estate amid fears protection overlays are being watered down. The Ranelagh Residents Association has lodged an appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative and Tribunal over a planning application for a multi-storey house in Rendlesham Av. Houses in the tightly-held bayside Ranelagh Estate, a 1920s, 800-lot residential subdivision designed as a “seaside garden estate” by American landscape architect Walter Burley Griffin, are subject to covenants that allow one dwelling on each allotment to retain the neighbourhood character and prevent over-development.…

RED Hill artist Michael Leeworthy can’t find the time to volunteer at his local op shop so, instead, he’s donating proceeds from his next exhibition. Leeworthy will give 25 per cent of the takings from an exhibition on 18 and 19 March to the Red Hill op shop, which distributes the money to several Mornington Peninsula charities, including the Peninsula Home Hospice and CFAs. A member of the Art Red Hill committee for 20 years, Leeworthy is well known for his passion for contributing to the community. The multi-talented artist wears many hats, having started the successful all-male Men’s Book…

A FRANKSTON-based legal service that has helped thousands of low-income clients to access free legal advice and representation will be forced to turn away clients when the federal government cuts funding by 30 percent in July. Peninsula Community Legal Centre has provided legal advice to 7966 cash-strapped or vulnerable clients since opening 40 years ago, but now fears for its future and is pleading for the government to reverse its decision and restore the funding. The government has faced fierce opposition from legal centres around the country since it announced last year it would slash funding by millions from 1…

AN EXPERT panel of health and welfare professionals, including world-leading psychiatrist Professor Patrick McGorry, will head a public forum in Mornington to tackle the high rate of mental health issues in young people in the region. The forum is being run by Peninsula Voice, a not-for-profit group of community bodies, and will provide practical information on how to discuss and deal with mental health in young people and where help can be found on the peninsula. Speakers will include former Australian of the Year and world-leading researcher in early psychosis and youth mental health, Professor McGorry, psychologist Dr Diane McGreal, and…

MORNINGTON’S The Bays Hospital is the first Victorian centre and only the second in Australia to use advanced technology that is helping to revolutionise shoulder replacement surgery. Orthopaedic surgeon James Chiu carried out the first surgery on Capel Sound resident Pam Chitty on Friday using the technology, after leading the push to bring the groundbreaking GPS navigational computer system to Mornington. Mrs Chitty had surgery in 1980 when she first injured her rotator cuff, but deterioration meant full replacement was the only option when even hanging out the clothes became unbearable. Mr Chiu said patients like Mrs Chitty now had…

DOMESTIC and stray cats are running amok all over the Mornington Peninsula as many cat-owners ignore the cat curfew. Environmentalists and wildlife carers have called on Mornington Peninsula Shire to enforce its cat curfew to stop increasing numbers of cats from killing wildlife and causing a nuisance to residents. One Hastings property is being inundated with cats every night after a nearby vacant block was cleared of old cars and sheds. Renate Luhn said she complained to the shire and was told by one officer not to feed them and they would “go away”. The shire adopted a 24-hour cat…

ROSEBUD resident Nigel Edwards is “passionate” about helping people and his record of more than 76 years working in public service is proof enough. The 91-year-old JP, civil celebrant, bowls player, senior citizens register volunteer, Rye cemetery trust chair and Rosebud Probus Club committee member recently decided to “pull back” from his commitments on advice from his doctor, retiring from 10 years as document signing at the Rosebud police station. Mr Edwards was recently honoured by Victoria Police area commander Brett Coloe for his “character, humour and knowledge” and his invaluable service to the police and community, But while his…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire council is refusing to respond to concerns that a private jetty being rebuilt at Sullivan Bay, Sorrento, has contravened a planning permit requirement to build “like for like”. As reported in The News last week, (“Anger over ‘new’ pier’s beach block”) residents are upset that the large, privately-owned structure blocks public access to the beach at high tide, despite it being part of a recently upgraded historical walk from Blairgowrie to Sorrento, heavily promoted by the council’s tourism department. Despite several requests from The News, and a request directly from Parks Victoria to clarify the issue for…

AS Coolart Homestead’s first artist in residence, Somers artist Timothy Growcott feels so privileged to work in the grounds of the magnificent 19-century mansion that he gets into character, literally. “I occasionally dress in a period costume, especially if I am doing art demonstrations, because it’s such an incredible building and I like being part of the history,” he said. Since February, Growcott has used a studio at the back of the estate as a creative space several days a week, producing a range of artistic works and occasionally holding screen printing demonstrations. Growcott said the 87.5 ha estate provided…