Author: Stephen Taylor

A PILOT Climate Change Community Action Grants program is being set up by Mornington Peninsula Shire to help it achieve net zero emissions by 2040. “Reaching that target is a huge challenge and we cannot achieve it alone,” the shire said last week. “We need our community to work with us to foster behaviour change, share knowledge and reduce carbon emissions across the peninsula.” The pilot Climate Change Community Action Grants program will fund not-for-profit community groups, charities, schools, business associations, social enterprises and small businesses working on innovative projects that help the shire reach its climate emergency goals. It offers…

DESPITE being one of the Mornington Peninsula’s premier sporting clubs the Hastings Football Netball Club is doing it tough. The club, formed in 1897 as Hastings Football Club and playing in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League, says it cannot afford to maintain its grounds which are in a “poor state” in wet weather and provide suitable change rooms for all its teams – especially in a COVID-19-affected environment. The club believes it is not being given help by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council because the social club – the Hastings Club – supposedly provides it with income from poker machines.…

A MORNINGTON schoolgirl has been selected to dance in the Australian Ballet’s 2021 production of Harlequinade. Ava del Rosario, 11, and in grade 5 at St Macartens Catholic Primary School, is a junior cast member in the production described as a “lively romp based on commedia dell’arte” written in 1900. “Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but her father, who wants her to marry a rich older man, has her locked up by Pierrot, his loyal servant. Pierrot’s wife, sympathetic to the young couple, helps her escape, and a Good Fairy gives Harlequin a magical slap stick that helps him…

A MORNINGTON Peninsula artist is unique in that no one else in the world has presented with the same genetic sequence. Brodie Alserda, 27, was born with a chromosome deletion disorder which was not diagnosed until she was 19. A genetic screening identified the abnormalities. These screens are maintained in a global database and no one else in the world has presented with the same genetic sequence she has. Now Alserda is holding an exhibition of her work at the invitation of Mount Eliza chiropractor Dr Kim Furness, of Lotus Chiropractic. Dr Furness has been seeing Alserda for 10 years…

A LEAD trainer in community services is creating a pilot program to help fill what she describes as a “huge need for aged care workers on the Mornington Peninsula”. Jane-Ellen Mountford, who has worked in aged care “most of her life”, is hoping to generate interest in the profession at all levels. “We want to raise awareness and generally create a better aged care workforce to support our elderly as they age with dignity and respect,” she said. “This is a big drive for people who can be of all ages and from all walks of life.” Ms Mountford, who…

A SYSTEM to be trialled in up to four residential aged care centres on the Mornington Peninsula and in Frankston will aim to synchronise the care of their residents with other parts of the health system. The goal is to overcome a lack of coordination regarded as a “perennial problem for the aged care sector [as] highlighted during last year’s COVID-19 pandemic when 685 people in [mostly federally-funded] aged care homes died”. Monash University said a $1.9 million grant announced by Health and Aged Care Minister and Flinders MP Greg Hunt would be used to find a digital health solution…

A MULTI-MILLION dollar battery plant at Tyabb will aim to improve electricity grid reliability and network stability across the Mornington Peninsula. Australian renewable energy company Maoneng is behind the battery energy storage system – or BESS – to be built on privately-owned land next to the Tyabb sub-station in Thornells Road. The plant will make money by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods when it is cheaper and storing it in batteries, and then dispatching it back to the grid during peak periods when it can charge a premium. Renewables development director Allison Hawke said this approach to…

A MORNINGTON woman is keen to thank a “complete stranger” for his generosity while she was shopping, Saturday 10 July. Catherine Warters said she was about to pay for a few small items she had bought at Aldi, in Main Street, Mornington, when her payment option – her phone – refused to function. “I have my card loaded on my phone but, for some reason, it did not register,” she said. “I asked the checkout guy to hold my shopping while I went to my car to get my purse and card. “When I was asking for this to happen and…

DOUBTS have been raised that works will not be finished at Hastings boat ramp in time for the September-November snapper season. It appears there are no timelines or work schedules for dredging and pontoon works at ramp which is the busiest on Western Port. The ramp was unavailable last year after rescue works on the collapsed “coffer dam” delayed its opening until late November (“Wall collapse leaves fishers high and dry” The News 22/9/20). The tender for dredging closed 31 March and the tender for the pontoon work closed 19 May. Mornington Peninsula Shire’s infrastructure projects manager Derek Rotter said…

OPPONENTS of development plans on the former Ranch Motel site at Mount Martha are celebrating its refusal by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council last week. The plan, put forward by applicant George Makool, included two three-storey buildings with a 96-place childcare centre and 53 serviced apartments – including five for social housing – on the 5630 square metre property at the corner of Nepean Highway and Bentons Road. The Makool family previously had the Oasis Cafe on the site which closed in 2016 in a dispute over permit requirements. Councillors unanimously supported Cr Anthony Marsh’s motion to knock back the plan…

A CLASH among Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors over climate targets has led to one saying he has been unfairly labelled a “liar”. Cr Steve Holland, who last week failed in his bid to have the council confirm that it would “not abandon natural gas for heating” in the run up to 2040 Climate Emergency Plan deadline, said: “Since the initial vote four weeks ago which progressed plans to phase out gas in new developments, I’ve been accused of lying, playing politics, scaremongering and spreading misinformation for personal gain. “[These] smears, from people who play the man and not the ball,…

ENVIRONMENTAL groups across the Mornington Peninsula are applauding the state government’s ban on releasing helium balloons into the environment. Environment Protection Authority laws introduced last week make it illegal to deliberately release balloons in Victoria, with a fine of almost $1000 for those caught doing so. The laws have been put in place to help protect wildlife and prevent environmental damage. Zoos Victoria conservation campaigner Darcie Carruthers said the balloons “popped eventually and often landed in waterways where they’re eaten by fish or other wildlife”. He said released helium balloons come back to earth as litter and threaten wildlife. “Turtles,…

CAMPERS will be able to savour the delights of a night under the stars at the Old Quarantine Station at Point Nepean from mid-next year. A camp ground is being prepared among the moonah trees as part of the latest phase of the Point Nepean National Park masterplan approved in 2018. (“Plan for Pt Nepean’s future” The News 22/1/18) Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said at the time that the plan was about “better protecting and conserving the Point Nepean National Park – but also making sure visitors can make the most out of this incredible…

TACKLING the Simpson Desert in a Porsche might seem a daunting challenge, but a group mates from Flinders believe the cause makes it all worthwhile. They are hoping to raise $100,000 for research – and, more importantly, greater awareness – of the fight against motor neuron disease. Tom Barr Smith, his son Tom, and five old friends, took off at the crack of a cold Flinders dawn, Saturday 10 July, in the 2003 C4S Porsche knowing it was a mad cap idea but oh so exciting for the 80-year-old Tom Barr Smith and his team of seven. They did…

A WOMAN described as a “national treasure” has celebrated her 100th birthday at Somerville Community House. Marjorie Darling Ward was surrounded by family, friends and the Mornington Peninsula’s writing community to celebrate her birthday, career and contribution to the arts, Saturday 10 July. “Of course, Marjorie is more than just a writer,” Rob Clarke Mornington Peninsula Writers said. “She is, or has been, a wife, a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She’s also been a one-time working partner on three country newspapers, hotelier, Riverina farmer, real estate agent, and so much more beside.” Ms Ward has written fiction, non-fiction, poetry and…

A GOLF driving range has been given the nod at Balnarring despite previously being knocked back by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and opposed by 51 objections and a 300-signature petition. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that the range, in Sandy Point Road, Balnarring, was an appropriate use for the 20-hectare former grazing site. The land is in the green wedge with Balnarring to the west, Balnarring Beach and Merricks Beach to the south-west, and Somers in the south-east. It is surrounded by properties with single dwellings and a variety of agricultural uses, including cattle, sheep and horse breeding,…

THE Flinders ocean-front mansion Horizon fell short of its asking price but still topped records when its sale was announced last week. A family from the United Kingdom paid $23.5 million for the 21,528-square-foot glass and concrete mega-home at the beach end of King Street. This is down from its $30 million asking price but still “far and away” the highest price paid for a Flinders property since Miramar, on 70 acres, sold for $17.5 million in 2017. Peninsula Sotheby’s director Rob Curtain – who sold both properties – said the new owners had “moved in a week after they…

A MOUNT Eliza children’s book illustrator is playing a role in helping children overcome the ordeals they experienced during the East Gippsland region’s terrifying 2019-20 bushfires. The Heroes of Black Summer picture book tells the stories of the “heroes” who helped protect them and, through this, aims to help children process the trauma without suffering stress, anxiety or depression. Karen Erasmus, who has lived in Mount Eliza for 15 years, drew 16 full-page illustrations in the book which was written by Kylie Miller and Craig Sheather and published by Australian Geographic. It was published with a One Good Community Wellbeing…

FLYERS Swimming Club members will be, well, flying after coaching by dual Olympian Samantha Purvis. Purvis, who lives in Mornington, has been appointed primary swim coach at the club, which is based at the Yawa Aquatic Centre, Rosebud. A free community celebration will mark the opening of the aquatic centre, 11am-4pm, Sunday 18 July. Purvis will take up her role full time from this month and will be the point of contact for families living on the peninsula who wish to be involved in squad training and competitive swimming. With more than 25 years coaching experience at a state and…

A SPATE of “mindless vandalism” at Rosebud Heart Soccer Club caused lots of damage but failed to dent members’ spirit of optimism. “What a weekend,” a shocked secretary Lyndsay Richmond said when players and their mums and dads discovered the damage, Sunday 27 June. Equipment and other property at the Truemans Road Recreation Reserve, Capel Sound, was in a shambles. “Unfortunately, this week has been a challenging one for the club. Sadly, we have experienced some mindless vandalism,” Ms Richmond said afterwards. “Our COVID-19 signage has been ripped down and someone with too much time on their hands and a…

THE wonders of the natural world were the focus at Flinders last week when environmentalist Sir David Attenborough stepped in to bat for Victoria’s marine emblem: the weedy sea dragon. The legendary eco-warrior joined members of the Flinders Community Association in their quest to save the threatened 180-metre section of the old timber pier whose demolition, the locals fear, will threaten the endangered creature’s survival (“Heritage pier faces partial demolition” The News 23/3/21). Reportedly more than 15,000 people have signed an online petition urging the state government to repair the Western Port pier’s damaged piles, with the support of a…

THE opening of the long-awaited community shed at Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association last week will provide a space for year round, weather-proof activities for everyone who comes to visit. The new space includes a kitchen, toilet and shower, and a large open area suitable for cultural programs and tours, as well as public events. The shed, which was opened Thursday 1 July, was initially paid for by the now-Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Gandel Philanthropy and Erica Foundation, Mornington Peninsula Shire and public donations. The Aboriginal Gathering Place in Pound Road, Hastings has grown over the past seven years.…

MORNINGTON and Mount Martha residents are questioning the suitability of a three-storey development set to combine a 96-place childcare centre and 53 serviced apartments – including five for social housing – on the corner of Nepean Highway and Benton’s Road. Neighbours want Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors to reject the application for the 5630 square metre block at 61 Bentons Road following a conference they say “raised more questions than it answered”. Initially proposed as a motel with an attached childcare centre on the site of the former Ranch Motel, the residents said plans to include social housing were only revealed…

THE Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has knocked back Ryman Healthcare’s proposed retirement village at Mt Eliza. The VCAT hearing centred around the New Zealand-based company’s attempts to overturn Mornington Peninsula Shire’s 2020 refusal. On 23 March this year the shire reaffirmed its earlier decision by saying: “The council also affirms the view that the proposal for a large scale residential aged care facility and/or retirement village, on land which is outside the urban growth boundary, is an inappropriate development at odds with the amenity of the surrounding green wedge.” The 82-page VCAT determination, handed down Friday 2 July, confirmed…

THE stricken Otama submarine is likely to be towed closer into the shallows at Crib Point to stop it sinking in deeper water. Port of Hastings tenders were last week working alongside the former HMAS Otama last week to stabilise it before it could be moved. A source close to the vessel’s owner, the Western Port Oberon Association, told The News that Parks Victoria had issued an order for the Otama to be moved by Thursday (8 July). The expectation is that tugs will move the stricken 1500 tonne vessel to just north of the Crib Point jetty, nudging it…

ROGER McMillan Real Estate Dromana is negotiating with “multiple bidders” after Arthurs Hotel atop Arthurs Seat was passed in at auction last week. About 60 people watched as bidding reached $11 million without the hammer coming down on a deal. The property on five titles over 7254 square metres is opposite the Eagle Skylift. The hotel, built in the 1930s and formerly known as Garden of the Moon and then the Mountain Peak Restaurant, is at 790 Arthurs Seat Road. It is on one title of about 3270 square metres with a restaurant, sports bar or wine bar, beer garden,…

THE installation of an illuminated advertising sign out front of the Arcare Aged Care home being built at Balnarring is upsetting nearby residents. The Arcare building, near the corner of Brooksby Square and Balnarring Road, is due to open towards the end of this year. The aged care provider won the VCAT fight to build the 75-bed facility in 2019 despite residents being concerned about tree loss, high traffic flows, noise associated with changes to workers’ shifts, and service and garbage truck vehicles arriving at all hours from the commercial facility running 24 hours a day. (“Parking protest over care…

A BOY’S body was found at the Pillars, Mount Martha, on Saturday morning, 26 June. Sergeant Daniel Patton, of Mornington police, said the circumstances surrounding the 16-year-old’s death were unknown. He said it was unclear whether the Mornington boy was in or out of the water when the tragedy occurred. The Pillars is on the Esplanade between Deakin Drive and Marguerita Avenue. Sources said the road was closed to traffic and a police helicopter was hovering overhead about 10.30am.

TWO cars were stolen from a house at Mount Martha, Saturday 26 June. Sergeant Daniel Patton, of Mornington police, said it was believed a man and a woman entered the house in Bennie Court and took the keys to the Toyota Hilux and Ford sedan just before midnight. The cars, valued at $50,000, were seen on CCTV at Dandenong being refuelled but no descriptions of the man and woman are available. The Toyota has since been recovered undamaged while the Ford was involved in a collision at Avondale Heights. The driver of the other car, a 48-year-old man, was taken…

WELLWISHERS filled Baden Powell Park Scout Hall last month to mark the passing of Mount Eliza resident John Scholes. The dedicated civil engineer and environmentalist was remembered by wife Ann as a “gentle man of measured words, deep-thought and boundless practical skills”. Theirs was a life of family, Scouting, travel and care for the environment – all things dear to Mr Scholes’ heart. The couple met at RMIT in 1968 where he was studying chemical engineering and married at St James the Less Church, Mount Eliza, on the day of Gough Whitlam’s election in 1972. Their wedding breakfast was held…