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A man has died following a two-car collision in Somerville this afternoon. It’s believed the driver of a Daihatsu travelling on Western Port Highway has veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided head on with a Mitsubishi just before 2.30pm. The sole occupant of the Daihatsu, a yet to be formally identified man, died at the scene. The sole occupant of the Mitsubishi was not injured but taken to hospital for observation as a precaution. The exact cause of the collision is yet to be determined at this stage. Anyone who witnessed the incident, has dashcam footage…

THE Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning says methods of using 20,000 cubic metres of dredged sand to replenish McCrae beach are designed “to avoid impacting any marine values and coastal vegetation”. “Our marine biodiversity and natural environment team experts have confirmed there are no specific concerns relating to the project with regards to land-based coastal vegetation, the reef, or the plants and animals that inhabit it,” DELWP Port Phillip regional director Stephen Chapple said. However, long time beach users report that marine creatures are being “shredded” by the DELWP’s dredging machines. “Some stingrays miraculously made it through the…

TRADERS in the Rosebud shopping strip are querying the continuing use of parking barricades along Point Nepean Road now that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. “Parklets”, which gave traders the use of car parking spaces, were introduced to provide shops, mainly cafes, with more space in which to operate. But the protecting barricades have not benefitted all businesses, particularly those whose customers prefer to park nearby to make a quick purchase and drive off. Rosebud Flowers says it is facing collapse because of the barricades on Point Nepean Road between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. Previous owner Marlene Knight has had…

SUSAN Bissinger is the replacement councillor for Hugh Fraser in Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Nepean Ward. Ms Bissinger’s appointment follows Tuesday’s (13 April) recount of votes cast in the November 2020 election. Ms Bissinger, pictured, told The News that she was “looking forward to getting things done, or at least having a go at getting them done”. After being sworn in at this Tuesday’s (20 April) council meeting and with several meetings to go before council is scheduled to adopt the 2021/22 budget Ms Bissinger will have several opportunities to make known her preferences on council spending. In her candidate’s statement…

CAT owners on the Mornington Peninsula are being reminded that their pets must always be kept on their properties. Although there is a 24-hour cat curfew set by Mornington Peninsula Shire many owners do not restrain their pets. Like dogs, cats are not allowed to wander unchecked because they pose a real threat to native animals and birds. “High numbers of cats [are] roaming around … doing massive damage to our wildlife, members,” according to members of Mornington Environmental Association. “Cats are catching lizards, birds and other creatures along Tanti Creek and along the Mornington foreshore, as well as in…

DESPITE oversight by government agencies, there are fears that kangaroos could quickly become extinct on the Mornington Peninsula. Landowners and property managers on the peninsula are being issued with licences to shoot kangaroos, but no checks are made to ensure that only the specified numbers are killed. Seven of the 16 kangaroo species found in Victoria 150 years ago are now extinct. Cr David Gill, who was able to persuade his fellow councillors to ask the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)for details about eastern grey kangaroo numbers on the peninsula, says he can remember a time when…

WHILE celebrations continue over state Planning Minister Richard Wynne’s rejection of AGL’s proposed import gas terminal at Crib Point, those opposed to the plan will feel more secure once the decision is also backed by the federal government. Mr Wynne’s decision was based on environmental grounds and to be set in motion must now be endorsed by several state departments and the federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley. “Minister Wynne’s assessment reflects the overwhelming and sustained opposition from a broad alliance of groups including scientists, residents, tourism and fishing businesses, and our clients,” Environmental Justice Australia lawyer Virginia Trescowthick said. “We…

TELSTRA says it has expanded its 5G coverage on the Mornington Peninsula to Shoreham, Red Hill South and parts of Point Leo and Main Ridge. Regional general manager Loretta Willaton customers in those areas with 5G devices “can get faster download speeds and enjoy greater capacity during those busy periods on the mobile network”. Ms Willaton said there were more than 30 5G sites “on-air” across the peninsula, including Portsea, Sorrento and Blairgowrie, up to Safety Beach, Mount Martha and Mornington. While Telstra regularly makes announcements about its expanding 5G coverage, there are continuing complaints about blackspots. Mornington Peninsula Shire…

A man has died and two others were seriously injured following a single-vehicle crash in Tootgarook early this morning.The vehicle was travelling along Point Nepean Road when it veered off the road and struck a brick fence shortly before 2am.The male driver was declared deceased at the scene.His two male passengers were airlifted to hospital in a serious condition.Police will prepare a report for the coroner.For the current provisional lives lost tally please see https://www.police.vic.gov.au/road-safety-0Victoria Police News – 10 April 2021

Mornington Peninsula Crime Investigation Unit detectives are hoping to identify a man who produced a firearm during an attempted armed robbery in Capel Sound on Friday. The incident occurred at a food store on Illaroo Street about 12pm on 2 April. It’s believed an unknown man approached the front counter and produced a dark-coloured firearm that was concealed in his pants. The man pointed the firearm at the staff attendant and made demands for cash. The male victim then triggered an audible alarm and the offender put the firearm back in his pants before fleeing empty handed. The man was…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is about to tackle waste and rubbish on several fronts. It has adopted a carrot and stick approach to recycling, with fines for recycled waste being “contaminated” and offering the chance to win a $100 voucher to households “doing the right thing”. Smoking is also being banned in some reserves and on popular foreshores and beaches, although no penalties will be imposed on anyone defying warning signs. Recycling bins will be randomly checked for non-recyclable materials, with households doing the right thing going into a monthly draw for a $100 voucher. Households with contaminated bins will be…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is inviting comments on its $252 million budget for 2021/22. A state government-imposed rate cap of 1.5% has encouraged the shire to define a four-year rating and revenue “envelope” within which it can “deliver on the council plan, programs and services”. The proposed budget agreed to at council’s Tuesday 30 March meeting will be open for written submissions until Tuesday 29 April. Anyone who wants to speak in support of their submission can do so at council’s 12 May meeting. Submissions may be published on the shire’s website before the meeting, although the shire has cautioned that…

HYDROGEN made from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley is now being liquified at Hastings before being shipped to Japan. The production is an essential part of the hydrogen energy supply chain (HESC) and is described as “a great leap forward for [Australia’s] ambition to be a key player in the emerging global hydrogen economy”. The brown coal-to-hydrogen project’s commercial partners, led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, are being backed by the federal and state governments, who each provided $50 million towards the $500m pilot, as well as the Japanese government. While carbon emissions are being released into the atmosphere during…

THE latest performance protest against AGL’s plans for a gas import terminal at Crib Point was staged on Monday last week (22 March) with a troupe dressed as sybils, or female prophets from ancient Greece. Demonstrating their opposition to the plan now in the hands of the state government, the Sybil Disobedients caught a bus from Bittern to Docklands, Melbourne saying they represented “thousands of concerned ordinary people living on the Mornington Peninsula and Victorian regional towns who want our governments to recognise that we are in a climate emergency”. The 12 Sybils (men and women) acted out a rehearsed…

MORNINGTON police are keen to hear from residents willing to share their property’s CCTV camera footage in the event of a nearby crime. Senior Sergeant Paul Edwards said a strong victim-centric focus on policing meant they could “leverage off the cameras to improve our response, add to our crime prevention options and assist in solving crime on the Mornington Peninsula”. “By working with our community and building sustainable relationships to enhance our ability to solve and prevent crime, we can reduce harm to the community,” Senior Sergeant Edwards said. Residents are being urged to let police know of any CCTV…

A FORMER Christmas tree grower says that the Mornington Peninsula is heading towards a rabbit plague. Ron Reaper, who ran Santa’s Place on the corner of Moorooduc Highway and Bentons Road, Moorooduc, for 18 years, said he “fought rabbits the whole time and never got them under control”. Now he fears rabbits are about to get out of control. “As soon as I cleaned up my place they would come back from other people’s places,” he said. “We were poisoning them all the time but never got on top of them.” Mr Reaper said that when the rabbits ran out…

REAL estate agents are expressing surprise, and joy, at the strength of the property market in Mount Martha. While it seemed mid-2020 that a downturn was on the cards thanks to a COVID-induced melancholy, that feeling was quickly replaced by a rising sense of optimism, and then delight, as buyers came knocking and sales began to exceed expectations. But one of the biggest surprises is the number of buyers moving from Sorrento and Portsea to Mount Martha. The convenience of being 40 minutes or so closer to Melbourne and nightmare-inducing summer traffic flows on the southern peninsula are some of…

ADVERSARIES and adjudicators were on the same path last Tuesday (16 March) as they toured the site of Ryman Healthcare’s proposed retirement village in Mount Eliza. The tour was part of the ongoing hearing by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal as the New Zealand-based company tries to overturn the refusal of its development by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. The Save Reg’s Wedge community group sees itself as fighting a David and Goliath battle against Ryman who, it claims, is using a planning loophole that allows for retirement villages “in conjunction with a place of worship” (“Grassroots bid to block…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council dropped a bombshell last week by walking away from a hearing in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, part of a lead-in to determine what activities can be carried out Peninsula Aero Club’s Tyabb airfield. The unexpected withdrawal opens the shire up to claims for legal expenses by the PAC on top of $32,000 it has already been ordered to pay (“Shire’s $32,000 payout to aero club” The News 23/2/21). The PAC response to the shire move was to immediately declare it had “all required permits to operate” its Tyabb airfield and suggests it could lead…

AN ALLIANCE of environmental, business and philanthropic groups has been formed to stop the Ross Trust opening a new quarry on Arthurs Seat. More than 70 organisations and individuals signed an open letter calling on the trust, which has more than $60 million in assets and investments, to abandon its application. Signatories included businessmen Brian McNamee AO and Australian Davos Connection founder Michael Roux, former Greens leader Bob Brown, Professor Will Steffen of the Climate Council, Professor Jeff Floyd, the immediate past chair of Parks Victoria, and philanthropists Samantha and Charlie Baillieu and Professor Andrew Vizard, chair of the Vizard…

THE RACV is compiling a list of the Mornington Peninsula’s most dangerous roads so it can lobby governments at all levels to make roads safer and look at lowering speed limits to match conditions. The motoring organisation’s online My Country Road survey aims to find out which roads motorists and residents regard as being the most dangerous. A map on the RACV website shows the peninsula peppered with sites of serious and fatal accidents recorded between 2014 and 2018. The red (fatalities) and yellow (serious injury) dots on the peninsula are among the most thickly clustered of any comparable-sized part…

SIX areas on the Mornington Peninsula suffer housing stress 33 per cent higher than the national average. They are Bittern/Crib Point, Dromana/Safety Beach, Hastings, Rosebud and surrounding district, Rye/Tootgarook/St Andrews Beach and Portsea/Sorrento/Blairgowrie. A household under stress is defined as being one that spends more than 30 per cent of its gross income on rent or housing costs. Data from the latest census (2016) shows the peninsula has the sixth highest number of rough sleepers of Victoria’s 79 municipalities. Their plight is compounded by an under-supply of affordable and social housing, particularly one or two-bedroom dwellings, and that there is…

A SEVEN metre long humpback whale found dead on a Mount Martha beach last Thursday (11 March) is unlikely to have died of natural causes. However, the cause of its death may never be known as  authorities were unable to arrange a necropsy, or post mortem examination. To avoid contamination of popular beaches the whale’s carcass was towed to Safety Beach from where it was taken to a tip. “Samples, measurements and photographs taken from the whale before it was removed from the beach will help assess possible causal factors and support scientific research,” Department of Environment, Land, Water and…

THE state government is being urged to hurry up its takeover of managing Mornington Peninsula’s boat launching ramps. It is believed the state of the boat ramps was high on the agenda during a recent meeting between Fishing and Boating Minister Melissa Horne and shire CEO John Baker. In the lead-up to the 2018 election the state government promised to “embark on the biggest reforms to the way that boating infrastructure is managed that Victoria has ever seen [by] fixing boat ramps, abolishing boat ramp parking and launching fees, and reforming boat ramp management in Port Phillip and Western Port”.…

SAVE Reg’s Wedge campaigners have been letterboxing, handing out flyers, and “donating time and money in grassroots, community campaign” to stop the proposed Ryman Healthcare development at Mount Eliza. The volunteers have joined Mornington Peninsula Shire, Mornington MP David Morris, and more than 1000 objectors in the fight to stop the New Zealand company’s bid for a retirement village on the former Ansett Estate in Kunyung Road. The proposal is for a series of three-and-four-storey buildings, 272 apartments, 362 car spaces, 115 nursing beds and a place of worship on more than 23,000 square metres. A major case hearing will…

PREPARATION of a COVID-safe plan was part of the requirements of a permit issued for a two-day music concert held last month at The Briars, Mount Martha. Mornington Peninsula Shire charged promoters $10,000 for the use of the council-owned property and says it only gave the concert the go ahead after an assessment by the state government. Held over the 20-21 February weekend to audiences of 8000 each day, the SummerSalt concert was accused of overcrowding and lack of social distancing on social media. “People bought their tickets and went along … If they were worried about transmission, perhaps it…

HUGH Fraser has resigned from Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. First elected to represent Nepean Ward in 2012, Cr Fraser’s resignation letter – effective 9am today, Tuesday 9 March – cites “irreconcilable points of difference” with shire CEO John Baker. Mr Fraser stresses how much he enjoyed working with other councillors and community represenatives during the two four-year terms 2012-16 and 2016-20. A barrister, Mr Fraser makes no mention of the current council, which includes eight first term councillors. Here is a letter Mr Fraser has sent to “Dear Nepean Ward friends”: “I have decided to resign as councillor. This is…

THE pending sale of the Mornington Village Shopping Centre will “test the market as the first core Victorian neighbourhood shopping centre offering of 2021”. Agent Stonebridge Property Group says the centre has “long been an investor favourite based on recession proof and non-discretionary tenancy profiles, especially in booming areas like Mornington”. The sale price is expected to be around $40 million. It last sold in 2018 for $39 million. The Main Street centre at the corner of Cromwell Street is anchored by Woolworths and Aldi supermarkets as well as The Reject Shop, Pharmasave, medical centre and 14 retailers over 7963…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire councillors are being asked to revoke Governance Rules they adopted last Tuesday (23 February) because some of them appeared not to understand what they were doing. Cr Anthony Marsh decided to try to reverse the decision just hours after councillors had spent 90 minutes debating changes to the Rules. The council meeting at the shire’s Rosebud offices finished at 11.30pm and Cr Marsh, who lives in Mount Martha, emailed his intention to revoke the decision to CEO John Baker at 1.40am Wednesday morning. The email inboxes of his fellow councillors and shire governance manager Amanda Sapolu would…

ANTI-vaccination protesters have abused and hassled police for two days outside the Somerville office of Health Minister and Flinders MP Greg Hunt. Their action came just days after the first vaccinations against coronavirus being administered across Australia. The number of Victorians vaccinated by Sunday was nearing 4000. While urging people to get vaccinated, Mr Hunt has said getting the jab will not be compulsory. On both Friday and Saturday (26 and 27 February) police outnumbered the protesters outside his office by almost two to one. No one was inside as staff had been told to work from home. Police said…