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THE judgement of some Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors has been questioned over their different attitudes to the slaughter of kangaroos and spider crabs. In February, Cr David Gill failed to get any support for his call on the state government to kangaroos being shot on the peninsula until scientific evidence could justify the killing. However, last month Cr Sarah Race was able to get every councillor to agree to sign a letter calling on the government to stop spider crabs being harvested from May to July, during their annual aggregation (“Spider crabs stay on the menu” The News 31/5/21). Two…

A COMBINATION of factors is making it harder for prospective renters on the Mornington Peninsula to find suitable homes to live in long term. Anecdotally, the shortage of medium-and-long-term rentals is being caused by landlords taking advantage of the money to be gained from short-stay rentals, such as AirBNB, where they can make as much over a few weekends as over the long-term, and then have the flexibility of using their property when they choose. Also, as a result of changed habits due to the COVID pandemic, holiday home owners are moving to the peninsula and working from home, while…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council went further down the track towards a zero-carbon future last week by voting to explore only net zero carbon design in shire buildings – meaning new buildings would ideally produce no emissions. Councillors at the 15 June planning services committee meeting moved to join others on the Council for Alliance of Sustainable Built Environment project to “advance environmentally sustainable development planning policies to achieve net zero carbon and climate resilience development”. This means any new buildings should be designed to be highly energy efficient and to not use gas or coal-fired electricity through having a combination…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has begun trialling smoke-free areas at various places this year to reduce butt litter and to encourage people to not smoke in public areas. The areas include the Safety Beach, Mount Eliza and Rye foreshores, the shire offices at Mornington, Hastings and Rosebud, Civic Reserve at Mornington and the Point Leo Foreshore area. The anti-smoking campaign is supported by beach patrol, community groups and Peninsula Health with the aim: “To make the peninsula happier, healthier and smoke free.” Another concern is that as cigarette butts are made of plastics they can take up to 10 years to…

A WOMAN was trapped inside her car overnight after plunging over a cliff off the Esplanade, Flinders last week. The woman, in her 50s, was said to have accidentally driven her Mazda sedan over the edge between Cook and Barker streets and nearly down to the beach, Thursday night, 17 June. She called for help on Friday morning when she was able to find her mobile phone. Five CFA vehicles and SES crews from Sorrento and Hastings rushed to the scene. Crews performed a high-angle rescue to stabilise the car and free the woman who was reportedly in a “reasonable…

Police are investigating a fatal single-vehicle crash in Mornington this afternoon. Emergency services were called to the Nepean Highway to reports a grey SUV crashed into a tree about 1.25pm. The female driver, who is yet to be formally identified, sadly died at the scene. Her male passenger was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries. The exact circumstances surrounding the crash are yet to be determined and investigations are ongoing. Anyone who witnessed the crash or has dashcam footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report via www.crimestoppersvic.com.au Victoria Police News – Saturday,…

NEWLY-elected Mornington Peninsula Shire councillor Susan Bissinger has floated the idea of sea baths as being the ideal solution to restore the eroded Portsea front beach. Cr Bissinger says building sea baths similar to those along the NSW south coast would end the need for costly sandbags. The loss of sand at the once-fabled beach since the 2009 bay dredging is like an open sore and the substitute sandbags – replaced and repaired at a cost so far of $2.5 million – are at best a stop-gap measure that limits cliff erosion but will not restore the sand. Cr Bissinger…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council has been asked to revoke its decision to make Cr Anthony Marsh its delegate to the Bass Park Trust. The near century old trust was established to protect land occupied by Flinders Golf Club from developers. Red Hill Ward councillor David Gill has attended the trust’s meetings for the past four and a half years, but on Tuesday 1 June Cr Marsh put his hand up for the position and was backed by five of his colleagues to make him the council-appointed delegate to the trust. The Bass Park Trust has since accused councillors of having…

DOZENS of trees were knocked down and havoc caused on the roads when south to-south-easterly winds of more than 100kph lashed the Mornington Peninsula overnight Wednesday 9 June. SES and CFA crews worked non-stop to help residents with water and tree damage to their properties and to clear fallen trees. United Energy said by early Thursday morning crews were working to restore power to 8615 homes and businesses after the “extreme weather which caused extensive damage to the electricity network”. “Severe winds, with sustained wind gusts from 11pm to 3am of more than 100kph, have brought down trees and branches…

FRIDAY is the deadline for public comments to be made about Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors beginning their meetings with a prayer or a pledge. Words of a pledge have been spoken since December last year (except for one meeting in February) but the agenda item is listed as The Prayer, even though there is no mention of a god, deity or any other supernatural being considered divine or sacred. The word prayer was retained to describe the pledge following the shire’s in-house lawyer Amanda Sapolu advising that as long as what they were saying was called a prayer, there was…

ALTHOUGH no date has been announced for the next federal election, Steve Anger has already announced he will seek to win Flinders for The New Liberals. Mr Anger, of Rosebud, will need to defeat sitting Liberal MP Greg Hunt, who is the minister for health and aged in the Scott Morrison-led government. Mr Hunt has held Flinders since being elected in 2001 and managed to fend off eight other candidates to win the 2019 election. He now holds the seat with a two candidate preferred majority of 11.28 per cent, 1.37 per cent less than his win in the previous…

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a fatal collision in Moorooduc this morning. It’s understood a Mazda sedan collided head-on with a Ford utility at the intersection of Stumpy Gully and Mornington-Tyabb roads about 5.55am. The front passenger of the utility, a 56-year-old Tyabb man, sadly died at the scene. The driver, an 18-year-old man also from Tyabb, was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The sole occupant of the sedan, a 20-year-old Mornington woman, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Detectives from the Major Collision Investigation Unit are investigating the incident and ask anyone with dashcam footage to…

Householders are being urged to prepare for potential power outages with strong winds expected to hit Melbourne’s south-east and the Mornington Peninsula tonight and into tomorrow. Weather forecasts are predicting wind extreme gusts approaching 100km/h in the United Energy network area, with the worst of the weather expected to hit overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning. United Energy’s Emergency Duty Manager George Tziokas said UE and its partners work year-round to ensure the network is as safe and reliable as possible, but extreme weather can cause blackouts. “Strong winds and extreme weather can knock over trees and blow other debris…

A HASTINGS cafe proprietor was targeted by online trolls last week for simply doing the right thing. Pitstop Cafe’s Jenny Sok, who has run the Frankston-Flinders Road eatery for five years, was trolled on social media after asking a customer to put on a face mask before entering her business one day last week. The customer told her he was not wearing a mask for medical reasons and refused to comply before leaving the shop and posting complaints about the incident on the Reignite Democracy Australia Facebook page. Other anti-maskers followed up with negative reviews and criticised her business for…

AN open amphitheatre, artefacts and art display area, an area for elders, a “welcome and yarning area” and a base for cultural tourism are included in a conceptual plan for Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association’s headquarters at Hastings. The Gathering Place, in Pound Road, is where members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community meet to explore identity and cultural heritage. However, with the Mornington Peninsula regarded as one of the fastest growing Aboriginal areas in Victoria, with a 34 per cent increase, especially in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under 30, more space is needed. Mornington Peninsula…

STUDIES into cliff stability, Aboriginal cultural values and a possible bill of $20 million are in the mix to find a “solution” to deal with problems at The Pillars cliff jumping site at Mount Martha. Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors last week agreed to hire consultants to report by October after undertaking geotechnical survey and speaking to Traditional Owners about cultural values at the site. The report will include an assessment of what could be provided to improve safety at The Pillars, such as a boardwalk and viewing platforms, toilets, paths and signs. The council has also asked the Department of…

THE need to refocus efforts on preventing drowning towards older people has been highlighted by the 2008-2020 Australian Water Safety Strategy study. This comes as the so-called baby boomers continue to make up an increasing proportion of Australia’s population, with the Mornington Peninsula having the second highest proportion of older residents in the state. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health study found that the introduction of pool fencing legislation and associated enforcement had helped reduce drownings, especially among children, as had legislation requiring boaters to wear life jackets. Drownings in Tasmania, South Australia, and New South Wales…

THREE offenders wearing balaclavas pulled a door off its hinges before robbing Crib Point Cellars of $30,000 in cigarettes and alcohol. Somerville detectives said the men used a stolen “small black car” in the 4.30am raid on the Stony Point Road business on Thursday 27 May. Devastated proprietors Danny and Terri Bemelen, who have had the business for seven years, said they had “just stocked up” on cigarettes. “It’s amazing how quickly they go up,” Mr Bemelen said. “One packet can cost $50.” The couple were “completely blown away” by the generosity of customers and well-wishers contributing through a GoFundMe…

THE Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) is unlikely to grant Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s plea to ban the taking of spider crabs from May to July. The council wrote to Fishing and Boating Minister Melissa Horne seeking the spatial ban to protect the crabs during their annual aggregation off Rye and Blairgowrie. Copies of the request were forwarded to Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, as well as peninsula federal and state MPs. Although it was unclear last week whether the authority had received the request, the VFA’s Dallas D’Silva told The News there were “lots of crabs for…

OVER the next six weeks, Mornington Peninsula motorists will see blue and white signs in danger areas highlighting reasons to drive safely, such as: Because we need to protect our wildlife. The signs are part of a campaign by the Transport Accident Commission to curb road trauma and serious accidents. In the past five years, 37 people have died on peninsula roads, with another four deaths so far this year. The peninsula is the second local government area to pilot the TAC program, Drive Safely Because, which highlights local reasons to drive safely and lead to a safer community. The…

ENVIRONMENTAL activist Josie Jones, of Rye, got into more than the spirit of things when she removed 5738 northern Pacific starfish from off McCrae beach last week. “It was a great feeling to remove the pests from Port Phillip,” Ms Jones said after the clean-up, Sunday 23 May. “I worked out that it was nearly a wheelie bin-full and I needed someone to help me push my bin to the kerb.” The northern Pacific seastar (Asterias amurensis) is described at marinepests.gov.au as a large, aggressive predator of native species, including oysters, mussels and scallops. Ms Jones believes the starfish are…

STAFF from Hillview Quarries joined members of the Habitat Restoration Fund to plant 100 trees in Arthurs Seat State Park. The trees planted on land managed by Parks Victoria above the Hillview Community Reserve, Dromana were paid for by a seven-year grant from Hillview to the restoration fund. The Habitat Restoration Fund was started in 2006, “by a group of people who wanted to take a more hands on approach to preserving their local environment”. “The quarry crew offered a combination of enthusiasm, dedication, horticultural skill and area expertise to the job in just two hours, under direction of the…

PUBLIC hearings into Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s proposed 2020/21 budget has exposed a clash of expectations between the shire and a business lobby group. Included in the Committee for Mornington Peninsula’s detailed submission was its gratitude for the shire’s “$50,000 commitment” towards a study into whether the shire should be seen as a region or remain in the Melbourne metropolitan area. However, the money was not included in the draft budget and has left councillors wondering how the committee could have thought they were its “partners” in such an investigation. Cr Steve Holland said he had “not been privy” to…

ABOUT 200 school students, parents and supporters at Mornington joined others across Australia in the first national school strike since COVID-19, Friday 21 May. Meeting at Mornington Park they demanded the federal government stop financing gas and coal projects, and instead invest in clean, renewable energy, secure jobs and “implement First Nations’ solutions to protect Country”. The strike was organised by the School Strike 4 Climate network to push the federal government to protect climate, land and water, and create new jobs by growing Australia’s renewable energy sector and “stop throwing money at gas”. Speakers included year 6 students Adele,…

THE long-awaited landscape strategy and concept plan for the Rye foreshore was approved last week, but not before being changed to make it more acceptable to councillors. Deputy mayor Cr Sarah Race, whose Nepean Ward includes Rye, successfully added that a car park be retained west of the pier and that the rock wall be included in the promenade design to maintain the historical alliance with Napier Street, or its materials be used elsewhere in the redevelopment. Also in her amendments were that all-abilities play equipment be included, with a path connecting the Scout Hall car park and playground; the…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council has withdrawn a $400 fine issued to a dog walker for not having their dog under effective control near cyclists at Hastings. Dog walkers had complained that rangers were policing the local law and pointing to a sign which says dogs must be leashed within five metres of paths used by cyclists. The dog walkers claim it is unreasonable to expect them to be able to control especially big, effervescent and lively dogs in the off-leash park, near the corner Marine Parade and Cool Store Road. Jack-Russell-fox-terrier-cross owner Dee Holicka, of Hastings said people were “furious”…

A “PERFECT storm” of bushfires, industry cutbacks, COVID, people working from home, and government incentives for new home building and renovations have led to a shortage of structural timber affecting the Victorian building industry. The dearth of supply across the Mornington Peninsula has meant many timber yards are finding it hard to source stock for their trade customers. There are concerns the shortage, leading to delays, will generate a “ripple effect” affecting the jobs of electricians, carpenters, joiners and others involved in home building. Adding to the “storm” are rises in global freight charges and strong demand for timber in…

ONLINE gambling is now regarded as a major player in the gambling industry. National advocate The Alliance for Gambling Reform says that statistics show online gambling has risen 80 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic. “The speed of this shift to online gambling is simply breathtaking,” Peninsula Voice chairperson Peter Orton said. “It is uncommon to discernibly notice how local culture can be changed so dramatically, as we are seeing with the rise of digital gambling. “Most people are becoming aware of the sheer number of ads which pervade most sporting media coverage. The advertisements are so seamlessly weaved into…

MOTHER’S Day is not supposed to be disappointing, but that’s how Carmel Cuthbertson of Hastings felt when she discovered her mobility scooter had been stolen overnight, Sunday 9 May. The Pride three-wheeler, which is also Ms Cuthbertson’s pride and joy, is red with grey tyres. It has a basket on the front and carrier bag behind. Husband Ian said the thieves had somehow opened a bike lock on the gate from Elizabeth Street. “We heard the dogs barking late at night but didn’t think anything of it,” he said. “When I went out in the morning I noticed the gate…

A WOMAN with a “wealth of experience in trade, investment, tourism and systems of government, and an authentic passion for the Mornington Peninsula as a local resident” has replaced former federal Liberal cabinet minister Bruce Billson on the Committee for Mornington Peninsula. Zoe McKenzie, who joins the management committee, is principal of Trade and Investment Advisory, a company which advises clients on market expansion into Australia or on current or future free trade agreements. The Committee for Mornington Peninsula describes itself as an “independent, member-based organisation committed to leading and influencing long-term outcomes and contributing to our strategic objectives for…