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BALNARRING’S most contentious manna gum will get the chop after Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors decided that the only way to save it – spending $110,000 on realigning Balnarring Beach Road – was more than they were prepared to pay. Councillors at the 15 November meeting voted 6-5 to support the infrastructure services team’s recommendation to remove the 100-year-old street tree, given its estimated 15-year future life span, the cost of realigning the road to retain it, and a legal requirement to provide suitable clearance to high vehicles, including buses. The team said it had looked at making the road one-way,…

THE new Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Anthony Marsh is almost certainly the first with an aerospace engineering degree and a master’s in business administration. He has been a commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and founder of several businesses – and he is only 34. The first term councillor won the mayoral vote 7:2 against the long-serving Cr Antonella Celi with another first-term councillor, Lisa Dixon, elected as his deputy at the council meeting in the shire’s Mornington chamber, Tuesday 16 November. Such was the new broom that swept through the council in November 2020, that they…

THOUSANDS of tonnes of sand are being spread at Mount Martha Beach North with the knowledge that in time they will be swept away by tides and storm surges. The sand will be in place for summer, providing extra space for beach users and protecting beach boxes. However, it is a foregone conclusion that the sand, and taxpayers’ money used to deliver it, are doomed to disappear. In recent years sand has been poured onto the beach and rocks placed behind beach boxes to prevented further erosion of the cliffs which ultimately threatens the stability of The Esplanade between Alice…

OUTGOING mayor Despi O’Connor’s decision to accept the top job at virtually her first Mornington Peninsula Shire Council meeting came down to wanting to be a role model to those she was teaching, and had taught, as a primary school teacher. “My plan was to continue working and adjust my life to fit in the extra commitment,” she said at last week’s handover of the top job to another first-timer, Cr Anthony Marsh. “I was already used to volunteering 20 hours a week in my community, give or take, on top of full time work. I always managed to make…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire will write to Planning Minister Richard Wynne seeking a review and public consultation into the clothing-optional status of Mount Eliza’s nude beach, Sunnyside North. The council says the review should consider “patterns of visitor behaviour on the beach itself and the surrounding area”. It should be led and resourced by the state government. The council will also write to the opposition planning and heritage spokesperson Ryan Smith to push for the review. Cr Steve Holland seconded by Cr Anthony Marsh moved the notice of motion for the review at the 1 November council meeting. Also included was…

FIRST-TERM councillor Anthony Marsh was elected Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor at last night’s council meeting, Tuesday 16 November. He succeeds another first-term councillor, Despi O’Connor, in the top job. Cr Susan Bissinger nominated Cr Marsh who represents Briars Ward, as does Cr O’Connor. He went on to win the mayoral vote 7:2 against the long-serving Cr Antonella Celi. Cr Marsh said the past 12 months had been “tough” on the shire. “People have felt isolated, businesses are on the brink … we need a balance of strong leadership and compassion.” Cr Marsh said he would seek councillor and community support to…

HASTINGS MP Neale Burgess, pictured, will not recontest the seat of Hastings at the next state election in November. He said after 16 years it was the “right time for me and it’s the right time for my party” to resign, saying he is confident leader Matthew Guy and his team “have the vision, policy ideas and capacity to offer a competitive and credible alternative” at the next poll. His resignation is another shifting of the sands beneath the state Liberal Party which is experiencing multiple internal contests including Mornington where former federal Dunkley MP Chris Crewther is throwing his…

WHILE it seemed the whole neighbourhood turned up to Lisa Rick’s Halloween street party last week not all came with the best intentions. Each year the Mornington resident celebrates her birthday on Halloween, 31 October, by combining the fun and frivolity of Trick or Treat with her own birthday festivities in a massive event. (“Tricks and treats add to party fun” The News 2/11/21). On that Sunday Ms Rick, of Jacana Street, put on a colourful display on her front lawn with the bash even more special as it was also her 50th. It featured an ice cream truck and…

MOUNT Martha Eco Park Active Recreation Hub is a step closer with the detailed design by shire officers approved by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council last week. The works will now go out to tender. A $5000-$10,000 sound impact study to be completed after the hub is built will be brought back to the council so any noise mitigation measures can be added. Community input and feedback last year led to the final concept plan being endorsed by the council in August 2020 after the project had been in the pipeline for a decade. (“Park talks continue after 10 years” The…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has joined 14 other councils in Melbourne’s south east to form a company to deliver an advanced waste facility to process household rubbish rather than bury it. It is all part of the state government’s new circular economy policy – Recycling Victoria: A New Economy whose target is to divert 80 per cent of waste from landfill by 2030, with an interim target of 72 per cent by 2025. The company, a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle called South East Metropolitan Advanced Waste Processing Pty Ltd, has its own legal identity. It will provide advanced waste processing on…

RUBBISH dumping has been a problem on the Mornington Peninsula for years – and especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns. It was exacerbated by the temporary closure of the shire’s transfer stations prompting recalcitrant residents to simply offload their waste in the bush. The shire’s Circular Economy and Waste team Leader Daniel Hinson said mattresses, household furniture and green waste were the major items dumped. Keep Victoria Beautiful Council says councils spent $89 million cleaning up illegal waste in 2019/20, with ratepayers left to foot the hefty bill. Worse, only a handful of dumpers were prosecuted. The KVB said while there…

Police have this afternoon arrested two men following an alleged hit-run collision that occurred in Carrum Downs earlier this week. A 30-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested at a property on Boundary Road in Carrum Downs just after 2pm. He was taken to Frankston Police Station where he will be interviewed by detectives from the Major Collision Investigation Unit in relation to the collision that occurred on Hall Road on Tuesday morning. A second man was arrested after he attended Frankston Police Station just after 3pm. The 25-year-old Carrum Downs man remains in custody and the investigation is…

Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives have released images of two men and a vehicle wanted in relation to a fatal hit-run collision that occurred in Carrum Downs this morning. The driver of a red Holden crashed into a number of road workers on Hall Road near the intersection of Lats Avenue about 7.15am. The man fled on foot and got into a black Hyundai SUV on Rowellyn Avenue a short time after the collision. Sadly a 44-year-old Bayswater man died at the scene. A 38-year-old Traralgon man was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Images of two men, one which…

DECADES of “neglect and lack of forward planning” by the state government have allowed Dromana Pier to deteriorate to such an extent that the end section has now been deemed unsafe and has been fenced-off from the public. The Dromana Association Save the Pier Committee says this was not unexpected but predicted “and it doesn’t make it any less unacceptable”. Built in the 1950s with a designed lifespan of 50 years this structure has exceeded this by nearly two decades, the committee says. “There’s been plenty of time to plan and budget for upgrades and replacement [but] this has not…

EXTINCTION Rebellion activists put on a rowdy display outside Flinders MP and Health Minister Greg Hunt’s office in Somerville Monday 8 November. The group said the show was part of its “ongoing actions around the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow”. It featured passive protesters the Sybil Disobedients, “mothers” pushing prams, climbers on the roof erecting banners, “Scott Morrison” burning the world on a barbecue, banners and signs. “Over the past 18 months, Mr Hunt has assured [us] that he bases his management of COVID-19 on the science, evidence and modelling provided by expert advisors,” XR spokesperson Linda Pickering said. “We,…

Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating following a fatal hit-run in Carrum Downs this morning. Investigators have been told a red Holden was travelling on Hall Road when the driver struck a number of people near the intersection of Lats Avenue about 7.15am. One person, who is yet to be formally identified, sustained fatal injuries and a second person was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene on foot and police, with the assistance of the Air Wing are searching for the offender, perceived to be Caucasian in appearance and aged in…

THE state government last week promised “significant support” to residents affected by severe storms which lashed the Mornington Peninsula, Friday 29 October. Premier Daniel Andrews would not detail the scope of the offer other than to say that those financially affected would be considered for compensation. Residents in the hardest-hit areas, such as Red Hill and Mount Eliza, were fed up after a week without power and feeling especially vulnerable, with big trees weakened by the wind threatening to topple or drop branches at any time. Resident Amanda Wrangles said a tree on her nature strip that had been reported…

MORNINGTON Community Information and Support Centre is in a campaign to lobby the state government to build 7000 houses a year for homeless people over the next 10 years. The campaign: 7000 Origami Houses for 7000 Homes, is being run by Community Information and Support Victoria. To raise awareness of the need for more social and public housing the group has made 7000 origami houses for a display at Mornington Village Shopping Centre that represent the 7000 homes that need to be built every year for the next 10 years. They are asking the state government to commit to building 70,000 homes…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has made a $10 million funding commitment towards the Peninsula Trail project over the next five years. But it wants the state and federal governments to “fill in the missing piece of the funding puzzle” by adding their contribution of $40 million. The 100 kilometre trail is a walking and cycling network linking rail trails and extending right around the peninsula from Baxter-Somerville and across to Merricks-Bittern on its Western Port leg, then across to Arthurs Seat, or on its Port Phillip Bay leg from Moorooduc down past Mornington to Safety Beach, Dromana-Red Hill, Anthonys Nose, Camerons…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire received more than a thousand calls from residents reporting fallen trees after the Friday 29 October storm battering. SES crews, Fire Rescue Victoria, CFA and police met with the shire early last week to piece together a broad picture of the devastation and coordinate a recovery. Fire rescue crews were conducting assessments at properties requiring heavy machinery to remove trees endangering houses, and two CFA strike teams were conducting welfare checks on those considered vulnerable. Residents at about 260 properties requested assistance with building damage. A shire team was contacting them to assess the damage, determine their…

UNITED Energy said its crews were making “steady progress” in restoring power to its remaining 3400 customers – many on the Mornington Peninsula – affected by the Friday 29 October storms. However, the company warned that, while it was expecting to get most of its customers back up by Friday 5 November, there “will still be some customers affected by the single-premise outages who will be off into the weekend”. That would be another frustrating blow for residents hit by more than the loss of electric light over the past week. Many, especially in hillside communities, rely on power to…

RED Hill and Sorrento copped the brunt of the severe storm described by United Energy as the “largest weather event to hit our network” which lashed the Mornington Peninsula last week. Spokesperson Jordan Oliver said the company was working to get power back to 210,000 customers, including many on the peninsula. “We still have around 7300 customers without electricity and our teams are still responding to more than 2300 jobs,” he said on Monday. He said linesmen had been “working around the clock to restore power” since the storm struck, Friday 29 October. “We know how frustrating this is for…

A MOUNT Eliza woman says she will go to court rather than pay a $363 dog-at-large fine because Mornington Peninsula Shire Council will not show her any evidence of her dog being outside. Mannie Hughes said she has repeatedly requested proof of the alleged breach which occurred 5.55pm, 30 May, but the shire was “stubbornly digging in its heels”, telling her to pay the fine or await a court hearing. “I feel this is a total abuse of council power and waste of court time [and] money,” Ms Hughes said. “If the council issues an infringement then the person receiving…

RED Hill was like a war zone after storm-force winds overnight and early morning savaged the hillside community, Friday 29 October. Working frantically to clear away fallen trees and power lines, Sorrento SES controller Mark Daw described the scene as one of “complete and utter destruction”. “I’ve seen nothing like it in seven or eight years,” he said, surveying streets covered in fallen leaves, power lines and branches. “From early morning we’ve been working flat out to clear away the damage and the calls are still coming through. We’ve still got more than 100 jobs to attend to.” It was…

ONCE free of lockdown and allowed out to gather as a group, the Sybil Disobedients wasted no time in arranging a performance to emphasise their belief that Australia needs a “properly articulated” plan to cope with the “climate crisis”. Dressed in their signature hooped dresses, hats and signs, the troupe walked slowly along a section of The Pines beach at Shoreham last Tuesday morning (26 October) before assembling in front of a sign in the sand marked Code Red – Climate Crisis. More specifically, the Sybils were calling for an end to gas exploration in Bass Strait. “We are forced…

IN what is described as a “challenging and rewarding year” Mornington Peninsula Shire saw its annual income increase by 3.5 per cent to $264.4 million. Information contained in the 2020-21 annual report released last week shows the shire had a surplus of $7.6 million – up $2.2 million on the previous year. Most of the increase came from rates, waste services and capital grants. “While income from user fees decreased by $3.7 million as some services were restricted or closed due to lockdowns, total income for the year increased by 3.5 per cent to $264.4 million and $50.8 million was…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has declared a housing crisis to force the state and federal governments to provide more and cheaper accommodation for those in need. The list of people falling into the needy category outlined by Cr Sarah Race included those fleeing domestic violence, long-term renters, hospitality and tourism staff and rough sleepers on the foreshore. Cr Race successfully pushed for the declaration at council’s Thursday 28 October meeting saying similar housing problems also existed in Colac-Otway Shire, Surf Coast Shire and Byron Shire in NSW. “Housing across the peninsula is our number one crisis, from Balnarring to Portsea, Hastings…

DOCTORS have written to the Premier Daniel Andrews and senior ministers warning about the health risks of opening another quarry at Dromana. The 120 doctors say dust could harm children at nearby Red Hill Consolidated School and an early childhood learning centre. Mothers at the school are also concerned about the quarry proposal being put forward by philanthropic trust, The Ross Trust, which owns Hillview Quarries. Hillview runs a smaller quarry on the Arthurs Seat escarpment and in 2018 applied to open a quarry of up to 43 hectares on land between two sections of the Arthurs Seat State Park.…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire’s 782 staff must be double dosed with an approved COVID-19 vaccine or risk losing their jobs, although there is no deadline as their ages put them on different vaccination schedules. Councillors are not included in the Chief Health Officer’s directions and have no specific requirements to be vaccinated “at this stage”. However, only those who are fully vaccinated will be able to enter a shire workplace or community facilities under the Victorian roadmap. Councillors are being asked to provide their vaccine status to the shire’s human resources department, which will pass their details to CEO John Baker…

FEARS have again been raised over the future of 150-year-old blue gums growing along the Pioneer Woodland section of a historic track in Sorrento. Members of the Tuckey Track Friends Group say the “majestic trees” are threatened by the building of a 2.5 metre high paling fence. Mornington Peninsula Shire has confirmed work on the fence was stopped after being inspected by a local laws officer. However, the property owner has applied for a permit which has yet to be assessed by the shire. In 2016, the shire rejected an application for a permit to have them cut down by…