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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…

LABOR’S spokesperson on climate change and energy Chris Bowen says the Prime Minister Scott Morrison should assure next month’s United Nations’ COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow that his government will legislate “a 2050 net zero emissions target and a more ambitious target for 2030”. “Anything less would be a cop out at COP,” Mr Bowen said. Mr Bowen was speaking to an online audience of more than 60 people from the peninsula on Thursday 14 October at an event organised by the Mornington Peninsula Labor Environmental Action Network (MPLEAN). Surbhi Snowball, Labor candidate for Flinders held for the past…

PARKING permits will be issued to residents in streets near The Pillars cliff jumping site at Mount Martha. The move is hoped to lessen the problems caused by the thousands of mainly young people drawn to The Pillars over summer. Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors made the decision last week following a survey that found most residents preferred permits over a complete ban on parking in their streets. Parking officers will still make regular patrols to book illegally parked cars and residents will be asked for feedback on the November to March permit trail. Although the survey showed residents wanted permits,…

THE partially-built Peninsula Trail has so many community benefits that Mornington Peninsula Shire is pushing the state and federal governments to deliver $50 million for its completion. This would include $20 million for phase 1 (2022-26) on top of $2m already secured from the federal government for the Somerville to Baxter section. The completion of the 100km trail – described as “transformational” by the shire – has also received the official endorsement of all eight peninsula Rotary clubs with Rotarians working on projects to enhance the trail, such as rest stops. The government money would fill “significant gaps at strategic…

CHANGES to the Mornington Peninsula Shire Planning Scheme under the proposed C219morn amendment could impact the size and scope of house extensions and unit developments. If adopted, the amendment could trigger a drop in property values as the building footprint on new homes and extensions will be reduced as setbacks from side and rear boundaries are increased. Community consultation for the planning scheme amendment closes 5pm, Friday 29 October. Submissions must be lodged by the closing date. The shire says the amendment will “ensure housing occurs in appropriate locations and respects the special values and character” of the peninsula which…

A SELECT group of councillors were given the opportunity to discuss amendments to rules under which Mornington Peninsula Shire operates at least 12 days before they became a last minute addition to the council agenda on Tuesday 24 August. Six councillors knew about the amendments which were not revealed to their five council colleagues until well after the public online meeting had started. Although the changes had been the subject of a series of emails going back at least 11 days, they were not raised at the pre-meeting councillor briefing. The five councillors were not informed of the amendments proposed…

THE proposed killing of a large mob of kangaroos at a Cape Schanck property may have been averted after a “holistic solution” between the property manager and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council was thrashed out last week. The manager, who asked not to be named, said he had met with Mornington Peninsula Shire CEO John Baker at the Patterson Road property and they had agreed on a one or two month moratorium on the cull. Mr Baker told councillors at last week’s meeting there was an “undertaking on the table to suspend the culling for up to eight weeks while alternative…

POLICE have been given details of a jet-ski rider using a mobile to record chasing down a dolphin in the bay off Mornington. Unknown to the jet-ski rider one of the Dolphin Research Institute’s dolphin watchers was watching from the cliffs off the Esplanade near the Royal Hotel. The volunteer took photos of the jet-ski both in the water and later when it was loaded on a trailer at the Fishermans Beach boat ramp. The incident happened about 5.15pm on Tuesday 28 September. Regulations stipulate that jet-skis must stay at least 300 metres away from dolphins. The DRI volunteer said…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Beach Box Association, which lost a Supreme Court challenge against Mornington Peninsula Shire, now wants the shire to pay its own legal bills. The action taken by the association is understood to have cost each side at least $80,000, an amount that is believed to be being sought by the shire from the association. The shire will not disclose how much it wants the association to pay. Legal and governance manager Amanda Sapolu said it was “not appropriate to disclose” details about the negotiations” as the issue was “still before the court”. “Councillors have been briefed throughout the…

REPORTS that an early federal election may be under consideration by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has seen the two major parties and two non-aligned groups preparing to campaign. The Liberal and Labor parties have already selected their candidates but two non-aligned groups are yet to announce a candidate. Liberal Greg Hunt, who has held Flinders for a record 20 years, will seek re-election and Surbhi Snowball will stand for Labor. Voices for Mornington Peninsula has yet to announce its choice for an independent candidate but seems certain to join forces with the C200 climate change group led by Simon…

THE manager of a Cape Schanck property preparing to cull upwards of 250 trapped kangaroos blames “passionate, but misguided and ill-informed animal activists” for their fate. “If they had left our fencing alone, these kangaroos would be happily living their lives in the park,” said the manager, who did not wish to be named after receiving what he claimed were “death threats” on social media. “I could be happy spending my time farming instead of dealing with the problem that they alone have created through their misguided efforts resulting in the need to cull this regal animal to only be…

WELL-WORN tracks inside the fence are a reminder that kangaroos awaiting their fate on a Cape Schanck property have been trying to find a way out for some time. The wire fence preventing the kangaroos getting back to Greens Bush National Park was recently repaired so that more than 200 are trapped on the 70-hectare property. The anticipated culling of the kangaroos – for which the Department of Environment Lands Water and Planning has issued a permit – has galvanised opposition among wildlife groups and concerned neighbours. Several wildlife groups visited neighbouring properties on Patterson Road last week and received…

THE peninsula’s arts sector has received a boost as it seeks to recover from COVID-19 with the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery being given $300,000 from the federal government. The grant will be used to set up public art events with 15 artists being commissioned by November to create works that “respond to key sites and stories that have shaped the Mornington Peninsula”. “It doesn’t happen every day,” gallery director Danny Lacy said. “This is a great opportunity to present a broad project that displays the whole of the peninsula.” Mr Lacy said the gallery was a major partner in the…

TWO Mornington Peninsula hospitals are preparing for a spike in COVID-19 cases over the next few weeks. Acting on instructions from the state government restrictions were placed on elective surgery from Friday 1 October, and beds were set aside to treat pandemic patients. Ramsay Health Care’s chief nurse and clinical services director Dr Bernadette Eather said elective procedures at the company’s hospitals, including Beleura Private, were being reduced. “As was the case last year when elective surgery was reduced, [we] are ready and willing to assist with the state’s pandemic response.” Dr Eather said Ramsay Health was “not currently treating…

Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman was sexually assaulted in Mornington on 14 September. The 36-year-old woman was pushing a pram along a track beside The Esplanade, near Strachans Road, about 1.37pm. An unknown male approached her and sexually assaulted her. The man then ran off toward Main Street. The man is described as approximately 40-50-years-old, 170-190cm tall with a ruddy complexion. He was wearing a cream baseball cap, blue hooded top, blue t-shirt, black tracksuit pants and runners and appears to have a tattoo on his upper arm. Investigators have released CCTV and images of a man…

A FORMER councillor has questioned the legality of rules under which Mornington Peninsula Shire Council now operates. The Governance Rules adopted by councillors at their 24 August meeting included last minute amendments introduced by Cr Sarah Race. Officers were provided with the amendments just before the meeting, but councillors were not sent a copy of what was proposed and only found out during the meeting when Cr Race introduced her proposed changes. The argument over the legality of the new rules revolves around whether the changes were significant or “one or two minor changes”, as described by in-house lawyer Amanda…

FOLLOWING a well-worn plot, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council appears to have arrived at a compromised, but happy, ending by continuing to run a mobile library service. The service, once back up and running in accord with COVID regulations, will be less frequent and with a smaller vehicle. The mobile library was taken off the road in March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and replaced with a home delivery service. The shire saw an opportunity to review the mobile service and save some money at the same time (“Mobile libraries may be shelved” The News 18/1/21). However, feedback…

WILDLIFE groups are frantically seeking to save a large mob of kangaroos from being slaughtered on a Cape Schanck property. Members of Mornington Peninsula Wildlife Action Group said the kangaroos appeared to be trapped behind wildlife exclusion fencing along all boundaries of the 70-hectare property on Patterson Road. They said up to 200 animals could not escape back to neighbouring Greens Bush wildlife reserve “even if they wanted to”. The group said neighbouring landholders had told them a kangaroo cull took place on the property last year and “their concern is another cull is imminent”. Neighbours had said no other…

The Mornington Peninsula was rocked by a wide ranging earthquake at 9.15am today (22 September 2021). The earthquake’s epicenter was in Mansfield and is reported to have been up to 6.0 on the Richter scale. It was felt through Metropolitan Melbourne, down the peninsula and in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne, with reports of it being felt in Shepparton and Albury. On the peninsula, houses shops and factories shook for approximately 10 seconds. Office buildings in Melbourne’s CBD have been evacuated out of fear of aftershocks. There are reports on Vic Emergency of building damage across metropolitan Melbourne, but currently…

PARKS Victoria says that a scientific study has found that the effect on weedy seadragons by works to demolish part of Flinders pier “would be localised and temporary”. The report commissioned by Parks by environmental marine biology consultants CEE, examined the marine ecosystem at the pier, mapping habitat and marine life, and identifying potential impacts from removing the “unsafe” 180-metres of timber pier. Parks says the report shows removing the timber piles and deck “is unlikely to impact the population of weedy seadragons at a state, regional or local level and that any minor, temporary disturbances can be managed”. Parks…

THE deadline to bring former HMAS Otama submarine ashore has been pushed out to 2 October. Western Port Oberon Association says it has been given a two-week reprieve as it tries to find a way to haul the 1978 submarine out of Western Port and onto land near the Crib Point jetty as part of a marine tourist attraction. Association vice-president Keith Claughton said yesterday (Monday) that consultants were completing plans detailing the work required, timeframes and expected costs of bringing the sub ashore as part of applications for permits from Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Department of Environment Land…

A PROJECT seven years in the making and described as an “excellent example of the council, government and community coming together to deliver state-of-the-art facilities” in Mornington is awaiting state government approval. The Alexandra Park Pavilion redevelopment in Main Street will involve the co-location of allied health and medical suites from The Bays hospital into new buildings also housing existing cricket, football and netball clubs and recreation facilities. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council last week submitted a combined planning scheme amendment and planning permit application to Planning Minister Richard Wynne. “We’re looking forward to a prompt and positive response from the…

THE re-emergence of Matthew Guy as state Opposition Leader saw Mornington MP David Morris lose his position in the shadow cabinet and Eastern Victoria MP Edward O’Donohue bring forward his retirement from parliament. Mr Morris was the Coalition’s spokesperson for local government, housing and aged care and Mr O’Donohue – whose electorate includes Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula – had already signalled that he would not contest next year’s state election. A supporter of former leader Michael O’Brien (“you back your leader”), Mr Morris was one of 11 MPs who voted against the spill that saw Mr Guy appointed Opposition…

THE mental health and wellbeing of community gardeners on the Mornington Peninsula is being tested by the continuous COVID-19 lockdowns. Members of the 17 shire-run community gardens, who may also be socially isolated, like nothing better than to potter around picking vegetables, weeding, composting and pruning – all joys put on hold by the restrictions. Shire officers told members at the start of lockdown that, under state government COVID-19 restrictions, their gardens would be closed until further notice. Some even had their locks changed to stop entry. Several members, who asked not to be named, told The News it was…

HASTINGS has been named Australia’s most sustainable community in this year’s Australian Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Awards. Beginning in 1990 as a way of recognising pride, cohesion and action by members of the community, the awards now focus on sustainability to reflect the growing importance of community-led environmental action. As well as the top award, Hastings also won four of the nine individual categories in the awards held Friday 3 September. The Dame Phyllis Frost Litter Prevention award went to two Hastings entries: The I Sea I Care Marine Ambassador Program and the A Team. Both programs empower young…

A PETITION presented to the Victorian Legislative Council on Tuesday 7 September by Victorian Greens leader Dr Samantha Ratnam aiming to protect eastern grey kangaroos coincided with National Threatened Species Day. Founder of the Peninsula Kangaroos group Craig Thompson said talking about potential local extinctions was “society’s best chance at stopping a species from becoming threatened”. “I know many people will not associate the eastern grey kangaroo with being threatened, but there are a number of points to consider,” Mr Thompson said, adding that all threatened species had one thing in common at one point: they were once common or…

A DROMANA school was last week declared a COVID-19 Tier 1 exposure site and closed for deep cleaning. It is believed a contractor who visited Peninsula Specialist College, in Old White Hill Road, introduced the virus, Wednesday 8 September. The mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said schools – especially special schools – were always at risk: “These are vulnerable kids, and their teachers can’t always wear masks because of the [children’s] disabilities. Hopefully no other cases will erupt.” Other recent Tier 1 sites on the peninsula were BM Hall Kitchens and Cabinets, Progress Street, Mornington and Alpass and Associates in Suffolk…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council has put off making any decision on its preferred role of the Port of Hastings at least until mid-2022. Councillors decided at their 24 August meeting that there was no “legal obligation or urgency” for it to decide about the future use of the port. In doing so, they rejected advice from strategic planning manager Claire Dougall that the shire continue to oppose any dredging in Port Phillip to “accommodate” the state government’s planned container port at Bay West, near Geelong. As part of its existing opposition to the Bay West plan the shire has asked…