Mills Beach Carpark Planning Application


Attention Colin Charman, Statutory Planning Team
Mornington Peninsula Shire PB 1000 Rosebud 3939

Reasons for Objection:
1. Maps: The maps provided, especially Plan 5.1 Vegetation location, were unreadable. Even when we used electronic ones from the Shire’s web page, and zoomed the figures, they were unreadable. This particularly affected the review of the Application by those residents and walkers using Mills Beach – the very ones who will be most affected and who wish to make submissions. However, we did acquire a large copy of this map through the Coastal Planner in Mornington.
2. The pages were not numbered by Transfield Services PL, which makes referrals more difficult.
3. Layout plan for car park: Before we can even consider the vegetation and the proposed removal of some trees, we still have major concerns over the layout of the Car park area. Various people have approached the Shire and the Applicant, Chathura Gamage, about
a. The lack of a footpath down the main drive way, thus putting pedestrians in considerable risk from cars entering and leaving the car park.
b. The siting of the BBQ so close to the top of the ramp leading down to the beach. We have objected to this siting numerous times, as it will put users (especially children running back and forth at the BBQ site) at considerable risk of being run over by vehicles using the boat ramp (e.g. the rubbish truck, the beach cleaning machine, the Shire cleaner van, the racks of boats for Mornington Life Saving Club and emergency services vehicles.) The siting of this BBQ would then require the removal of two mature banksias, the very ones which are flowering and producing cones and providing habitat for wrens and other birds.
c. We have requested numerous times the siting of the BBQ to be further along the front in front of site 2 on Plan 5.1 where there are no trees, and only a low cover of pigface and weeds. This provides views of the beach and the Tanti Creek and is still close to the access for Mills Beach. The existing BBQs are well out of the way in the grassed and log-fenced area and these are to be moved eventually to provide more car parking. So users have got used to them not being close to the beach anyway. Siting near Site 2 will provide an attractive alternative. This site should there NOT be at the top of the ramp.
d. The proposed footpath from Esplanade shown on Map 5.2 Works Plan. This would be steep, and go straight through planted and restored vegetation on the banks of Tanti Creek. These works were undertaken by Friends of Mills Beach and Friends of Tanti Creek over a 6 year period, and the project has been awarded the National Trust Prize 2012 for best restoration of a heritage place. It should therefore be preserved. The siting of the path way puts pedestrians into one end of the car park very close to the major banksia tree P005969, which is to be preserved (despite losing several large branches over summer of 2014-15) and straight into the way of cars parking.
4. Removal of vegetation around Car park:
a) All of this area and the foreshore has been replanted and restored by Friends Groups working with contractors and numerous volunteers. It is of concern to us that the arborist states and implies (Section 6 Discussion 6.1)that if a banksia tree is under 5 m in height and a ‘ planted species’ , it is not worth retaining. These are the very ones that HAVE to be retained: these planted banksias (B. integrefolia) have been placed deliberately close to mature banksias. The mature banksias have not been producing seedlings for at least a decade (possibly except for trees number MB000012 and 11) (probably due to weedy undergrowth and non-viable cones). We have located and nurtured only two self-sown seedlings under these mature trees. All the immature banksias have been planted by Friends.
b) We therefore feel we have particular interests in the vegetation and the foreshore, and regard any removal of indigenous trees and understorey plantings with disfavour.
c) There are no areas of ‘planted garden bed vegetation ‘(Section 3 Table 4.1 Vegetation Groups). All the Allocasuarina verticillata are native to this area. We have also planted many in this area.
d) We do not need a ‘water garden’ as shown on the main map on the edge of Tanti Creek and surrounding notice board relating to Tanti Creek. This was objected to 3 years ago, yet remains on the plans.

5. Reasons for Objection:
i. Where is the offset area to be? PPCMA covers a very large area across Gippsland and the offset area must be banksia woodland and similar EVC to that at Mills Beach. We would like to see the offset area local.
ii. Ti-tree PO15487 in the estuary car park is a large specimen; if it is removed to ground level, it will merely regrow. It also holds up the estuary bank – and has some replanting above it on the slope. We don’t see the need to remove this tree especially as this car park is not to be re-developed until financial year 2016-17.
iii. If the arborist had done her research properly, she would have known that under 6. Discussion 6.1 Existing: All the immature specimens have been planted by us.
iv. Where is Site 1? Not marked on Plan5.1. From the description of the vegetation to be removed (Acacia, Boobialla and Rhagodia and Tetragonia), we assume it is close to the ramp. ALL of these were planted by our Friends. Much of the area was woody-weeded under a Coastcare grant then mulched and planted. The loss of this undergrowth storey will have to be replaced if the general attractiveness and character of the foreshore is to be maintained. This ‘remnant’ vegetation is integral to the character of Mills Beach, whereas increasing car parking will merely add to dangers of children walking behind more cars!
v. The area’s biodiversity will be challenged and reduced by removing indigenous vegetation – whether tree, immature specimen or understorey.
vi. The drip zones and root zones of all of the mature and immature trees should be protected – either by understorey plants or fencing to keep compression at a minimum.

We seek assurances from the Shire that this will be undertaken.

vii. Comments on individual Trees reviewed and numbered on 5.1
Lone B. marginata PO16987
This is the only mature B.marginata on the immediate foreshore. We have planted 4 more in behind some boatsheds and these are still only 1.5-2 m high. These are trial trees to see if the dieback affecting many other Banksia species can be avoided. This banksia is a key tree on the foreshore as it stands next to the public toilets and provides some shade to the surrounding area. It produces flowers and cones, though, due to its location, no viable seedlings have been found over the past 5 years. It needs root protection and protection from any infrastructure building near the Clubhouse. It should NOT be removed.
P 005969 Banksia integrefolia stands alone in a grassed area with a nest box (occupied last spring) on its truck. It is the largest banksia on the foreshore, though over summer, two large branches fell off and remain lying on the ground. This tree should NOT be removed and needs root protection. If the proposed footpath down the hill goes ahead, it could be affected and must be protected at all costs. It should not have cars parked near its root zone.
P…983 is a banksia on the edge of the ramp leading onto Mills Beach. It is a key landscape tree and is visible all along the foreshore. It should be retained if at all possible. It should not be removed merely to put the BBQ at the top of the ramp (see above – the BBQ as shown on the map is poorly located and is against all the recommendations of residents, the local environment group (MEA) and Mornington Foreshore Advisory Group).
P…982 Banksia should also be retained though it is not in such good condition. Again, if the BBQ is re-sited to the area further along, this tree should remain as it provides shade to cars and, with 983, sits in an area well covered with understorey plants.
P…981 Banksia adjacent to this in fair condition and down for removal because of the BBQ siting. It should be retained.
P… 980 Banksia down for removal on edge of pathway to Tanti Creek estuary area: again, this needs retaining as it produces a lot of cones and flowers, and is frequently used by wrens and other small woodland birds.
P…979 Another banksia down for removal – again, this needs retention as a mature specimen on the edge of the path. We see no reason why this tree should be removed.
P…974 Sheoak (Allocasuarina) on opposite corner. This is a remnant Allocasuarina and should be retained, NOT removed. Again it provides shade and valuable seed nuts and we see no reason for its proposed removal.
P…978 Banksia is supposed to be removed to ground level, yet it is another mature specimen producing viable seeds (and has produced a couple of seedlings in the past 5 years). We see no reason why it should be removed – the car spaces shown next to it are longer – yet no reason for this is given nor any reason why the tree should be removed.
P…875 Another banksia RETAIN on the creek edge.
P…876 Banksia – should be retained; both these mature trees bear cones, and shelter our new plantings of banksias and understorey plants in this area. Both are well used by woodland birds. There appears to be no reason why they should be removed.
010, 011 and 012 Banksias along the creek; should all be retained not removed. All their roots should be protected. They are all surrounded by indigenous plantings of our working bees.
487: Ti-tree across in the estuary car park. We see no reason why this should be removed as noted earlier: this mature tree holds up the bank, provides shade and will also re-sprout if cut to ground level. This car park is not due for change until 2016-17 at least, so we fail to see why this mature tree should be removed.
1. We see no reason why any of the 5 trees for removal should be removed. We appreciate that other trees have been reviewed for this Permit.
2. We see no reason why understorey shrubs should be removed or regarded as something easy to re-grow – these are difficult sites with salt spray and salt air constant threats. In addition, all are sited in areas very well used by public and well known.
3. Volunteers who have planted the immature banksias and understorey plants have worked very hard over the past 6 years in this area. We also use the carpark and ramp to access the beach, and park our cars under or near the trees. We don’t want to lose our plants, nor the character of this area. If the ramp is designed properly, and trees protected, then access to the Mills Beach can be protected.
4. Many of these comments were made in 2012 when we again provided comments to the draft plan. It appears little notice has been taken of local users’ remarks.
5. Of most concern is the removal of trees merely to accommodate the re-sited BBQ onto the top of the ramp (Refer to 3 c above). This is an unsuitable site for the BBQ and it should be sited further south (i.e. back towards Red Bluff and Mornington), in the available space which has no trees and just an understorey of pigface. It provides a lovely view, is out of the way, and will not pose safety issues.
6. How will the Application affect MEA and me?
a. Clearing of the vegetation does not add to the biodiversity or character of this valuable Precinct.
b. It will not add markedly to the number of car parks in the car park areas.
c. It will put children and others at risk if the BBQ is re-sited at the top of the ramp. The ramp is a difficult enough turning circle anyway and the proposed plan will make this worse.
d. The best place is further along the carpark where there are no trees and pigface is the dominant vegetation.
e. The restoration and rehabilitation of the vegetation in this area (especially of Banksias and she-oaks, and understorey plants) has been done over 7 years by volunteers using public grants and Shire assistance with contractors. We do not wish to see our work destroyed at the very time the Shire is attempting to encourage volunteer work. I would add that many of the working bee members are seniors (oldest being 84) and we give up hours of our time to work to maintain this area.
We object to this Permit Application and trust that the Planner and Shire will consider our remarks and act upon them.
Jan Oliver, President
Mornington Environment Association and local resident.
3/12 Macdonald Grove, Mornington 3931
Tel 03 59770131