GUESS WHAT – WE’RE IN!
After the resignation of Hugh Fraser, and a re-count of preferences, Susan Bissinger is now a Councillor for the Mornington Peninsula Shire!
Our aim is to ensure that all new & maintenance works to our infrastructure is constantly improving the look, feel & function of our local areas – whilst conserving & protecting our beautiful natural environment. If you see something here you feel is not appropriate, please let us know & we can chat.
We work with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning), local Community Groups, Committees, various State & Federal Government bodies to address issues.
Join us to get your suggestions heard & keep updated with our projects. Please note there is no obligation to participate & we work for free – our only reward is seeing real and positive change in our local area.
Please note that we have also care for the environment, sending proposals to Council & other bodies for advanced technology for Emission Reduction (for diesel engines) & Waste Management (waste to energy). Over the years other issues addressed have been Community Housing, Mental Health & Homelessness & improving the quality of life for Disabled community members. Please let us know if you have any suggestions in these or other areas
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SORRENTO FORESHORE FROM FERRY TO BATHS RESTAURANT
“Masterplan 1” has been put up on the Council website for public comments. We think it seems to be an expensive, unattractive & inappropriate mismatch of styles & materials & doesn’t address function or respect the history of this particular area. Listed below are the maintenance & upgrades required that we believe would future proof this area & make it more inclusive.
REPLACEMENT FENCE & LARGE INCLUSIVE BOARDWALK AREA BEHIND:
The area that includes the dilapidated timber fence & the area behind it really needs work. This fence could be replaced with a cypress pine or white closed top picket fence. Behind the new fence could be a large boardwalk (38mm wharf decking) area that goes from the Baths Restaurant boundary to the opening in the fence in one direction, & out to where the beach sand erosion is. This boardwalk would be totally inclusive & large enough for everyone to share, with a long seating bench against the fence and perhaps a higher table top bench with areas that wheelchairs could fit under looking out over the bay, also fixed stools at the end closest to the ferry facing the bay.
HALTING FURTHER BEACH EROSION BY INSTALLING LOW SEA WALL:
The erosion issue in this area needs urgent attention, with chunks of grass attached to sand being regularly lost. To stop the erosion there could be a low solid timber sleeper retaining wall (probs only 2-3 sleepers high) which could be incorporated into the front edge of the proposed boardwalk area. Ideally this could be made from reclaimed wharf timber. It could continue the rest of the way either to the end of the fence or to be level with the Rotunda. This wall would allow parents to sit & watch very small children play in the sand & on the edge of the water – apart from walkers, these are the regular users of the sandy part of this beach. The small sea wall would look great, not be too invasive, and will ensure that the erosion is halted. Please note, there is already a small sleeper wall next to the stepped area.
PATH & SEATING:
This path definitley needs immediate work, foot traffic has worn a new path into the grassed section to avoid puddles. The rest of the paths in this area are ok until we can afford something other than exposed aggregate. Unattractive & uncomfortable the undersized boxy seating should be replaced with something with a more organic shape that is definitely not too modern, to offset the harsh squareness of the seawall steps – maybe even just even shaped bench seating with backs.
The existing toilets wouldn’t need to look much different from the outside, just completely gutted & refitted to include only ambulant toilets, the extra room in the ambulant toilet could suffice for changing.
MEDIUM ROCKS AT END OF EXISTING SEA WALL/STEPS:
Medium sized limestone rocks should be placed at the end of the wall to give it a more naturally attractive junction with the sand.
There is also a small garden bed which could be removed altogether by widening the path, or be left to naturally re-grass itself.
SORRENTO FORESHORE UNDER CYPRESS PINES
OVERVIEW OF AREA UNDER CYPRESS PINES:
Wow, what an amazing opportunity to create something magnificent, inclusive & highly functional we have in the area between the Baths restaurant & the new amenities block. Currently a wasteland, it is perfectly set up for a shady relaxing area for everyone to enjoy, just by adding huge boardwalks (made from 38mm thick wharf decking), seating & bench tables. In the shade of the Cypress Pines, the transformation would be not only spectacular, but functional & totally inclusive. These additions would not interfere with any works deemed necessary for the Cypress Pines. Access to this area would be by changing the dodgy steps at the end of Bowen Road to a wide sweeping ramp with handrails & carrying out maintenance work on the nearby bitumen ramp.
DERELICT TOILET BLOCK
The existing derelict toilet block could be re-purposed as a storage facility for beach wheelchairs, mats, umbrellas etc. The addition of a couple of ambulant toilets along with a bench, lockers & kitchen area would be perfect – and wouldn’t be too expensive as services should still be there. With a large Aged Care facility planned for just over the road & another one on Melbourne Road, this area if done right would be well used year round by everyone.
VEGETATION BETWEEN CYPRESS PINES & BEACH:
This is a general depiction of the vegetation on the foreshore between the Cypress Pines & the beach. To optimise this area, some of the taller vegetation in certain areas will have to be swapped for indigenous ground cover.
SORRENTO FORESHORE BOWEN RD TO WEBSTERS CORNER
POTENTIAL CAR PARKING AREA BETWEEN WEBSTERS CORNER (ST PAULS RD) & BOWEN RD:
Currently this area is a bit of a wasteland, the partially grassed, muddy area between Websters Corner (St Pauls Rd) and Bowen Road could be an attractive carparking area – we currently have major issues with not enough parking close to the beach. It could be a really attractive and functional area if planted with significant specimen trees and clever screening where possible. It is close enough to the shopping strip to easily walk, but the Sorrento Shuttle could also be in operation during January.
BITUMEN PATH BETWEEN WEBSTERS CORNER & BOWEN ROAD:
This very popular path has been half resurfaced & needs to be completed for both able bodied and those with mobility issue. Post & Rail is plain embarrassing.
NARROW RESERVE ON SHOULDER BEHIND WIRE FENCE AT ROAD HEIGHT:
The narrow garden be is overgrown and full of dead trees, dead shrubs and dead branches which should be removed and mulched. A section of this area (before the Cypress Pines) would be absolutely ideal for our true indigineous tree – The Moonah (as pictured above). They could be planted enmass with a clean mulched base and really showcase these magnificent trees and there twisting limbs for generations to come (and they can be uplit at night
OUTDATED ROUND POST & RAIL FENCE ON DRIVE INTO SORRENTO
The post and rail on the drive into Sorrento looks a lot like crooked teeth, with different heights, spaces and dangerous bolts hanging out the back. There is no practical reason for the rails, if they were meant to keep the fence straight they are failing. When possible, remove all dated treated pine post and rail fences and replace with 150x150mm square cypress pine bollards spaced to prohibit cars, they dont have to be any closer than that. Materials from the fence could be repurposed for boat racking on the foreshore.
SORRENTO FORESHORE WEBSTERS CORNER PLAYGROUND
WEBSTERS CORNER PLAYGROUND:
In area near neighbors fence, scrape all vegetation and mulch or remove from site. Replace fence as it is falling over, replant with advanced and juvenile Sheoaks enmass and pinebark/mulch – no underplantings. This will give neighbouring house privacy as well as a beautiful backdrop for those using the park. No underplantings will ensure relatively low maintenance, tie in with the playground base and will give children a place to play. We also need historical signage, it makes super interesting reading. The steps to this playground need to be changed into and inclusive ramp, the compacted soil/sand in this area makes wheelchair movement in this area possible. It would also be graeat to have a platform swing for children in wheelchairs.
WEBSTERS CORNER PLAYGROUND CARPARK:
A relatively large part of Websters Corner carpark has a raised grassed area, this could be excavated and levelled to double the carpark in size by scraping the area from near existing bitumen path and building a retaining wall. This space is totally wasted at the moment and extra car spaces are desparately needed.
BEACHES – GENERAL
BOATS, DINGHYS & CATAMARANS ON THE BEACH
With over 100 scattered between the Baths & the SSCBC, it is an issue that takes up a lot of space. We suggested boat racks (which is also in the Coastal Management Plan), boats to be numbered & have a rack with fees payable to the Council. We also suggested racks be installed gratis to the SSCBC for their use. And really, is there ever enough room on the foreshore for catamarans?
BEACH BOAT STORAGE
These are the suggested type of boat racks which are located in Camerons Bight. Boats are numbered & have their designated space, fees would be payable to the Council. We also suggested racks be installed gratis to the SSCBC for their use.
UPDATE: This is in the Coastal Management Plan to be implemented, they are happy with the numbering system & are strongly considering the free racks for SSCBC.
DOROTHY HOUGHTON WALK – BLAIRGOWRIE
After chasing around a bit, we are happy to advise that DELWP will be completing the walk all the way to the beach by the end of Easter 2020. No doubt the thrill seekers & mountaineers may complain.
TO BE COMPLETED MID 2020
UPDATE: This project has now been put into Planning. Please note: a current Councillor is not happy this extension proceeding.
UPDATE 2: the project has now gone to Statutory Planning (concerned with the regulation and management of changes to land use and development) & won’t be completed until 2021.
UPDATE 3: chatted with people on site today, doing a final run through. They are waiting for necessary materials & said that it will be finished prior to Christmas. This is a DELWP project and thankfully the Council is caretaker mode so we shouldn’t have any more Councillor interference.
DOGS & THE BEACH
Due to earlier interaction with the Council, we were asked to provide a list of suggestions to improve & and uncomplicate the current rules for Dogs on both regular beaches and dog beaches.
Results of the complete review should be available 2020, we will be in contact & will keep you updated.
Sure we know where things are, but have you ever been in Camerons Bight & someone asked where the toilets are? Sorrento foreshore is easier but a sign would help. We need practical, simple signage on the beach & along the walk from Sorrento to Blargowrie
PORTSEA SEA BATHS:
Just something to think about, imagine the timeless beauty of natural sea baths at Portsea. The image above is of the ones at Bronte NSW, they look like they could have been built 100 years ago or yesterday. Something like this would overcome the erosion problem & provide a great asset to Portsea & locals who like an icy dip.
WESTERN SISTER RAISED WALKWAY – SORRENTO
We have been pushing a concept to all departments, including the Council, DEWLP, Parks Victoria, State Govt & Federal Government without luck. We proposed a timber walkway that wraps around the Sister & ends in Sullivan Bay – with full wheelchair access from the carpark. Fingers crossed for this one.
UPDATE: We have been advised that this will go to planning this summer. It is still a way off, but positive news that something will be done. It makes it super important that it is done right!
PT NEPEAN ROAD CROSSINGS SORRENTO
Crossing between Rusty’s & the foreshore requires nerves of steel, especially when you have children & a dog! We have requested zebra crossings on Nepean Highway, The Esplanade & a small one over Italico service road. They are to let people know where to cross & drivers to be aware people may be crossing. Vic Roads hasn’t got the budget for it, but our local State Member (Chris Brayne) is putting it to the Minister for Roads – fingers crossed!
UPDATE: It is now with the Victorian Minister for Roads & will be chased up mid 2020.
UPDATE: Apparently our current State Govt. can’t afford the paint & signage for this project.
PATH ON HOTHAM ROAD BETWEEN PORTSEA & SORRENTO
As there are a lot of side roads & houses that feed on to this 80km/hr road, it would benefit a huge amount of residents if a safe pedestrian walkway was made along Hotham Road between Portsea & Sorrento.
UPDATE: We have been advised the Council is all over this with designs for a pedestrian footpath being developed in this financial year, they are also looking to reduce the speed limit.
ST JOHNS WOOD RD BLAIRGOWRIE
Add wide bike lanes to this road, the terrain on both sides of the road is already flat and graded. Currently there is a well made and well used path running the full length of St Johns Wood Rd, the Bike Lanes would complete the project and keep everyone safer.
SAFE PEDESTRIAN/TROLLEY CROSSING AT BACK OF RITCHIES IGA – SORRENTO
There is currently no way to get a trolley or even walk to & from Richies IGA without walking on the road – which is the main entry & exit to the carpark. This is a dangerous situation.
UGLY PLANTINGS STRAIGHT FROM A CHEAP HOUSING ESTATE WE CAN DO BETTER
CURRENT STREET TREES
Behold, the grim & austere Sheoak – planted extensively through the Sorrento Shopping Precinct in the ’80s, along with gaudy, shapeless Bottle Brushes & a few other inappropriate shrubs. Very recently Eucalyptus trees were planted & there are more bottlebrushes planned for the future, this is the final nail in the coffin, ensuring Sorrento will look impoverished & lacking class until they are replaced. We also have at least one completely dead tree & several others with dead limbs.
SUGGESTED STREET TREES
Whilst still the compromise of an Australian Native Tree, the Native Magnolia Luscious is a great street tree at 7-12 metres tall with shiny green leaves. It is Drought & Frost Tolerant. There are also a lot of other beautiful native trees and shrubs that would enhance the street rather than detract from it. We need a whole new planting plan for the shopping precinct, that will ensure maximum impact for minimum dollars.
CANARY ISLAND PALMS
These are not a new concept for Sorrento as they have been scattered through our main street for over a century. Please consider 3x Canary new Island Palms in the median strip to uplift the streetscape – one between Stringers & the Conti, one between Beach Club & the News-agency & one further down. They would balance out & highlight the palms at the Conti & the the 3 Palms restaurant (pictured above when there were 3), also palms at the residence next to Mr Morce & not break the bank. This would give immediate significant visual impact & would highlight the beautiful limestone buildings they accompany.
INTERIM STREET PLANTINGS
Underplant the healthiest and least ugly trees that may have to remain until funds become available to replace them, with lush green strappy leaf plants – maybe constructing simple rectangular planter boxes around the perimeter of the garden bed. We need to avoid our street looking bare for any period of time
SHOPPING PRECINCT PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS
Remove the balance of the daggy, uneven & outdated brown brick paving & change to limestone coloured exposed aggregate to match other areas – or even a contrasting colour to suit. This will eliminate the tripping hazard, brighten up the street and make it feel more beachy.
KERFERD AVENUE SHOPS
Remove Visual and Physical barrier at the intersection of Ocean Beach Road in the form of a telco unit (or whatever that ugly thing is), which creates a feeling of disconnect from Ocean Beach Road, and impedes foot traffic. The unit can be moved or housed underground as is the norm. Plant a couple of lush green trees & perhaps climbers up small columns which should be painted in a sandy colour (or even black – not burgundy). Continue exposed aggregate pathway to link it to Ocean Beach Road.
UPDATE: Assigned Case No with NBNCO. Has now been identified as Telstra, am waiting for reply from them. Will chase up
Unfortunately empty shops a sign of the times, but in a resort town they should be played down. Re-useable large format photographic images of Sorrento could be placed behind the glass shopfront, which can be rolled up for easy installation, removal and storage. Glazed doors left clear to enable a sneak peek inside to those interested – the “for lease” sign should also be on the door. Shopfront glass on empty shops should be cleaned prior to December.
Covid has changed the way we live & we now need more open space for cafes. George St could be closed from Morce Avenue end of Toilet Block to Ocean Beach Road to create a Town Square, with seating, tables, umbrellas & pedestrian only access. This will give traders much needed outdoor space for takeaway dining. With three clearly marked pedestrian crossings within metres of this road, it is very difficult to get into or out of George St without holding up traffic for kms. It will also stop people trying to enter Ocean Beach Rd from George St which is hazardous at best. In addition, by extending the median strip, it would create a lot of additional car spaces in Ocean Beach Road
CLASSIC BOLLARDS INSTEAD OF OVERSIZED, CHUNKY & DATED BOLLARDS
Clearly the message just isn’t getting through, SORRENTO IS CLASSICALLY BEAUTIFUL, please stop trying to modernise her for the sake of it. Classic Bollards like those pictured above would have been perfect & would still look great years from now. The recently installed bollards in Ocean Beach Rd Shopping Area already look dated and it will only worsen – did I mention that they were also ridiculously expensive & there are serious cracks in quite a few?
WEEDS OR MORE VERY UNATTRACTIVE PLANTINGS
These unfortunate, sad looking, messy plants have been purposely planted – we’re just not sure to what end.
OCEAN BEACH RD & MELBOURNE RD ROUNDABOUT.
Remove the 2 straggly newly planted eucalypts and plant this roundabout out with lush green plants and perhaps a tall narrow decorative signpost in the centre or a suitable tree (there needs to be some height here. Note that nothing should impact line of sight for this busy intersection.
Who doesn’t like a Pelican – and the roundabout is so ugly.
PARK AT THE CORNER OF OCEAN BEACH RD & MELBOURNE RD
This memorial park is huge & at the moment is purely for decoration. It has no function & no-one really knows what it represents, nor does anyone use it. Perhaps it could be reconfigured to make it inviting and more “user Friendly” for locals and visitors alike. This could include a large central Rotunda with signage advising exactly what the park is about, historical signage, a fenced off children’s playground with some perimeter seating and a separate collection of picnic tables with benches etc. Access to the park should also consider people with mobility issues & include ramps. As the park is below street level, one entire side could be stepped for access & seating.
SORRENTO SPORTING GROUND UPGRADES
The Sorrento Sporting Complex is home to the Sorrento Football & Netball Club, the Sorrento Cricket Club & the Sorrento Tennis Club, yet has the worst sporting facilities on the Peninsula, surprising considering their amazing record in Football & Netball competitions (sorry not sure about cricket or tennis). We have brought the former Mayor to site & addressed some issues, we have spoken with Council several times & will be putting more effort into this project, & are looking forward to positive results.
Waiting for a Masterplan from Council, one was done a few years ago & needs to be checked so everyone is happy.
Latest – a new partial plan is underway at a cost of $30K, I am not confident about the level of consultation with the clubs & would like to see what is really happening.
LARGE CYPRESS PINES NEAR THE BATHS RESTAURANT – SORRENTO
These iconic Sorrento landmarks are near the end of their practical life & according to reports they will have to be removed in approx 5 years, leaving a huge hole in the beach & street scape. We need to plant new similarly significant trees, (ideally Moreton Bay Fig – Ficus Macrophylla or Cypress Pine) when the staggered removal of the Cypress Pines begins. This has to be sorted out well ahead of time.
SIGNAGE TO INDICATE HOW TO GET PAST BLAIRGOWRIE YACHT SQUADRON ALIVE
There should be adequate signage that shows how to get past BYS without walking on the Nepean Highway, which is dangerous. For almost 6 months of the year dogs are not permitted on the beach after 9am. So if you are at the adjoining Dog Beach and you need to get to Blairgowrie after 9am, you have to choose between a safe passage and possible fine, or the dangerous option of walking yourself and a dog on Nepean Highway. There is an alternate route which involves crossing at the Carpark lights and taking the “loop”, but its not obvious – there should be signs as you leave the Carpark and approach BYS, and also at the lights.
UPDATE: Small signage has been put in but will it be enough?
BLAIRGOWRIE RESERVE BETWEEN SHOPS & NEPEAN HIGHWAY
This underutilized area could be both attractive and useful. Currently there are no public toilets in the Blairgowrie Shopping Strip, with people having to cross Nepean Highway to find public toilets on the foreshore – there should be a toilet block on this area and also a shaded picnic area. It would be great if in some areas there were fences to stop the threat of children running onto the road.
BIKE LANES & FOOTPATHS
To take pressure off our roads and keep us all safer, we urgently need to look at bike lanes and footpaths, especially on roads linking Nepean Hwy and Melbourne Road. The paths don’t need to be expensive exposed aggregate, but rather a much cheaper solution. Roads include Hughes Rd, St Johns Wood Road (bike lanes only), St Pauls Road and Canterbury Jetty Road.
UPDATE: Currently discussing inexpensive footpath options, so we have a costings for a proposal.
This includes projects with final decisions in place & timelines for their completion.
COPPIN RD/CONSTITUTION HILL RD INTERSECTION – SORRENTO
This notoriously dangerous intersection was worsened by recent footpath works. After an onsite meeting with our former Mayor (David Gill), work commenced 2 days later and was completed in about 2 weeks.
CAMERONS BIGHT BEACH NEAR PIER – BLAIRGOWRIE
This is super tricky to navigate when the tide isn’t out, but the boats & debris make it impossible when the tide is in. We contacted DELWP, & whilst they are working on getting the boats removed, the WhiteCliffs Committee is re-sanding this area in time for holiday makers.
CORNER KERFERD & COPPIN RD
This intersection has overgrown shrubs blocking the view of oncoming cars on Coppin St when heading toward Ocean Beach Road. There is also no safe way to cross at this intersection on foot, a small section of weeds and illegally built up road reserve should be cleared for pedestrians – it doesn’t have to be a proper path, just a clear way to safely walk along Kerferd Avenue whilst not being on the bitumen, and also a place to cross Coppin Rd. This is on the same road as the school & is a hazard for children walking to school.
UPDATE: Overhanging branches trimmed on opposite side of road as an easier fix
OUTDATED SIGNAGE ON SORRENTO FORESHORE
Dating back to 2000, these useless signs need to be removed.
FENCE ON NEPEAN HWY AT THE END OF BOWEN RD – SORRENTO
Another fence that has definitely seen better days, with palings missing & some graffiti nearby, it is not ideal for the drive into Sorrento. Also the RHS end is twisted on a severe angle. It would be great to remove this, and only if deemed necessary replace it with a wire fence to match existing.
LONG FENCE BETWEEN THE BATHS RESTAURANT & CARPARK NEAR PLAYGROUND
A simple updated wire fence with square 150x150mm cypress pine timber uprights could be constructed, this porject would also include replacing the delapidated timber fence at the end of Bowen road
If you would like more information on our current projects or would like to provide suggestions for new projects, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Susan Bissinger – 0414 305 566