2021 Presidents Report

Croydon Conservation Society Annual General Meeting Thursday 15th April 2021

 What do members of CCS do? How effective are we? Is anything better than in 1964 when our group was formed?

Some things are on permanent repeat, like tree removal, the initial reason for forming our group.

Somethings are making headway like plastics being banned from use, straws and hopefully some better ways to recycle. We have supported Boomerang Alliance for over 15 years.

Somethings are yet to be resolved, like what our future will look like with an enormous population increase expected, with moderate high rises and around Ringwood, extraordinary new sky scrapers of over 14 storeys.

Some things need repair, like Tarralla wetlands, it has been 30 years since the first inception of the swale planted serpentine cleansing vegetated mounds.

CCS has a charter of aims, as follows

To foster the preservation and correct management of parklands and native flora reserves.

This year was difficult with BMX riders destroying native veg, during Covid shutdown, but our community has an extensive list of Volunteer groups all now registered with Council and ready to plant whenever is the right time. CCS members have worked in Hillside drive, Cheong Park, Golf-links Estate railway reserve and in Somerset drive reserve, Cheong St, and in Wombolano bushland and possibly many more. Some of our new facebook members are replanting their own properties with native veg, to make it fauna and bird friendly. The concept with wildlife is…you plant it, they will come.

To assist local Council in the sound planning of the district, having regard to the objectives of the Socety. Honestly, this has been a real challenge, with unchecked development, tree removal and lack of space to accommodate good mature sized trees. We have had to resort to using Planning Alerts to be informed, and we end up objecting to developments that go way beyond what we think is seriously detrimental to our local environment. However, there is a greater requirement for on site trees to be protected and Council expects to be able to view the visiting arborists report at any given time, as to how protection methods of construction are being implemented. We wait impatiently for our State Government to set tree removal fines at a seriously high value to be a deterrent, to their removal. We hope that Council, in looking into compliance of replanting and survival rates, that we are not losing even more tree numbers than expected.

To be a useful and reasonable body of local public opinion for the preservation of the environment and the treed character of the district.

Opinions are something we are not short on and we have spent very many hours talking about, discussing and putting in comments in on all of the following, The Croydon Wellbeing Precinct, The Ringwood Activity centre plan, Tarralla creek renewal, the Vegetation Review in detail at MEAC, where two of us are members, The Community of Wellbeing group, where we had to make the point that without a healthy environment, there is no wellbeing. It was great to hear that Maroondah Council is now Carbon Neutral including the Ringwood aquatic centre. The MEAC group also visited the new facility at HE parker reserve to see first hand how prefabricated materials can be brought to site and uplifted quickly and efficiently with so much less damage to the building site. We were also shown the numerous solar panels on the roof to capture available energy.  Trees around this location have been retained and parking is available among the existing trees, since it is not for long periods or daily it is thought they can tolerate the impact.

We have a committee representative in the MCC Habitat corridor study group, and more recently another committee member in the Deliberations and communications group of Maroondah Council. Our latest opinion piece was concerning amendment C136 giving the green light for developers to create superblocks in a project named Greening the Greyfields. We did not believe it had been thought through sufficiently to get started, and are unconvinced that it will provide more open green space for residents to happily use.

To stimulate the interest if young people in conservation through schools and other avenues.

We had made some inroads with the previous year’s transportable tree, this past year it went late in the, year because of Covid, to Wandin Yallock, where students created their own items to display on it and discussion was held between Farmer Jill, employed at the school and the students. We need to keep abreast of what kids are learning, as much curriculum is now focussed on Environmental themes, which is great news. Our large posters are currently with the teacher who makes bird boxes, as inspiration for his new school.

To do all things Lawful to preserve the natural environment, especially the native flora and fauna of Maroondah and the surrounding district.

We did get a commitment from Maroonah Council that no trees would be planted in “offset” location, meaning not outside of Maroondah boundary. This means Maroondah is desperately trying to find suitable locations and is creating walls of trees along streets, not really the best locations for wildlife impacted by light spill, or for roadkill opportunity. Our native reserves are getting a boost of new trees too, but sadly these will probably only just make up for the stringy bark dieback trees dead from the drought. In the surrounding district, we support friends of Dandenong Creek in renewing Dandenong creek through Heathmont, and also supporting them with their efforts to save the blue billed-duck in the Knox dam, and we also exchange news with Montrose Environment group and Knox Environment group.

To join with others in the pursuit of conservation objectives and in the protection of the environment generally

Efforts in this area were seriously lacking during the year of the pandemic, however the great news was that while the humans where locked away, the native animals came out to enjoy a much cleaner environment. With dolphins in Venice’s canals, lions sunbaking on African safari roads, birds loving the clear skies free of air traffic, and subsequent bird strike, as well as native animals less likely to be killed by traffic, it was quite a positive experience for environmentalists. We cheekily conclude that the world might be a better place with fewer humans making less impact.

In summation, our original goals are as relevant, if not more so, in 2021 as in 1964, and our commitment to continue is steadfast.


Liz Sanzaro President