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Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. 
A0034887B Victoria
BCS2002A                                 December 2002              www.bcs.asn.au

BCS Inc. Defends the Concourse Green

Officers and members of Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. attended the meeting of the General Committee of Bayside City Council on 16th December 2002 to hear the welcome result of a vigorous campaign they had mounted to convince Council to save the Concourse Green.

To the great consternation of many BCS Inc. members, and a large number of other Beaumaris residents, a plan supposedly developed to improve the Beaumaris Concourse had contained as one of its major aspects a proposal to convert most (58%) of the Concourse Green into a paved car park.

The Concourse Green is a quarter hectare of grassed public open space that is quite distinctive among Bayside shopping centres. The 58 trees gracing it are all Australian native trees – many of them quite well developed. Bayside City Council inherited the freehold title of the land from the former Sandringham City Council, which had bought it for public use. 

The concern by BCS Inc. and others about the plan, which was proposed by a group of Concourse traders, was essentially confined to the need to protect the Concourse Green from harm. The Secretary of BCS Inc. instigated a petition opposing the change to the Concourse Green. It had attracted over 970 signatures by the time it was registered with Bayside City Council earlier this month. The report that Council staff made to the General Committee recommended against the proposal to convert any of the Concourse Green into a car park. 

They said that a survey of nearby residents had shown a strong preponderance of responses against any intrusion into the Concourse Green. The Council accepted the staff recommendation, which was greatly approved of by the BCS Inc. members present at the meeting. We hope the same feelings will be felt by those members reading this news.

Ordinary General Meeting for January

Members will receive with this issue of the BCS Inc. Bulletin notice of an Ordinary General Meeting to be held on Thursday 23rd January 2003. This meeting has been called because of doubts raised by a member present at the 2002 Annual General Meeting about the procedure used in filling positions that were contested at that meeting. Because of those doubts the members that believed they were elected to those positions have decided to resign so that the vacancies can be filled by BCS Inc. members at a General Meeting, thus removing doubts. 

The only other business to be dealt with will be the authorization of a proposed correction to the numbering of the minutes of certain past Annual General Meetings. The incorrect numbering was noticed during preparations to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Society later in 2003. The Inaugural General Meeting that founded the Society, under its original name, Beaumaris Tree Preservation Society, was held on 28th January 1953. 

Mrs Cath Carroll, who was present at that Inaugural Meeting in January 1953, and became a member of the original Committee then, has said she is looking forward to being able to join us at a celebration the Society is hoping to hold later in 2003, similar to the Silver Anniversary function held in 1978. Mrs Carroll was made an Honorary Life Member of the Society at its 1987 Annual General Meeting.

Amendment C28 Would Mar Reserves

Members that enjoy the remaining green open spaces left among the increasingly overdeveloped and treeless private lots that are constituting an ever-growing part of the Beaumaris scene have been perturbed about Amendment C28 to alter the Bayside Planning Scheme, which was being proposed by Bayside City Council. Full details of it have been accessible from the Web sites of both Bayside City Council and Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc.

The proposed Amendment C28 was being broached because Council had realized that the present Planning Scheme protects reserves where it has granted facilities to sporting groups against the intrusion of commercially sponsored signs being erected, especially permanent or long-standing signs. 

People that enjoy green open spaces and the views of them, whether from their houses, cars, bicycles or simply walking past them, have generally accepted that grassed ovals are legitimate and usually acceptable features of certain public lands, even for those that do not wish to participate in the sports involved. The buildings used by sports groups have sometimes been controversial, but high construction and maintenance costs have tended to confine them to modest functional purposes, and thus helped minimize their visual impact, and tolerant attitudes have prevailed. The ban on signs is part of that truce.

It is understandable that groups that have long raised their own funds by levies or volunteer efforts are attracted by commercial sponsorship. A fast food or real estate company keen to raise or maintain a constant awareness of its existence will pay well for a unique site free of the crowded clutter of commercially zoned areas, where the plethora of signs leaves most of them unread, and just forming a part of the general ugliness of such places. Such companies will get their money’s worth by using signs so visually intrusive they cannot be missed.

Unfortunately the gain by the company and the sports club is made at the expense of the serious downgrading of valuable public land, which should serve the recreational and aesthetic interests of the whole community. Bayside City Council has abandoned Amendment C28, recognizing concerns by BCS Inc. and others. Members should, however, be alert to a similar proposal re-appearing. 

Site of Bicycle Road Link is Uncertain

Members might have noticed the promising change made by Bayside Council at the southern end to date of the section of bicycle road already built alongside Beach Road. Until November 2002 the end of the bicycle road had intruded into Beach Park, not far from the cliff edge, giving the impression that cyclists were allowed to use the sandy cliffside walking path. 

The Council has, as the photograph below shows, wisely corrected that mistake of the past, and has fenced the foreshore path from the bicycle road there, and erected signs prohibiting use of bicycles on the foreshore walking paths, there and in many other places along the foreshore. 

Nevertheless, it is still quite unclear what is envisaged as the route for completing the remaining section of bicycle road up to the boundary with the City of Kingston. The existing grass verge on the road reservation is too narrow to accommodate the standard two-lane bicycle road.

BCS Inc. and Port Phillip Conservation Council Inc, of which BCS Inc. is a Member Organization, have both urged the Victorian Government and Bayside City Council to support the extension, by the quite short amount needed, of the existing reduction of Beach Road to a single car lane each way, as applies from Marina Road almost to Deauville Street. That would allow room for the standard width of bicycle road to fit between the Beach Road carriageway and the fence that marks the inland edge of Beach Park.

Unless such an extension occurs, or some arrangement is made to have at least one direction of the cycling function of the bicycle road to occur on the existing Beach Road pavement, there will be pressure to intrude into Beach Park. That would involve an unacceptable removal of a long line of mature indigenous trees from that part of Beach Park, all of which is included within the boundaries of the Beaumaris Fossil site, on the Commonwealth Government’s Register of the National Estate.

© 2002 Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. 
P.O. Box 7016 BEAUMARIS VIC 3193
President: Adrian Cerbasi Secretary: Rose Allaway
Tel: (03) 9589 1802, 0429176725