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0395980554, 0429176725                                            

47 Bayview Crescent,





ABN 46 291



Coup results in part of the
8,000-year-old Beaumaris
Cliff being shaved off


Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc.
has photographs showing the three small falls of
rock from the Beaumaris
Cliff that were evident before the above works began
on the area

leased by the Beaumaris
Motor Yacht Squadron Ltd

The deposits of fallen rock were quite weathered,
and appear to have been in position for some time.
Mesh webbing cordoned off the toe of the cliff, but
there were no signs apparent warning the public of
the danger of falling rocks.


Rock falls are obviously
a public safety issue, but the actual falls were not
very recent. The falls were reported to authorities
in a letter of February 2005, and it is fair to ask
whether the unadvertised cliff shaving in August
2005 was truly an emergency response, or was instead
a pre-emption of alternative remedies such as a mesh
barrier to hold rolling rocks, as it appears to be
only deflected rocks that come out onto areas that
are usable by members and the public. The Beaumaris Cliff has
existed since the Miocene epoch (we are now in
the Holocene epoch).
The Beaumaris Fossil Site was
inscribed on the Register

of the National Estate
by the Australian Heritage Council in 1999 on the
nomination of Bayside City Council, and it is
internationally renowned by palaeontologists,
including the

late Harvard University authority, Professor
George Gaylord Simpson
, who had
written attesting to the significance of the site in
world terms. The photograph on the Register can be
seen by clicking



On Monday, 29th August
2005, a BCS Inc. member sent PPCC Inc. photographs
of a heavy earthmoving machine that was on the open
car park area at the BMYS, having been admitted
through the pair of locked vehicle gates by which
BMYS controls vehicle access to that site. PPCC Inc.
therefore contacted the Manager Coasts, Port
Phillip Region, of the Department of
Sustainability and Environment and left a message
for him warning of what has happened, and what we
have heard could happen and asking him whether
ministerial and planning consent had been given to
any works on the cliff, as required by Section

37 of the Coastal Management Act
There does not appear to
have been any advertisement on the site, or in local
newspapers, referring to an application for a permit
for such works, as is required under the Bayside
Planning Scheme for the VP01 vegetation removal that
has since occurred. BCS Inc. has a photograph of a
large pile of the vegetation removed.




PPCC Inc. received a
return call on Monday from Mr
Michael Behnke, from
the Manager Coasts’ office, telling us that the DSE
had issued approval, under emergency provisions, to
permit works on the cliff in order to prevent future
rock falls that could reach the parking area below.
He said he had inspected the site that morning, but
that there would be no DSE staff available to be on
site during the works, which were due to start on
Tuesday morning. PPCC Inc. said there should be a
representative from a responsible authority on the
site during the works that could move to limit
damage to the cliff if necessary. He has since said
he contacted Bayside City Council, and they
would send their Mr
Kevin Alexander, who works with their Mr Michael Coleman, whom we
know, to be an observer that could get DSE if needed
to limit any untoward, unnecessary or excessive
alterations to the cliff face.


: It is reasonable for the
community to ask:

  • whether, in view of the
    long time the cordoned-off rock fall lay there,
    justification existed to invoke “emergency”
    provisions to bypass the public advertising of
    permit applications and opportunity for objectors
    to examine a written proposal and to put an
    alternative case that is a standard procedure for
    areas such as this part of the Beaumaris Fossil Site,
    which is ostensibly “protected” under the Bayside
    Planning Scheme by a Vegetation Protection Overlay
    coastal vegetation), an Environmental Significance
    Overlay (ESO 1 – the
    Beaumaris Fossil
    Site), the Incorporated Document,
    under Clause 81
    , “Victoria’s
    Native Vegetation Management” A Framework for
    Action, August 2002
    and, under the Schedule to Clause 81,
    the “Bayside Coastal Strategy, City of Bayside,
  • whether any significant
    plants have been lost as a result of the works,
    and if so, how many and of what species,
  • whether those plants
    proposed to be removed each need to be removed,
  • whether the “net gain”
    planting procedures of the above framework
    document will be implemented, and if so, where,
    and to what extent, and
  • whether the Australian
    Heritage Council should not have been emailed to
    officially inform it in writing before a fait accompli
    occurred, as seems courteous at the very least, of
    the alterations to a geological feature that it
    inscribed on the Register of the National Estate
    at the nomination of Bayside City Council, even
    though there is no legal or constitutional
    obligation for the AHC to be informed.


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