Point Cook Action Group Announces New Working Groups

Pencils on a blank notebookThe Point Cook Action Group has recently formed Working Groups to tackle specific issues within Point Cook. The purpose of the groups is to bring together both PCAG members and non-PCAG community members to work together towards certain goals, focusing on specific issues they are passionate about.

This is a very exciting new development within the PCAG, one which we believe will help bring our members together with the community.

The groups are as follows:

We are looking for more people to become involved, no matter how big or small the contribution. If you would like to be involved or would like more information, please contact us via info@pcag.org.au

Don’t forget you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

We look forward to this new step in our aim to help make Point Cook the fantastic place we all want to live in!

Crime Prevention and Fire Safety In Our Community

In the past few months there have been many articles and discussions between residents regarding the increase of crime in our community.  Vice President of the PCAG Glenn Rowlands together with Cr Bob Fairclough invited Senior Sergeant John Johnson and Senior Sergeant Gary Drummond to join us last April to discuss these issues. On the agenda were home safety, car safety, community safety, graffiti and vandalism.

Sergeant John Johnson pointed out that even though crime is on the rise, the numbers are in correlation to the population growth and is no worse than other areas of Melbourne. Wyndham’s population 13 years ago was 80,000 and it has now grown to 180,000. Despite this reassurance that we don’t have a crime epidemic on our doorsteps, residents are still concerned and we all want to feel safe in our homes and our community. Senior Sergeant John Johnson and Senior Sergeant Gary Drummond discussed some useful tips to decrease crime and the importance of neighbourhood watch. They also stated that Police cannot be everywhere and community awareness of crime prevention, together with working alongside the Police, is the best possible defence in keeping our community safe. Since that meeting Glen Rowlands has set up a Facebook page Point Cook Crime Prevention & Neighbourhood Watch to help begin that process.

Another area of concern over the last few years is the number of house fires we have witnessed in Point Cook. The Hon Peter Ryan, Emergency Services Minister, recently stated that “the risk of house fires during winter increases by 20%”.   We know that the thought of a house fire strikes fear in most of us; it is the very reason why information on fire safety is so important. Cr Glenn Goodfellow, Deputy Mayor Wyndham City Council, who is a Volunteer Fire Fighter with CFA Truganina has been assisting the PCAG with information on fire prevention. He stated to us that “it is essential to be well informed and prepared in the protection of our homes or in the event of a fire”.

PCAG are serious about crime prevention and fire safety as well as empowering the local community with the knowledge on how to do so:

We are pleased to announce a free Crime Prevention and Fire Safety Community Night to be held on Tuesday 24th of July 2012 at 7 pm at Point Cook P-9 College.

This will be a fantastic night offering important information and is supported by the Point Cook P-9 College, Wyndham City Council, Werribee Police and the CFA with the following confirmed speakers: Michael Hayes (Principal Point Cook P-9 College), Cr Kim McAliney (Mayor Wyndham City Council), Police Officer Tracy Duhig (Werribee Police), Glen Cockram (CFA) and a representative of the PCAG.

Residents are encouraged to come along to:

  • learn what they can do to keep themselves fire safe within their own homes;
  • learn what they can do to be proactive in crime prevention within their own homes and neighbourhood to reduce crime;
  • show our children and teens that we “grownups” are doing what we can to make their community safe; and
  • send out a strong message that we will not stand for crime in our area and that we are all working together to help keep our community safe.

Further Information regarding this event will be handed out closer to the date in forms of flyers, social media, school newsletters and more. If you are able to attend, please RSVP on-line here or email info@pcag.org.au. Please help us spread the word. We look forward to seeing a huge turnout to this important community event.

Clean Up Australia Day 2012 – Point Cook Locations

Recently, there has been a lot of “noise” from many Point Cook residents and media attention regarding the amount of rubbish that is being dumped on nature strips, vacant blocks of land, building sites and as part of our beautiful waterways and open park lands.  Well, why not group together and do something productive about it?

Clean Up Australia Day is on again Sunday 4 March 2012.  This event provides the perfect opportunity for the community to pull together and re-establish some neighborhood pride in our beloved Point Cook, whilst at the same time meeting some other residents.  It is great to see that already three of our residents have taken it upon themselves to setup Clean Up Australia Day sites within Point Cook.  The sites and the residents that should be commended are as follows:

Persons interested in  supporting this great cause should click on one of the above links and select either “join this site” or “donate now”.  On each of the site pages you will find the details of the start and finish times, meeting points and contact details for the Site Coordinators so you can contact them directly for further details.

It is good to see that some of the sites already have volunteers, but the numbers are quite low at present and they desperately require many more Point Cook residents to volunteer if they are to make a significant improvement on the day.

The Clean Up Australia Day campaign is not restricted to the one day and public spaces, with the following events being organised as part of the campaign:

If you are unable to support any of the above campaigns, why not use this event as a good excuse to give your house or property the once over and make use of the many options available within Wyndham City for the removal of rubbish.

So what are you waiting for?  Head to the Clean Up Australia Day website and register your involvement for one of the Point Cook clean up sites. Come back here once you have registered and let us know where you will be on the day, and please share this information with other Point Cook Residents so that we can get as many people as possible involved in this great community event.

A Guide To Writing A Letter In Response To The Proposed Point Cook West Precinct Structure Plan

Image courtesy of Digitalart

So you have read the Proposed Point Cook West Precinct Structure Plan (PCW PSP), you have formulated your opinions on the plan and then you are left wondering “what can I do???”

When the going gets tough, the tough put fingers to keyboards and get writing!

In light of the recent release of the proposed PCW PSP by the Growth Areas Authority (GAA) many concerned Point Cook residents want to write to provide feedback how this development would negatively impact them in hope that their concerns are taken on board and that the plan is adjusted accordingly. This is a great idea and one that the PCAG encourages. However, this may seem a daunting task and may leave some residents wondering, “where do I start?”.  Well I hear your pleas and as someone that has just gone through this process myself and I am here to help by sharing the simple steps that I undertook when writing my letter.

Who should I write to?

Firstly, plan to send a letter by snail mail as Government Departments are obliged to answer all correspondence received in this way. If you like, you can send an electronic copy of your snail mail letter to the recipient’s email address just to be sure.

For your feedback to be taken into consideration, your comments must be made in writing referencing Point Cook West PSP and sent to:

Peter Seamer
Chief Executive Officer
Point Cook West Precinct Structure Plan
Growth Areas Authority
Level 29, 35 Collins Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

However, if you want to make sure that your concerns are heard by all the relevant authorities and have greater impact, you may also consider providing a carbon copy (cc) of your letter to any of these relevant authorities and offices:

  • The Minister for Planning – Hon Matthew Guy, Level 7, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne, 3000 matthew.guy@parliament.vic.gov.au
  • Shadow Minister for Planning – Brian Tee, 128 Ayr Street, Doncaster 3108 brian.tee@parliament.vic.gov.au
  • Member for Altona – Jill Hennessy MP, Suite 603, Level 1, 2 Main St, Point Cook 3030 jill.hennessy@parliament.vic.gov.au
  • Member for Western Metropolitan Region – Andrew Elsbury MP, Shop 1, 662 Old Calder Highway, Keilor, Vic 3036 andrew.elsbury@parliament.vic.gov.au
  • Member for Lalor – Julia Gillard PM PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 julia.gillard_e@aph.gov.au

Be sure to cc the Minister for Planning as a minimum, as he is whom the GAA report to.  Whoever you cc, just make sure that you state at the bottom of your completed letter who you have sent copies to so that the addressee is aware.

If you feel like tailoring specific letters to each of these parties rather than cc’ing them in on the GAA letter, then this is an excellent (but far more time consuming) approach.  Just make sure you write the GAA letter first to ensure your feedback is included in this consultation process. You can then modify your GAA letter as appropriate for each of the individuals you are writing to.  If you take this approach, be sure to advise them why you are writing to them directly.  That may include something like you are appealing for them to step in and review the community’s concerns for the inappropriate and unsustainable nature of the development.

How do I start?

Include a topic in bold at the top of your letter, such as “Concerns with the PCW PSP” or “Opposition to the PCW PSP” to identify the issue you are addressing in the content of your letter.

It is hard to think where to start so initially introduce yourself and how long you’ve been a resident of Point Cook. Then open with the reason you are writing is to outline concerns you have with the PCW PSP.

How do I explain my concerns?

Not surprising, most residents who have discussed this topic are raising similar issues. I am not going to tell you what to write, as ultimately what you write has to come from your own feelings and thoughts on the development.  What you have to do is to write an individual letter outlining how the development would impact you and your family’s quality of life in Point Cook.  Individual and personalised letters (and many of them) have far greater impact over a pro-forma letter simply copied over and over and signed by multiple people.

The buzz word at the moment is “sustainability” – Governments are trying to create sustainable living options in sustainable communities. Ask yourself, how “sustainable” do you think the GAA’s PCW PSP is? Does it improve our community? Would you be proud to show your children the end result?

To keep it manageable choose four topics and create topic headings.  Underneath write a paragraph or two on how this topic affects you or your family or how it will impact your quality of life and happiness in Point Cook. Be as detailed as you can about what your concerns are, make it personal and real. Use phrases like “This is unsustainable because….” or “This will be a problem for my community because….” or “this kind of development is out of keeping with the style and aesthetic of Point Cook”, etc.

The key areas of discussion have been (choose up to four of these – of course you could go crazy and keep writing – but give it a topic header each time):

  • Small block sizes and high density housing (conservative estimate of an additional 5,800 residences)
  • Lack of employment provision in area and reliance on Werribee Employment Precinct for local employment options despite this precinct not being confirmed for development
  • Increased traffic congestion where road infrastructure is already at capacity
  • Delay in construction of proposed freeway interchanges and key roads
  • Increased pressure on rail network and infrastructure (e.g railway carparks) that is already at capacity
  • Lack of recreational/leisure infrastructure and a reliance on current infrastructure that are already at capacity
  • Lack of educational provision (particularly 10-12 high schools, which Point Cook needs)
  • Development is out of character with Point Cook as a suburb
  • Damage to our property values and reputation as a sought after suburb
  • Development has no appreciation of the true “end result”

Don’t feel restricted by these topics, if there is something else that concerns you, then be sure to raise it and provide details. It is important that all concerns within the community are provided to the GAA for consideration as part of this consultation process.

How to I close?

End your letter by explaining that you have cc’d in the Minister for Planning, etc and that you are appealing for them to step in and review the community’s concerns for the inappropriate and unsustainable nature of the development. You may wish to conclude by including something like the fact that Point Cook is a vibrant community, now alive with community spirit and that we will not see our suburb destroyed just as it is about to get on its feet and make its mark as a model Western suburb. Thank all for taking the time to understand your concerns and state that you look forward to some good outcomes for all residents of Point Cook both current and future.

Sign your name and supply your name, address, email and contact phone number. Don’t forget to note underneath which other parties you have cc’d (sent a copy to).

When do I have to send by?

Re-read what you have written and correct any mistakes (you may wish to get someone else to read over it and give you some feedback).  Make sufficient copies to be able to send to the addressee, all of the cc recipients and to keep a copy for your own records.  Be sure you post your letter with sufficient time so that it arrives prior to the GAA deadline of 16 February 2012.  Be sure to send a copy via email to all of the recipients as well to be sure that it is received.  Feel free to email info@pcag.org.au a copy of your letter also so that we have a better understanding of the communities concerns.

Have you written your letters yet?  If so, do you have any other advice that you wish to share with Point Cook residents?  Please share this information in the comments below.

Illegal Dumping – Do You Need to Clean Up Your Act?

Image courtesy of Glenn Rowlands

I get so disappointed when driving around Point Cook and see rubbish dumped all over my beautiful town. I often wonder doesn’t anyone take pride in their own town anymore??? The thing that annoys me the most is this illegal dumping is a completely unnecessary eyesore.

Illegal dumping costs tax payers in Wyndham, (hold on…costs us) over a million dollars a year. However, the greatest cost is that it destroys our image and brings down the value of the area as whole as well as our own homes.

Now as much as I want my town cleaned up I don’t want to go around Point Cook yelling like an angry ogre to achieve that. What I do want to do is to encourage everyone to do the right thing.

What is the right thing? I am glad you asked because I believe that one of the causes of illegal dumping is that not everyone is aware of what is available to them for rubbish removal. Let me clear that up for you now.

Rubbish Removal For Home Owners

Wyndham City provides:

  • Two free tip vouchers that come attached to your annual rates notice.
  • Two pre-booked Hard and Green Waste Collection Services per financial year. Just call Wyndham City on 9742 0777 to book.  Please note that during peak sessions, there may be a minimum wait of 3 weeks so it is best to call first and the prepare for your collection date. There are strict guidelines that need to be adhered to it is best to read the Hard and Green Waste Brochure  prior to commencing your spring clean.

Rubbish Removal For Residents Renting

  • Renters can also get a “new residents kit” from council that includes tip tokens.

Where is our local Tip RDF (Refuse Disposal Facility)?

Residents can visit the Werribee Tip (RDF), which has very reasonable fees:

Wests Rd, Werribee (Melway Ref: 243 7E)
Enquiries: 9742 0777

Opening Times
Weekdays: 8am-4pm
Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays: 8.30am-4pm
Closed on Christmas Day, New Years Day & Good Friday.

Say NO MORE to illegally dumpers, what you can do to help

Lets clean up our town by Joining  the Dumping is Damaging Campaign, working to reduce illegal dumping in Wyndham. This campaign educates residents on how to get rid of waste safely and legally and encourages residents to make a report if they witness someone illegally dumping.

While Wyndham City’s Legislative Services Officers are always on the lookout for people illegally dumping rubbish, they can’t be everywhere, so it’s vital that the community are also vigilant and call if they witness anyone incorrectly disposing of waste.  Illegal dumpers can be fined up to $4000 if caught.

Wyndham City reported to me that “This can be successful, late last year a Hoppers Crossing man was successfully prosecuted for illegal dumping and ordered to pay a $500 fine and $488 in costs at the Werribee Magistrates Court”.

If you witness someone dumping waste illegally record the location, date, time and their car registration and report this as soon as possible to Wyndham City by calling 9742 0777 or completing an online request form. See Have You Got A Customer Service Reference Number From Council? for more information on this process.

As you can see there is NO EXCUSE FOR DUMPING RUBBISH when we a have a free service available to us.

There are always going to be people who think they can flout the law illegally dumping rubbish, but by joining the “Dumping is Damaging Campaign” you don’t need to stand for it anymore. We all need to act responsibly and unite to stamp out illegal dumping to make Point Cook a suburb we are proud to belong to.

URGENT Your Attendance Required At Point Cook West Precinct Structure Plan Information Session – 5-7pm Tue 31 Jan

Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan

UPDATE (3pm: 25 Jan): The GAA PCWP information session planned for Tuesday 31 January has been postponed.  No alternative date has been set as yet.  PCAG will be insisting that community consultation is still undertaken and advise of further details once known.  PCAG encourages you in the meantime to read the GAA documentation on the Wyndham C163 – Point Cook West Precinct Structure Plan – PSP39.1 and submit your feedback to the GAA by their deadline of Thursday 16 February, 2012.

The Growth Areas Authority (GAA) have placed their proposed development of “Point Cook West Precinct’ (PCWP) on the internet.  This refers to the parcel of land bordered by Hacketts Road, Sneydes Road and the Princess Freeway.  ”

After a review of these documents, the Point Cook Action Group (PCAG) believes that this plan will put significant pressure on the suburb and could lead to a decrease in the standard of living and devaluation of house prices for the suburb of Point Cook.

With no plans in place for a school, only two open space areas (incorporating 2 AFL ovals and 6-12 tennis courts), not to mention the high density housing planned for the land and limited employment options, the proposal not only doesn’t suit the character of Point Cook, it overlooks that many of our community facilities are at capacity already and it does not address the needs of Wyndham as a WHOLE. [Read more…]

Graffiti Removal Who Is Responsible?

Image courtesy of Impactiv8

My four year old son overheard a conversation I was having about graffiti in the area and what to do about the taggers; he responded “put them in the naughty corner!” If only the solution was that simple.

It is reported that one of the most successful ways to deter a Graffitists is to remove their tags as soon as they appear.  Brilliant I thought, “I can do that” but as it turns out taggers must all be giants because at five foot nothing I have little hope of reaching most of the tags around Point Cook and there is no way I am climbing onto the roof tops of buildings.  I wish they at least had the decency to tag within my reach.

After doing a little bit of research I realised the biggest misconception is who is responsible for the removal of the graffiti and who do we need to report it to for removal.  I also learnt that the only way we are going to clean up Point Cook is if we all work together and everyone does their bit. [Read more…]

Snakes Are Also Residents In Point Cook

Image Courtesy of Impactiv8

Most people in Australia are well afraid of snakes.  This is with good enough reason – if you cross paths with one you might well be bitten and the consequences could be life threatening.  And did you know that if you have a pet that is bitten by a snake it could cost you between $4,000-12,000 attempting to save it’s life?

Long grass (particularly around creeks and open paddocks) are one of the natural habitats of snakes.  Owing to Point Cook’s geography, location and the relatively recent conversion of our suburb from market gardens to suburbia, it should come as no surprise that snakes are also residents in Point Cook.  In fact, they have been here much longer than both you, me and your neighbour combined (x10).  Therefore we should always be mindful of them when in their natural habitats, long grass in particular.  But also consider that they may choose to travel and have been seen in areas such as the Point Cook Town Centre, public parks and even in people’s properties (including houses).

Wyndham City Council is aware that snakes are a problem in our neighbourhood and have produced this handy resource as a reference for all residents: Snakes In Wyndham.  It includes valuable information, including: [Read more…]

Are You Adhering To The Council’s Nature Strip Policy?

 

Image Courtesy of Impactiv8

A quick walk around the neighbourhood reveals that there are several residents within our community that are not adhering to the council’s beautification of nature strips policy.  This may just be because they are not aware of the details of the policy.

Well ignorance is not bliss – at least not for your neighbours that are doing the right thing!

Luckily PCAG is here to educate.  Did you know that:

“Generally Wyndham City does not carry out maintenance of nature strips except where it plants street trees which are cared for and maintained by Wyndham City.  The usual practice is for residents of abutting properties to maintain nature strips by regular mowing, edging turf, weeding and picking up litter.”

So why not download the Wyndham City Beautification of Nature Strips Policy (adopted April 2008), give it a quick read and then do what you can to ensure you are complying as failure to maintain a nature strip can result in the resident receiving a “notice to comply” and then subsequently being subject to Court proceedings if they continue to fail to comply.

You could be at risk if: [Read more…]