Monthly Archives: May 2019

May 2019

To download your copy of the May 2019 edition, click here

Your Say: Brickbats and Bouquets

RSL Access an issue for our ageing Veterans

Dear Diary,
Two veterans from the Second World War led the march along Yarra Street on Anzac Day this year.
One used a walking frame; the other was in a wheelchair.
Warrandyte’s citizens greeted them as the heroes they are.
They were waved at, cheered and clapped.
The march ended at the bridge for the turn into — and up to — the place where the service was to be held.
And there began the problem for those leading men.
The climb up the steps was steep and long.
And the steps were not deeply spaced nor wide enough for a walking frame.
Certainly out of the question for a wheelchair.
Alternatively, the second entrance was a little further along.
A make-piece railing, bound with wire which end sprung dangerously into space.
More difficult steps leading to a steep and rutted track along which it was impossible to push a wheelchair.
My 96-year-old father was in that wheelchair.
He had to leave it and finally reach the service area on the arms of strong and willing relations.
When the National Anthem had been sung and all the photographs taken, he had to leave the area the same way — walking with difficulty on the arms of the stalwart younger generation.
Access difficulties are not confined to veterans in their nineties.
My generation of Vietnam “boys” are only a few years behind and they too will find, if they already have not done so, that the easy part of the march ends at the entrance to the RSL.
Babes in prams and pushers, the civilian elderly and the disabled are all faced with a steep climb made extra difficult by dangerous path work.
Last year I was already worried about access to the service area for this year’s Anzac Day and, not knowing how heritage overlay, OHS, the roles of Warrandyte RSL, Manningham Council and the State government could affect improvements, I approached State MP, Ryan Smith as a first call.
He readily took up the problem and began talks and a visit with the RSL and the Council.
Then came the State election and despite two emails to Mr Smith since then I have heard nothing.
And nothing was done to make this year’s end of march access easier and safer.
Please, is there nothing that can be done to improve the situation before Anzac Day 2020?
Gaynor Bishop, Warrandtye

Hoon Hassles in Jumping Creek

Dear Diary,
This is an issue I think everyone living in and around Warrandyte must be made aware of and I ask that you all share this with your friends to ensure as many people as possible will know about this very local, potentially dangerous situation.
Jumping Creek Reserve, off Jumping Creek Road, but across the Yarra from North Warrandyte, approximately 1.5 kms as the crow flies north of Warrandyte Village, is a ticking time bomb.
I live directly opposite the picnic area and car park, and along with my neighbours I enjoy hearing visitors having a good time at the Reserve during the day.
However, as night falls other visitors arrive, doing burnouts and causing so much noise it is unbearable.
I’m sure this terrorises the wildlife in that area as well.
Sometimes they light fires (with wood provided by Parks Vic) and then they leave, often leaving the fires burning….and these fires are not always in the BBQ areas.
My neighbours and I regularly have to call the CFA and police but of course after hours police from Doncaster are never going to arrive in time to catch the hoons.
Last night (early April) at 10:30pm the situation escalated dramatically.
Hoons were doing burnouts for half an hour before leaving and peace reigned again, for ten minutes until the first massive explosion bought me to my feet.
Across the river was a huge car fire, flames leaping up among the top leaves of gum trees.
More explosions and finally the car was totally engulfed with the sky alight with fire and smoke.
We called the emergency services with the CFA arriving within 10 minutes.
They extinguished the fire before it escaped into the tinder dry bush on this occasion, but imagine if it was one of our hot nights with a north wind blowing.
The river would be no fire break as the embers would be landing in our village. We have two major issues here and locals have tried to eliminate them in the past even meeting with an MP on site, to no avail.
These two issues:
The park is only ever closed if the fire rating is severe or extreme, not necessarily on a Total Fire Ban day. This means vehicle access is 24 hours at all other times.
Wood fires BBQs are available here, with wood provided by Parks Vic, all year round. In such a high fire danger area why do we need wood fired BBQs? Parks Vic answer to this is “healthy Parks, healthy people”.I believe it would be acceptable to all visitors to the park to have no fires at all in the fire ban season. If I can’t light a fire 50 meters away on my property, why should visitors to the park be able to light fires? Remembering that not all fires are lit in the BBQ areas.
Ok locals, what should we do about this situation, are you all happy to allow this to continue?
I believe it is only a matter of time, not if, but when, before a similar situation arises and we locals are not around to call emergency services.
We need the park closed at sunset and wood fired BBQs removed.
A small price to pay to keep Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs safe.
Gail Watts, North Warrandyte

Young people these days!

Meet North Warrandyte’s Litter Warrior.
Liz Blackwood takes a whole week of work each year to pick up rubbish along the north side of the Yarra and along Research-Warrandyte Road.
This year she collected over 4 cubic metres of other people’s rubbish.
She collects it in large bags then sorts it: the skip is for landfill and large yellow bags for recyclables.
“Thanks to mum and dad for helping and also bringing me icy poles on the side of the road…it was hot this year!” she said.
Liz’s mother Celia told the Diary that Liz has been doing this for several years, occasionally with the help of family, friends and neighbours.
“I think this is the 4th time Liz has had a skip to fill — it was filled up further when neighbours paddled the river and even collected a fuel tank,” Celia said.
“Pick up your rubbish people,” quipped Liz.
The Diary offers a round of applause to this amazing Warrandytian.
Great work Liz.

 

Lions Park ready to roll

WITH THE BRIDGE Upgrade now almost complete, attention turns to the Lions Park, previously the Lions Tennis Courts and more recently the work site for the bridgeworks.
The masterplan for the Lions Park project was approved by Manningham Council in September last year, and covered in our October issue.
Key features include additional picnic facilities, seating, barbeques, outdoor fitness equipment, drinking fountains, signage, public art displays and landscaping work, which includes an improved path layout and river access.
Angelo Kourambas, Director City Planning and Community at Manningham Council, told the Diary: “The site of the Lions Tennis Court will be updated as a part of the broader Lions Park Masterplan, which will deliver places and spaces for the whole community to enjoy.
“Lions Park works will be undertaken in a staged implementation over 2019/20 and 2020/21 and the immediate focus will be on updates to the areas surrounding the bridge, access and carpark improvements.
“Further community consultation will be undertaken around the design of the Lions Park play space and area and nearby picnic facilities.”
Council has allocated a total of $450,000 to the project in this and the next financial year.
There is an excellent animated video of the planned works here .
For more information, see manningham.vic.gov.au/manningham-approves-lions-park-masterplan

The Bridge is complete: but at what cost?

AS THE QUEEN of the Shire was returned to her rightful place, State Government politicians have come out to applaud the completion of the Warrandyte Bridge.
Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green has officially announced the completion of the project to widen the bridge to three lanes and build a new shared path for pedestrians and cyclists across the Yarra River.
“We’ve worked hard to make this bridge safer while preserving the unique character of the bridge and this area of Warrandyte,” said Ms Green.
She also commended the people of Warrandyte for their patience during the roadworks.
“We appreciate all of the feedback we received from locals who helped shape the look and feel of this bridge and showed great patience while we made these important safety improvements,” she said.
Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region, Sonja Terpstra said: “I am really pleased to see the results of this project to make the bridge crossing safer and easier for all local road users.”
So with the politicians marking the project as complete, the Diary thought it was time to ask the authorities concerned with the Bridge Upgrade project whether they regarded it as complete, and what the total cost was.
Nillumbik suggested that we ask VicRoads whether they had any further landscaping works to be done on the north side.
Manningham told us that “Council is working with VicRoads to plan the delivery of the surrounding landscape works” in particular with reference to the Lions Park project, so we take it that there is still more site clearing and landscaping work to be done on the south side by VicRoads.
We asked VicRoads whether they considered the project to be complete, however they had not responded by the time we went to press.
Cost of the Upgrade
The Andrews Labor Government committed $5.1 million funding for the project in March 2016.
In May 2017, we ascertained the contract had been awarded to VEC Civil Engineering Pty Ltd for $4.265M.
In November 2017, following representations in State Parliament by local member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, a further $200,000 had been secured for the slip-lane on the south side.
Following extensive delays to the project we asked VicRoads in November 2018 what the final cost of the project would be, in view of rumours circulating that the cost had blown out way beyond the original funding commitments.
At that time, they responded “The total cost of the project will be provided once complete”.
The Diary has continued to ask VicRoads over the past month what the final cost will be, and they have failed to respond to our questions.
We will publish an update if we learn anything further.

Health and Safety

Prepare for flu season

By SANDI MILLER

THE STATE Government has launched a new campaign encouraging Victorians to get their flu shot ahead of winter and do their part to stop the spread of flu.
More than two million free vaccinations are expected to be administered before the flu season takes hold.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos says vaccination is safe, effective and it saves lives.
“You never forget the flu, so don’t forget your flu shot.
“Coming down with the flu is not like catching a cold.
“It hits you quickly and hard, and it can last for weeks — and for some people, it can be deadly.”
A horror flu season in 2017 saw more than 48,000 Victorians diagnosed with influenza.
That number fell to 11,612 cases last year, but flu diagnoses in 2019 are currently triple what they were compared with the same time last year.
Vaccinations are free for kids aged six months to less than five.
Pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Victorians with a chronic condition are also eligible for a free flu vaccination as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Victorians over the age of 65 are also covered and the vaccination can be obtained from your local GP.
Flu shots are also available at some pharmacies — without the need to visit a doctor.
Warrandyte Pharmacist, Chris Farmakis says the Terry White Chemmart at the Goldfields Shopping Centre has established a flu clinic to administer vaccinations.
The Terry White Chemmart website provides a booking service where you can schedule an appointment, or you can pop in for a walk-up consultation.
Go to terrywhitechemmart.com.au and click on Health Services to make your booking for a flu shot.
The vaccination costs $19.95 and it is administered on site.
Flu symptoms can include a sudden high fever, headache, body aches and feeling extremely weak or tired.
For children, the elderly or people with a weakened immune system, the flu can have devastating outcomes.
Mr Farmakis says the flu is very easy to catch, and good hygiene is imperative to avoid the disease.
“It is not merely passed on through coughing and sneezing, it hangs around — even on door handles it can survive up to eight hours, and then if you open the door it is on your hands. “It’s very easy to catch, but very easy to prevent by having a flu shot,” he said.
Anyone who thinks they have the flu should visit their doctor, a pharmacist, or call Nurse-On-Call on: 1300 60 60 24.

Electromagnetic Sleep Study, Participants sought

Nicole Bijlsma is a building biologist and CEO of the registered training organisation — Australian College of Environmental Studies based in Warrandyte.
She first became interested in environmental medicine following two events in her life: firstly working as a naturopath and acupuncturist she noticed many of her patients with asthma, allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome were sick following exposure to mould, electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and/or toxicants like pesticides in their home.
However it wasn’t until she moved into her home in Warrandyte, that she experienced insomnia and ten miscarriages which she believed arose from sleeping near the meter panel.
After relocating bedrooms, she subsequently gave birth to her twins (natural conception as she didn’t qualify for IVF) and spent the next two decades investigating the impact of hazards in the built environment.
In 1999 she established the college and the building biology industry in Australia and wrote the best seller — Healthy Home Healthy Family — now in its 3rd edition, which attracted numerous television and radio interviews.
Nicole lectures about environmental sensitivities at medical conferences both in Australia and abroad.
Nicole and her husband Mark, sold their home in Warrandyte to invest in a manufacturing facility in Bayswater to create the cleaning product range — Abode — specifically for people with chemical and skin sensitivities.
The products are sold in health food stores across Australia.
Nicole is also looking for couples who would be interested in taking part in a short study which studies the effects of electromagnetic fields on sleep.
If this is something you and your partner would be interested in, check out the details below:

Electromagnetic field sleep study. We need you!

RMIT researchers seeking healthy adult couples who live in a detached house in the Eastern suburbs to participate in a study to find out if electromagnetic radiation affects sleep and brain function. You may be eligible if you are a healthy non-smoking adult, who sleeps well, aged between 18 and 55 and who is prepared to avoid digital devices at least one hour before bed for a 4 week period. Participants will receive a healthy home pack valued at $100, access to their sleep data and a free electromagnetic field assessment of their bedroom. If you  interested in participating, please call Nicole Bijlsma on 0417 310 002 or email info@aces.edu.au.

You can also download a copy of the sleep study participation form in advance from here.

 

DIGITAL HEALTH: TIPS FOR DETECTING SCAM EMAILS

By IAN CRAIG

WE OFTEN see news items in the popular media about people being scammed and defrauded out of thousands and sometime hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.

It was not until I witnessed this first hand — when a close member of my family was scammed — that I was able to comprehend not just how easy it is to be tricked but the extent of the emotional impact this can have on someone.
>According to government website Scamwatch , in 2018 there were 177,516 reporting cases of scams, 9.9 per cent of these involved the loss of money totalling $107,001,451.
That is a lot of money and these are just the figures for the ones that are reported, so who knows how many of these scams go unreported.
Top five scams for loss of money are investment scams, dating and romance, false billing, identity theft and hacking.
Billing scam emails seem to be the trend in scamming at the moment with my friends telling me they repeatedly receive emails claiming they have an unpaid invoice or bill.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) frequently post information about scams on their website and has this to say about false billing scams:
“Often a scam is disguised as an outstanding invoice to get the business to sign-up for unwanted advertising or office supplies.
Another common ploy involves sending invoices for the renewal of a non-existent domain name registration.
In some cases, false bills and invoices are followed-up with phone calls demanding payment or legal threats.”
Although I work in IT, I am not a safety online expert and I am not writing this article to scare everyone into going back to writing cheques and switching off their phones or computers — because I cannot work or play without them.
So why write about it?
The answer is simple, if we don’t talk about it and warn our friends and neighbours about the potential of a scam, the ‘scamsters’ will continue to take what doesn’t belong to them.
We are all familiar with the concept (like it or not) of the door to door salesperson who will knock on your door and try to sell you something — immediately we take a defensive approach, ascertain where they are from and do we trust them.
So, the point here is that the internet is like putting your front door in front of every person with something to sell or scam on a global scale.
With the right software, it is easy to send you an email, text message, phone call or some novel electronic message with some kind of hook, opportunity, link, attachment or instruction.
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website is a great place to educate yourself about current scams and I highly recommend you read their section on how to protect yourself against scammers.
But for now, here are some top tips on how to reduce your risk of being scammed while online.
Be alert to the fact that scams exist.
Know who you’re dealing with.
Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails — delete them.
Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access — hang up.
Be wary of unusual payment requests.
The site also has useful clues for spotting a fake document, email or dating profile.
My safety tip is to have a friend or family member who has your back when it comes to validating any online communication that you think is suspicious.
Or, if you have some experience and skills in this area then maybe you could offer your services to those in your circle.
Scammers often use fear and threat to get money out of us, which is why the billing scams are often used by scammers, so having someone who is able to look at the email objectively and is tech-savvy enough to be able to spot a scam or suspicious email can mean the difference between getting scammed or putting their email in the junk folder.

Priceless Community Crutches

By JOCK MACNEISH

LIKE ALL communities, the Warrandyte community is built on friendship, generosity, care and respect.

We don’t measure out these qualities in units like metres, dollars or litres.
We choose not to speak about how many units of kindness people display, or the exact width and breadth of their unselfishness.
But in Warrandyte there is something that symbolises and represents the care that people have for one another.
Surprisingly, it’s a pair of well-worn arm-crutches that, technically, belong to Adrian.
I say “technically” because the crutches are almost never at his place.
For more than a dozen years the crutches have been in continuous circulation around Warrandyte.
They have been “borrowed” by Adrian’s friends and neighbours to help them get back on their feet after various operations.
The crutches are once again back at my place, as I hobble around on my second knee replacement.
My first knee was replaced eight years ago and I’m pleased to report that the crutches are none the worse for wear.
I’m not sure the same could be said about my legs.
My wife Diana has had both her knees replaced, and yes, she also used the crutches to get back into her stride.
I know Jack and Jonathan were also restored to being upright citizens while hanging onto the crutches.
Warrandyte’s walking tracks bear the imprint of many steady journeys back to health, and those arm-crutches epitomise a spirit of generosity that pervades the place.
You can’t put a price on that.
Thank you Adrian.