Monthly Archives: November 2019

Every which way you turn


CALLS HAVE resumed for VicRoads to solve the dangerous intersection at Five Ways, where Croydon Road, Brumbys Road and Husseys Lane intersect with Ringwood-Warrandyte Road.
An online petition has gathered more than 1000 signatures after recently being returned to circulation.
It is calling for improved traffic controls at the intersection.
The petition was initiated two years ago and has recently resurfaced on Facebook where it has generated a lot of discussion.
Petitioner Renny Koerner-Brown told the Diary she was prompted to start the petition following several near misses with cars mistakenly turning into Brumbys Road “only to have them do an abrupt u-turn” in front of her “leaving me out in a horrendous intersection in on-coming traffic”.
Mary-Anne Lowe is a resident on Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, and says every day she navigates the intersection pulling a horse float.
She spoke with the Diary about the issues she has encountered.
“It is a daily occurrence to witness blaring horns, near misses and unfortunately I have also witnessed an accident with a horse float in the last two years,” Ms Lowe said.
She says traffic from all directions need a smoother transition and clearer instruction to make it safer for all road users.
Another South Warrandyte resident, Kim Dixon, said she has been sending letters to VicRoads for years about the intersection.
She says that the confusion at the intersection itself is only part of the problem.
“I reside in Colman Road and the traffic we get coming down our street, to avoid this intersection, is horrendous.
“[Colman Road] is not designed to take traffic travelling in both directions, it is extremely narrow and there are a number of places in which cars cannot safely pass each other,” Ms Dixon said.
She said that as a result of her ongoing complaints, around eight years ago Maroondah Council installed speed humps in their section of roadway and Manningham Council have also recently installed four speed humps.
“Unfortunately, these devices have not deterred the amount of traffic that use this road to avoid the intersection,” Ms Dixon said.
“In all my correspondence [to VicRoads] I have stated that the issue in Colman Road is a direct consequence of the dangerous intersection at Croydon Road and [Ringwood-]Warrandyte Road — I get the same reply, “this intersection is not our priority”.
Leigh Harrison, Director City Services for Manningham Council said Manningham Council is aware of congestion issues and safety concerns along Ringwood-Warrandyte Road and would support an upgrade of this intersection.
“The intersection is an important connection for local roads connecting to Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, including Brumbys Road which is a no-through road.
“While VicRoads is responsible for any upgrade works, options that could be considered include a roundabout or new traffic signals,” he said.
State Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, said he has been asking the Government for several years about the intersection, but he says the response he has received has been disappointing.
“I have raised the very real concerns from local residents about this dangerous intersection on a number of occasions, but these concerns have fallen on the Government’s deaf ears.
“I would hate to think that a tragedy has to occur before we see any action from the Andrews Government.
“Fix the problem now so we can avoid the kind of fatal accident that many locals believe is an inevitability,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith showed the Diary a series of correspondence he has had with various Roads Ministers, during his last foray into the issue in March 2017.
Back then, he was advised: “VicRoads has been monitoring the safety record at the intersection of Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, Croydon Road and Husseys Lane in Warrandyte South.
“There has been no reported injury crash at the intersection in the most recent five-year period.
“The average two-way daily traffic volume on Ringwood-Warrandyte Road has increased from 5,700 vehicles per day in 2015 to 5,800 in 2017.
“The configuration of the intersection is in accordance with relevant guidelines and is similar to many other intersections across Melbourne.
“Based on the safety record and in inspection of the site, VicRoads considered the intersection to be operating safely for all road users.
“VicRoads will continue to monitor the road safety at this location to determine the need for any future improvements.”
Member for North East Metropolitan, Sonja Terpstra told the Diary she had not had any contact from constituents regarding this intersection, but that she would follow the issue up with the Roads Minister.
The Diary contacted VicRoads for comment and a Department of Transport spokesperson said that they receive many requests each year for safety improvements and upgrades to intersections, including new traffic lights, from across Victoria, and that all requests are prioritised based on the extent to which such a treatment would improve safety and/or congestion at each intersection.
The unnamed spokesperson said that VicRoads consider a range of factors such as the number and type of vehicles using the intersection, the need to cater for pedestrians, the historical safety record of the site and the impact the improvements would have on the surrounding road network.
“The safety of everyone travelling on our roads is our number one priority, and we’re continually looking at ways we can make it safer and easier for people to use our road network.
“We’ll continue to monitor this intersection to see if there’s any safety improvements we can make,” the Department of Transport spokesperson said.

 

Community’s development dread at Eltham gateway

By JAMES POYNER

THE ROUNDABOUT at Fitzsimons Lane/Main Road on the Eltham—Templestowe border has become the focal point of a conflict between green-minded conservation groups in the latest infrastructure development from the State’s Major Roads Project team.
As part of the $2.2million Northern and South Eastern Roads Upgrade, the roundabout, which marks the gateway to the Green Wedge from Templestowe, is planned to be developed into an 11 lane intersection, in an effort to reduce congestion and improve safety.
In background supplied by Major Roads Project Victoria (MRPV), the agency stated the upgrade would “benefit more than 60,000 people who use the busy road every day.”
“Unfortunately, some tree and vegetation removal will be necessary to carry out the upgrade.
“However, Major Road Projects Victoria will plant new vegetation where there is available land within the project boundary and manage landscape and vegetation loss in accordance with statutory obligations.
“Design revisions to date have been able to save more than 100 trees in the vicinity of the project, and any options to minimise the removal of trees will continue to be considered.”
If you have not seen Eltham Community Action Group’s campaign against the development of this intersection on social media, you may have noticed the red ribbons tied around trees on and around the Fitzsimons/Main Road roundabout.
These are the trees currently marked for removal.
Nillumbik Council issued a press release on October 22 stating their disapproval of the upgrade in the face of opposition from residents and community groups with ties to the Shire.
“While Council recognises that congestion is a significant issue at the intersection and supports State Government efforts to improve this issue, Council does not support the planning process to deliver this project”.
In their last Community Update in April 2019, MRPV indicated construction would begin in 2020.
The Diary asked MRPV if there was any room for additional discussion and design changes to the project between now and 2020, to prevent the destruction of trees at the roundabout.
A spokesperson from MRPV responded:
“The Fitzsimons Lane upgrade will improve congestion, making it easier and safer for the community to travel through and around the area.
“We recognise that the greenery surrounding the Eltham Gateway is a key feature of Nillumbik’s unique landscape and we’re committed to minimising this project’s impact on the environment.
“We’ll continue to keep the community up to date as the planning stage progresses.
“We will consult with the community throughout the life of the project, ensuring that we continue to hear and consider their feedback on this important project,” they said.
MRPV has told the Diary it will be releasing revised designs — which save more than 100 trees in the vicinity — in the coming weeks.

 

What goes around comes around


THE REUSE SHOP at Nillumbik’s Recycling and Recovery Centre in Plenty reopened on October 25.
In an effort to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, the shop takes items delivered to the Recovery Centre that cannot be recycled, but are in good condition, and prepares them for sale on site.
In August 2018, the shop had to close while the intersection between the Recovery Centre and Yan Yean Road took place as part of the State Government’s Major Roads project.
With works now complete, the ReUse shop announced its reopening on Facebook, on October 18.
The reopening is yet another plus for Nillumbik residents and businesses in a month which has seen the tables slowly begin to turn in the war on waste.
On October 6, Nillumbik announced they had made a short-term agreement with KordaMentha, SKM’s receivers to send waste and recycling to the (then) newly reopened Laverton North recycling facility, with kerbside recycling services returning to normal on October 7.
Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Karen Egan expressed Council’s joy in seeing normality resume.
“This is exciting progress for our residents, who are enthusiastic recyclers and have been waiting patiently for proper services to resume,” she said.
On October 10, Cleanaway Pty Ltd, who acquired SKM’s senior secured debt of $60 million from the Commonwealth Bank in August, announced the acquisition of all SKM assets — which includes three recycling facilities in Victoria.
Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director Vik Bansal commented on the acquisition.
“The Acquisition provides Cleanaway with a strong recycling platform in Victoria and Tasmania as part of our Footprint 2025 strategy and our mission of making a sustainable future possible.
“The recycling sector is undergoing significant structural changes with a move to increase recycling within Australia to support a transition towards a circular economy.
“The Acquisition provides us with the infrastructure to capitalise on the growth opportunities created by these changes.”
Nillumbik Council has also confirmed the current arrangement to send recycling to Laverton North remains in place.
At State level, there are a number of policies and strategies in development to further enhance our ability to “reduce, reuse and recycle”.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are currently developing a circular economy policy which aims to repurpose our waste though repair, recycled goods, and energy generation, in an effort to divert as much waste as possible from landfill.
An initial issues paper and a series of workshops occurred between July and September, with the final outcome and report expected to be released later this year.
Advisory body Infrastructure Victoria released an evidence-based report on October 20 which looked at Victoria’s waste and recycling industry and has outlined a number of solutions for the future.
One possible solution which has sparked interest in national press is the possibility that Victorian’s may end up separating rubbish into six or more bins (organics, plastics, paper, glass, metals and other are given as examples) to reduce the need to co-mingle which, the report suggests, will allow for cleaner waste transport streams which would reduce the risk of contamination and potentially stop recyclables being sent to landfill.
Although the circular economy and the proposal for additional recycling bins is still a long way from becoming a reality, at least the light at the end of the (waste)tunnel is a little bit brighter.
In the meantime, Warrandyte and surrounds should simply continue to do what we do best; take advantage of the monthly Repair Café, fossick and visit the shops like ReUse in Plenty.

 

Bag ban to stop litter before it begins

By SANDI MILLER

THE VICTORIAN Government has now banned single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags across Victoria.
Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio said the Labor Government would consult closely with businesses and the community on how best to implement the policy.
“Banning single-use plastic bags will slash waste, reduce litter and help protect marine life in Victoria’s pristine waters,” she said.
The trick for all of us will be to avoid adopting behaviours with an even greater environmental impact, such as relying on heavier single-use plastic bags.
Plastics in the environment break up into smaller and smaller pieces over time, becoming increasingly difficult to manage.
They can end up in our waterways, lakes and oceans — contributing to litter and posing a significant hazard to our marine life.
As seen in last month’s Diary, when local photographer Denise Illing captured a photograph of a platypus tangled in rubbish, our local river-dwelling creatures suffer from the pollution that ends up in the Yarra.
Reducing the number of plastic bags we use is an important part of addressing the overall impacts of plastic pollution.
The phasing out of bags in supermarkets is now well established, and local supermarket owner Julie Quinton has said that people are getting much better in remembering to bring their own bags.
Warrandyte Riverside Market has prepared stallholders for the ban, and has been suggesting market goers bring their own bag for some months in the lead up to the ban.
Dick Davies from the Market committee said they are taking the ban very seriously, with committee members checking compliance at the market.
“Any concerned customers can also report non-compliance to the market office marquee in the Stiggant Street car park,” Dick said.
He said customers also have a responsibility to bring their own bags and reusable coffee cups.
“Even plastic or cardboard cups labelled ‘eco-friendly’ are not bio-degradable if the appropriate disposable or recycling facilities are unavailable,” he said.
He said the market has attempted a number of times to provide reusable ceramic coffee mugs but “has run into problems meeting the required food hygiene criteria”.
“Our best advice to shoppers is ‘Bring your own bag and cup’”, Dick said.
The 2015/16 Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index reported that Victoria has the lowest litter count in the country for the fifth year in a row.
Let’s keep it that way.

 

New Research Pavillion kicks goals


CRICKET AND FOOTBALL in Research has a shiny new home, with the opening of the $3 million Research Park Pavilion.
Eltham MP Vicki Ward opened the pavilion on behalf of Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek.
She said she understood the importance of having such a community facility in Research.
“To be able to have every gathering that people want to have, at a venue in Research, is just fantastic,” she said.
The redevelopment project took almost 10 years from conception, and replaces the ground’s ageing infrastructure, and followed a huge turnout to a pivotal council meeting in 2017, which was attended by almost 300 club members in a show of support.
On the strength of the community engagement in the project the Council adopted the two-story option, rather than just a single-story pavilion.
The expanded clubrooms allow for a social space both for the resident clubs, but also for the whole community.

The then Mayor, Peter Clarke told the Diary that Council had to decide between a $1.2m single-storey pavilion, or an $1.7m double-storey.
“What it achieved was the financial viability of the clubs, because the clubs earn money out of that space as well as lease it out.”
He said the facility fills a need in Research for a community hub, and Council is encouraging community groups to use the space during the week.
“You do these things once and you do them really well — there is no good doing two-thirds of the task.
“This will last for 30–40 years — it’s a good investment in the future,” Cr Clarke said.
The two-storey redevelopment at the park, which is home to the Research Junior Football Club (RJFC) and Research Eltham Collegians Cricket Club (RECCC), has allowed for greater participation across the community.
Current Deputy Mayor Bruce Ranken, who is also the social infrastructure portfolio councillor, said the new pavilion was long overdue.
“The previous sports pavilion on this site was ageing and no longer fit for purpose,” Cr Ranken said.
“Council listened to what the community had to say and now we have this modern all-inclusive facility.
“This project shows what can be done with people power.”
Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said the upgrade included the addition of two much-needed female change rooms and facilities for female umpires.
“This wonderful new facility is a win for our whole community and, importantly, caters for the growing number of females in sport,” she said.
“Both the football and cricket clubs have had increasing numbers of female members over the past few years.
“But the growth of female participation in sport locally has been restricted by the lack of facilities and I’m pleased we are smashing these barriers here in Research,” Cr Egan said.
Paul Northey from Research Junior Football Club said that the new facilities would be fantastic for their 15 junior football teams — including four girls’ teams — and “would be an asset for the whole community for generations”.
Chris Cunningham from the Research and Eltham Collegians Cricket Club who play out of the facility said that the stadium would allow access for their 10 junior teams, including two girls’ sides, six mixed seniors’ sides, and a veterans’ team, an over sixties team and an all-abilities side.
Nillumbik Council contributed $1.69 million to the project as well as $265,000 for the upcoming car park works.
The State Government provided a total of $950,000, with $650 through the Growing Suburbs Fund, a $100,000 grant from Sport and Recreation Victoria and $200,000 in funding through a State Government election commitment in 2014.
“We went into every bucket,” Ms Ward quipped.
The football and cricket clubs raised $130,000 for the pavilion.
The pavilion features an upstairs community hall with kitchen, bar and meeting rooms overlooking the grounds.
Downstairs are four player change rooms, umpire change rooms and an accessible toilet and lift.

Working with Gen Z – when you a clearly not one!


I am not even fully awake yet and I can feel the glowing rectangles of text burning into the back of my mind, beckoning me to come hither.
While I was sleeping, a few of the Gen Zs on my work team were up late, buzzing away in our group messaging space and now, while they sleep, their silent chatter calls to the rest of us.
It is a strong, invisible force that pulls me towards the screen.
Though there are no visible signs alerting me to their existence, the battle to ignore them is exhausting.
It’s been going on for months — and most days they win.
Before I’ve even put the kettle on I am scrolling through kilometres of text messages and emoji’s: the occasional ‘thumbs up’ and, of course, the ever present yellow circle faces with puffed out cheeks and red heart shaped eyes.
My mind fills with a whirl of responses and frustration and, by the time my family join me in the kitchen, the joy of the new day has already been washed away.
Navigating the work space via an online chat app requires one to be ‘switched on’ at all times.
If you miss a few hours of “conversation” it can take almost as much time to catch up.
Instant messaging is the way it works with this team, and their friends, and they are comfortable with it.
I, however, am struggling to speak their lingo.
Gen Z have grown up in the digital age, social media and mobile devices are a natural part of life.
In a face-to-face meeting recently I was told I had been coming across as unfriendly and somewhat abrupt.
As the conversation continued it became clear that my lack of emoji use had something to do with it.
I have been a user of the colon-close-bracket-smiley-face for years now, and I’ve even branched out to the semi-colon when I want to spice it up a little, but apparently my lack of puff cheeked golden orbs is sending its own message.
Emoji – those small digital images used to express an idea or emotion within text messages are important in some circles and if you get it wrong it can mean more text messages to establish the original meaning.
Try sending a ‘happy face’ by accident and see how long it takes to right the wrong, and as far as working out when to use the halo-wearing, sweating or sunglass wearing faces… well, when you do, can you let me know?
This experience has me wondering if instant messaging really does belong in the work place.
Perhaps it does – it just needs boundaries.
In our everyday life, we use texting regularly to make plans, ask questions and resolve queries like “what time will you be home tonight?”
However, it often seems to take longer and feels to me that it is a step backwards in communication.
Standing around typing and waiting for the response seems to be a waste of time and a missed opportunity to connect.
The question also sits unresolved and keeps our minds preoccupied while we wait for a reply.
These messages can often also lend themselves to miscommunication.
You can’t hear the tone of voice, and most often punctuation is not used, so the meaning can be misconstrued.
Here’s an example:
After numerous texts back and forth with a colleague there was still no resolution or plan to move forward on an issue.
The hours between a text and its response seemed to drag.
What could have been resolved in a few minutes over the phone took days.
Eventually I sent a text suggesting a phone call within business hours, estimating in would only take about 20 minutes to resolve the issue.
Eventually, with a little bit of fuss and a message to let me know how much my request was an inconvenience, the call took place and as predicted, the matter was resolved within the timeframe given.
Wrapping up the conversation I decided to ask a personal question, something like, ‘How are you going with all this?’ and instantly I regretted it.
What followed was a torrent of words telling me I was wasting her time and that she “doesn’t do phone calls”.
Suffice to say, communication between the two of us remained stilted for the remainder of the project.
So tell me, when texting is the default, and a phone conversation is often seen as time wasting, and unwelcome, how do you establish friendships over multiple short messages?
Perhaps the answer really does lie in the face of an Emoji.
Anyway, I’m off to my other job, where we work face to face and talk to one another across the office.
At lunch time we might walk to the bakery together and chat about our weekend.
Later, I’ll head home and possibly catch me some different kind of Zs.

 

Be Fire Ready

Protecting your horses from bushfire

LIVING IN A bushfire prone area means residents need to think ahead before the bushfire season begins.
This includes horse owners living in Warrandyte and surrounds.
On October 20, the South Warrandyte CFA held a Horses and Bushfire Information Session at the South Warrandyte Cricket Club.
Horse owners who attended were treated to a fascinating session about the myths and realities of dealing with horses in a bushfire situation.
The biggest takeaway from the session is how critical it is to prepare and have a plan for their safety before a fire happens.
Many believe horses panic in fires.
We quickly learned from Captain Sharon Merritt, Macclesfield CFA, this is not the case.
Horses are rarely stressed out by fire and can generally look after themselves if they have the right conditions.
Their natural instinct is to move as far from the fire as possible and then quickly seek burnt ground to survive.
If you have a horse in a bushfire prone area, it is imperative to have a designated safe place on your property.
Ideally this safe place would include a paddock that has been eaten out with enough room to gallop and minimal vegetation.
A large sand ménage without buildings or vegetation too close is also suitable.
Animals confined to stables or small yards may panic and hurt themselves trying to escape if the building catches fire.
Fences should be prepared so they can contain your horse even if a fire passes through.
Star pickets and a sight wire can be added to post and rail fencing.
A dam or water in a concrete tank or deep bath should be available so horses can seek relief from the heat and avoid dehydration after the fire has passed.
It is very likely you will not have access to your property for some time after a fire so access to shade and water can make a big difference.
Your property should have a Property Identification Code (PIC).
This is registered with the Department of Agriculture through the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).
The code shows authorities horses are on your property and DEDJTR may be able to enter after the fire to check on their welfare.
If a Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger day is declared, move your horse into the designated safer paddock or area early.
Remove rugs and fly veils as these can burn and cause serious injuries.
If possible plait your horse’s tail polo style to keep it from catching fire.
Run through your plan and check everything is ready.
If your horse is not microchipped, put your phone number on your horse using spray paint or use event crayon so they can be identified.

If you have to move your horse

If your property is not safe for your horse to remain during a fire, have a plan to move them to a safer area if a Severe, Extreme or Code Red fire danger day is declared.
It is too late to move your horse if there is fire in the area and risks putting both you and your horse in danger.
Bushfires can travel fast, and traffic management points will be set up, closing roads.
Coming back for your horse during a fire is extremely dangerous.
Do not attempt to move horses that you are not responsible for.
The horse owner may have a fire plan in place and by interfering you could be putting the horse in danger, as well as yourself.
Check if you can move your horse to a neighbour’s property, the local racecourse, pony club or showgrounds.
You should check well in advance if these places are willing to take your horse and you may be required to stay with them.
Alternatively, talk to other horse owners and create a group plan.
If you agist your horse, talk to the agistment owner to find out what the bushfire plan is for their property.
If other horses will be using the same temporary safe area, ensure they are familiar with each other or can be kept safely apart.
After the fire has passed, it may be some time before you can check on your horse.
Check the area is safe, with no fallen power lines or trees likely to fall.
Watch for ash pits where tree roots have burned underground that can cause burns if stepped in.
Make sure fencing is intact and water sources are clean.
Move your horse from hot ground as soon as possible to avoid laminitis.
If you have done your prep work well, your horse is more likely to survive with minimal injuries.
Generally, horses that have been through a bushfire have some facial burns, swollen eyelids and hoof damage.
You might not be able to get a vet to your horse, so it can be useful to have some basic first aid at hand or a plan to get your horse to a vet.
Horses can do well in bushfires if their owners have a plan and prepare early, before a fire starts.

More information can be found at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/horses-and-bushfires

The whys and wherefores of bylaws: Fire preparation and vegetation management

By SANDI MILLER

WITH SUMMER approaching it is time to consider preparing your property for fire season.
The Diary spoke with Manningham and Nillumbik Councils about how to clean up your property but stay within the rules around vegetation management.
Angelo Kourambas, Manningham’s Director City Planning and Community said:
“Council strongly recommends that anyone looking to remove vegetation or trees on their property should contact Council before commencing any removal works”.
Nillumbik Council’s, Senior Communications Officer of Governance and Legal Services, Natalie Town likewise encourages residents “to think carefully about tree and vegetation removal and to contact Planning Services on 9433 3343 before doing so”.
Mr Kourambas said that cleaning up properties should form part of your fire plan.
“In the lead up to bushfire season residents should ensure they have an emergency plan ready and prepare their properties accordingly,” he said.
The CFA website has all the information residents need to prepare their property.
Council is urging all residents to prepare their property now and maintain it throughout summer.
Visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/how-to-prepare-your-property

Managing vegetation on your property 

Nillumbik, as the Green Wedge Shire, is known as the “lungs” of Melbourne.
“Our beautiful open spaces and natural treed environment, together with our friendly villages, add to the lifestyle of the Shire.
“While we like the environment surrounding us, bushfire safety is of paramount importance.
“Striking the right balance is essential,” Ms Town said.
Mr Kourambas said Manningham’s most valued features is the balance of city and country, with a range of urban areas surrounded by vast natural environment.
To protect this, he said residents are generally required to obtain a planning permit before vegetation can be removed.
Planning permits for vegetation removal are particularly important for residents living on a property with an: Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO), Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO), Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO), or Heritage Overlay (HO).
There are some exemptions to allow vegetation removal around a resident’s home and along certain fences without obtaining a permit.
For instance, along the front fence, private landowners can use the exemption on their property but cannot remove vegetation from the roadside as they are not the property owner.
Landowners must check there are no covenants or other legal agreements which are not covered by the exemptions.

Reducing fire risk 

Preparing your property all year round reduces the risk of stockpiled waste.
Fallen tree debris, grass, twigs and excess vegetation can dry out and become very flammable in the event of a bush or grass fire.
For this reason, both Councils recommend residents clear this kind of garden waste before the warm weather hits.
It is also important for residents to clear out their gutters frequently to ensure they’re free from leaves and sticks.
Having clean gutters may offer protection from an ember attack during a fire and greatly reduces risk of water entering a roof space during a storm.
For a detailed guide on landscaping for bushfire prone properties residents can view the CFA’s Landscaping for bushfire guide.

Abiding by the 10/30 or 10/50 rule

Following recommendations from the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, the Victorian Government has made a number of changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions regarding vegetation removal.
It provides certain exemptions that may allow you to remove vegetation to create a defendable space around buildings used for accommodation, including associated outbuildings and boundary fences, without the need to obtain a planning permit.
Depending on whether your property is covered by the Bushfire Management Overlay planning scheme or not, will determine what you can remove.
When preparing properties for bushfire and considering the removal of vegetation, residents should check which of the 10/30 or 10/50 exemptions apply.
You are covered by the 10/30 rule, if there is no Bushfire Management Overlay on property.
It means you may remove trees up to 10m, or vegetation up to 30m, around existing building without a permit.
If a Bushfire Management Overlay exists on property, it means you are covered by the 10/50.
You may therefore remove trees up to 10m, and vegetation up to 50m, around existing building without a permit.
Buildings must be used for accommodation and have existed before September 2009.
Landowners must check there are no covenants or other legal agreements which are not covered by the exemptions.

How to dispose of green waste

Each year Manningham Council offers residents the option of:

  • Two household hard rubbish (waste) collections, or
  • Two household bundled garden waste (branches) collections, or
  • A combination of one hard rubbish (waste) collections and one bundled branches (garden waste) collection.

In addition to this, residents in bushfire prone areas are eligible for four complimentary green waste vouchers per year to help remove any excess garden waste from their properties.
In Nillumbik, residents can put their green waste in the 120-litre green waste bin which is collected weekly.
Residents can also deliver their green waste to Council’s Recycling and Recovery Centre at 290 Yan Yean Road, Yarrambat.
Property owners receive three green waste vouchers a year as part of their valuation and rates notice.
Property owners can pass these vouchers on to tenants to use.
Residents must bring their original or online rates notice to the Nillumbik Recycling and Recovery Centre.
Green waste vouchers provide flexibility to dispose of larger quantities of green waste at a convenient time.
One voucher is for one cubic metre of green waste, this a slightly heaped 6×4 sized trailer load.
Load size will be assessed by the attendant.
Green waste includes garden clippings, pruning, leaves and grass.
It must be clean and not contain processed wood such as treated pine, fence palings or untreated timber and must not include food waste.
For Manningham residents, green waste can be disposed of at the Manningham Garden Waste Centre at the corner of Websters and Blackburn Road, Templestowe.

The current and future voucher periods for 2019/20 are:

  • Sunday, October 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
  • Sunday, January 12, 2020 to Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Sunday, April 5, 2020 to Sunday, June 28, 2020

For more information, including maximum trailer load sizes, visit: manningham.vic.gov.au/garden-waste-vouchers
Property owners, landlords and property managers can order new or additional bins for a property.
In Nillumbik, each property can have up to two green waste bins.
There is an upfront cost of $80 for an extra green bin with no additional annual collection charge.
If a tenant wishes to select an alternative option for their bins, they need to contact their landlord or property manager.

Get it done

Inspections will soon be conducted across both municipalities by Municipal Fire Prevention Officers to identify properties that may constitute a fire hazard.
If the property is not well maintained the owner will receive a Fire Prevention Notice requiring them to undertake works.
It is an offence to fail to comply with a Fire Prevention Notice.

Vacant land

To protect your neighbours, owners of vacant land are required to maintain the vegetation on their property during bushfire season by:

  • Removing any fallen and dead vegetation
  • Removing any fine fuels (anything less than 6mm in diameter e.g. twigs)
  • Creating separation between vegetation, buildings and fences by mowing and pruning vegetation.

If someone is concerned about a property with an excessive volume of fuel, they should contact Council.

Burning off 

Burning off in the open air is prohibited unless you have a valid permit issued by your Council.
In Manningham, residents who own, reside in, or manage a property greater in size than 2,500 square metres are eligible to apply for a permit to burn off green waste on their property.
Before applying for a permit to burn off green waste residents should know:

  • It is illegal to burn off during the fire danger period without a special permit.
  • Outside of the fire danger period it is illegal to burn off when the fire danger rating is very high or above.

Residents can apply for a permit via the Councils websites, either www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au or Manningham go to www.manningham.vic.gov.au/burning-off

In Nillumbik, burning off can occur from October 1 until the Fire Danger Period is declared by the CFA.
A permit is required to burn off in Nillumbik if your property is less than 1 acre (0.4 hectares) OR If you wish to burn off a large heap, a pile that occupies an area greater than 10 square metres or more than 25 cubic metres in volume.
If shade temperature exceeds 32 degrees Celsius or the wind speed exceeds 15kph, do not burn off.
It is the responsibility of the permit holder to check the fire danger rating before they intend to burn.
Any burn off must be registered with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) on 1800 668 511 prior to commencement.
Further conditions apply to all permits and will be provided on approval of a permit.
Residents must read and be aware of all conditions prior to open air burning.
Residents may also contact the CFA to burn off their property for them.
For additional information on burning off residents can visit the CFA’s website: cfa.vic.gov.au/plan- prepare/burning-off

Fire danger period 

The Country Fire Authority is responsible for declaring the Fire Danger Period for each municipality at different times in the lead up to the fire season.
It depends on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other local conditions.
No fire danger period has been declared for Nillumbik yet but check with the CFA for updates.
www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/restrictions-during-the-fire-danger-period

Renters in fire prone areas 

Whether a person owns their property or rents, it is just as important to know their risks and have an emergency plan.
In regard to clearing vegetation, renters must adhere to Council conditions in the same way a property owner must.
If a person renting has concerns about the state of vegetation on their property, they should contact their real estate agent or landlord to discuss the matter directly.

 

Meet the Brigade at the Research CFA Open Day

By JOHN HUF

RESEARCH Fire Brigade will open its doors to the public on Saturday, November 30, 2019 as part of the 2019 CFA Open Day program.
Brigade members will be on hand on the day with a range of fire safety information and advice.
Fire Brigade Captain Neville Stewart said CFA Open Days were the perfect opportunity for brigades to show the community what they do to keep everyone safe and to deliver valuable fire safety messages.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our local community to meet the men and women who work hard to keep them safe from fire and help out in times of emergency,” he said.
“Anyone interested in joining CFA, whether as a firefighter or in a support role is also welcome to come along for a look and a chat.”
CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said the open days are a great opportunity for people to find out how to best protect themselves, their family and property from fire this summer.
“A strong relationship between the community and emergency services is a crucial component in boosting community safety and greatly assists our members in their critical role of the protection of life and property.
“Now is the time to prepare your family and home in the lead up to summer and we’re here to help — members will be on hand to provide a range of fire safety information.”
Brigades throughout the state have opened their stations to their local communities as part of the CFA Open Day program since it started in 2011.
The day is an opportunity for all Victorians to learn more about what brigades do for the local community in a relaxed and friendly environment.
The Research Brigade Open Day will be held on Saturday, November 30 at the fire station in Research-Warrandyte Road from 10am to 12pm.

For information on this event and other events being held by brigades around Victoria, see cfa.vic.gov.au/whatson

 

“Are YOU Ready?” Bushfire Scenario

By DICK DAVIES

The Warrandyte Community Association’s ‘Be Ready Warrandyte’ campaign will be hosting a bushfire scenario on  Wednesday, November 27, from 7:00-9:00pm at the North Warrandyte Family Centre in Research Road, and all Warrandyte residents are urged to attend.
The emphasis is on the “Are YOU Ready?” with special attention to new neighbours and pets.
Community Emergency Management leaders will be on hand to answer questions about school shutdown, police activity, potential road closures etc. and the Bendigo Bank will provide advice on insurance.
The focus will be on North Warrandyte and Warrandyte, with Emergency Management Risk assessment and updates and a realistic scenario.
The last two bushfire forums were  information sessions at the Community Church which attracted about 250 people each time, but our feedback forms suggested that there was a perception that it was too Manningham oriented.
Consequently we are holding this one in the North Warrandyte Family Centre on Research Road.
It is however, a smaller venue and we plan to cater for an overflow in the North Warrandyte Fire Station with live projector and speaker feeds.
Parking is also limited so we advocate participants arrive early, car-share and utilise overflow parking in an adjacent paddock.
We plan to have a mini bus for those who don’t want to walk!
We urge everyone in the Warrandyte community to attend, especially new residents and those with pets.

Event Details:
“Are YOU Ready?”, Bushfire Scenario
Wednesday 27th November, 7:00–9:00pm
North Warrandyte Family Centre in Research Road.
RSVP info@warrandyte.org.au

Organised by the Warrandyte Community Association’s “Be Ready Warrandyte” campaign with the CFA, Nillumbik and Manningham Councils and local Emergency Services and supported by the Bendigo Bank Warrandyte Community Financial Services Limited.