Monthly Archives: March 2020

Heavy fines for breaching restrictions


PEOPLE ACROSS the State are waking up to the new reality of even tougher physical distancing restrictions.

Stage 3 restrictions came into effect at 11:59pm on Monday, March 30.

In a statement issued on Monday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews explained the reasons for the new restrictions.

“My message to every Victorian is that there are only four reasons to leave your home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education.

“Most Victorians are doing the right thing and I’m grateful to them.

“But we continue to see instances of people gathering in significant numbers so we must do more.

“That’s why we are also restricting gatherings to no more than two people except for members of your immediate household and for work or education.

“We will not be breaking up household family dinners — but BBQs with the neighbours cannot happen anymore.

“Playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms will also close.”

The new restrictions mean, outside of the people you live with in your household, you are not allowed to mass, socially, as a group of more than two people.

Victoria Police has been given the authority to issue on the spot fines to anyone breaking the restrictions with individuals facing a fine of $1,652 and businesses $9,913 who breach this or any of the restrictions currently in place.

The roll out of restrictions has been complex with the restrictions targeting specific businesses and activities.

It is still okay to go to work, if you are able to and if you are able to comply with physical distancing rules, it is still okay to go shopping to buy essential supplies, it is still okay to leave the house (if you are not unwell or under quarantine) for daily exercise, but government and health officials at every level are reinforcing the message that if you do not need to leave your house, you should not.

The Diary would also like to reflect this message.

The staff and volunteers at the Diary are limiting their physical presence in the community, but that does not mean we are not still here working to keep you informed, engaged and entertained.

If you have something to tell the community, and to tell history, the Diary is a time capsule that will tell the story of how we got through this together.

Send your stories to the Editor and look out for the next Diary, which will be going to print next week.

To combat the spread of COVID-19 and to help sustain our local economy it is imperative we all respect the advice from government and minimise our movements to those which are deemed essential (food, health, and work).

To keep up to date on the latest developments, the Federal Government has released an app on the Apple App Store and on Google Play as well as set up a What’s App bot to help members of the community access the most relevant details regarding this pandemic.

The app is a straightforward and simple way to get the information they need to keep informed and is readily accessible from their smartphone and, like the Vic Emergency app, should be part of everyone’s app arsenal.

March 2020

Download your copy of March 2020 Warrandyte Diary. Click here

 

 

To download your copy of the March 2020 Warrandyte Diary Bulletin, click here

Exercise like no one is watching


WOMEN ARE constantly bombarded with imagery of women with so-called “perfect” bodies working out without even breaking a sweat.

It sends a message that there is something wrong with us if we don’t look like that.

Women should not feel like exercise isn’t for them because they don’t have a six-pack or the latest active wear.

That’s why This Girl Can celebrates all women’s bodies getting active — wrinkles, jiggles, red-faces and all.

The campaign, which features real Victorian women instead of professional athletes or toned Instagram models, last year inspired an incredible one in five Victorian women to get moving.

The campaign is empowering women to smash their fears of judgement and intimidation holding them back from being active.

Before the campaign, VicHealth research showed a staggering 52 per cent of Victorian women worried about being judged while exercising.

Now over three quarters of women who’ve seen the campaign feel it has helped women increase their confidence and overcome their fear of being judged when being active.

More than 400,000 Victorian women have been empowered to get active as a result of the This Girl Can campaign.

The This Girl Can launch in Nillumbik was attended by Eltham local and Richmond AFLW star Sabrina Frederick, who said public life was a “constant battle between what other people think and what you are doing”.

“When I started playing football, it was a very male-dominated sport and you get it into your head that it’s not for you or you’re not strong enough,” she said.

“But as time goes on you get more confident.

“Over time you realise it’s not about other people, it’s about what you want to do and what you want to achieve.”

VicHealth’s Melanie Fineberg says the program isn’t about making women feel bad about not exercising enough, it’s about celebrating what they can do, whether that’s a walk around the block or a few laps of the pool.

“We want to help women focus on the feeling of being active, instead of their worries about being judged, by showing a range of everyday women being physically active regardless of their background, ability, age or body shape,” Melanie said.

Women can get involved in a range of fun, inclusive, free or low-cost events being held right across the state as part of This Girl Can Week kicking off on March 23.

Local councils are offering a range of programs as part of the initiative.

Spokesperson for Manningham said: “Council is committed to helping women in Manningham to get more active and lead healthy lifestyles”.

She said to support active living, Council is focused on establishing programs that encouraging physical activity and reducing barriers to participation.

Manningham Council is offering over 30 free classes and activities to women of all ages.
A local highlight is free dancing in the dark with No Lights No Lycra (NLNL).

On Wednesdays, March 18 and 25 2020 Manningham Council is hosting NLNL in the Warrandyte Mechanics Hall.

At this event the lights will be turned off and the tunes will be cranked up so participants can release their inhibitions, move their moods and work up a wild sweat.
NLNL organiser Kim Hunting Thompson said these classes were an extension of the existing popular program she runs at the Mechanics Hall each week.

Kim says Council have also invited her to run the program in Templestowe on Mondays during This Girl Can Week.

Registration for these free sessions is available through the Manningham Council website.

Manningham are also hosting come-and-try clinics in AFL, Hockey, Netball, Volleyball and Lawn Bowls, as well as bike riding lessons and social walks.

Nillumbik Council’s Communications Officer Natalie Town said Nillumbik took part in the program for the first time last year.

“It was such a success we are doing it again this year,” she said.

All of Nillumbik’s five sport and leisure centres and the Yarrambat Golf Course are getting involved again, as are many local sporting clubs.

Eltham Leisure Centre is offering special free classes from March 23–29, everything from Meditation to Spin classes, to Zumba, with free childcare for some sessions.

For more details and to register go to elthamleisurecentre.com.au

Yarrambat Park Golf Course is offering free golf for women during This Girl Can Week, with clubs supplied, plus special clinics for women.

Full details at mygolf.org.au and search ‘Yarrambat’.

Or for something a bit different, head to Skaterz in Eltham for some Roller Derby action.

Find activities and register for events at thisgirlcan.com.au or via your Council’s website: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/thisgirlcan or manningham.vic.gov.au/thisgirl-can.

Could your heart hold your answers?


HAVE YOU ever given thought to when we talk about emotions, why we talk about our heart so much more than any other parts of our body?

We don’t say your words hurt my liver or kidney;” we blurt out, “you hurt me”, “you hurt my feelings”, which means you hurt my heart.

Let’s explore this further.

Science has finally caught up with what the ancient people and mystics have always believed; that our heart is more than just an organ that pumps blood throughout our body.

In ancient history, we discover the heart is at the centre of all spiritual traditions.

As we dig deeper into many sacred texts, they often refer to the heart as the place where God and spirits dwell.

Most religious traditions talk about the heart not just as an organ but that it also feels, ponders, and remembers things.

It can even access information beyond our logical understanding.

We also now know the heart has its own brain.

As we look further into ancient cultures, we discover a theme:

in Taoism/Confucianism, the yin-yang symbol represents heart-mind;

in The Bible, the word “heart” appears over 1,000 times;

in Christianity, the cross and the heart are united;

in Catholic theology, the sacred heart of Jesus is the most used Catholic devotion.

In today’s world, the Dali Lama sums it up nicely:

“Never give up. No matter what is going on. Never give up. Develop the heart. Too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart. Be compassionate not just to your friends but to everyone. Be compassionate. Work for peace in your heart and in the world. Work for peace. And I say again. Never give up. No matter what is going on around you. Never give up.”

It all makes sense when you give it some thought.

So how did we lose the heart soul connection, where did it go?

Dr Joe Dispenza states in his book Becoming Supernatural:

“In the 17th century, during the early years of the scientific revolution, French philosopher Rene Descartes argues that the mind and body were two radically distinct substances.

Through this mechanistic view of the universe, people began to view the heart as an extraordinary machine.

The mechanism of the heart as a physical pump began to overshadow its nature as humanity’s connection to an innate intelligence.

Through scientific inquiry, the heart slowly ceased to be recognised as our connection to feelings, emotions, and our higher selves.

It has only been through the new science of the last few decades that we have begun to reconcile, understand, and recognise the true significance of the heart both as a source that generates electromagnetic fields and as our connection to the unified field.”

Find your self

Are you ready to try a little test?

Get your finger and point to you, yourself.

Now, where did you point?

Most people will point to the heart or chest area.

Is that a coincidence, or is this because our heart is connected to our spirit?

Find your heart

To reconnect with your innate being, your soul and heart, you can do some of the following:

Meditation

Yoga

Church or religious services

Time in nature

Time around children and pets

And focus on your heart and allow yourself to gently breathe in and out and allow positive feelings to radiate within it and around it.

When you quieten the mind, the heart will speak to you, the voice may be quiet, or it may be booming.

It’s that intuition you have.

You may say “my heart”, or “my gut” says yes or no.

Learn to reconnect and trust it.

Listen to your heart

In his book, The Heart’s Code, Dr Paul Pearsall, talks about a young girl who had a heart transplant.

After the successful transfer, the young girl started to have nightmares.

As the heart came from a young girl that was murdered, her dreams were taken seriously.

Her dreams were so accurate, that it led to the capture and conviction of the murderer.

Remember when the head and heart take opposing sides of an issue, don’t decide until they align, or you listen to your heart.

By doing this, you will reduce the “I should have listened to my instincts, heart or gut.”

If you feel lost, disconnected, hurt, anxious, remember to stop the mind chatter, by switching your attention to the heart and doing things that bring you to a state of calm, and ease helps.

If the condition moves beyond normal, seek professional help.

 

Getting behind Our Hall


NOT MANY people are aware that the Mechanics’ Institute Hall is a true community asset, it belongs to anyone, and everyone, lucky enough to live within a two-mile radius of the Hall.

And it is up to us all to give “our hall” the care it has provided to the community over the years.

While the Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute is more than 140 years old, the current Mechanics’ Institute Hall is coming up on 95 years.

A recent grant from Warrandyte Community Bank for ongoing renovations continues a long history of community love for our little green hall.

A board of trustees was established in 1878, and the trustees were given the original schoolhouse in Forbes Street for use as a Mechanics’ Institute for the nominal sum of £1.

The next decade saw a concerted effort to construct a new building.

A meeting in July 1890 saw that good progress had been made to establish a building fund, having raised some £23 5s 9d towards a new building.

In December of that year the new building had passed inspection by the Board of Health and was ready for operation.

The Mechanics’ Institutes Hall opened on December 19, 1890 at the North West corner of Yarra Street and Web Street, on the site of what is now Rush and Hampshire Lawyers.

In 1925, they began fundraising for a new hall as the old hall was considered too small for the community’s needs.

The current hall was built on the site of the Warrandyte Hotel, which burned down in April, 1925.

A public meeting was held in the new hall to approve a set of rules and regulations and granting membership of the Institute to those residents over 21 years who lived “for not less than three months within a two-mile radius”.

The hall was immediately put to use with the first wedding taking place on December 8, 1928 between Alice (Pap) Schneider, the town’s first telephonist, and stonemason George Stringer.

The new hall also became the regular venue for the school’s Fancy Dress Ball and the Lilac Time Ball from 1930 until 1954.

There was an annual New Year’s Eve dance with locals gathering in the hall until midnight, then dancing along behind a Scottish pipe band to the bridge to ring in the new year — some years the young lads would let off a stick of gelignite to welcome in the new year with a bang.

Following WWII there were also regular Debutant Balls.

Moving pictures came to Warrandyte and were shown at the Mechanics’ Hall on Friday nights, providing a regular source of entertainment for the townsfolk.

One local remembers it cost ninepence to enter, however she only earned threepence delivering milk, so she saved her money for a month to go to the pictures, with threepence left over for an ice cream.

Then came Friday, January 13, 1939, and the disastrous Black Friday bushfires.

The fires destroyed some 160 homes — with all three churches, the post office, both cricket pavilions and the South Warrandyte Hall all falling to the flames.

The Mechanics’ became a Relief Centre for the community, which operated for some months, providing assistance to those in need.

On February 4, 1939 a dance was held at the Hall to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s Bushfire Fund.

Organised by Miss Renton and Miss Wagner (Popsy Bone) the dance raised £11 15s 6d for the cause.

Then WWII struck and the hall was the scene of some very emotional farewells to the departing troops, many whom never returned.

For the next six years, the Hall was host to many patriotic events to raise money for the war effort.

During this time, Warrandyte was given a fire fighting truck, and a fire station was constructed at the rear of the hall to house it.

The Fire Brigade leased the land from the hall for a rental of one shilling per year and a building was constructed with stone quarried from Whipstick Gully.

The shed was built in 1944 by George Stringer at a cost of £67.

During the 1962 fires the Hall was again used as a Bushfire Relief Centre.

In 1956, the Warrandyte Arts Association (WAA) was formed, and became an important tenant for the Hall.

Consisting of Craft, Drama, Musical, Paining and Pottery Groups, the main focus of the Association’s activities were classes for children.

The Arts Association was born as a result of a public meeting in November 1955 and the various groups emerged over the following months.

Not only could local people participate in the various groups, but professional musicians, for example, were brought out to perform in the Hall.

During the 50s and 60s the Mechanics’ Institute committee of management faced a constant battle to maintain the hall.

With a lack of film screenings, and lack of attendance at dances, the committee considered selling the land to developers and build a new hall at the Recreation Reserve.

Several meetings were held over the years to consider options, and at one well attended meeting in 1973 the members voted to stop negotiations on the sale of the hall.

While an important turning point for the hall, it did nothing to improve the financial position of the Institute.

WAA members maintained the building through fundraising, sale of debentures, loans from committee members, hours of voluntary labour and, above all, the drive to maintain the Hall.

At a public meeting in 1986, WAA was given the go-ahead to take over the full responsibility of the Hall and a new, incorporated association — the Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute and Arts Association — was born.

Grandiose plans for extension as a fully-fledged theatre with foyer, exhibition space, storage et cetera were not fulfilled.

However, the association has devoted hours of work and thousands of dollars raised from theatrical productions, especially the annual Festival Follies, exhibitions and sales to undertake major refurbishment and purchase of equipment.

Major renovations began in 1991 and included, re-stumping, re-plastering and lining, insulation, internal and external painting and electrical work, installation of ducted heating, purchase of a new piano and lighting equipment.

This involved a huge investment of money and countless working bees and fund-raising concerts by members.

The renovations continued into the 21st century with the purchase of a new sound board, new tables, new chairs, new stage curtain, refurbishment of the committee room with cupboards, benches and flooring, installation of air conditioning, re-roofing and external painting and the creation of a garden with ramp access depicting the activities of the association through mosaics and dedicated to the memory of an outstanding volunteer.

More additions and improvements include the sealing of the rear car park, a professional building check for asbestos and some resulting modifications, purchase of additional theatre lighting, digital equipment and a motorised screen, as well as replacement of the rear stage doors and improved access in general.

President of the WMIAA, David Tynan, told the Diary that the Association has found funds largely from its theatre productions and from hiring the hall for community events.

“However, large expenses, such as improving the toilets, preventing the regular flood damage and major rotting of wooden structures in our buildings are beyond our modest budget.

“We have been very lucky to have forged an excellent relationship with the Warrandyte Community Bank, which has meant that we have been able to secure grant funding to refurbish the toilets and foyer area, and recently we have completed a major overhaul of our drainage so that future floods do not impact the buildings as severely as they have in the past,” he said.

Additional improvements are made each year, such as the installation of a toilet in the pottery studio, improved theatrical lighting and digital sound and light equipment, a rear deck and termite prevention work.

To date, the Bank has contributed almost $120,000 towards maintenance and refurbishment of the Hall.

This includes a recent contribution  of $32,000 toward current essential renovations.

“As custodians of the hall, we are conscious of our responsibility to maintain this historic building for future generations of Warrandyte residents, and we deeply appreciate the support of the Warrandyte Community Bank in completing this work,” David said.

He said that grants that come from the Bank “feel like support from our community”.

“The strength of the bank comes from our community’s investment in it, and the breadth and size of the Bendigo Bank Community grant schemes are what helps the local community groups to continue to thrive,” he said.

Direct assistance to the WMAII is also always appreciated, in the form of donations, labour, membership, or attending one of the many events the WMIAA holds each year.

Sources:
Bruce Bence, Celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the first Warrandyte Mechanics Institute Hall.

Mechanics’ Institute of Victoria

 

Register your pool or spa by June 1, 2020


THE VICTORIAN Government has introduced Building Amendment (Swimming Pool and Spa) Regulations 2019, which took effect from  last December.

This introduces mandatory requirements for owners of private swimming pools or spas to register their pool or spa with their local council.

In addition, pool and spa owners will now be required to have their safety barriers inspected by a registered building surveyor or building inspector every four years.

These regulations are being introduced because, on average, four young children die in Victoria in home swimming pools or spas each year, and many more are taken to hospital for near-drownings.

The cost to register your pool or spa is set by the State Government.

So, what does this all mean for owners of existing backyard or indoor pools and spas?

Definitions

A swimming pool or spa is any structure or excavation containing water and primarily used for swimming, wading, paddling or the like, and is capable of containing water to a depth of greater than 300mm.

This includes in-ground swimming pools, indoor swimming pools, above-ground swimming pools (including permanent and temporary swimming pools), spas, swim spas, bathing and wading pools and hot tubs.

Small inflatable pools that do not require any assembly — other than inflation — are not subject to these rules.

Also exempted are spas and baths inside a building which are used only for personal hygiene and are emptied fully after each use.

The owner of the land on which the pool is situated is responsible for compliance, so in the case of a tenanted property, the onus is on the landlord.

Register your pool or spa

The new laws require mandatory registration of all Victorian swimming pools and spas by June 1, 2020.

You can register your swimming pool or spa online via your council’s website, or alternatively in person at the council offices.

A fee of $79 applies for all swimming pool and spa registrations and is paid at the time of registration.

This fee consists of a registration fee of $32 and an information search fee of $47.

Have your pool inspected and get a certificate of compliance

Once you have registered your pool or spa you will be advised of the date your pool was built, and when you are required to lodge a Certificate of Pool and Spa Safety Barrier Compliance (CPSSBC) to verify that your swimming pool or spa is safe.

To obtain this certificate you will need to arrange to have your pool inspected by a registered building surveyor or registered building inspector.

The inspection will check that the pool or spa and its safety barriers, gates, pool fences, boundary fences, walls, screens, balustrades, doors, windows, locks, latches, hinges and self-closing devices (where applicable) are all in compliance with Australian Standard AS1926.1.

This inspection and certification will cost somewhere in the region of between $250 and $400, as inspectors set their own fees independently.

It is suggested that you obtain more than one quote.

Rather like obtaining a roadworthy certificate for your car, if it passes you get the required certificate and if it fails you get a notice of defects and will require a further inspection, for a smaller fee, once these have been corrected.

Fortunately, you have some time to do this because the date by which you have to lodge this certificate with the council depends on the date of construction of your pool or spa.

If constructed before July 1994, the certificate must be lodged by
June 1, 2021.

If constructed between July 1994 and April 2010, the certificate must be lodged by June 1, 2022.

If constructed after April 2010, the certificate must be lodged by
June 1, 2023.

Having obtained your certificate of compliance, lodge it with your council before the due date.

Ongoing four-year certification

Pools and spas will only need to be registered with the council once.

Following the initial certification, pools and spas are required to be re-inspected every four years thereafter, at your cost, and further certificates lodged with council.

Penalties

If you do not register your pool or spa by June 1, 2020, this will result in an infringement notice of approximately $330.

If a failed inspection is not corrected within 60 days, the inspector will issue a non-compliance certificate and submit it directly to council.

Council will then contact you and issue a barrier improvement notice, which will need to be actioned within 14 days and a fee of $385 will apply.

If you do not comply with Council’s directions to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations, this may result in the referral of the matter to a magistrate.

The State Government has a zero tolerance approach to offending property owners and is committed to ensuring adequate water safety for young children.

Significant penalties could apply if a matter is brought before the court.

Swimming pool and spa owners have a legal obligation to ensure they maintain the effective operation of swimming pool and spa safety barriers.

Gates and doors must remain closed except when entering the pool or spa.

 

Eltham Gateway trees remain under threat


THE CLASH between utilitarian necessity, and community and environmental amenity is all too familiar to many residents of Warrandyte and surrounds.

The latest battleground is the Eltham Fitzsimons Lane Roundabout at the Eltham Gateway.

Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) is planning to remove the roundabout and replace it with a multilane, traffic-lighted intersection, as part of its $2.2 billion Northern Roads Upgrade project.

Planned works also include the removal of the roundabout at Porter Street in Templestowe and the redesign of the Foote Street intersection.

The work at the Eltham Gateway to replace the roundabout with an intersection will involve the removal of hundreds of trees which will significantly change the look of the area, threatening what many see as the visual gateway into Nillumbik’s Green Wedge, as well as damaging the character of the area and disrupting community amenity for residents.

Eltham Community Action Group (ECAG) has been campaigning for an alternative design which will help ease traffic flow without damaging the amenity and character of the area.

“People see those trees and it makes them feel like they have come home”, said Carlota Quinlan, a representative of ECAG.

Following what many see as an ineffective campaign by MRPV to share the proposed design in September 2018, the impact of the works — the extent of the removal of the trees — was not fully visualised to both commuters and the broader community until late 2019, when ECAG tied red ribbons to all the trees planned to be removed at the Eltham Gateway, as well as publishing mock-ups of the proposed design.

ECAG also submitted a petition with 3,000 signatures to the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, requesting the project is halted and more a sympathetic design be sought, with more up to date traffic data.

In November 2019, the Diary ran a story on the ECAG red ribbon protest and asked MRPV if they were planning to alter the plans, given works are scheduled to begin in 2020.

At the time, MRPV told the Diary: “Updated preliminary designs will be published on the Major Road Projects Victoria website in the coming weeks.”

Nearly three months passed with no update, so the Diary contacted MRPV again for an update on the works, MRPV has now released information regarding alterations to the proposed 11 lane intersection.

Major Road Projects Victoria’s Delivery Director, Steve Cornish, told the Diary the design balanced important community feedback about the local significance of the Eltham Gateway with the needs of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“We’ve listened to what’s important to the community and investigated a number of design options,” Mr Cornish said.

“The design changes we’ve made will reduce the number of trees that are impacted, while still ensuring we can deliver vital safety benefits and reduce congestion.”

The new design slightly reduces the footprint and, according to MRPV, reduces the number of trees being removed.

But details in their latest update are vague.

Following a meeting between the project team and ECAG on Wednesday, February 26, ECAG spoke to the Diary, and indicated they were still “very disappointed” with the planned works.

“They have not taken on board community concerns,” said Ms Quinlan.

Although the updated design reduces the number of trees that need to be removed, the trees which currently stand in the middle and around the roundabout are still going, which has been the whole point of ECAGs protest.

Ms Quinlan told the Diary ECAG includes members who have experience in urban design, engineering et cetera, and that the group has submitted alternative design ideas to MRPV, which meet the expectations of both MRPV and the local community, but these have been declined.

Ms Quinlan also reinforced the sentiment that ECAG is not against the road improvement project in principle.

She said the community action group simply want a design which maintains the character and amenity of the Eltham Gateway.

Whilst ECAG continue to negotiate with MRPV for a better deign, the project continues to grind through the necessary bureaucratic processes needed for works to begin with the necessary planning amendments gazetted on January 16.

Construction is still scheduled to begin later this year.

The Diary asked MRPV for specific details regarding the number of trees saved in the new design, as well as comment on how traffic flow will be impacted by the North East Link.

“Design refinements, since the initial reference design was released in September 2018, have resulted in a total of 150 fewer trees needing to be removed.

“This includes a most recent saving of 50 fewer trees needing to be removed with the design revisions released in February 2020.

“Major Road Projects Victoria’s traffic modelling showed that while traffic volumes on Fitzsimons Lane are expected to reduce with the opening of North East Link (2027), the existing roundabout would continue to create congestion, long queues and risky driver behaviour without an upgrade.

“Every iteration of the design has taken into account how future traffic volumes will affect the intersection.

“The updated design has reduced the overall footprint of the upgrade, while still delivering significant improvements to safety and congestion to Fitzsimons Lane.

“Major Road Projects Victoria will continue to inform and consult the community through web, electronic and mail updates, door knocks to nearby properties, community information sessions, and pop ups at events.”

The recent “artist’s impression” released by MRPV as part of the February update has also come under fire from ECAG on social media with a post on the groups Facebook page haranguing Major Roads for an artist’s impression which is misleading and not to scale.

There is still time for the community to voice their concerns or seek clarity on any aspect of the design.

MRPV is hosting a Drop In Session at Eltham Library on Wednesday, March 11, from 6pm.

 

Running to build community

Photographs in gallary below courtesy of www.primaryfocus.net.au

©2020 Primary Focus

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THE THEME of community was strong at this year’s Run Warrandyte as our community welcomed, encouraged and celebrated the blind and vision impaired community.

The event committee reports registrations were up by 100 participants this year, proving the event continues to showcase our stunning bush surrounds to more and more people, year on year.

Guide Dogs Victoria were the official fundraising partner for Run Warrandyte 2020 and the not-for-profit running group Achilles Australia — who team up sighted and vision impaired runners were also on course, guiding a contingent of runners up and down the hills and trails of The Pound, as they ran the picturesque course.

Leah McFadzean, General Manager of Guide Dog and Vision Services, spoke to the Diary about what Guide Dogs Victoria do and their reasons for partnering with Run Warrandyte.

“It seemed like a natural fit.

“We try to come out into the community because we like to ensure that our blind and vision impaired clients and families can be in the community.

“Because that’s what it is about — independence, inclusion and accessibility.”

Leah explained that it takes two years to raise a guide dog and the organisation is reliant on volunteers and donations to help prepare the caring canines, but she also explained that Guide Dogs Victoria is not just about dogs.

“I am big on allowing individuals and families to do what they want to do independently.

“There may be someone here who has a family member, or extended family member, who is just starting on the journey and doesn’t know where to go.

“So if I say out loud ‘Guide Dogs Victoria is more than just the dogs’, then maybe they will ring us and we can wrap our professional selves around them and guide them where they need to go,” she said.

While guide dogs drew the crowd in the event village, the group from Achilles Melbourne ran the course, guiding six runners around one, two or three laps of the course.

The Diary spoke with several blind and vision impaired runners, and their guides, after the run, to gauge their experience of our annual community event.

“What was really interesting was the support we got from the fellow runners, as well as the Marshalls and the organisers — it has been a really great, warm and welcoming run”, said Carl de Campos, a vision impaired runner from South Africa, who is in the middle of a five-week holiday in Australia.

Carl took on the 15km course, completing the distance in 1:34:53.

“We were told we were going to run along the river and there was going to be some off-road track and I ran with Rhi for the first time.

“Rhi” (Rhiannon Rowbotham) is a regular guide with Achilles Melbourne, as well as a passionate and experienced trail runner in her own right.

“She did extremely well guiding me, there were a few steep bits, a few steep hills.

“But I am fairly fit and I found it really, really, good,” he said.

Carl and Rhi were caught out by the rocky Tank Track when Carl tripped on a rock early on, but she said it did not put a dent in either of their enjoyment of the course.

“[Carl] is a really experienced trail runner and he was fine — I asked him if he was hurting and if he wanted to stop but he was fine, he kept going.

“He bombed the downhills, even though he said he was going to take it easy, and when we got down to the river he could hear the rapids and he loved the birds.

“It is stunning out there, even for someone with vision impairment he was able to enjoy the course as well,” she said.

Rhi had nothing but praise for the encouragement by volunteers and runners on course.

“It was incredible… we had so much encouragement out there.

“I think the message about us is spreading — we have a hashtag #goachilles and often when we run you hear quite a few people yell that.

“But today, on course, people were yelling whether they knew Achilles or not — it was great encouragement, you have a really good crew out here.”

Peggy Soo took on the 10km distance with her guide Lowell.

“I’ve always wanted to come to Warrandyte and experience coming through here.

“I didn’t know about Run Warrandyte until I saw it on the Guide Dogs page so thought this was the best time to get on board,” Peggy said.

Peggy and Lowell told us the course was quite challenging but Peggy is looking forward to coming back.

“I like these sorts of runs that are a little bit away from the city, less busy, you just enjoy the run itself instead of having to go around and through people.”

Achilles Melbourne is always looking for new runners, both vision impaired and sighted.

The clubs social structure is building a community, which means, regardless of your level of sight, anything can be achieved.

Achilles Melbourne helps the vision impaired continue to be physically and socially active and also gives their sighted guides life perspective.

“I think we all get dire thoughts like that sometimes, even as a sighted runner”, said Rhi.

“When I get injured I get into the doldrums straight away and I think ‘oh my god I can’t run all week, life is horrible’ — there is not much anyone can do to pull someone else out of a funk when they have stuff going on in their life.

“Whether I am guiding or not, running is a community event and guiding for Achilles has shown that to be the case.”

Carl adds “What I have noticed with my friends who have deteriorating sight, what I find is they don’t want to accept it straight away, so they don’t want to run with somebody and it becomes dangerous.

“It is not just a running club, it is also a support group, a social running club — because you go through depression when you start to lose your eyesight and a lot of us in South Africa we are looking for a social club, whether it be a church, or a coffee drinking club.

“And what is more healthy than getting out and doing a race, whether you walk or whether you run?

“What could be more of a confidence booster than to get out there in nature?”

From showcasing local clubs and businesses in the event village, to the contingent of local volunteers cheering everyone on course, and the charity partners who strive to develop independence and community for the blind and vision impaired, Run Warrandyte 2020 was a celebration that strong community values improve both physical and mental wellbeing.

Everybody who took part in the event reflected Guide Dogs Victoria’s values of independence, inclusion and accessibility.

As local initiatives like the Warrandyte Men’s Shed and Repair Café have also reflected — inclusion, independence, accessibility and socialisation are important in maintaining positive mental health — and Warrandyte, on March 1, demonstrated its cup was overflowing with this sentiment.

 

Photographs in gallary below courtesy of Sandi Miller

Guide Dogs Victoria www.guidedogsvictoria.com.au/

Achilles Melbourne:
www.achillesaustralia.org.au/melbourne.html

Official photographs from the event are available to purchase — participants will have received an email via Run Warrandyte about how to select and buy official photographs.