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Investing in a “richer” community experience

WITH $400,000 returned to the community this year through grants and sponsorship for a vast array of community projects, Warrandyte Community Bank has now returned a mammoth $3.2million back to the community as it enters its 15th year of operation.

The bank’s commitment to “community” is pretty powerful; its goodness showcased every year via its Community Investment Program which sees up to 80 per cent of the Warrandyte Community Bank’s profit being directed straight to groups within the community in which we live.

As well as the annual grant and sponsorship program, Community Banks across Australia are committed to funding life saving Automatic External Defibrillators which will be installed in Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs in the coming months.

More than 100 guests were hosted at the banks AGM last month for the annual Community Investment Program presentation.

Members from local CFA’s, kinders and schools, sporting, environmental, arts, and community support groups, expressed words of real gratitude, reminding everyone in the room Warrandyte Community Bank is certainly “the better big bank!”.

Projects receiving a share of the $400,000 of community investment included:

Greater Warrandyte CFAs

In line with the bank’s yearly commitment of $50,000 to support the Greater Warrandyte Fire Brigades, this year was no exception.

Warrandyte CFA: Black Start Generator — $39,545

The installation of a Black Start Generator at Warrandyte’s CFA station is considered a vital piece of equipment.

In the event of a power outage the station needs to be operational.

Currently the doors to the station are required to be opened manually (involving the removal of security pins).

They are an occupational health and safety hazard, with potential risk of injury to personnel.

Once installed; in the event of a major emergency in the area, the station would be able to be used as a staging area thanks to the Black Start Generator.

Wonga Park Wizards Junior Football Club: lighting project — $50,000

The objective of the Wizards lighting project is to allow the community to make greater use of facilities all year round.

The Wonga Park Reserve is the sporting and recreation hub for the Wonga Park community.

Lighting on its top oval will allow users to continue to train and keep active during the winter months and will benefit the wider community, as the reserve will be able to be used for night time events.

Project spearhead Annette Felicissimo was thrilled upon hearing the news of the group’s successful application for funding.

“We were so honoured to be the recipients of a major grant and this will make an enormous difference to our community.

“Attending the evening was truly heart lifting, to hear about the projects in the community focused on inclusion and wellbeing,” she said.

 Spectrum Journeys Inc (SJI): Warrandyte SJI Outreach — $10,000

Spectrum Journeys aims to equip and empower Carers and Educators as they support children on the autism spectrum, to flourish.

This is achieved via a range of programs and projects including autism carer counselling, mentoring groups, dads groups, workshops and SJI’s very special blessing bag project.

Spectrum Journeys is passionate about seeing carers supported in their local area.

The Warrandyte Outreach programs will help local families with a child on the autism spectrum.

Run out of Warrandyte Community Church, services include an Advocacy and Mentoring program which equips carers with skills to advocate effectively and wisely in the kindergarten and primary school environment, as well as connect carers with peers who experience similar life circumstances.

Also on offer, will be a Parent Connect program, which works alongside mums who have a child newly diagnosed on the autism apectrum and to navigate mental health challenges, new routines, accessing support and self-care.

Part of Outreach will be accessible and heavily subsidized workshops for carers and educators with leading professionals including Hannah Gamble, a Paediatric Occupational Therapist who lives and practices in the Warrandyte area.

These workshops are a wonderful way to equip many people with strength based strategies for the home and classroom.

Both carer support and education are pillars of this project and are core services at Spectrum Journeys workshops.

Friends of Warrandyte State Park Inc.: Protection of FOWSP nursery  — $3,549

The Friends of Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP) plant nursery, located at the Warrandyte State Park is dependent on one old cement tank and water from the Yarra River to irrigate 60,000 plants a year, most of which are planted out from Warrandyte State Park to the Kinglake Conservation Link.

Water from the Yarra is pumped up to a concrete tank.

The 30 year old pump continually requires maintenance and when it breaks down it can take two to three days to repair, leaving the nursery without water.

This grant will enable the group to replace its old tank and fit a shade sail over the propagation area, providing a more congenial environment for volunteers all year round.

 

Following the presentations, Chairman Aaron Farr spoke of his pleasure on hearing about, the almost 60 different projects, benefitting members of a very diverse range of community groups.

“This year we are returning $400,000 in community contributions, representing 80 per cent of our profit.

“Our full suite of banking products are very competitive, imagine what could be achieved if more locals took them up,” he said.

 

Thanks to the support of its shareholders, branch staff, company board and most importantly its customers, the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank, Australia’s 5th largest bank, has been able to grow to be one of the biggest sources of community funding in the local area.

Drop into the branch at 144 Yarra St, to find out more.

COMMUNITY GRANTS. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION. THE BETTER BIG BANK!

High School art extravaganza!

Photos: Stephen Reynolds

Warrandyte High School VCE students of Studio Arts and Product Design & Technology put together a refreshing and engaging collection of work which featured in the recent VCE Art Show hosted at the high school’s Doig centre.

The talent and attention to detail was impressive as was the diverse range of finished pieces reflecting the creative talents and the focus on Arts and Technology subjects that continue to flourish at Warrandyte High School.

The gallery below showcases some of the students works:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Community spirit burns bright in Warrandyte

WARRANDYTE’s locals have once again demonstrated this community’s generous spirit and dedication to giving back, as tickets for the 2018 Mayoral Fireball have sold out, ahead of the celebration later this month.
Manningham Council Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon has been overwhelmed by the community support for this year’s event, which will honour the selfless work of the CFA’s
volunteers.
“Warrandyte is a really great community and they always unite around events like this” Cr Conlon said.
“There’s been so much support, it’s been great.”
As a cause close to his heart, Cr Conlon selected Fireball as his chosen charity for the 2018 Mayoral Fireball, after almost losing his family home in a devastating bushfire in 2014.
On February 9, 2014 a bushfire sparked by high-voltage powerlines blazed through parts of Warrandyte, destroying the homes of some of Cr Conlon’s neighbours.
“A huge fireball literally came over the hill,” he said.
“Ours was the first house hit by that fire.”
Cr Conlon said his son was home alone when the fire began to burn through the neighbourhood.
“He heard this noise and turned around to see the whole ridge was on fire,” he said.
“In a panic, he ran up the driveway in bare feet, which we think may have also been on fire.
“He rang us and said, ‘Dad, I’m not sure but I think the house might have burned down’.”
Fortunately, the CFA arrived just in time to contain the blaze before it could spread.
“If it wasn’t for the CFA being there, that fire would’ve taken off,” he said.
“That could’ve been catastrophic for a number of people.”
Following the fire, Cr Conlon and his family were left to pick up the pieces.
“That took us a long time to get over,” he said.
However, Cr Conlon refused to sit back and wait, and was able to turn the tragedy into an opportunity to make a difference in the local community.
“I thought more could be done in terms of collaboration and making sure the risk is reduced and people know what to do in a bushfire situation,” he said.
“That’s why I ran for council.”
Four years on and Cr Conlon is hard at work with the Fireball Committee to organise this year’s event, which he hopes will show the CFA’s volunteers just how much the community values
them.
“They don’t do it for the appreciation, but it’s really great when they are acknowledged for what they do.”
This year’s event will aim to raise enough funds to purchase a Forward Control Vehicle for the South Warrandyte Brigade.
“It’s basically not asking the volunteers to spend time fundraising, when they already give away a lot of their time to train and then put their lives on the line when there is a fire,” Cr Conlon said.
Cr Conlon said he also hopes the event will help spread the important messages of the CFA.
“It’s also about raising awareness for the need for other elements of fire safety such as fire plans, and the need for new volunteers” he said.
“It would be great if we could achieve that.”
Warrandyte’s residents have always shown an enthusiastic willingness to support those who continue to risk their lives to help others, which Cr Conlon attributes to their strong sense of community.
Community spirit burns bright in Warrandyte Our CFA Captains are grateful for the support of Fireball in preparation for the dry season ahead.
“There is a sense of unity when you go to an event like this,” he said.
“Everyone is supporting the same cause.
“We’re a very unique community.”
Locals are also eager to show their appreciation, because they know how important the work of the CFA is to the community.
“Everyone living here understands some of the risks,” he said.
“We live in this beautiful environment with trees everywhere,
but that comes with a higher risk in terms of bushfires.”
For the Firies themselves, the community support provided through
Fireball has not gone unnoticed, and continues to have positive impacts upon their experiences as volunteers.
Wonga Park Captain Aaron Farr said the work of Fireball has provided valuable relief from the stress of fundraising.
“By donating to Fireball or supporting us in one way or another, it means we’ve got more time to allocate to emergencies, training and community safety,” Aaron said.
“We can focus on what we do best.” South Warrandyte Community
Safety Officer Bree Cross said Fireball was also crucial to spreading important
CFA messages.
“Although you don’t think of Fireball from an educational perspective, there’s still a lot of education provided through it,” Bree said.
“Now, there is more transparency in what we do, and why we do it.
“I can’t thank them enough really, it’s incredible.”
Chair of the Wonga Park Brigade, Damien Bale said he couldn’t put a value on the community’s effort in supporting Fireball.
“The philosophy is fantastic,” Damien said.
“Having the community effort spearheaded by Fireball, in terms of time and effort, it’s invaluable.”
Warrandyte Brigade’s first lieutenant Will Hodgson said he feels “very proud” to attend Fireball.
“These people are putting their hands in their pockets to support us as volunteers,” Will said.
“To see an event like that put together, where the community comes together, I see it as a celebration.”
Despite juggling family life, Will and his wife Bec, who serves as Warrandyte’s fifth lieutenant, are Fireball veterans, who are keen to make an appearance at this year’s event.
“It’s absolutely amazing, it’s such a great initiative,” Bec said.
“Something that I hope continues into the future and that the community continues to support.”
Cr Conlon also wished to thank the Fireball Committee for their ongoing vision, as well as the event’s many sponsors whose generosity has brought the event to life.
Although tickets have sold out, there are still opportunities for locals to show their support to the cause, such as the Fireball’s online auction.
The auction will begin on October 17 and close on the evening of the Fireball itself.
Those who register will be able to bid on about 100 items over the auction’s 10-day duration.

Go to www.fireball.org.au

Projects ripe for the picking

Photo: EUGENE HOWARD Birrarung House, Laughing Waters

A $30 MILLION State funded Pick My Project community grants initiative, which has been a hot topic for individuals and community based organisations for the past four months and the public voting window to choose which projects are given a share of the money is about to close.

This means Victorian’s across the state have only a few more days to vote for their top three projects.

The initiative aims to distribute funding across the state into projects such as community events, repair cafes/ sheds, community gardens, art projects, urban landscaping, skill share programs and walking/cycling trails.

Community groups, events and initiatives are part of what binds the residents of Warrandyte and surrounding communities together, so it is no surprise that within five kilometres of the township there are 18 project proposals.

The $30M needs to be distributed evenly across the State, but with 2299 projects being put up for public voting — more than half of that focussed around Melbourne — competition for funding is going to be tough.

The participatory budgeting platform this initiative uses means that the popularity of a project is determined by the community who would use it.

In theory, this ensures funds are assigned to a project the community thinks will bene t them the most.

Victorian’s can each only vote for three projects — the Diary has outlined a selection of the projects proposed in and around Warrandyte.

New vision for Laughing Waters

Local artists Eugene Howard and Kate Hill are collaborating with Parks Victoria, Nillumbik Council and the Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation to seek funding to restore two buildings designed by Landscape Architect Gordon Ford and Architect Alistair Knox, situated in Laughing Waters Reserve.

Once restored, these buildings will be used as a site for an Artist in Residence program, aimed at bringing in a diverse range of national and international artists, as well as cultural programs, talks, workshops and exhibitions for the local community.

Eugene is also hoping to forge a stronger relationship between artists, the local community and the Wurundjeri, which will bolster the existing strong artist community in Eltham, Warrandyte, Kangaroo Ground and Bend of Islands.

“The project has been developed as a co-use space between the Wurundjeri and Residency Projects,” said Eugene when he spoke to the Diary.

Eugene went on to explain the Wurundjeri wish to use the site as a place for “inter-generational cultural knowledge transfer, bush food/medicine education, access to the nearby eel traps and significant cultural sites in the reserve surrounding the buildings”.

“We will also develop smaller projects that will include public language classes, walking events and recurring panel discussions around Indigenous arts and culture; we will grow our partnerships across the Shire of Nillumbik and up the Birrarung (Yarra) River to enable exhibitions and events to occur from the City of Melbourne to the Yarra Ranges.

“We’re thinking of the site as an arts and cultural centre with a core artist-in- residence stream,” he said.

The restoration of two buildings designed by iconic Australian architects, and an opportunity to further understand and strengthen the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through art and cultural experiences, would enhance an already rich cultural gestalt.

Warrandyte Men’s Shed

In May 2017, the Diary spoke with Chris “Chewy” Padgham, Assistant Scout Leader to 1st Warrandyte Scouts and long-time advocate of men’s health when he initially attempted to set up a Men’s Shed in Warrandyte.

Chewy had conveyed how a lifetime working to support and improve men’s mental health had taught him that a space where men can work and chat around other men can help them deal with emotional stress in a healthy way, instead of trying to supress it, which often results in them either lashing out violently or completely shutting down and becoming disconnected with society.

“My objective, which is the objective of every men’s shed really, is to have a place where men can meet and talk and share their experience and I think it will be a great thing for Warrandyte.

“I thought that [a men’s shed] was a good opportunity to act as a catalyst and contribute something back to the community and there’s a lot of people that have been talking about it but not a lot happening so I thought I could get the ball rolling,” said Chewy.

The major hurdles faced by Chewy in 2017 were a suitable location and funding.

Chewy is hoping to secure $85,000 from the Pick My Project initiative, which will go towards leasing and converting an appropriate building.

A sporting chance

Warrandyte, Wonga Park and Park Orchards sporting communities have all put forward projects to improve the sports precinct in their respective towns.

The Warrandyte Sporting Group is encouraging the local community to rally behind its proposed exercise trail to be situated at Warrandyte Reserve.

The exercise trail proposal earmarked several sites for construction of the area, including an option for a single site between the tennis court and oval, a cluster of smaller and more focused workout areas located around the ground and a custom kit to be utilised in a flexible fashion.

The site is designed to accommodate people of varying levels of fitness and aptitude with equipment specialising in strengthening, core exercise, aerobics and agility just to name a few.

The trail would not require any maintenance and would utilise recycled plastics to construct environmentally friendly workout equipment.

The project provides a casual and intensive fitness outlet situated in the heart of Warrandyte.

Wonga Park are seeking $140,000 to install flood lights on the community oval which will allow local sporting teams to train at night which will greatly improve the use of the oval during winter.

In Park Orchards, the local sporting group is in the process of negotiating with Manningham Council for an extensive redevelopment of the Domeney Reserve sports buildings.

The club is looking for $84,000 of funding from Pick My Project to develop a community space at the reserve for dinners and social functions.

Domeney Recreation Centre was earmarked for development as part of the Domeney Reserve Management Plan, endorsed by Council in October 2017.

But in the July 2018 council meeting, sporting groups and other users had proposed an alternative development plan for the Reserve facilities, plans which would require additional funding, on top of that which Council had already assigned the project.

Funding for this social space at Domeney Reserve is not just the first of many steps into the development of the facilities at Park Orchards but would also give the community some much needed community function space, something which they currently lack.

These projects are a small sample of the many funding worthy community projects which have been put forward.

Other local initiatives include: erosion control on Anderson’s Creek; resurfacing of the Anderson’s Creek Primary School oval; Suicide prevention seminars; a sensory play space at Kangaroo Ground Primary School; upgrade of the picnic area at Jumping Creek and a new play space at Park Orchards Community House.

Voting criteria requires the participant to reside within 5km of the chosen project and to be 16 years or older.

If you are interested in voting for any of these, or looking to see all the other projects on offer, visit the Pick My Project website before September 17 and pick your projects.

Project funding is scheduled to be handed out at the end of September.
pickmyproject.vic.gov.au

On the buses: Transdev strike will see commuters stranded

TRANSDEV and CDC bus drivers will strike on Thursday August 16, leaving many Warrandyte residents stranded, as the 906 and 364 will not run at all that day.

Transdev has advised that the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) bus drivers will be taking industrial action by stopping work for 24 hours.

As a result, there will be no services on Transdev bus routes on August 16 2018.

Across the Manningham area, this effects Smart Buses 901, 902, 903, 905, 906, 907, 908, as well as the 200 and 300 series routes.

For those needing to use public transport on Thursday August 16, the only buses running in and out of Warrandyte will be the 578 and 579 to Eltham, as these routes are operated by Panorama Coaches, which, as we go to print, remain unaffected.

The TWU’s decision to take industrial action is part of an ongoing dispute about wage rises across the bus industry, with the TWU seeking a 15 per cent wage increase over the next three years.

George Konstantopoulos, Transdev’s General Manager Operations & Customer Experience, apologised for the inconvenience the industrial action will cause and advised passengers to make alternative plans for travel on Thursday, 16 August 2018.

“The TWU’s decision to stop work for 24 hours hurts our customers, especially those on routes where there are limited or no other public transport options.

“Our customers — including students, the elderly and vulnerable Victorians who rely on our buses everyday — will be hurt the most because of this action,” Mr Konstantopoulos said.

“We will continue to work with the TWU to resolve this dispute and urge the union to reconsider the decision to stop work, because of the significant disruption and distress it will cause passengers and the broader community.”

A statement from the TWU said the union had been encouraged by the positive progress of talks with CDC, however TWU (VIC/TAS Branch) Secretary John Berger said they broke down at mediation without an agreement being reached.

“While our members do not take any joy in inconveniencing the community they serve, they also need to look after themselves and their own families.

“These hard-working members are worth more than what the company have put on the table and have indicated that they are willing to continue to fight for a decent living wage and a secure future.”

 DART Bus Lane upgrades 

Meanwhile, bus lanes for the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) buses will commence construction on Doncaster and Blackburn Roads.

VicRoads advise that they are building new, dedicated citybound bus lanes along Doncaster Road between the Doncaster ‘Park and Ride’ facility and the Eastern Freeway entrance to improve bus travel times.

These works include:

  • widening the road along the median island
  • building a new kerb and channel
  • laying a new, smoother road surface that will be painted red to classify it as a bus lane

Work on Doncaster Road is expected to begin in mid- August and finish early September.

Blackburn Road will have dedicated citybound bus lanes along Blackburn Road between Canopus Drive and Bellevue Avenue to help improve bus travel times.

These works include:

  • widening the road along the median and service road traffic islands • building a new kerb
  • rebuilding the Canopus Drive bus stop near the BP service station
  • laying a new, smoother road surface that will be painted red to classify it as a bus lane

Work on Blackburn Road is expected to begin in early September and finish mid-October.

Bus services will continue operating during works.