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Vandals fail to break Warrandyte’s spirit

THE WARRANDTYE community awoke to the sad news that the RSL memorial had been vandalised overnight.
The graffiti displayed the symbol for anarchy and the words “War is Murder”.
While vandalism is always a hurtful act, the defacing of the RSL’s war memorial on the eve of Anzac Day was felt particularly strong within the community.
The council were quick to act and soda-blasted the offending marks.
However, this process also strips the gold trim out of the words on the memorial.
Stephen Papal from Advanced Stone, a company that specialises in the making bespoke headstones and memorials, contacted the RSL directly to volunteer his company’s services and restore the memorial back to its former glory.
“I know what it’s like for RSLs and clubs to try and find the money to cover up something that’s been vandalised.
“I rang them because I knew they’d soda-blast it, the process should be to sand it and touch up where the graffiti has been.
“This will look magnificent tomorrow”, said Mr Papal.

Stephen and Ben Papal from Advanced Stone volunteering their services

Local Member of Parliament, Ryan Smith also visited the memorial to see the damage for himself and personally thank the men who had come out to undo the damage.
In an interview with the Warrandyte Diary, Mr Smith expressed his appal on last night’s criminal act.
“It’s just completely appalling that this has happened in Warrandyte, the vandals that did this — the very freedom that they are making a statement against were fought for by the people remembered at this memorial… that this has happened in Warrandyte is just disgraceful.”
Mr Henk Van Der Helm, President of the Warrandyte RSL stated: “We are pretty disgusted with this act but we’ve been able to clear it off”.
The Warrandyte RSL have decided to pay for security around the War Memorial tonight over concerns that the publicity that has been generated may encourage the “ratbags” to return.
Mr Van Der Helm is confident that the Anzac day ceremony will go ahead, as planned, tomorrow morning.
Victoria Police have issued a public appeal for information relating to the vandalism of the memorial, acting Sergeant Nick Bailey stated: “It’s sad to see this attempt to diminish the spirit of the ANZACs with this disrespectful act.”
If you have any information regarding last nights graffiti, please contact Crimestoppers on:
1800 333 000
Despite the attempts to deface the Warrandyte memorial, the RSL’s Anzac Day service will go ahead tomorrow morning, as planned.
The march will start from Whipstick Gully at 10:30am with a service to follow from 11am.

Pigeon Bank planning pain 

A storm is brewing in North Warrandyte after Nillumbik council granted planning approval for a residential building at 2 Pigeon Bank Road.

At a meeting of the Future Nillumbik committee on March 14, five out of seven councillors voted to approve the plans, going against the recommendation of the council planning department.

The land in question is a pristine, steep riverine bush-block in an extremely environmentally sensitive area.

Architect Phillip Mannerheim purchased the block in 2014 and has plans to build an eco-friendly sustainable home on it for his retirement.

The property is one of eight blocks in a low density or bush land residential street that is well serviced with existing infrastructure, including sealed road with reticulated water, power and sewerage.

There was just one objector, a neighbour, who was not objecting to the development but wanted better separation and screening from his property.

There are multiple parties both for and against this development.

Warrandyte Community Association

The Warrandyte Community Association distributed a flyer entitled Thin end of the green wedge at the Warrandyte Festival, which states:

  • The land is unique in having four distinct native plant communities supporting diverse wildlife populations.
  • The planning sets a disastrous precedent which could see the end of the “Green Wedge” as we know it.
  • The decision, against the recommendation of experienced Nillumbik Planning Officers to reject the planning application, will see the destruction of at least 746 trees to build a house and out-buildings on a ridge, creating a visual eyesore and threatening the nearby Koornong State Park bushland.
  • At 5.3 hectares, the block is smaller than the eight hectare minimum subdivision required under Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ) Schedule 3.
  • Clause 35.06 of Nillumbik’s own planning scheme requires use of land to protect and enhance the environmental and landscape value of the land — This proposal does the opposite.
  • Rural Conservation Zoning seeks to ensure that “the existing character, landscape quality, view-lines and other natural environmental characteristics of the area are protected and enhanced in an equitable and sustainable manner”.
  • The proposal also contravenes other clauses and overlays in the Nillumbik planning scheme.
  • The “Stranded Asset” argument, that a landowner has a reasonable right to build on such a site has no validity as RCZ zoning was introduced as early as 1973 and any land purchaser should conduct due diligence on any property before purchase.
  • The nearby Koornong land was purchased by the State in 1979 after an intensive campaign by the Warrandyte Environment League, supported by the Warrandyte Diary, to save it from destruction by inappropriate housing development.
  • Council has apparently identified about 700 similar undersized blocks which could be opened-up for development in Nillumbik.
  • This would destroy the Green Wedge and Nillumbik as “The Green Wedge Shire”.

Council planning department

The planning officers’ recommendation to councillors to refuse a permit is on the grounds that the proposal:

  • To use the land for a dwelling on a substandard sized lot is not consistent with the intended purpose and decision guidelines of the RCZ.
  • Does not seek to use the land to protect and enhance the environmental and landscape value of the site.
  • Is not consistent with clauses concerning green wedges, vision strategic framework, settlement and housing and rural land use.
  • Does not respond to the decision guidelines of the RCZ, and siting and design policy, for buildings and works in non-urban areas, due to the level of site disturbance required for the construction of the dwelling, and the associated conservation and environmental impacts.
  • Has not adequately responded to the objectives and decision guidelines of the bushfire management overlay and wildfire management policy as the development of the land; a dwelling will pose a threat to life and property, is inappropriately sited, requires an impractical level of maintenance — in light of the site’s topographical features — and is deemed unsafe.
  • Is not responsive to the objectives and decision guidelines concerning native vegetation in that the proposal has not adequately considered the role of native vegetation as both habitat, and playing a crucial role in minimising land degradation.
  • Has not adequately responded to the objectives and decision guidelines of the environmental significance overlay in terms of the potential to detrimentally impact on the environmental values of the land due to the proposed vegetation removal.
  • Will not result in an acceptable planning outcome as outlined in the decision guidelines having regard to the orderly planning of the area, the degree of fire hazard for the proposed development, the extent of vegetation proposed to be removed, and the potential land degradation and erosion.

Jane Ashton – Sugarloaf ward councillor

Jane Ashton was one of five councillors who supported the development. She spoke at length to the Diary, and these are her main points.

  • The decision was not made lightly; I did a considerable amount of research beforehand with regard to the design, the CFA reports and the environmental studies performed.
  • The block has a house number and kerbing for the driveway.
  • The Department of Environment and Land did not object and said the development “is not expected to have a significant impact on any rare or threatened species”.
  • The applicant commissioned 5 ecological surveys, has agreed to 4.5 ha becoming Bushland Conservation Zone and is providing $80,000 of offsets.
  • The applicant is an experienced architect.
  • He has designed an eco-friendly carbon-neutral home with a 10-star energy rating
  • The home has solar panels, a 500,000 litre water tank for bushfire survival and is recessed into the ground to minimise any visual impact and reduce the footprint substantially.
  • The application meets all bushfire risk management requirements and the design displays excellence in satisfying CFA requirements.
  • The block is very heavily treed having over 5,000 trees, many of which are small.
  • The 750 trees mentioned are mainly saplings and very immature trees with a girth less than 50cm, there are very few mature trees and no “significant” trees.
  • The number of mature trees impacted is likely to be less than 100 in total and, as with the other houses in the street, removal is necessary to provide a defendable space around the property.
  • The applicant has committed to connect to the sewer at considerable distance and expense, even though this is not a requirement.
  • The eight-hectare minimum lot size mentioned by critics is for subdivision planning only and is not relevant to this application as the area has already been subdivided.
  • Under RCZ Schedule 3, dwellings are not prohibited, the land is in private ownership and is not reserved for conservation purposes.
  • I firmly believe that we do not own the land, the land owns us; we are the guardians.
  • Friends of Nillumbik should embrace the applicant with open arms and help him tidy up the understory and remove the 17% of introduced species from his block.
  • I am of the opinion that the applicant will be an impeccable guardian of this precious land.

Friends of Nillumbik

This group’s latest bulletin states:

  • The permit approval undermines Green Wedge values and our Planning Scheme
  • The 5.3 hectares contains habitat of high conservation significance, almost a hectare of vegetation will be cleared including the loss of 746 trees.
  • A ridge top will be extensively cleared for the house so landscape values will be seriously degraded.
  • It is intended to use the land for rural residential purposes, a use at odds with its rural conservation zoning.
  • Councillor’s Brooker and Dumaresq opposed issuing the permit urging respect for our planning scheme.
  • This irresponsible council decision shows that the purpose of Nillumbik’s Green Wedge has been purposely questioned by councillors.

They have recently added the following comments:

  • Nillumbik was created to be “the conservation shire with the Green Wedge as its strategic focus”.
  • The bulk of Nillumbik’s Green Wedge was given protection under the Rural Conservation Zone (Schedule 3) of the Planning Scheme and the later placement of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) reinforced this demarcation separating planned residential land from rural land.
  • The government’s intention to protect our Green Wedge was given further emphasis when it required any rezoning proposal affecting Green Wedge land to be passed by both houses of the Victorian Parliament.
  • This permit application has brought into sharp focus the application of Nillumbik’s Scheme.
  • The north side of Pigeon Bank Road is outside the UGB, is zoned Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ3) and there is no mention of residential use in the zone purpose.
  • In fact for the RCZ it is all about protecting the natural environment, landscape, faunal habitat and cultural values including biodiversity of the area and ensuring that land use changes do not have an adverse impact on these.
  • The removal of close to a hectare of bushland, including the destruction of 746 trees and the clearing of a landscape-sensitive ridge top, is not consistent with these zone requirements.
  • It is up to a purchaser of land to consider all restrictions which may affect future plans; hence the need for a permit.

The landowner

Phillip Mannerheim spoke to the Diary and stated:

“This is to be a home for my retirement.

“I jumped through various hoops, hurdles, ecological surveys and assessments required by council, at considerable expense.

“At their suggestion, the plans have already been changed so as to relocate down from the ridge top and the driveway redesigned for fire truck access.

“It was therefore quite dismaying to receive a recommendation from the planning department which was totally negative, and amounted to a statement to the effect that this land was unsuitable for a building.

“I cannot understand why my block is being singled out for special treatment, as all the other blocks in the subdivision contain houses and the planning regulations have not changed.

“Fortunately, Mayor Peter Clarke, himself an architect and with considerable experience as a Councillor at Melbourne City, saw my point of view and four of the other six councillors agreed with him.

“I am trying here to achieve a 10-star energy rating with innovations such as tracking the sun, insulation, and recessing part of the home into the ground; all designed with world-leading conservation values in mind.

“I am surprised that so-called conservation and community groups would be against this development, when what I am proposing should set an example to Australia on how to build sensitively and efficiently in the bush while protecting and enhancing the environmental and landscape value of the land”.

Moving forward

Not being an original objector to the proposal Warrandyte Community Association is unable to lodge a direct case at VCAT.

However — as we go to press — we learn that it is considering whether as an “Affected Person”, it will apply to VCAT for leave under Section 82B of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to apply for a review of Nillumbik Council’s decision.

2017 Festival Walkthrough

WARRANDYTE’S biggest weekend is coming your way March 24, 25 and 26. This year, Warrandyte Festival honours 40 years of community celebration. It is time, lovers of ‘70s rock, to fish out your flairs and party like it’s 1977! The best in home-grown, family fun, Cherie Moselen walks you through the festival that has it all.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS

From 6pm on Friday March 24, local youth bands battle it out at Stiggants Reserve for the top prize: a day in a recording studio.

Headlining the event is last year’s battle winner, Cardinia. Soft drink, water and a Scouts’ sausage sizzle will be available on the night for cash purchase only. This is a drug, smoke and alcohol free event. Admission is FREE.

ART

Enjoy Warrandyte/Donvale Rotary’s 33rd exhibition of artwork by local and interstate artists. Preview the art and join in the festivities at the Gala Champagne Opening from 7pm – 10pm on Friday March 24, at the Warrandyte Community Church in Yarra Street. A gala ticket costs $25. Weekend viewing extends from 9am – 5pm on Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sunday. A $5 ticket includes a catalogue. Entry is free for children and senior students.

THE LOUNGE BY NIGHT

Film lovers—don’t miss out! The Warrandyte Film Feast makes its debut at The Lounge on the lower riverbank of Stiggants Reserve on Friday March 24. Sixteen short films from different genres will be screened, including Apprentice of the Year, starring Shane Jacobson, and locally made film, Heed, among others. MC for the evening is Australian actor Daniel Schepisi. Fabulous food and drink can be purchased from 6pm; the first film starts at 8pm. A ticket costs $10. Book online at www.trybooking.com/OPEG. NOTE: Films are not classified and some content may offend.

THE LOUNGE BY DAY

String Band music will entertain Lounge audiences from 12pm – 5pm on Saturday. See authentic old-time Cajun band Iron Gob String Band, the Stetson Family, Honeyfields and the Strzelecki Stringbusters. On Sunday, check out the Funky Monkeys circus band from noon, followed by a Sanctum Theatre presentation of Otto Learns to Fly—an interactive children’s puppet show. Ukuleles and hula hoops also come out to play. And it is all for FREE!

 GRAND PARADE

This year, four parade monarchs have been chosen to honour the festival’s origins. Donning royal regalia are festival pioneers Yvonne Reid, Howard Geldard, Patrick Nuzum and Tim Ferguson. The procession makes its way from the Mechanics’ Institute in Yarra Street to Stiggants Reserve on Saturday March 25 after official kick-off at 11am. Community groups, schools, sports clubs, vintage cars, a vintage flyover and fabulous floats—that’s Warrandyte on parade. Incredible!

MAIN STAGE MUSIC

Music starts at midday with local school and bush bands and continues with quality acts Mango Retreat, Dannika, The Teskey Brothers and The Scrims, among others. Sunday’s programme features a variety of talent from 11.00am. A festival favourite for 20 years, acclaimed bush band Paradiddle will rouse the crowd at 3pm, followed by The April Family, The Weeping Willows and Aleyce Simmonds. Lovers of ‘70s rock—don’t miss Mother! While Nudist Funk Orchestra is closing the show! Bring seating and a picnic, or buy food and drink across the weekend.

RIVERBANK STAGE

Children’s entertainer Keeping the Beat brings noonday fun on Saturday, followed by a diverse musical line-up including Fulton Street, Watercolour and Sideglance. Get your tango on by the banks of the Yarra from 7pm Saturday. Enjoy a dance class, special show from Sidewalk Tango’s Performance Troupe and two hours of “Milonga”! Sunday’s programme will please animal lovers with everyone’s favourite Pet Parade at 9:30am and Wildlife Exposure on at 11:15am. Music lovers stick around also, to see Beautiful Beasts, Real Love and Warrandyte’s own Mia Hamilton.

COMMUNITY BUS

An all-access bus service returns to the festival this year. Provided by Nillumbik Council, this community bus has full wheel chair accessibility. It will run every 15 minutes, stopping at the Warrandyte Sports Club carpark; at the top of Stiggants Reserve; at the bottom of Stiggant Street and opposite the Community Centre. The bus will operate from 11:30am – 5pm on Saturday and 9am – 5pm on Sunday.

 SCOUTS’ WATERSLIDE

BYO bathers and towel (change tent available) and get ready to slip and slide downhill at Stiggants Reserve. Hosted by Warrandyte/Park Orchards Scout Group. Charges apply. It is giant. It is awesome!

BILLY CARTS

Have you got the steel to join the billycart hall of fame? Wheels line up at the top of Police Street from Sunday 9:30am. Registration of $8 takes place between 8:30am – 9:15am for children aged eight to 15 years. The event features a parents’ race, trophies and great prizes. Carts MUST meet strict safety criteria. For enquiries call 0418 357 282 or go to the website: www. warrandytefestival.org.

DUCK RACE

Duck down to the river at 2:30pm on Sunday to watch 1,000 plastic duckies take the plunge. The first to float downriver from Police Street to Stiggant Street wins the trophy. Ducks can be prior-purchased for $3 from local schools, or during festival weekend from the Information Caravan.

DISPLAYS

Discover a range of opportunities through local groups and service providers, including: Aboriginal art exhibition, Animals on the Move, Be Ready Warrandyte, Combined Emergency Services, Eltham Steam and Stationary Engine Preservation Society, Friends of Warrandyte State Park, Manningham City Council, Middle Yarra Landcare Group, Reconciliation Manningham, Warrandyte Community Association, Warrandyte Community Garden, Warrandyte Toy Library, plus miners, blacksmiths, woodcrafters, reptiles, and solar/electric bikes.

NATURE’S PLAYGROUND

Directed by local arts therapist Tania Virgona and supported by Manningham Council, this activity encourages children to collectively create artistic instalments such as cubbies, nests and sculptures as influenced by local flora and Indigenous heritage. Nature Play runs from 12:00pm – 4pm on Sunday only.

FOLLIES

Written and directed by Warrandyte Theatre Company members, Open Book Follies is a romp of comic sketches and musical numbers. Performance dates for 2017 are: March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7 and 8. A ticket costs $25 (concession $20). BYO food and drink. Showtime is 7.30 for 8pm at the Mechanics Institute Hall. Book online at www.warrandytehallarts.asn.au

GRAND READ

This year marks the Grand Read’s 20th evening of presenting quality readings from local poets and writers. The feature guest for 2017 is Arnold Zable, an award winning Australian writer, storyteller, educator and human rights advocate whose writing focuses primarily on migrant experience. Warrandyte’s literary showcase takes place upstairs at the Grand Hotel at 7:30pm on Tuesday March 28. A ticket costs $20 (Concession $16) and includes a light supper. For catering purposes, please purchase in advance from Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839. Or visit the website: www.warrandyteneighbourhoodhouse.org.au

Check out www.warrandytefestival.org for information including: road closures, programme details, accessibility info, maps and registration forms. Facebookers can search “Warrandyte Festival” for regular weekend updates.

Pick up or download the March edition of the Warrandyte Dairy for your four-page pull-out of the 2017 Warrandyte Festival.

Fire danger period to end south of the river

The CFA have declared the fire danger period for District 13 will finish at 1am on March 20, this includes Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, and Yarra Ranges Council areas.

CFA Operations Manager Dave Renkin urges people to remember to adhere to local council regulations, and to register their burn-offs.

“Calls to unregistered burn-offs take volunteer firefighters away from workplaces, families and potentially genuine emergencies,” he said.

Given Nillumbik still has fire restrictions in place, taking the necessary precautions when planning to burn-off will allow the fire authorities to react efficiently to all fire calls.

“If you haven’t registered your burn you can expect some disgruntled fireys arriving at your property asking you to ‘please explain’,” Mr Renkin said.

Keep your burn off safe and legal:

  • Check fire restrictions in your area and always register your burn.
  • Check and monitor weather conditions — particularly wind.
  • Warn your neighbours beforehand that there will be smoke in the air.
  • Stay in attendance the whole time your burn is going.
  • Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading.

Landowners can register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) by calling 1800 668 511 or emailing burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au

Photo: Stephen Reynolds

Australia Day honours for Warrandyte’s finest

This year’s Australia Day saw a clutch of honours go to local Warrandyte residents.

We welcome Warrandyte’s newest member of the Order of Australia, Judy Lazarus (AM), Her citation commends her for significant service to the community through social welfare groups, notably through custodial rehabilitation and resettlement initiatives.

She has been involved in a variety of services, including Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, Beechworth Correctional Centre, Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres, Beechworth Health Service, Women’s Correctional Services Committee, and the Ministerial Community Advisory Committee – Prison Leaves and a Non-Government Sector Representative for the Corrections Victoria Stakeholder’s Forum. Judy has also been a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship, and has had the Judy Lazarus Transitional Centre named in her honour.

Also receiving a national honour for meritorious service was Warrandyte local Paul Wilkinson who received an Ambulance Service Medal (ASM).

Mr Wilkinson has been a paramedic with Ambulance Victoria for over 32 years and throughout his career has focused on developing paramedics and improving workplace health and safety.

His citation noted that “He has consistently demonstrated a selfless attitude and dedication to improving the lives and well-being of his colleagues. As a Clinical Instructor, he worked to mentor and instruct graduate paramedics to develop and build their clinical skills, and provide a strong ambulance service to the community”.

The Menzies community awards were handed out by local federal member Kevin Andrews, who saw the occasion as one to celebrate the grassroots achievements in our community.

“If only we knew what people in our community do, it is only on occasions like this that we find out,” said Mr Andrews.

The Menzies Community Awards saw two Warrandyte recipients.

Pam Booth received an award for her contribution as a volunteer at Information Warrandyte for a total of 13 years.

Ms Booth’s citation describes her as a “dedicated and reliable volunteer who capably assisted visitors and clients. She also contributed to Information Warrandyte’s Directory of Services and maintained the Community Centre Public noticeboard. Pam has been a long time Warrandyte resident, local kindergarten teacher and Warrandyte Tennis Club member”.

Denise Farran was recognised as a valued member of the Warrandyte community, working with the Neighbourhood House Committee of Management and as a Film Society member and volunteer. She was also recognised for her volunteer work at the Tarrawarra Gallery and for events at the Warrandyte Arts Association and Festival.

Denise Farran was very surprised to receive her award, especially after accidentally mistaking her letter as junk mail – but fortunately she managed to recover her invitation.

“The award was a surprise and a real treat,” she said.

Menzies Awards were also given to the parents of local identity Peter Fraser, whose father Malcolm Fraser and mother Beverley Fraser were both recognised for their work at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Templestowe.