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Oh what a night!

FIREBALL 2016 is being applauded as an outstanding sold-out success, raising more than $70,000 in much needed funds for our local CFAs in a truly glamorous Saturday night affair.

The final figure matched 2014’s result when $70,000 was raised to contribute to a new truck for the North Warrandyte CFA. This year, the funds raised will go towards buying a Slip-On: a 4WD first-respondent vehicle on the wish-list of the Greater Warrandyte brigades for many years.

Fireball has grown since it’s inaugural event in 2014, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars and support for our local fire brigades: North Warrandyte, Warrandyte, South Warrandyte and Wonga Park.

The absolutely stunning Park Hyatt Ballroom was the place to be on Saturday October 15 with hundreds of guests from the Greater Warrandyte area dancing the night away in style—and showing their support for the fireys that dedicate so much of their time to keeping our community safe.

It was ball gowns galore and old Hollywood glamour with guests dressed to the nines in their best black tie.

Pre-dinner drinks were served in the luxurious foyer before the huge ballroom doors opened and guests flooded the dance floor and dining tables.

Melbourne’s hottest corporate cover band, Popcorn, sent the dance floor into a frenzy with covers from Taylor Swift and the Bee Gees, while guests also participated in a live online auction to raise more funds.

The live auction saw a stunning natural ruby necklace donated by Warrandyte’s own Ruby Tuesday actively stir the bidding, as did an original artwork by Laural Retz along with villas up for grabs in Thailand and Bali.

Another popular item was the wine fridge filled with wine which one local hairdresser was lucky enough to win.

Major sponsor and Fireball champion Julie Quinton was thrilled with the auction results and seeing the event come to fruition.

“Our committee has worked tirelessly for many months to not only build an event with significant fundraising capacity but also an event to remember,” she said.

“From early feedback we think we hit the mark. The Park Hyatt ballroom was alive and full to capacity with Greater Warrandyte taking it to town in support of our fireys and enjoying a quality night out to boot.

“Thanks to Warrandyte Community Bank, many attendees were chauffeured in and out of the city in comfortable buses from various parts of the area. The Park Hyatt ballroom delivered a stunning impression as our community entered on the night. It was alive and full to capacity.”

The Fireball committee will continue to raise funds for the CFA and expect the 2018 event to be an even bigger success.

“The objective of the night was for our community to take on the responsibility and obligation of fundraising from our local CFA volunteers. Fireball is the vehicle for our community to ease the burden of fundraising for our local CFAs,” Julie said.

“We choose to live and work in this beautiful, fragile and very volatile environment; so it makes sense for us to ensure those people who volunteer to defend and protect it are armed with the tools to best do that job.”

PHOTOS: Deb Sullivan

Time to spring clean your garden

As Spring begins to show its colours throughout Warrandyte, it’s the perfect time to make a few changes to your garden. The Diary’s TOBY WARD caught up with Nick Katis from Warran Glenn Garden Centre & Café to find out how any gardener can liven up their outside space.

TW: Nick, can you tell us why Spring is a good time for people to get outdoors and start gardening?

NK: Well, gardening for 30 to 45 minutes is equivalent to walking 3km for 40 minutes or cycling 8km in 30 minutes. Daily gardening results in a 36% lower rate of developing dementia and scientists have found that being around plants can reduce stress and make us feel happier and more relaxed.

What is going to blossom during Spring? What colours can Warrandytians expect to see?

I’m sure that everyone’s noticed that all of Warrandyte has a link chain of bright Big Red Geraniums in hanging baskets.

Organised by Julie Quinton and her Warrandyte beautification team, and supplied by Warran Glen, it defines Warrandyte as big, bright and colourful.

Spring is also time for some new and old favourites to take centre stage including: Maples, Ornamental Pears, Ornamental Cherries, Petunias and a huge range of exotic and native flowering plants.

HOME GROUND ADVANTAGE

Why is Warran Glen the place to go in Spring? What can people expect in the next few weeks?

We have a massive range of plants, pots and trees this Spring that will turn garden dreams into reality. We insist on ‘quality’, ‘natural’ and ‘value’ in all aspects of Warran Glen and Spring is the time when this shines most.

Our team, our customers and our stock are all blooming at the moment – so the more, the merrier!

What’s your advice for gardeners and how can Warran Glen help?

Don’t fall for the trap of “cheap plants” and no proper advice. We have a team of quali ed, dedicated horticulturists that will help you with the right plants, the right pots, the right trees for your garden. We can even come to your home for a tailor made service which we call our “Garden Consultation” service.

The word around town is you have a pretty special food offering there?

Well, Spring is alfresco time at Warran Glen Café. Our team of chefs and café staff work together to provide you with a local café/restaurant delivering great food and great service. And kids are always welcome to wander through the gardens and play on Thomas the Tank Engine. In October we have a series of FREE Garden Talks: including this Sunday October 16 at 11am with Melissa King and Sunday October 23 at 11am with Kevin Sheedy.

For more information visit warranglen.com.au

Micky doubles up with gyms

Time is running out for those looking to get fit quick ahead of summer, but thanks to an expansion project from Micky’s fitness in Research, Warrandytians won’t be short of venues to do a class or crunch some iron in.

Micky White and his wife Kate, owners of the popular Micky’s Fitness in Candlebark Court, Research, have recently opened up a gym just down the road at another bigger venue delivering even more opportunities to get yourself in tip-top shape.

Offering select classes in boxing, training fighters, a core and abs program, the new space at 5/1637 Main Rd, Research, will allow gym users to make the most of their Micky’s membership.

This will come as welcome news to Warrandyte locals, who already make up a decent percentage of the gym’s existing clientele.

“What inspired it was a lot to do with the space at the other gym, it was getting a little bit cramped. We wanted to create a better environment, more space but also to be able to include a lot more equipment and a bit more variety to the great classes that we already run,” Micky said.

New areas need new staff and Micky and Kate took no time in securing a professional boxing coach Rod Tanner to help run the new boxing program and give customers extra support in the ring.

The gym also contains a health bar, which provides gym goers with an easy opportunity to supplement their exercise with the right foods.

“The benefit of having a health bar in the gym is that it’s convenient for members and also the staff as well. It’s an added service, rather than have to head down to the shops to pick up their healthy food, people can grab it while they’re at training.”

The expansion is the first of many in the couple’s goal for the business, which involves establishing a double digit number of gyms over a period of time. “The ultimate goal is to have 10 gyms in 10 years and we want to keep the core of our business. So we are just going to keep building on what we are doing, obviously we will change and adapt what we are doing along the way, because any business knows there is room for improvement,” Micky said.

Even though the chain is growing, Micky and Kate are by no means moving away from their personalised style and will continue to ensure members receive the best possible experience.

“The great advantage of having a more personalised gym is just the community feel that we create, a lot of the big gyms and you’re just a nomad. A lot of gyms they’re not bothered, once they’ve got you in the door, you’re forgotten about. We really take care and pride in looking after the members to the best of our ability, remembering their names and actually getting to know them.”

For more information visit mickysfitness.com and find Micky’s Fitness on Facebook.

Our bank is a beauty

NOTHING says helping the community quite like $2 million and that’s exactly what the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has done – returned $2 million in grants and sponsorship contributions to the community in its 12 years of operation.

That’s money for schools, sporting clubs, the CFA, for our students and teachers, small businesses and people in need in our community, and even the community newspaper you’re reading right now.
It’s money Warrandyte deserves and money Warrandytians have earned by banking locally. That’s the key to opening the vault for money flowing back into our community – you bank with your Warrandyte Community Bank and everyone benefits, including you. It’s a bank like no other in that it givers back, not always ‘take’ like the others.

The Warrandyte Community Bank Branch is part of the Bendigo Bank group and has been an important fixture of the Warrandyte community since 2003. It was created thanks to funding and pledges from local people, who are now shareholders, with a team of professional directors made up entirely of volunteers.

SES

It’s a bank steeped in community spirit and which is determined to create new avenues for community benefit. And the vast majority of the profit is returned to the local community in several ways to the tune of $2m.

Every year, money from the bank goes towards local projects, programs, resources and infrastructure. It’s money used to support local people, keep them safe and improve their lives.

It’s an initiative the bank’s board chairman Aaron Farr is proud to be a part of.

“We’ve given $2 million back to the community, and $390,000 in the past 12 months, and we hope to increase that number every year exponentially,” Aaron says. “We’ve given money back to the CFA, to local pre-schools and schools, we’ve given money to help with the development down at the local sports club.”

Every year, $50,000 is awarded to the local CFA to ensure Warrandyte’s fire fighters have the resources to keep the community as safe as possible. Funds have contributed towards a new generator, new trucks, vehicles, lockers, defibrillators and more.

Warrandyte Kinder kids

But even the small grants can make a big difference – the kinder kids of Burch Memorial Pre-School have received over 100 new books, CD books, parent resource books and an upgrade to their Burch Bookworm Library thanks to a grant of $1518.

The Warrandyte Community Bank’s scholarship program has also changed lives, contributing $25,000 in the past year to university-aged students who may be facing disadvantage. Last year five students received $5000 to put towards their education.

“Our scholarship program has also provided funds to young people attending university who, without the money maybe wouldn’t have been able to attend university due to financial hardship or personal hardship,” Aaron says.

“I’ve been very proud of being involved in that because we’ve assisted those young people to grow and to develop and get back involved with the local community, and further their education.”

Community funding is only generated by accounts opened at the Warrandyte branch, which is why it’s important to bank locally. Money banked at the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch finds a meaningful purpose and helps not only improve the Warrandyte community, but to change lives in big and small ways.

For more info about how to make the move and change banks, or to find out about the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch’s Community Funding initiative, bendigobank.com.au/public/community/our-branches/ warrandyte

Winter is the time to clean up Warrandyte

The Warrandyte Community Association has teamed up with the CFA, SES, Nillumbik and Manningham councils and Red Cross in urging Warrandytians to use the cooler winter months to maintain their properties in order to stay safe in case of fire, floods and storms.

“In the past, preparedness messages have been broadcast just before the anticipated bushfire season, not leaving too much time before fire restrictions kick in,” said Dick Davies, president of the Warrandyte Community Association.

North Warrandyte CFA captain Mick Keating admits he was one of the residents caught out last year when the re restrictions came into force in October, causing a mad scramble to get his property cleaned up ahead of the fire danger.

“Start cleaning up now for next year’s summer, rather than wait – because if it does come out early again you can get caught out very quickly,” Captain Keating said.

CFA community safety manager Tammy Garrett said this was the ideal time to get properties prepared, saying: “If you do it bit by bit, an hour on this weekend and an hour on that weekend, it doesn’t take as much as it would if you try and do it all at once.” Manningham City Council emergency management officer Helen Napier said while the focus for Warrandyte was generally about preparing for bushfire, the impact of floods and storms could be just as devastating.

“I think that sometimes people forget about the other hazards, and there is still the potential in some areas for that to impact just as much – the consequences are similar, you can be displaced, you might not have a home to live in, so the ow on effects can be the same as a bush fire,” she said.

SES community education officer Sue Whitten says there are things that can be done to mitigate the risks.

“Cleaning out the gutters and ensuring things like overhanging branches are checked regularly, making sure anything on your property is tied down… making sure that drains are kept clean, that any debris that comes down from the storm doesn’t end up in the drains and cause backlog and then potential for flooding,” said Ms Whitten.

Emergency management officer for Nillumbik council, Justin Murray, suggests it’s not just a clean-up that needs to be considered, but planning your garden to minimise risk is important when planting around your house.

“If people are designing gardens or making changes, have consideration to what that would look like, not only now in the short term, but also in the long term with regards to how vegetation develops and grows and also to consider what sort of vegetation they are putting in especially close to their dwellings,” Mr Murray said.

To get rid of green waste, residents have a number of options, either take green waste to council collection facilities, or larger properties, over 0.4ha, are able to burn off outside the fire restriction period, however smaller properties must obtain a permit from their local council.

Justin Murray said smaller blocks in Nillumbik were only permitted to burn off from October, so another option open to those residents is to pay for a second green bin.

“If one bin isn’t sufficient for you then the option is to have an additional one; so phone council to arrange that,” he said.

“There is no charge for the additional collection, but there is a small charge for the provision of the bin.”