News

Council’s recycling respite

By DAVID HOGG

The DIARY continues to follow the ongoing recycling crisis which has forced Nillumbik Council to take recycling waste to landfill for the past few weeks.
A comprehensive statement of the current position was posted on Nillumbik’s website on August 30.
“SKM’s Laverton facility is expected to re-commence processing recycling within five weeks; however, timeframes are still unknown for the Coolaroo, Geelong and Hallam facilities.”
Nillumbik, along with the 32 other Councils affected by the closure of SKM, is hopeful that this is the beginning of the return to normal recycling practices.
Presently Nillumbik, like many other councils, has no alternative than to send this material to landfill, but is exploring alternatives to try and stop this from happening.
An earlier bulletin from Nillumbik gave indication of the complex and confusing series of contracts in place, the Diary sought clarification from Nillumbik’s Chief Executive Officer Carl Cowie.
Nillumbik Shire Council is one of five Councils that has a contract with the Metropolitan Waste Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) to manage its recycling, and they in turn have a contract with SKM Industries Pty Ltd.
A separate company, SKM Corporate Pty Ltd, was the first to be placed into liquidation, and another company SKM Recycling Pty Ltd has a direct deed with Nillumbik Council for day to day contractual matters.
On August 21, mainstream media reported Cleanaway paid $60m to become the major lender and has put Cleanaway, effectively, in control of the recycling group.
Although the details of contracts and payment arrangements, which were renegotiated in June just before this crisis broke, have been kept as a closely guarded secret by Council, Mr Cowie clarified that Council does not continue to pay SKM or its receivers if they do not take recycling.
Recycling sent to landfill is subject to the Victorian government’s landfill levy.
The Victorian government recently announced financial support to councils to manage the impacts on their recycling system with the closure of SKM, but the specific detail of this financial assistance on a council-by-council basis is not yet fully understood.
As well as continuing to work with the MWRRG on alternatives, Council is applying for some of the $6.6 million recycling rebate on offer from the Victorian Government to help cover the cost of the landfill levy.
It is also exploring options to accept a broader range of separated materials such as glass and plastics at their Recycling and Recovery Centre.
Although Nillumbik and other councils will be relieved recycling sorting facilities are coming back online, this crisis is far from over.
Manningham Council is not affected at this stage, as its recyclables are handled by Visy Recycling.

The whys and wherefores of bylaws: nature strips

COUNCIL AREAS have many different rules and bylaws in place that residents must adhere to when going about their daily lives.
Sometimes quite differently in each of our two municipalities.
In this new series the Diary seeks to clarify what can and cannot be done under these local laws.
This month we investigate the what and the why around nature strips.

What exactly is a nature strip?

According to VicRoads, a nature strip, sometimes called a road verge, is defined as “the area between a road and adjacent land and includes — amongst other things — areas of grass, cement or gravel, dirt and driveways — it does not include the kerb, shoulder of a road or a bicycle path, footpath or shared path”.
Given the semi-rural environment in Warrandyte and North Warrandyte, nature strips are a bit of a grey area for many people — we often do not have the standard footpath and strip of lawn that you see in the urban areas of the municipalities.
So what does that mean for homeowners and occupiers?

Can I, can’t I

Nillumbik CEO, Carl Cowie advised the Diary that it is “accepted practice that residents maintain the nature strip abutting their property as an extension of their garden”.
However, contradicting this, he also said residents must not remove or prune indigenous vegetation, non-indigenous vegetation or trees on nature strips or rural roads without Council permission, and if a resident wants to plant on the nature strip, they need written permission from Council.
“The resident must submit an application that includes a map of the area and a list of the plant species intended for planting,” he said.
The proposed species must be from the Live Local Plant Local publication.
Mr Cowie says Council is responsible for maintaining trees on council land.
“Residents are allowed to remove plants on the weed list of the Live Local Plant Local publication,” said Mr Cowie.
In Manningham, road verges are council owned land, these can be traditional style nature strips, road reserves or tree reserves.
Manningham Director of City Planning and Community, Angelo Kourambas told the Diary Council is responsible for managing trees on council land, however in contrast to Nillumbik, this includes removing ivy and other weed species from nature strips.
“We encourage residents to contact us about any trees on their nature strips that may require attention, so that we can have a qualified arborist inspect the tree and schedule any works,” Mr Kourambas said.
He said while residents aren’t permitted to do their own planting on council land, residents that would like a tree or additional planting on their nature strip should contact Council to request this.
“We will then investigate options for the specific area.”
There are also different rules that apply depending if you are on a Council road or a main road managed by VicRoads, with slightly different vegetation removal rules depending on the speed limit of the adjoining roads, these can be found at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au
Nillumbik’s website discusses how roadsides adjoining Council roads fall into two classifications, Low Conservation Significance or High Conservation Significance.

Properties classified as Low Conservation Significance under Local Law No. 5 can undertake the following without a permit:

• The removal of fine ground fuels (grass, leaves, twigs, loose bark).
• The removal of regionally controlled weeds and those weeds listed in Council’s guide Live Local Plant Local.
• Maintenance and mowing of any part of the road reserve containing exotic vegetation abutting the property.
• The removal of vegetation that has fallen onto the road from the resident’s land.
• The removal of vegetation that is the subject of a fire prevention notice.
• Participation in works undertaken by friends groups, Landcare groups and community fireguard groups in accordance with an agreement approved by Council.

Properties classified as High Conservation Significance under Local Law No. 5 can undertake the following without a permit:
• The removal of regionally controlled weeds and those weeds listed in Council’s guide Live Local Plant Local.
• Maintenance and mowing of any part of the road reserve abutting the resident’s property comprising exotic vegetation.
• The removal of vegetation that has fallen onto the road from the resident’s land.
• The removal of vegetation that is the subject of a fire prevention notice.
• Participation in works undertaken by friends groups, Landcare groups and community fireguard groups in accordance with an agreement approved by Council.

Further information, including a copy of Live Local Plant Local, is available on the Nillumbik website: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Living-in/Roads-Drains-and-Paths
Further explanation of what residents can and can’t remove can be viewed under “Roadside Vegetation Removal” via nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Living-in/Fire-and-other-emergencies/Preparing-for-fire.

Parking 

Paths, nature strips and dividing strips are not constructed for the parking of vehicles.
Parking on them can damage the nature strip surface, trees and root systems, kerb and channel, paths, house drain connections and other underground services, and it can also impact sight lines for drivers and pedestrians.
Mr Cowie said, “you are not allowed to park on or store any type of vehicle or trailer or building materials on nature strips”.
Parking on nature strips is not permitted under Victorian road rules legislation, this can be enforced by Victoria Police and/or Council.
Mr Koroumbas said, when investigating parking on nature strips, Manningham Council officers will consider the location, whether damage is being caused, along with visual impacts for drivers and pedestrians in the area.
The VicRoads website confirms that a driver must not park on a bicycle path, footpath, shared path, dividing strip, or a nature strip adjacent to a length of road in a built up area, unless the driver parks at a place allowed by a parking sign.
A motorcycle rider can stop on a bicycle path, footpath, shared path or dividing strip, or a nature strip adjacent to a length of road in a built-up area, in a place where the motorcycle does not inconvenience, obstruct, hinder or prevent the free passage of any pedestrian or any other vehicle.
Mr Koroumbas said residents can report illegally parked vehicles to Council at any time for investigation.

Prepare now for bushfire season

LATE AUGUST saw the launch of the Australian Season Bushfire Outlook 2019.
Held as part of the Australian Fire and Emergency Management Conference at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Emergency Management leaders from across the country gathered to launch the report, which was compiled by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Dr Richard Thornton, CEO of the Bushfire CRC gave an overview of the outlook for the whole continent, and said this year we will see that a lot of the activity, particularly in the east, is dominated by both an increased average temperature and a decline in rainfall.
Dr David Jones of the Bureau of Meteorology said the coming summer will be a challenging fire season in terms of the fire weather.
“We anticipate an early start and a long season, certainly based on the climatic conditions we have in place at the moment, he said.
Victoria’s Commissioner for Emergency Services, Andrew Crisp said this year would be a fairly similar picture to last year, citing particularly bad weather across Gippsland and the Alpine areas.
“We are more likely to see protracted and campaign fires which is exactly what we saw last year on the back of record low rainfall for the previous two years, so we are now in the third year of that,” he said.
This rainfall, the report states, has led to “severe levels of underlying dryness persisting in soils, and heavy forest fuels, along with higher abundance of dead fuel components and higher flammability of live vegetation”.
This could mean a busy time for our local brigades from Warrandyte heading out on Strike Teams.
And this does not mean Warrandyte should become complacent.
Dr Thornton said in his experience with communities that have experienced bushfires, a large proportion of the community are not well prepared for the fire season.
“A lot of them express surprise that they were actually impacted by fires, so it is important that we note that fires are a normal part of the Australian landscape and fires can start anywhere, they can start without warning, and in fact many communities may not receive a warning, because the fire will be on them so quickly.
Commissioner Crisp said that now is the time to start thinking about your preparation.
“It is cold and it is wet at the moment, but this is the time where we need to start preparing — so we plan and prepare in peace time, because it is too late when we are actually battling a fire,” he said.
Talking to the Diary, Commissioner Crisp advised that communication is the key to preparing for fire season.
“If you are getting good information, it will enable you to make good decisions,” he said.
He advised to have the Vic Emergency App loaded on your phone and to begin the physical preparation of properties.
“In the areas like Warrandyte and  Eltham, what are people doing to start thinking about preparing their properties?”
The emergency services have commenced preparing for the coming season.
Commissioner Crisp said there is a really narrow window as to when and where planned burning can occur.
“Forest Fire Management Victoria and DELWP have done their absolute best in relation to their targets for planned burning,” he said.
Chris Eagle, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Forest Fire Management Victoria told the Diary that the urban areas of Melbourne are very interesting places to burn, as they are more complex burning areas because of the urban interface.
“Last year we did burning in Greensborough for the first time, so we are very conscious of how we do that small mosaic burning.
“We have a depot at Warrandyte, and the team there is very conscious of how they work with the local community to protect them,” Mr Eagle said.
Commissioner Crisp said that the population in outer Melbourne was growing, but that should not change our vigilance or our preparation.
“Even though we say Gippsland is of higher risk, we can’t become complacent anywhere across the state… that peri-urban fringe, where there is a lot of grassland, no one can afford to become complacent,” he told the Dairy.
“It doesn’t matter who you have got and where you have got them, it comes back to shared responsibility — [the Emergency Services] are preparing across the country — individuals and communities, are you preparing?”
Commissioner Crisp urged residents to begin now to start preparing for the season ahead by clearing around your house, cleaning gutters and making a fire plan — practice it and to stick to it.
“If you have got a plan to leave on an Extreme or a Very High day, then just make sure you do it — you have developed a plan for a reason.”

Earlier this year, Warrandyte Diary and CFA partnered with students on the Swinburne University Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media — Animation course to produce a series of short, educational animations on fire and bushfire safety.

Visit our Fire Safety page on the Warrandyte Diary website (warrandytediary.com.au/fire-safety) for tips on how to prepare your property, prepare your Fire Plan and what the various fire danger levels mean.

To make sure you are fire ready, download the Vic Emergency App from the iTunes or Google Play store, store the Bushfire Hotline number in your phone 1800 226 226 and make sure you listed to Emergency Broadcasters including 774 ABC Radio Melbourne on days of high risk.

VEC Representation Review: Manningham

The Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC) Local Council Representation Review: Preliminary Report for Manningham has been published.

Those interested in submitting feedback regarding the two options outlined in the preliminary report have until 5pm on Wednesday, September 18 to do so.

In total, there were 6 (six) submissions in the initial stage of the Manningham representation review with approximately 64 per cent of the submissions stating they were happy with the current number of councillors and the current number of wards.

In response, VEC have proposed two options, both of which maintain the current structure of three wards with three councillors per ward.

The two options propose a slight boundary shift reducing a reduction of the size of Koonung Ward.

Images courtesy of VEC, for illustrative purposes only.

Option A brings extends Heidi Ward, bringing the entire suburb of Bulleen under one ward, whilst Option B moves the boundary of Mullum Mullum Ward, to bring the entirety of Tunstall Square Shopping Centre into the same ward – Mullum Mullum.

These boundary changes will have minimal impact to Warrandyte Diary readers but if you do wish to “have your say” regarding the preliminary report, visit the VEC website for details on how to submit and to read the full report.

 

Vale Sigmund Jorgensen

Image: Where the blue shadow dances under the cream panama, SYD TUNN

THE ARTS COMMUNITY is in mourning for the passing of Sigmund Jorgensen OAM, a cornerstone of the arts in Nillumbik, aged 79.
He was the son of Montsalvat founder Justus Jorgensen and served as chief executive and artistic director of the historic artist colony from 1969 to 2005.
Justus and his partner, Lily Smith, established the beautiful artist’s colony in Eltham in 1934, naming it after the home of the legendary Holy Grail.
Originally built for Justus and his family, Montsalvat attracted many artists, artisans and intellectuals over the years, including Clifton Pugh, Betty Roland, Leonard French, Helen Lempriere and Albert Tucker.
Sigmund and his brother, Sebastian, are the children of Justus and colony member Helen Skipper.
Lily and Justus remained married and reportedly dined together with Skipper each night, much to the chagrin of the less liberal-minded.
Current Executive Director of Montsalvat, Jacqueline Ogeil expressed the sadness of the whole Montsalvat community at Sigmund’s passing.
“It is a very sad end of an era for us.
“His contribution and dedication to Montsalvat was all encompassing and his love for his heritage and artistic expression was ever present,” she said.
Sigmund, known lovingly as the Godfather of Eltham, is remembered for his significant and considerable contribution to the arts and the broader Nillumbik community.
He made Montsalvat a haven for local and international artists.
His contributions to art and culture were many, including the Melbourne culinary scene, running the award winning restaurant Clichy, being a judge at the Melbourne Asian Food Festival, food critic for the Melbourne Times and played host to, and support the formation of, the Montsalvat Jazz Festival, which has gone on to become one of the major Melbourne cultural events.
Sigmund was also a supporter of the acclaimed student orchestra, the Geminiani Chamber Orchestra.
Sigmund was a Nillumbik Shire Councillor from 1999 to 2002 and served as Mayor from 2000 to 2002.
Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Karen Egan acknowledged his important involvement in Nillumbik’s arts and culture scene.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Sigmund Jorgensen’s passing and offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
“Sigmund leaves an enduring legacy as a passionate advocate for the arts, and we are grateful for his tireless promotion of Nillumbik and Montsalvat as significant cultural centres,” she said.
Bend of Island’s artists Syd Tunn and Ona Henderson recalled fond memories working with Sigmund for several years on projects at Montsalvat.
The couple said they found Sigmund to be “a warm-hearted generous and honest supporter of so much in the cultural life of Eltham and beyond”.
“His passion was legendary, innovative and determined — for all art forms.”
They invited Sigmund to sit for them in their studio for an Archibald portrait, however Ona says initially he was shy.
“I said I’d make a gorgeous lunch, and Syd said (being a quick painter) that it would only take a couple of hours.
“Well it was memorable! And we dined in style with a classy vintage red to wash it down.
“Syd painted this portrait (above) in several hours, it sold at The Archibald Salon and Sigmund asked for a framed print of Syd’s acrylic on canvas,” recalled Ona.
In 2013 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the arts.
He is remembered as a friend and supporter of the arts and artists all his life.
Sigmund Jorgensen is survived by his partner Sue and brother Sebastian.
Montsalvat will be holding a public memorial service at 2pm on August 9 and will be closed to visitors that day.