News

Appy travels


Whether it’s a weekend away with the girls or a road trip across the country with your family, travelling often isn’t a cheap task. But with these web based apps and sites, your summer holiday can be easy, breezy and affordable. The Diary’s SAMMI TAYLOR hit the internet to dig up some rippers.


DriveNow

(cheap car & campervan rentals)

DriveNow allows you to compare and select cars and campervans from leading rental companies. DriveNow has a wide range of locations and vehicles, ensuring you get quality service from trusted organisations like Budget, Thrifty and RedSpot.

Best of all, there’s no middle man, so you can book direct from your chosen provider with no booking fees, no hidden fees, and there are no nasty surprises as can often be the case.

With a brand new redesigned website that’s seamless and easy to use, it’s even breezier to search and book your transport from A to B. Whether you need a convertible for a girls’ weekend on the Great Ocean Road, or you want to pick up a campervan in Melbourne and drop it off in Brisbane for a family holiday, DriveNow has you covered. Don’t forget to check out the unbelievably good value relocation deals, too, which can start from $5 a day for campers and include fuel.

DriveNow also has international options, so you can hire a car in New Zealand, the US, France, UK and more without hassle.

Visit www.drivenow.com.au

 

Airbnb

(cheap accommodation)

Airbnb is the big one in the world of travel hitting the spot for locals. This site allows you to rent unique places to stay in throughout 190 countries. With cheap prices, local hosts and amazing locations, you’ll never have to worry about accommodation again. Whether you’re after a spare room in someone’s humble abode, a private high rise apartment or a secluded beachfront villa, airbnb has you covered. Prices start incredibly low and you can discuss your accommodation options directly with your local host.

Visit www.airbnb.com

 

Webjet

(cheap flights)

With Webjet you get the flights you need quickly for an affordable price. Webjet compares all the available flights to and from your destination, so that you can find the cheapest alternative to get you from A to B. With added features such as hotel bookings and cruises, Webjet makes summer travel easy and affordable.

Visit www.webjet.com.au

 

Zomato

(cheap eats)

Want to find the best places to eat in that new city you’re busy exploring? Zomato, formerly Urbanspoon, has you covered. With over a million restaurants listed from all around the world, you can hear from real customers about their dining expe- rience and compare prices. Urban Spoon helps you to find a great meal out at an affordable price, which will keep the family happy or satisfy a late night craving.

Visit www.zomato.com

 

Scoopon

(cheap everything)

Scoopon lets you browse great deals on accommodation, food, activities and everything in between for heavily discounted prices. You can pick up a week’s accommodation in Bali, or an Italian meal for two with a bottle of wine at home in Melbourne.

Visit www.scoopon.com.au

New operator being sought for Warrandyte Community Market


MANNINGHAM council is seeking applications from not for profit community groups based in Manningham to operate the Warrandyte Community Market from April 2016.

The Warrandyte Community Market is held in the Warrandyte River Reserve on the first Saturday of each month (excluding January) with a second market held in on the third Saturday in December each year.

The decision to seek a new operator for the market has been made to resolve management issues at the market and follows extensive liaison between council and the existing Warrandyte Community Market Committee over the past two years.

In the interim, a working group has been set up to operate the market until a successful market operator has been selected. This interim group, comprising representatives from the Warrandyte Lions Club, Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Club, North Warrandyte CFA, Community Church and Be Ready Warrandyte, will operate the February and March 2016 markets.

Prospective market operators must demonstrate that they have the capacity, capability and skills to manage the community market, including effective governance through a properly constituted committee.

The successful operator will enter into a licence agreement with council for a term of three years, and will commence operation from the April 2016 market (Saturday 2 April).

Applications are required by at 11am on Wednesday 17 February 2016 and must be received by this time.

For more information, visit www.tendersearch.com.au/manningham or call Paul Goodison, Council’s Co-ordinator Landscape and Leisure on 9840 9460.

Full report to follow in the next edition of the Diary, February 8.

Warrandyte police station ‘will not close’ says Victoria Police superintendent


VICTORIA Police Force superintendent Richard Watkins says Warrandyte police station will “definitely not be closing” after recent rumours suggested the Warrandyte station was on the way out.

“Not true,” Superintendent Watkins told the Diary. “There’s no one size fits all when it comes to police stations and when there’s such a high bushfire risk in the area there is absolutely no intention of closing down Warrandyte police station.

“We’re still rolling out fire setter patrols (for anti-arson measures) during the warmer months and also going ahead with preparation and communicating with the local CFAs in the other months of the year.”

A source close to insiders at VicPol called the Diary earlier this week saying “it’s a done deal, 100 per cent” regarding the topic of the station closing. It follows more recent, and alarming, downsizing at suburban stations including Ashburton which has gone from being manned seven days to two, while Somerville has a brand new $16mill station completed last year but is yet to be manned and there are reports of a station in the Geelong area operating well below it’s full complement officers among several other examples.

A post earlier this week on the Diary Facebook page asking the question about whether the Warrandyte station would be closed down prompted mixed reactions from locals, most of whom were clearly against the idea of no police station in Warrandyte. “We have been here for two and a half years and had to use the station five times; seriously stupid idea (closing it),” one new resident said. Another pointed out, “No point staying open if no one is ever there,” while others said they would be shocked and disappointed given the station is only relatively new in addition to what many locals believe is a spike in crime in the area and the fact Warrandyte is one of the biggest bushfire risk suburbs in the country.

The topic of the future of the Warrandyte police station, along with how frequently it is unmanned, as well as the recent rejection of local MP Ryan Smith’s call for a 24-7 station with greater police numbers have been big talking points in recent weeks: particularly with the increased number of break-ins and burglaries to businesses, homes and cars within properties and on the street in the lead up to Christmas – and indeed the past two years – which have been of great concern to residents, business owners and community.

From documents received by the Diary showing Mr Smith’s requests (note plural) in August, October and November in relation to his and the community’s preference (1200 signatures were received) for a greater police presence in Warrandyte, official letters to Mr Smith show it is obvious both offices for the Minister for Police and the Chief Commissioner of Police were saying the other was responsible for making the decision about the allocation of additional police. Mr Smith’s letter to Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton in October also suggested “direct communication be made with the Warrandyte community as to why Victoria Police believe the current staffing level of seven officers is sufficient”. Clearly, that suggestion has been ignored.

Interestingly, Mr Smith did eventually get official response and in a letter from the Chief Commissioner’s office it stated: “There is currently no evidence to suggest that Warrandyte requires a 24-hour station or additional resources … statistics released by the Crime Statistics Agency in March this year indicated a decrease in the total number of offences in the Manningham PSA. I trust this advice clarifies the position of Victoria Police concerning the delivery of policing services to the Warrandyte community.”

However, through our own research, the Diary checked the Crime Statistics Agency website and found there has been an increase in offence counts in Manningham year on year for the past four years. Further to this, there has been a surge in thefts and break-ins in Warrandyte in recent months leading up to Christmas.

In one of the major ones, a pop-up gem shop called Rock and Mineral Store near the Roundabout Cafe was broken into on December 8 but security camera footage of the couple caught in the act resulted in the man and woman eventually handing themselves in to police over the burglary of more than $30,000 in jewellery and gems. The man, 39, and the woman, 37, surrendered at Doncaster police station last Wednesday with a large amount of jewellery and are in the process of being questioned and charged.

Furthermore, a recent report in the Herald Sun pointed out how Manningham had become so affluent that it was becoming a hunting ground for thieves, with police warning residents to beef up home security.

And there are more contradictions.

Despite the Chief Commissioner’s office claim there was a “decrease in the total number of offences in the Manningham PSA”, Manningham crime prevention officer Carla Reardon advised the Diary only last month that burglaries were on the increase and thieves often were from out of town specifically travelling to the area and targeting homes for their valuables. Even a roadside sign was placed on the side of Ringwood-Warrandyte Road at the entry point to the town – for traffic coming from the east – warning of a rise in thefts in the area and encouraging residents to beef up security and to be alert.

In Manningham over the past four years, burglaries were up 7 per cent to 533 a year, thefts were up 7 per cent to 1509 and drug use up 71 per cent to 163 people charged with drug offences, according to the latest Crime Statistics Agency data.

MP Ryan Smith believes it is one big mess.

“Warrandyte residents have real concerns about the escalation of crime and anti-social behaviour in their community,” he told the Diary.

“Unfortunately, while the Minister for Police and the Chief Commissioner pass responsibility between each other, these concerns remain unanswered by either party, while the call for an increased police presence falls on deaf ears. This latest development that Warrandyte Police Station may close will only add to the community’s fears that it is not being heard.

“Let’s face it, there has been an alarming trend this year in suburban police stations either closing or reducing the days they are manned.”

The Diary will provide a follow-up report in the New Year.

Anyone with any information about crimes being committed or suspicious activity is urged to call Warrandyte Police on 9844 3231 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

 

Crowds flock to first ethical market


WARRANDYTE loves a market. And the community was given a chance to embrace that passion, along with their ethical spirit, when over two thousand people flocked to the Ethical Night Market on a balmy December evening at the Warrandyte Community Church.

The venture was hosted by the Warrandyte Community Church, who threw open its doors for the event. The church’s minister David Molyneux was delighted the community had come out to make the market such as success.

“We received around 2400 people registering their intention to attend on Facebook, and by 7pm we estimate that we had already had 1200 people through the doors,” David said.

ethicalThe brainchild of five 19-year-old young women from the Warrandyte area, the Ethical market promoted values that tied into their beliefs around social justice, which they began to take an interest in as students at Donvale Christian College.

One of the young organisers Laura Tepe said: “We are just passionate about these issues and have turned them into something, which is really great.”

Co-organiser Jordan Barton said they developed a list of criteria for stallholders to be part of the market, and they had over 40 stallholders step up to the mark.

“They had to be Fair Trade, Organic, Vegan, Environmentally Friendly, Locally or Ethically Sourced, or a Social Enterprise, so that they can raise money for good causes,” she said.

Ms Tepe added: “Any excess money raised through entry donations and stall fees will be donated to the church’s international aid agency, TEAR Australia which deals with global poverty and injustice.”

The women are buoyed by the support they have received from the local community and intend to run the market again.

“It has turned so much better than we expected… and it turned into something a lot more than we thought.”

 

Health & Wellness Warrandyte


The health and wellness industry is thriving in Warrandyte as a diverse offering of both conventional and complementary services is available to all residents.
There is no doubting the necessity of a more traditional medical route and all of science’s benefits on the health front, but a universal shift in approach and thinking allows all of us so much more choice today.

Don’t miss the Health & Wellness Warrandyte special four page guide in our physical edition of the December Warrandyte Diary. The guide showcases just some of the wonderful options available whether it be homeopathy, massage, reiki, energy healing, reflexology, NLP life coaching, integrative pathology, yoga, osteopathy, dental care, hearing health, personal fitness training, neurostructural integration technique (a form of Bowen Therapy), psychotherapy, meditation, crystals, and creative dance.

That’s just scratching the surface.

“It’s not so much ‘alternative’, which is the term that’s been traditionally used for a long time now – which is more of a separation when it comes to describing it – but it’s now complementary in an integrative way with orthodox and natural working together,” says Jane Offer, owner of The Purple Dragonfly in Yarra Street.

A relative newcomer to Warrandyte with her now well known “complementary services” hub, Jane’s business also offers workshops and all sorts of interesting modalities to suit your needs and interests.

She says the “shift” in the way people approach their health and wellness has  infiltrated around the world for some time now.
“Many people need a medical route, of course, but they can also help their own body to deal with that and heal quicker,” she says.
“In America we worked with a hospital where there was a whole wing that was working with acupuncture, massage and qigong, and those sort of things, so there was a big opening and the integrative side of it has become very much more well known and really wanted by people.”

Jane points out Warrandyte has a wealth of resources and every person is unique, so it’s about finding the right fit.

“Warrandyte is fabulous, it’s a place where people are very much aware and more open than some areas I’ve been to, and it’s really heartening to see that,” she says. “For complementary therapies it’s about finding what resonates with you and the person who resonates with you and who understands your uniqueness. There are people in the Warrandyte area who are skilled in doing that.”
So step inside and find your perfect match…

Down the drain


WARRANDYTE’S Melbourne Hill Road catchment residents say they are “outraged”, “devastated” and “extremely disappointed” with Manningham City Council’s decision to vote for a scheme that a 97% majority of affected residents didn’t want and also say they feel “abandoned” by two of our Mullum Mullum ward councillors, Meg Downie and Paul McLeish.

And our third Mullum Mullum ward councillor Sophy Galbally has entered the fray and blasted her two fellow councillors Downie and McLeish and the decision, which effectively means homeowners will be forced to pay a large sum from their own pockets to help x council drains.

Only 3% of the 125 affected residents in Melbourne Hill Rd supported the idea of paying for Manning- ham Council’s $2.2 million scheme to prevent what it describes as a “significant flooding problem”.

Homeowners where the drainage work takes place will be hit with varying amounts to help pay for the costs.

In a document lodged with the Ombudsman, there is an extract from the Manningham Drainage Strategy 2004-2014 published on the council website http://www.manningham.vic.gov.au/drains that reads “Council’s current policy requires 75% support of all properties within a contributory scheme”, yet council still advises that MHRC residents will incur a Special Charge Scheme at a cost to be determined.

Cr Galbally told the Diary: “Why did Cr Mcleish and Cr Downie support the officer recommendation? Beats me, I was under the impression we were trying to find a sustainable flood mitigation option. Yes, I am disappointed in both ward councillors. If the Melbourne Hill Road catchment area residents had their support we would have been successful in rejecting Scheme 1, the of officers’ preferred option.

“Considering that all along we understood the scheme’s aim was primarily ‘flood mitigation’, why would council approve one that causes more disruption to residents, clear 170 mature trees which will change the landscape in an area which has an environmental significant overlay?

“And for that, residents and all ratepayers are paying $2.2 million plus. On the other hand, the alternative, less invasive option would have cost $1.3 million … and it was reported by the consultants as providing the equal level of flood mitigation.

“The reason why the resident preferred option, Scheme 2.1 modified, lost is it didn’t provide a drainage outlet to all properties … it wasn’t about flood mitigation but about future development!”

Cr Galbally didn’t stop there, saying the damage to the Melbourne Hill Road Catchment streetscape with the removal of some trees that are more than 50 years old was clearly something the residents did not support.

“The residents of Melbourne Hill Rd will have many of their front gardens destroyed and pay for their own landscaping after they pay for the pipe connection from the roadside to their homes,” she said.

“These costs will be above what they will be liable for under the special rates and charges … all for the benefit of having something 100% of the residents didn’t want.”

In fairness to all parties, the Diary has given residents of Melbourne Hill Road Catchment, Manningham City Council, and councillors the chance to respond on pages 10 and 11.

The author of the article no longer resides in Melbourne Hill Rd.

Community bank delivers


MORE than 130 representatives from local community groups and organisations along with shareholders, directors, regional and branch staff filled the Warrandyte Sporting Group clubrooms last month for the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch AGM and grants presentation night.

The substantial sum of $350,000 was allocated to almost 70 groups to be used over the coming year in a range of projects, community programs and infrastructure within the community. Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has now returned an impressive $2 million in grants and sponsorships to local community groups.

It clearly sends a message for locals to bank with our community bank.

With a buoyant energy in the room there was a strong sense of gratitude and inspiring stories of community hope, compassion, growth and change.

One very happy recipient was Warrandyte Primary School, which received $30,000 for its project, All Sports, All Year Round. The school sought funding to upgrade the school oval and create a space that can be used by students, teachers and community groups all year round.

WPS principal Gill Binger was thrilled upon hearing about the school’s successful application.

“We look forward to getting rid of a dry, rocky and dusty area that is difficult to play on in winter and prickly in summer, we now hope that a new oval with synthetic grass can be used all year round,” Principal Binger said.

“The redevelopment of the school oval has only been a dream so far.

“The area where the school oval is was developed with money received from the sale of the pine trees being cut down in 1991 to make way for the oval (like many state schools, WPS had a pine plantation; often a commercial venture for schools). It sits on the side of a hill where rocks/shale tumble onto the playing surface and grass is difficult to grow. Past students often talk about looking for fossils on the shale embankment.

“Warrandyte Primary is a large site but has limited ‘flat’ spaces or areas for a structured physical education. Physical education is a very important element of school activities as we recognise it can boost self-esteem and confidence. The new improved oval will enable students, teachers and other community groups to have access all year round.

“We are thrilled to have received this grant from the Warrandyte Community Bank. It will make a huge difference to the school and the students.”

Sports Chaplaincy Australia (Eastern region), represented by Doug Lyte and Stuart Rooke, shared stories of engagement with youth in sporting organisations across Australia and more specifically within the eastern region.

“Chaplains provide healthy strategies for club communities to care for players, coaches and members who can occasionally struggle to connect,” Doug said.

Sports Chaplaincy Australia is a network of volunteers relying heavily on community funding to implement their programs. It takes a fresh approach to caring for our youth with meaningful and emotion- al engagement.

“Our chaplains discretely and carefully work with vulnerable youth to bring about real change for individuals and sporting groups as a whole,” he said.

Also in attendance was Diary editor Scott Podmore, who said “it’s a fantastic result and we’re super appreciative of what and how the Warrandyte Community Bank can benefit our community.”

“It really sends a simple and clear message: imagine how much this amazing local institution could benefit the community if we all changed our banking over to our Warrandyte Community Bank? There are nowhere near enough local singles, couples, families and businesses banking with them. If you aren’t already, it’s time to wake up and make the change. There’s still only a small percentage with them, but just imagine the benefits if we doubled or tripled the amount who committed to the simple process of getting our bank to help us change over to bank with them and use its products. Way better, smarter and of much greater benefit to the Greater Warrandyte community than going with the Big 4.”

The Warrandyte Community Bank Branch Grant has already resulted in our “communication hub and heartbeat” of Warrandyte purchasing multimedia equipment for cadets and contributors. The Diary has been able to purchase a state of the art camera, recording and editing equipment for Diary TV.

If you are interested in seeking sponsorship from Warrandyte Community Bank branch, 2016/17 grant and sponsorship applications will be accepted in July/August 2016. It pays to plan ahead. Speak with your committee sooner rather than later. Look out for the grants information night in June 2016.

More can be found at bendigobank.com.au/public/community/ our-branches/warrandyte, by visiting the branch or contact Dee Dickson, assistant to board and marketing, on 0414 505 533 in the new year.

Power to the people


SIXTY years ago this December 23, the electricity supply was finally extended to Warrandyte.

Can you imagine how wonderful that must have been? We take our electricity supply so much for granted whether it’s for lighting, cooking, heating or cooling or running the many and varied electronic devices so essential to modern living.

Imagine houses that had to rely on kerosene lamps for lighting, kerosene or ice-block fridges for cooling food, combustion stoves for cooking and open fires for heating? Then imagine being able to flick a switch to undertake these tasks. It was revolutionary.

Yet Warrandyte had to wait a long time to become connected. Many areas surrounding it, such as Eltham and Doncaster, had an electricity supply long before Warrandyte.

Up until the establishment of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) in the early 1920s under the chairmanship of Sir John Monash, various small private and municipal companies had provided electricity to different areas. Warrandyte was not one of them. The general push initially was to have good street lighting. There were three street lamps in Warrandyte requiring a measured amount of fuel to light and the services of a lamplighter.

It was generally felt the lack of electricity was holding the town back. In 1924 a newspaper reported Warrandyte as one of the worst lighted districts. Pressure for connection mounted and all through the mid-to-late 1920s there were various deputations and agitation to have the supply extended to Warrandyte.

In 1926 when arguing for connection, Councillor Angela Booth pointed out Warrandyte was only 18 miles from Melbourne and the district had grown rapidly. She was given to understand, however, that projected revenue was too small and the distance too great. For whatever reason, no electricity supply was forthcoming at that time. In that year the Warrandyte Progress Association was very active in trying to get a hydro-electric plant established using the Pound Bend tunnel. However, a civil engineering investigation found that the capital cost of establishing this would be greater than that of providing a transmission line.

That had already been deemed too costly. The SECV also would not support any undertaking that might involve it in future expense. The commission’s policy was to set electricity prices according to the cost of providing supply. In 1927 a guaranteed annual revenue of £A520 (approx $40,000 in today’s currency) was sought from township residents within a two mile radius.

This, however, was found to be too high a cost for the relative size of the town and after surveying residents, the Doncaster Council reported such a guarantee could not be obtained. Some deputations continued but nothing definite emerged.

By early 1935 discussions between the commission and Eltham and Doncaster and Templestowe councils were taking place about an electricity supply to Warrandyte. The commission was reported to be anxious to install lighting. Each council was asked how many street lights it would support (Eltham three, Doncaster and Templestowe 12-14) which together with strong consumer support from within the community meant the cost of supply would be defrayed.

By October the SECV had made the decision to supply electricity to Warrandyte. Advertisements soon appeared in local papers for the supply of electrical appliances. Work on the scheme was well underway by November with completion expected by that Christmas.

On December 23 in 1935 Warrandyte became the 285th town to be supplied by the SECV. A well attended of official ceremony was held to switch on the supply. This was performed by W.H. Everard, local member and speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He praised the work of Sir John Monash and thanked the SECV for expediting the system before the commencement of the Christmas holiday season.

‘Let there be light’ was the apt heading in the Hurstbridge Advertiser on 3 January 1936. It reported over 30 Warrandyte subscribers had the supply installed at their properties. The Doncaster and Templestowe shire had provided 10 lights in Main Street and Eltham Council three road lights on Kangaroo Ground Road. While considered a good beginning, the road lights were thought to be too far apart and that more would be required to make the scheme a success. Over time the supply was gradually extended outwards though it was many years later before some of the more far-flung properties in the area were connected. It was the 1960s before the SECV turned to equalisation of tariffs, which meant rural areas were not so disadvantaged cost wise and more remote areas were serviced. The SECV continued operations until 1993 when it was broken up and sold to private companies under the government of Jeff Kennett.

Now wind and solar power are ever increasing elements in the supply of electricity. However, no matter how the power is generated electricity is a major part of modern life. It is indeed very difficult to imagine a life without the capacity to obtain lighting, heating and cooling and so many other necessities of daily living without it.

And as the Christmas lights are switched on in December to sparkle and glow, surely those early residents who fought so hard for its supply 60 years ago are worth a thought – and our thanks. Enjoy the festive season.

Cr Yang is new mayor of Manningham


Koonung Ward Councillor Jennifer Yang has been elected mayor of Manningham for 2015-16 and her fellow Ward councillor Dot Haynes as deputy mayor at the annual meeting of council.

It will be Cr Yang’s second term as Manningham mayor having held the position in 2012/13.

“I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen by my fellow councillors to be the mayor of Manningham for a second time. It is a rare honour and I am absolutely delighted to again have been given the opportunity to represent the residents of Manningham,” Cr Yang told the Diary.

Cr Yang believes her role is to build on the exceptional work of previous councils while keeping an eye on future opportunities.

“Manningham is an outstanding city and we have been left with a wonderful legacy and I am determined to work with everyone in the community to ensure Manningham remains one of the most liveable, prosperous and inclusive communities in Australia,” she said.  “Local government is facing challenging times and it is my hope that this term of council is not only a time of consolidation, but also a time for innovation and new thought to help us move into the future with confidence.”

Pantry full of joy


THERE’S nothing quite like the bond between mother and daughter. But for Warrandyte duo Helen and Kirsten it’s more than just family: it’s business.

The mother and daughter are the proud owners of The Joyfull Pantry, a gift hamper company that specialises in gourmet goodies and wine.

More than just a business or profit plan, The Joyfull Pantry is a flexible lifestyle choice for Helen and Kirsten; one that allows them to work closely together from their homes in Warrandyte and nurture that special bond.

“My mum is my best friend. We’d had a few different business ideas, but we both love cooking and we both love food, so [The Joyfull Pantry] seemed like a natural progression, a good idea,” daughter Kirsten says.

“We started the business after we had been making hampers for our friends and family at Christmas time each year. So we didn’t buy people gifts, we started cooking for them instead.”

What sets The Joyfull Pantry apart from other foodie institutions is its guarantee of wholesome and honest products, all sourced locally and made with organic ingredients.

“Our vision is to make everything that we possibly can, except for the wine and olive oil which we source from local producers. We try to keep our ingredients
as healthy as we can, all free
from pesticides and herbicides,
so it’s wholesome. We know the growers, so we know exactly what orchards our products are coming from and exactly what kind
of fruit is going into our jam,” Kirsten says.

“So we support local farmers and producers, and we’re reducing our carbon footprint at the same time.”

The Joyfull Pantry seems to be a little local business that can, with support and orders coming not only from Warrandyte, but from all across Australia.

“We’re always inventing new products to put into the hampers. We spend a lot of time taste testing and going around to farmer’s markets and finding all the products and ingredients, and then coming up with all the recipes, which we have so much fun doing.”

It’s something a little different for Christmas, but the hampers can also be purchased for other special occasions (baby showers, mothers day) and also as gifts for clients or co-workers. And while they’ve got their sights set on conquering the national market for gift hampers, Warrandyte is a place they’re proud to call home.

“We’ve got some great support from the Warrandyte Cellars, where we get a lot of our wine from,” Kirsten says.

“We’re also going to be doing some taste testing at the Warrandyte Market so that potential new customers can try our products before they buy them,” Kirsten says.

You can find more information and make purchases at thejoyfullpantry.com.au

Online shopping arrives


SHOPPERS in Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs now have the luxury of ordering their groceries online from Quinton’s SUPA IGA thanks to the installment of a cutting edge new ordering system.

By clicking into the easy to navigate site quintonssupaonline.com.au you can order all your groceries from the store and have them delivered to your door.

“We’re really excited about what we can now offer our loyal customers,” Quinton’s IGA manager Dale Farrugia told the Diary.

“It’s been a long-time coming, but it’s a really efficient system and we know a lot of locals are excited by it. Let’s face it, we live in busy times and by the time a person jumps in the car, drives to the supermarket, shops, drives home and unpacks, it can be anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half on average, so now they only have to spend 10-15 minutes on the computer or their smartphone and it’s all sorted.

“While we have a beaut system that works, all we ask is that residents have a little bit of patience as we fine tune it into a well-oiled machine.

“So far, so good, and we expect it to be a seamless process. We’ve already got people shopping online and they love it. Early days, though, we may be missing the occasional photo or an item is in the wrong section but ultimately it’s all up and running.”

And after test-driving the online ordering system designed for both your desktop and mobile (iPhone, iPad etc), I’m happy to report the experience is excellent. The site, created on the NoQ platform has slick design, is simple to use and everything is secure. Simply register and enter your details, and you’re ready to go.

“We have a support phone line available on the site and, of course, our staff are more than happy to take questions and help people.”

Delivery is Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.

Orders must be in by 11.59pm the previous day. Minimum order delivery is $50 and there are four zone delivery areas going as far as Chirnside Park, Ringwood, Croydon Hills, Bend of Islands and Wonga Park, among others. See the site’s “delivery” page for more info.

Delivery is free for orders of $200 or more, while orders under that amount only incur fees ranging from $5 (Zone 1) to no more than $10 (Zone 4).

Visit: quintonssupaonline.com.au

Ready to rock


TALENTED young musicians from the Greater Warrandyte region are putting on a not-to-be-missed show this month.

The annual Wonnies Battle of the Bands, hosted by Wonnies Music and Sport, will showcase the hard work of Warrandyte’s best primary school bands and music groups.

Students from Anderson’s Creek Primary School, Donvale Primary, Eastwood Primary and more will have the chance to perform in front of a live audience, on a stage equipped with professional sound and lighting gear. The school bands have been preparing for months to compete in the competition, hoping to wow their family and friends and the all important judging panel.

“It’s something I never got the opportunity to do when I was younger, get up on stage and be in a rock band. It was always concert bands or brass bands, orchestras and stuff,” says Scott Van Gestrel, director and founder of Wonnies.

“Nowadays with shows like The Voice, these kids want to get up on stage and perform in front of an audience.”

The professional set up of the event is an added bonus, Scott says, and really gives the kids a taste of what it feels like to play a live music gig.

This year, the battle will be recorded and filmed, giving the kids a memento of their experience. And a few years down the track, when they’re famous, it might even be evidence of their musical career beginnings.

There are two coveted prizes to give out this year. On top of the overall winner of the battle, there’s a new award for an up and coming band, chosen by the judges.

“It’s for young bands, kids who are eight or nine who have never been on a stage before. They get to perform on a stage, so instead of competing for the big prize, which is a challenge, they get to compete for a junior prize,” Scott says.

High school students have an opportunity to perform as well in super bands, made up of past winners and students from Wonnies. Quiet Bedlam, an acoustic trio from Warrandyte High School, are headlining this year’s battle.

The community is heavily involved in the event—not only are they encouraged to attend, but there’s a strong Warrandyte presence in the judging panel, which features a music teacher, a representative from one of the primary schools and a keen member of the community.

“I’d love to get a celebrity judge one day, that’d be cool,” Scott says.

Sponsors are another huge part of community involvement, and Scott is incredibly thankful for the support of local businesses, including the Diary, Quinton’s IGA, Bunnings Warehouse and more.

Wonnies Battle of the Bands will be held at Anderson’s Creek Primary School at 12pm on November 29

More details can be found at www.wonnies.com.au

Purple people treaters


REIKI healing, chakra balancing, psychic readings, food intolerance testing, intuitive healing and loads more is set to draw a crowd of interested onlookers at The Purple Dragonfly’s first ever Wellness Expo on Sunday November 15 at the Grand Hotel Warrandyte.

“There will be a lot to explore and take in,” an excited owner of The Purple Dragonfly, Jane Offer, told the Diary this week.

The event is free to attend and will take place from 11am to 4.15pm with door prizes on the hour and products available for purchase on the day including crystals, oracle cards, journals, books, CDs, therapeutic tea, bamboo products, and plenty of great Christmas gift ideas.

A program of events can be accessed at thepurpledragonfly.com.au

“There’s a mix of mainstream and additional, more complementary approaches to health and wellness,” Jane says. “It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our therapists and a couple of local suppliers, including local authors.”

Some of the highlights of the day will include: intuitive healing sessions with trance healer David Offer; food intolerance testing with homeopath Catherine Bullard; psychic art works with Sophia Rigas; angel symbols and essences and what they mean, and; sound experience with Ruth Marr and her beautiful crystal singing bowls will be running throughout the day.

The program of talks also includes reiki master and animal healer Nicole Jacobsen doing a presentation about how to “deepen your connection with animals in your life” and Felicity Kearton presents hypnotherapy for weight loss, or to quit smoking, releasing anxiety and phobias, and explaining past life regression.

“It will be a great day, so come on down to the Grand and spend some time at the Wellness Expo,” Jane says.

The Purple Dragonfly Wellness Expo, Sunday November 15, Grand Hotel Warrandyte. For more information visit www.thepurpledragonfly.com.au

VIDEO: Warrandyte Football Club Grand Final Day


Warrandyte Football Club claimed three premierships in Division 4 of the Eastern Football League in 2015. See the Diary’s wrap up of a big day! 15-minute DVD available by emailing info@warrandytediary.com.au

 

Diary triumphs again


WARRANDYTE Diary has been named Newspaper of the Year for the second year in a row at the Community Newspaper Association Victoria (CNAV) annual conference and awards night on the weekend.

Diary editor Scott Podmore and one of our 45-year-old newspaper’s founding fathers Jock Macneish were there to enjoy the spoils at the Foothills Conference Centre in Mooroolbark after early conducting “community engagement” workshops for other community newspaper representatives from throughout the state.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for our Warrandyte community in particular,” Diary editor Scott said. “A community newspaper is only as strong as its community’s spirit and their willingness to come together to ensure the voice is strong in its local newspaper. We have so many great people who contribute whether they be volunteers, cadets, creatives, experienced writers and photographers or even those who put their hand up to deliver bundles of the paper to a pick-up point.”

“The Diary and the Warrandyte community are a force to be reckoned with. We know how lucky we are but it’s nice to be recognised like this. It’s a pat on the back for our people.”

From the nine CNAV awards the Diary featured in six, winning three and being a finalist (top 3) in three others, the same result as last year. As well as winning Newspaper of the Year, the Diary won for Best Layout and Design and Best Sports Coverage.

To win Best Sports Coverage is a real feather in the cap of our new sports editor Mikey Di Petta,” Scott said. “He’s a terrific kid doing a sports journalism course at university and he’s taken the reins of sport with confidence and enthusiasm. You only need look at our recent footy, tennis and netball coverage with all the flags they won. Well the Diary just bagged three flags tonight, too.

“As for the Best Layout & Design award – well that’s one we tuck away in our hearts, because that ackowledges the fantastic work of our dear little Rachel Schroeder who passed away earlier this year and also the equally as brilliant work of our new designer Hayley Saretta.”

The three finalists categories we featured in included: Best News Feature Story (Lara McKinley’s excellent coverage of eating local), Best Photograph (Bill Hudson-McAuley’s amazing ANZAC Day photograph of Ruben Harris-Allen), and Best Article By A Person 18 Years Or Younger (work experience local Sydney Lang’s first ever published story about 10 top things to do for winter was an absolute ripper!).

To add credibility to the Diary’s achievements, nine separate experienced newspaper industry judges were given the task of judging each of the nine CNAV awards. Their comments were:

 

Best Design and Layout – winner, Warrandyte Diary

Many large publishing companies would be proud of the standard achieved by the Warrandyte Diary. The design and layout hallmarks are maintained throughout this bright tabloid newspaper with professional placement of advertising, consistent headline fonts and appealing photos.  “For the community, by the community” is an appropriate slogan for this stand-out publication. Creative flair in design is reflected in every page.

 

Best News Feature Story – finalist, Warrandyte Diary

Eating Local – Is it possible? An appealing, inspiring package of words and pictures giving first hand experiences of eating only local food – info that residents can readily use to ‘eat local’ themselves.

 

Best Photograph – finalist, Warrandyte Diary

Ruben Harris-Allen. A very engaging image. Direct communication with the photographer at time of capture, translates to direct and strong communication with the viewer.  The subject is isolated from the background by both shallow depth of field and the beautiful warm side/top lighting.  Excellent technique in a challenging low light situation.

 

Best Sports Reporting – winner, Warrandyte Diary

The Warrandyte Diary was the standout to me. While it appears it may have a bigger budget then some other entrants I was impressed by its overall modern layout, fantastic eye-catching photos (particularly the emotion-charged shot of the dejected footballers which I thought was a really different angle from your usual action pic) and interesting and varied content about a wide range of local sport and achievers.

 

Best Article by a Person 18 years Or Younger – finalist, Warrandyte Diary

Top 10 things to do for the rest of winter by Sydney Lang. A clear, concise and colourful article to entice people to use their local neighborhood house, serving an important social function.

 

Best Newspaper – winner, Warrandyte Diary

Many big mainstream newspaper editors would be proud to say they produced a publication as professional as the Warrandyte Diary. Its layout can’t be faulted, the photos jump off the page, and there’s a great mix of news, sport and longer feature articles. It’s those articles that are a standout, so compelling that they sent me scrambling to the online editions to look for more.

Snakes on the slither


WITH an exceptionally warm start to Spring breaking all sorts of records, it makes sense our local “Snakebuster” Raymond Hoser has been in demand.

On the day we caught up for a chat he had been out to collect and move nine different snakes from seven different homes around Melbourne, including Donvale, Wonga Park, Warrandyte and incredibly even in densely developed Coburg. At two separate jobs he came across fights between two male Brown snakes, with all of them being captured and moved on.

In Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs, people can expect to see Tiger Snakes, Lowlands Copperheads and Eastern Browns, which are all incredibly dangerous.

While snakes will usually go away if left alone, anyone with dogs or children on the property are advised to call a snake catcher immediately. Although they charge a minimal fee, they will be there much faster than the council or DSE and he advises keeping an eye on them from a distance so they can easily be caught on arrival.

Generally, snakes don’t particularly need food to survive on a property and will seek out places to make their home based on shelter rather than the availability of food and water.

Things to avoid leaving around the home that create the perfect shelter for snakes include pieces of wood, metal, rocks and anywhere a snake can hide, no matter how small the area.

He also recommends making holes along the bottom of fence lines if you have dogs, so the snake has an escape route instead of being forced to defend themselves.

Many will choose the option of escape if available, rather than attacking the dog. According to Raymond, if a dog is bitten, owners can expect a bill of several thousand dollars with no guarantee of survival.

In Warrandyte, walking along the river especially, residents are urged to take care as the water source and plenty of northern sun maintains a healthy ecosystem for them to breed, sometimes in clutches of up to 26 at once, not uncommon for the tiger snake. Browns and Copperheads will still average around 8 to 12 eggs a clutch, which is why it is important for the snakes to be removed in the first instance they are seen as they could bring harm to children or pets.

If someone or a pet is bitten, it is important to be able to easily identify the snake so that the right anti-venom can be administered.

Evident by its name, the Brown Snake is brown, averages about 1.5 metres and has a small head that is barely distinguishable from its head alone. Hatchlings may present with dark markings around the body and head.

The Lowlands Copperhead is less common and tends to grow to about the same size, range in blackish to grey brown, sometimes with an orange or brown flush, which often results in them being mistaken for a Red Belly.

The Tiger, the most aggressive of the three, can be identified by its bands ranging in colour from blackish brown, to olive, yellow and black.

Always remember to carry your phone with you when out and about in the warmer months, not only so you can call an ambulance immediately if bitten, but to snap an identifying photo of the snake if possible.

While snakes will very rarely strike unless they are disturbed, their incredible camouflage skills continue to result in inevitable accidents. If you or someone close by is unfortunate enough to be bitten, don’t panic, ensure they stay still and apply a pressure bandage above the bite before getting them straight to hospital.

Call 9812 3322 or visit www.snakebusters.com.au

$2mill in 12 years


WARRANDYTE Community Bank Branch has ticked over the $2million mark in grant and sponsorship contributions in its 12th year of operation.

Warrandyte Community Bank chairman Aaron Farr said the Warrandyte and surrounding communities had thrown its support behind the locally owned and operated branch, transferring banking business across since the bank opened its doors in 2003.

“Local residents, traders, business owners and community groups have all seen the benefits of banking close to home,” Aaron said.

“We are extremely proud of reaching this milestone because it reflects not only the ongoing success of our business, but most importantly, shows how much of a difference we have been able to make in the community.”

Aaron said Warrandyte Community Bank Branch was a true community venture, which offered a full range of banking products and services in a business model designed to strengthen the local community.

“Achieving $2 million in funding shows that taking control of our community’s financial future is not only possible, but profitable,” he said.

“And the more people who choose to bank with us, the more profits we can return to the community through sponsorships and grants.

“Reaching the $2 million mark is such a fantastic achievement for a community enterprise that many per- ceived as a far-off dream 12 years ago.

“But we have taken this dream for a locally-owned and operated bank and turned it into a reality, financially sup- porting hundreds of community initiatives in the process. Thanks to the support of our shareholders, branch staff, company board and customers, we have been able to grow to be one of the biggest sources of community funding in the local area.”

Funding granted by Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has gone towards supporting a range of community groups, projects and events including:

Manningham SES – Inflatable Rescue Boat

An inflatable rescue boat is an essential and important piece of Manningham SES’s range of life-saving equipment. Receiving $18,254.60 in the 2014/15 grants program ensured the SES was able to replace a very old rescue boat with a new up-to-date model to be used in emergency situations.

Wonga Park Primary – Raising the Roof project

Wonga Park Primary School has been able to complete stage one of its Raising the Roof project. A $35,000 grant enabled the school to build the framework and raise the roof over an existing basketball court.

The undercover area is used for physical education, general play, before school tennis, after school basketball training, OSHC outdoor activities and community events.

Park Orchards Primary School – running track

February 23, 2015 saw the official opening of the new running track at Park Orchards Primary School (POPS). POPS received a Warrandyte Community Bank Branch grant of $33,000 making the school’s dream a reality. The two lane synthetic running track has been a hit with the school’s children who have been putting it to the test ever since.

Greater Warrandyte CFAs – Thermal Imaging cameras

A grant of $42,900 enabled the Greater Warrandyte CFA brigades to purchase much needed thermal imaging equipment. This is a huge asset for the whole community as it enables firefighters to check for hotspots which could reignite fires, to locate persons in burning structures or for search and rescue missions that were previously unseen or difficult to detect.

Warrandyte Pavillion

The Warrandyte Sporting Group with members of the Warrandyte senior and junior football clubs, Warrandyte Cricket Club and Warrandyte Netball Club along with the general public has been able to enjoy the newly built sports pavillion following its completion in 2014. Warrandyte Community Bank Branch contributed $150,000 to this local project.

Scholarships

Since 2011, local tertiary students have been able to kick-start their further education with a scholarship from Warrandyte Community Bank.

With $10,000 each over two years to pay for study related expenses such as course fees, equipment, book and travel expenses a scholarship can help ease some of the financial burden of tertiary education.

Police urge Warrandyte residents to step up home security in light of crime spike


MANNINGHAM crime prevention unit is urging residents of Warrandyte and surrounds to be vigilant with security of their homes and to invoke the basic Neighbourhood Watch Principles after another increase in crime in recent months.
Senior constable Carla Reardon told the Diary there had been a spike in burglaries in Warrandyte, Templestowe, Park Orchards and Donvale.

“By no means are we wanting to alarm people, but do need home security increased in the area to help deter burglars,” Sen Const Reardon said. “On many occasions people have security systems but  aren’t arming them or they are inactive for a variety of reasons including being broken or residents are only out for a short time.
“We are reminding residents to lock their houses including doors and windows, be aware of any suspicious behaviour, and people or vehicles that look as though they are out of place. Descriptions and details are very useful. It’s important to report any suspicious behaviour to 000 at the time of seeing these things so police have the opportunity to attend and make an assessment of it.
“Increase natural surveillance, for example, keeping gardens trimmed and having working sensor lights.
Get to know your neighbours and notify them if you will be away for a period of time, even just the weekend.”

ATO scam rattles residents – just hang up!


THE latest money-grabbing scam has hit residents in Warrandyte in the form of a hoax phone call to landlines or mobile phones.

On answering the phone, the listener receives a recording in a female voice with an American accent advising it is a call from The Australian Taxation Office suggesting you have failed to pay an outstanding debt. You are warned unless contact is made immediately, arrest warrants will be issued.

To prevent that from happening the caller is told to phone a Melbourne or Sydney number to arrange immediate payment.

Needless to say, it’s a hoax message.  The Diary contacted the ATO who advise it has been flooded with calls and has nothing to do with the message. It has been reported to the Australian Federal Police, but the AFP are powerless to stop the calls as they originate from overseas and the phone numbers given (Voice-over-IP lines) are changed frequently.

If you receive such a call, the best advice is to simply hang up.

Road to nowhere


AS the flood mitigation saga in the Melbourne Hill Road storm water catchment continues, communication between residents and council officers has hit a crisis point with each side of the debate accusing the other of inaccuracies, inconsistencies and misrepresentations of fact.

At the most recent meeting with Manningham council, the community representative panel presented a letter to council CEO Joe Carbone (published in the Diary’s August edition) outlining their dissatisfaction with the handling and progress of the issue, and the conclusions in the Community Report presented by council.

In a conference call briefing, and a lengthy media statement, Director Assets and Engineering Leigh Harrison outlined to the Diary areas with which council disagree with the residents’ summation.

Although extremely detailed and sometimes confusing, council’s main points of contention seem to focus on the residents’ assertion that the process has been manipulated and that the external consultancy firm has not acted independently — which council denies.

According to Mr Harrison: “Claims that the process has been manipulated to achieve a preconceived outcome are baseless. A consultative process has been followed throughout.”

Similarly: “The assertion that council did not allow for an independent assessment of the issue is a misinterpretation of fact.”

Mr Harrison also indicated council did not agree to provide draft reports directly to the residents and, although a baseline cost estimate was requested by the panel on the upgrade to manage a one in five year storm event, it was “not a requirement of the project brief and would have no value in informing the process”.

In the media statement, the issue of environmental impact on the eco- logically sensitive area is dismissed, with focus only on the impact of nitrogen flows on Andersons Creek in minor storm events. There is no mention of major flood activity (the impetus for the report) or of the impact drilling, construction, concreting and insertion of underground storm water infrastructure would have on the whole topography, amenity and long term ecological sustainability of the catchment.

Manager Engineering and Technical Services, Roger Woodlock, also sent out a letter to all the residents in the catchment summarising the last public meeting from the council perspective. This was labelled as “deliberately misleading” by rep panel spokesperson Daniel Drew.

Additionally, a new fact sheet has been placed on the area dedicated to Melbourne Hill Road on council’s ‘Your Say Manningham’ consultation portal. The page outlines the council’s position about the issue but at the time the Diary went to print omits provision for public commentary.

Mr Harrison told the Diary: “Council has gone to great lengths to ensure a consultative and inclusive process through the development of the Community Report, and every effort has been made to involve the affected community in the identification of flood mitigation schemes and the basis for comparison.”

However, the fact remains that after three years of considerable work on the part of council officers, the establishment of a community reference panel and the appointment of an external consultancy firm, Manningham council has been unsuccessful in communicating their position and have not sold their original plan to ratepayers.

Daniel Drew told the Diary: “The representative panel stands by its statement of rejection of the so- called ‘independent’ consultant’s flood mitigation report and our accusation of incomplete, misleading or biased information provided by council to the catchment community.”

For more information on Manningham Council’s Community Report visit: yoursaymanningham.com.au

The full statement from both Manningham City Council and the Melbourne Hill Road panel can be found below…

 

 

 

COUNCIL STATEMENT

Please note:

  • Text in regular font is quoting the Warrandyte Diary article on Melbourne Hill Road, August 2015
  • Text in bold is responding to points/issues raised in the above article

Despite three years of negotiations with ratepayers, Manningham council officers appear determined to enforce their original and controversial “special charge scheme” for flood mitigation in Melbourne Hill Road.

After residents objected in force to the scheme, which was devised to address flooding in four properties in 2011, a dedicated rep panel was set up by council to investigate alternative options.

There are 8 properties in this catchment which flood in a 1 in 100 year (major) flood event.

Among other issues, the panel criticised the scheme’s exorbitant cost to householders, as well as its lack of environmental consideration for the ecological sensitivity of the catchment.

The focus of the initial scheme was flood mitigation, in keeping with the core objectives of this project, as set out in the Project Brief developed in consultation with a subcommittee of the Reference Panel.

The Melbourne Hill Road catchment contributes flows to Andersons Creek. The Community Report assessed the relative environmental impacts of each scheme in terms of their ability to reduce the quantity of nitrogen discharging from the catchment and their relative impacts on the naturalness of peak flows in a minor storm event in Andersons Creek. As this sub catchment represents only a small proportion of the Andersons Creek catchment, the relative impacts of the four schemes on the naturalness of Andersons Creek flows from this catchment vary by only 4%.   Differences in impacts in this sense are not significant.  

Only two of the schemes developed in consultation with the community provided any benefit in terms of reducing the discharge of nitrogen from the catchment. It is clear that the original scheme does not provide the level of nitrogen discharge reduction benefit of schemes 4 and 5.

Works incorporated into any flood mitigation scheme for this catchment will be scoped to achieve the project objectives only. Competitive tenders will be called for any scheme and the Council will seek the most cost effective proposal.  

At the request of the rep panel, Manningham Council eventually appointed an independent consulting firm to produce a report for flood mitigation in the catchment.

However, spokesperson for the rep panel Daniel Drew told the Diary he believed engineers “manipulated the options in the report to reflect preconceived outcomes” and that the process was engineered by engineers from the beginning.

Claims that the process has been manipulated to achieve a preconceived outcome are baseless. A consultative process has been followed throughout the development of the three additional schemes, and the consultant has acted independently and in accordance with the industry Code of Ethics.

The process adopted for the development of the three additional sustainable flood mitigation schemes was identified in the Project Brief, which was developed in consultation with a subcommittee of the Reference Panel. Reference Panel input was sought in developing the Community Values which have informed the assessment and comparison of the performances of the four schemes.

The appointed consultant has assessed the four flood mitigation options for the Melbourne Hill Road catchment and the results of their investigations are set out in the Community Report which is available on the Your Say Manningham website.

In developing the three options, the consultant developed a long list of 25 sustainable flood mitigation options as components available to be incorporated into the three community short listed flood mitigation schemes to be tested through the flood model. At the short listing workshop, the long list options were presented and the community prioritised these options. The community then worked with the consultant and officers to develop the three additional shortlisted schemes for testing through the flood model. Council has no record of Mr Drew attending the shortlisting workshop. Furthermore, no decision has been taken at this time regarding a preferred flood mitigation scheme for this catchment.

Mr Drew, who is also a professional environment consultant, said: “Council’s justification for the drainage scheme is to provide flood protection to a handful of houses in the lower section of Melbourne Hill Road – houses that were somehow give planning and building approval by this same council, which is now seeking to erase their responsibility in allowing such houses to be built.

The properties which flood in a major storm event are not restricted to the lower section of Melbourne Hill Road. Irrespective, these houses were built in accordance with state-wide building controls that applied at the time, and without the knowledge that has been gained since, in relation to stormwater flows. Council has no liability for past actions by private land owners.

While Council will contribute to the project cost, the Local Government Act 1989, supported by decades of tribunal case law, provides that residents gaining a direct benefit from the provision of drainage infrastructure should pay separately for that benefit; while general rates are to be used for broad community benefit. The overriding principle being that the broad resident base shouldn’t subsidise individual benefit. The fact that drainage was not provided at the time of development does not mean that resident liability is foregone. It simply means that residents have been able to defer the cost of drainage for those years that have since passed.

“Additionally, a substantial contributor to the floodwater is the uncontrolled flow of council water through the catchment and the underlying responsibility of council to install infrastructure required to manage such flows … without impacting on the threatened houses – which were permitted to be built in the flood zone”.

The Wildflower Reserve and associated road reservation constitute approximately 12 per cent of the catchment, therefore the remaining 88 per cent of the catchment is made up of private properties and streets, and the contributions to downstream storm flows in the valley are of a similar proportion. All areas, including public and private land contribute to overland flows within this catchment and there is a need to manage these flows to achieve the flood mitigation project objective. It is not feasible to construct drainage infrastructure solely within road reservations and achieve the project habitable floor flood mitigation objective.

Mr Drew also told the Diary it is “on record in a number of meetings” that ratepayers are only legally required to contribute to flood mitigation costs for what is termed “One-in-Five-Year” rainfall events. The solution proposed by council, to which residents would be required to contribute, however, is designed for a “One-in-100-Year” event.

It is confirmed that Council will contribute to the cost of any flood mitigation scheme in accordance with the requirements of its Policy. Council will fund the cost of upgrading the minor 5 year drainage system to convey flows from the major or 100 year storm events. In addition, Council will contribute to the cost of the minor 5 year system works proportionate to the area of public land within the catchment. Logically, residents should also contribute to the project costs on the basis of the stormwater runoff their land contributes and/or the protection their properties derive from the works (in accordance with lawful tribunal rulings).

According to residents, one of the difficulties of the brief given to the consulting firm is they were asked to compare and gauge the alternatives with the ‘benchmark’ provided in the original council model. This did not allow for an original and independent assessment of the task at hand, but rather an appraisal of the effectiveness of the existing scheme.

This statement is a misinterpretation of fact. Contrary to this assertion, it was important for the consultancy to independently assess the original scheme, in order to verify, or otherwise, its legitimacy against other possible solutions. To not have done so would have been prejudicial to the process. In addition, the inclusion of this option did not in any way influence the consultant’s independent thinking in regard to other options. Each option was separately assessed against the objectives, and not against each other.

The Brief was developed in consultation with a subcommittee of the Reference Panel. The Brief is clear in its requirements for the consultant to consider traditional and non-traditional solutions to meet flood protection and achieve improved environmental outcomes. Further, the brief called for the development of cost effective solutions, in consultation with the affected community. Schemes 4 and 5 both offer sustainability benefits and these results are in contrast with the concerns expressed. The project objectives have been met, within the constraints of the local topography, limitations on the availability of public land and the broader catchment appetite for a sustainable solution.

The issue currently plaguing Melbourne Hill road is likely to become a widespread one within Warrandyte and Manningham as a whole, as councils are forced to deal with escalating extreme weather events caused by climate change. The Melbourne Hill Road residents are of the opinion it seems Manningham Council engineers are happy to come up with “special charges schemes” rather than address long-term effective environmental solutions.

The residents of the area are liable for their drainage and for the contribution their drainage makes to downstream flows. There is no escaping this fact. By its very nature, this means that residents are responsible for these aspects. A scheme is merely a legal means of ensuring that this is affected in an equitable way. This is a common approach across the state, and the country, supported by decades of tribunal case law.

Significant effort and time has been invested in the development of three alternative, sustainable flood mitigation schemes, which have been tested through the flood model and assessed against the community and project values. Special charge schemes can incorporate environmental solutions where the associated assets provide a special benefit.

The Melbourne Hill Road Catchment Community Representative Panel unanimously rejects the report from BMT WBM entitled:

“Melbourne Hill Road Drainage Scheme Assessment – Community Report”

The report is rejected because:

  1. The Rep Panel has strong reservations about the independence and therefore the integrity of the report:

The consultant agreed on 5 February 2015 to provide a written declaration of independence to the Rep Panel. No such statement has been received

The Reference Panel Terms of Reference signed by the Ward Councillor and the Chairperson for the Melbourne Hill Road Representative Panel on 5 February 2015 state that the consultant is independent. The Terms of Reference have been available through the Your Say Manningham website since February 2015.

The consultant agreed to provide draft reports to the Rep Panel (together with all supporting raw data) at the same time as such information was provided to council. Both the consultants and Council are in breach of this agreement as all information relating to the consultant’s work has been provided only after prior approval by Council officers.

While there was a request for draft reports to be provided by the Consultant directly to the Reference Panel, there was no agreement to this request. It would, in fact, be highly inappropriate for Council to allow the work of any consultant to be made public without first confirming its accuracy and its compliance with the contract, as awarded. Council has a responsibility to ensure due process is followed in the management of any contract that it has let. To not do so would be negligent of Council. However, it should be made patently clear that this does not mean that Council has unduly influenced the contractor/consultant.

The consultant’s work is their own, and all Council is doing is acting responsibly in ensuring that the agreed terms of the contract are met. Council’s independent auditors would insist on this.

  1. The report contains statements that the Rep Panel believe to be factually incorrect:

“The entire catchment contributes to the flooding issues experienced in the catchment” is a patently untrue statement and we believe its inclusion is solely to support justifying a special charges scheme for the entire catchment.

This is an entirely inaccurate statement. By basic physical fact, stormwater that falls in any part of a catchment contributes to downstream flows, whether that land is private property or otherwise.

  1. The Rep Panel has reason to question some of the flood modelling and has been given no opportunity to discuss these issues or obtain clarification before the report was released.

At the community meeting held on 30 April 2015, the flood modelling undertaken in respect of the existing catchment was presented to the community. Comment was invited and received from community members, including the Reference Panel, specifically relating to the flood extents in the Lorraine Avenue area. In response, a further field survey was undertaken by Council officers and this information was incorporated into the flood model. Details of these changes and the updated flood model results have been explained in the Community Report. The flood model results were also compared against the reports of the actual property flooding that was experienced, and the video footage provided by community members of overland flows following the December 2011 flood event. It was found that there was good correlation between the model results and the community reports. This is a universally accepted means of testing the validity of models, and, as a result, Council is satisfied with the accuracy of the modelling.

Further, this statement was made at the commencement of the community meeting conducted on Monday, 10 August 2015. The purpose of the community meeting was to present the findings of the Community Report and respond to any questions raised by the community members. Responses to several questions regarding the flood mapping were provided at the community meeting, and a list of questions and responses from that meeting will be posted on Your Say Manningham shortly.

  1. The report fails to quantify the significant contribution to flooding in the catchment from water which originates from Council-controlled areas or Council assets

The flood modelling quantifies the aggregated stormwater runoff from the catchment as stormwater runoff moves downstream, and progressively picks up more land. This is how all flood models work. It is not practical to increasingly isolate flows from road reservations from those flows from private property as it travels down the catchment. However, the apportionment of costs between Council and the property owners for the preferred scheme will take account of the relative areas of public and private land at that stage of the project development. This work is beyond the scope of the current study and will be undertaken by Council officers.

This is standard practice for any scheme (not just for Manningham), and is a verified process through VCAT, which is the ultimate test of a scheme’s integrity.

It should also be reiterated here that, in addition to its land, Council is bearing the cost of the runoff from all streets, irrespective of the fact that they can legally be charged to the private land owners.

  1. The report fails to include a baseline estimate of minimum cost required to upgrade existing drainage infrastructure to manage a 1 in 5 year ARI.

Apart from the fact that this was not a requirement of the Project Brief, which was developed in consultation with a subcommittee of the Reference Panel, it would have no value in informing the process. This would mean that Council would be assigning apportioned costs to residents based on a minimal works model against a larger scheme and bearing the balance of the resident costs itself. This lesser cost should not then be used as the basis of resident contributions towards a full drainage scheme (e.g. Option 1), as, by default, Council would be paying for drains in upstream properties through general rates, rather than the properties paying for what they are liable for. The Project Brief requires the protection of habitable floor areas from flooding in a major (1 in 100 year) flood event. The value of the minor (five year) rainfall event infrastructure will be estimated based on the preferred scheme option.

  1. The report implies that the Rep Panel endorsed the 4 options modelled, whereas

Scheme 1 has never been accepted or endorsed by the Rep Panel

Accepted, however, scheme 1 was required to be included in the Study as part of the agreed Project Brief, in order to have it checked for probity purposes, and to enable the consultant to independently assess it against any other model they may have come up with.

Scheme 5 as modelled was not agreed to by the Rep Panel.

This is not correct. Scheme 5 was proposed by the Reference Panel following the community shortlisting workshop conducted on 30 April 2015, to replace scheme 3 as developed by the community. Scheme 5 was modelled based on the options originally provided by the Panel. After the closing date, the Panel submitted a modified Scheme 5, but the flood modelling had already progressed based on the original Scheme 5. Advice was provided to the Panel that the modified Scheme 5 could therefore not be included in the project.

  1. The report fails to record how each of the houses that are subject to flooding were permitted to be built without adequate flood protection

This was not a requirement of the Project Brief developed in consultation with a subcommittee of the Reference Panel and falls beyond the scope of the consultant study. These houses were built in accordance with state-wide building controls that applied at the time, and without the knowledge that has been gained since, in relation to stormwater flows.

The fact that drainage was not provided at the time of development does not mean that resident liability is foregone. It simply means that residents have been able to defer the cost of drainage for those years that have since passed.

  1. The report fails to offer any proposals for site-specific flood-protection measures for any of the flood-threatened houses, in the absence of a Scheme 1 project.

The study has been prepared in accordance with the methodology specified in the Project Brief, including the development of three schemes with the community. This option was not raised as the basis of a potential scheme. Site specific flood protection measures are unlikely to be feasible for all properties subject to flooding of habitable floor areas within this catchment, particularly for houses located in the valley. For Council to contribute to the cost of drainage improvement works, the assets developed need to be owned and maintained by Council. If site specific flood protection measures were feasible, it is likely that the affected property owner would be liable for the cost of construction. This approach would be inequitable, as it denies the responsibility of the owners of upstream properties to contribute to the cost of addressing downstream flooding and damage to neighbouring properties, which they are jointly accountable for.

  1. The Rep Panel believes the tone of the report to be biased towards Council’s intention to enforce a Special Charges Scheme onto MHRC ratepayers and section 5.10 is a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate the community into acceptance of such a Scheme that would maximize their contribution.

The Community Report simply states the results of the investigation into the relative merits of the four schemes considered as part of the study and compares their performance based on the community values suggested by the community and the core project values stated in the Project Brief. Community contributions to any adopted scheme will be in accordance with the requirements of Council policy. In fact, Council is doing the opposite of trying to maximise resident costs. Manningham’s policy is generous compared with the equivalent policies of many other councils. For example, under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1989, residents should also pay for what their local streets contribute, but it should be noted that in the case of the Melbourne Hill Road catchment, Council is proposing paying for this. In addition, Council is proposing paying for the 100 year storm contribution, not the residents, as well as other concessional costs normally covered by residents, like boring.

  1. The MHRC community unanimously objects to the imposition of a Special Charges Scheme and nowhere in the report is this noted.

The focus of the Community Report was a technical assessment of four flood mitigation schemes. This is only a part of the overall process. Community views will be sought and reported to Council by Council officers, prior to Council determining a course of action in relation to the project.

  1. During the period of the study, numerous delays have occurred as the consultants and/or Council failed to meet their own deadlines. Provision of information to the Rep Panel was always late and invariably insufficient time was allowed by Council for Rep Panel assessment with no consideration given for submissions after Council-imposed deadlines.

The Reference Panel received documentation a minimum of five days prior to each community meeting. It should also be pointed out that Council has gone beyond the original consultancy remit in responding to resident concerns as they arise, and this has, by implication, resulted in more work and more time being expended through the process.

  1. The Rep Panel believes that the report has been unduly influenced by the views of Council officers and does not adequately reflect the input from either the Rep Panel or the wider MHRC community

Claims that the process has been manipulated to achieve a preconceived outcome are baseless. As stated earlier, Council has a responsibility to ensure due process is followed in the management of any contract that it has let. To not do so would be negligent of Council. However, it should be made patently clear that this does not mean that Council has unduly influenced the contractor/consultant. The consultant’s work is their own, and all Council is doing is acting responsibly in ensuring that the agreed terms of the contract are met. Council’s independent auditors would insist on this.

 

Council has gone to great lengths to ensure a consultative and inclusive process through the development of the Community Report, and every effort has been made to involve the affected community in the identification of flood mitigation schemes and the basis for comparison.

The MHRC Community Representative Panel is resolute in its rejection of the report and the apparent collusive relationship with Council officers. We are prepared to refer this matter to a higher Investigative Authority.

The Way Forward

Council officers have stated that the MHRC community would be required to contribute to the cost of upgrading the drainage infrastructure to manage a 1 in 5 year ARI. Further upgrades required to manage a 1 in 100 year ARI would be fully funded by Council.

The significant inputs of water from Council-controlled assets (Wildflower reserve, Upper MHR reserve and the Leber Street drain), are solely the responsibility of Council and all infrastructure required to conduct such water through the catchment must be paid for by council alone.

The Melbourne Hill Road Catchment Community Representative Panel therefore demands:

  • An independent baseline costing of the minimum upgrades to existing MHRC drainage infrastructure to manage a 1 in 5 year ARI in the absence of water originating from Council assets.

Further to the response to the prior item 5, firstly, to the question of the minimum infrastructure requirements to address habitable floor flooding within the Melbourne hill Road catchment. Minor improvements to the existing drainage network will not resolve habitable floor flooding within this catchment.   The modelling has clearly demonstrated that the entire length of the Valley Drain requires significant upgrade to deliver the required level of flood protection. The consultant has run the flood model in the order of 200 times with refinements of the requested infrastructure for each scheme and has optimised the proposed infrastructure through this process.

The lowest cost scheme analysed was scheme 2 but this scheme also had the poorest flood mitigation performance. All schemes included similar upgrades to the valley drain. In order to identify a lower cost scheme with comparable flood mitigation performance to scheme 1, it is proposed to work with the Reference Panel to develop a modified version of scheme 2. Scheme 2 (modified) will then be tested through the flood model for the 100 year or major storm event and optimised, and a cost estimate will be prepared. Scheme 2 (modified) will also be assessed against the community and core project values and the results will be shared with the community.

A community survey will be conducted following this process to invite community feedback regarding their preferred flood mitigation scheme. The results of this survey will be reported with other information to Council, prior to Council resolving on any further action to address the habitable floor flooding in this catchment.

Any contribution required of the community to fund the preferred scheme works will need to relate to the actual works to be constructed as the community will need to contribute to the cost of the works proportional to the special benefit derived, in accordance with the provisions of Council’s Policy. Information regarding the cost apportionments between Council and the property owners have been prepared and are available through the Your Say Manningham website for Schemes 1 and 5. This information will also follow for the modified Scheme 2 when available.

In order to meet the requirements of the project brief, each scheme to be considered by Council must achieve the protection of habitable floor areas in a major (1 in 100 year) storm event. As such, the approach requested by the Reference Panel to focus on minor (1 in 5 year) event infrastructure required to convey flows from private property alone is not supported; it is contrary to Council’s policy.  

Suggested Drainage Scheme Implementation:

A drainage scheme to manage the water from Council-controlled assets be implemented to manage a 1 in 100 year ARI. Construction to be staged and in consultation with affected property owners such that costs to Council be spread over a number of years.

This approach is not supported as it will not resolve the flooding of habitable floors within the catchment.

The staged approach to include the diversion of water down Houghton Road

The diversion of water down Houghton Road is included in scheme 5.

 

MHRC REPRESENTATIVE PANEL STATEMENT

The MHRC Representative Panel Stands by its statement of rejection of the so-called “independent” consultant’s flood mitigation report and our accusation of incomplete, misleading or biased information provided by Council to the catchment community.

The provision of selective information from Council has continued with a letter to the catchment community from Mr Roger Woodlock reporting on the public meeting held on 10 August 2015. The letter, received by residents on 14 August:

  • Fails to mention the Rep Panel’s unanimous rejection of the consultant’s report
  • Contains information which is untrue
  • Contains selective information presented to support Council objectives
  • States that questions raised at the meeting and Council responses would be posted on the “Your Say Manningham” website by 20 August 2015. At the time of writing, no questions or answers have been posted nor has any information from the Representative Panel been posted, even though copies have been provided to Council.

As the letter was circulated to the entire MHRC community, residents that were unable to attend the 10 August public meeting would most likely be misled into thinking the Rep Panel accepts the report’s methodology, editorial content and recommendations. This is clearly not the case.

As representatives of our catchment community, we are increasingly disturbed by the persistent dogmatic presentation of partial information, misinformation, intentionally withheld information and biased Council-interpretation of data and regulations, all aimed at maximizing the contribution from catchment Ratepayers towards implementation of a drainage scheme designed primarily to convey council storm water through the catchment.

Here are some REAL facts:

  1. Ratepayers are only required to contribute to infrastructure which can manage a 1 in 5 year Average Recurrence Interval (ARI) storm event.
  1. Council is obliged to fully fund any infrastructure upgrade (above a 1 in 5 year event), required to manage a 1 in 100 year ARI storm event (This is Council Policy).
  1. Council is solely responsible for transporting its own storm water through the catchment or away from the catchment.
  1. A large number of properties currently included in the proposed Special Charges Scheme are exempt from any charges in relation to the proposed Scheme.
  1. Not all properties currently included in the proposed scheme contribute to flooding of houses in the lower catchment.

The MHRC Representative Panel again calls upon Council to:

  • Immediately undertake an independent baseline costing of the minimum upgrades to existing MHRC drainage infrastructure to manage a 1 in 5 year ARI in the absence of water originating from Council assets.

This request is fundamental to an objective assessment of the community’s contribution to costs yet has been ignored, in fact not even acknowledged, by Council or Council officers.

  • Acknowledge major deficiencies in the consultant’s report and the Rep Panel’s unanimous rejection of the report
  • Acknowledge past serious deficiencies with planning and building permits
  • Acknowledge the Rep Panel’s legitimate claims of deception and cunning used by Council to mislead catchment Ratepayers in order to avoid its obligations.
  • Publish our rejection of the consultant’s report on the Your Say Manningham website. The rejection notice is now a public document, is directly related to the proposed drainage scheme and the consultant’s report, and is after all…. “Our Say” and not Our Say as ignored by, interpreted by, twisted around by or misrepresented by, Council.

The MHRC Community Representative Panel calls on Council to stop the charade of misinformation and engage openly, transparently and honestly with the community to resolve this matter to the satisfaction of all catchment Ratepayers.