News

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.

128,000 reasons to support our market


THE WARRANDYTE Riverside Market continues to go from strength to strength, distributing $128,000 in grants, donations and jobs created in the last financial year.
As a not-for-profit community organisation, revenue raised by stallholder leases is used in small part to pay for management and operating expenses, and also fees to Manningham Council and St John’s Ambulance for attendance.
A large part is distributed back into the local community by way of grants to schools, kindergartens and local community groups, including the member service organisations and associations.
In addition to the management committee members, local beneficiaries included Warrandyte High School, Neighbourhood House, the Be Ready, Warrandyte bushfire campaign, Warrandyte Festival, a Pottery Expo award for innovative contemporary ceramics, Rotary Art Show, Warrandyte Junior and Senior Football Clubs and Warrandyte Pre- school.
Most of the running costs incurred by the committee create jobs in Warrandyte.
Over and above the Market committee’s revenue, is the additional overall return to Warrandyte stallholders, who otherwise would not have an outlet on a Saturday morning — all of which adds up to a sizeable return to the Warrandyte economy.
The market is held on the first Saturday in each month except January, with two markets in December.
The market management is by a sub-committee of Warrandyte Donvale Rotary under licence from Manningham City Council.
Other members of the organising committee consortium are the Warrandyte Lions Club, North Warrandyte CFA, the Warrandyte Community Association and the Warrandyte Community Church.

ATM to stay

One of the most asked questions at the market office on market day is: “where is the nearest ATM?”
For a while stallholders and market visitors have been asking if one could be made available.
With this in mind, the organising committee investigated the hire of an ATM tent for the market.
The July market was the first time ATMs were on site and available to visitors and stall holders, and it was a huge success.
The committee had been prepared to invest funds for the provision of this facility, should the demand not have met the required transaction level.
Happily, in their first appearance, the ATMs exceeded the minimum transaction level and so will now become a regular part of the market infrastructure.
They are located in Stiggant Street car park near the market office and the St John First Aid station.

Scouts scupper shops’ stocks of snags

THE JULY market saw the Warrandyte Scouts’ best stall yet with over $1,000 raised.
Over the last 12 months the scouts have improved the layout of their kitchen and introduced some new ideas.
In July they offered slow cooked roast pork and lamb rolls, cooked over the coals on a traditional scout campfire.
The problem was, there were so many people attending the market, the mouth-watering smells of fine food attracted the market visitors by the droves, and there was not enough to go around when it got to lunchtime.
They sent a detachment of troops to IGA where they bought up all the remaining bangers.
Still not enough!
The next platoon sallied forth to the butcher’s, where again they emptied the store of snarlers.
And still they ran out, eventually having to turn people away.
The Scouts’ market stall offers the scouts the opportunity to develop skills in service, cooking, money handling and organisation while serving their community.
Warrandyte Scouts is one of the most successful groups in the district.
They use the income from the market to buy equipment and materials for camps and adventures.
And they proudly announce that one of their venturers, Hamish, is representing Warrandyte at the World Jamboree in Virginia this month.
Next market, beat the crowds and help the scouts fund their next adventure.

 

Recycling crisis hits Nillumbik

Update: 14/8/19

ON AUGUST 13, Council released an update regarding the recycling situation in Nillumbik:

Council is working with the State Government’s Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) to find an alternative for the Shire’s recycling. Council has a contract with SKM through the MWRRG. SKM’s closure affects several councils and about half of Victoria’s recycling.

The broader, long-term issue requires a response from all levels of government. At this stage SKM, while temporarily closed, has indicated that it is working to recommence receiving recycling.

Council will continue to collect recycling bins as normal and encourages residents to continue their recycling efforts until this is resolved, it’s important we keep working together to meet the current challenges.

Unfortunately we expect this week’s recycling will be sent to landfill.

The capacity of alternative facilities in the north of Melbourne is limited and the MWRRG is working to find alternative arrangements.

FAQs

Why can’t Council follow Boroondara’s lead and use Visy or another provider for its new recycle facility?

Nillumbik Shire Council is one of five Councils that has a contract with SKM Industries Pty Ltd through the Metropolitan Waste Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG). A separate company, SKM Corporate Pty Ltd, was recently placed into liquidation. SKM Recycling have advised that SKM Industries Pty Ltd is still able to trade.

Notwithstanding current contractual arrangements, the biggest hurdle for alternatives to processing recyclables appears to be the lack of excess capacity in the northern region to be able to process the kerbside recycle materials.  Other Councils appear to be taking advantage of capacity in other regions. The additional transport costs associated with processing outside the northern region is currently being quantified to help assess the value of any alternative arrangements.

Not a single Councillor, staff member or community member wants to put recycling to landfill, it goes against everything we stand for, so you can be assured we are doing everything we can to get through this.

What does council recommend for residents and how can residents help?

Council’s Recycling and Recovery Centre at 290 Yan Yean Road Plenty accepts recycling paper and cardboard, metals (cans, aluminium foil, pots and pans) and e-waste free of charge.

These source-separated materials are sent to dedicated recycling facilities not affected by the SKM closure.

Residents can also help by avoiding and reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place, only placing the recycling bin out for collection once it’s full and taking soft plastics to Coles/Woolworths for recycling through REDcycle.

What are Council’s next steps?

In the immediate term, Council has no choice but to send kerbside recyclables to the landfill.

In order to understand and manage the contract risk, Council is currently having daily interactions with MWRRG given the situation with SKM is fluid.

In the medium term, the best outcome is that the recycling infrastructure currently owned and operated by SKM continues to operate to process municipal kerbside recycling, whether the operator is SKM or another party. This infrastructure is capable of sorting to the level required by markets both locally and overseas.

In the longer term, Nillumbik is participating in process initiated by MWRRG to explore a collaborative contract for recycling.

*******

ON AUGUST 2, the Supreme Court ordered recycling processing business SMK Recycling is now to be liquidated.
This followed a July 25 announcement that the firm would cease accepting Council recycling waste from 33 municipalities, including Nillumbik.
As a result, Nillumbik Council, which has been sending all its material from household recycling bins to SKM, may have to divert this material to landfill until a new solution is found.
Moments after news of SKM’s imminent demise was made public, Nillumbik issued a press release, advising residents of the situation.
The Council have continued to collect recycling bins as normal and encourage residents to continue their recycling efforts.
After the courts announcement, Nillumbik Mayor, Karen Eagan said residents can help by reducing the amount of waste they generate whether its recycling, food or general waste.
“Every effort is being made by Council to find short term, interim and long term solutions, including finding alternative recycling options.
“Like several other councils that are also affected, we’re very concerned about how we’re being forced to send recycling to landfill this week”, she said.
Cr Egan said Council will continue to work with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group and other councils to create sustainable solutions for managing waste.
Nillumbik has been in a long-term collaborative contract with Wyndham, Brimbank, Melbourne and Port Phillip Councils, with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group as contract principal — this contract was not due to expire until 2026.
Cr Egan said the state’s recycling service is a state-wide and long term issue that “requires a stronger response and commitment from all levels of government”.
Apart from the obvious concern of all environmentally-conscious residents that recyclable material is once again going to landfill, there are serious financial aspects to this fiasco which will undoubtedly have a significant effect on Council rates in future years.
Sending this material to landfill comes at a cost, as all Councils have to pay a State Government levy for every tonne of material deposited in landfill — an extra expense that has not been budgeted for.
Additionally, any contract with an alternative collector would come at a significantly higher price than that agreed with SKM.
More worrying is that although we do not know what advance payments, if any, have been made to SKM, we do know that at the last Council meeting on June 25 the existing contract was amended to change the price.
That item on the agenda was held in camera, and despite our enquiries to Council as to whether additional sums over and above the original contract agreement had been paid to SKM in the last month, we are told that “the detail remains confidential”.

The bigger picture

Earlier this year, SKM was ordered to stop receiving waste at its Coolaroo and Laverton North sites after they failed a waste audit and SKM was fined $16,000 for failing to get its facilities back within regulation within the prescribed timeframe.
SKM has been in an insolvency hearing at the Supreme Court, facing liquidation from creditors, with debts reported to be in the millions.
The recycling company — who has contracts with 33 Councils in Victoria — had warned 400,000 tonnes of recyclables would be sent to landfill each year if the company was to permanently close.
There is genuine concern that this will become the reality.
As the recycling situation has deteriorated during the last month there has been no shortage of blame in the mainstream press.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio recently labelled SKM as a “rogue operator”.
Victorian Waste Management Association’s Chief Executive Peter Anderson criticised councils for continuing to send recyclables to SKM and of being irresponsible in maintaining their contracts with the company.
SKM pointed the finger at households for contaminating the recyclable rubbish.

Impacted Councils

There are a total of 79 Local Councils in Victoria.
33 Councils across Victoria had contracts with SKM to collect and process their waste.
The other 46 used Visy or similar waste and recycling contractors.

The 33 Councils which have been impacted by the liquidation of SKM are:

  • Melbourne, Port Phillip, Darebin, Nillumbik, Hume, Whittlesea
  • Wyndham, Brimbank, Moonee Valley, Hobsons Bay, Cardinia
  • Booroondara, Stonnington, Knox, Casey, Kingston
  • Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Colac, Otway, Queenscliff, Surf Coast
  • Ballarat, Macedon, Hepburn, Golden Plains, Mildura, West Wimmera,
  • Yarriambiack, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Pyrenees, Glenelg.

At this point in time, all other Councils in Victoria are still able to collect and properly process recycling.