News

VEC Representational Review of Manningham begins

THE VICTORIAN Electoral Commission (VEC) has begun its representational review of Manningham City Council.

Between now and October, members of the public will have their opportunity to have their say on the representational structure of Manningham Council.

The review will examine the following aspects of Council’s structure:

  • The number of councillors.
  • Whether the council should remain subdivided into wards.
  • The number of wards, their boundaries and the number of councillors per ward.

Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately says these reviews are an important way to ensure voters are represented fairly within the council structure.

“The opportunity to have your say doesn’t come around too often, so it’s important to have a broad range of community members contributing to the shape of their local democracy.

“If you are interested in the future electoral structure of your local area, I encourage you to get involved.

“Public submissions are a vital part of the review process, providing valuable local knowledge and perspectives,” he said.

Submission for the preliminary report will be accepted between Wednesday, June 26 and 5pm, Wednesday, July 24.

Information on how to submit can be found on the VEC website or will be listed in the July edition of the Diary.

On Monday, June 24, the VEC will be holding a public information session at the Manningham Civic Centre from 7pm.

Members of the public who wish to find out more before the purpose of this review and its processes are encouraged to attend.

National recycling problems deepen

AT A TIME when problems with weekly recycling collections have escalated beyond local council level to State and Federal Government, the Diary is still unable to find out exactly where the material we put in to our recycling bins ends up.

For this writer, and I suspect many of our readers, despite Councils’ best efforts to educate us, it has always been a problem understanding exactly what we can and what we can’t put in our recycling bin.

Different councils have different rules, some packaging carries a numbered recycling logo yet Councils say that some of these cannot be recycled, stuff that is obviously plastic such as coat hangers are not to be recycled, glass bottles are OK but drinking glasses and window glass are not.

We are told to put “soft plastics” into another plastic bag (Nillumbik only) but their recycling company tells us that nothing is to be inside plastic bags, and is that black tray that your BBQ meat came on made out of recyclable plastic or polystyrene?

It all gets much too difficult and I was slightly in sympathy with a non-politically-correct neighbour who told me, “I’ve never understood it; I just put everything into the green bin because it gets collected weekly and I don’t have to bother sorting it”.

But now even when we do get it right, we have to ask whether it actually gets converted into something useful or gets stockpiled or sent to landfill or, at worst case, left in a disused warehouse until it catches fire!

One of the problems is that the so-called recycling companies do precious little recycling themselves.

Their function is to collect the refuse from the local council, sort it, and then “make it available” to other companies, some of whom may be subsidiaries who do recycle the material, or they may export the material for processing overseas.

Local councils are very helpful in providing information; recycling companies are not.

Nillumbik

Nillumbik residents are some of Victoria’s best recyclers, consistently achieving at least 65 per cent diversion from landfill, compared to the State average of 46 per cent.

Nillumbik is one of five councils in a collaborative contract with recycling processor SKM Recycling, administered by the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group on behalf of the councils.

This contract requires SKM to manage kerbside recycling in an environmentally responsible way.

Nillumbik delivers approximately 7,000 tonnes of kerbside recycling to SKM annually.

Of all the material collected in the Yellow Bin, the big hitters are glass, at 27.96 per cent, paper at 23.41 per cent and cardboard at 17.66 per cent.

Whereas soft plastics come in at 1.48 per cent and Tetra Pak (or liquid paperboard) at a low 0.45 per cent.

It is expected that SKM will sort, bale and sell this material through local and overseas markets for processing into new products.

According to SKM’s website, more than 60 per cent of materials remain in Australia for use in local industries.

In regards to whether any materials are being stockpiled, Council has not been notified of any non-conformance since SKM’s Laverton North and Coolaroo sites re-opened in March.

Residents can find out what to recycle or how to dispose of something correctly on Nillumbik Council’s website.

SKM Recycling has not responded to the Diary’s emails or phone calls.

In the recently adopted 2019/20 budget, ratepayers will see an increase of around 3.5 per cent in charges for waste and recycling collection, bringing the standard waste charge to $263.40.

Manningham

Manningham have a similar arrangement to Nillumbik, but their contract is with Visy Recycling.

Visy would appear to have associated companies who produce PET plastic food containers and it would seem that their clients can select the inclusion of varying amounts of recycled content.

But as with all the “recycling” companies their website concentrates a great deal on “collecting” and “sorting” the waste and “recovering” the material but has very little to say on how it is reprocessed and what is actually produced from the material and where.

Our calls to Visy to find out about all of this fell on deaf ears, but Manningham Council were helpful in providing the Diary with the contact details of their person there.

However, despite numerous emails and phone calls, no-one at Visy has responded to us or returned our calls.

In the draft 2019/20 budget adopted in principle by Council in April with a final decision occurring at the June 25 Ordinary Council Meeting, Manningham ratepayers will see a domestic waste service charge increase of 2.25 per cent.

State Government

In February 2018, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio chipped in $13 million to help the Councils manage their recyclable rubbish, after China had refused to accept further plastic waste.

This was a stop-gap measure in the 2018/19 Budget.

In late May of this year, Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings announced that Infrastructure Victoria should look at what is needed to develop waste-to-energy projects and resource recovery from organic waste.

It comes at the same time as Malaysia announced that it would be returning plastic waste to Australia and after the earlier discovery of a dozen illegal waste sites in Melbourne’s north as well as toxic factory fires involving waste stockpiles at Campbellfield, West Footscray and Coolaroo.

Federal Government

The Australian Government has announced the appointment of an Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environment Management.

The new Assistant Minister, Trevor Evans, was appointed on May 26 as part of Scott Morrison’s new cabinet.

Evans said he is humbled to have been sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management and was looking forward to the challenges ahead and working as a strong advocate for protecting Australia’s environment.

No more time to waste

With the recycling industry now in a deepening crisis, it is time for government — at all levels – to come up with a plan, and hopefully some sort of standardisation across councils and packaging, so that we all know what can go into any yellow bin in Australia and have confidence that it will be properly recycled.

It is clear from the 2019/20 Budget that a solution to the recycling crisis has not been found.

Maybe it is time for the community to handle this problem on a local level.

Dealing with deer

MANY READERS will be aware of the increasing number of incidents in and around Warrandyte involving deer.

There are regular posts on the Warrandyte Businesses and Community Facebook page about deer sightings, and regular walkers in Warrandyte State Park are likely to have spotted a deer or two around Fourth Hill and The Pound.

There is an increasing number of posts regarding incidents involving deer on roads too.

The Andersons Creek Landcare Group is on the front line when it comes to the battle against the damage inflicted by the deer population.

Andersons Creek Landcare Group Secretary, Jill Dixon, spoke to the Diary about the deer problem at Andersons Creek Reserve.

“Deer are now quite a serious problem, doing more damage than foxes, rabbits and feral cats.

“They are so large, they breed quickly and can reach up high, with a taste for most bushes and trees and stripping the bark off trees,” she said.

In November 2018, the Diary published a story about environmental groups’ dissatisfaction with the State’s Draft Victorian Deer Management Strategy (DVDMS), their dissatisfaction supported by concurrent submissions by Manningham, Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges Councils to the DVDMS in July/August of that year to make it easier for councils to control the deer populations in peri-urban municipalities.

But the DVDMS is woefully inadequate and local Landcare groups are asking residents to write to State Government to convey this concern.

“You can help by writing to Victorian State Ministers on the inadequate strategies currently in the planning process which we believe are too few and too slow,” said Ms Dixon.

Public submissions and responses to the DVDMS were due to be released in February this year.

The Diary wrote to Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to ask them for an update on the DVDMS.

“A Deer Management Strategy is currently being developed to set out a coordinated and strategic approach to deer management across the state.

“Feedback received during public consultation is currently being reviewed to inform the development of the final strategy.

“The final strategy will be released later this year,” said a spokesperson for DELWP.

The Diary also spoke with North Ringwood resident Brian Dungey, a licensed hunter.

Mr Dungey believes the deer are not as large a threat to the local environment as others have stated.

“Yes, deer do some damage to the environment… but compared to people and stock they do very little.

“People as a whole need to care more for their environment before we start blaming animal species — we are the more destructive species.

“I would pose the observation that kangaroos do more damage due to their over-population here in Warrandyte,” he said.

Mr Dungey also believes the DVDMS has missed the mark, but for very different reasons.

“While it acknowledges deer are both a material and monetary resource it doesn’t do enough to help landowners and the State to benefit more from the money that could be derived from foreign hunters and from balloted hunts.

“The document does acknowledge that deer are too many and too wary to remove from everywhere, hunters also acknowledge this and the Government should make further use of these people, and not just one group of hunters.

“The use of scent-trailing hounds is generally acknowledged as the most effective form of deer management yet the document doesn’t make use of this tool.

Mr Dungey also commented the deer management strategy does not do enough to discourage illegal hunting practices, and that practices such as arial hunting and poisoning not only cause the animal to suffer, but can also cause more problems down the line, like attracting feral dogs.

“Hunters dislike the waste, expense and cruelty created by aerial shooting.

“Recreational hunters are more than happy to remove all the meat from the deer they take.

“Aerial shooting creates food for feral dogs, which then breed up, and then kill native wildlife.

“What the document needs to do is change the law so venison gathered by legal hunters can be commercially processed and donated to charities for human consumption which happens in many countries,” said Mr Dungey.

Currently, whether you are of the opinion that deer are either a game species that should be protected, or a pest species which needs to be eradicated, this introduced species is still currently protected under the Wildlife Act.

Mr Dungey has some advice for residents who would like to deter deer from their property.

“Deer are creatures of habit, once land owners have established where the deer are accessing their properties, they can set up scarecrows and use solar powered flashing lights to act as a deterrent.

“The more you move around your property the less deer are likely to visit, as they like to be left alone.

“Remember deer only want three things, to eat, to drink and to sleep, you need to deny them what they want.”

Mr Dungey notes these animals have been in country for more than 100 years and have adapted to the environment.

“Perhaps we, as people, need to consider living with these wonderful creatures — they have adapted to living with us — are we so arrogant as a species that we expect other sentient creatures to conform to us?”

If an invasive deer population, or any wildlife is causing significant damage to your property, and your only option so to have them destroyed, then there are a series of permits you are required to possess before you can hire a local hunter.

This starts with an Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) permit which is issued by DELWP.

A recent discussion on 3AW, and subsequently the Rural Link Facebook group, regarding the explosion in number of eastern grey kangaroo across Nillumbik, attributed to a migration of the kangaroo population from the Northern Growth Corridor.

Urban development is displacing the kangaroos in the urban growth corridor and forcing them to move onto properties in the Green Wedge.

Property owners are reporting an exponential rise in the number of kangaroos causing property damage and becoming a traffic hazard, this may add some weight to Mr Dungey’s controversial statement regarding living with deer.

Extending this to encompass all wildlife, maybe the discussion should look to how Green Wedge communities can co-habit with both indigenous and introduced wildlife as urban expansion around Melbourne continues.

 

Photos: Shirley Bendle

Have your say on North East Link

THE NORTH East Link Authority (NELA) has released its Environmental Effects Statement (EES).

Both Manningham and Boroondara Councils have had concerns over, in particular, the light industrial and sporting precincts in their council areas.

Manningham Council claims that 1,200 jobs will be lost with the loss of the light industrial areas around Bulleen and that the road project will take away public sporting facilities in the area.

In a special meeting on June 4, Cr Paul McLeish spoke passionately about the need for compensation for removal of these local amenities, particularly as they are situated on some of the only flat open space in the municipality.

The special meeting also heard public submissions, with public concern expressed for the welfare of the 350-year-old River Red Gum in Bridge Road Bulleen, which council have agreed is a of significant cultural and environmental importance and have included its protection as one of their recommendations, along with Bolin Bolin Billabong.

Based on the preliminary information provided on the proposed North East Link (NEL) project, Manningham Council has submitted 19 recommendations to the North East Link Authority (NELA), of those 19, the following are of significance to the residents of Warrandyte.

The upgrade of Templestowe Road (including an off-road shared path) should be included as part of the NEL project.

That a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service between the CBD and Manningham is incorporated as part of the Doncaster Busway proposal.

Ensure that public transport infrastructure and service improvements to the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) are provided.

Provide a number of improvements to the local bus network to support public transport connections between the City of Manningham and the La Trobe National Employment and Innovation Cluster.

Develop the existing Doncaster Park & Ride site to create a mixed-use Transit-Oriented Development (TOD).

That a corridor along the Eastern Freeway is preserved for a future heavy rail link to Doncaster (or that the Doncaster Busway is designed to allow for future transition to heavy rail).

To deliver a number of walking and cycling improvements including a new shared-path bridge across the Yarra River between Bulleen and Heidelberg and safer pedestrian crossings in various locations.

Enhance the Koonung Creek Linear Park and associated trails, including a safe crossing point at Doncaster Road and maintain the existing natural landscape environment.

Minimise or mitigate impact to several sites of (cultural, recreational or community) significance throughout the municipality.

Provide prominent public art at key “gateway” entrances to Manningham.

Ensure that no road tolls are introduced to the Eastern Freeway

Public submissions to the North East Link EES close at 5pm, Friday, June 7.

To have your say go to https://engage.vic.gov.au/north-east-link-project

The next step is for the appointment of an Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) who will conduct hearings starting on July 25.

Those who have made a written submission will be invited to give a verbal submission to the panel.

Your Say: Brickbats and Bouquets

RSL Access an issue for our ageing Veterans

Dear Diary,
Two veterans from the Second World War led the march along Yarra Street on Anzac Day this year.
One used a walking frame; the other was in a wheelchair.
Warrandyte’s citizens greeted them as the heroes they are.
They were waved at, cheered and clapped.
The march ended at the bridge for the turn into — and up to — the place where the service was to be held.
And there began the problem for those leading men.
The climb up the steps was steep and long.
And the steps were not deeply spaced nor wide enough for a walking frame.
Certainly out of the question for a wheelchair.
Alternatively, the second entrance was a little further along.
A make-piece railing, bound with wire which end sprung dangerously into space.
More difficult steps leading to a steep and rutted track along which it was impossible to push a wheelchair.
My 96-year-old father was in that wheelchair.
He had to leave it and finally reach the service area on the arms of strong and willing relations.
When the National Anthem had been sung and all the photographs taken, he had to leave the area the same way — walking with difficulty on the arms of the stalwart younger generation.
Access difficulties are not confined to veterans in their nineties.
My generation of Vietnam “boys” are only a few years behind and they too will find, if they already have not done so, that the easy part of the march ends at the entrance to the RSL.
Babes in prams and pushers, the civilian elderly and the disabled are all faced with a steep climb made extra difficult by dangerous path work.
Last year I was already worried about access to the service area for this year’s Anzac Day and, not knowing how heritage overlay, OHS, the roles of Warrandyte RSL, Manningham Council and the State government could affect improvements, I approached State MP, Ryan Smith as a first call.
He readily took up the problem and began talks and a visit with the RSL and the Council.
Then came the State election and despite two emails to Mr Smith since then I have heard nothing.
And nothing was done to make this year’s end of march access easier and safer.
Please, is there nothing that can be done to improve the situation before Anzac Day 2020?
Gaynor Bishop, Warrandtye

Hoon Hassles in Jumping Creek

Dear Diary,
This is an issue I think everyone living in and around Warrandyte must be made aware of and I ask that you all share this with your friends to ensure as many people as possible will know about this very local, potentially dangerous situation.
Jumping Creek Reserve, off Jumping Creek Road, but across the Yarra from North Warrandyte, approximately 1.5 kms as the crow flies north of Warrandyte Village, is a ticking time bomb.
I live directly opposite the picnic area and car park, and along with my neighbours I enjoy hearing visitors having a good time at the Reserve during the day.
However, as night falls other visitors arrive, doing burnouts and causing so much noise it is unbearable.
I’m sure this terrorises the wildlife in that area as well.
Sometimes they light fires (with wood provided by Parks Vic) and then they leave, often leaving the fires burning….and these fires are not always in the BBQ areas.
My neighbours and I regularly have to call the CFA and police but of course after hours police from Doncaster are never going to arrive in time to catch the hoons.
Last night (early April) at 10:30pm the situation escalated dramatically.
Hoons were doing burnouts for half an hour before leaving and peace reigned again, for ten minutes until the first massive explosion bought me to my feet.
Across the river was a huge car fire, flames leaping up among the top leaves of gum trees.
More explosions and finally the car was totally engulfed with the sky alight with fire and smoke.
We called the emergency services with the CFA arriving within 10 minutes.
They extinguished the fire before it escaped into the tinder dry bush on this occasion, but imagine if it was one of our hot nights with a north wind blowing.
The river would be no fire break as the embers would be landing in our village. We have two major issues here and locals have tried to eliminate them in the past even meeting with an MP on site, to no avail.
These two issues:
The park is only ever closed if the fire rating is severe or extreme, not necessarily on a Total Fire Ban day. This means vehicle access is 24 hours at all other times.
Wood fires BBQs are available here, with wood provided by Parks Vic, all year round. In such a high fire danger area why do we need wood fired BBQs? Parks Vic answer to this is “healthy Parks, healthy people”.I believe it would be acceptable to all visitors to the park to have no fires at all in the fire ban season. If I can’t light a fire 50 meters away on my property, why should visitors to the park be able to light fires? Remembering that not all fires are lit in the BBQ areas.
Ok locals, what should we do about this situation, are you all happy to allow this to continue?
I believe it is only a matter of time, not if, but when, before a similar situation arises and we locals are not around to call emergency services.
We need the park closed at sunset and wood fired BBQs removed.
A small price to pay to keep Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs safe.
Gail Watts, North Warrandyte

Young people these days!

Meet North Warrandyte’s Litter Warrior.
Liz Blackwood takes a whole week of work each year to pick up rubbish along the north side of the Yarra and along Research-Warrandyte Road.
This year she collected over 4 cubic metres of other people’s rubbish.
She collects it in large bags then sorts it: the skip is for landfill and large yellow bags for recyclables.
“Thanks to mum and dad for helping and also bringing me icy poles on the side of the road…it was hot this year!” she said.
Liz’s mother Celia told the Diary that Liz has been doing this for several years, occasionally with the help of family, friends and neighbours.
“I think this is the 4th time Liz has had a skip to fill — it was filled up further when neighbours paddled the river and even collected a fuel tank,” Celia said.
“Pick up your rubbish people,” quipped Liz.
The Diary offers a round of applause to this amazing Warrandytian.
Great work Liz.