News

Artists’ opening their studios

Photo: Sandi Miller

Pictured: Syd and Ona in their Bend of Islands studio

The last weekend for Nillumbik Artists Open Studio is fast approaching, with November 24/25 – your last chance to take a sneak peak at local artists creative spaces.

For more than 30 years, the Open Studio program connects art lovers to artists by inviting the public into their studios.

“Nillumbik Artists Open Studios showcases diverse visual arts practices from painting, photography and printmaking to ceramics, sculpture, textiles and glass.

“There is something for everyone,” said Nillumbik Mayor Peter Clarke.

With six new artists added to the Open Studio bill, both locals and tourists will be spoilt for choice with 27 different artists across nearly a dozen artistic mediums.

Of local interest is Open Studios newcomer Deborah Halpern, known for the Angel on Birrarung Mar and the Queen of the Shire which used to greet cars and pedestrians as they crossed Warrandyte Bridge.

Visit the Nillumbik Open Studio website to download a program.

November roadworks

UPDATE: Monday November 19

An overnight lane closure has been scheduled on the Warrandyte Bridge between 8pm on Monday November 19 and 5am on Tuesday November 20 – with traffic allowed to cross the bridge, using only 1 (one) lane, under traffic management.

If you are travelling across the Warrandyte Bridge or around the area between these times, please me mindful there may be delays to your journey.

These works are advertised to allow the relocation of temporary safety barriers.

The November/December update also indicates roadworks to expand the bus top on the roundabout are also due to occur in the near future –  these works will allow articulated (bendy) busses to use the Warrandyte Bridge  bus stop, the Diary is looking into this as we are unaware of any plans to introduce “bendy busses” to the 906 bus route.

The bridge bus stop will be closed when these roadworks occur.

When these works take place, the bus stop outside the Warrandyte Library will serve as the start point for the 906.

The Warrandyte Diary will update this story as more details become available.

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[previous story continues below]

With last weeks overnight closures cancelled due to the wet weather, VicRoads today announced the next string of bridge and lane closures starting this Sunday.

On Sunday November 11, the bridge will be completely closed to traffic overnight, from 8pm Sunday to 5am Monday morning.

As with previous bridge closures, pedestrians and bicycles will still be able to cross the bridge, under the guidance of traffic management.

On Monday November 12, the bridge, and the roads around it, will be reduced to one lane, under traffic management between 8pm and 5am the next morning.

On Tuesday November 13, the bridge and surrounding roads will again be educed to one lane, under traffic management between 8pm and 5am the next morning.

As with the planned closures on November 7 and 8, these works are to facilitate asphalting and line marking – let’s hope the weather is more agreeable this time.

 

Forthcoming Warrandyte Bridge nightworks October/November 2018

Pictured: Image of Warrandyte Bridge during the last full bridge closure

[updated Monday November 5, 11:50am]

Bridge and lane closures scheduled for later this week

As we head into the first full week of November, plans publicised on Friday November 2 for more overnight works on the bridge are still in place.

On Wednesday November 7, the bridge will be be closed to traffic between 8pm Wednesday night and 5am Thursday morning.

As with previous closures, pedestrians and cyclists will still have access, under traffic management.

On Thursday November 8, the bridge will be reduced to one lane overnight between 8pm Thursday and 5am Friday.

Vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross the bridge, but under traffic management.

The reasons given for these closures is line-marking and additional asphalting.

In previous instances of this type of work, there has been a warning that weather may affect the ability for these works to be carried out.

As yet, there is no change and these closures appear to be going ahead, but with the damp start to the week, the Diary suggests you all keep a close eye on the weather.

The Diary will continue to monitor these works and update you if anything changes.

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[previous updates below]

[updated Wednesday October 31 2:05pm]

THIS JUST IN: Bridge closure extended a further two nights (Wednesday night October 31 and Thursday night November 1) but no nightworks on Friday

VicRoads have informed the Diary that contractors will close the bridge for an additional two nights (tonight and tomorrow) as they race to complete the bridgeworks.

The bridge will be closed between 10pm and 5am Wednesday October 31 and Thursday November 1 to allow contractors to asphalt the north side of the bridge.

The lane closures originally scheduled for tonight will still go ahead, meaning there will be single lane closures, with traffic control on Research-Warrandyte Road and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road as well.

The extension of the bridge closure means there will now be no work on Friday night going into the long weekend.

The official release from VicRoads is scheduled for release at 2:30pm on Wednesday October 31 (today)

Asphalting of the bridge itself will be delayed for a couple of weeks, times and closures yet to be determined but it is hoped to do this with single lane working rather than a further full closure.

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Single lane closures in effect on Warrandyte Bridge on Friday October 26..

Contractors will be doing further single lane closures on the bridge on Friday.

They will try to minimise disruption by only stopping one lane while the concrete truck is pouring each load, rather than keeping it closed for the duration as they did today.

 

Earlier this week, VicRoads released their plan for the next set of bridge and lane closures as construction crews and engineers push towards project completion before the end of the year.

The latest closures will facilitate asphalting works on the bridge and on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road and Research-Warrandyte Road.

Diary reporter David Hogg, spoke with VicRoads about the forthcoming roadworks.

Bridge closure

From Sunday October 28 to Tuesday October 30 (for three consecutive nights), the Bridge will be closed to vehicles between 8pm and 5am.

The plan is for the bridge to be open as usual during the day, with the bridge nightworks scheduled to finish on Wednesday morning.

Pedestrians and cyclists will sill be able to cross the bridge during these times, under the guidance of traffic management.

If you need to cross the river between 8pm and 5am during this period, VicRoads will have traffic detours in place similar to those used during the last bridge closure.

VicRoads detour map for Warrandyte Bridge closures

Lane closures, north of the bridge

From Wednesday October 31 to Friday November 2, there will be overnight lane closures in effect on Research-Warrandyte Road and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road between 8pm and 5am, with the road returning to normal working condition at 5am on Saturday morning (November 3).

Warrandyte resident Mike Flavel, concerned how the lane closures will affect Warrandyte’s Halloween activities contacted VicRoads to make them aware of the situation.

Strategic Engagement Advisor for VicRoads, Jacqueline Novoselac issued this response:

“Our aim is to finish these works as quickly as possible so hopefully the lane closures on Wednesday night may not need to go ahead.

“However, I have spoken to our project team and they have committed to starting the works at 10pm in order to accommodate the Halloween events.”

So trick or treaters and their parents/guardians will now have until at least 10pm on October 31, before lane closures come into affect – if the lane closure is still needed.

Further info

All these works are subject to weather conditions.

If it is cold or very wet, the asphalting work will be delayed.

The Diary has been informed that VicRoads know the Warrandyte Riverside Market is on November 3 and are not planning on any bridge closures that weekend.

VicRoads were unable to clarify:

  • how the lane system will work after the asphalting
  • when the traffic lights will be installed
  • when the traffic-able width will be extended
  • when the remaining concreting will take place
  • if there is a need for any further full closures

No more new information is expected until the release of the November Information Update Bulletin but if any new information does come to light, the Diary will provide any updates on these scheduled works, via this news story.

Not just for Christmas

Pictured: Veroncia Holland, Doug Evans and Sally Brennan

RESIDENTS of Christmas Hills have had their concerns heard regarding the consultation process around the Melbourne Water land disposal with Lisa Neville, Minister for Water calling on Melbourne Water to extend their consultation period.

As reported in the June Diary, the community are concerned that Melbourne Water is taking a short-term view of the divestment of 1,000Ha of land being sold off, now that the decision has been made not to construct the Watsons Creek Storage Reservoir (WCSR).

Melbourne Water met with residents in May seeking community input into how the land should be configured and which zoning would be most appropriate for the land.

Local residents and representatives of the Christmas Hills Landcare Group, Veronica Holland and Doug Evans spoke with the Diary and said that the consultation since the May public forums and their subsequent Melbourne Water Options Development Report — Christmas Hills Land Use Study (ODR) has been non-existent.

“Just deathly silence,” said Ms Holland.

However, she said that Nillumbik Council has been put in a “wonderful report that just outlines all the planning regulations that don’t seem to be mentioned in Melbourne Water’s report”.

“It starts off by saying that the land can only be sold once, so you have to be sure that the use of the land before you sell it is what you want it to be into the future,” Ms Holland said.

The Council’s Draft Assessment report highlights what it says are a number of deficiencies that are evident in the ODR. When the document was tabled at the Nillumbik Futures Committee meeting, the Council heard how the “ODR outlined the key considerations that have informed the development of the, largely residential-led, land use options proposed for the ‘study area’”.

“Council’s draft Assessment Report highlights concern with the lack of evidence to demonstrate how Melbourne Water has considered and is seeking to implement key State Green Wedge policies and objectives.

“Further, there are a number of statutory planning concerns about implementing the residential outcomes shown in the ODR” the meeting’s minutes note.

Nillumbik Councillor Jane Ashton spoke to the Diary at the time of the July meeting and said that Melbourne Water need to “look higher-level, they have to look to what the State Government is saying about Green Wedges moving into the future.

“We think what they have done is pretty simplistic, if they define ‘best use’ basically meaning how many residential blocks can you get in there, we think ‘best use’ is not that, it is preserving Ponylands and Wanneroo and Rob Roy.

“I love Christmas Hills, it is an absolute microcosm of what the Green Wedge can be — you’ve got all these amenities, you have got walking trails and tracks, you’ve got a sailing club — how many people have got a sailing club like that with views like that?”

Mr Evans said that Melbourne Water’s approach “appears to be a shorter term outlook than what the community wants, which is longer term — how do we protect the values of this place for the long term?”

“How do we protect the potential for agriculture and contributing to Melbourne’s food bowl for the long term?

“How do we protect what community values here in the long term?

“Whereas Melbourne Water ’s approach, from our increasingly cynical point of view, has been a shorter term, ‘what is in it for us quick, which is how do we get more houses in there and make more money’,” he said.

He and Ms Holland say the current community have a feeling of stewardship over this place, “it’s not something to be exploited, it is something to be appreciated and protected forever”.

“Chop it up and put a house on it and you have lost that potential forever, keep it as big as possible and use it in ways that don’t preclude agriculture in the future is much better,” he said.

Sally Brennan is the Labor candidate for Eildon, which includes Christmas Hills, in the forthcoming State election.

Ms Brennan has met with local residents and raised the community’s concerns directly with the Minister for Water and she is calling on Melbourne Water to engage further with the community to understand these views.

Ms Brennan is calling on Melbourne Water to take a long term view within the context of what is best for Christmas Hills, what’s best for the environment and what is best for the long term future of the land.

Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish told the Diary that the Andrews government is “hell bent on selling land in order to pay for big infrastructure projects in the city”.

“Those land sales, and the potentially inappropriate development that follows, pose a big risk to the amenity of our local area”.

She said that she had called on the Minister to ensure that Melbourne Water conducts transparent and robust community consultation to ensure local resident’s views are incorporated into the development of a Master Plan for the Christmas Hills land.

“I was concerned that only two options were put to the residents when in fact the consultants had developed three options,” she said.

Minister Neville has told the Diary that this is a “once in a generation opportunity to protect and enhance the environmental and community assets of Christmas Hills by identifying options for the disposal of land in the area currently owned by Melbourne Water”.

“As part of this process, we want to ensure the community’s voice is heard on the Master Plan for the area, so I’ve asked Melbourne Water to extend the independent assessment following concerns raised by community members,” she said.

A spokesperson from Melbourne Water told the Diary they are continuing to review the range of feedback that has been received related to the draft Master Plan for land in the Christmas Hills area.

“We recognise that, while we have undertaken significant community engagement and consultation, some concerns remain.

“We also acknowledge there are further opportunities for Melbourne Water to engage with stakeholders and the community and we’re committed to doing this.”

The spokesperson said “as a first step, we are working closely with Nillumbik Shire Council in response to their detailed submission to our draft Master Plan and considering the importance of this process, we want to allow appropriate time for these discussions”.

Melbourne Water has said it will provide the community with another update later in the year and is “currently looking at further opportunities for stakeholders and the community to engage with Melbourne Water” before the draft Master Plan is finalised.

Mr Evans says that more consultation in itself is not the complete answer.

“It is not just more consultation per se, I think we would only be interested in more consultation if there was a genuine shift in focus to the long term view.

“We need to see the current position, has it changed from what has been presented to us previously, if it hasn’t changed there is not a lot of value in meeting again to say yes there is no change,” he said.

“We want the end result to reflect the principles of the Green Wedge, it should be in the largest lots possible under the Green Wedge provisions because now that it is public ownership, one ownership, they can address the problems of small lots within the Green Wedge by consolidating them, and if you do that you have basically created, or preserved, what is this unique place close to Melbourne,” said Ms Holland.

Ms Brennan said: “it is very much the context of the consultation…which is what is best for the future, what is best for the community, what is best for Christmas Hills, what is best for Melbourne”.

“This is a unique opportunity to look at a piece of land that we as Victorians, and certainly as residents of Christmas Hills, seek a stewardship role over to protect for the future — not a short term solution, one that gets rid of the problem for Melbourne Water.

“For a whole range of reasons, there has been a disconnect between the process that Melbourne Water has undertaken and those long term aspirations of the community — so what we need to do is bring it back together — it needs to include a much more broad-ranging, longterm solution, that includes the expectations of this community, which are about protecting the Green Wedge, protecting the integrity of that land.

“This is a rare opportunity to do something important and valuable and in fact to make it better than it was,” Ms Brennan said.

Bus stop bomber

Earlier today, the Police detonated a homemade explosive device at a bus stop in Park Road, Park Orchards.

The Warrandyte Diary has contacted the Police who issued this statement:

In the early hours of the morning on 9th October a small and unsophisticated home-made explosive device was detonated at a bus stop in Park Road, Park Orchards.

No persons were injured and the bus stop sustained minor damage only.  Police believe this to be an isolated incident designed to cause damage to the bus stop but advise that home-made devices such as this are dangerous and have the potential to cause serious injury. 

Anyone  locating an unidentified or suspicious looking device should leave it undisturbed and call 000. 

Police would like to hear from anyone who saw any person or vehicle in the vicinity of 605 Park Road, Park Orchards, between 2.30 AM and 4.30 AM on 9th October 2018. 

If you know any thing or of anyone related to this incident, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers on: 1800 333 000