News

Who wants to run our market?

AN interim committee of experienced local leaders has been appointed to run the February and March markets after Manningham City Council ended its relationship with the former Warrandyte Community Market committee.

In the meantime, council seeks expressions of interest from not-for-profit community groups based in Manningham to continue to operate the market for a three-year period commencing in April.

Manningham council’s acting CEO Chris Potter said despite extensive liaison with the market committee last year, organisers had not addressed council’s concerns which included: environmental issues and protection of trees; proper set-up and governance; correct reporting structures, proper accounting practices and transparency of accounts; safety issues including plans for emergency management and evacuation; and ac- credited and planned traffic control.

Council has established an interim committee under the chairmanship of Geoff Taylor to run the February and March markets. The group’s spokesman Dick Davies explained the interim committee was independent of the former committee. It has a representative from each of Rotary Club of Warrandyte Donvale (Rob Edwards), Lions Club of Warrandyte (Geoff Taylor), local CFAs (Mark Simpson), Warrandyte Community Church (David Molyneux), and Warrandyte Community Association (Mr Davies).

The committee is using the policies and accounting practices already in place with Rotary, who run a market elsewhere, for the interim period. It is also grateful for the help from members of the former committee to enable the transfer.

“We certainly express our gratitude to the many Warrandyte people who have made the market what is has been over the past 31 years. A lot of people have contributed in many ways,” Mr Taylor told the Diary.

Mr Potter said council was seeking an interested community group or collaboration of groups to enter into a licence agreement with council for the operation of the market for a three-year period from April.

The successful bidder would be required to: provide a quality market that gives preference to local producers and handmade/craft items; encourage local sustainability and food production; provide an interesting, vibrant and uniquely Warrandyte shopping experience; attract local and regional visitors to Manning- ham and Warrandyte; maintain the natural and cultural values of the reserve; continue to distribute money to charities and community groups within Manningham; continue to ensure free entrance to the market; develop and implement Safety, Risk and Traffic Management Plans; and prepare an Event and Food Safety Agreement.

Mr Potter said while bids were sought from not-for-profit organisations, it meant the considerable profits made by the market would need to be distributed to local deserving community groups.

Given 150 stalls paying, for example, $50 per market, one could expect the market to raise about $80,000 per year.

He believes the market had perhaps become too commercial in recent years and would like to see it brought back to more local community craft and produce. Additionally, he observed the mix of stalls had not been well balanced and cited five stalls selling wax candles as an example of that.

The market would not be permitted to operate on days of Total Fire Ban. One of council’s concerns was to ensure an equitable distribution of the funds across community groups, and in particular, there would be no sudden change of funding distributions away from groups who may have come to depend on them. He confirmed the recent stall locations plan which makes provision for up to 162 stalls was to be adhered to and the new market would not be permitted to expand beyond that or up the hill.

Paul Goodison, Manningham council’s co-ordinator landscape and leisure, said the new plan relates to council-owned open space and Crown land managed by council. It excludes private land such as that area belonging to the Warrandyte Community Church, which previously had market stalls. While there is nothing preventing the new operator from expanding the market onto private land, the owner of such land would need to obtain the necessary planning permission and put policies, procedures and insurances in place which mirror those required for council land.

Applications are now open and close February 17. Council will make a decision quickly after that date, so the new operators can commence with the April market.

Mr Davies said the interim committee would be putting in a bid to become the new operator on behalf of the Warrandyte community; they did not want to see management of the market fall into commercial hands or be run by people outside the immediate Warrandyte area.

The bid would be made by a consortium of five groups running the interim committee, and the representatives on the interim committee would effectively form the management committee or “board” of the new organisation to manage the monthly operation of the market and ensure good corporate governance. They propose a larger “reference committee” advise the board and make recommendations to the management committee on the distribution of profits.

The interim committee members welcome any approach from interested organisations or individuals who would like to get involved. They envisage the new organisation could hold an annual “reporting night” similar to that done by the Warrandyte Community Bank, at which presentation of grants could be made for everyone in the community to see.

The Warrandyte Community Market has been operating since 1985. From a humble beginning it grew to about 200 stalls in the past few years attracting visitors from all over Melbourne.

It operates monthly on the first Saturday in each month except January, with two markets in December. In recent years, before the cutback in stalls, it had been taking about $100,000 per year, most of which is profit distributed to local community groups, schools, kinders, fire brigades, and housing and support services.

We should recognise the great contribution the former market committee made – they must have contributed about $2 million or so over 30 years to Warrandyte organisations.

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.”