News

VIDEO: Turning dryers into fires

The Diary’s new Around the home series meets avid repurposer, Andrew Driscoll. Andrew welcomes us into his fascinating workspace where he up-cycles old washing machines and dryers into top-quality fire drums! An inventive, practical and rewarding way to reduce waste.

Great wall of Warrandyte

IN the April edition of the Diary, we outlined the intentions and goals of the Warrandyte Community Association’s recent project, the Writer’s Wall. Its stall over the festival week- end received an overwhelming re- sponse as people of all ages and areas expressed their hopes and visions for the future of our town.

Festival-goers were encouraged to complete the thought-provoking sentence: “I want Warrandyte to be…”

WCA president Dick Davies ex- pressed the association’s gratitude for the amount of quality feedback received.

“We were blown away by the re- sponse (over 500 comments on the actual wall, many more on its virtual counterpart via social media), not only the aspirations that were left on the wall but the discussions that they generated,” Dick said.

The voices of Warrandytians and other local residents have been heard as contributions have been compiled and categorised into com- mon themes by WCA project manag- er Kim Humphris.

“A major theme was to preserve the unique quality of Warrandyte: its environmental, heritage, cultural and sporting aspects,” Dick said.

This desire for Warrandyte to remain unchanged shows the level of appreciation and respect for our town as it is. A number of other positive adjectives were also thrown around as locals hope for Warrandyte to remain a wonderful, friendly, creative, happy and healthy place to live and visit.

Conversely, many seized the opportunity presented by the Writer’s Wall to draw attention to areas needing addressing within Warrandyte. Issues concerning infrastructure, the envi- ronment, pets and animals, subdivisions, communications and politics were among those most discussed.

Traffic management was one of the most frequently raised points on the Writer’s Wall. Locals unanimously agreed that something must be done to improve the worsening bridge congestion.

Suggestions to resolve this issue include building another/widening the bridge, joining the ring road to Eastlink, discouraging non-local traffic and improving public trans- port services. Although it is difficult to determine the viability of these suggestions, the abundance of like-minded responses makes it clear that the issue must be addressed in one way or another.

Another proposal for infrastructural development was to install more bike tracks/lanes and footpaths for pedestrians. Not only would this improve safety for all commuters, but also help to promote active and healthy lifestyles.

Many Warrandytians also expressed their hopes for a fire-safe future. Although Warrandyte will always be a vulnerable bushfire area, contributors suggested practical ways to minimise the risk. These included maintaining bushscape to reduce fuel, more accessible escape routes and increased fire awareness.

This vision is on the road to be- coming a reality largely due to the WCA’s pre-existing Be Ready Warrandyte campaign. While the aforementioned traffic congestion over the bridge still poses as a problem in a bushfire situation, Warrandyte has come a long way in recent years in terms of bushfire awareness and preparedness.

Let’s hope our progress as a community continues in the right direction.

A lot of negativity towards roaming household cats was also received on the Writer’s Wall, reinforcing the rele- vance of the WCA’s proposed 24-hour cat curfew. Evidently, the project not only gave voice to new visions for Warrandyte but also reaffirmed the validity of issues currently under discussion.

Cats were not the only household pets, however, to receive a bit of flack. Conflicting opinions arose regarding dogs in public situations, such as whether or not they should be kept on a leash in populated areas. This is likely to be a contro- versial subject, but still one entitled to consideration.

Other popular suggestions included improving Warrandyte’s mobile and internet connectivity, prohibiting the subdivision of property and to be more respectful of our native environment and wildlife.

The contributions gathered from the Writer’s Wall are to be presented to the wider WCA for continued conversation. Informed by the priorities of our community, the WCA will put words into action to ensure a brighter future for Warrandyte.

The common themes and issues raised will also be focus points in WCA’s regular discussions with local councils.

Dick is positive about the potential of this inclusive project to determine a unified vision for our town.

“We’re really excited at the opportunity this gives us to develop a collective vision for Warrandyte that we can share, support and implement, in partnership with all those who help to make this a very special place.”

Do we have drug problems?

A LARGE drug bust in Warrandyte and conviction of a local man late last year has shone a spotlight on whether there is a local drug problem, a hot topic of debate among residents recently.

Richard James Pollard, 32, of Warrandyte, was found guilty of commercial trafficking and sentenced in the County Court to 11 years jail with a non-parole period of seven years, four months in October last year.

The court heard Pollard trafficked a range of illegal drugs via the website Silk Road and distributed them by express post, including MDMA, ice, cocaine, ketamine and other assorted substances in what Judge Paul Lacava described as a “sophisticated drug-trafficking business”.

Pollard’s assets, including tens of millions of dollars in the electronic currency of bitcoins, were also seized by police. Pending appeals, it is believed these will be sold and monies raised will be directed to the state’s consolidated fund, which is used for recouping costs and issuing compensation to victims of crime by the Department of Justice.

According to Sergeant Henderson of Warrandyte Police “drugs are a problem everywhere, but we don’t see a large aspect of drug-taking and drug-dealing here”.

Sgt Henderson, who has also worked in inner-city areas, told the Diary that problems associated with alcohol and teenage binge drinking constituted a bigger local issue, and while illicit drugs are readily available throughout Melbourne, Warrandyte is relatively drug-free and “does not have a deeply-rooted drug issue”.

Sergeant Henderson attributes Warrandyte’s active sports club culture as being responsible for the town’s ability to remain largely unaffected by the ice epidemic faced by other Melbourne suburbs.

His advice for parents is: “Avoid the big divide – keep open lines of communication, without judgement, with your kids.” At the same time, he said it was not advisable to be friends with your teenage children, “You need to remain vigilant and aware of symptoms of drug-use as well as the company kids keep.”

What are your thoughts? Does Warrandyte have a drug problem? Join in the poll online at www.warrandytediary.com.au

Fire strikes our local

A SMALL fire at the Grand Hotel resulted in the evacuation of patrons and structural damage before being brought under control by the CFA.

Flames were localised to a section of the balcony bar, which was hosting a function at the time. According to manager Peter Appleby the origin of the fire hasn’t yet been determined.

Although the lives of patrons were not threatened, a level of panic was reached when flames and smoke became visible.

After the duty manager was informed of the smoke, the Warrandyte CFA swiftly arrived on the scene and were backed up by units from South and North Warrandyte.

Evacuation of the function was a well coordinated by the authorities in front of a curious crowd of locals who gathered to witness proceedings.

Staff member on the scene Nick Schlueter described the day as a “rapid change of events”.

“Despite a fire breaking loose and the whole venue evacuated, I was confident we would still continue to serve customers, which we did,” Schlueter said.

Damage to the premise was limited by an excellent effort by the CFA.

“Minor repairs are required to the balcony section and the carpet needs to be replaced in the public bar due to water damage,” Appleby said.

Valiant efforts by the chefs and staff had the pub looking presentable enough to open the bistro, which was undamaged, for dinner at 7pm on the night of the disaster.

The public bar re-opened on Monday and all resumed as normal Wednesday afternoon.

Staff, patrons and owners are all relieved that the danger was so swiftly controlled and are well aware things could have been much worse, especially Appleby.

“We are extremely grateful that all of our wonderful staff and customers are safe, and that this beautiful 120-year-old building, is still standing to continue to serve the community proudly.”