News

Bridge works slip a further two months


THE DECEMBER Bridge Update Bulletin from VicRoads is now to hand and quietly announces a further major slip to the completion date, which is now listed as “late-February”.
Considering that these works were due to be completed by the end of September and at that time slipped a further three months to “before end of 2018” it is fair to say that the project completion now slips by two months every three months.
And interestingly the contact phone numbers and email addresses for further queries have been removed from the latest bulletin.
We had all expected that the night lane closures scheduled for next week would put the final surface and line markings on the bridge and enable it to be fully opened but we now learn that this work will now not take place until late-January and not be complete until late-February.
All three lanes are now open on the bridge, with temporary barriers separating the northbound from the southbound traffic, and there has been much discussion on social media at the relative narrowness of the lanes and folk are asking why it was necessary to have two footpaths at the expense of lane width.
A single night of lane closure next week is scheduled for either Tuesday 18 or Wednesday 19 December to do some further lane marking, but obviously this will not be the finished job.
Work scheduled for the rest of December involves completing the bus stop upgrade, installing traffic signage, completing pedestrian fencing and packing up the site facilities.
Looking on the brighter side, it would seem that we do at least get all three lanes open during the upcoming fire season.

 

 

Cartoon: COREY UPCYCLED BY ONA & SYD

Bridgeworks nearing completion


AFTER almost a year of disruption, and occasional chaos, the bridgeworks are now heading towards completion.

Night works and single lane closures, scheduled for December 1 to 4, to allow the construction team to seal the bridge surface, complete the lane markings and remove the remaining barriers were postposed due to bad weather and have not yet been rescheduled.

A further night of single-lane working on December 8 installed street lighting.

The work is looking very eye-pleasing, with colourful bollards and local stone cairns — sensitively designed echoes of stone end walls — at each of the abutments to the bridge.

Fitting of the green railings each side of the roadway and removal of most of the scaffolding from under the bridge was recently completed.

The further remedial work on the high voltage power cable over the Yarra associated with the bridgework was finally completed in the early hours of Sunday December 9 with a power outage affecting 446 residents.

Further works to be completed include finishing new shared use paths, finalising asphalting and line marking on the bridge, removing all remaining temporary barriers, installing the remaining street lighting, providing power and communications to the traffic lights, further strengthening works underneath the bridge, reinstatement of the Queen of the Shire and landscaping works.

The new bus stop works are being delivered by VicRoads on behalf of Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to extend the bus stop, allowing room for articulated buses on the road.

Traffic light troubles

The traffic lights at the corner of Research-Warrandyte Road and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road became operational on November 20.

Fatima Mohamed, VicRoads Director Metropolitan Assets, tells us “These new traffic lights have improved traffic flow and boosted safety at the intersection of Research-Warrandyte Road and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road and we appreciate the community’s patience during these important works.”

Although the traffic lights have been operational since November 20 there has been no power or communications laid on to the site, and the traffic lights are running off a generator.

Digital road rage

Last month, the community and road users continued to vent their frustrations on social media, this time directed at the newly activated traffic lights.

Complaints on social media indicated there was too much priority to traffic on Research Road and motorists stuck in traffic on Kangaroo Ground Road were falling back on old habits and speeding along the Blooms Road rat-run.

But it is the evening traffic that caused the most complaints, with the lights stopping northbound traffic across the bridge, and bridge traffic from Ringwood locking out traffic from the village.

Residents and commuters who have taken their complaints directly to VicRoads have told the Diary they are being advised “VicRoads is currently liaising with Telstra to get the permanent network connection installed which will allow real time adjustment of the signals and we anticipate that there will be tweaks to the signal timings based on traffic volumes once they are fully operational.”

Some adjustment must already be taking place as there has been a substantial improvement in traffic flow during the last week.

 Traffic flow

Despite criticism of the peak hour queues though Warrandyte, it must be remembered that the primary objective of the upgrade is in relation to bushfire evacuation, and to that extent the recent Bushfire Insurance Forum (see Page 7) was told that the emergency services have welcomed the works and believe that the bridge upgrade has greatly improved the situation in an emergency.

“Whilst the emergency services believe that the bridge upgrade has improved the situation, it is not a panacea and there will still be huge problems on the roads if an evacuation is required.”

The CFA message has always been to leave early and even with two southbound lanes, this message is more important than ever.

Warrandyte Festival keeps on giving


Photo: Stephen Reynolds – The Scrims, Warrandyte Festival 2018

THE WARRANDYTE Festival is the annual celebration that gives families and friends the opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Warrandyte’s unique community.

Impressively, volunteers have staged this beloved event for 43 continuous years!

One of the best things about Warrandyte’s biggest weekend is its “home-grown” attitude, which gives local talent the chance to shine.

Artists may dance or play music on stage; enter the Film Feast; hang their art in Friday night’s Rotary Art Show or sell hand-made crafts at market stalls.

Some perform in events like the Grand Read, which features Warrandyte’s literary best.

“Stars of Warrandyte” is the theme for Festival ’19, which runs from March 22 – 24.

Warrandyte schools, sports clubs and community associations are just a few groups who will kick off the fun-filled weekend, when they march in colourful costume in Saturday morning’s Grand Parade.

Organisers tell the Diary there are plans to expand several festival events.

The iconic Battle of the Bands, which gives local youth bands the chance to battle for the prize of spending a day in a recording studio, will move to centre stage from 4pm on Saturday March 23.

“Previously, the Battle of the Bands has been staged on a Friday night but the committee decided to bring the event into Saturday’s music programme to expose the local youth music scene to a wider audience,” says festival committee president Jamie Ferguson.

“We will be approaching local schools before Christmas to try and unearth as many of Warrandyte’s emerging acts as possible.

“We’d love to hear from any young performers keen to be involved.”

As usual, Main Stage performances begin after the 12pm Opening Ceremony.

Sunday’s Main Stage programme will start before 11am and continue a little later, finishing around 10pm.

All the good times return: billycart racing; barrelling down the Scouts’ giant waterslide; duck racing and dog showing.

Warrandyte Film Feast expects to grow substantially in 2019, because what’s not to love about short flicks, a good brew — beer, wine or coffee — and perfect pizza?

The past two events sold out fast and those who lucked in have spread the word, so, co-ordinators are hitching the event to a larger marquee.

The Lounge will start buzzing from 6pm with live music, before the first film screens at 8pm.

Organisers are receiving interest from the filmmaking community already and will put out a formal call to filmmakers over the next few months.

If you want to get your film fix on, Warrandyte Film Feast happens outdoors on the banks of the Yarra on Friday March 22, 2019.

Tickets go online early next year.

Be sure and grab some for your mates if you don’t want them to miss out.

Keep up to date with festival news by visiting Warrandyte Festival Facebook page.

Further festival details in Warrandyte Diary from February 2019.

Festival contacts

Battle of the Bands: If you would like to take part in the Battle of the Bands email:

battle@warrandytefestival.org

Film Feast: submission guidelines will be available on the Festival website at a later date, but filmmakers can send links to their films or request more info by emailing: info@strikingproductions.com.au

Art and craft market: Stall holder applications close December 14.

Forms can be found on the Festival website.

Volunteer: An inspired group of people of all ages puts Warrandyte Festival together.

If you like the thought of planning a big party or have a cracking festival idea please email:

contact@warrandytefestival.org

 

State Election 2018


THERE WAS a small field for the coveted position of Member for Warrandyte in the recently held State Election.

Voters turned out in force in the two weeks’ prior to the November 24 poll with early voting numbers reported by the VEC to be almost double the 2014 pre-poll turnout.

The seat of Warrandyte has been a comfortable Liberal seat for over 30 years, with incumbent Ryan Smith having held the seat for 12 years.

Smith, having spent the last four years in opposition was keen to see a change of government as he fought hard on the Liberal platform of law and order.

It was always going to be a difficult fight for control of the Spring Street government benches, but no one expected the massive swings across the state that strengthened Labor’s hold on power.

Labor put in an out-of-towner in Elizabeth McGrath, clearly not expecting her to make inroads into the Blue Ribbon Liberal seat.

However, despite Smith’s personal popularity in the electorate, he was not immune to the tsunami of sentiment away from the conservatives.

His 11 per cent margin was eroded to see him sitting on a frustrating 49.8 per cent, meaning without an absolute majority, a preference distribution was required.

Preferences swung the way of the incumbent, meaning that Ryan Smith was elected for the fourth term as Member of Warrandyte.

The Liberal member’s Two Party Preferred majority now sits at around three per cent.

Elizabeth McGrath attracted 35 per cent of the vote first preference for Labor, while Ben Ramcharan garnered a creditable 10 per cent for the Greens, with the Animal Justice Party’s Lachlan McGill taking four per cent of first preference votes.

To the North of Warrandyte, the electorate of Eildon, which takes in Kangaroo Ground, Christmas Hills and a large swathe of the Nillumbik Green Wedge, Liberal incumbent also went to preferences to claim victory in the seat.

In an almost carbon copy of the 2014 election result, Sally Brennan took a 35 per cent stake, while The Greens’ Ken Deacon took around 10 per cent of first preference votes and Independent Michelle Dunscombe retained her deposit with a five per cent share of the votes.

RSL secures funding to repair valued balcony


Photo: Warrandyte RSL Facebook Page

A community grant issued to Warrandyte RSL by Manningham Council will allow the organisation to make urgent structural repairs to the balcony at their property overlooking the War Memorial.

The grant of $25,000, in conjunction with a grant from Warrandyte Community Bank of $12,500 will help the RSL foot the $37,619 bill to make the necessary repairs and reopen the balcony to the public.

“During Anzac Day, we use the balcony to give the elderly and impaired members of the community a good view of the memorial and the ceremony,” Warrandyte RSL president,  David Ryan, told the Diary.

“At the last Anzac Day, the [former] Manningham CEO was attending and asked us how safe the balcony was.”

Following a balcony collapse during a Christmas party at a property in East Doncaster, on December 16, 2017 which resulted in two dead and 17 injured, Council’s across Victoria have been looking closely at balcony’s to make sure the tragic event that occurred last Christmas is not repeated.

“A week and a half later, an engineer from Manningham assessed the balcony and issued us with a building notice, instructing us to close the balcony and make the necessary repairs,” said Mr Ryan.

With quotes from builders ranging between $35,000 and $45,000, the next challenge was to secure the funds.

The Warrandyte Community Bank helped them get off the mark, but a large portion of the required funds was still missing.

“The balcony is very important to the social activities at the club, with nice views of the memorial, the bridge and the Yarra, it is a nice place to sit when we have events on.

“But its main use, these days, is to give the elderly and impaired veterans and locals a place to sit and view the Anzac and Remembrance Day ceremonies.

“The RSL is on a very steep hill and it is very hard for them to access a place with a commanding view of the ceremony without the use of the balcony,” he said.

With Remembrance Day centenary, fast approaching and council officer’s report highlighting the important community value of the space, as well as the RSL’s limited resources in raising the necessary funds to pay for the repairs, Council voted in favour of a  one-off grant of $25,000 to Warrandyte RSL at their October 23 meeting, with aspirations the repairs might be completed and the balcony reopened for the November 11 ceremony.

Unfortunately, this was not the case.

“We wanted the work to be finished for Remembrance Day, but to do this, we need the builder to start yesterday… we look forward to using the balcony, again, during the summer and at the next Anzac Day.”

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.

***************************************************************************************************************

[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.

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

[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.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************

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

Artist’s impact near and far

Local artist takes it to the streets

 

LOCAL ARTIST Tim Read has been driven to protest the treatment of refugees on Nauru, and he has done it through the medium of sculpture.

“Our government has been fighting in the courts against bringing sick children into this country — and when they are finally ordered to bring them to the mainland these kids are at deaths door,” he said.

Tim said he felt for the children suffering from a syndrome where they are uncommunicative and not eating, because they are being held in detention with no hope of release in sight.

“I was so frustrated that our politicians are doing this, and I thought ‘what can I do?,’ well I can do something at least through my artwork,” Tim said.

So, following his epiphany, Tim stayed up late into the night and produced A Postcard from Nauru, which he installed at Eltham Square in late August.

“Within a couple of hours of it going in people had started to put cards and flowers around it,” he said.

Not everyone was pleased about the installation, Tim’s Facebook page, Tread Sculpture receiving angry messages outraged at his protest, and other’s using the installation to refute Tim’s claims of ill-treatment.

“One person put a printout from the Nauru government website stating that refugee families are living happily in the community, so I looked into it, and it is rubbish — if you saw the

7:30 Report story, you would see the conditions are horrendous.”

Tim said that while he didn’t agree with the sentiments expressed and unhappy with his work being hijacked, the person still had the right to put the poster there.

“That’s the whole point of free speech, but do it with your own artwork, not mine,” he said.

Council also received calls about the work.

“I received a call from Council on Monday who said it couldn’t be a permanent installation and would have to come down.”

While the Council were very supportive of his protest, Tim has now removed the work from the site, and is considering his options about installing it in another location.

Northern Exposure

 

BEND OF ISLANDS artist, Tim Read of Tread Sculpture was pleasantly surprised by a phone call he received a couple of months ago to commission a work for the remote Aboriginal community of Mapoon in Far North Queensland.

“I was staggered when I looked up where Mapoon was,” Tim told the Diary.

The tiny community of around 250 people, only 200 kilometres from the tip of Cape York, is about as far as you can get from the Bend of Islands, but the community felt a connection with Tim’s work and commissioned him to produce an artwork for their up-and-coming Paanja Festival.

“The CEO of Mapoon Aboriginal Shire rang me to say they were having a celebration in September and they would really like some steel sculptural works representing the township and she found me online, ‘am I interested?’— and it went from there,” Tim said.

The remote community initially invited Tim to go fishing with them in exchange for his artwork. “It sounded like a great plan, except I have got to make a living from my artwork,” he said.

“My artist friend who had done work with communities up there, Linda MacAulay, told me that ‘life is simple up there, you enjoy the fishing and the hospitality and that’s the way it works’,” he said.

A more traditional payment was eventually negotiated for the commission.

Tim was shown a painting from local indigenous artist to inform his sculpture, which he has developed into a series of five totem poles that reflect the local Indigenous art, culture and landscape.

Tim works with reclaimed material to produce his sculptures and the rusted metal aspect of his work, along with Tim’s representation of native plants and animals, proved to be the right t for the remote community.

The sculptures are currently making the long journey to Cape York and, after being unveiled during the Paanja Festival, will stand as part of the gateway to the community.

If, dear reader, your travels take you to this far-flung community, keep an eye out for this little piece of Warrandyte in Cape York.

 

 

Small actions make a big difference


SEPTEMBER is Dementia Awareness Month.

More than 400,000 people are living with dementia in Australia and an estimated 70% of those people are actively living in the community.

Manningham Council is encouraging residents to
get involved in Dementia Awareness Month this September to help improve the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers.

Council are encouraging residents to learn a little more about how we can better support family, neighbours, friends and people in our networks impacted by dementia.

It is an important step to help reduce stigma and dispel some of the common myths about dementia.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.

Some of the risk factors associated with dementia can be managed through lifestyle changes or appropriate medical treatments.

Many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia.

Early and correct diagnosis can be helpful to ensure
that the correct advice and strategies are provided to manage the condition.

Manningham Mayor 
Cr Andrew Conlon said Manningham would be highlighting the small actions our community could take to create a big difference for people living with dementia.

“We’re inviting the community to show their support by becoming a Dementia Friend to increase understanding about the condition,” he said.

A dementia-friendly community recognises that a person with dementia needs to continue to participate in the community; this can include employment, volunteering or social activities.

Manningham Council
is running a number of workshops and resources for people and families impacted by dementia, as well as the wider community.

Cr Conlon said through increased awareness and support, Manningham hoped to make a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia.

“We aim to transform the way we, as a community, think, act and talk about dementia,” he said.

Manningham will also be releasing a pocket-sized set of information cards with up-to-date information about dementia; this includes a list of reputable organisations the community can contact for further support.

Council, in partnership with Dementia Australia will be holding an interactive seminar for Dementia Month: Worried About Your Memory on Tuesday, September 18 at Manningham Civic Centre.

 

Labor promises to spend big on public transport


‘TIS THE SEASON for election promises, and the Andrew’s Labor Party has brought out a doozy, the Suburban Rail Loop, which will form an outer ring around Melbourne, and importantly for the area, provide a station at Doncaster, finally linking Manningham into the rail network.

This is not the Doncaster Rail that has long been called for, but combined with the Bus Rapid Transit service that has been proposed to run along the promised Eastern Freeway upgrade incorporated with the North East Link, this could be good news for Warrandyte commuters.

It is unusual in recent times for governments to commit to such a long-term project, as the four-year election cycle does not often reward such far-sighted policy.

Premier Andrews says that the Suburban Rail Loop project will transform Victoria’s public transport system, providing an underground rail connection between Melbourne’s major employment, health services, education and activity precincts outside the central business district.

There is also promised to be a connection to the airport, providing a direct link for travellers without having to tackle the roads or transit via the CBD, the rail journey from Box Hill or Doncaster taking only around 30 minutes.

Presently, using public transport to travel between Warrandyte and the airport can take around two hours, if travellers want to avoid travelling into the CBD to take SkyBus.

“Trains on some sections of this new suburban rail loop will travel at up to 130 kilometres an hour and will be able to deliver very fast services,” Mr Andrews said at a recent press conference.

Greens’ candidate for Warrandyte in the upcoming election, Ben Ramcharan told the Diary that the Suburban Rail Loop will be a much-needed addition to our public transport system, but without upgrades to existing rail lines, he fears overcrowding will continue.

“I’m personally very excited to see plans for a train station in Doncaster as part of the Suburban Rail Loop.

“This will bring rail services even closer to our community in Warrandyte and is something that the Greens have been pushing for for a long time,” he said.

Undoubtedly, the planned project will fundamentally change public transport around Melbourne, moving from a “spoke and wheel” system to a “web”, directly connecting suburbs without the need to travel via the CBD and reducing reliance on the radial transport and road networks.

It will not happen overnight, the project is expected to be completed in stages over multiple decades, with the nal completion projected out to 2050.

The first stages are planned to commence construction in 2022, beginning with the south-east section from Cheltenham to Box hill and the Airport link to Sunshine.

Project delivery

Exact project staging, timing, route and construction methodology has not yet been released, but Mr Andrews says it will be con rmed as part of the full business case for the project.

Cheltenham to Box Hill (south-east)

  • Fully underground rail to minimise impacts.
  • Further technical assessment required to determine precise station locations, staging and construction timeline as part of the full business case.
  • Target work to commence by end- 2022.

Box Hill to Melbourne Airport (north-east)

  • Fully underground rail to minimise impacts.
  • Further technical assessment required to determine precise station locations, staging and construction timeline as part of the full business case.

Melbourne Airport to Sunshine (north-west, Airport Rail Link)

  • Potential sections of underground and surface rail.
  • Technical assessment being undertaken as part of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.
  • Target work to commence in 2022.

Sunshine to the Werribee line (south-west)

  • Potential sections of underground and surface rail.
  • Further technical assessment required for this stage as part of the full business case.
  • To be constructed in sections over a period of decades.

With a headline budget of $50 billion, the actual costings are yet to be released, but the Government has said that the combined Suburban Rail Loop south-east and north-east sections are expected to cost in the order of $30–50 billion, and the Melbourne Airport Rail Link section is expected to cost $8–13 billion.

Local Liberal member, Ryan Smith said that while the Liberal Party supports road and rail infrastructure, he is concerned that the election promise has been developed outside Infrastructure Victoria.

“The devil is in the detail, which is why this idea needs to be sent to Infrastructure Victoria for proper assessment, costing and planning,” he said.

“The Andrews Government set up Infrastructure Victoria in the first place, to allegedly ‘take the politics out of infrastructure’, yet this proposal is not one that has been assessed by that agency, nor did it feature in Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure plan,” he said.

The Government have not yet outlined the funding arrangements for the project, however the project’s Strategic Assessment states “opportunities to o set capital costs and capture value will be considered in the full business case”.

“This includes direct commercial arrangements or developments at stations together with broader value capture mechanisms”.

Mr Smith said he thinks this project will hit Victorians in the hip pocket.

“Worryingly, Daniel Andrews won’t rule out new taxes to fund this project,” he said.

Mr Smith says Governments must plan for the future, “however Melbourne’s commuters are sitting in traffic and standing in crowded trains today — they need a plan for today, not one that will only reduce growing congestion in 30 years’ time.”

Meanwhile the Liberal Party, so far, have more modest promises for Victoria’s rail network,

Liberals’ current promises are:

  • $487 million to extend the Cranbourne line to Clyde, adding both Cranbourne East and Clyde railway stations.
  • $450 million to extend the Frankston line with an electri ed, twin track to Baxter.
  • $300 million to duplicate the Hurstbridge line between Greensborough and Eltham, rebuild Montmorency station and add carparks at Greensborough, Montmorency and Eltham stations. $77 million to increase services and improve track conditions to Shepparton.

However, Mr Smith says “there will be others as the next three months progress”.

Both major parties have promises of massive infrastructure plans for eastern Melbourne, with the Liberals promising to construct an East West Link before they consider developing their own plans for a North East Link.

Labor is continuing its focus on public transport improvements alongside a North East Link and improved Eastern Freeway.

 

The Teskey Brothers perform at Fuji Rock


Photo: The Teskey Brothers Instagram

I WALKED along the meandering boardwalk from the White Stage — a most beautiful walk, spanning two kilometres in length, enclosed by lush greenery, bamboo forests and a canopy of trees for shade, with a rippling stream running alongside.

A part of me was excited with anticipation that there would be a band all the way from Warrandyte playing at Fuji Rock 2018.

It wasn’t long ago that I had sent clips and tidbits about this band to the Fuji Rock guys in Japan.

Coincidentally they were booked only a few weeks later. Nonetheless, they obviously stood out and caught the attention of the organisers.

We eventually enter the Field of Heaven, an outdoor stage within an enclave encircled by an eclectic mix of food tents, organic produce, teepees and craft beer.

It was surrounded by dense woodland, and by far the most chilled out area with a unique vibe — perfect atmosphere for The Teskey Brothers set.

From the moment The Teskey Brothers got on stage to do their sound checks, they gave a tiny yet robust glimpse of the solid performance that lay ahead.

This was cool with the audience who were either eating, ordering some beer or resting aching feet.

The band sounded pretty strong… until…it began… The magic started and their unique old school Motown sounds bellowed.

Folk moved in closer to the stage, some stopped in their tracks. When Josh Teske y (singer) unleashed his smoky, whiskey voice, the audience was taken back to an amazing analogue bygone era — I don’t think many saw it coming.

The fairly large crowd was mesmerised by the sounds of the six-piece band, two more members were added to create the horn section, which rounded off the tone quite beautifully. James from Fuji Rock Express added “ It can be strangely disorienting at times to see Josh speak between songs with his full Australian accent and happy go lucky demeanour then moments later witness the transportation to a rip roaring genuine blues wailer.”

We were treated to some songs that were over ten minutes in length. It was wonderful that each member was able to have their moment to do a solo or go off on a tangent.

During one of Sam’s climactic guitar solos, Josh ripped the set list off the ground to fan him with it, then crumpled it up and tossed it into the audience.

It was these charismatic and playful moments woven throughout that had the audience enamoured.

At the end of The Teskey Brothers hour-long set, it was clear that this was merely a taste of what this band has to offer.

They were captivating and engaged the crowd in their likeable, fun mannered ways. They were humble and appreciative of being able to perform at Fuji Rock.

The audience loved them and they were a favourite act for quite a few people.

Undoubtedly, The Teskey Brothers will be back at Fuji Rock, they have a great sound and left the audience wanting more.

Here’s to the potential and endless possibilities of what lies ahead for them.

Warrandyte, you should be proud. Fuji Rock is a three day Music Festival, nestled in the beautiful mountains of Niigata, Japan.

It is the third largest music event in the world, next to Coachella and Glastonbury.

It always features a solid line up. Fuji Rock is clean and green (the recycling process is meticulous).

It is a fun festival that is inclusive, strictly drug free and family friendly.

The majority of people are decked out in hiking and outdoor gear.

There are many areas to cater for all.

With stunning nature as the backdrop, it is a relaxing place to enjoy music and all the festivities.

Fuji Rock 2019 will take place from 26 July to 28 July.

If you would like your name on an exclusive wait list so that you do not miss out on this sell-out event please email: info@strikingproductions.com.au

 

Nillumbik says no to violence against women


NILLUMBIK Councillor, Jane Ashton lost her twin sister exactly 15 years ago.

Julie was murdered by her estranged husband. Her sister’s death is part of a sickening statistic where one woman per week is killed by a partner or former partner every week.

“We must change this,” Cr Ashton told a Council meeting recently.

Nillumbik Council listened and is taking a stand to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women and children, unanimously adopting a Gender Equity Policy.

Cr Ashton told the Diary she believes there is a link between gender equity and family violence.

“Equity is that everyone feels safe — and that physical attributes, your size, your strength, your gender, shouldn’t determine how vulnerable you potentially can be.

She says it is also about having respect.

“I think that if you are in a safe workplace, learning about equality and learning about the importance of language and learning and modelling respect, and respectful relationships — you are more likely to take that home and be able to influence your family and friends,” she said.

“Particularly with men, it is about giving them the tools and confidence that they can intervene or step in or say something.

“I think that historically family violence has always been seen as a private domestic matter that goes on behind closed doors and people have been very, very reluctant to get involved.”

Cr Ashton knows only too well the devastation that family violence can lead to.

“It is an absolute waste of a life — it is the worst form of murder — my sister had been murdered by someone who had been to my house, who had cuddled my babies, had Christmas dinner with us — what a betrayal”.

She says that while most perpetrators of these attacks are male, men should understand that they are part of the solution.

“The majority of men love and respect women, and they want their wives and daughters and sisters to be safe, but men also understand what other men can be like, and so it is very challenging when you are talking to men and they become very defensive.

“But men have to understand it is a real issue — murder is the ultimate form of family violence, but there are heaps of levels that go on underneath that.

“I’ve spoken to women in hospital who are severely damaged, and that is quite a regular occurrence,” she said.

Cr Ashton said police attended family violence incidents in Nillumbik every day, with sexual violence reported weekly, “we must change this”.

She told Council it was worrying that one in three people in Nillumbik did not believe in equal relationships between men and women.

“We must change this,” she reiterated.

“We all know someone who has been affected by domestic violence in the community.

“Preventing violence against women starts with community attitudes, and Council must lead by example.”

During an interview with the Diary, Cr Ashton said” “we can’t just rely on the police to arrest people or lock people away, or the courts to issue intervention orders, they have to try and manage attitudes around violence, and the way we do that is by promoting gender equity, challenging stereotypes and really supporting women to achieve equal outcomes”.

“Things don’t just happen on their own, they don’t just change, you really have to look at everything: from your advertising, when you are interviewing how flexible you can be, because it is alright saying you have equal opportunity, but people aren’t coming off an equal base, women often have breaks to have children, they don’t have a linear career path so we have to be a lot more flexible,” she said.

She said there is still a glass ceiling discouraging women from moving into leadership roles.

“From our politicians, to lack of female CEOs, for some reason there are barriers there to women being in those positions.

“You have to get it into people who are white Anglo-Saxon male: you come with privilege you don’t even know that you have, if you have never been someone who is marginalised or disenfranchised,” she said.

It is not just women who benefit from gender equity, she says there are benefits for everyone from moving away from stereotypes.

“It should take the pressure off about being an alpha male, for men to being able to enjoy their children and being able to enjoy things that are seen as more subtle sensitive, emotive, without any embarrassment.

“To reduce those stereotypes around both men and women frees us all and liberates us all and I definitely think that men have to be comfortable in their own skin too.

“Men that are artistic and creative people should be able to be themselves, whatever their gender or sexual orientation, everyone can contribute to community and be happy,” Cr Ashton said.

She said Nillumbik Council’s initiative in adopting a gender equity policy statement would be reflected in all its internal and external operations.

“That is making sure internally we have got it right and externally with sporting clubs, sporting facilities that we have got it right — that can actually create gender equity for men too — if you build a swimming pool for example, now we are having central family friendly toilets and change rooms, so whether you are male or female you can be with your child and go into a changeroom or a toilet, and that child is safe and with their mother or father”.

Cr Ashton cited the recent murder of Eurydice Dixon in Princes Park, “she had every right to walk home from work — as councillors if we make sure that our parks are well lit and there aren’t bushes hanging over the path — they are small things we can do, we shouldn’t have to do it — but it does help.”

“We have to do the audit on ourselves, make sure we have got things in place.

“We look through everything we do through a gendered lens — we look at everything — how we are building something, funding things,” she told the Diary.

As part of 16 Days of Activism, Nillumbik Council are officially supporting both Victoria against Violence and the global campaign.

This State campaign, now in its third year, involves 16 days of activism from November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Activities in Nillumbik include a play reading, and Council are taking part in the Christmas Hills Mechanics poetry readings.

Council is putting the message on local garbage trucks to tell every family in Nillumbik that family violence has to stop.

Council is also offering five small grants of $500 each to local groups and businesses to fund activities to raise awareness of violence against women and promote gender equality.

“I really believe in lots of small grants to enable communities to explore ideas themselves, rather than always drive it or hold people’s hands,” said Cr Ashton.

Applications for the grants close on September 21, 2018.

 

Warrandyte Bridgeworks update


As the Diary goes to print, VicRoads announce an extension to this week’s work which involves reducing a section of Yarra Street to one lane with traffic control, works will now take place on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week:

Works originally scheduled for completion on Monday 13, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 August 2018 will now be completed on:
Monday 13 August 2018
Tuesday 14 August 2018
Thursday 16 August 2018
Friday 17 August 2018
We apologise for any inconvenience or confusion, however we will need more time, than originally thought, to complete these works safely.

We’re working with Yarra Valley Water to complete some service relocations along Yarra Street as part of the Warrandyte Bridge upgrade.

Yarra Valley Water will be excavating the road surface near the roundabout on Yarra Street to complete these service relocations.

When to expect us

Monday 13, Tuesday 14, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 August 2018

Time: 9:30am – 3:30pm

The impacts during these works include:
Only 1 lane on Yarra Street will be open for both directions of traffic. We’ll have traffic management on site to direct one side through at a time.
Long delays up to 15 minutes are expected on Yarra Street and the Warrandyte Bridge.
Pedestrian access around the area will be impacted during these works. We’ll have a site supervisor on site to assist any pedestrians with disabilities wanting to walk through the works area.
There’ll also be some dust and noise from excavation work on the road surface.
You can access real-time traffic disruption information via VicTraffic

These works may result in service disruptions. Your service provider will contact you if you’ll be impacted.

We thank you for your patience while we work to improve the Warrandyte Bridge for the community.

The Warrandyte Diary will continue to monitor these works and will publish any further updates here.

Can Warrandyte break the plastic habit?


AS THE single-use-plastic bag ban takes hold across the country, the people of Warrandyte are slowly embracing the change to reusable shopping bags.

“People have been really good,” said owner of Quinton’s IGA, Julie Quinton.

According to a survey of IGA cashiers, men have been the loudest complainants as the new system gets underway.

“They need to get organised and remember to bring their reusable bags so they don’t have to pay for a bag,” Julie said.

“Most people are pretty good, and you would hope that they would be after us trying to do it last time and now all the IGAs are doing this.”

Julie said when Coles and Woolworths said they would come on board in phasing out single-use bags, IGA followed suit. IGAs across the country have introduced a thicker reusable bag which cost 15c, along with a range of options for paper and fabric bags.

“Last time people were good when we first introduced it, but as time went on and they kept forgetting the complaints started — but it is more about them getting organised,” she said.

“We have also tried introducing reusable mesh produce bags in the past, but they were all stolen,” she said.

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The Warrandyte Riverside Market Committee spokesperson, Dick Davies says they are very receptive to any proposals to make the market plastic free, “especially offers to help”!

The market committee are encouraging market-goers to bring their own bags along to the market, as well as reusable cups.

Market committee member Greg Rowell told the Diary:

“We cannot control how the stall holders wrap their goods, it is up to market-goers to bring bags if they don’t want plastic”.

When the Diary turned up to the market this month, there was a large proportion of shoppers who had come with their own bags.

“Another major issue is coffee cups which are not fully biodegradable — people can bring their own of course,” said Dick.

“We have planned to have reusable mugs provided on stations at each end of the market but we did not get enough volunteers to run it,” he said.

Dick said that replacing stallholder’s plastic bags and containers comes at a cost, “which we are considering in conjunction with Council and other Manningham markets”.

The market would welcome members of the community to help out with their green initiatives.

“The onus of implementation should not fall on the committee of management who are all volunteers and working flat out as it is.

“Residents should bring their own bags and we need younger people who are concerned to come forward and help,” he said.

The ban on single-use plastics will hopefully go a small way to reducing society’s addiction to plastic and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our oceans.

Have you found ways of living with less plastic in your life? Contact the Diary to share your innovative ideas of how to live without plastic: editor@warrandytediary.com.au

Saving Georgia

UPDATED (17.7.2018)

Kangaroo shot with an arrow returns home

GEORGIA the kangaroo, who was rescued last month after being shot by an arrow, has now been reunited with to her family in North Warrandyte.

Wildlife carer, Manfred Zabinskas oversaw Georgia’s rehabilitation for almost a month before returning her and her joey to their Bradleys Lane home range.

“She has other young ones here and her joey will be able to join its siblings, this is home for her, this is where she belongs,” he said.

Manfred said she coped very well during her month-long convalescence and is pleased she has made a 100 per cent recovery.

“Seeing her recover so calmly and to start eating grass and hop with reasonable composure was just a massive relief.

“It is always great to save an animal that needs care, but it seems so much more important when they have been victims of abuse and cruelty like that,” he said.

Police are still keen to hear from anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the perpetrator.

“Someone knows how this has happened, and you will be shocked to see how often this does occur on our wildlife,” said Manfred.

Please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if you can assist.

To learn more about Manfred’s work with wildlife to donate to his wildlife shelter: fivefreedoms.com.au

Saving Georgia

A HORRIFYING thing happened in North Warrandyte in mid-May.

A young kangaroo with a joey in her pouch was cruelly shot by an arrow, left to wander the riverbank with a target-shooting arrow lodged in her back.

The community rallied to rescue the injured roo when she was spotted in a Bradleys Lane backyard sporting her unwanted accessory.

Residents alerted local wildlife carers, and the rescue effort, coordinated by Libby Annand and Liz McNeil began.

Liz and Libby arranged for a specialist volunteer wildlife carer, Manfred Zabinskas to capture the injured animal.

After a two-hour drive from Trentham, two attempts and several hours of patient waiting, Manfred was able to administer a tranquiliser dart and take the kangaroo to the vet for surgery.

Dr James Taylor, assisted by Robyn Ireland, performed the life-saving procedure at the Box Hill Veterinary Hospital, with the vets giving their services free of charge for native animals.

“She ended up having a worse injury than we had thought, at first we thought that the arrow had just gone in under the skin,” Manfred told the Diary.

After they removed the arrow they discovered she had a deep infection and necrotic tissue and realised the arrow had been in there more than a week.

“She had to have quite substantial surgery, and the vet had to do some serious stitching work, so the wound site is quite substantial now — there is quite a bit to heal — but it will heal a lot better now that the vet has removed all of the affected tissue,” he said.

“It is almost impossible to get on top of an infection with antibiotics but if you get rid of all of the infected tissue and just prevent further infection it is a lot more successful.”

What they also discovered was that she had a little joey in her pouch.

“A little pinkie around two months old, that is very small, its eyes aren’t open and its ears aren’t up or anything yet.

“The joey couldn’t survive out of mum’s pouch, so if something happened and she didn’t make it then the joey would be lost as well,” said Manfred.

The veterinary team were also pleased the arrow did not hit anything vital, missing the spinal column and organs.

“It is good that we got her when we did so that we could save her — in many of the arrow attacks, they do die after surgery because of the nature of the wound — it would be wonderful to save her after she has gone through such a horrible experience,” Manfred said.

The kangaroo, given the name Georgia, settled in well to Manfred’s wildlife shelter, Five Freedoms Animal Rescue, spending the next two weeks receiving care and medication from Manfred and his wife, Helen.

The shelter is a labour of love for the pair.

Like all wildlife rescuers, the care of the animals is paid for out of their own pockets, including medication, tranquilisers, food, and not to mention the extensive hours that go into rehabilitation.

“I’ve been a shelter owner and operator for 30 years, we are volunteer rescuers, so I make myself available around the clock to respond to animals hit by cars.

“I used to be an engineer, but I also now operate my own commercial animal business which is my entire source of income — getting possums out of buildings, snake catching… all of the work I do is related to animal rescue work,” he said.

Helen Zabinskas added: “there is no government funding, there is no department that does it — it is all the work of volunteers”.

If the government get their way, the fate of any future injured eastern grey kangaroos could be very different.

A recent discussion paper from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) signalled  they are seeking to ban wildlife carers from rescuing eastern grey kangaroos, wombats, possums and cockatoos.

The recently released Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) system review Discussion Paper states:

“Wildlife shelters and foster carers invest significant time and resources rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned eastern grey kangaroos.

Given that the species is overabundant in many areas and is the species that the majority of ATCWs are issued for, some members of the community have suggested that the species should not be able to be rehabilitated under the wildlife shelter system… it may also be appropriate to consider whether the rehabilitation of unprotected wildlife, such as wombats, cockatoos or possums, should be disallowed or restricted to areas where such wildlife is not over-abundant.”

Helen Zabinskas told the Diary, “It is absolutely shocking, it is going to lead to widespread animal suffering and human trauma.

“They say they want to free up shelter resource and money by stopping us rescuing and rehabilitating these animals which is pretty bloody cheeky when it is not their money.”

In a recent interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Manfred said he would face legal consequences if necessary:

“I will go to jail before I stop looking after animals that need help, and I think you’ll find there are quite a few hundred people out there who will say exactly the same thing.”

The proposed ban would be in place, even for acts of human cruelty such as this arrow attack.

And sadly, these incidents are not uncommon, even in Warrandyte.

Sergeant Stewart Henderson, Officer in Charge of Warrandyte Police Station said that there have been quite a few incidents over the last few years.

“It is hard to say at this stage whether it is kids being kids or people actually coming out to hunt them, but unfortunately it seems to be popping up,” he said.

“About three years ago we had a whole bunch of slaughtered kangaroos dumped in the dumpster at the car wash and around that time we found a beheaded kangaroo on someone’s property… I can’t understand what possesses people to be so cruel.

“Had we not been able to find her, she would have just gone around getting sicker and sicker, the joey would have kept growing and eventually the pair of them would have died from infection in a slow miserable way,” he said.

“It is illegal to hunt them and if they were caught they would be charged with cruelty to animals,” Sgt Henderson said.

Sgt Henderson said Police are looking for information on anyone hunting illegally.

“If people do see people on their property, at the time phone 000 so we can come out and speak to people and identify them, but if they have other information, if they don’t need police attendance, call Crime Stoppers, you can do it online or anonymously with information such as registration numbers,” he said.

Manfred told the Diary, “People are always astounded at how many times I do go out to these sort of incidents, I don’t think a year goes by when I am not rescuing or knowing of some kangaroos that have been shot with bows and arrows or with crossbow bolts.

“It is quite regular,” he said.

Wildlife carers have been calling for a crackdown on illegal wildlife hunting.

“There has been no work whatsoever to try to address the situation, it is pretty serious.

“Aside from the fact it is an horrific thing, it is completely illegal and horribly cruel to the animals, this was in the middle of Warrandyte.

“These kangaroos don’t move far, they are a known little family of kangaroos, they pretty much live in the backyards along Bradleys Lane and down to the river.

“This has happened in a very populated area.

“There are people that are happy to fire off arrows at wildlife, not only doing the wrong thing by attacking protected animals, but killing them in an environment where people are around all the time,” Manfred said.

In true Warrandyte form, in an open letter sent to the Diary, a resident of Bradleys Lane has given a warning to the perpetrators of this incident:

“To the big brave hunter who took to the terrifying wilds of Bradleys Lane with your bow and arrow.
You must be so proud of your heroic endeavours injuring a mother kangaroo in what I’m sure was such an even fight.
If I ever see you in my backyard with your toy hunting gear, I’ll invite my resident big buck kangaroo to sneak up on your unsuspecting arse and see who wins that battle.”

President,
Bradleys Lane Chapter of North Warrandyte Residents against Meaningless Acts of Cowardice

Manfred plans to release Georgia back with her mob in Bradleys Lane.

“She has got family there.

“There is a large male that is part of her family group, there are some younger ones, may even be other joeys of hers that were nearby.

“She has her own definite family there that she lives with and they go from yard to yard, the neighbours all love having them there and cherish having the wildlife in their backyard.

“We certainly want to get her back there.”

If you have any information regarding this or other acts of animal cruelty, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

If anyone would like to donate to Manfred’s Five Freedoms Animal Rescue Shelter, to help offset the cost of Georgia’s care, deposits can be made to:

Five Freedoms Animal Rescue
Bank: NAB
BSB: 083-515
Account No. 8133 33160
Cheques can be posted to:
Box 575 Woodend Vic 3442

Photos by Libby Annand & Manfred Zabinskas

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Analysis paralysis


Pictured: Paul Purcell (left) and Dr David Stapleton.

Photo: Leann Purcell

Medicinal cannabis was made legal with prescription at the beginning of last year.

British Medical Journal Open, this month published results of a survey of 640 Australian General Practitioners, and found almost two-thirds have had at least one patient ask about the drug, some as many as 10.

According to the survey, while more than half the doctors said they’d like to be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis, they feel they don’t know enough about it, are uncomfortable discussing it with patients, and feel overwhelmed by the bureaucratic access scheme.

This is leaving patients who may benefit from the drug in no-man’s land.

Paul Purcell was involved in a workplace accident two years ago, which has left him confined to a wheelchair and in unrelenting pain.

Paul suffered a crush injury with severe damage to the spinal cord, leaving him with no sensation from the chest down.

“Nothing, I can’t even move my toes, there is no signal getting through… there is no sensation apart from the pain,” he said.

Chronic pain is one of the conditions where doctors are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, alongside conditions such as cancer pain, MS, and Parkinson’s, but according to Paul, he has been unable to find a doctor willing to allow him to try it for his pain.

He says the drugs he is currently taking for his pain have left him feeling foggy and forgetful.

“Sometimes you will stop mid-sentence you will forget what you are talking about… but often there are days when I wonder to myself whether it really does anything [for the pain].”

“The pain is the hardest thing to deal with — then there is the mental side of it, the grief — the sadness, your old life, you know it’s right there and just you want to get it back and you can’t — and then the wheelchair.”

“I have experienced a lot of pain, but the neuropathic pain is like nothing else.”

Paul told the Diary that when he was in hospital and rehab he had no neuropathic pain.

“I’ve heard it is not uncommon for the pain not to come on immediately,” he said.

“But now, it’s like when you touch an electric fence, very mild impulses right down to your feet every day all day, probably every two to three minutes, and that goes on all the time, so that is on a mild day — on a bad day I have heat on my stomach and my back like severe sunburn and I feel like I have someone on my shoulders pushing me down into the chair — this is all at the time,” Mr Purcell told the Diary.

“When I go to bed and I go to sleep, I think I go to sleep because I am exhausted just from the whole day of pain — it is really hard to live with,” he said.

Mr Purcell is being supported in his search for a solution by Warrandyte distributor of medicinal cannabis, Dr David Stapleton, who, with his partner, runs a company which imports medicinal cannabis.

“We have all the permits, ASIO has checked us out, it is all good, we can bring it into the country, the TGA has looked at all our products and given approval to them,” he said.

However, they are unable to supply the product without prescription.

“Paul’s doctor should be able to prescribe it — they have to fill out a form write two to three lines with a clinical justification why Paul would need medicinal cannabis over the current medication he is on, fax that off to the TGA, someone there says yes or no, if it is no then that is the end of it, if it is yes they send a number back, they give it to Paul he goes to a chemist and he can order it.

“We have been approved to import products from Switzerland where they have created a strain of marijuana with very little THC in it, the part that makes you high — it has all the good stuff in it, all the healing components — but just not the part that makes you high.

“It has been legal for a year and a half now and yet there are a handful of doctors that have managed to get it through the system, and I understand there is a lot of work for them because they have to sit and write this and send it off and they also have to find a whole lot of scientific factors that back it as well.

“I have all that information to give to them but for whatever reason they are just saying no, no, no to it,” said David.

Speaking with ABC radio, Dr Vicki Kotsirilos, a general practitioner who has managed to successfully prescribe the drug, says the process for doctors is onerous and time consuming.

“I had to justify the applications to the TGA for each patient, each prescription and each product,” she said.

Paul’s wife, Leann Purcell said Paul’s doctor wouldn’t sign the form for him to have it, saying there wasn’t enough research and he should consult his pain specialist.

“But [the specialist] won’t do it either, he passes the buck and says you have to go to the doctor,” she said.

David said that he believes the reluctance for the medical profession to embrace cannabis comes from its association with marijuana.

“Hemp seed oil was banned because of the word ‘hemp’ in the name, it took intense lobbying in Australia and NZ to get that — it takes lobbying that hard over a word…it is very hard to break through the barriers, people are still very nervous about it.”

Paul’s only other alternative is to take opioids, which he is reluctant to do.

“I take a low dosage if I take anything because they are highly addictive.

“I don’t know if it does anything for the neuropathic pain, maybe some temporary relief — it makes me a little bit light headed and then I forget about the pain….”

Paul is frustrated by the reluctance for GPs to continue to prescribe opioids without even considering medicinal cannabis as an alternative.

“I mean I don’t know what we are all waiting for — is it fear of something happening and someone getting sued, the whole world is playing the blame game… but someone should give it a go,” he said.

Warrandyte bridgeworks update

Bridge reduced to one lane overnight tonight to facilitate lane switch

AFTER a successful concrete pour, VicRoads have today announced the Warrandyte Bridge lane swap will happen overnight between 10pm, Wednesday July 11 and 5am, Thursday July 12.

Contraflow and traffic management will be in place to ensure traffic is still able to move across the Bridge overnight.

When completed, northbound traffic will use the new section of the bridge.

Southbound traffic will continue to use the current upstream lane.

This will allow VicRoads contractors VEC to work on the middle section of the bridge.

Pedestrian access will remain on the upstream path and the north bank pedestrian crossing will remain in place until bridgeworks are completed.

The Diary will keep across this story and report here if there are any changes to the current bridgeworks plan.