News

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.

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[previous story continues below]

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Forthcoming Warrandyte Bridge nightworks October/November 2018

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

[updated Monday November 5, 11:50am]

Bridge and lane closures scheduled for later this week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[previous updates below]

[updated Wednesday October 31 2:05pm]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Bridge closure

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

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

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

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

VicRoads detour map for Warrandyte Bridge closures

Lane closures, north of the bridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further info

All these works are subject to weather conditions.

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

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

VicRoads were unable to clarify:

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

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