News

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.

Grassroots sport focus of new Nillumbik budget

At the end of June, Nillumbik will adopt their 2018/19 annual budget.

Submissions from Nillumbik residents were being accepted during the month of May.

If the draft budget is adopted, this is how it will affect the Shire’s 64,000+ residents over the next 12 months.

Rates are always at the forefront of residents’ minds and there is a proposed rate increase of 1.95 per cent.

Nillumbik’s municipal rates charge, which was previously a separate and fixed charge of $95.84 per property has been “abolished” and subsequently absorbed into the general rates charge.

The ban by China on foreign waste which has impacted many municipalities will not impact the 2018/19 budget.

There is a $0 increase in waste management charges for Nillumbik households, which is in contrast to neighbouring municipalities which have seen an increase on their waste charges of around 20%.

Both Manningham and Yarra Ranges councils have attributed this increase to the impact of not being able to on-sell recyclable waste to China.

This is good news for Nillumbik ratepayers who are already paying higher rates for their kerbside waste collection, but it is also worth noting that Nillumbik’s ability to keep waste collection rates at 2017/18 levels could be attributed to the Shire’s generous recycling policy, which allows residents to recycle plastic bags and other soft plastics such as bubble wrap and plastic wrapping from food and appliances.

At present, residents of Manningham are required to place these materials in their general waste bin.

The “Green Wedge Shire” has sport and infrastructure as key projects on their agenda for the next financial year.

$32.246M has been set aside in the 2018/19 budget for these projects, key projects within this budget include:

• Diamond Creek Netball Club Pavilion
• Eltham Central Park oval pavilion upgrade
• Research Park Sports Pavilion
• Hurstbridge Line Overpass

Some money has also been set aside in the Council coffers for the Diamond Creek Trail extension — a project which will connect the cycle trail network all the way to Hurstbridge.

These projects cannot proceed without additional income from State Government.

In April 2018, Nillumbik Council announced they had successfully lobbied the Victorian Government and secured an additional $400,000 through the Growing Suburbs Fund, which is on top of a previous grant of $800,000 from State Government.

In April, Mayor Peter Clarke said, “Nillumbik Council will now have access to this important funding stream, along with an additional $400,000 to improve facilities for the Eltham Football and Cricket Clubs.”

The granting of funds from State Government came at the eleventh hour for Council when it was considering selling 17 parcels of Council land (including a number of reserves) which was strongly protested by Nillumbik residents.

As reported in the April Diary, Cr Clarke had indicated that additional funding was required for the development of leisure and infrastructure in Nillumbik and lobbying state and federal government to help foot the bill is preferred to selling off large amounts of land.

“As a result of our lobbying efforts we are now starting to crack open funding opportunities that may result in us being able to preserve these community assets, while at the same time delivering on new and upgraded community facilities.

“Our success in securing these funding opportunities has relieved pressure on Council to have to sell all 17 sites,” he said.

Projects such as developing sports pavilions and extending the Diamond Creek Trail will still require more funding than Council has put aside.

The 2018/19 budget reports that council may have to look at land sales as a way to generate funding for future Capital Works.

48 submissions were made to Council concerning the 2018/19 budget.

Many of the submissions declared support for the $1.5M Council earmarked for land acquisition for the Diamond Creek Trail extension,

There were also many voicing anger at Council for a lack of information about funding for Yarrambat Golf Course.

The Nillumbik Council Officer responded to all submissions concerning Yarrambat Golf Course with this statement:

“Council can confirm capital works will be undertaken during the 2018-19 financial year to the Golf Course.
In addition to the works and part of the maintenance program Council will be planting 500 trees around the facility.
Council continues to review the entire capital works program on an annual basis, this process includes (but is not limited to) assessment of renewal gap requirements, compliance with statutory obligations and consideration of future needs.
Specifically, with regard to the Yarrambat Golf Course ongoing review of the facility is continuing and should urgent works arise during the year they will be considered by Council.”

In terms of major projects, with Council’s focus on developing sporting grounds and infrastructure in the more urban areas of the Shire, there is not much in it for residents in more rural areas such as North Warrandyte, Bend of Islands or Christmas Hills.

In light of the $307M political football kicked by State Government Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, which promised the Coalition would fund the duplication of the railway line between Greensborough and Eltham, Nillumbik’s $1.7M Hurstbridge Line Overpass could indicate further disruption to Warrandyte residents and Bridge users, similar to what was seen in March and April of this year during the Clifton Hill–Greensborough upgrade.

McMansion fears in Christmas Hills

MELBOURNE Water has announced it plans to sell-off 1000 hectares of land in Christmas Hills following a decision not to proceed with the Watson’s Creek Storage Reservoir.

Melbourne Water has engaged consultants, Spiire Australia to prepare a study for the land previously identified for the reservoir.

The project team called for submissions late last year and has now embarked on a period of community consultation.

During a series of information sessions held last month, Associate Planner at Spiire, Erica Fox, told attendees a decision had been made by Melbourne Water that the reservoir was no longer practical to build, therefore legislation dictated that the land must be divested from the authority’s land holdings.

The project team were frank in their advice to the meeting that some form of change is inevitable.

“There will be change in the study area, because you are going from publicly owned land that has essentially been locked up for 40 years to land that is privately owned,” Ms Fox told residents.

“To sell that land we need to ensure that it is in the appropriate zone which means it can no longer be in a Public Use Zone, something that only applies to public land and it needs to be put into what we call an underlying zone,” she said.

The divestment also frees up the privately held land that was under a Public Acquisition Overlay.

At the meeting, a number of options were presented to the community to gather feedback on the most appropriate zone to be applied to the area, and how to restructure the existing 112 lots that are currently owned by Melbourne Water.

Residents were told that 280Ha will be transferred to the Warrandyte Kinglake Nature Conservation Reserve, however the remaining 720Ha will be sold off on the open market.

“The land use study provides direction on appropriate planning controls and subdivision patterns, reflect the area’s constraints and opportunities; they will be implemented by a planning scheme amendment,” said Ms Fox.

Residents of Christmas Hills have voiced their concerns, firstly about the consultation process, but also that the sell-off will impact the character of the small rural community.

Spokesperson for the Christmas Hills Community Group, Veronica Holland, told the Diary what Melbourne Water were offering was either a “bad choice or a worse choice”.

“There has been no attempt to look at what Christmas Hills is and what it can offer the future planning of Melbourne.

“Melbourne Water has seen it as an opportunity to carve it up into smaller blocks and make money out of it.

“So we don’t agree with what they are doing, but these sessions have been designed not to include any discussion about anything other than Melbourne Water’s preferred option,” she said.

Media Manager for Melbourne Water, David Walsh told the Diary the way that it is planned to be broken up will potentially end up with between 18 and 30 new dwellings.

“It is a big area, but with the constraints, there will not be a massive amount of development taking place,” he said.

Local resident Sandy Jeffs disagrees, for the community of only 300 people another 20–30 houses is around a 20 per cent increase in the number of people living in the area.

“It is a big influx of people,” said Ms Jeffs, “people will build McMansions and try and cut the trees down and bring their horses and have their hobby farms.

“The whole character of Christmas Hills could change — it is a mix of rural and bushland, people nestled away in behind — you don’t see all the houses, and for us it is going to be a change of character,” she said.

A statement issued by Nillumbik Council to the Diary noted that any zoning decisions will be made by the State Government, it would not be a Council decision.

However, should permission to rezone be given, then further permission for any future housing would still need to be sought from Nillumbik Shire Council.

“We will continue to advocate for sensible planning outcomes consistent with land use in the area, with Council having a management role over the Rob Roy facility which should remain as Crown land,” the statement said.

“We are currently considering the various draft options by Melbourne Water as well as views of our community that have been expressed throughout the process to date.

“We will make our views known to the water authority and the community after thorough consideration,” it continued.

Last year the State Government brought in changes to the bushfire regulations which Ms Fox said have changed the requirements for land that is to be rezoned or subdivided.

“It needs to meet more stringent requirements for bushfire protection, previously we could meet BAL19 … because of the change to the legislation in late November, we now have to meet BAL12.5 which means a much larger area of defendable space is required.

“The result of this is that we have gone back and re-looked at the bushfire constraints for this area to work out the areas that no longer meet those requirements.

“So it has resulted in additional lots that won’t be able to be developed from a bushfire perspective,” said Ms Fox.

She told the meeting that many of these undevelopable lots will be marketed as “undevelopable lots” which could be suitable as offset properties, where the land will be set aside to offset land clearing in other areas.

The meeting included a round table discussion where residents could discuss the plans at a block-by-block level, establishing a preference for different zoning in each precinct, and how the various lots should be consolidated to allow the best outcomes both for the existing community and for the future development of the area in line with Green Wedge provisions.

Many options were a choice between RCZ3 or RCZ4 — either 8Ha or
40Ha blocks.

Veronica Holland believes this consultation and the subsequent internet survey treats the residents of Christmas Hills “like sheep”.

“There is no opportunity for deviating from agreement with Melbourne Water’s preferred option; no chance to object to rezoning of land to RCZ3 and the subsequent development of a small hobby farm, no chance to look at Christmas Hills as a whole,” Ms Holland said.

“At no point in the process has the vision or opportunity been looked at.

“Melbourne Water has manipulated the consultation process and almost cherry picked the planning scheme to support what they want to do, which is to maximise their financial gain.”

David Walsh says that Melbourne Water has to fit in with the Nillumbik planning scheme, “we cannot do something different through here because it was our land, it all has to comply with the planning scheme,” he said.

“People love what they have got at the moment, and what we are trying to do is make sure anything we do stays in line with the current feel of the area.”

Veronica Holland said it has been the long drawn-out decision on the dam that has forged the character of Christmas Hills in the first place.

“Ironically it is because Melbourne Water put on the Public Acquisition Overlay meant that it escaped the eagle-eye of speculative developers and people who wanted to build their McMansions… introducing hobby farms will bring people with urban expectations into the area… they will destroy the landscape and, because many of those blocks have nice views, you can see that they will attract people who want to build their McMansion to take advantage of the nice views and don’t realise that the view out destroys the view in,” she said.

“For so long it was up in the air and they hadn’t made a decision, said Sandy Jeffs, “so for us, we have been there 40 years, it has been 40 years of bliss because they hadn’t made a decision.

“It is Christmas every day here in Christmas Hills, we worry that as the roads are upgraded there are more houses more traffic more people it just brings in another level of complexity that we don’t want”.

Not all residents are pessimistic about the future of Christmas Hills, Narelle Campbell, from community group Rural Link told the Diary that she believed it would be “much better than another dam, which is what the land was bought for”.

She said the Melbourne Water proposal “appears to be balanced and reasonable and makes a genuine effort to consider the social, economic and environmental challenges”.

“We are pleased that a mix of landholding sizes and types is recommended, that rural residential lots are planned to be of suitable size for development, that the State Park allocation is progressing, and public spaces like Rob Roy, the Community Hall and tennis court are left in situ for the community.

“We will continue to work with Melbourne Water to promote the sustainability of the rural Nillumbik Green Wedge.”

Veronica Holland hopes a compromise can be reached.

“I am trusting in the Green Wedge Provisions, the planning provisions … I think it is possible that Melbourne Water can get quite a few very saleable lots without destroying the integrity of Christmas Hills as it is now.

“We want to preserve the integrity of the area — we want to preserve the idea of the scattered settlement and we don’t want to ruin the landscape value of the area, but we do want people to see it is such an asset in terms of its biodiversity and its high environmental values.”

There will be a long process before the final decisions have been made, as Erica Fox explained:

“Because Melbourne Water is a government authority, any land it seeks to sell needs to go through the Government Land Planning Service and that land service acts as an independent planning panel to assess and review the proposed Planning Scheme Amendment and the master plan we are proposing.

“It will then provide its own period of public consultation.”

She told the meeting the planning service will have a six-week submission period followed by a series of panel hearings that are anticipated to occur later this year.

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Val Polley honoured

CONGRATULATIONS to Val Polley, doyen of the Warrandyte community, who has been named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Awarded an Honorary OAM for her “services to the Warrandyte Community”, which recognises her tireless work over a period of almost 50 years.

“I have to say it came as a complete surprise and I’m touched that others have thought me worthy of it,” Val told the Diary.

President of the Warrandyte Community Association, Dick Davies, told the Diary: “While many, many personalities and identities contribute greatly to the Warrandyte Community, it is hard to match Val’s long-term dedication as a planner, environmentalist, historical society stalwart, former Councillor and Mayor, and one of the founders of the WCA.

“Two major themes underpin her commitment: concern for residents and concern for the environment,” he said.

Val said her participation in community affairs started early when she was drawn in by local activist Joy Henke back in the late 1960s.

“It started with environmental issues and with groups such as the Warrandyte Environment League and Friends of Warrandyte State Park,” she said.

Since then she has long been actively involved in all local conservation activities: as a founding member of the Warrandyte Environment League (1970–75); as a committee member of the Yarra Valley Conservation League (1972–78); and since 1982 until today she is celebrated as a founding member of the Friends of the Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP).

In the wider community she has been equally active: 1972–78 council member of the Warrandyte Primary School and Anderson’s Creek Primary School; 1978–87 Council member of Warrandyte High School, as president from 1985–87 she was responsible for planning and oversight of the new buildings.

From 1976–78 she was a founding member and president of Doncaster and Templestowe Spinners and Weavers Group.

In the late 90s she was an OXFAM community support group member, as well as director/secretary of the Warrandyte Community Centre Supporters Group Inc., which managed the property on behalf of the Council.

Since 2001 she has been a member of the Warrandyte Community Association, where she was a Committee member from 2004–7 and president in 2006.

She also found time in 2003–4 to be a founding director of the Warrandyte Community Bank.

Val campaigned for many years, for the “Creekside” retirement complex.

In the past, because of the local terrain, elderly residents had been obliged to leave their homes and friends in the local community for more manageable properties elsewhere.

The project was first mooted in 1987, and she made it a central theme of her successful campaign to be a Doncaster and Templestowe Councillor.

“The fact that it took another 20 years before realisation is testament to Val’s early commitment and resolution to further community benefits,” said Dick.

Val continues to work for the cooperative to search for appropriate land for further residences.

Val has long been involved with Local Council activities.

From 1977–79 she was a member of the Doncaster and Templestowe Arts Advisory Committee, and from 1988–89 a member of the Warrandyte Township Improvement Study Committee.

Val was elected as a councillor to the City of Doncaster and Templestowe Council, serving from 1989–94, and as Mayor from 1991–92.

As a councillor with residential and environmental interests at heart, she supported strategic planning for heritage properties and open space, roadsides, and residential and commercial centres complemented by rate reductions.

She opposed dual occupancy, which would have increased housing density in a major bushfire prone area.

Val chaired a study on the heritage of the Old Warrandyte Post Office building; which was eventually restored and now houses the Warrandyte Historical Society.

She was involved in long-term planning for the Warrandyte Township and served on the Middle Yarra Advisory Committee, helping to save Green Wedge land in Park Orchards and Warrandyte, now enjoyed as part of the ‘lungs’ of the eastern suburbs.

Val also served on a Plant Pest Advisory Committee to safeguard the local environment and State Park from invasive weeds.

Val is currently Secretary of the Warrandyte Historical Society and has been an archivist and occasional committee member since 2005.

She has been instrumental over the past five years in the strategic direction, planning and procedures of the Society.

“She liaises with numerous external bodies and people, develops outstanding exhibitions, keeps history alive with articles in the Warrandyte Diary — she is truly a driving force behind the Society,” said Dick.

Val recently celebrated the Warrandyte Community as author of Wonderful Warrandyte – A History.

From 1987–88, Val was chief-of-staff of the Warrandyte Diary, and she continues to be an occasional feature writer celebrating local life, history and local identities.

Given that during this period Val had full time senior management employment and a family to bring up, it is difficult to appreciate how she found the time to contribute so much.

“She continues to do so, effectively and with such good grace and general approbation, that she is a role model for effective liaison between Government and our local community,” said Dick.

Val says she feels “privileged to live in Warrandyte… and to be part of such an inclusive, vibrant community.

“My involvement across various issues and organisations in the township has always led to friendships, new skills and a sense of satisfaction in putting something back.

“Looking back, it’s been such a rewarding journey with great people and good outcomes along the way.

“How lucky are we in Warrandyte?,” she said.

“Without such people, with the personality and skills to make things happen, well-meaning local initiatives are ineffective,” said Dick.

Val was granted an “honorary” award because she is not an Australian citizen.

Your Park needs you


MANNINGHAM Council are currently seeking submissions from the public regarding their draft masterplan for Lions Park.

Council are planning for what is to come once the bridgeworks are complete and the former tennis courts-cum -bridgeworks work site is no longer required.

In March this year, Manningham Council asked the public for their ideas regarding the future of the site and are now asking for further input from the community based on their interpretation of the feedback they received.

If adopted, the draft plan (pictured below) would open up the area next to the bridge – formerly the site of the Lions’ Tennis Courts – and connect it to the car park on the other side of the bridge.

The plan would improve pedestrian access between the road and the river and allow people to cross under the bridge without having to go all the way down to the river trail.

There is also a plan for additional picnic tables and barbecues, which would make this area of the river more attractive to day trippers and family picnics.

The plan is to start commencing development of this new park space mid-2019, after the Bridge is completed, however the public consultation phase ends next week.

This park is for current and future visitors and residents and we have been given an opportunity to, at least, voice our opinion of how we want to see this area of the river utilised.

To have a detailed look at the draft masterplan and to have your voice heard, please visit the Manningham YourSay website before  5pm on Monday June 18.

Large turnout at 103rd Anzac Day


Photo: STEPHEN REYNOLDS

DESPITE THE dwindling ranks of veterans, numbers continue to swell to commemorate Anzac Day.

On April 25 around a dozen former serving soldiers, sailors and airmen gathered at Whipstick Gully for the annual march to the Warrandyte RSL.

They were joined in their journey by an over 100-strong contingent of family, friends and community members. Representatives of all levels of government joined the march, led by a WWII Indian motorcycle together with lone piper, Casey McSwain.

Police, CFA, the Warrandyte Football Club as well as Scouts and Girl Guides showed their respect for servicemen and women by joining the march along Yarra Street, an effort that was appreciated by WWII veteran Don Haggarty.

“It is so good to see the young people here,” he told the Diary.

His son, Chris Haggarty, a volunteer at South Warrandyte CFA agreed, noting that it is important for the young people to “help keep the tradition alive”.

State Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith said that he commends the RSL for allowing “the evolution of the march to include family members who are here to support the veterans”.

The children who participated in the parade had been learning the history of Anzac Day and the Gallipoli campaign in the lead-up to the commemoration.

“We are here to remember the Anzacs from Gallipoli,” one young Guide said, proudly displaying her knowledge that Anzac stood for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

As the marchers stepped off they were encouraged along the route by an estimated 200 people lining Yarra Street, and met by a further 800 people to participate in the commemorative service.

The Catafalque Guard was provided by Melbourne University Regiment and as they took their positions around the cenotaph, RSL president David Ryan commenced the service. Mr Ryan noted that it was the 103rd anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli “where hundreds died and thousands were injured”.

The gathering also commemorated 100 years since the second battle of Villers-Bretonneux on the Western Front “where Australian and British troops drove the Germans out of the town in a daring night attack at a cost of 1500 casualties”.

The Bellbird singers provided musical leadership for the hymns and anthems sung during the service, and Barry Carozzi performed the stirring Eric Bogle ballad, In Flanders Field. A very moving address was read by John Byrne.

Mr Byrne concluded his address with the poem A Soldier Died Today.

David Ryan said he was delighted to see the large crowd turn out to commemorate “the sacrifice that men, women and families at home and abroad have endured from pre WWI to today with the War on Terror, United Nations and humanitarian conflicts”.

Mr Ryan told the Diary, he was delighted with the growing turnout, “I am just relieved that we didn’t have the problems with vandalism we had last year”.

Page 18-19 of the May Warrandyte Diary has a full colour photo spread of the day and a transcription of Mr Bryne’s speech

Drains, paths and bins at centre of budget


FOOTPATHS and drainage were at the top of Manningham Council’s agenda when they unanimously adopted, in principle, the 2018/19 budget at the April 24 council meeting.

The draft budget includes an additional $1.5M to footpaths and $1.5M to drainage in their respective department budgets next financial year as part of an ongoing maintenance and improvement scheme.

This additional $3M is also part of Council’s four-year $10.5M plan to improve footpaths and drainage across the municipality. Highlights for Warrandyte are:

• Funds for finishing Warrandyte’s second “missing link”, connecting Warrandyte to the Main Yarra Trail with a new shared path.

• The final design of the Melbourne Hill Road drainage upgrade is earmarked for completion by September 30 this year.

On the other side of the ledger, there will be a rate increase of up to 2.25%.

China’s ban on foreign waste import, which has left many local governments across Australia floundering, means Manningham now has to pay $720,000p/a for waste and recycling to be removed whereas previously the council was given a $720,000 rebate for kerbside waste disposal. In real terms, waste and recycling charges are increasing 20%, or by an additional $42.30per household for standard waste collection.

In the council meeting, Councillor Paul McLeish highlighted that although a situation outside of council’s control has resulted in an increase in waste charges, the charges residents of Manningham will incur are still cheaper than they were six years ago and is the equivalent of half a cup of coffee per week ($2.50).

Although the budget is required to be adopted, in principle, under Local Government Act 1989, the budget is currently on public display and members of the public are invited to submit their views about the proposed budget via the Manningham YourSay website or in writing to council.

Written submissions will also have the opportunity to be presented verbally at a public meeting on May 31.

All submissions — whether presented just in writing or verbally as well — need to be submitted by 5pm on Thursday May 24.

Council will meet on June 24 to have the final say on the 2018/19 budget.

Bridgeworks in full swing


AFTER A two-month delay from the original scheduled weekend closure, the Warrandyte Bridge was fully closed over the weekend of May 5–6 and works have now resumed in earnest on the main bridge structure.

Single lane working occurred on April 18 for the AusNet works to replace the power pole at the bridge, and then again on May 2 for the VicRoads bridgeworks.

Although conducted outside the peak period, these single-lane working days caused significant traffic congestion in all four directions, the worst being on Ringwood-Warrandyte Road. Traffic delays ranged from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, with the average wait time being around 22 minutes.

VicRoads told the Diary that all future single lane closures will be done at night to minimise the impact on the community.

The installation of the protruding cantilever beams was completed during the period of single-lane working on May 2, and the big job of completing installation of the three huge lateral beams was performed very efficiently during the weekend of May 5–6.

In fact, the job was done so quickly that the bridge was reopened to traffic late on May 6.

The result of this work is that there is now a long lateral beam running for the entire length of the bridge about three metres out from original structure on the downstream side.

The job over the next few weeks will be for massive concrete pours to fill in the gap, following which we will have a much wider bridge surface. The existing railings on the downstream side can then be demolished and a new barrier erected to separate the new northbound lane from the new shared walkway.

At the same time, work is continuing on the north side to erect new traffic barriers, and on the upstream side in preparation for a slight overhang to accommodate the new pedestrian pathway on that side.

Although the May Information Update Bulletin has removed reference to the expected completion date, engineers advise they are still hopeful that the work can be completed by September/October.

Further full weekend closures are expected in the next couple of months, but at this stage the dates for these have not been set.

Rat-runners prompt temporary road closure

By DAVID HOGG

NILLUMBIK Council advises that following consultation with residents it has resolved to implement a temporary road closure on Dingley Dell Road near the intersection with Blooms Road while the Warrandyte Bridge upgrade works are in progress.

Residents have been vocal in their disgust of “rat-runners” speeding down the narrow dirt road to avoid the traffic build-up on Research-Warrandyte and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Roads.

The temporary road closure will be in the form of a gate and is scheduled for installation mid-May.

The gate will be removed and the road reopened once the bridgeworks have been completed.

Complimentary signage to reinforce the road closure will also be installed on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte, Research-Warrandyte and Blooms Roads.

Signage is also proposed at the southern leg of Dingley Dell Road to advise of the road closure ahead to enable vehicles to turn at Dingley Close.

Nillumbik Council recognises that the road closure is likely to result in an inconvenience to the broader community; however, it considers this intervention critical to manage the unprecedented ‘cut-through’ traffic use of this local road.

Community investment: Bank celebrates 15 years of “giving back”

WARRANDYTE Community Bank Branch has celebrated its 15-year anniversary at a special event held on Friday March 23.

Over 140 shareholders, community group representatives, directors, staff members and dignitaries gathered in The Grand Hotel’s Riverview Room to acknowledge the ongoing community service of the bank, which since its inception in 2003, has donated $2.8 million in community grants and sponsorships.

Community liaison officer Dee Dickson, who organised the celebration, said the event was so meaningful because it was not just about giving money, but about building a sense of community.

“The number of people that came to me and said we value your partnership and the relationships that the bank creates and fosters, that was really lovely to hear,” she said.

Branch chairman Aaron Farr said in his speech, that ordinary customers helped provide valuable community resources and facilities just by banking with the local branch.

“We are giving money back, and that’s our way of contributing but, we couldn’t do that without our customers,” he said.

“Thank-you to everyone in this room, because you are the reason we can do that.”

According to the bank’s 2017/18 financial reports, the branch returned over $400,000 in charitable donations to local schools, sporting clubs, emergency services and community groups in that financial year alone, which was nearly 80 per cent of its operating profit.

Mr Farr said in his speech, that the bank aims to grow that effort in the years to come.

“How nice would it be in another 15 years to be giving back $1 million a year,” he said.

“Just think of what we could actually achieve.”

Guests heard about the positive impact the bank’s various donations and contributions have had upon the local community, including a $30,000 grant awarded to the Burch Memorial Preschool, which allowed for much needed renovations and provided a second educational space for the preschool’s limited three-year-old program.

Burch Memorial Preschool President Sharmini Philp said in her speech, that the funding helped create a crucial support network for young families that was previously missing in Wonga Park.

“We don’t really have the words to describe the impact the Warrandyte Community Bank grant has had in our community,” she said.

“I still get goosebumps when I think about it.”

Ms Philp also said the preschool community did not just value the funding, but also the support, encouragement and guidance they received from the bank.

“They were actively involved and shared the journey with us,” she said.

“We really had no idea about the process at the time and the guidance from the Warrandyte Community Bank staff was amazing.”

Ms Dickson said the project was among those she was most passionate about, because the funding did not just provide infrastructure, but gave the preschool a space where young families could come together and meet.

“It ticks every box and exemplifies everything we hold dear to us,”
she said.

“Those sorts of projects really bring people in the community together.”

The branch also offers a scholarship program for first-time tertiary students whose circumstances might make a university degree otherwise unattainable, with funding of $10,000 delivered over the first two years of study.

Alex Ward, a nursing and paramedicine student at the Australian Catholic University in Ballarat, is currently in her second year of scholarship funding.

Alex, who has had to move to Ballarat, said the scholarship helped her pay for expenses such as, food, rent, petrol, textbooks and placement uniforms.

“If it was not for the scholarship, I would never have been able to study this degree,” she said.

“It’s the entire reason I can study in Ballarat.”

The branch, which is a franchise of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank group, was created thanks to funding from locals, following the closure of the last of the big banks in Warrandyte.

John Provan, a founding director and shareholder, said in his speech that a volunteer steering committee of local business owners and club representatives made an enormous contribution in establishing the branch.

“We attended the local markets and the festival, selling shares to raise the necessary $600,000 plus, from approximately 360 shareholders, to commence the branch,” he said.

“It’s been a long haul and we didn’t dream we’d get to this stage.”

After the formalities, guests were able to socialise, relax, have a drink and enjoy the live music by Nick Charles and Mick Pealing.

Frock up for 2018 Mayoral Fireball

THIS YEAR, the Mayor of Manningham City Council, Andrew Conlon, has selected Fireball as the chosen charity of his annual Mayoral Ball.

Cr Conlon told the Diary one of the reasons he became a councillor was because his home almost burnt down in the Warrandyte fires in 2014.

“The CFA do a fantastic job and it’s important they have the resources to keep protecting our community.”

The Fireball committee is working with council, to deliver the 2018 Mayoral Fireball event, which will be on Saturday October 27, 7pm at the Manningham Function Centre, Doncaster.

“This year, the Mayoral Fireball will raise funds for the CFA.

“Fundraising plays a critical role in purchasing equipment for our local CFA brigades,” said Cr Conlon.

The local CFA brigades are part of the CFA network covering all of Victoria.

They respond to emergency events, including fires, road crashes, rescue operations, and also provide support in neighbouring brigade areas.

CFA brigades also respond alongside the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) as well as other emergency service organisations.

The brigades from Warrandyte, South Warrandyte, North Warrandyte and Wonga Park have come together and decided that the event will fundraise for a Forward Control Vehicle (FCV) — a four-wheel drive off road vehicle of an appropriate size to operate in the bush.

This is the command and control vehicle, it also operates the perimeter checks and transports strike teams.

It is replacing a 13-year-old vehicle housed at South Warrandyte station and is a volunteer only vehicle.

This ensures that if the staffed vehicles are out fighting fires across the state that our area has a dedicated FCV to manage and strategize local bushfire response.

The optimal setup for this appliance is a 200 Series LandCruiser wagon or twin cab, to carry five people, with V8 twin turbo diesel, snorkel air intake, multi terrain anti-lock braking system, portable UHF CB Radio along with CFA radios, lights, siren and livery.

An FCV would be used in a range of incident management roles including; incident control in a level one fire or incident, Sector Commander, Strike Team Leader, Ground Observer or Staging Area activities for level two or three incidents.

$85K is the target to purchase this vehicle.

Head of the Fireball committee, Julie Quinton, told the Diary that it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure both our own safety and that of the fire fighters who volunteer to protect us.

“We chose to live in these beautiful bushy areas, the very least we can do, as a community, is to ensure our CFA volunteers have the most up-to-date equipment to help keep them safe”, she said.

Mayor Conlon told the Diary that he would urge everyone to get behind the Mayoral Fireball.

“If you can’t attend the event, you can take part in our online auction.

“Sponsorship opportunities are also available for any businesses who want to get involved,” he said.

Cr Conlon said that he hopes the Mayoral Fireball is able to raise both funds and awareness in the community.

“It’s important that everyone has a plan and knows how to respond in an emergency,” said Cr Conlon.

Warrandyte’s bridgeworks and traffic nightmare

Mystery surrounds ongoing delays

EAGLE-EYED READERS will have noticed that not a lot has been happening with the bridge upgrade works over the last few weeks.

Certainly contractors are working on the north side drilling holes for the road barriers, however, nothing seems to have progressed on the bridge structure itself.

The scaffolding and access platforms are all in place on both sides, but there is no sign of any construction of cantilevers or beams.

The closure of the bridge over a full weekend was originally scheduled for March 3–4 but was postponed due to the market and the fun run being on that date.

The following weekend of March 10–12 was not suitable as it was the Labour Day long weekend, and the next weekend of 17–18 was the Warrandyte Festival.

The works were then re-scheduled for March 23–25 but were cancelled at extremely short notice, at 3pm on Friday March 23, because, according to VicRoads, “our contractor, VEC Civil Engineering, has requested more time to prepare to install the beams”.

This last minute cancellation caused disruption to residents and businesses who had put alternative arrangements in place, including cancelling newspaper and grocery deliveries to North Warrandyte and Warrandyte Theatre Company forgoing their matinee performance — it is still unclear why the decision to cancel  the full bridge closure occurred hours before it was meant to start.

Since then, not much has happened, and a complete veil of secrecy has descended on the project.

We visited the site and asked a number of VEC workers what was happening.

We were told, “we’re not allowed to say anything; you’ll have to talk to VicRoads”.

So we asked VicRoads:

• When will the postponed full weekend bridge closure be re-scheduled?

• Have you any dates for later full closures?

• What caused the delay to the originally planned closure?

• When will the whole works be completed?

• What is the schedule for further power outages when your electrical subcontractors need to do further work?

• Do you have any indication of when the traffic lights will be going in on the north side?

Vince Punaro, Regional Director Metro North West, VicRoads told the Diary “At this stage, we have not confirmed any further dates for full closures of the bridge.

“Any lane closures on the bridge will be shared well in advance with the local community and scheduled to minimise inconvenience.”

Cameron Tait, Media Advisor Public Engagement, VicRoads, offered some further information:

“The installation of traffic lights at the Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road and Research-Warrandyte Road intersection is expected to get underway in July.

“All works on the Warrandyte Bridge upgrade are scheduled to be completed by late 2018.”

The April Information Update Bulletin does not tell us much more than the March bulletin, other than that they will shortly be building a new retaining wall on the north side of the bridge, but it does indicate that the first full weekend closure is likely to be rescheduled for “late April/early May”.

VicRoads Strategic Engagement Advisor, Jacqueline Novoselac, insists that there are no problems, work
is continuing on the bridge and
that the project is not running
behind schedule.

However, the lack of activity on the bridge structure, ongoing postponements of the full closure, and the subtle change of the date for completion, previously September but now “late 2018” would suggest otherwise.

Any further delays might well drive this project into the next bushfire season.

Obviously something is amiss to have caused a two-month slippage of the closure for installation of cantilevers and beams, and we are not being told the reason.

In view of the significant traffic disruption and as public funds are being spent on this project, the public has a right to be kept better informed of progress and reasons for any delays.

The Diary will keep readers informed on any proposed road closures, as and when information comes to hand, either via this publication, the Diary website or social media channels.

Warrandyte road rage

SEVERE SPEED humps to the north of the bridge — an attempt to calm traffic and make a temporary pedestrian crossing safer — are potentially exacerbating traffic congestion as vehicles are forced to slow to a crawl to clear the traffic calming measures installed in early March.

In the busy hours, school and work commuters — on both sides of the bridge — can be delayed by anything up to 30 minutes.

In the morning, queues north of the river stretch back as far as Albert Road on Research-Warrandyte Road and Floods Road on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road.

While the evening queues south of the river stretch back as far as the roundabout at Harris Gully Road and to the five-ways Croydon Road junction on Ringwood-Warrandyte Road.

VicRoads vehemently denies that any lengthening of queues is due to the speed humps, and blame any increased queues on the disruption to the Hurstbridge line train service which they say is causing more traffic in the area.

Queues have slackened off considerably in the last fortnight due to the school holidays, but congestion is expected to return to previous levels as of this week.

Additional congestion may also occur on April 18 when the power pole at the RSL is due to be replaced.

The increased queues are causing major headaches for residents on the unsealed roads in North Warrandyte, with many “rat run” drivers ignoring the “No Turn” signs at each end of Blooms Road in an attempt to find a short cut.

Eltham Police have been kept busy booking motorists who ignore these signs but are too busy to attend on a daily basis.

Dingley Dell Road has probably copped the worst of the rat run traffic with motorists from both directions attempting to use this narrow winding street as a shortcut.

But with the morning queues extending further up Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road, a number of motorists are now turning into Floods Road and cutting through Boyd Street and Hawkes Road.

Michelle Parker from Hawkes Road is now on first name terms with the tow-truck drivers as two cars have already fallen into the ditch near her house, and she dreads the day there may be a head-on collision on the blind corner.

She adds, “You should see the chaos on Monday mornings when the rat run drivers meet the garbage truck!”

Suzanne Reid from Dingley Dell Road tells a similar story.

She and other residents are already upset that the signs preventing turns into Blooms Road make it virtually impossible for her to legally get back to her house before 9:30am after dropping children at school in Research.

She would like a “Residents Excepted” sign to be added to the no turn signs.

Ms Reid goes on to say, “when I finally get back to my home on a Monday morning I can find three cars in my driveway because they have had to pull in to let the garbage truck pass.

“And this is a single-track, unsealed road with ditches at the side and with children and dogs walking on the roadway.

“We have to pay to have this road graded now four times a year”.

Because of these problems Mathew Deayton, Manager, Infrastructure at Nillumbik Council has written to residents of Dingley Dell Road seeking their views on a proposal that the street be closed off completely to through traffic.

The plan involves installing a permanent obstruction at the top of Dingley Dell Road.

This would prevent all traffic — including Dingley Dell residents — from turning into Dingley Dell Road from Blooms Road.

Provision would be made for emergency service vehicles and waste collection vehicles.

The opinion of residents is being sought before any decision is made.

Ms Reid tells us that the idea is well-intentioned but as proposed is completely impractical.

As a number of the homes in the street have no provision for cars to turn around on the property, and angled driveways prevent a U-turn on entry and exit, this idea would require cars to reverse a long way down the difficult hill before they would be able to turn.

Affected residents have until April 20 to fill in a questionnaire or make a submission to council.

C117: Amendment to planning scheme open for submission


MANNINGHAM COUNCIL are currently requesting feedback regarding amendments to the Council’s planning scheme, the amendment is more commonly known as C117.

The amendment to the planning scheme is focused on land in the Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ) which is located predominantly in the Green Wedge.

The RCZ comprises of the undeveloped/rural areas around Warrandyte, South Warrandyte and Wonga Park and extends south to the borders of Donvale and Park Orchards.

Its northern border follows the Yarra River.

Given recent development projects within the Green Wedge have been fought by community groups on both sides of the river and that two of these projects; 2 Pigeon Bank Road and Brumbys Road Development have been “lost” by the developer at VCAT, some would say there is an unwanted culture of development growing within the Green Wedge and any amendments to planning schemes to aid planning applications is bad.

Doug Seymour of the Warrandyte Community Association has already indicated to the Diary that the group are putting together a submission against the proposed amendment.

Jill Colson, Executive manager, People and Governance, spoke to the Diary to clarify what C117 is and how it will impact the RCZ.

“As a Council, our role is to balance competing interests between land use for rural residential living against economic opportunities and employment.

“Known as Amendment C117, these proposed changes include providing an overarching guide on appropriate types of land use and development for the area.

“It also looks at changing an existing local policy relating to outbuildings (such as sheds) and built-form (such as size, scale and location) as well as providing more guidance for non-residential land use in the Rural Conservation Zone.

“At the same time Council is considering a new set of criteria to guide its assessment for changes to the Planning Scheme.

“This would allow consideration of currently prohibited uses where they might be consistent with overall objectives for the area.

“Examples of currently prohibited uses include cellar doors, boutique breweries, farm gates and produce stores, as well as event and function centres,” she said.

Submissions for C117 close on Monday April 16.

The amendment can be viewed online on the Manningham YourSay website, at Manningham City Council or at Warrandyte Library.

If you would like to have your voice heard regarding this amendment, you have until Monday to do so.

The Diary will continue to monitor Amendment C117’s progress and will have an update in coming editions.

 

Planned burns scheduled for March 29 – POSTPONED

UPDATE (28/3 15:24): Planned burns have been postponed due to too much moisture in the soil.

Burns may go ahead on April 3 instead.

 

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) has scheduled two planned burns near North Warrandyte and Eltham tomorrow, March 29.

There will be a 5.5 hectare burn near Laughing Waters Road and a 15.5 hectare burn near Overbank Road.

FFMVic Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dan White said: “These burns are an important part of our planned burn program and will reduce fuel loads in the area.

“Smoke may be visible in Eltham, North Warrandyte, Templestowe and Warrandyte.

“We aim to reduce the impact of smoke on communities from planned burning and continue to invest in new technologies and systems to help us better understand the dispersion of smoke.”

Clearning, slashing and planned burns are an important part of managing fuel and reducing the risk of bushfire to communities in bushfire zones.

But, as Mr White explains, weather is an important factor when authorities are preparing for a planned burn.

“We work closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to assess weather conditions – such as humidity, temperature and wind speed — and will only carry out burns when conditions are suitable.

“Until the recent rainfall it had been too dry to conduct these burns,” he said.

If the weather conditions remain favourable, the planned burns will commence around 10am Thursday morning, but if the conditions change the planned burns could be postponed or cancelled.

The Diary will stay across this and provide an update if anything changes.