News

Artists open their studios


WARRANDYTE, and its surrounds, is home to many artists, and some are throwing open the doors to their studios to let the public see just how they work.
The next instalment of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios program will take place on the weekend of May 4-5, with over over 30 artists participating, including relative newcomer to the program, Deborah Halpern, sculptor and creator of Warrandyte’s own Queen of the Shire.
The Diary caught up with Deborah recently, and she gave us some insight into what it’s like for an artist to welcome people in to their workspace.
“Open Studios is a great time to have conversations with people,” said Deborah.
“It’s nice that people are interested and a lot of people don’t know what a studio looks like.”
Deborah says that much of what is within her studio is experimental or works in progress, and many of the works will not make it into public view.
“It is quite challenging to open your studio,” said Deborah.
“The good side is that you have to clean it up – tidying up is a good thing, you have to do it sometimes, but you also feel a bit invaded – it’s like people coming into your head,” she said.
Deborah’s son, Artek Halpern-Laurence, is a screen printer and, with his studio on the same property, will also be participating in the program.
Founding Open Studio artists and Diary regulars, Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn will also be opening the doors to their Bend Of Islands studio, an ‘Aladdin’s cave … abundant with magical adventures’.
The artists officially open their studios two weekends a year, in May and November, but many of the artists also run workshops at other times.
The weekend after Open Studios, May 11-12, Deborah will be holding one of her two-day mosaic workshops, where participants can create a mosaic piece from design to completion.
Later in the year, Research Potter, Jack Lätti will hold a workshop 
on wheelwork, hand building and raku firing.
Navigating around the 32 participating studios across the Shire has been made easier with the program being divided into geographical zones.
Studios in Zone A centre around  Eltham and Research and include Kate Hudson,  Chris and Mary-Lou Pittard, Wendy Hicks, Linda MacAulay, Sue McFarland, Glynis Brown, Clare Dunstan, Jacquie Hacansson and Jack Lätti.
Zone B includes artists from Warrandyte, Panton Hill, St Andrews and Bend Of Islands: Artek Halpern-Laurence and Deborah Halpern, Annette Nobes, Nerina Lascelles, Bruce Mckay, Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn, Tim Read and Jess Jarvie.
While Zone C features artists from Hurstbridge, Cottles Bridge and Plenty.
Nillumbik Artist Open Studios will be held on May 4-5, with participating studios opening their doors from 10 am until 5pm.
More information on Nillumbik Artists Open Studios can be found at artistsopenstudios.com.au

Bee-utiful artwork
This amazing artwork, which was commissioned to celebrate an international blockbuster film, now takes pride of place on the Tread Sculptures art trail in the Bend of Islands.
Artist Tim Read works with reclaimed steel to produce some incredible, imaginative works of art, often collaborating with fellow artists, such as glass artist Rob Hayley, who produced the glasswork for the eyes and wings on the sculpture Tim is calling Buzz.
“Rob is great to work with, very experimental and always up for a challenge, which is great as I knew we would be pushing the boundaries when it came to the glasswork for this piece,” Tim said.
Tread Sculptures is at 225 Catani Blvd, Bend Of Islands, Kangaroo Ground and will be open 4-5 May as part of Nillumbik Artist Open Studios, where local artists open their studios to visitors to meet the artists and get to see amazing pieces like Buzz in her natural environment.

Defib your community


Photo: DEE DICKSON

WARRANDYTE Community Bank Branch has recently purchased seven new automatic external defibrillators which have been installed throughout the greater Warrandyte area.

The defibrillators, which were purchased as part of the bank’s Defib Your Community program, were part of a $20,000 contribution by the local branch.

Branch Chair Aaron Farr said the defibrillators were one of the most important investments the bank has ever put into the community.

“Over the next 20 years, if one of our new defibrillators can be used to save one life, it will be worth all the money we’ve invested”.

Community liaison officer Dee Dickson said the program was something the bank was very passionate about.

“The directors are volunteers on the Board because they believe in community and want the best outcomes for our community.

“As soon as they heard about the program, they unanimously said ‘we’re in, let’s do it’.”

Ambulance Victoria figures show approximately 6,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital each year in Victoria.

The new defibrillators, which are fixed externally to buildings throughout the community, are accessible 24/7 and are designed to assist in these exact emergency scenarios.

Advanced Life Support Paramedic Bec Hodgson said with greater access to a defibrillator in the community, chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are greatly increased.

“The management of a patient between the time of collapse and the arrival of an ambulance is vital.

“Survival rates nearly double when a defibrillator has been used prior to paramedic arrival,” she said.

While most businesses will have a defibrillator, it may only be available during business hours, these new externally mounted units give people a chance when a cardiac arrest occurs outside of business hours — like on a Monday.

“If you’re going for a 7am walk along the river, they’re not available.

“Hopefully the community doesn’t need them, but these new external defibrillators are an insurance policy in case they do.”

As well as providing a priceless benefit to the community, the new defibrillators will relieve some of the stress for emergency services workers and volunteers, who respond to these calls.

“They may make the difference between a patient still being in cardiac arrest or having come out of it when the ambulance arrives,” said Ms Hodgson.

Aside from funding the program, the bank is also working with emergency services organisations to encourage those members of the community who already have defibrillators to register them with Ambulance Victoria.

The more defibrillators which are registered means an Emergency Services Telecommunication Agency worker can direct someone calling 000 to the nearest unit, potentially saving someone’s life.

“There’s no point in someone calling 000 and the operator not knowing there is a defibrillator two doors down because it’s not registered,” said Mr Farr.

The defibrillators were purchased through non-for-profit organisation Defib For Life, which also provides on-going support for the machines, including regular checks and training.

The bank will be working with Defib For Life to organise training sessions in the coming months for those interested in building confidence with the defibrillators.

Although proper training on how to use one of these units will mean they are used properly, and promptly during an emergency, Ms Hodgson says they are also designed so anyone can assist someone suffering from a cardiac arrest.

“The unit will talk you through what you need to do in simple steps and you will have the support of the 000 call taker also helping you through the process”.

Mr Farr said the training will be directed at building confidence with the machines.

“If you’re more confident in using something, you’re more likely to pick it up and use it.

“When people actually feel confident in using it, it empowers them to say, ‘I know how to make a difference myself’.

“So, it’s no longer just this daunting box on the side of the wall,” he said.

Warrandyte Community Bank will continue to fund the Defib Your Community program, and have two more defibrillators already lined up.

“We’re going to keep rolling them out until you can’t go 10 minutes without seeing one,” said Ms Dickson.

“By us dotting them around the community, with some even only 200 metres apart, we’re really increasing the outcomes for members of our community if something drastic happens.”

Ms Dickson reminds us that it is the profits gained from banking with Warrandyte Community Bank which goes towards funding projects like this and through locals and businesses banking locally, they can be proud knowing their money is being reinvested in the health of their local community.

“People are making a difference just by banking here — it’s so simple,” she said.

Members of the community with defibrillators can register them with Ambulance Victoria via www.reigstermyaed.ambulance.vic.gov.au or call 1800 233 734.

Anyone wishing to participate in training with the defibrillators can contact Dee Dickson via

community@warrandytecb.com.au

Nillumbik considers outsourcing ethanasia


NILLUMBIK Council is considering a report to cease providing a wildlife euthanising service across the Shire.

The service attends to the euthanasia of injured wildlife and domestic animals on both public and private land, in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1968.

Wherever possible, qualified and accredited officers are obliged to minimise the suffering of injured animals where a recovery from injuries is unlikely.

The service also seeks to minimise the chance of injured wildlife creating a hazard on public roads.

The service is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Currently, two licensed Rangers attend to incidents within business hours and a contractor delivers the service outside of business hours.

In May 2018, Council engaged Maddocks Lawyers and PPB Advisory (now part of PWC) to undertake an independent audit and review of its past, present and future management of its wildlife euthanising service and related management of firearms.

The audit report was presented to Council’s Audit Committee on August 13, 2018, due to the Committee’s risk management advisory role and expertise.

At its meeting, the Audit Committee decided that the Council should consider making alternative arrangements to deliver these services in the future.

Since then, officers have continued to seek alternatives for the provision of this service, and have commenced engaging with key stakeholders such as the Victoria Police and Wildlife Victoria in preparation for Council exiting this service.

In a report considered at the Council’s February Future Nillumbik Committee meeting, Councillors were briefed on a report which addressed the costs of providing this service, and the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) risks associated with the management and use of firearms in the day to day duties of Community Safety Officers (i.e. Rangers).

The report recommended that Council “support officers in engaging key stakeholders to develop an orderly exit from this service”.

The report went on to recommend:

  • Immediately cease providing the injured wildlife euthanisation service on private property and only focus on risks within the public realm.
  • Direct officers to continue an engage with Victoria Police, Wildlife Victoria and other stakeholder organisations in formulating an exit of this service.
  • Direct officers to negotiate a support package for Wildlife Victoria for a period of three years to ensure that they continue to be adequately funded within Nillumbik to provide this service as they do across the rest of Victoria.
  • Endorse a planned exit from the injured wildlife euthanisation service in its entirety by no later than June 30, 2019.

Council also heard that the financial benefit of exiting this service will be a direct cost saving of $56,000 annually as well as freeing up the time of Rangers to attend to other duties.

The report noted that the trend amongst other councils has been to pull out of this service, with all councils surveyed having stopped using firearms, while two have moved to using bolt guns.

“The remaining councils either ceased providing the service, or had never provided the service.

“Concerns relating to the overall risk of handling of firearms; whether councils really should be in the business of handling firearms; and points of decreasing demand, or access to other agencies (such as the police) being better suited to providing the service were all points put forward by these councils”, the report stated.

The Committee took the recommendations on advisement and has commissioned a period of public consultation and a further report to be considered at their May meeting.

New hope for Wonga Park shopping centre


THERE IS A NEW wave of optimism that the Wonga Park Village shops will be given a new lease of life.

The “For Lease” sign that has stood as a sentinel outside the derelict shopping strip for over a year was given the addition of an “Under New Ownership” sign in late February, and has been joined by some cyclone fencing around the perimeter of the centre.

On contacting the leasing agent, Lewis Waddell of Fitzroys Real Estate, it was confirmed that the site has been purchased by a developer who would like to remain anonymous at this time.

Mr Waddell told the Dairy that the new owner has submitted plans to redevelop and refurbish the site to “bring it back to life”.

The owner has plans for what, in his words, will be a “community revitalisation”, and is hoping to attract tenants for a variety of retail, medical and dining spaces.

“Depending on how the permit application goes the owner hopes [tenants will be able to move in] within the next three to six months,” said Mr Waddell.

Tenants were evicted from the shopping centre by the former owner three years ago.

Hairdresser, Lynn Munro received notice to vacate her Yarra Road salon just before Christmas of 2015.

“I received a letter on December 17, 2015 to say I had to vacate within four weeks,” she said.

Since then the shops in the precinct have remained empty, much to the frustration of Wonga Park locals.

“The owner was a local person, but she moved to Sydney and stopped renewing leases on all the shops, even the Post Office couldn’t continue to operate,” she said.

When the centre was put up for lease again last year there were hopes for activity at the site, but despite numerous enquiries from potential tenants, none of the shops were let.

“The shops were the heart and soul of Wonga Park, with everyone living on such big blocks it was a place for everyone to meet.

“When I was the last shop there, people would come in and say, ‘where can we get a coffee?’, but there was nowhere,” Ms Munro said.

Over the last three years, all attempts of contacting the now-former Sydney-based owner of the property have proven futile as Council, media and residents have had letters unanswered, phone calls cut off, and many questions left unanswered.

While the centre has been languishing unoccupied, the town has been resolute in maintaining their community spirit.

Wonga Park Farmers Market has been established in an attempt to reinvigorate the community, but this does not solve the village’s day-to-day needs, which, until the property is tenanted, are still unmet.

Angelo Kourambas, Director City Planning and Community at Manningham City Council said it was too early for Council to comment on the owner’s ideas for the site.

However, he said the Council welcomes the potential rejuvenation of the centre.

“Council is keen to see the Wonga Park Village Centre restored to a viable and vibrant local shopping and community precinct for the local community to enjoy,” he said.

Anyone interested in leasing space from the new owner can contact Lewis Waddell at Fitzroys Real Estate 0431 107 275.

 

Bridgeworks February 25 – March 8


EARLIER TODAY, VicRoads released their latest information update, detailing bridgeworks to take place over the next two week.

Between 7am and 5pm, Monday to Friday on weeks beginning February 25 and March 4, VicRoads contractors will be on-site installing expansion joints, and a “splitter island” at the south end of the bridge in the centre of the new pedestrian crossing.

The expansion joint will allow the bridge to flex in extreme weather conditions while the splitter island should be installed to complete the pedestrian crossing at the southern end of the bridge, separating the northbound from the southbound traffic.

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VicRoads have stated traffic management will be in place to ensure traffic is moving, even during lane closures and there may be speed restrictions in place.

With the works taking place only on weekdays between 7am and 5pm, although the morning peak may be affected by the bridgeworks, the evening peak traffic congestion should remain at its usual level.