News

Community bank pays big dividends to local projects


CHRISTMAS just came early for more than 55 community groups in Warrandyte and surrounding areas.

They all received a share of $400,000 in grants and sponsorships thanks to the Warrandyte Community Bank’s Community Investment Program, which sees up to 80% of its profit returned directly to our community.

To celebrate, the bank held its Annual General Meeting and Grants Presentation with more than 100 volunteers and community leaders on November 13 at the Warrandyte Sporting Group clubrooms.

Staff and Directors heard first-hand how grant funds will be spent over the coming year.

Aaron Farr, Chairman of Warrandyte Community Financial Services, the company which operates the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch, said the grants would be used to carry out improvements to local infrastructure, resources and projects which will benefit the entire community.

“This year’s grants ranged from $850 to more than $56,000; $400,000 has been committed for the year, with $2.8 million reinvested in the community since we opened in 2003.

“It is really rewarding to see the Warrandyte clubrooms full of people, many volunteers who work hard with the greater good of their community at heart and all benefitting because the community banking model ensures funding is directed at a local level,” he said.

Grant recipients include local CFA’s, environmental and arts groups, schools, kinders, sporting groups, community services and church groups.

The Park Orchards Pettet Family Foundation gratefully accepted sponsorship of $5,000 to support its work in the local community — the Foundation provides crisis intervention for children and their families.

Foundation Director Graham Whiteside said: “we are continually striving in our efforts to increase our reach and are consciously expanding our horizons when caring for those in need in our community.

“There are a lot of people who have been assisted by the Foundation and this is due, in no small part, to the funds you make available to us.”

Veronica Holland told guests what Christmas Hills Fire Brigade will be doing with its grant of $16,995, which will ensure the replacement of the brigade’s manual bi-fold door.

Operation of the existing door is slow and arduous, it can take up to 20 minutes to be opened, requires two personnel and the brigade’s Tanker can barely pass under safely.

“The bi-fold door on the south station is old, warped, pernickety and tired, much like many of the firefighters,” said Veronica.

She went on to say “getting an automated push button magical door is going to make us all very very happy”.

Sports Chaplaincy Australia (SCA) was awarded the banks’ inaugural Strengthening the Community Philanthropic Award.

Warrandyte Community Bank Director Lance Ward made the surprise presentation sharing his thoughts on the significant impact of sports chaplains and how in times of crisis our young people need options to turn to that might not be their mum and dad, medical professionals or their teachers.

“It’s so important for young people to have someone to talk with when times get tough.

“The chaplains from SCA work alongside the young people in our sporting clubs and are making a genuine and far reaching impact in the everyday; that is, when things are going well and in times of need, this is both unique and special.

“On behalf of the Warrandyte Community Bank, the Directors and Chair Aaron Farr, we want to say thank you to the men and women of SCA for serving so selflessly in our local community,” Lance said.

The presentation night was showered with stories of change, hope and inspiration and on the back of a national Bendigo Community Bank “BE THE CHANGE” ad campaign, where customers are asked if they would like to see what difference their support makes.

In a sum up of the night, you may not think who you bank with matters — but it does, and for Warrandyte Community Bank customers their banking is making a real difference.

Every day customers help provide facilities, resources, community programs and change lives simply by banking with our local branch.

Their home loans are refurbishing pre-schools and supporting our CFAs, creating sporting facilities and providing classroom resources.

Personal loans, business banking and credit cards are funding rescue boats, conserving and rehabilitating native bushland, supporting the arts, festivals, Christmas Carols, the aged and relieving the hardships of those in need.

Everyday banking is providing all this and more.

In fact, $183 million has been returned to communities and initiatives Australia-wide via the community bank network.

Do you need a bank to give you the products and services you need?

Warrandyte Community Bank provides a full suite of banking products at competitive rates.

You can make a real difference in your community simply by banking locally.

To find out more contact Cheryl and the team at 144 Yarra St, Warrandyte or phone 9844 2233.

Teskey Brothers win big at Music Victoria Awards


THE MUSIC industries finest gathered in Melbourne during Melbourne Music Week for The Age Music Victoria Awards.

Melbourne soul tastemaker and RRR host Chris Gill and PBS presenter Lyndelle Wilkinson hosted the 2017 Awards acknowledging the best acts, releases, venues and festivals throughout the State.

This year’s awards saw some familiar faces gracing the prize-winners’ stage on multiple occasions as well as some first-time awardees, in what was an absolute standout celebration of the past 12 months of great local music.

Warrandyte’s favourite son’s The Teskey Brothers took out this year’s Best Emerging Act.

A previous winner of the award Remi was up for Best Male Artist this year but was edged out by perennial favourite and music legend Paul Kelly, so we hope to see the Teskey Brothers continue to go from strength to strength on the back of this prestigious award.

Frontman, Josh Teskey told the Diary that they are blown away by the amazing year they have had.

“From being a band from Warrandyte, that in our 10 years of playing together had never left Victoria, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel our music all around the country and overseas to the States and London.

“Our album Half Mile Harvest has had a much bigger reach than we ever could have imagined,” he said.

Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan commented on this year’s impressive talent as he congratulated all of the winners and nominees.

“We are very proud that many of these winners haven’t just made an impact in Australia over the last 12 months, but acts such as Jen Cloher, The Teskey Brothers, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and A.B. Original have been flying the Victorian flag overseas,” he said.

To top off what has been such an incredible year for the Teskey Brothers, Half Mile Harvest was also awarded best soul/funk album.

Josh Teskey said the award was “the icing on the cake”.

“We’re so humbled people have responded to this album with such love, and avid thanks to Vic Music for everything they do for this thriving Melbourne music scene,” he said.

Major sponsor for the night was The Age, and Editor of the paper’s EG, Martin Boulton said “In our 12th year, it’s perhaps more satisfying than ever to see our genre award winners also making a name for themselves nationally and overseas.

“The huge array of talent nominated this year speaks volumes about the health of our local music industry,” he said.

Following the awards verdicts as per tradition, the festivities continued into the night with the official Awards After Party featuring killer live performances from minimalist disco act Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda, powerhouse trio Cable Ties and post-punk four-piece Gold Class.

Party starters the EG Allstars Band also backed some special guest performances from Josh Teskey (The Teskey Brothers), Archie Roach, Gretta Ray, Ella Thompson (GL), Michelle Nicolle, Birdz, Mojo Juju and Jim Lawrie performing some of the best songs of the year.

It was a big month for the local lads, as they also supported Australian music legends Midnight Oil for one of their sold-out performances at the Myer Music Bowl.

The boys are busy continuing with their tour around Australia and New Zealand, but if you are lucky, you can catch them on a brief visit back home on January 26 for a special twilight performance at Melbourne Zoo.

CFA give WHS students valuable life skills


WARRANDYTE CFA’s youth crew are celebrating 20 years of firefighting and fun.

Beginning in the 1990’s as a Year 9 and 10 program at Warrandyte High School, the youth crew started as a practical elective for students wanting an outdoor and hands on experience.

Over the 20 years, more than 880 students have experienced the program, with dozens going on to volunteer and work with the CFA.

Those that walk through the youth crew’s doors have come out the other end as resilient and community minded young adults, pursuing careers as paramedics, career firefighters or in fields like engineering.

Will Hodgson, an instructor for the youth crew and First Lieutenant at the Warrandyte CFA, says the program provides a unique experience for students, especially those that may not want to follow traditional academic routes.

“The world has lots of things to offer — It doesn’t matter how well you’re doing in maths or science… with the CFA program you’ve got life skills, first aid skills and they’re working within their communities.

“The impact this has… everyone has helped out in the community; I feel so humbled to know that we’ve touched the lives of young people so that they can carry the CFA values throughout their lives and make change in their communities,” he said.

The program includes trips to the CFA and MFB headquarters, an excursion to the fire museum, fire fighting camps and outdoor education activities.

Students learn how to use and respect the equipment and fight fires first hand.

Dave Kahuaiwa from Warrandyte High School cannot believe how the program has evolved and succeeded.

“They arrive as a jumble of kids, and they leave with really great leadership skills and team skills — they go home and have a conversation with their families about fire preparedness and fire plans.

“What better community group to be a part of in Warrandyte than the CFA? Because of where we’re situated, it’s so important.,” said Dave.

Will Hodgson says the impact the youth crew has in kids’ lives is profound, and it is an experience he is incredibly grateful to be a part of.

“Students need to know that they’re worthwhile, and this program gives them the opportunity to be free from academic pressures for a while.

“This shows them that there’s a position in life for them, that the world needs people with so many different skills, and if they want to join the CFA afterwards, well that’s a great bonus.”

Five houses unite under one roof


Manningham’s five Neighbourhood Houses have formed a new strategic alliance, which will improve access to adult education for the municipality’s residents.

Under the banner “Manningham Learns” the Neighbourhood Houses of Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Wonga Park, The Pines Learning and Living and Learning at Ajani can to pool their resources and aggregate each centre’s courses and activities into one place, making it easier for adults to access courses and activities across the municipality.

Outgoing Mayor of Manningham Cr Michelle Kleinert told the Diary having all of Manningham’s Neighbourhood Houses united will grant residents with more options when exploring their adult education needs.

“When you consider you have Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Wonga Park they are all offering different things, if someone is living in an area and they only know Warrandyte they are missing out and Park Orchards is not that far; so it gives us better access for our community to feel they have better access to more tools,” she said.

In 2016 10,500 people enrolled in activities at Neighbourhood Houses across the municipality, according to data from the 2016 Census, that would indicate between 10 and 12 per cent of the residents of Manningham who are beyond compulsory schooling age are involved in some form of activity or course run by Neighbourhood Houses.

At the Manningham Learns launch, Cr Kleinert spoke on the importance of this alliance in promoting education within the municipality.

“For young people who are struggling with learning, with education; when they see their parents and grandparents still learning — it is a very powerful message for us to give back to the next generation,” she said.

There are around 300 organisations in Victoria who are eligible for funding under the capacity and innovations fund, the money helps organisations evolve the way they engage with the community to provide education, but there is only so much money to go around and often strategic alliances are a more attractive way to fund enhancements, but alliances between independent organisations are tricky, especially in the adult education sector.

The Manningham Learns project has taken 18 months to get from planning to launch and has meant the five Neighbourhood Houses have had to change their view of each other, they have had to become collaborators instead of competitors, a task not easy to achieve and one which Julie Hebert, Manager of Training and Participation Regional Support for north eastern Victoria Region praised.

“There are about 300 [community education organisations] in the State and if every single entity tries to do it by themselves in this modern context, it is a big risk — it is working together that saves everybody in the end.

“It isn’t an easy task to get five organisations who are vastly different to agree on a course of action to do the same thing, it is a very, very, very hard task.

“It is a very, very great outcome, what you’ve done, you should be very proud,” she said at the launch of Manningham Learns.

This new alliance has received accolades from all levels of government and the managers of the five Neighbourhood Houses have worked hard to make this happen, under the umbrella of Manningham Learns they will be able to make their administration more efficient which means each manager can focus on providing a better education service, as Pauline Fyffe, manager of Park Orchards Community House explained.

“Initially we still have a lot of work to do in determining how the alliance will operate and the benefits we will see, the project has been about bringing us together, we have come a long way on that journey but there is still quite a lot to do in terms of how we will operate, how we will make our lives easier, this is the beginning,” she said.

Emma Edmond, of Warrandyte Neighbourhood House added: “because we know each other a lot better now and there is a high level of trust amongst us we will be able to just put our hand up to do something I can do instead of all of us having to do the same thing individually”.

The efficient running of an organisation like Neighbourhood House is vital if it is to evolve the service it provides the community and a lot of the changes in policy which Manningham Learns has initiated will not be seen by most.

What will be seen is the ability to see, in one place, what all five Neighbourhood Houses have on offer, which will give those members of the community who are seeking to educate themselves further a more convenient picture of what courses and activities are available, and where.

“The biggest benefit is that all our services are now in one place, so they can access the website and download a course procure — it is a one stop shop for learning,” said Ms Fyffe.

Visit their new site

Communities speak out against North East Link


Alarm at the potential impact of North East Link is ramping up.

At a recent forum in Eltham, The Greens MP, Samantha Dunn, stated she believes the four proposed options are “pitting communities against each other”.

Ms Dunn called for communities to unite to oppose the construction of the North East Link in any form.

“It doesn’t matter where it is… it isn’t the right direction for Melbourne, it’s not going to solve the problems that you have it’s going to create enormous impacts in your communities… it doesn’t matter which part of northern Melbourne you live in, if this project goes ahead it is going to impact your area,” Ms Dunn said.

Greens advisor Alex Mark told the forum:

“All of the options lead to a loss of amenity, community facilities, schools and established residences, they carve up greenspace and require the acquisition of parkland, they generate pollution, they generate more traffic on local roads… all of them will further entrench car dependency and urban sprawl.

“What hasn’t been shown by the North East Link Authority (NELA) yet is that they will create land use change so you will see, light residential become commercial, industrial or far higher density residential areas — and that is not something that is reversible,” he said.

Mr Marks then put forward a suite of public transport projects which, combined, would cost less for the toll road, including upgrading rail, bus and tram and freight services to better serve the north east of Melbourne.

Manningham council have sent out a survey to gauge residents’ views on the project.

Manningham Council say they will use the data advocate on behalf of its residents on the preferred route and the design priorities.

The survey is open until 5pm November 17. Councillor Paul McLeish told the Diary he is arguing for improved public transport to be factored in to the plan.

“The North East Link at this point essentially completely fails to address public transport in any meaningful way — there is no inclusion of park and ride facilities, there is no expansion of existing park and ride facilities contemplated in any form there is no apparent consideration of heavy rail.

“If you are trying to plan for Melbourne for 30 years, which is what this infrastructure is about, in 30 years the population will be between 7–8 million people living in the city of Melbourne and you are going to need that outer loop rail just to make the rail network function,“ said Cr McLeish. Meanwhile the recently launched North East Link Forum (NELF) combines residents’ associations of Warrandyte, Park Orchards and Donvale who have come together to respond to issues around Route B and C, which would most likely impact these areas.

“These proposed routes would mean a 3km stretch of six-lane freeway thundering through the valley,” said NELF spokesperson Carli Lange-Boutle.

“We have followed the NE Link Authorities guidelines and have learnt nothing further to help us truly understand the impact on local roads, traffic, environment and residents…we are calling on Warrandytians to actively lobby against the impacts of Route B and C and join us in defending our Village character, our natural Yarra River valley bush land and surrounding Green Wedge buffers,” she said.

To have your say, Manningham Councillor Sophy Galbally has announced she will be holding a No Highway in Green Wedge protest at Stintons Reserve on Sunday, November 26 from 11am–1pm or contact NELF northeastlinkforum@gmail.com for information on how to get involved with their campaign.

Pigeon Bank application batted back to VCAT


THE SUPREME Court has dismissed the 2 Pigeon Bank Road case meaning it will now go to VCAT in January for a full hearing.

As reported in last month’s Diary, the case was originally heard on September 12 but Justice Kevin Bell reserved his decision until November 2.

Costs of the case are to be paid by the applicant, Phillip Mannerheim Holdings Pty Ltd. In a complicated legal case, which hinged on whether an email to Nillumbik Shire Council sent by neighbour Kim Cope was an objection or a submission; the court determined Mr Cope’s “polite” email represented an “expression of opposition” to the grant of the permit, and clarified that as being “a term of description ex post facto not a condition of eligibility a priori” which means Mr Cope’s email met all the requirements of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 for lodging an objection, and that VCAT’s earlier decision to continue with the case was valid.

Mr Cope was in attendance and spoke to the Diary following the decision.

“We are very happy with this judgment which enables us to move forward from here in the knowledge that the previous VCAT decisions were sound”.

Phillip Mannerheim, the applicant, whose planning application had been approved by Nillumbik Shire Council with conditions before the objectors took the case to VCAT, told the Diary “whilst disappointed by the Court’s decision, I will now be preparing for the Tribunal hearing in January next year.

“Council will be supporting my dwelling proposal, which is consistent with what has occurred on all of the surrounding lots (including on lots owned by people who oppose it) but will be more sensitively designed to the landscape and safer in terms of bushfire risks”.

The matter will now return to VCAT for a full hearing commencing on January 22 and set down for four days. If the VCAT hearing goes ahead in January, the Diary will report on the VCAT case in the February edition.

2 Pigeon Bank timeline up to this point

April: Planning application approved by Nillumbik, neighbour Kim Cope lodges a case with VCAT.

May: Original Objector Kim Cope and a collection of neighbours and community groups are allowed to for the coalition of objectors. Communityy groups involved in this coalition are the Warrandyte Community Association, Friends of Nillumbik and the Green Wedge Protection Group

July: After VCAT decide to go to Tribunal after the Practice Day Hearing, planning applicant Phillip Mannerheim takes VCAT’s decision to the Supreme Court (Warrandyte Diary July 2017, page 4)

October: Pigeon Bank has its day in court, the judge reserves his decision (Warrandyte Diary October 2017, page 5)

Community reaction

THE PLANNING application battle over 2 Pigeon Bank Road has attracted support from community groups on both sides of the arguement. In support of Kim Cope, a coalition of objectors approved by VCAT at the practice day hearing earlier in the year which includes the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA).

Not only did the WCA represent the coalition at the Supreme Court hearing but also sought representation for the coalition from not-for-profit environmental justice organisation Environmental Justice Australia (EJA).

Following the decision by Justice Kevin Bell, Nillumbik Pro Active Landowners (PALs) have released a statement in support of Phillip Mannerheim’s application to build on his land and their reaction to the Supreme Court decision.

Below are statements from groups on both sides of the argument.

 

 

Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) and Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) joint statement in reaction to the Supreme Court decision

 

The Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) welcomes the Supreme Court’s confirmation that everyday people can object to inappropriate developments in their community without their objections needing to pass specific legalistic hurdles,” said WCA spokesperson Jonathan Upson.

“Now that the Supreme Court has enabled the VCAT appeal to proceed, the WCA and other parties look forward to the opportunity to argue that clear-felling 740 trees to build one house on a ridgeline with nice views directly contradicts the Nillumbik and State Government planning schemes and requirements.

“The developer’s lawyers made it clear that if we were to fight this case and lose, they would seek an order for their legal costs against us. Therefore, I would like to acknowledge the courage of the three Community Associations – the WCA, Friends of Nillumbik and Green Wedge Protection Group – and several individuals who were parties to this case.

“The WCA, on behalf of the other parties, would like to sincerely thank Environmental Justice Australia for their invaluable assistance in prosecuting the Supreme Court case on our behalf.”

Environmental Justice Australia said the decision affirmed the importance of community participation in planning.

“Justice Bell’s decision represents a victory for common sense and fairness,” said Environmental Justice Australia CEO Brendan Sydes.

“The court’s decision emphasises the importance of minimising technicality and the value of community participation in our planning system.

“EJA is pleased to have been able to support the community in ensuring they can have a say about the important planning and environment issues raised by this permit application.”

 

Nillumbik Pro Active Landowners (PALs) statement in support of Phillip Mannerheim and in reaction to the Supreme Court decision

 

NILLUMBIK PALs welcomes the decision of the Victorian Supreme Court as it provides clarity in relation to the Mannerheim application to Council.

The Supreme Court action was purely related to a legal interpretation of a point of law.

It was not a result that confirmed a person’s right to object.

This was never an action that challenged that basic right. Further, it was not a reference to, or consideration of, the merits of the application. The merits will be determined by VCAT in January 2018.

PALs is conducting an online petition in support of Mr. Mannerheim’s right to build his home. To date this petition has 938 signatures.

This represents an incredible level of local support and as usual, sits in stark contrast to the mere handful that object.

“Objectors” now attached to the application were a result of implanted confected outrage based on highly emotive and misleading information.

Having completed their own buildings, they now oppose Mr. Mannerheim wishing to do the same, the hypocrisy is breathtaking.

PALs strongly support the Mannerheim application and will provide every possible assistance to ensure that this environmentally conscious home can be built delivering a superior end result than the existing vacant site.

Bushfire Management Overlay changes in Nillumbik


 

By end of business today, the owners of 3,777 properties in Nillumbik will have been notified if they are affected by an update to the State Government’s Bushfire Management Overlay(BMO).

The changes to the BMO are a result from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, a report which was triggered by the terrible bushfires of February 7 2009 — Black Saturday — which killed 173 people.

The BMO is applied to properties where the chance of extreme bushfire is high, the updated overlay will affect any future planning applications.

Nillumbik residents in North Warrandyte may not experience any changes as these areas are already in the existing BMO, but anybody on the borders of major urban areas in the Shire (such as Research and Kangaroo Ground) may now find they are under the updated BMO.

Nillumbik residents with any queries about the updated BMO can call the Council’s dedicated BMO customer service line on 9433 3209 or visit planning.vic.gov.au for further information and maps to check if you are affected.

Open Day season for Warrandyte


THIS OCTOBER is the time for Warrandyte’s institutions to open their doors to the public with a range of open days to learn about some of the town’s special places.

Warrandyte Community Centre

Warrandyte Community Centre in Yarra Street will be holding an Open Day from 10am–3pm on Saturday October 28.

There will be activities for all to enjoy, face painting, magic, music and more. One highlight of the day will be a fantastic free Cartooning Workshop by the Diary’s own Jock Macneish. Budding cartoonist of all ages can come along and learn from the Diary’s master of mirth on how to get inspiration onto paper – get in quick because places will fill up fast. A host of other free activities will be on offer at the Community Centre: Manningham Library will have special story-time; Neighbourhood House will be offering a range of free classes; indigenous history will be on display with a presentation by the Diary’s Indigenous columnist, Jim Poulter; Journalism as Art will bring to life the Diary’s almost 50 years of telling Warrandyte’s news; a special performance by Enchoir; and a treasure hunt to help find how to get the most out of your Community Centre.

Have a coffee or a sausage while enjoying music in the centre’s indigenous garden.

CFA — meet the brigades

North Warrandyte Fire Brigade will be holding an open day from 11am–2pm on Sunday October 22 where kids can get into and look around the fire trucks (with CFA members’ supervision), play on the jumping castle, enjoy the free sausage sizzle, while adults can obtain information on fire behaviour and safety and join a discussion on making a fire plan with the Warrandyte bridge closure in mind.

District 14 Community Education Coordinator, Rohan Thornton said that all residents should look at adapting their plan to account for restricted use of the Warrandyte Bridge.

“The bridgeworks this summer will have a massive effect on how people should plan,” he said.

Warrandyte Fire Brigade also opening their doors on Saturday October 28, offering information on fire awareness and preparedness.

Both fire brigades will also provide information about how you can help the brigade through becoming a fire fighter or joining as an auxiliary member.

Crystal Brook

October also sees Crystal Brook Tourist Park holding open days every Sunday in October, where the park will open its gates to explore their facilities.

Manningham Council to review and develop budget on stormwater drains


THE TOPOGRAPHY of Manningham and the noticeably wetter weather we are experiencing means flooding is becoming a real and regular issue for residents. In a move to combat this, Manningham Council passed a supplementary motion to improve, prioritise and ultimately increase maintenance, development and budget of Manningham’s drainage network at their council meeting on September 26.

Earlier in the proceedings, Council passed a motion to continue to proceed the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO) and Special Building Overlay Schedule 1 (SBO1) to Panel but abandon SBO2 and SBO3. LSIO and SBO overlays are already part of Manningham’s planning process but Amendment C109 is designed to “introduce and/or review the application….in relation to 10,300 properties in Manningham” which have been identified by Melbourne Water and Council as at risk of flooding if a 1–in-100-year storm occurs.

The three new SBO schedules are designed to identify who the responsible authority is and if the flooding is likely to be above or below 100mm.

The motion put forward is to continue to take LSIO and SBO1 to Panel, these overlays will be applied to properties which are built on a natural floodplain or who are at risk of flooding due to “Melbourne Water assets”.

SBO2 and SBO3, which have been abandoned for the moment were to be applied to properties which are subject to flooding due to Manningham Council assets and where stormwater is likely to flood above 100mm (SBO2) or up to 100mm (SBO3).

As a result of this alternate motion being passed, Cr Mcleish put forward a supplementary motion which will use the information collected and the current budget allowance of $10.8M to “prepare a plan to increase that investment for the next budget”.

At the meeting, Cr McLeish said: “Our community hasn’t been aware of the moves we have been making because they are lost in the detail of a budget and lost in the details of our planning processes for that budget; that’s what happens when you are running a business that is $120M and you are making subtle changes to improve fundamental investment.”

Ideally, a council decision which allowed for SBO2 and SBO3 to continue to Panel would equip the council and landowners with the information needed to better protect their properties and future developments from flooding, but the supplement motion to use the information the C109 consultation process has gathered to make our drainage system more efficient is, at least, a step towards a drier solution for our community on the Manningham side of the river.

Warrandyte faces Ring Road as Bulleen says NO to NELA


RESIDENTS FROM across Manningham descended on the Manningham Council Function room on September 25 to hear and be heard about the proposed options for the North East Link toll road which is planned to be built in the next few years.

A very vocal contingent of Bulleen residents was in attendance to show opposition to Option A which travels through their part of Manningham leaving a small group from Warrandyte drowned out by the noise from the Option A objectors.

Manningham Councillor Paul McLeish is particularly concerned the huge opposition from Bulleen residents opens up Warrandyte as the “path of least resistance”.

“If the people of Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Donvale and Wonga Park don’t raise their voice, they could end up with a very poor outcome … we will end up having Warrandyte, North Warrandyte and West Warrandyte, cut in half by a major road bridge from Beasley’s through to Stinton’s Road — taking out Aumann’s, the Baseball Park, Crystal Brook, Stinton’s Football ground and Park Orchards BMX club; wiping out millions of dollars of community facilities,” he told the Diary.

Despite following different routes in the North, both Options B and C follow the same route through the southwest of Warrandyte while Option D takes a 40km journey through Kangaroo Ground and Lilydale.

With vocal opposition for Option A and Nillumbik Council expressing their opposition to both Options C and D, odds are firming in favour of Option B, but the effect of this road on the existing network is unclear.

“I think Warrandyte is in significant risk of increased traffic because freeways induce traffic and the limited number of interchanges means that traffic north of Warrandyte will be pulled towards the Reynolds Road interchange and the Reynolds Road interchange will be a magnet for traffic from across the east, for 360 degrees around it — it will be a magnet for traffic and that traffic will seek to avoid the tolls for the tunnels so you will see traffic pouring up Springvale Road and into the Reynolds Road interchange, pouring out of North Croydon into Reynolds Road, a significant increase in pollution, they are terrible outcomes for our community,” said Cr McLeish.

Spokesperson for the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA), Doug Seymour told the Diary they have provided a range of questions to NELA, and says that to date they have had no reply.

“There seems to be an imbalance between community groups providing valuable questions to help the Authority to focus their risk management processes while NELA [North East Link Authority] is not able or is unwilling to provide the meaningful feedback required for Warrandyte…NELA is not providing the data and information for us to understand the scale of the impact of Corridors B or C,” Mr Seymour said.

Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith is concerned with lack of detail provided by NELA, who has “only been prepared to give limited information to our community.”

“Potential impacts include a major interchange at Tindals Road, the loss of Stintons Reserve and emissions being expelled from the planned tunnels, which will collect in the valley — this is on top of the impact on local wildlife during the decade long construction period.

“It is important that the severity of these impacts are accurately communicated to residents so they can give informed feedback to the government,” he said.

Following the public forum, Manningham Council discussed the framework of its submission to NELA. During the meeting, several motions were debated with two being adopted. Councillor Paula Piccinini from Heide Ward successfully passed a motion for Council to oppose Option A, however Cr McLeish was unsuccessful in his amendment to offer the same unqualified objection to options B and C.

“All of the effects that are proposed in Bulleen are similarly proposed in Mullum Mullum [ward]… these areas are no less sensitive than the Bolin Bolin area in Bulleen, I cannot see why we should seek to nominate losers in this proposal by selectively picking a winner in Bulleen by saying it should not have a route through it, surely we as a council can do what we are elected to do, to stand on the principals we espouse for this particular project, to protect the amenity of all residents of our city, not just the selected residents who are impacted in Bulleen, if we are going to speak against these attributes then surely that is a motion to speak against the entire proposal”, he told Council.

Manningham Mayor, Cr Michelle Kleinert told the Diary that the aim of the motion is to highlight the preliminary local issues, opportunities and concerns to NELA.

“With three of the four proposed route options going through Manningham but very limited information available to make a solid analysis and evaluation of each route. Council is also requesting NELA undertake and provide further technical information and a detailed impact assessment of each of the four corridor options, and to further engage with the community and Council on the matter”.

Cr Kleinert successfully proposed to survey of all Manningham residents to inform Council of all residents’ views, not merely the vocal activists from the Bulleen area.

“The survey will be distributed in October to hear from all members of our community that could be affected, should route option A, B or C be NELA and the State Government’s preferred route.

“The results of the survey will be shared with the Manningham community and passed on to NELA to incorporate into their engagement,” she said.

Councillor Anna Chen noted that she supported the motion to object to Option A because of the passionate representation from the Bulleen community at the Manningham forum.

“You can hear the voices from the community,” she said to councillors.

Councillor McLeish told the Diary he was disappointed that his amendment to Cr Piccinini’s motion was unsuccessful, however “I will continue to protect Warrandyte and its community”, he said.

From the outset Corridor A has seemed to be the preferred route, but significant political, municipal and community pressure is building for Corridor B to be selected.

We need to be prepared for what this means for Warrandyte.

 

North East Link Forum

A group of residents effected by routes B and C have joined together to form the North East Link Forum (NELF), the group have also submitted a formal concerns paper to NELA.

This group is deeply concerned with the impact Corridors B and/or C will have on Warrandyte, Park Orchards and Donvale if either of these Corridors is selected.

If you are interested in what NELF are doing, you can find them on Facebook.

Clean up and clear out

WARRANDYTE RESIDENTS are being urged to start their fire preparation early and identify hazards on their properties to minimise fire risk this season.

Victoria has experienced a dry winter and it is likely to remain dry and warm for the next three months, this means we could see a very early fire season.

Council encourages residents to prepare for the upcoming fire season, using spring as a great time to start preparations.

“It is vital that all residents living within bushfire prone areas have an emergency plan in place — residents can find more information about developing their plan on Council’s website,” said Manningham Mayor, Cr Michelle Kleinert.

Captain of Warrandyte CFA Adrian Mullens said because Warrandyte has not experienced a bad bushfire for several years many residents are getting complacent.

“Warrandyte and North Warrandyte are up there in terms of fire risk, we have just been lucky on I don’t know how many occasions… if the 2014 fire in Flannary Court had got over Tindalls road, Warrandyte would be gone,” he told the Diary.

Both Manningham and Nillumbik councils are providing vouchers to allow residents to dispose of green waste in the lead up to summer.

Nillumbik Shire Mayor Cr Peter Clarke said Council is preparing for the fire season with bushfire mitigation plans underway, this includes roadside clearing and mowing, tree management and native vegetation clearing.

“Residents can help reduce the impact of fire and storm damage by conducting regular maintenance of their property, including clearing long grass, timber and wood stores, gutters and drains,” Cr Clarke said.

“We have also introduced green waste vouchers, giving residents the flexibility to recycle garden materials and vegetation at the Recycling and Recovery Centre in Plenty at a convenient time throughout the year.”

The new Nillumbik green waste vouchers are for one cubic metre of domestic green waste like prunings, garden clippings, leaves or grass or one level 6 x 4m sized trailer load or less — loads larger than this will require two vouchers.

Cr Kleinert says garden waste vouchers are now available for Manningham residents, free of charge and can be used from September through to the end of November.

“Clearing and removing excess vegetation from properties is an important part of reducing bushfire risk, she said.

Vouchers for four standard trailer loads can be redeemed on Sundays between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm at Manningham’s Garden Waste Recycle Centre on the corner of Blackburn and Websters Road, Templestowe.

For branches and prunings, Manningham residents also have the option of exchanging one hard rubbish collection for a bundled green waste collection.

The State government are urging residents to check their insurance policies to ensure they are sufficiently covered for emergencies such as bushfire and storm.

Be Ready Warrandyte will be holding a seminar on October 26 to discuss fire-safe building materials following a report from the Great Ocean Road fire in 2015 as well as insurance and the CFA’s Leave Early message — more information in the October Diary.

Visit insureit.vic.gov.au for information about the ‘Insure It.It’s worth It’ campaign.

Visit the CFA website for more ideas and information to help prepare and protect yourself and your property this bushfire season.

Council green waste visit manningham.vic.gov.au or nillumbik.vic.gov.au/greenwastevouchers

Old Warrandyte dairy faces uncertain future

THE OLD WARRANDYTE Dairy, an important reminder of the history of Warrandyte as a township, is under review by Melbourne Water to determine the building’s future.

Even though modern Warrandyte is a suburb of metropolitan Melbourne, until the late 20th century the village was an independent township.

Built in 1948, the building served as a cool room for storing milk delivered from Box Hill.

Melbourne Water currently own the site, and therefore the building, and in late August erected a fence around the entrance to the old building and are now seeking community feedback while they decide the future of this severely dilapidated building.

Andrew Mellor, Team Leader for Melbourne Water’s north east regional services spoke to the Diary about the condition of the building and Melbourne Water’s desire to come up with a solution which serves both the integrity of the site and respects the importance of the building in Warrandyte’s history.

“An engineering assessment of the building will be undertaken in coming weeks, which will help guide discussion around the future of the building.

“We want the community to guide the decision making on a use for the site which is most appropriate for time,” he said.

The Diary also spoke with Margaret Kelly, President of the Warrandyte Historical Society who explained the significance of the building within the township and the reasons why the community should engage with Melbourne Water in deciding the future of the building.

Ms Kelly explained the butchers building, old post office, bakery hotel, dairy and churches are all part of the infrastructure that defines a township.

“There are not many places around that are suburbs of Melbourne that still have all those buildings; that is why I think it is really important to preserve the story of Warrandyte as an independent township,” she said.

Under the Warrandyte Township Heritage Precinct, the old dairy is listed as a building of contributory significance which adds an extra dimension to this story as the building’s original purpose adds to the gestalt of the Warrandyte township.

Ms Kelly believes the loss of this building could not just degrade the history of the township but start a cascade of changes to other buildings within the heritage precinct — but the way forward is not to simply preserve it for the sake of preservation.

“[The] concern is when one building goes that weakens the overlay, so what is to stop someone else who owns another building saying ‘why can’t I knock my one down and move that as well’, so I think you don’t want the dominos to start falling — if it is in a position where it can be saved, I think it should be and in a practical manner as well, not just to preserve it for the sake of it,” she said.

Melbourne Water have told the Diary they will be holding a number of community meetings in the near future.

As we go to print, dates for these meetings have not been set, but follow the Diary Facebook page for information and feedback from these meetings.

Council greenlights bridgeworks

AUGUST HAS been a busy month with regards to the Warrandyte Bridge upgrade project.

On August 29, Manningham Council discussed and passed a motion to grant a conditional planning permit to Abzeco Pty Ltd on behalf of VicRoads for the roadworks associated with the bridge upgrade on the Manningham side of the river.

Approval granted

Cr McLeish made amendments to the original motion to include details around the use of local stone and for a “safe crossing point” where the bridge meets the roundabout.

This alternate motion was carried by the Council, which effectively means once VicRoads produce the required amendments, they will have their permit.

The ammended motion comes after Council, VicRoads and the objectors met in a Submitters meeting.

At the meeting, a number of proposed changes were put forward.

The Diary asked the WCA for comment on Manningham’s decision, Mr Gillan, on behalf of the WCA told the Diary they were happy with the addition of the pedestrian crossing but “disappointed the other conditions were not adopted”.

Reports that bridgeworks would start in late October sparked conversation in the community last week.

With the bridge project always earmarked for completion “before the next fire season”, the prospect of major roadworks during the region’s most dangerous time of year is unsettling.

This news conflicts with comment from Manningham councillors who stated they were told works would be delayed until after the fire season, the Diary spoke with Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert.

“With any upgrade there is always going to be disruption, we are in one of the top 10 places in the world for fire hazard — traffic is lighter over school holidays but we have this factor of bushfire,” she said.

Manningham council also stressed that this is a VicRoads project and legal responsibility for safeguarding their workers and the community lies with them.

Once construction commences, the roadworks will include:

  • Road space to accommodate the three traffic lanes on the bridge (one northbound and two southbound).
  • Pedestrian footpath widening to accommodate the three-metre-wide path on the east/downstream side of the bridge and the 1.8metre wide path on the west/upstream side of the bridge.
  • A dedicated left turn lane onto the bridge going northbound.
  • Guard rails for traffic and pedestrians.
  • New retaining walls.
  • The removal of five native trees/shrubs.

On the Nillumbik side, there were six objections to the planning application for roadworks and vegetation removal on the north side of the river, Nillumbik’s planning officer is currently talking to Melbourne Water about the application and the Diary is led to believe a decision will be made very soon.

As we go to print, we have also learned Nillumbik Shire CEO Mark Stoermer has written to VicRoads relaying concerns that the “Warrandyte Bridge serves as a critical, single access point for both the local community and emergency services during emergency events, particularly during the bushfire season”.

Nillumbik Council also told the Diary:

Council is waiting on a response from VicRoads confirming that the bridgeworks will not affect emergency responses to and from the area.

That VicRoads will provide an outline of the measures proposed during days of elevated fire risk.

And a communication plan informing residents of any possible closures so residents can make informed decisions about their safety.

Council expects a response from VicRoads by mid-September.

The Diary have pressed VicRoads for comment regarding bridgeworks over the summer, as we go to print, we are still awaiting comment.

The deliberation

When considering the application, Manningham council reported the key issues in this application are environment impact, landscape impact and heritage consideration.

A number of environmental (ESO 2 and ESO 3) and heritage overlays at the site for the bridgeworks mean a planning permit is required for the roadworks associated with the bridge upgrade and as such, a number of conditions need to be met if the planning application is to be approved.

The report indicates the removal of the five trees has resulted in the recommendation that 92 plants must be planted to offset the loss of the trees, this means 14 canopy trees and 78 indigenous trees, shrubs, climbers or grasses all of which must be indigenous to Manningham and will be located within the “Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority Boundary or Manningham City Council municipal district”.

The report also suggests the addition of an aerial wildlife movement pathway is also condition for approval.

The Council’s heritage advisor is quoted in the report as saying:

“This application has been assessed in relation to the impact of the proposed development on the precinct as a whole.

“Given the extensive nature of the precinct and the amount of mature vegetation that exists within it, it is not anticipated that the proposed works will impact on the distinctive landscape character of the precinct. 

“It is also noted that there is potential for the proposed works to contribute to the appreciation of heritage values associated with the area by reducing traffic congestion at this key intersection, and by increasing potential for use and enjoyment of the area by pedestrians and cyclists”.

The department of City Strategy (Open Space) asked the plans to address the following elements:

  • The new roads and kerbs need to match existing stonework projects within Warrandyte and conform to the township’s heritage guidelines.
  • A new footpath between Yarra Street and the river on the Western side of the bridge.
  • Signage to help pedestrians identify the pedestrian crossing point on either side of the roundabout or to give them the option to walk under the bridge, along the river.

The Council report also noted there is an amendment in place to minimise any modifications to the existing bus stops around the Bridge intersection (eastbound at the toilet block and westbound in front of the War Memorial) but there is a provision for a semi-mountable kerb opposite 217 Yarra Street (approximately located above the Lions Club tennis courts) for a bus parking area.

With the bus parking area and the new northbound slip-lane, the number of parking bays between the lolly shop and the bridge are likely to be significantly reduced.

The Council report noted there were 10 objectors to the Manningham application, these objectors were made up of two local groups and eight private objectors.

Their objections centred around environmental and natural impact relating to the removal of the trees, the aesthetic and heritage impact of the bridge, the disruption during construction and the threat of increased traffic flow once the upgrade is complete.

On Thursday August 24, VicRoads, Manningham Council and the 10 objectors held a Submitters meeting at Manningham Council offices where the objectors were able to voice their concerns and discuss their objection to the planning application.

Following this meeting, Kyle Gillan, representing the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA), invited a few of the objectors along to a meeting with the Diary to discuss their objections to the Warrandyte Bridge upgrade project.

The Diary asked the group about the Submitters meeting on August 24; Mr Gillan began with a summary of what the WCA had taken to the meeting, in reaction to the council officer’s report.

“The submission the WCA made was asking for four additional conditions to be imposed on the permit,” he said.

The WCA’s additional conditions were:

  • The retention of the pedestrian crossing between the bridge and the roundabout.
  • Yarra Street is not to be widened to accommodate the northbound slip lane.
  • Crash barriers redesigned or removed because they are an “eyesore” and “not consistent with the heritage overlay”.
  • The use of natural stone (similar to stone used in the recent footpath works east of the bridge) on all paths, abutments and retaining walls.

Mr Gillan later clarified the objectors at the Submitters meeting wanted this crossing changed from a pedestrian refuge to a zebra crossing.

“At the moment there is a pedestrian refuge so what everyone’s asking for is a zebra crossing which gives pedestrians priority and legal protection, so if they are on that they are protected”.

“A lot of the councillors, particularly Cr Sophy Galbally of Mullum Mullum ward was very concerned about pedestrian safety as she herself has mobility issues.

“The VicRoads plan will be quite bad for people with mobility issues or for children who are catching the bus,” said Mr Gillan.

Other objectors to the Manningham planning application expressed their concern about the cultural and environmental impact of the works.

Pamela Hipwell is worried about the future of the stonework underneath the War Memorial.

Her concern lies in the non-existence of any statement which suggests the stonework around the War Memorial will be protected at all cost.

“They were built by sustenance workers in the 1930s depression and they are of unique historic and aesthetic value and they link up with the War Memorial and that is very very precious to Warrandyte.

“What I am concerned about is that will chip away, they’ve got their slip lanes and then they will be gouging out more because Yarra Street won’t cope with the extra traffic flow and they’ll want more,” she said.

All the way through the extensive discussion the Diary had with the objectors, concerns over protecting the township’s heritage and the environment were at the core of their arguments, but there was also genuine concern that the bridgeworks will do nothing to alleviate the peak-time traffic congestion.

Theresa Dawson and Jeremy Loftus-Hills, who are also on the Urban Design Advisory Panel (UDAP), expressed doubts as to the benefits the bridge upgrade will have.

“My first and major concern was once they widen the bridge and then there is no room — yes the traffic, for a split second over the bridge, will move faster but then it is going to come to a dead halt on either side of the bridge,” said Ms Dawson.

Mr Loftus-Hills objects to the current plan in its entirety and says it has been stunted by Government budget constraints.

“We are better off without it… my objection is to the design that’s been built into the bridge has been lowering the performance of the existing bridge,” he said.

Mr Loftus-Hills later explained why he thinks the bridge is constrained by budget.

“If you read the feedback they gave us in November last year, they say they cannot do that for economic reasons and for environmental reasons but …the last FOI response I got from them said they hadn’t done any costings, there is no paperwork to show you, that’s now before the commissioner,” he said.

The Manningham Council report contains a response to objections about funding for this project.

The report states the bridge offers “significant community benefits” and states the “extensive consultation” which has occurred over the past three years “cannot be revisited under the planning assessment”.

The key issue around the bridge upgrade is the comment by Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig Lapsley, who identified the Yarra crossing in Warrandyte as a real weakness for traffic flow, in both everyday congestion and in emergency evacuation during bushfire.

During the interview with the Diary, objectors raised concern this context to the bridge upgrade was muddying the CFA’s “leave early” message.

The Diary put this concern to Warrandyte CFA Captain, Adrian Mullens.

“Potentially yeah, the hardest part is to get into people’s heads that they have to leave early,” he said.

Captain Mullens went on to say the high turnover of population in Warrandyte and that there have been no significant fires in Warrandyte since 2014 has led to a state of complacency in the community.

The take-out from this is that the bridge’s effectiveness during emergency evacuation is indeed an important aspect of the upgrade project and an aspect which should be put under heavy critical analysis.

However, awareness of the risks of bushfire and the message of “leave early” is something that, as a community, we need to be proactive about.

Time to come together

It is becoming clear the Warrandyte Bridge upgrade will eventually happen, the government feels it has invested a lot of money into this project and VicRoads will not want to be seen backing down on this issue, especially with the link between the bridge widening and the threat of bushfire.

Objections to the bridge project centre on protecting heritage and environmental overlays, as well as defending the “independent township” culture of our suburb.

An idea that has been fought for by long term residents for many decades and it is these same residents who now argue the point of the fight is to maintain the identity, as it is, for future generations.

“From the very start I said ‘don’t let this happen because it is not about what happens today, it is about where it will go in the future’, so you have to look outside of here to fix the problem and that’s what everyone has to get on board with, it’s leave us alone and we have to push them to move outside the area — do the Ring Road,” said Ms Dawson.

Mr Gillan added: “It’s not the residents of Warrandyte that are causing this, it’s the growth in the sprawling suburbs of Melbourne, the northern growth corridor.

“That’s why we have the heritage overlay, that’s why we have the Green Wedge protected by the Environment act and those things have to be respected,” he said.

The conversations the Diary has had with different sides of the bridge debate and the type of conversation seen on Social Media would suggest there is a growing divide between the residents who have been in the Township for 20,30,40 years and those who have not.

Warrandyte has fought hard to maintain an aesthetic and amenity which makes Warrandyte the lovely place it is but the suburbs around the Green Wedge and along the northern growth corridors are pushing more cars and more people through Warrandyte and the surrounding area.

The Warrandyte Bridge upgrade debate illustrates the clash between maintaining our village-like heritage and functioning as a suburb of a growing Melbourne.

To have the qualities that define Warrandyte as a special place and accessibility to modern infrastructure is always going to be a difficult balance, but this is a special place and we are a determined community.

With some intelligent conversation and some empathy towards other people’s views we can have the best of both worlds.

Teapots of every shape, size and function


THE STONEHOUSE Gallery has taken up the mantel of hosting this year’s Melbourne Teapot Exhibition.

Studio@Flinders started the annual event back in 2004, but when the gallery closed in 2016, the Stonehouse Gallery was delighted to be given the opportunity to extend the life of this annual event.

38 artists have contributed a combined total of 66 teapots (21 functional and 45 non-functional pieces).

The exhibition features a number of prizes, of which a teapot from both functional and non-functional categories will be selected: excellence in design; highly commended; encouragement; people’s choice.

Teapots have travelled from all over Australia to be in this year’s exhibition with the furthest all the way from Budderim, Queensland.

Closer to home, entrants include students from Marge Beecham’s pottery group who work out of the old fire station behind the Mechanics’ Institute.

But it is not only potters who have been hard at work in the build-up to this exhibition.

As well as a large advertising poster supplied by Gardiner McGuiness, the gallery has also received sponsorship from Quinton’s Supa IGA Supermarket, Warrandyte Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank and Rob Dolan wines.

The gallery also wished to acknowledge Clayworks, GE and GE Kilns, Northcote pottery and Walker Ceramics for their donations towards prizes.

Additionally, local businesses took part in the “Warrandyte Teapot Photo” social media campaign where they posted photos of their business using teapots in unique ways.

Stonehouse artist and exhibition curator Marymae Trench has extended an invitation to all locals to come and see the wonderful teapots on display.

“We are hoping that the Teapot Exhibition will bring many new people to Warrandyte, and that all local businesses (including the Stonehouse Gallery) will benefit from their visits.

“We always appreciate the support from Warrandyte residents.

“Come and visit us at the Stonehouse Gallery, 103 Yarra Street Warrandyte,” she said.

The exhibition runs until August 15.

Photo: Bill McAuley

Bridge advisory panel walks a rocky road


An Urban Design Advisory Panel (UDAP) has been formed to represent the Warrandyte community with regards to the aesthetic elements of the works planned for the Warrandyte Bridge.

VicRoads Acting Director of Operations Metro North West, Fatima Mohamed, told the Diary that any design changes will be guided by the outcome of the Panel meetings.

“In addition to extensive community consultation already undertaken, an Urban Design Advisory Panel has been established to provide an opportunity for the wider Warrandyte community to provide feedback on bridge design, such as to the look and feel of the upgraded bridge and retaining wall and footpath finishes,” she said.

VicRoads has provided terms of reference which outline the topics the UDAP will be consulted on, including:

• Outer bridge railing (design, colour, finish).

• Bridge abutment treatment and finish.

• Footpath surface colour and treatment.

• Pedestrian movement — including possible under bridge crossing (with connections to the river trail).

• Retaining wall treatments surface and finish.

• Retaining wall pedestrian railings.

• Bollards to approaches.

• Landscape integration including replacement of the large Eucalypts which frame the southern bridge approach.

• Rock beaching to drainage outlets and batters (local rock preferred).

Panel members will be asked to provide advice and make decisions on the above topics on behalf of the wider Warrandyte community.

At the bottom of this article is an image gallery with excerpts from the presentation given by VicRoads in the first meeting.

The presentation gives details on bridge specs and the types of materials being proposed by VicRoads.

The panel is made up of a cross section of the Warrandyte community who will bring divergent views to the panel:

David Carty, John Chapman, Theresa Dawson, Geoff Flicking, Kyle Gillan, Bambi Gordon, Leigh Hearn, Jennie Hill, Jeremy Loftus-Hills and Sasha Reid.

The meetings are chaired by an independent facilitator responsible for guiding discussions to reach decisions for two to three topics at the end of each meeting.

FIRST MEETING: DOWN TO BUSINESS

A report of the initial meeting was provided to the Diary by panel member Bambi Gordon.

The meeting began with an overview of the first task for the Panel, which was to agree upon the objectives for the bridge works — and in fact the Panel itself.

It was agreed that members would evaluate all options in the area of landscaping, environmental management, bridge finishes and so on against the stated objective to achieve “a functional bridge which is sympathetic to and reflects the environments and the character of the town in the design and finish”.

Some changes had already been made (prior to the UDAP meeting) based on earlier objections received.

The primary change to the plan was the addition of a shared footpath on the eastern side of the bridge.

This then had a flow-on effect of requiring a pedestrian crossing on the northern side of the bridge to allow for people to access both footpaths from the north.

The panel were against a pedestrian crossing on the northern end of the bridge due to the potential delay of traffic during peak hours.

However, the panel was also concerned about having the pedestrian crossing on the southern end and it was generally agreed that this crossing needs to be under the bridge — whether that requires some steps down to ground level and back up to Yarra Street, or a slung pedestrian pathway under the bridge.

Both options for a pedestrian crossing at the southern end will entail the potential removal of one or two trees — a further concern for some members as was the retention of the prunus trees that could be impacted by the addition of a left hand turn slip lane on Yarra Street.

The panel ended the meeting with a number of questions for VicRoads and the bridge architect to consider.

In general, the panel were respectful of each other and though no decisions were made on the night it is the Panel’s aim to come to those decisions over the further three scheduled meetings.

Following the first meeting Kyle Gillan, who represents the WCA, told the Diary he was concerned with a comment from VicRoads engineer William Nottle.

In his introductory comments to the panel Mr Nottle noted the project intends to double the amount of traffic through Warrandyte in the morning peak.

“When [Mr Nottle was] pressed on the projected number of additional cars in Warrandyte he answered he could only comment on queue lengths and not increased traffic volumes.

“The impact on the amenity and character of the town is of utmost importance to the WCA.

“That is why the panel is helping to mitigate the broader effects of the project by ensuring we get the very best design for Warrandyte,” said Mr Gillan

SECOND MEETING: PROCEEDINGS TURN SOUR

The panel members returned to their respective groups to report on the proceedings, which initiated some heated discussion online.

Ms Gordon reported to the Diary the Facebook vitriol spilled into the second meeting, so proceedings did not run so smoothly:

The second meeting of the UDAP was in stark contrast to the first. 

Prior to the meeting commencing, one of the members demanded 15 minutes to read a prepared statement to complain about a post made on Facebook a few days earlier by another member.  

A representative from the Historical Society also addressed this same post.  

At issue for both members was that a post on the Fix the Warrandyte Bridge Facebook Group referred to them as members of the WCA – which they are not.  

The post also commented that they had been against the bridge widening. 

Again they stressed that they are not against the bridge widening.
With regard to the social media post the administrator of that group has since apologised for her assumption. 

It should also be noted, at no time did the post name any members of the UDAP.
These and many of the UDAP members still have objections to various aspects of the plan and it is unclear how they will proceed if these objections are not addressed satisfactorily.
Once the meeting commenced it very quickly went off the tracks with members wanting to make presentations and give submissions, which is outside the remit of UDAP.
The various issues discussed at this second meeting, within the nine issues that UDAP is instructed to make recommendations upon were:  landscape integration, pedestrian movement, pathway surfaces, beaching under bridge, retaining walls and new sections of bridge abutment.
Regarding “landscape integration” and “surfaces” UDAP made recommendations, but in the most part the recommendations were for further investigation.

For all the other issues UDAP has asked for further investigation.
The meeting was very heated, with raised voices and direct criticism of the VicRoads representatives.

At one point a member left (and was encouraged to re-join by one of the VicRoads Stakeholder Engagement staff).
A few of the members have since said they hold little hope in UDAP being able to agree upon recommendations for the nine design issues, that the level of vitriol and disrespect makes the process very uncomfortable.

These members also suspect there are some people who will continue to disagree simply to indefinitely delay the project.

They are also concerned that one member of UDAP has already stated quite firmly that if the changes they want are not made the bridge widening will not proceed, while another has said they will “sit here for six months” if their changes are not made.

Meanwhile, VicRoads has told the Diary the contractor has begun work in preparation to commence construction.

“We have appointed a contractor which has begun off-site works which are not tied to the planning process and we intend to commence on-site activities in the coming months,” Ms Mohamed said.

This is despite The Diary being led to believe that one member of UDAP is considering taking the matter to VCAT, which could delay the commencement of works until at least next year.

As we go to print, three members of the advisory panel are considering whether to continue with their role.

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Local producers taste success at Food Awards


LOCAL producers have impressed at the 2017 Australian Food Awards, bringing home a total of six prizes from the prestigious competition.

Competition debutants PoppySmack were awarded two Bronze medals for their Vietnamese Dipping Sauce and Siam Chilli Sambal, while North Warrandyte’s Blue Pear Pantry took home a Silver medal for their Gourmet Sausage Rolls.

Ringwood-based Asterisk Kitchen continued their fine form from last year’s competition, winning both the Gold and Best in Class medals for their Fennel and Thyme Lavosh Crackers, as well as a Bronze medal for their Activated Coconut Charcoal Lavosh Crackers.

Conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, the Australian Food Awards are the country’s leading national food awards program.

The Awards recognise Australian products and produce across eight categories in which the judges focus on the sensory and technical aspects of the product and its appearance.

The gold, silver and bronze medallists are awarded with a national brand seal of quality and the opportunity to be showcased at international and local trade shows.

The presentation dinner will take place on September 7 in the MasterChef kitchen and it promises to be an appetising night, with award-winning products usually featured at the ceremony’s dinner.

“It will be a fun night – lots of people from the industry, big or small; good food — usually made by a very well known chef,” said Younis Khazour of Asterisk Kitchen.

Deb Graham from Blue Pear Pantry is looking forward to the presentation night, yet still can’t quite believe that she has won an award in just her first entry into the competition.

“It’s very surreal,” she said. “I’m still expecting a phone call to tell me that there has been a mix up.”

Ms Graham believes the secret to Blue Pear Pantry’s success is largely due to high quality ingredients.

“My local suppliers give me fresh produce,” she said.

This prestigious award is sure to give business a boost, with the silver stamp not going unnoticed by potential buyers.

“People’s eyes look at them differently than they have in the past,” she said.

For Hanh Truong of PoppySmack, it is not just about producing great food; it is also about sharing the Vietnamese culture throughout the community.

“I just feel like there are a lot of stories that we can share when we’re at the market,” Ms Truong said.

“It’s always come down to where we’ve come from and what we can bring to all our customers.

“We’d like Vietnamese food to be a common household food — that’s what our objective is.”

The talents of these local producers affect the lives of people in ways much deeper than just their taste buds.

Ms Truong, along with her sister and business partner Tran also use their skills with sauce to raise money for the Welcome To Eltham group – an organisation which strives to make refugees feel safe in the local community.

“We create enough money in the business that we can donate it out and help others,” she said.

“That’s kind of our goal as well.”

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Major public transport upgrade on the horizon

Proposed rapid transit system to ease commuter congestion

GLOBAL PUBLIC transport company Transdev have put forward a proposal for a new Doncaster Bus Rapid Transit project.

The proposal presents a plan for Melbourne’s first ever express bus way, potentially revolutionising public transport for the eastern suburbs.

A BRT system would separate purpose built and high capacity buses from other traffic such as cars and SMART buses, by providing a dedicated bus lane with full right of way.

If the plan goes ahead, it would see the Eastern Freeway median strip — which has been reserved for the potential Doncaster rail link — developed into a bus expressway.

The bus way would also continue down the centre of Hoddle Street, making for just a 30 minute journey from Doncaster to the CBD.

This could be welcome news for commuters, who currently travel for 47 minutes or more during peak times — and for Warrandyte residents, who often travel for over an hour on the current 906 route.

The bus way would be the first of its kind here in Victoria, but Transdev has built similar systems overseas with successful bus rapid transit operations in Bogotá, Columbia and the French cities of Rouen and Nantes.

The new purpose built buses will have a capacity of up to 150 people, and are believed to operate more like a rail link (with fast transit times and minimal waiting times for services in peak hours) than a traditional bus lane.

Transdev’s proposal has been welcomed by Manningham Council who believe the project can vastly improve commuter’s public transport experience in the eastern suburbs.

Leigh Harrison, Manningham Director Assets and Engineering spoke to the Diary and was hopeful the project would be approved by State Government as the project would greatly enhance eastern Melbourne’s public transport system.

“Transdev’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) proposal would provide Manningham’s commuters with a markedly improved public transport option that maximises what buses can offer.

We hope the proposal will be given serious consideration and support from the State Government,” he said.

But for Manningham Council, the Doncaster rail link still remains of the utmost importance and the Doncaster BRT is viewed as merely a short-term solution.

“Manningham remains the only Melbourne metropolitan municipality with no rail, and the proposal for a BRT is the next best thing in the short to medium term to cater for already overcrowded public transport services.

The proposed BRT may also offer improved reliability and travel times between the Melbourne CBD and Warrandyte,” said Mr Harrison.

Mr Harrison then went on to emphasise Manningham’s position that any sort of rapid transit system is merely a short-term solution to public transport congestion, congestion which Manningham thinks can only be resolved — in the long term — by the Doncaster rail link.

“The proposed BRT must be designed so as not to prevent a future Doncaster rail link and ensure the Eastern Freeway median is preserved for a future rail line to Doncaster.

Manningham Council will continue to advocate to the State Government to prioritise a rail line to Doncaster as the ultimate public transport solution for the area,” he said.

The BRT project remains in the proposal stage at this point in time.

Should the proposal gain the support or approval of the State Government, community engagement and conversation with key stakeholders will be carried out in order to develop the project appropriately.

The Grand Hotel elevates standards in accessibility


IF WALLS COULD talk, the walls of The Grand Hotel Warrandyte would have an extraordinary story to tell.

Built in 1895, The Grand Hotel Warrandyte has stood proudly for more than 120 years as the backbone to the Warrandyte township.

On June 30, the historic Yarra Street hotel marked a significant milestone, celebrating the installation of a lift, bringing the hotel in line with the national Disability Discrimination Act.

The ribbon was cut by local councillor Sophy Galbally who applauded the hotel as a great example of a business that recognises the community need for access for families.

“At great expense the Grand installs a lift which sends a welcome to the 20% of the population with a disability and to our ageing baby boomers who are now over 65,” she said.

When locals Greg Kennedy and Steve Graham took ownership, they promptly got rid of the pokies and replaced them with a kids play room.

Since then, the hotel has undergone dramatic renovations, numerous licks of paint and is being lovingly cared for by general manager Peter Appleby.

Mr Kennedy and Mr Graham told the Diary, that shortly after they purchased the hotel an 80-year-old man arrived one night to go to his granddaughters 21st birthday party, but when he could not get up the stairs he had to go home.

“We thought ‘that’s not good enough,’” the pair said.

So they immediately started planning to install a lift to allow access to the upstairs function rooms.

It has taken them three years to retrofit the historic building to meet current standards.

The official opening of the elevator was attended by local resident Meindert Withoff, who uses a wheelchair, and he is very happy that the hotel is now fully accessible by everyone.

“It’s fantastic! I really appreciate it — I know that in the past some people with disabilities couldn’t go to certain functions in the pub just because they couldn’t go up the stairs — and that is a real shame — because pub is an abbreviation for public, and it is not very public if it is not accessible for people with disabilities,” Mr Withoff said.

The function rooms upstairs are now being fitted with disabled toilets to complement the existing ones on the ground floor.

These new facilities continue the Grand’s reputation as the backbone of Warrandyte, where the hotel has served as a safe place for those in need, opening its doors to the community during the 1931 floods, 1939 Black Friday fires and subsequent bush fires in the 1950s and 1960s, this renovation will now allow the hotel to serve all members of the community.

The Grand is part of Warrandyte’s social and community hub, with patrons ranging from 18 to 80 +year olds and from all walks of life, installation of the lift will give seniors, parents with prams and people with disabilities easier access to the venue.

After the ribbon cutting, councillor Galbally stated how the Grand was an example to all businesses and urged others to look at ways in which they can make themselves more inclusive to our modern, diverse community.

“I encourage all local businesses to see how they can improve accessibility so they too send this message of welcome,” she said.

North East Link planning hots up


ACTIVITY IS RAMPING up in the planning for the North East Link, and the route to be chosen is by far the most contentious issue.

North East Link Authority (NELA)

NELA has confirmed their process of consultation will commence in July/August.

Their current investigations are concentrating on geotechnical testing and analysis.

Their website has a short video on the current program of drilling to take soil samples from 24 sites.

Geotechnical study sites (North East Link Authority website)

Whilst the line of drillings to the west of Warrandyte follows the expected path of the central route past Beasley’s Nursery, there is one curious drilling location shown in Warrandyte, south of the river around the Stonehouse Café area.

Katie Hall, Corporate Communications and Media Manager North East Link Authority, told the Diary “the drill locations on the video map are indicative of where drilling will take place but are not exact.

“Where the rigs are set up depends on where there is a suitable location such as a VicRoads reservation, and where we are missing information regarding the soil and rock profiles,” she said.

The current investigations will look at the suitability of tunnelling, cut and fill, gradients, vegetation, environmental and socioeconomic considerations.

NELA will then identify several corridors.

Each of the identified corridors will have a full analysis of the positives and negatives for each.

This process will not select a route for the NE Link; it is a broad corridor identification process only.

After the corridors have been identified, the first full round of public consultation by NELA will commence.

The consultations will allow the public to have input into the corridors identified and to make submissions with respect to their suitability.

Nillumbik Pro-Active Landowners (PALs)

The PALs group conducted a survey via their Facebook page, this survey received 146 responses.

47% of the responders were from Kangaroo Ground while only 1% were from North Warrandyte.

The overwhelming majority (94%) of respondents supported the North East Link with only 5% saying they did not support it.

While 70% objected to the road being built in Nillumbik, with 25% saying they approved of a Green Wedge route, and 65% supporting the link being mainly tunnel (12% against).

Spokesman for the PALs group, Max Parsons, told the Diary PALs will be working to ensure NELA understand, acknowledge and appreciate the importance of the Green Wedge to the residents and landowners in Nillumbik, as well as its state and national significance, Mr Parsons also stressed the importance of financial compensation for landowners.

“With a determined view to the primacy of human life in relation to bush fire risk, the loss of vegetation and Green Wedge areas, the dissection of and disruption to existing communities and the isolation of native fauna must all be factored into the equation to select an appropriate route for the North East Link.

“Should the North East Link proceed, affected landowners must receive appropriate market-based compensation for any acquired land or adjoining affected properties,” he said.

Warrandyte Community Association (WCA)

The WCA has expressed concern Banyule Council and residents are mounting a well-organised campaign advocating the Central Option to the west of Warrandyte as preferable to the shorter route running down to andunder the Banyule river flats to join the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen.

Convenor of the Warrandyte Community Association subcommittee working on this issue, Carli Lange-Boutle, feels the action in Banyule could have serious impact on Warrandyte.

“The Government plans to start construction on the Link in 2019 and community groups and Councils along the various routes are linking up and preparing to argue against a route through their communities,” she said

The WCA understands the public will have only six weeks in which to respond to the NELA Route Options paper, planned for issue in late July so the research needed to lodge an objection needs to begin now.

The WCA is alarmed at the potential impact of the Greensborough–Ringwood route.

The borehole location figure on the NELA website confirms the Authority is considering an alignment parallel to the high voltage powerline easements running from St Helena to Ringwood, crossing or passing under the Yarra River near Target Road in Warrandyte.

At 19 km long, this route would be over twice the length of the Banyule route and unless extensive tunnelling is used, it would impact the Diamond and Mullum Mullum Creeks, as well as the Yarra River.

Mrs Lange-Boutle says, “Access ramps at Reynolds Road near Springvale Rd seem likely for this route option and this could generate serious traffic volumes for Yarra Street Warrandyte, including Warrandyte Bridge traffic and through the neighbouring Donvale and Park Orchards.

“There is also great concern for the health of the Mullum Mullum Creek and Yarra River.

“We need to consider all impacts to our communities; economically, socially and environmentally,” she said.

There is also pressure from the east.

Nillumbik groups are preparing to argue against the routes through the Green Wedge areas of Kangaroo Ground and Christmas Hills; there are serious environmental issues along these routes too.

The WCA has urged Warrandyte residents to take an active interest on this issue

Manningham City Council

Unlike other municipalities, Manningham City Council seems to be sitting on the fence when it comesto taking a position on the route the North East Link should take.

Last month Director of Assets and Engineering, Leigh Harrison, advised the Diary the “council does not currently have a formal position on the proposal”.

The council has an Integrated Transport Advisory Subcommittee (ITAC), but Mr Harrison advised “The ITAC is an advisory committee and, as such, does not formulate policy for Council’s consideration.

“The committee can agree on a view in relation to North East Link however, to date, the level of detail associated with the North East Link is too abstract to determine any concrete direction,” he said.

Their reluctance to take a position is perhaps understandable when it is considered a number of route options pass within their boundaries.

Nillumbik Shire Council

Nillumbik council officers and Councillors Karen Egan and Jane Ashton have reached agreement with NELA to hold several information sessions for local communities within the Nillumbik investigation area to talk with NELA representatives about their process, opportunities, issues and the challenges North East Link will bring so that they can use what they learn in their decision making.

The sessions are planned to be held:

  • Sunday July 23 — 9am – 12pm Eltham Town Square
  • Monday July 24 — 5pm – 8pm Nillumbik Civic Centre Greensborough
  • Saturday July 29 — 10am – 1:30pm Diamond Creek Community Centre
  • Sunday July 30 — 10am – 12:30pm Research shops

Jane Ashton said on Facebook she is aiming to organise for a meeting in Kangaroo Ground “as this is where people who care live”.

Narelle Campbell, from the No Rural Link group who have started the social media hashtag #buildthelinkbutdontsplitthewedge are opposing the road passing through the Green Wedge.

Ms Campbell thinks the sessions are “a great opportunity for our communities to engage with NELA face to face in a reasonable, evidence based, informal and passionate way”.

More formal information, engagement and feedback sessions are planned once corridors are identified and announced in August.

The North East Link Authority are not going to have an easy time ahead of them north-east Melbourne seems to find itself in a situation where most people want the link but very few want it anywhere near them.

Major upgrade for Jumping Creek Road


AFTER 17 RECORDED vehicle crashes in four years, Manningham Council began the process for a major upgrade to Jumping Creek Road in July 2016.

At an estimated cost of $17.9M and a construction period of six years, works are scheduled to begin in 2018, after the next fire danger period has ended and assuming the necessary permits have been issued.

An important link road between Warrandyte and the Yarra Valley, the road also gives access to the only river crossing with 10 kilometres for Wonga Park and the surrounding area.

Manningham Council estimates Jumping Creek Road currently carries more than 8000 vehicles per day, a number which is expected to of doubled by 2035.

Taking into account the number of accidents on this important artery, Manningham believe the road, which is already failing to keep drivers safe will be unable to accommodate a major increase in traffic without an upgrade.

The works will include roadway realignment, roundabouts, emergency vehicle stopping bays and a shared pedestrian/cycling path which will run the entire length of Jumping Creek Road between Wonga Park and Warrandyte.

This last adjustment will deliver greater accessibility to the Wonga Park community as well as improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

As part of the development process, Manningham Council have formed the Jumping Creek Road Community Reference Panel, a panel which consists of residents, businesses and community groups which are directly affected by Jumping Creek Road.

Mr Leigh Harrison, Director of Assets and Engineering for Manningham Council spoke to the Diary, explaining the role the panel will play in the forthcoming upgrade.

“The Jumping Creek Road Community Reference Panel will provide an important and long term opportunity for the community to highlight issues, queries and provide feedback on proposals to upgrade Jumping Creek Road.

“[The panel] will also help guide the materials and finishes, path widths, replanting opportunities, fauna crossings, street lighting, pedestrian crossing locations, non-regulatory signage, roadside aesthetics, emergency stopping bay locations, the Dudley Road/Yarra Road/Jumping Creek Road intersection surface treatment and the extent and nature of equestrian treatments,” he said.

Residents will get the opportunity to express their thoughts on the road upgrade via the Community Reference Panel, as well as via the Manningham “Your Say” page.

However, one major concern will be traffic congestion.

The Diary asked Mr Harrison what steps have been taken to minimise further congestion to an already heavily congested area.

“The key objectives of this project are to improve safety for all users, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, and to accommodate the forecasted increase in traffic volumes — which is expected to double to 15,000 vehicles per day by 2035.

“During our consultation process, concerns were raised about traffic congestion at the Jumping Creek Road and Homestead Road intersection — located on the municipal boundary between the Shire of Yarra Ranges and the City of Manningham.

“Council is working with the Shire of Yarra Ranges to address resident concerns regarding this intersection.

“Some traffic disruption during works of this scale is unavoidable,” he said.

Jumping Creek Road Upgrade plan courtesy of the Manningham “YourSay” page