Monthly Archives: July 2021

Cyclist safety concerns on Knees Road

MANNINGHAM COUNCIL announced as part of their 2020/21 Capital Works Program, Knees Road, Park Orchards, would be receiving a long-awaited upgrade.
Knees Rd is a crucial local link in our community, bringing traffic into Park Orchards and Warrandyte. The upgrade aims to improve safety for all users, including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, and incorporates kerb and channel, new footpaths and shared paths, and a roundabout at the Arundel Road intersection.
However, Park orchards local Stephen Gleeson says the plans leave cyclists feeling excluded and unsatisfied.
“I’ve been riding bikes in Park Orchards for the last 26 years – every Tuesday and Thursday morning there’s a group of us here in Park Orchards who come together and ride our bikes”, he says.
Mr Gleeson has voiced his safety concerns to Manningham Council and recently wrote a letter to Ward Councillor, Cari Lange.
“The new works have narrowed the existing road considerably — the result is those bike riders, heading in both directions, will be pushed in with car and truck traffic.
“Vehicles will either have to slow down and travel behind the cyclist to avoid hitting the rider or enter the lane of oncoming traffic,”
These concerns run rampant among cyclists, due to the increased rate of cyclist fatalities in recent years, a report by the Australian Automobile Association stated that in the 12 months up to December 2020, 42 cyclists died on Australian roads, an increase of 7.7 per cent.
“It’s so bloody dangerous now.
“Cars just get so impatient — they pull out and pull over the other side of the road and pass me, then jam the breaks on because it’s a narrow road.
“Their [the motorists’] mentality is ‘what are you doing on the road?’ ‘why are you holding me up?’ and they’re totally right in thinking that, because roads haven’t been designed for bikes to be on there with cars,” Mr Gleeson tells the Bulletin.
As part of the upgrade, the Council will be building a 2.5m wide off-road shared path aiming to accommodate cyclists of all abilities, including children, to cater for the influx of students who ride their bikes to St Annes Catholic and Park Orchards Primary Schools. Manningham Council supplied Mr Gleeson with a response to his letter outlining the reasons why it chose to proceed in this manner, but Mr Gleeson feels the pathway solution will only add additional stresses, especially for groups of cyclists who wish to ride together.
Mr Gleeson notes the dangers of cycling on shared paths due to the “unpredictable behaviour” of other path users such as off-lead dogs, children, or cars reversing out of driveways.
“We estimate that upwards of 100 bikes go through Park Orchards, none of those cyclists will use that path.
“Have you seen a group of say 30 road bikes get up on a footpath and have to battle it out with kids on bikes, dogs off-leads and prams? Paths are dangerous too,” he says.
“What they could do is make the road wider, make a shoulder which is divided from the roadway where cars and trucks go, with a raised concrete strip painted a bright colour – make that a metre and a half for either side of the road, just make it separate,” Mr Gleeson says.
Mr Gleeson and the broader cycling community attest to the benefits cycling has had on their health, wishing more people would get on the bike.
“Making it safe for inexperienced bike riders will encourage more people to participate, it will be better for their physical, as well as their mental health,” he says.

 

Image courtesy Google Earth

Roos to be locked out of golf course

Cull cancelled but questions remain

AFTER A HUGE community outcry, the Heritage Golf and Country Club has decided not to proceed with a planned cull of kangaroos on its two courses, instead installing fencing to lock the roos out of the fairways. The Club put out a press release in July announcing that they had listened to community concerns and decided to cancel the “Council approved cull”. Local Councils came out swinging as Heritage Golf Club attempted to implicate them in approval of the now aborted kangaroo cull at the club. In a strongly worded statement, both Yarra Ranges and Nillumbik Councils refute the claim in their press release that the cull was “Council approved”.
Yarra Ranges statement said:“Council wishes to advise it was not involved in any decision to approve the culling of kangaroos at the Heritage Golf and Country Club. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) not Council, is responsible for managing wildlife in Victoria. Council understands the management of kangaroos is a sensitive topic that is of great concern to our community. We will be contacting Heritage Golf and Country Club to ask them to correct their media release.”
Nillumbik Shire Council also issued a statement to “correct unequivocally for the record, inaccuracies contained in this statement”.
The land owned by the proprietors of the Heritage Golf and Country Club encompasses three separate Local Government Areas — Nillumbik Shire Council, as well as Yarra Ranges and Manningham. Councils, however, do not have the authority to make decisions on the culling of native wildlife. Permission to do so can only be sought and obtained through the appropriate State Government agencies – the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) or the Game Management Authority. A key consideration in this matter is that the area in which the club is situated is a significant protective corridor for native wildlife and any use of the land must therefore take this status into account. Our community places a high value on the protection of native wildlife and the environment in which they live, and Council makes it a priority to act in the community’s interests on this issue. At its Planning and Consultation Committee Meeting on 8 June 2021, Council resolved, unanimously, to express its concern over initial reports of a planned kangaroo cull and subsequently wrote to the club to inform it of this resolution. Council also requested that the club consider alternative (nonlethal) approaches to managing the kangaroo population, should there be an absolute need to control the numbers on its property. In light of recent developments, Nillumbik Shire Council also wishes to express its deep concern at reports from the community — including from animal rescue service Wildlife Victoria — of the killing of kangaroos in the area.”
Heritage’s Press Release went on to say there was a meeting on May 6 where interested parties including Wildlife Victoria, Club management and residents met and discussed plans to cull kangaroos at the Heritage Golf and Country Club property. Club management claim their plans to cull the kangaroos was due to a “tripling of the population in 12 months due to a breeding surge during the drought and the advantages of easy access to a carpet of grass on golfing fairways”.
However, Wildlife Victoria CEO Lisa Palma said a tripling of a kangaroo population in 12 months is “simply biologically impossible and absolutely ludicrous”.
“Female kangaroos commonly have one young annually, with the mortality rate in the wild for joeys typically at 70 per cent in the first year of life,” she said.
New club Managing Director Dr Cher Coad has blamed Parks Victoria for not managing the population in neighbouring Warrandyte State Park.
“If the Victorian State government was doing its job, in terms of managing the land bordering the Heritage Golf and Country Club, then we wouldn’t have this problem,” she said.
She says the lack of golfers during the recent COVID lockdown has provided kangaroos with unlimited access to the Heritage Golf and Country Club and they are reluctant to move, with management raising fears of the bigger male kangaroos becoming aggressive towards people.
“While the risk of this happening is quite small, the responsibility of the HGCC is to club members, visiting golfers, residents and their families and young children,” said Dr Coad.
“We have excessive numbers of kangaroos on our fairways and grounds, and they are powerful and potentially dangerous.
“The last thing we want is for a large grey kangaroo to cause harm to a golfer or children visiting their grandparents,” she said.
Ms Palma said she absolutely refuted the notion that the kangaroo population is dangerous with Wildlife Victoria receiving no reports kangaroo aggression towards people at the site.
“Some of the larger male kangaroos are known by the locals to be peaceful creatures, who enjoy the natural habitat of the local landscape.
“Indeed, the big fellow known as Scar Face is beloved by many in the community,” said Ms Palma.
“In direct contrast to Heritage’s statement, Wildlife Victoria has received an inordinate number of calls from concerned members of the public, residents, golfers and staff who are terribly worried for the safety and wellbeing of the kangaroo population on site.
Dr Coad said while the treatment of kangaroos is fraught with regulatory and ethical difficulties, the Heritage Golf and Country Club recognises the need for golfers and kangaroos to co-exist. Growing evidence leans towards the idea that the kangaroo population must be managed via more humane means. Ms Palma said that since the meeting of May 6, no further discussion had taken place between those parties.
“Instead, we have witnessed the result of stealthy cruel and violent attacks on the kangaroo population night after night at the site — this has been ongoing for months now!”
The recent spate of kangaroo deaths at the Club is currently subject to a multi-agency investigation. Ms Palma said to date, Wildlife Victoria has seen a significant number of cases of kangaroos that have been savaged by dogs, shot, dismembered and driven over by vehicles.
“We have taken many calls and received letters from members of the public who are too afraid to walk on or near the grounds for fear of the dogs turning on the locals,” Ms Palma said. DELWP issued a statement, saying the Conservation Regulator is “continuing its investigation into alleged fatal and harmful dog attacks on kangaroos at Heritage Golf and Country Club in Chirnside Park”. The statement said Victoria Police and local councils are assisting the Conservation Regulator with the investigation and Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers are conducting patrols in the area. Dr Coad said the task to oversee the management and protection of kangaroos lies with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). She said the “kangaroos will be relocated back into the Warrandyte State Forrest [sic] and the property will be fenced”. Ms Palma said it is outrageous, unacceptable and illegal for the Heritage Golf and Country Club to relocate the kangaroos without the required authorisation from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning. Despite this, Ms Palma said Wildlife Victoria remains hopeful that Heritage Management will consult with the group to achieve a positive outcome for the remaining kangaroos on the site.
Anyone with information about the alleged dog attacks or other cases of wildlife crime should contact Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.
The Diary will continue to follow this story over the coming months and hopes to speak further with Club management and Wildlife Victoria in time for the September edition.

(UPDATE) This story was originally in the July Bulletin and has been updated for the August Diary.

July 2021

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Nine twisted tales of love at WTC

The spotlights are back on at the Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute, as Warrandyte Theatre Company presented Love/Sick, as collection of short plays. As we hit the streets, the production still has a week to run, so we have resisted the temptation to spoil the twists in the tail.

By BRIONY BOTTARELLI

JOHN CARIANI, actor/playwright and great observer of the human condition, brings to the stage a contemporary play about love in the form of nine vignettes, more specifically, nine ten-minute plays. But as the title Love/Sick suggests, it is also about dysfunctional love. It is a poignant portrayal of nine different relationships with the common thread of love or the lack of it. All the characters within this quirky, compassionate, funny, sad, devastating, but uplifting and very insightful work, reflect all that is encompassed within modern relationships. Although the characters are dealing with serious issues, they are presented to the audience in a comedic and palatable way. Clever, clever, clever! Not only the script, but the directors, the innovative and interchangeable sets, costuming and the transition from one play to another. I could not select one actor over another for their performances, they were all brilliant. Each actor played several roles, but their characters were never confused. If I had to sum up the whole production was polished and professional.

By DAVID HOGG

THIS VERY CLEVER and entertaining play by American playwright John Cariani brought to us by the Warrandyte Theatre Company (WTC) marks the next step forward in what will hopefully be a return to live theatre with full audiences. The Company had taken great care to comply with COVID restrictions, and the 25% capacity audience was seated in small groups booked at separate tables cleverly candle-lit. The first and last weeks were a sellout, with only a few tickets remaining for the middle week as we go to press. Love/Sick consists of nine funny and unconnected vignettes about the many dimensions of love. We were treated to an evening of superlative acting by the talented cast of eight, most of whom were familiar faces. Each act involved two people, and whilst most involved a male/female relationship one included a gay couple and another a lesbian couple. The plays themselves revolved around totally dysfunctional couples and throughout these acts I had a mental urge to bang the characters’ heads together. We could all see where they were going wrong, as they mostly portrayed the insensitivity of one partner to the feelings of the other, usually and ashamedly insensitivity of the male to the needs of the female. Yet despite our concerns with the annoying plots, in every case the acting was brilliant. To review each vignette would take too long; however, I must single out the Singing Telegram act for special praise. Lochie Laffin-Vines succinctly captures the part of a Singing Telegram Man who is reluctant to deliver his message. Simone Kiefer plays Louise, the recipient of the message, who is anticipating a proposal from her boyfriend. When she learns the actual contents of the message she portrays amazing versatility, turning quickly from the absolute joy of having the performer arrive to abject misery when she realises the message. David Tynan and Lisa MacGibbon are the accomplished directors. Lighting is excellent, as usual, and special mention must be made of the simple minimalistic set with a very cleverly designed doorway which can be turned to show a blank wall, an interior door, an ornate front door, or completely laid on its side to form a double bed. Thank you, WTC, for a most enjoyable night. Next up on the WTC stage will be Visitors by Barney Norris which runs in August. The long-awaited Calendar Girls by Tim Firth will finally be coming to our stage in late September. And the much-loved Follies returns in late November.

Bloods back on top

FOOTY IS BACK following a suspension of play for Rounds 8 and 9 due to lockdown. Following a BYE in Round 10, the Diary were on the sideline for Round 11 on the weekend of June 25–26.

SENIORS
The Seniors had to wait just over a month to run back out on the park. In that time, Ferntree Gully had jumped to top of the ladder with only one loss for the year, setting up a top-of-the-table epic for Round 11 as Warrandyte played host to Ferntree Gully. Right from the start, both teams showed intent and a hunger for the contest, with a fast paced and high pressure opening term. Only accurate kicking spilt the two teams into the first change as the Bloods kicked seven straight to open up a commanding 21-point lead, setting the tone for the rest of the game. What followed was tough, fast paced, and uncompromising football from both sides; yet it was Warrandyte who were able to continue to pull away in the second term, largely due to the clearance work, clean possession, and high tackle pressure in the midfield, with Leo Garrick setting the barometer around the contest. Garrick’s ability to win the contested ball, apply phenomenal tackle pressure and find a teammate on the outside allowed the forward line first look, with skipper Michael Cullum and Key Forward Ryan Phillips looking dangerous every time the ball went into the forward line. However, Ferntree Gully were top for a reason, and the third term saw them even the contest around the ball, giving their forwards an opportunity to wrestle back momentum. Enter Josh Beasley, Kyle Thompson, and the rest of the defensive unit who repelled attack after attack with strong intercept marking and the ability to force Gully wide entering the forward half. Whenever Gully were able to find a way through, the Bloods had the answer, which continued into the final term as Joshua Meyes kicked three last quarter goals, to help hand the bloods a 46-point win. Garrick took out Best on Ground, but this performance was one that highlighted the quality of this team, with strong performances all over the park. Now sitting top with a game in hand, this win puts Warrandyte in a really strong position to attack the second half of the year.

Round 11

Warrandyte 18.7.115
def

Ferntree Gully 10.9.69

Goal Kickers: M. Cullum 4,
J. Meyers 3, R. Phillips 3, Q. Clark 2,
L. Dunn 2, N. Brooking 2, J. Appleby,
A. Dib

Best Players: L. Garrick, J. Meyers,
M. Cullum, J. Beasley, K. Thompson, O. Hodgson

Reserves

Like the Seniors, coming off over a month since their last game and facing second-on-the-ladder Ferntree Gully, who were in good form, this was always going to be a tough game. The first half was a tight and low scoring contest as both sides defensive set ups won out. Unfortunately for the Bloods, Gully were able to wrestle control of the game, with goals either side of the final term effectively ending the contest. The Bloods, despite a solid intent, were unable to get first hands on the footy, or spread from the contest as Gully showed cleaner hands and ultimately kicked away to run out 45-point winners. While a disappointing result, the Bloods are still in 4th with a game in hand and will look to learn from this and then reset for next week.

Round 11

Warrandyte 4.5.29

def by

Ferntree Gully 11.11.77

Goal Kickers: G. Hitchman 2, J. Deer,
M. Wilson

Best Players: L. Shelton,
S. Philip-Owen, L. Durran, C. Johnstone, T. Parker, M. Wilson

U19s

The U19s started the first half strong, largely due to the great link up and rebounding of the defence, allowing the Bloods to push out to an 18-point lead by halftime. Sadly, after halftime the U19s were out played and despite the defence holding firm, Gully ran out 8-point winners. A disappointing result but plenty of positives, Ben Vermeulen-Brown and Ben Munks had the ball on a string all game, while Sam Martini and Joel Tetlow provided plenty of spark all day. The result leaves the U19s in 6th with a 3–4 record.

Round 11

Warrandyte 6.5.41

def by

Ferntree Gully 7.7.49

Goal Kickers: D. O’Toole 3,
B. Tremayne, A. Humphris, C. Martin

Best Players: B. Vermeulen-Brown,
B. Munks, O. Bell, S. Martini, J. Tetlow, A. Humphris

Going for Gold in Tokyo

WARRANDYTE’S OWN will be going to Tokyo 2020. In December 2020, Rachael Lynch, Federation of International Hockey 2019 goalkeeper of the year, was dropped from the 2021 squad by then coach Paul Guadoin, But in a wonderful turn of events, it has been confirmed that the now- Perth-based nurse will represent Australia in Tokyo, in her second Olympic Games. Lynch’s international debut with the Hockeyroos was in 2006 and since then has chalked up numerous international fixtures, including three Commonwealth Games. Since the decision to drop her in late 2020, major change has occurred throughout the Hockeyroos setup including the appointment of a new coach, two-time Gold medal Hockeyroo, Katrina Powell. Over the past 12 months, Lynch, a registered nurse, has been simultaneously working on the front line of the pandemic, conducting COVID-19 tests for a mining company in Perth, while tirelessly training to fight for her place on the 16-player squad. Lynch told the Diary that this time playing for the Green and Gold felt, “way bigger”, adding that since the brunt of the pandemic the players have a
“new-found gratitude for international travel, for competition, and for being outside without a mask.” While initially focused on her performance and what she needed to do to break back into the squad, Lynch, as an experienced player, focuses as much of her time helping the rest of the girls in the squad, especially the newer players, saying
“I know that it (also) helps me and my training.” Adding that she has been to an Olympics already and that it helps to impart that knowledge and to
“shed some light on some of the things that make the girls nervous”. The Hockeyroos will be chasing medal placing at Tokyo, currently they are ranked 4th in the world, yet Lynch feels that all the teams are on a
“level playing field.” With very few international competitions, most of the nations have not been able to scout other teams, something that, according to Lynch, allows teams to
“have the opportunity to go away and work on things essentially in private.” Most of the scouting and information on other teams — their strategy, and their set-up — will all be done during the Games; Powell and the coaching team will have their work cut out for them, having to apply game plans they have trained, while accommodating for what other teams are doing. Lynch believes that the most important thing will be to
“keep calm” in those high-pressure situations, adding that medal placings
“will come down to who can adapt quickly.” Lynch’s return to the squad is a boost, not just for her work in goal, but for her knowledge and calm demeanour,
“that’s what I bring to the group.
“That will give the girls a lot more confidence.”
Tokyo 2020 will be vastly different to any of the modern Olympics, with no friends, family, or fans in the stadiums, and with players isolating away from most of the other athletes. Lynch believes that there will be less distractions, although socialising in the village, while distracting “is an enjoyable part of the experience”.
An experience athletes will miss out on, but one that will not be too isolating, as most of the time players are with the rest of the squad or in the hotels.
One of the reasons the athletes socialising is important is it allows for time to “switch off when you need to” Lynch said, you need to
“have a bit of fun within the confines of what you can do.”
While the lack of family and friends present may be challenging mentally, a lack of a crowd may provide an advantage to the athletes. On field players rely on hearing communications from coaches and other players which, without needing to shout over thousands, is something Lynch said they
“don’t have to worry about too much.” While the hopes of the nation can weigh heavy and add pressure, Lynch said that
“knowing that there is a couple of million people watching on TV, that goes out of your head soon as you start the game.” So without the screaming fans there is less to distract you as
“when you have a packed house that adds pressure, that can de-rail you.”
Reflecting on the fact that there had been a few moments she thought Tokyo 2020 would not go ahead, along with her axing and reinstatement to the squad, Lynch said that representing Australia at Tokyo will feel special.
“For me personally, given what I have been through, this feels special to do it, and to do so on a world stage will be even better.”
The Hockeyroos campaign for Gold begins with a match against Spain on Sunday, July 25, at 10am Japan Standard time (JST) (11am AEST).

Derailed by the butterfly effect

WORKS ON THE Hurstbridge Rail Duplication project have been disrupted by the discovery of the Eltham Copper Butterfly in bushland near Montmorency station. Since the last confirmed sighting of the butterfly in January this year, works on the project have been diverted to avoid the butterfly habitat as experts engaged by the Level Crossing Removal Project have carried out further investigations, assessments and design work to avoid impacting the butterfly. In 1986, the Eltham Copper Butterfly (Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida), then thought to be extinct, was rediscovered in Eltham, and before this year, was not previously known to be in Montmorency. The butterfly habitat comprises a three-way relationship between the butterfly, a tree, and an ant. The life cycle of the butterfly includes an intimate and obligatory association with ants of the genus Notoncus and a dwarfed form of the shrub Bursaria spinosa (Sweet Bursaria). The butterflies have not been found in areas where Notoncus ant colonies do not occur. Adults lay their eggs on the roots of Bursaria spinosa. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are guarded by the ants, which lead them to and from the ant colony to browse on the Sweet Bursaria leaves. In return, the ants feed on sugar secretions which are exuded from the caterpillars’ bodies. Vicki Ward, Member for Eltham said Labor has a long history of protecting the butterfly over many decades.
“I’m proud and happy we’ve been able to work alongside our engineers to continue that record,” she said. As the Diary reported in the lead up to the 2018 election, the Andrews Government made the commitment that the works
“would allow trains to run every six and a half minutes at Greensborough, every 10 minutes at Eltham and Montmorency, and every 20 minutes at Hurstbridge, Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen, as well as two extra Hurstbridge express services, and would be completed by 2022”. To allow the project to continue duplicating the Hurstbridge line while protecting the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly, which is listed as protected under the Commonwealth Environment and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, there will be changes to the original scope of the project and how the project will be delivered. The Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) claims it will still be able to deliver the election commitments, with adjustments to signalling to compensate for the 950 metres of line that will now not be duplicated. However, the revised outcomes do fall slightly short of the election commitments, as the project now promised trains will be able to run
“on average every 7 minutes from Greensborough, every 10 minutes from Montmorency and Eltham, and every 20 minutes from Diamond Creek, Wattle Glen and Hurstbridge, and will be delivered by the end of 2022”. Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said:
“We have had to act quickly to ensure that we are both following the Commonwealth environmental legislation and can still get on with this vital project”. LXRP CEO Kevin Devlin assured the Diary the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly will be protected during the works.
“We’ve avoided the Eltham Copper butterfly and its habitat won’t be impacted during construction,” he said. Mr Develin said they will continue to deliver the Hurstbridge line duplication,
“which will allow for more frequent and reliable services for passengers on the Hurstbridge line as well as new stations at Greensborough and Montmorency.” The discovery of the butterfly means there is almost 1km of track that will remain single track, however, Mr Develin said there is still
“approximately 2km of the rail line to be duplicated between Greensborough and Montmorency, and approximately 1.5km between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.” He said the bulk of the original scope of the project was located outside of the butterfly habitat and therefore will continue to be delivered under the revised design. The new sections of track, along with other infrastructure improvements, will facilitate the delivery of the planned service improvements for passengers. There will be two new stations at Greensborough and Montmorency which will feature greater weather protection, better and safer connections to the surrounding area and new car parking. Platform two at Diamond Creek Station is getting an upgrade and a new pedestrian connection will be built behind Diamond Valley College. Construction for the new design of the project is underway, and the butterfly habitat has been fenced off, with major construction set to start early next year and the project completed in late 2022. Sonja Terpstra, State Labor Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region said she commended Vicki Ward MP, the Member for Eltham on her strong advocacy around the preservation and protection of the Eltham Copper Butterfly habitat.
“The Andrews Labor Government will continue to modernise and upgrade Montmorency station, whilst ensuring the rare Eltham Copper Butterfly, which has never before been seen in Montmorency, be protected whilst important rail upgrades take place. “I look forward to seeing the completed project at Montmorency Station as this rare butterfly flourishes in its new-found habitat near the station,” she said.

Volunteers make the world go round

CAN YOU IMAGINE a world without volunteers? Volunteers do so much for our community, our CFA, Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, SES, Op Shops, sporting clubs, Run Warrandyte, Neighbourhood House… they even write for the Diary. Volunteering has taken a bit of a hit during the pandemic, but local community organisations are hoping for a resurgence in volunteerism now COVID lockdown seems to be behind us.
If ever there was a time to step up and volunteer it was right now.
The Diary has put together a few suggestions to how you can help. Judy Hall from Warrandyte Rotary said the pandemic has been causing a real problem with a lot of volunteers.
“A lot of volunteers are older, and they are more worried about going into the community.” She hopes that once the pandemic is over, people might feel a little more disposed to getting out and about and helping out.
“There are so many good openings for volunteers, there is no reason for anyone to be bored,” Judy said. Lions Club, Rotary, and the Warrandyte Community Association and Doncare are among several groups in the local area that rely on volunteers to help people in the community through fundraising and hands-on projects. Local community organisations are looking for people to join them to enrich and enhance life in Warrandyte for all of us. Beyond the feel-good factor of helping others, volunteering can be a great way of gaining employable skills, connect with other like-minded people — and it looks great on your CV. While service clubs like Rotary and Lions may have, in the past, been seen as stuffy old blokes meeting for dinner once a week, modern service clubs could not be more different. The fundraising and community spirit are all still alive and well, but the clubs are now much more dynamic, and project based. Gone are the obligations to attend weekly meetings, or to be a certain demographic, and while the current members are getting older, an injection of “youth” will ensure the clubs remain viable into the future. Judy said Rotary is looking for people who can help get things done.
“Things get done outside of meetings, not in meetings”. Judy said modern family life means people with young families who are working full time probably do not have the time to give to service organisations.
“So we are looking at people whose kids have got to the point where they don’t need supervision all the time, the 40–60s, or early retirees, people with a bit of time up their sleeves,” she said. Rotary has many projects that it undertakes to help the community, members help run both the Warrandyte Riverside Market and the Tunstall Square Market, as well as the Rotary Art Show.
“We are a small group, but we are very dynamic — we are risk takers, we put our hand up to do things, even if they might sound a bit way out.
“We will try things if we think they are going to benefit people in the community,” she said. Judy said Rotary has adopted a new area of focus lately and are developing projects around environmental issues.
“Rotary is getting on board with a lot of environmental projects, and it is something I would like see our club getting involved with a bit more, particularly in Warrandyte because there are so many opportunities here,” she said.
Lions Club has been part of the Warrandyte Community for almost 50 years, it provides help and support to community members in times of need, through its Op Shop and providing emergency food or other staples, like school fees or clothes. Lions’ secretary, Lyn McDonald says that those doing the helping get a lot out of it too.
“What you get out of it is the boost of knowing that you are actually helping people, which is why I think anyone volunteers, they want to help people.
“But it is also good to know that someone who is invisible can be seen and be assisted, and that is where I worry, there are all these invisible people out there who don’t know who to ask for, don’t know how to ask.” Or when disaster strikes, Lions can jump in with practical assistance, like following the Black Saturday Fires, when the club took a tool library to Kinglake to assist the community to rebuild things like fencing. Lions also runs events during the year that are designed to both provide something for both their members and the broader community. The club also works with Doncaster All Abilities Basketball, the Warrandyte Riverside Market, Warrandyte Pottery Expo, and many other community projects that enhance our community. Once a year the Lions rev it up with a day at Sandown Raceway, giving vision impaired motorists a chance to get in the driver’s seat and do hot laps of the racetrack.
“It is such a boon to so many people and so many other clubs love it and get involved — there is a real buzz about it, people love it, we have people from all over and it has been really disappointing we haven’t been able to run that during COVID,” said Lyn. A major fundraising stream for the club is the Op Shop. Lyn said the Op Shop is not just an asset for the community, but also an asset for the people who work there.
“It is a social hub, and a lot of customers come in on a regular basis, you get to know them and they find it a nice social atmosphere too.” However, as the pandemic has kept some of their regular volunteers away, the Lions are facing a challenge keeping the club, and therefore the Op Shop viable.
“It would be a real shame if we had to fold, people have busy lives and so might not have the time to volunteer, if we could get a few people under 60 it would be wonderful, we have talked to other groups, it has been a major issue overhanging us for the last few years, it is just getting less and less and falling on fewer and fewer people.
“We find we are very useful, and we want to stay useful.” Dick Davies from the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) is on the Warrandyte Riverside Market committee, and says it is a case of many hands make light work. But at the moment, it is falling to the same people to turn up month after month.
“It is a question of just getting enough new people in, and the more people you get the easier it is, because you are not relying on the same people all the time,” he said.
“Everyone enjoys the market, and it doesn’t just happen, a lot of people put a lot of effort into it.
“It would be very nice to have a list of people we could call on now and again, and not rely on the same people all of the time.” He said the market is always looking for people to help with set up and pack up.
“It is mainly to direct traffic and make sure the cars don’t block the pathway and the stall holders, facilitating the exit, and being friendly to people.” The Market is run by a collection of community groups, North Warrandyte CFA help with the setup, while Rotary, and the WCA help with the bump in and the Lions help with the pack-up. WCA is also involved in the Warrandyte Retirement Housing Co-Operative, which has built and now operates two small retirement villages in Warrandyte. Dick said the Co-Op was started many years ago by Valarie Polley and Cliff Green. It took several years to get all the ducks in a row and the first block of five units, Creekside, went in at Harris Gully Road in 2011, and Riverside was opened in West End Road in 2019. However, Dick said many of the founding members of the committee have passed away and so they are looking for assistance in a range of different areas.
“It is a question of getting a bit more assistance right across the board, we have a formal board and we do have vacancies for board members, people don’t have to be a board member they can help on a casual basis, give advice or assistance.
“We used to have a lawyer and a bank manager, but they have both passed away, but we had legal and financial expertise on the committee, Doug Seymour is on the committee, he is a retired council engineer so he is very good on that and Andrew Yen is a developer and he has done an enormous amount.
“My concern as chairman of the Retirement Housing Co-op, is these buildings are going to be around for another 50–100 years, it is run on a cooperative basis, so we have to keep it going.
“We could do with people with general board and accounting experience, people with nursing experience, people who know about old people — it is a community thing,” he said.
Doncare Op Shops in staffing crisis
Doncare has been predicated on volunteerism for over 50 years with volunteers providing support to vulnerable families through their work as Community Support Workers, Op shop workers, Social Support volunteers, Counsellors and mentors to women recovering from family violence. Doncare CEO, Gaby Thomson said volunteer numbers in the op shops are down 30 per cent.
“We are now faced with having to temporarily close stores because we cannot staff them.
“Doncare has already suffered significant losses in revenue due to the closure of stores due to restrictions in the past 12 months,” Gaby said. Doncare relies on the revenue of its seven opportunity shops to support women and children recovering from family violence, provide emergency relief to disadvantaged families, counselling, therapeutic support groups and provide recreational activities to socially isolated seniors in Warrandyte.
“We desperately need people to volunteer as retail shop assistants in Tunstall Square, Templestowe Village and Mitcham in particular,” she said. There are shifts available during the week or Saturdays from 9:15am–1pm and 1pm–4pm.

Bike path goes back to the drawing board

COMMUNITY ACTION against the proposed Taroona Avenue bike path has won, and Council is going back to the drawing board to come up with a design more fitting with the surrounding environment and the needs of the community.
Following the advertising of an updated plan for the shared path in April/May this year; plans which left more questions than answers regarding the appropriateness of the design and which trees were going to be removed.
Nearby residents and users of Taroona Avenue and adjacent areas were spurred into action to submit their objection to the planned path. At a submitters meeting, in early June, a number of locals, including Jozica Kutin, Doug Seymour, and Warrandyte Community Association President Terry Tovey were in attendance and have supplied the Diary with the following comments: “There were quite a few people in attendance,” begins Ms Kutin.
“The council meeting chair pointed out that the application and meeting was only about the removal of trees — nothing else. “However, it was clear that many people wanted to, and did, express their concerns about the actual design of the path, the materials from which it is going to be constructed and the route it was taking.
“Doug Seymour presented an overview of the previous path plan (a board walk on the creek end) side of the road at the Everard end and suggested this was still a viable option — the council engineer didn’t think so — and pointed out that when they built boardwalks in Wonga Park, the residents did not like them,” she said. Mr Seymour told the Diary he had been nominated by the WCA in 2017 to work with Council on the original plans. In the June edition of the Diary, Manningham Mayor, Andrew Conlon said Council had “recently gone back out to nearby residents with an updated design” but Mr Seymour says neither he nor Bev Hanson, who provided consultation on the 2017 design, were notified changes to the original design had even been drafted.
“I don’t recall the final 2018 drawings being forwarded to Bev and me for comment; on reflection the 2018 location of proposed crossing could have been improved, but overall, the design had merit. “The latest design for the path departs significantly from that previous concept, particularly in the use of a rigid concrete pavement and the deletion of the boardwalk in favour of squeezing the path past a couple of those magnificent trees on the east (oval) side on the edge of the road pavement.
“The boardwalk solution at this tight spot guided users behind the trees, much as boardwalks are built around the world take us through sensitive forests without disturbing the habitat. “A method worthy of closer consideration by Council and, moving the path back from the road pavement also allows parking to continue. “Both editions of the design include a crossing from east to west near the intersection of First Street to avoid the narrow and vegetated verge alongside Andersons Creek as Everard Drive is
approached. “The current design locates the crossing on a crest allowing good visual checks but as a local objector pointed out at the Objectors meeting there is a boundary error on the drawings which complicate this detail. “Warrandyte’s impressive skills pool was demonstrated by the presentations at the recent Objectors meeting; I find myself working with locals who are positively working on alternative concepts to help present imaginative solutions to the forthcoming Community Forum,” he said.

Glenn Jameson drew the Objectors meeting to the need for improved attention to a good drainage outcome, point discharges being a big problem: “Curb and channel and drainage pits are proposed for a site that I’ve never ever noticed any drainage problems. Presently excess water flows into the creek along a broad flat creek bank area thereby avoiding hydraulic pressure causing erosion. How will the water collected by the proposed drainage system be treated as it goes into Andersons Creek?
If the road drainage along Everard drive is anything to go on, then it will be another dysfunctional road drainage effort by Council. Everywhere the road drainage goes into the Warrandyte State Park from Everard Drive, there has been massive erosion from single pipe discharge with unprotected impact points, which is still ongoing and which the Council have been unable or unwilling to find a creative solution to. Consequently, metres of soils have eroded from the Warrandyte State Park into the Yarra River causing all sorts of environmental damage. Trees have been undermined and fallen into the river; weeds have enjoyed the excess water; as well as creating eroding holes that are a danger to people using the park. Manningham needs and can do better than this.” Council had placed the path in its Bicycle Strategy Plan 2013 and had heralded it as one step closer to linking Warrandyte to the Main Yarra Trail, but as a local walker, runner and cyclist, Ms Kutin felt there were better ways in which Council could spend funds set aside as part of the Bicycle Strategy. “As a local cyclist, runner and walker — I use this area a lot. I was a bit taken aback by council representatives talking about this section ‘as an important missing link in the Yarra Trail’. I would have to say that the most important missing links were: between Beasley’s Nursery and the High School, then the section between Pound Road and Taroona Avenue — these sections have no paths and the alternative is walking or riding on the incredibly busy Warrandyte-Heidelberg Road. But, of course, these are difficult and presumably expensive sections to tackle. Taroona Avenue is low hanging fruit. I have witnessed my fellow riding friends being almost side swiped by trucks riding the section between Beasley’s and the High School — the truck in question having no regard for keeping their distance from cyclists. Touting of this section by council as an ‘important missing link’ misrepresents these issues.
It is the least important missing link — Taroona Avenue is a relatively quiet road for cyclists. Taroona Avenue could benefit from a path but if it doesn’t follow how people already use the road they will continue to walk on the road or the shoulder. “Take the path on Everard Road between Yarra Street and Taroona Avenue as an example — or even the footpath on West End Road. For some reason, people in Warrandyte love walking on their roads. The shoulder on the opposite side of the creek near Everard is very muddy at the moment — but this is also an informal over-flow parking area on busy weekends. As a cyclist, I’m likely to continue to use the bitumen on Taroona
Avenue to access the river path and surrounding areas — with or without a shared path,” she said.

On June 25, Council informed submitters that the advertised plans have been withdrawn “to allow for further consultation and time to review the design”. The email goes on to say: “A public information session is planned to be held at the Warrandyte Sports Pavilion, Warrandyte Reserve in coming weeks. This will be a feedback session on a suitable path and to discuss options to overcome the concerns raised by the community. I can advise that Council will not be proceeding with the proposed contract for the works and has withdrawn the contract.” WCA applauded the Council on their June 25 decision, and WCA President, Terry Tovey encouraged residents, and sporting groups to attend the proposed community session. “We are delighted that Council has responded to the 25 objections and the expert presentations made during a recent objectors meeting. “This side of Taroona Avenue is packed with cars during sports and market days, and we are therefore amazed that no parking impact study was undertaken by council to inform the design. “We would urge the sports clubs affected and the market committee to register their interest in attending a council forum which is planned to discuss the project,” he said. The WCA is currently working with residents and expert Association members to develop a submission setting out a less urban and more imaginative solution, which respects Warrandyte’s leafy bush landscape while maintaining much needed parking for community activities. Mr Seymour said the outcome of this whole process needs to consider ‘what works for Warrandyte’. “There is a body of opinion that Warrandyte does not need this path and in fact doesn’t want it because it would ruin a valued streetscape,”he said. The Diary will continue to report as this story develops and will publish dates for the community information sessions when they are released.