AS THE FITZSIMONS Lane project begins another major phase, motorists are warned that major disruptions will be occurring as a section of Porter Street is closed for around six weeks.
Major Road Projects Victoria’s Project Director Dipal Sorathia said creating a more reliable Porter Street junction is one of the biggest priorities for the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade team.
New traffic lights will be installed at a Porter Street intersection in Templestowe to deliver a safer and more efficient crossing for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Removing the Fitzsimons Lane/Porter Street roundabout will ensure better traffic flow for all road users and will help clear a significant bottleneck and improve safety.
Construction crews will work around-the-clock for seven weeks, from 6pm Tuesday, April 26 to 5pm Sunday, June 12, to remove the roundabout and install traffic lights, with associated kerb and channel works, drainage works, build footpaths, earthworks, pavement replacement, line-marking and lighting.
“We thank locals for their patience as we get on with this upgrade and complete about six months’ worth of work over the next seven weeks,” said Mr Sorathia.
He said this intersection is one of the busiest in Templestowe.
“As traffic volumes return to pre-pandemic levels, congestion during the morning and afternoon peaks regularly leads to queuing — causing delays, frustration and distress.”
Mr Sorathia said replacing the Porter Street roundabout with traffic lights will reduce congestion for the more than 60,000 vehicles which use Fitzsimons Lane every day and make the community safer.
Two lanes of traffic will remain open on Williamsons Road/Fitzsimons Lane in both directions when works kick off on Tuesday, April 26.
Temporary traffic lights will guide north-south motorists through the intersection.
During this first phase of these works through to Saturday, May 14 — the eastern leg of the Porter Street roundabout will be closed, meaning traffic will need to detour via Foote Street/Reynolds Road, Blackburn Road and Warrandyte Road.
Access to nearby businesses, Templestowe Reserve and BlueCross Silverwood will be maintained.
Maps describing the detour in place can be found below:
Click on maps below slideshow for large-scale version
Stage 1 detour
Stage 1 works local business access
A second stage of works will be carried out over the remainder of May and into June, with one lane to re-open for those travelling from Eltham turning left into the eastern leg of Porter Street towards Warrandyte.
With restrictions on traffic movements throughout the entirety of the major works period, motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey.
Delays of approximately 20-minutes are expected along detour routes although access through the closed road will be maintained for emergency vehicles and public transport.
Pedestrian and cyclist access has been maintained on select shared paths however, some verge areas are fenced off to ensure the safety of road workers.
A pedestrian detour is in place through Templestowe Reserve.
The temporary roundabout will be removed, and the upgraded intersection will be open by early June.
Finishing works — including asphalting, line- marking and signage works — will continue throughout 2022.
The upgrade will also improve the reliability of public transport with the introduction of bus prioritisation signalling.
Once traffic lights are installed at Porter Street, the project team will then turn their attention to major construction to upgrade the Foote Street intersection in Templestowe.
For more information or to sign up for updates, visit roadprojects.vic.gov.au/fitzsimons.
For up-to-date travel information visit: ptv.vic.gov.au and vicroads.vic.gov.au.
PUBLIC ART can tell a lot about a community; what it cherishes, what are its hopes and dreams, its fears, and its joys.
For more than 70 years, the Shire of Eltham, now Nillumbik, has collected works into its civic and public art collections.
A free exhibition at Montsalvat is showcasing significant works from across these collections and it offers a window to the past — how we saw ourselves then, and a mirror on the present — how we see ourselves now.
The exhibition, Local|Remix, opened in early April and runs until the end of May.
Opening the exhibition on behalf of Council, Deputy Mayor Cr Ben Ramcharan noted that the collection shows the history of the Shire over many years.
“It highlights the strong artistic heritage of our area here in Nillumbik and the contribution of artists across the Shire.
“It is interesting to see the contribution made over many years and how it has evolved from what it used to be to what it is today.
“The exhibition considers what is local and how we can connect through art and creativity and the importance of this to our Shire’s identity,” Cr Ramcharan said.
He said importantly the exhibition highlights the work of women artists.
Historically often overlooked in accolades, the contribution of women artists to the Shire is significant, and many works in the collection highlight their strong artistic practice.
In a direct response to a recent gender audit of the Nillumbik Shire Art Collection register and to promote the under-representation of women artists, he said this exhibition flips the statistics of the current collection and presents an exhibition featuring more than 60 per cent women artists. Cr Ramcharan also highlighted the Indigenous works that form part of the collection.
“We have some amazing local artists who are Indigenous, but when you look at the history of the works — when you go to the true history of what is now called Australia — a lot of that’s lost, so being able to foster that culture and keep it alive is incredibly important, and it’s a really powerful thing that we are actually able to do that here,” Cr Ramcharan said.
One of the most recent acquisitions in the Council’s collection is from an emerging Indigenous artist. Nicholas Currie says his piece, Scars and Bruises, reflects on his cultural identity.
“The work shows pain — but it also shows healing — there is a mark left and a history there, but there is also a future that we know will be OK. “Normally, my practice is just about making and being present and acknowledging history and carrying on the traditions of my ancestors, and I am proud to continue making, creating and telling our story,” Mr Currie said.
Built-up by Council and the community over many years, the Nillumbik Art, Civic and Public Art collections now have around 600 works, many with strong connections to the local area and its artistic heritage.
Curator Angela Bailey told M&N Bulletin that the selection process was extremely difficult.
“When you’re choosing anything from such a broad range of works like this, 600 plus works — I just wanted to make it so that there were elements across the breadth of the collection, and more recent works too that people haven’t seen yet.”
In an interesting juxtaposition, she noted that the oldest piece on display was a work by the founder of the Cottles Bridge artists’ colony, Dunmoochin, Clifton Pugh, which is hung beside a 2022 acquisition from current Dunmoochin resident, Fionna Madigan.
The Nillumbik Shire Civic Collection presents intriguing insight into the history and heritage of both the Council and community, and this exhibition includes some fascinating artefacts. One of the highlights, the Tarcoola/Coolamon, is a gift from the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung to the Shire and is featured as part of this exhibition.
The exhibition is free and will run until Sunday, May 29, at the Barn Gallery at Montsalvat.
For details visit: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/local-remix
Coming up, Montsalvat will be presenting two jazz music concerts on Sunday, May 22 to raise funds to help build back from COVID impacts.
The Barn Gallery will play host to two live performances starting with Jackie Bornstein at 5pm.
Jackie Bornstein is one of Melbourne’s most captivating jazz, chanson and bossa nova singers, known for her rich tones and ability to get to the heart of a tune.
Performing alongside Jackie will be the world-class jazz pianist Mark Fitzgibbon.
Mark’s swinging touch and virtuosity is the reason why he’s one of the most in demand players in Australia.
Enjoy a light champagne supper and then hear piano maestro Joe Chindamo from 7pm.
Joe Chindamo is routinely described as one of the best jazz pianists in the world, though his art transcends jazz, having composed concertos, chamber music and film music.
Sunday, May 22
The Barn Gallery
5pm: Jackie Bornstein
6:15: light champagne supper
7pm: Joe Chindamo
Event concludes at 8pm
Book online via Trybooking or tickets are available at the door.
THE MACEDON Square Traders Association (MSTA) is deeply unsatisfied with Manningham Council’s actions with regard to the Macedon Square streetscape redevelopment, according to MSTA President Gary Cyganek.
Mr Cyganek provided the M&N Bulletin with a copy of a letter addressed to Cr Deirdre Diamante expressing the Association’s resistance to proposed development plans.
Mr Cyganek outlined his reasons in detail in a statement to M&N Bulletin on behalf of MSTA.
“Why we fight? 14 years ago, the Council took a carpark, which was paid for by the Traders, and stuck a liquor store on top giving us reduced car spaces underneath and we stood by and let it happen. Now they tell us we need to have an open space (in a strip shopping centre!) narrow the road from 6.2 metres down to 5.3 metres near the minimum for an Aisle carpark and this is a road! And they expect us to stand by and say thank you! For a plan that will be less safe and destroy retail! As they have said they want to turn us into Templestowe Village! A restaurant precinct that killed all the significant retail over 20 years ago. No butcher, no fruit shop, no bakery, no fish shop et cetera, and if you talk to the shop owners up there, they would love these businesses back! Retail flourishes in Macedon Square but for some reason the Council either by design, or ignorance, or arrogance because they are supporting the Landscape Designer whose vision this is! They have no regard for the retail businesses that their plan will ruin!”
At the September 2021 Ordinary Council Meeting, a “modified” Option B was presented to Council in an Officers’ Report which was moved by Cr S Mayne, seconded by Cr Diamante and carried unanimously by all councillors present, with no speakers against.
Mr Cyganek told M&N Bulletin the movers of the motion “collectively should be held accountable for their actions and hence this is why we are now campaigning to vote them out of office in 2024”. Mr Cyganek, as the spokesperson for MSTA has expressed that the Association feels extremely let down by Council and it feels the Association’s point of view has been disregarded.
In the early phase of the Macedon Square consultation in late 2020, early 2021, the Traders presented a petition for Option C, as discussed in the October 2021 edition of WD Bulletin.
The Option C petition proposed the following:
The overdue upgrade of the sidewalk with a material to be chosen by the Council and safety being the priority.
Attention shown to the management of the trees and their location.
We would like to have a consultation with the traffic management engineer to maximise the parking possibilities.
We would like to be consulted on the location of bins and street furniture, with the idea of maximising the existing abundance of open space in the centre.
A review of meeting minutes and Officers’ Reports from September 2021, indicates in the consultation period for Council’s community consultation on the community’s preference for either Option A and Option B, 192 responses were received, but only 62 were in direct response to whether or not the respondent preferred Option A, or B, or neither.
The Traders Association Option C petition and another petition titled “Stop the destruction of Macedon Road” combined make up more than half of the feedback, but it seems the petitions did not contribute to the final yes/no tally, as their response did not fit the parameters of the original survey.
Campaign sign outside Egon’s Bakery in Macedon Square
M&N Bulletin approached Manningham Council with a number of questions regarding the frustration and lack of confidence expressed by the Traders Association.
Council’s responses below are attributed to Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert and Manningham Council CEO Andrew Day.
“Council consulted on the draft concept plan on four separate occasions throughout 2020 and 2021.
Council adopted the concept plan at its Council meeting in August 2021, and has now proceeded the project through to a detailed design phase.
We expect to engage further with the community on specific design outcomes from mid 2022.
There are still final design elements that we will be seeking feedback on in coming months.
permanent safety treatment within the centre; • further investigation of other suggestions such as locations for new trolley bays, electric vehicle charging station, car share spaces and smart waste bins;
design elements and street furniture that best suits the needs of existing traders in appropriate locations throughout the centre; and
an opportunity to hear from traders regarding how to best manage and mitigate construction impacts and timing.”
M&N Bulletin asked Council for a response to Mr Cyganek’s “calling out” of Crs S Mayne and Diamante.
“Council has adopted the concept design. Councillors have been present at community engagement sessions held both with the wider community and trader focused events. Noting that any decisions on this important community project are made by all nine Councillors, Cr Stephen Mayne is the Ward Councillor and Cr Deirdre Diamante the Ward Councillor for an adjoining Ward. Both Councillors have been actively listening to community feedback.”
M&N Bulletin also asked Council for a response to the vote of “no confidence” by MSTA.
“The concept design has been developed through consultation with the community and traders. “Expert advice has been sought in regards to key elements including safety, parking and traffic movement. The design seeks to primarily address pedestrian safety issues in the centre, improve ageing infrastructure and maintenance issues, and provide a dedicated community space to support the local precinct. The design took on the feedback from the consultation and has incorporated features such as:
No net loss of parking spaces from what is currently available (132 spaces).
Refine road widths along Macedon Road to improve safety for pedestrians.
Provision of a new gathering space for community to connect and thrive.
New loading bays along Macedon Road.
Provision of a new roundabout at the intersection of The Mall and Rosa Street.
New and relocated pedestrian crossings to improve pedestrian connectivity and assist to reduce vehicle speeds and congestion.
Repositioned accessible parking bays.
Increased footpath widths for outdoor dining and trading areas.
Safety barrier treatments for improved pedestrian safety.
Improvements to the western laneway for large truck loading and access.
Mr Cyganek has made it clear to M&N Bulletin that he holds the individual councillors and council officers to account for the rift which has formed between Council and the Macedon Square traders community and Mr Cyganek has stated MSTA is “now campaigning to vote them out of office in 2024”.
But the 2024 Local Government Election is a long way away, hopefully, Council, Councillors, and MSTA are able resolve this issue before then.
Where do you stand on the Macedon Square development?
Email email@example.com and let us know.
TRACY BARTRAM has a frypan she loves.
That love has lasted longer than her two marriages.
She has just renewed her vows with her frypan at the Warrandyte Repair Café.
“I was with my second husband 17 years, and I took the frypan when I left — I took the frypan when I left the first one — even though it was his best friend who gave it to us.”
There’s something about cast iron frypans — they get better with age.
She explained that even though the iron was still great, the handle was perished, so she couldn’t hold the pan straight.
“Where the handle went into the frypan itself, when I picked it up, it would swivel — that was dangerous, so I thought I’ll take it to the Repair
Café,” she said.
I had only been to the Repair Café once or twice before, and — full disclosure — the idea of going to a Repair Café filled me with anxiety.
“I live with anxiety, and I live with depression — I’m a recovering alcoholic — I can go into a room with thousands of people that need me to
entertain them or do a keynote — that’s my job —but if you ask me to go to a dinner party or make small talk with people, I have enormous trouble,” she said.
She considered the Ringwood Repair Café, but Tracy feels a real connection with Warrandyte having spent her happiest times in Warrandyte when her family first migrated to Australia.
“And because this was in the Mechanics’ Hall — and I know the Mechanics’ Hall — and because Warrandyte is my spiritual home — I
felt less anxious.
“The first time I went, I had something to repair and found Carol, who sews; she can fix anything.
“Then I was hanging on to this frypan pan over lockdown.
“When I walked in with it, it was like an old home week, because everyone was like ‘Tracy, how are you going,’
and I saw Carol and I saw Greg down the back and David the coordinator came, he said ‘what have we got today, Trace?’ and I said ‘well…’ and I showed him my frypan.
“I just love the whole process,” she said.
Tracy said three men were involved in repairing it.
“Dave came down with some washers, they took the handle off, and there was a guy called Jelle who had some wood putty, and they put that in.
“And then put another washer on the end and he said, ‘let it sit there for 24 hours, so it gets harder, and then you can use it’ — and I was just beside myself,” she said.
“It just makes me feel really happy to do that — and I’ve got my frypan back!
“The first thing I did was go home and re-season it and cook something — boom! I’m back in the game,” she said.
Tracy said the whole idea of “reduce and recycle” was a foreign concept when she was a child.
“I didn’t grow up with that — I’m a kid who grew up in the 70s where everything was thrown away.
“My parents had a giant bin in the kitchen, and everything went in that, bottles, cans, everything.”
She said she is glad things are now moving toward more sustainable practices.
The other item Tracy had repaired on that day was a pair of denim jeans.
Tracy had a pair of jeans she adored but were now just good for gardening,
so she brought them in to get a bit more life out of them and put a patch on them.
“I bumped into my friend Christie, and she came up to me and said, ‘I’ve just taken a pair of jeans to get shortened, and Carol’s going to use the denim offcuts from my jeans to fix your jeans’,” Tracy said.
“I just love the fact that everyone’s so excited when things are repaired — and I’ve seen people getting chargers for computers fixed, instead of them going into landfill — even the most mundane things can be brought back to life — the whole vibe is very Warrandyte.”
She said she is surprised that more people are not using this incredible resource we have in the Warrandyte Repair Café.
“And it doesn’t matter what it is, just take it down, because if they don’t have someone to fix it, they’ll say ‘leave it with us and come back next month’, Tracy said.”
The Repair Café is run by the Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute Arts Association. It is open 10:30am–12:30pm on the first Sunday of every
month at the Mechanics’ Hall, corner of Yarra Street and Mitchell Avenue, Warrandyte.
The Repair Café is always looking for more fixers, so if you can help out, contact the Warrandyte Repair Café Co-ordinator, David Tynan, at
STUDENTS, parents, and teachers alike were delighted when it was announced that Nieta Manser, the current Acting Principal at Warrandyte Primary School (WPS), is to be appointed as their substantive Principal.
After undergoing a formal recruitment process, School Council President, David Wells, announced the great news to the school community.
As the new Principal, Ms Manser will continue the work she has been undertaking since she took the Acting role at the beginning of 2021.
Nieta is a passionate educator and leader who uses her teaching and leadership experiences as the springboard for the work she undertakes at WPS.
She is a fervent believer in building a team of educators who excel; supporting staff as they become involved in new initiatives and Professional Development.
As an advocate for Literacy, when arriving at Warrandyte Primary at the beginning of 2021 as the Acting Principal, she began a campaign to get high-quality texts into the classroom for teachers and students to use during their Literacy block.
The drive was so successful the school was able to purchase over 150 books across all age groups.
These texts are known as “mentor texts” that can be used to teach reading and writing strategies to students as they learn what good readers and writers do.
The push for more books in the classroom is also part of a schoolwide shift to promoting student voice and agency in the classroom.
“Students should be able to read quality literature from texts of their choice when practising their reading goals and apply the strategies taught in the lesson,” said Nieta.
In 2020 Nieta joined the Northeast Victorian Regional office as an Education Improvement Leader for Inner East schools, working with
school leaders to build staff capacity to deliver improved student outcomes.
She brings with her all the knowledge that she gained in this role and has begun to drive an agenda that complements and builds on
the current practices at the school, including the application of the ten High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) that are proven to improve
She regularly leads staff development and training, and has an ongoing commitment to creating a culture where students and teachers are all
working together towards excellence.
“Our new instructional model sets clear roles for the teacher, the student and the peers in the classroom and supports explicit teaching, student voice and differentiation,” said Nieta.
It is not just the pedagogical knowledge that Nieta is known for around the school.
Anyone working with her knows that she strongly believes that wellbeing and academia are equally important.
After two very disruptive years for students, families and teachers, this will continue to be a focus for Nieta as she becomes the substantive
“Recovery from a difficult time is a big consideration this year,” she said.
Having attended Warrandyte Primary School herself, Nieta says she is thrilled to be able to give back to the community that instilled a strong
sense of community in her.
“Warrandyte Primary has a strong history and connection to our broader community.
“In many ways, it still reminds me of how things were when I was a student here, but Warrandyte Primary is anything but the small country school I went to.
“Our teachers have a very strong pedagogical knowledge and are passionate about their students achieving positive outcomes,” said Nieta.
She believes the students get the best of both worlds at WPS.
“The open spaces, strong cross-age relationships and of course the iconic Bushband are all still here, but when the students are in the classroom, they get to work with their teachers towards achieving their learning goals,” said Nieta.
Dave Wells, President of the WPS School Council, congratulated Nieta on her appointment.
“Nieta is to be congratulated — she submitted an outstanding application and her interview with the council was a delight.”
“Of course, Nieta is well known to the school having been interim Principal throughout last year.
“We would like to thank her for the wonderful work to date and congratulate her on being appointed to the role.
Nieta, we are very proud of our school and proud to have you leading it,” he says.
AS DISCUSSED in the March Warrandyte Diary, the future of the former CFA Station in Brumbys Road, South Warrandyte, is uncertain with the CFA putting the site up for auction.
Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, pointed out the property is required to be offered to other government bodies, including Manningham Council, on a first-right-of-refusal basis, which had not happened.
The Diary understands that the auction has been postponed, and this first-right-of-refusal process has commenced.
Former South Warrandyte CFA Captain, Greg Kennedy acknowledges the CFA has made an investment in providing the new station in Falconer Road.
However, he notes the current fire station in Falconer Road has no different facilities than the FRV stations at Ringwood, Nunawading,
Croydon or Templestowe.
“The CFA has done nothing special with this facility.
CFA has a statutory obligation to provide the infrastructure, including buildings and equipment, to discharge its duties under the Act.
The CFA made the decision to upgrade the facilities at South Warrandyte to include career staff — this was simply the CFA undertaking the function that it has responsibility for.
There were no favours, nothing special, so there are no grounds for accolades.”
Mr Kennedy said the greater Warrandyte community appreciates the high bushfire risk level in this area, and the community support has been and continues to be significant.
Each of the brigades in the area — South Warrandyte, North Warrandyte, Warrandyte and Wonga Park — have over the years appealed to the
community for financial support.
“The community has been very generous, and I estimate that over the past 40 years, our community has provided at least $2 million to the
annual brigade appeals,” he said.
He said the level of support and commitment our community has towards their CFAs is exemplified by Fireball.
“In 2014, North Warrandyte brigade were raising funds to replace their ageing brigade owned tanker by holding a sausage sizzle outside
Quinton’s IGA on Saturday, February 8.
The next day a fire destroyed three houses in Warrandyte.
Julie Quinton was gobsmacked that the volunteers had to sell sausages to raise money to buy a fire truck.
Julie and a few colleagues then organised a one-night event, Fireball, which raised a little over $80,000 in the one night — to me, that’s a
community that gives.
North Warrandyte CFA was able to replace its truck.
Over the next three years, two more Fireball events were held, raising more than $80,000 on each occasion.
Warrandyte brigade replaced their ageing slip-on, and South Warrandyte replaced their FCV.
COVID came along and delayed Wonga Park’s opportunity to benefit to date.”
Local government and services clubs have also provided additional financial support to the Brigade.
He said the brigades used these funds to provide members with appropriate protective clothing in the earlier years, additional equipment,
including hoses and couplings, and additional appliances.
“The contribution has been significant and has saved the CFA financially,” Mr Kennedy said.
He said the Greater Warrandyte community has financially supported their CFA brigades with significant contributions over a very long period.
“It is now opportune for the CFA to return the favour,” he said.
As we go to print, Manningham Council has not been offered the property under the first-right-of-refusal provisions.
Lee Robson, Acting Director of Planning and Community, told the Diary: “While there has been recent discussion in the community around
the former CFA site in Warrandyte South, Council has not identified this location as a strategic site for community use.”
He said the site has a heritage overlay with very restrictive controls, but when Council receives notification, the property will be
Mayor of Manningham Michelle Kleinert said there are several issues that Council must consider, including potential users of the facility, what expenditure will Council need to undertake to bring the facility up to the required standard, and whether the potential user of the facility is willing and capable of making a financial contribution towards the necessary works.
Expressions of interest Mr Kennedy said now is the time for community groups interested in the property to come forward.
Let the Diary know if your community group could use the old South Warrandyte Fire Station, in what capacity, and whether you could make
a financial (or in-kind) contribution to the upkeep of the facility.
The Diary will collate details for the working group, headed up by Mr Kennedy, who will make a submission to Council.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to show your interest.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: re Brumbys Road Fire Station
The above property has recently been advertised for sale by the CFA.
The advertising of the same has made a few large assumptions about future use which conflict with current zoning and planning, but as a long-term resident of Warrandyte (20 plus years) and a long-term reader of the Warrandyte Diary, I would like to offer a comment as a first time contributor.
The Warrandyte Diary has a rich background of the history of the fire station at Warrandyte South over many years as I have read with interest.
I do not propose I know the full history, but I offer my thoughts and views to gauge if others within Warrandyte have similar thoughts, other ideas to what is a great locally owned and built asset that deserves to be utilised by those that built it.
By way of short history, the station was established thru the generosity and sweat of local Warrandyte people- the land was, thru a special council subdivision, donated for use as a fire station for the local CFA brigade, the construction was mostly thru donated labour and materials by Warrandyte south residents and CFA volunteers.
This was a community at its best.
With the growth and merger with the MFB to new facilities in Park Orchards, the site was deemed an engineering and research site for a few years.
The site was offered to council for other purposes of use to the community, but in my opinion the offer was confusing and lacked clarity and sadly any interested party, never ventured any further back in 2017-19 when it was offered.
The current sale process will see any funds put into a “special capital account” with the CFA/MFB according to the current property officer of the CFA.
My concern is if they are successful in achieving a possible windfall of $900,000 plus, will these funds be domiciled to the Warrandyte community or to the wider pool of CFA/MFB? I note the main CFA pumper truck is ten years old and as we have just finished donating for a fire support vehicle for Warrandyte South, could this money be directed/restricted to those and the area that made this CFA/MFB windfall happen?
I would not enjoy being involved again in a drive to fundraise for a support vehicle and equipment for one of Australia’s most highly rated fire zone’s, when our treasured local Warrandyte volunteers should have the best and newest equipment, but his “windfall” disappeared into the ethers of the combined CFA/MFB with unknown use or purpose.
As to a future use, I am sure if it was again offered to the local community as a re-purposed asset and location that the words local, community, involvement, have changed in the new COVID world, since a technically confusing offering back some 5-3 years ago.
We now live in a different world and such a significant asset built with local goodwill, has a future better than the real estate agent’s offering as a brewery etc!
My family and I would be prepared to offer up adjoining land for use as a community garden to assist a possible use as a not-for-profit community café/ artist display etc and in some way recognise the locals that gave and made the site a reality.
Warrandyte Men’s Shed still homeless
By CHRIS CHEWY PADGHAM
WARRANDYTE MEN’S SHED
AS SOME OF you may know, a group of men from the Warrandyte Community have been working to establish a Men’s Shed in Warrandyte.
A Men’s Shed is a men’s health initiative aimed at improving the mental and physical health of older men in our community through social
inclusion in an environment that is meaningful and comfortable for men.
The success of Men’s Sheds throughout Australia and abroad is a testament to the valuable contribution that they make to the welfare of the community in which they are present.
I have been working on the establishment of a Men’s Shed in Warrandyte for the last five years, and it is fair to say that everyone I have
spoken to agrees that it would be a magnificent asset for Warrandyte, including Manningham Councillors, and our State and Federal Members of Parliament.
There is one major obstacle in our progress: a suitable site to house it.
Imagine my pleasure when it became apparent that the old South Warrandyte CFA building was available for Council to acquire.
It is fit for purpose and ideally located close to public transport.
However, Council’s current position on the old South Warrandyte Fire Station is: “the South Warrandyte Fire Station has not been identified
by Council as a strategic site for acquisition.”
And its position on finding an appropriate site for a Warrandyte Men’s Shed is: “work is being undertaken by officers to identify existing Council-owned land that may be suitable for community
focussed uses such as a Men’s Shed.”
For five years, I have heard that line.
It seems it takes the council a long time to identify their own land.
It is frustrating, but we will continue to meet at the Scout Hall, which is falling down because of council neglect.
I worked with the council to specify appropriate upgrades to address its glaring deficiencies.
That was completed in July 2021; the last informal word I had was that it might make it into the budget for 2023/2024.
I know councils like to think of themselves as businesses these days; a key performance indicator for them is the provision of appropriate and
well-maintained facilities to benefit the community.
From my perspective, Manningham Council is comprehensively failing Warrandyte on this KPI.
Community history for sale
By SANDI MILLER
PAST AND PRESENT members of the South Warrandyte Fire Brigade and other members of the broader Warrandyte community are dismayed as the Country Fire Authority has placed the old South Warrandyte fire station on Brumbys Road up for sale.
Greg Kennedy was a member of the South Warrandyte Fire Brigade for 36 years, holding the office of Captain on two occasions, Lieutenant at various levels on several occasions, and President, Secretary and Treasurer.
He said he was “disgusted” to see the former fire station in Brumbys Road advertised for sale.
“Whilst the CFA is undoubtedly the owner of the land and therefore entitled to dispose of the property and everything that is built upon the land, there is a moral obligation for the CFA to take fully into account the history of this site.”
Mr Kennedy provided the Diary with a background of the site; he said the land was acquired in 1954 for the token amount of 40 pounds from Mr Pridmore.
The Pridmore family was very grateful for the assistance of brigade members in searching for their young son, who had become lost in the area.
“It is unclear who provided the funding, but I have been reliably informed by members from that time that the brigade raised the necessary monies — not the CFA.”
After a delay of two years, a rural shed donated by a resident was erected on the site by the brigade members — no cost to the CFA.
In 1963, a building suitable to house an appliance was acquired by the brigade from a resident and erected, again by the brigade members.
Over several years, the shed was refurbished with additions of a meeting room and communications facility and eventually a brick façade.
The members sourced all the materials and provided all of the labour.
The brigade undertook the supply and erection of the shed at no cost to the CFA on the understanding that the brigade would be provided with an Austin tanker as soon as there was somewhere to house the appliance.
The CFA honoured the undertaking, and an Austin tanker arrived in 1963.
By the early 1980s, the facilities were inadequate.
The brigade approached the CFA and was advised that a new station was scheduled, but not for at least 10 years.
Under the leadership of Captain Les Dixon, the brigade went about designing a new station with assistance from a local architect who provided his service pro bono.
Additional land was required to house the new building.
The brigade negotiated on behalf of the CFA to acquire an additional parcel of land adjoining the existing site.
“I recollect that the CFA paid for the additional land, but the purchase price was well below market value — the only cost to date for the CFA,” said Mr Kennedy.
The CFA approved the plans and agreed to allow the brigade to construct the building provided the brigade met
all costs — and that is precisely what the brigade did.
The brigade went to the South Warrandyte community and, through various fundraising activities, raised a little over $100,000.
The brigade members then undertook the building of the station.
Working bees were held most evenings and every weekend, and all brigade members freely gave their time.
Local tradesmen — carpenters, electricians, roofers, cabinet makers — gave their time without payment.
Materials were donated by various residents who were involved in the building industry.
Corporates were encouraged to provide materials with plant hire company, Wreckair Ltd, providing all types of machinery weekend after weekend for no charge.
Mr Kennedy said the only other financial contribution made by the CFA was $30,000 to assist in the final fit-out of the station.
“This contribution was made very late in the building program and only after the then Chairman Mr O’Shea was embarrassed by what he found the brigade had achieved without any financial support from the CFA.
“To me and the many members and especially former members of the brigade, the fire station in Brumbys Road, holds a very special place in our hearts — we toiled long and hard both in fundraising and construction to provide ourselves and our community with a decent facility with virtually no financial assistance from the CFA.
“The facility was provided by our community, for our community.
“The CFA may own the land, but it can never own what has been built — it belongs to us.
“To simply have this facility placed on the open market for sale shows no understanding of the history and importance of the facility.
“For the CFA to expect to pocket $900,000+ with no recognition of what the community has contributed is a heartless act.
“This is a community facility, built and paid for by the community.
“Morally, it belongs to the community,” Mr Kennedy said.
Valerie Polley of the Warrandyte Historical Society (WHS) notes the site is protected under a historical significance overlay.
She told the Diary that the site is an important part of the town’s history.
“The Warrandyte Historical Society is concerned that this heritage- listed building could be lost to the community.
The fire station is listed as of local significance on Manningham’s Heritage Overlay (HO27).
It has strong links back into the community.
This building which dates to 1986/7, used brigade (community) raised funds and CFA volunteer labour.
It was listed due to its ‘elegant and sympathetic adaptation of an organic design approach to a public building’. The citation felt it contributed to a future design for rural public buildings rather than a colonial vernacular, and WHS agrees.
WHS considers it detrimental to lose yet another well-designed community asset when there are local demands for premises, including for a Men’s Shed, which is currently homeless.
That its heritage values could also be compromised is also a big consideration.
WHS is hopeful that any changes will not lead to the loss of the building’s heritage significance and contribution to the architectural heritage of Warrandyte.”
Mr Kennedy said that during the planning of the new station, when he was Captain of the brigade in 2014, he met with then Chief Officer, Ewan Ferguson, to discuss the future of the Brumbys Road site.
“I received an assurance that no decisions on the future of the station had been made and none would be made without further consultation with the brigade — I accepted the word of the Chief Officer.
“On May 24, 2016, I wrote to the newly appointed CEO, Lucinda Nolan seeking assurance that the disposal of the fire station would be handled with care and compassion, bearing in mind the history of how the facility was provided.
“I received a telephone call from Lucinda Nolan again advising that no decision had been made and a consultative process would be undertaken at the appropriate time.
“To my knowledge, neither of these commitments have been honoured.”
He said the CFA as the property owner, clearly has a right to dispose of the property, but there should be at least some compassion and understanding given to those who hold the facility dearly.
“There are retired members of the brigade who are very upset by the current actions of the CFA.”
Mr Kennedy said the decision to list the property without any consultation is “immoral, heartless and totally inconsiderate”.
He said he hopes the CFA will reconsider and is prepared to accept a peppercorn payment if the facility becomes a community centre.
“After all, the investment by the CFA is minimal, but the investment by the South Warrandyte community is enormous.
“I cannot believe the CFA who promote themselves as ‘WE ARE COMMUNITY’ can so heartlessly place this property on the market without any consideration of the community – what am I missing here?”
A CFA spokesperson told the Diary the Authority is not in a position to gift properties to other parties, nor retain or sell them at undervalued amounts.
“CFA and the Victorian Government made a significant investment of
more than $6m in the acquisition of land and construction of a new and modern fire station in 2015 to serve the community of South Warrandyte and neighbouring areas.
CFA has an obligation to utilise its assets in the best possible manner to support our volunteer brigades, and the sale of surplus stations is a significant contributor to our program of station refurbishments and replacements, which benefit all CFA volunteers and our local communities.”
Despite being placed with a real estate agent, the Diary has been told the former South Warrandyte station property has recently been resubmitted through the First Right of Refusal process, which gives state and local government entities, including the Manningham Council, the ability to express interest in the property and purchase from CFA at the Valuer General’s valuation.
This process takes around 60 days, and if there is no outcome from the process, CFA will relist the property for public auction.
Promises broken on CFA Shed
RYAN SMITH MP Member for Warrandyte
I RECENTLY raised a very important issue in State Parliament regarding the former South Warrandyte CFA station on Brumbys Road.
The former station has recently been listed for sale for close to $1 million, an exorbitant mark-up from the Manningham council evaluation of $120,000 in 2017.
I have been campaigning with local community groups for the past six years for the government to allow the community use of the building, ever since the multimillion- dollar integrated station in South Warrandyte was completed.
Every time that I have raised this issue with the government, I have been told that the station continues “…to meet internal needs and will do so for the foreseeable future — there are no immediate plans for the CFA to vacate or dispose of these premises.”
Locals I have spoken with have been rightly angered by this response as the station has stood largely empty over the last six years.
In April 2021, the acting Minister for Emergency Services wrote to me stating that : “Should the CFA determine in the future that the site is no longer needed, there will be an opportunity for the local council to purchase the property for community purposes.”
Four months later, in August, the minister wrote again stating that, if the land was deemed surplus by the CFA, it must be offered through a First Right of Refusal process to Victorian government departments as well as to local government, whilst again reiterating that the CFA still require the South Warrandyte station for the foreseeable future.
Through conversations with Manningham Council and volunteer CFA members, it appears there has been no offering of the former station for community use as promised by the government.
It has become apparent that the government’s only vision for community assets is to try to sell them in order to fill the bottomless black hole of state debt.
This is just another example of the difference between what this government says and what they do.
Each Minister I have written to was aware of the various community organisations that would have been interested in using the space, including a permanent base for the Warrandyte Men’s Shed, the Warrandyte Scouts, or a dedicated ambulance station for the Warrandyte area or even for the volunteers at South Warrandyte to return home.
This is another disappointing result for the communities of the Warrandyte electorate, who have continued to be let down by this government.
I will be pursuing this matter further to ensure that all proper processes were followed by the government.
If they have not, my community will be made aware that this government continues to ignore community needs and expectations.
I have asked the Minister to withdraw the station from the market and gift it to Manningham Council for community use or at least — at the very least — offer the property at a properly valued price as was promised.
I will continue to keep the community updated on any developments.
MAJOR ROADS Projects Victoria (MRPV) continues the works on the Fitzsimons Lane upgrade.
CONSTRUCTION teams are about to embark on another roadworks blitz, completing six months of work in seven weeks.
They will be transforming the Fitzsimons Lane/Porter Street roundabout into an traffic light-controlled intersection.
Residents are advised that the Porter Street/Fitzsimons Lane intersection on the eastern (Warrandyte/Donvale)
side of the road will be closed from April 26 for the seven-week period, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
From April 26, until May 14, there will be no access to eastern end of Porter Street.
Traffic Diversions will be in place, taking diverted traffic along Williamsons Road, Foote Street, Blackburn Road, and Warrandyte
Major Roads are advising there may be delays of up to 20 minutes for road users in this area during works.
There will also be no access to Hawtin Street from Porter Street; this street will be local access only.
Entry to Water Tunnel Car Wash, MarketPlace Fresh, Templestowe Reserve and BlueCross Silverwood will be from the Warrandyte side of the road closure.
Local bus route 905 is also likely to be affected by these works, the Diary and M&N Bulletin will have additional information about how this service is impacted closer to the time.
Lane closures Lane closures have been in effect from Sunday, March 6, as works are undertaken to complete drainage works and build up the road along Williamsons Road and Fitzsimons Lane between Atkinson Street and Westerfolds Park, and on Porter Street — west of the roundabout if you are driving towards Templestowe Village.
During this time, there are lane closures and speed limits are reduced to 40km/h on Porter Street.
Construction crews will be in place Monday to Friday from 6am to 5pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 7am to 5pm.
Nightworks There will also be some nights works from Sunday to Friday, between 6pm and 5am each night.
Traffic management will be in place to guide road users through the area. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained during these works.
Crews will be relocating powerlines underground.
The installation of new drainage and construction of pavement will continue in the centre medians of
Williamsons Road, either side of the Foote Street intersection.
As crews work to relocate overhead powerlines underground, there will be boring and trenching on Foote Street, west of the intersection.
One end of Glendale Avenue will be closed, with lane closures continuing across the Foote Street intersection.
There will also be trench and bore works around the southwest corner of Williamsons Road and Foote Street.
Main Road completion works Following on from its major construction campaign, crews will be tidying up around the Main Road/ Fitzsimons Lane intersection and finishing off work on medians and the Fitzsimons Lane retaining wall.
There will be minor traffic management in place for the ongoing safety of drivers and workers.
Porter Street road surfacing Heading into the final stage of works to upgrade the Porter Street roundabout to traffic lights, crews will continue to prepare the road surface for the signalised intersection.
Over the next three months, lane closures and changed traffic conditions will continue on all legs of the intersection as the new pavement is built and new drainage is installed throughout the area.
MRPV said it will notify directly impacted residents regarding nightworks.