Monthly Archives: July 2022

What would you like to ask the Mayor/Manningham Council

ABC Radio Melbourne’s Mornings with Virginia Trioli featured Manningham Mayor Councillor Michelle Kleinert on her Meet the Mayor segment on July 26.
With only 15 minutes to cover topics across the municipality, Cr Kleinert and host Virginia Trioli spoke about the benefits and issues of FOGO (Food Organics and Garden Organics) waste collection which begins in Manningham in July 2023 before fielding questions from listeners which focused mainly on spoon drains and tree removal.

Listen to what the Mayor had to say and let the Warrandyte Diary and M&N Bulletin know what you think about the topics raised or if there is anything else you think our Council should be focusing on at the moment.

email editor@warrandytediary.com.au

Listen below to the except or visit the Mornings page for the full show.

With thanks to ABC Radio Melbourne Mornings with Virginia Trioli.

Listen to this show and more by visiting https://www.abc.net.au/melbourne, downloading the ABC Listen App or tuning into 774 AM on your radio.

State of the pandemic

IN THE 24-HOUR reporting period before July 19, there were 244 new COVID-19 cases reported in Manningham, taking the active caseload up to 1,322.
In Nillumbik, there were 131 new cases, totalling 656 active cases.
These numbers are consistent with what is being reported in our neighbouring Local Government Areas (LGAs) and in LGAs across the state — Coronavirus is everywhere.
There were 12,201 new cases state-wide, with 9,953 of those detected through RAT kits. In Victoria, as of July 19, there are 65,416 active cases of COVID-19 that have been reported.
With pandemic measures significantly relaxed and, in many situations, mask-wearing a recommendation instead of a mandate, vaccination is one of our most effective defences against this virus.
While first and second dose uptake hit 95–97 per cent, the uptake of the boosters (third and fourth doses) has slowed since the end of March, when the eligible population (16+) raced to 64 per cent in three months.
Reporting figures on July 19 indicate in Victoria that 73.5 per cent of the eligible population has received three or more doses; nationally, that figure is 70.9 per cent.
Residents of Manningham and Nillumbik who have been able to and have received at least three doses should be proud as our municipalities are ahead of the curve at 75.7 and 78.2 per cent respectively of those eligible vaccinated.
There is some concern in the community regarding the three-month window between being infected with COVID-19 and getting a booster and the new understanding that the current Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 can cause reinfection of those who have had the virus within 28 days (four weeks).
Reports from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) address this issue.
AHPPC notes in its COVID-19 winter update:

“BA.4 and BA.5 are associated with increased immune escape, and we are likely to see rates of reinfection rise among those who have previously been infected with an earlier COVID-19 variant and those who are up to date with their vaccinations.
Vaccination continues to be the most important protection against severe illness.
Given reinfections may occur as early as 28 days after recovery from a previous COVID-19 infection, the AHPPC advises that the [official] reinfection period be reduced from 12 weeks to 28 days.
People who test positive to COVID-19 more than 28 days after ending isolation due to previous infection should be reported and managed as new cases.”

On July 13, ATAGI agreed with the AHPPC report but still recommended interval between infection and vaccine remain at three months.
“Evidence suggests that BA.4/5 is associated with a higher re-infection rate compared to previous variants, and this is likely to be due to immune evasion,” the ATAGI statement said.
ATAGI explains there is not a lot of data on the additional protection a booster provides in the short term, if it is administered soon after infection, adding:

“Immunologically, a longer time interval between vaccines enhances the ‘booster response’ and subsequent clinical protection, particularly against severe COVID-19 disease.
The COVID-19 vaccines have a modest, short duration of impact against infection and as the primary aim of the program is optimising protection from severe disease, a three-month interval, therefore, remains optimal.”

Masks Pandemic

(Public Safety) Order 2022 (No. 3), which came into effect on July 12 and will be in effect until October 12, states that masks must be carried at all times and people should wear a mask when visiting hospital and care facilities and when using public transport.
All levels of government and healthcare professionals are also recommending that people wear masks indoors in a public place (such as a supermarket or shopping centre) or in a situation where it is not possible to social distance.
In addition, the Victorian Department of Education and Training, Independent Schools Victoria, and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria sent a joint letter to parents and carers stating they are asking students and staff to mask up for the remainder of winter.

“Students won’t be required or expected to wear masks when outdoors, and this expectation won’t stop student participation in the full range of school activities, including music, sport and performances.
We are asking for your support in explaining to your child or children the importance of this simple step that will help keep our schools as safe as possible.
We also ask that you make sure your child (or children) takes a mask to school (and wears it if they are travelling on public transport) or collects a mask when they arrive at school.
We all appreciate how important it is for students to be back at school.
This action will help make sure as many students and staff as possible are protected from COVID and other winter illness.”

Pandemic payments

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government reinstated the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments, which, in accordance with the COVID-19 Disaster Payment (Funding Arrangements) Act 2021, which expired on June 30, 2022.
Following a meeting of the National Cabinet in mid-July, the following statement was released:

“In recognition of the risks associated with more infectious new variants through the winter period, the Commonwealth agreed to reinstate the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to 30 September 2022.
Eligibility for the payment will be backdated to July 1, 2022, to ensure that anyone unable to work owing to isolation requirements in this period, without access to paid sick leave is supported.
Access to these payments will commence from Wednesday, July 20, with existing eligibility requirements to continue.
We have agreed to share the costs of the payment 50:50, between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.”

These payments are targeted to help those on lower incomes and casual workers maintain a basic income while sick with COVID-19. To apply and to check your eligibility, visit Services Australia at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.

Planning prevents party disasters

PARTIES ARE an excellent chance for people to get together, socialise and have fun.
For teenagers, when they may encounter their first experience of alcohol and other drugs, risky behaviour becomes more likely.
This means things like: drinking too much alcohol (sometimes called binge drinking) unprotected or non-consensual sex drink driving — or getting into a car with an intoxicated driver drink spiking drug overdose or alcohol poisoning getting into a fight getting injured Domestic security expert Naomi Oakley is encouraging parents to take greater control of teen parties with the rise of pre and post-event parties seeing teens as young as 14 getting intoxicated at friends’ homes before going on to other events.
She warns that the parents of the host teen could be liable should adverse incidents occur.

“Parents need to step up and ensure that they’re doing the right thing and not allowing the kids to roll out of their house drunk off their faces.
“There is a responsibility when these young ones leave their house after drinking.”

She says parents need to be aware of “secondary supply” legislation, which would see parents fined over $7,000 per offence for supplying alcohol to minors without written consent from parents.

“Even with a note from parents, some parents are not providing any kind of duty of care,” she said.
“What parents need to do is if they are having pre-parties — or any party really — is to make sure that the alcohol is managed properly.”

She recommends having a person that has experience serving alcohol.

“It would be great if you could use someone with a Responsible Serving of Alcohol certificate (RSA), but not everyone has that.”

She said certification could be obtained online for around $60.

“This will give parents an understanding of the effects of alcohol, responsible serving, and that sort of thing.
“When their kids come up to them and want a party, at least they have an understanding of how to observe someone who’s intoxicated, what sort of things that you can have in place to ensure that the young ones are not going to drink too much — such as a responsible person, serving or managing the alcohol; plenty of food and water, and also having a mixture of beer and wine, and moderating any sort of spirits.”

Ms Oakley said that even if the party is not at your house, parents should work together to help manage the party.
These parties are not an opportunity to drop and run to have a night without the kids.
She suggests one responsible adult for every 20 teenagers.

“Things can happen, and parents need to understand they need to make sure they cover every base, so there’s no push back on them, because you’re dealing with young ones, and you should have alert parents with the correct ratio of parents to kids.
“It might be parents serving food, parents monitoring toilets, parents watching the back fence for gate-crashers. You have a list of which parents are present and what they are doing. That might include in your bar setup, and food service.
“You know it’s always a good party when you don’t see security within, and that’s true, providing that you’ve had your parents tasked to do certain things, you have your security at the gate and parents can do something like serving food because then it’s low key.
“But then if they see anything they can get amongst the group, with some food distraction, if they still can’t sort it out, they go and get Security from the front to deal with it.”

She said parent helpers have to commit to remaining sober throughout the night because there is no point in having parents that want to “get on the sauce” because that adds to the chaos.

“If you can afford it, engage security. You should also notify the local police and your neighbours.
“We found that if you have some systems in place for these private parties, then there are strategies to ensure that the guests have a good time — safely.
“At least have parents at the front to ensure the kids have safe modes of transport.”

Naomi said she spent 13 years within Victoria Police and responded to a large portion of out-of-control parties.

“I left the police force to develop a Party Security service.
“What we found is with the events we do, and I’ve probably planned over 5,000 of these events, is if there are some boundaries in place, then the young ones will respond.
“They find it’s not over the top; they just know that we’ve got the systems to ensure they have a good night.”

She said 14 is the new 16.

“Our high-risk age is between 14 and 16 — experimenting with alcohol and other substances — and on top of that, you’ve got cabin fever, COVID lockdowns all that, and you have a lot of young ones who have been pretty anxious over the last few years as well, so there are all these factors.
“But whatever party it is, there is an absolute responsibility for parents putting on these events not only to ensure that there is parental consent for underage drinking but also to manage any party responsibly and provide a duty of care.
“With the planning that we put in place, I do a risk assessment with every event that we do, and that means meeting people at the property, liaising with the parents, and talking about the risk.
“We know the kids are the priority at the end of the day, so it’s essential to red flag all those issues.”

She said that despite all the measures, sexual assaults can still occur.

“The parents are worried that they will be liable when some of those situations happen, but because they have done everything a reasonable person could, it doesn’t come back on them.”

She said she defines any event under 30 people as a gathering, but parents still need to look at strategies for harm minimisation.

“Parents can contact me for advice; it’s not going to cost them anything, or ring me when it gets over that number.
“We say parties are over 40 to 50, and that’s when you need to start considering professional security, not private — there’s a big difference.
“Professional security is a business with the right insurance.
“If you get inexperienced guards, or your uncle, or your mates, or whoever to do it, they may not have the skills to cope when there is a fight, or someone advances on someone without consent — just about every scenario — and gate-crashers on top of that. You can minimise most of your risk with these private events, but there are some things that you also can’t predict, so it’s about just making sure that we have those plans in place to protect our young ones.
“With social media now you just need to let it drop that there’s a party at 47 Smith Street — or Snap Maps are a nightmare, kids can see where there are 200 people gathered — and the word is out.
“It is a legal minefield, and if you are going to consider having these parties, you need to make sure that you have the right systems and staff members in place to assist you with the event,” Ms Oakley said.

Naomi Oakley is the Director of U-Nome Security and provides party security, domestic violence support and safe party education. u-nomesecurity.com.au

Warrandyte Netball club victorious in four-flag final

ON GRAND Final Day, I had the pleasure of watching four fantastic games, and as President, I couldn’t be prouder of the whole club today.
Thank you to the players, coaches, team managers, umpires, parents and the Doncaster and District Netball Association (DDNA).
After many interrupted seasons, altered calendars and modified finals, we welcomed some normality this season after what felt like forever.
In saying that, the battle against illness, injury and “close contacts” raged all season and everyone had to be resilient, flexible, and understanding.
A huge amount of work is done before the girls even attend their first training for the season.
After two years of unparalleled difficulties and a shortage of volunteers being felt across community sport as a whole, there are certainly days when this can be incredibly challenging.
However, today I got to watch all the hard work and emails, late nights and hard conversations, meetings, and organising pay off in the smiles of the Warrandyte players.
The players loving the game is the goal and the reward; I seriously urge anyone thinking about volunteering their time with the club to come and see what you can do to help.
Nothing beats the feeling of watching young kids achieve something they didn’t think they were capable of.
It really is something else.

The Grand Final quartet

Warrandyte’s four finalist teams arrived at the courts to battle it out in their respective Grand Finals, hoping to become Premiers… and what a battle it was.

Tadpoles

At 10am, the U13 Tadpoles took on the EDNC Supernovas.
After a successful, undefeated season despite being rocked by COVID-19 and injury, the almost full team took the court buzzing and ready to go.
The Tadpoles fought hard for the game against good opposition and found themselves down at threequarter time.
In the final quarter, the Tadpoles surged forward, working swiftly, scoring seven goals to the Supernovas’ one in the final term, sealing the win by three points.
Elaria was awarded MVP by the DDNA official watching on, and the entire team received their awards postgame with coach Renae.
It was a hard-fought win.
Final Score: 21 – 18.

Turtles

Also, at 10am on Court 3, the U13 Turtles stepped on court after some final messages from coach Sharon and lined up against their opponents, the Deep Creek Ambers.
The Turtles were relentless in their efforts, never allowing the Deep Creek team a moment to rest.
The energy was high, and it was close right up to the final siren where Warrandyte and Deep Creek found themselves even.
After a moment of heavy breathing, the teams calmed themselves, and the Turtles jumped back on court for a final 10 minutes to determine a winner.
The Turtles kept their composure despite the screaming crowd and rose to the occasion in the match’s final minutes.
The Turtles sealed their victory by a point, and the scenes were awesome to see!
Rosalie was awarded MVP for her efforts in the game.
Final Score: 18 – 17.

Magpies

It was now time for Warrandyte’s U17s to take the court.
The Magpies huddled around coach Lucy for some final pointers, and then on the court they went to face the Deep Creek Jets.
The Magpies didn’t have a clear idea of how this Deep Creek team played as of the two games they played in the home and away season, one was a washout, and the other the Magpies team was severely depleted.
It was close from the starting siren; the talk was loud, and the play was fast.
The Magpies worked swiftly together, and everyone brought their best.
In the final minutes, the two teams were goal for goal, and it became a race against the clock to be the team ahead at the final siren.
With only seconds left in the game, the scores were even, and the ball was shot only to skim the ring and be rebounded by Lilly, who found
the winning point as the final siren sounded.
The MVP went to Eliza for her awesome game.
Final Score: 18 – 17.

Kookaburras

With Warrandyte now three for three, the Kookaburras took to Court 8 against EDNC Eclipse.
The Kookaburras had been busy during the week organising their strategies and their look for the big game, red war paint and braids all
‘round!
The Kookaburras also train whenever they can, in their determination to improve, and their hard work paid off.
Their game was smooth, and their fantastic movement was constant.
Warrandyte’s communication paid off as they could talk and settle the game when they needed it and encourage their teammates as well.
Fired up by the crowd and coach Rachel whose hard work (Coaching not only the U17s but an U15s as well) and insight kept the girls composed and on track to win by the club’s biggest margin of the day!
Imogen was awarded the MVP medal for her great game.
Final Score: 38–15.

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Warrandyte Primary launches Reconciliation Action Plan

STUDENTS AND TEACHERS at Warrandyte Primary School were excited to officially launch their Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) this
month.
The school community has been privileged throughout term two to work alongside Aboriginal Elder Arbup Peters and Kira Peters, who
both work for the Victorian Education Department.
Kira is the local Koorie Engagement Support Officer (KESO), as well as being a primary school teacher herself.
During a whole school assembly, Arbup welcomed everyone to country with a traditional Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung welcome.
He explained how important the welcome is to the Traditional Owners, as they welcome people to their land.
Parent Dione and ex-student Zara Veal attended and spoke during the assembly.
They were both involved in initiating the school’s RAP, which began three years ago when a Grade 5 student wanted to start the process of formally recognising the school’s plans and vision for reconciliation.
Students from the Junior School Council talked about the importance of reconciliation, acknowledging wrongdoing from the past and moving forward to create and develop positive relationships.
They explained how important it is to understand the role Traditional Owners have always had in looking after Country and their special
relationship with the land.
Performances by students of a song entitled Wominjeka, meaning “welcome”, and Kutju Australia, the National Anthem in Luritja, a language of First Nations People from the Northern Territory, was enjoyed by all.
Another visitor was Aunty Loraine, a Taungurung Elder who has written a book entitled Bijil Ba Wudhi Deberra, or Bijil and the Moths.
The story tells of a family going to the High Country during summer, trapping and roasting Bogong moths to eat.
The people used the stars to tell them when to go and Songlines to give directions, singing instructions as they travelled.
Aunty Loraine talked about some of her work developing language resources and preserving Aboriginal languages for present and future
generations.
One of the highlights for many attending was the performance by the world-renowned didgeridoo musician, Ganga Giri.
Ganga is a rhythmic didgeridoo virtuoso and percussionist, originally from Tasmania, whose passion and infectious energy had everyone joining in with animal actions and clapping rhythms.
Principal Nieta Manser concluded the assembly by saying how proud she is to be a part of this, especially to be present, as this was the first time we raised all three flags on our new flagpoles; Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Australian.
Scan the QR codes (right) to view Arbup’s moving Welcome to Country
and the Raising of the Three Flags and Dione and Zara’s speech on WPS’s commitment to Reconciliation.

Warrandyte local produces first book in Taungurung and English

Aunty Loraine with Matt Burns, CEO of the Taungurung Land and Waters Council

By CHEWY
LORAINE PADGHAM, a long time Warrandyte local, has written a children’s book in the Taungurung
language, with English translation.
The Taungurung people, of which Loraine is a member, live on and care for the land in central Victoria.
Their territory commences at the Great Dividing Range and encompasses the land on which the towns of Yea, Alexandra, Mansfield,
Kilmore and Broadford now stand.
Bijil Ba Wudhi Deberra (Bijil and the Moths) tells the story of a young Taungurung boy who accompanies his parents on their annual adventurous trip to the high plains in summer to participate in cultural activities, renew friendships with other clan members and to harvest Bogong moths.
The book had its first public reading at Warrandyte Primary School as part of their activities recognising and celebrating Aboriginal culture, where it was received with great interest from the children present.
The book includes a QR code that enables the reader to listen to the story read in Taungurung.
Copies of the book can be purchased from the Taungurung website,
taungurung.com.au

Community history goes under the hammer

THE FORMER South Warrandyte Fire Station in Brumbys Road, South Warrandyte, has been sold at auction.
The 756m² property was vacated in 2016 by the brigade upon the construction of their new premises in Falconer Road.
The site was initially put up for sale in March; however, following community outcry and accusations by Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, that due process had not been followed, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) withdrew the property for sale so it could be offered to State Government agencies and local council as part of “first right of refusal” provisions.
A spokesperson for CFA said the property was put up to Council for “first right of refusal” in 2016 and therefore
were not obliged to offer it a second time.
However, after Mr Smith raised the issue in Parliament, they offered it a seond time.
Community groups such as Warrandyte Scouts, Warrandyte Men’s Shed and Warrandyte Neighbourhood House all showed interest in operating out of the premises — but it appears the highly restrictive overlays would have prevented these uses.
Mayor of Manningham, Cr Michelle Kleinert, told the Diary Council was eventually offered the property but turned it down.
“Even if Council was gifted the property, we would not have accepted it as there was no scope in the planning overlays to allow community use,” she said.
The property was listed as RCZ3, with an Environmental Significance Overlay, Bushfire Management Overlay, and a Heritage Overlay.
Potential uses for the property were listed as a dwelling, bed and breakfast, market, restaurant, farm, winery, or rural store, with the estate agent, Jellis Craig highlighting the potential restaurant use as “STCA” in their sales material.
The site was acquired in the 1960s by the brigade, and the current building was constructed by the community with community funds in the 1980s.
The station was made redundant when the CFA provided the brigade with a $6 million upgraded station in Falconer Road.
The CFA volunteers were joined by career staff, who later became Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV).
Mr Smith said he was disappointed the State Government did not try to keep the property in community hands.
He said he thought Council should have been given more opportunity to consider the options for the site.
“When it first got put on the market, clearly the proper process hadn’t been followed and there was limited time in the following weeks in the lead up to today’s sale.
“I think there should have been more opportunity for Council to consult with the community and come up with some options about what would be allowed.
“It is a community asset that I think should have remained in community hands; the government has been completely recalcitrant in not allowing the community to use it for so long.
“The community has asked on many occasions that it be used for community use, it is just incredibly disappointing that we have got to a
situation where a community built asset, that is loved by the residents and everyone that is associated with South Warrandyte CFA for so many years has moved into private hands.”
The CFA spokesperson said he understands the community connection to the site.
“In even the most modest of these sheds, they contain the commitments made by the members to the brigades — so much community history is bound up in these buildings.”
Former Captain of South Warrandyte CFA, Greg Kennedy, along with other former and present members of the brigade, attended the auction to say farewell to their old shed.
“Very disappointed that Manningham Council didn’t react quickly and promptly in securing a great asset for the community; it is now lost and gone,” he said.
The building was eventually sold to a car enthusiast who bought the property
for $980,000 (plus GST) to convert into a dwelling.
A friend of the purchaser told the Diary he particularly liked the property because of the large garage where he could house his many cars.

What do we want Warrandyte to be?

TALKING POINT

JAMES CHARLWOOD is not only a Warrandyte local but an advocate for
retaining heritage through appropriate building.
He is Director of Cathedral Stone, a stonemason leading in the field of traditional stonemasonry and conservation.
He recently gave a talk on the subject as part of a series of talks organised by Warrandyte Historical Society; a recording of his talk can be found in the link at the bottom of this story.
Following his talk, the Diary reached out to Mr Charlwood to continue the conversation on what we want Warrandyte to be.
Mr Charlwood is passionate about using herit age techniques and materials sympathetic to that goal in all aspects, from what materials we use in our buildings to what our drainage systems look like and to avoid — what sometimes feels like — the inevitable Elthamisation of Warrandyte if we continue to let convenient, utilitarian, building practices run rampant in our town.
The Manningham Planning Scheme is under review, and while the public consultation has ended, it is still a great time to start discussing what Warrandyte is to us — its current, new and future residents.
Mr Charlwood has noted some key discussion points, which we have summarised below:

Iconic landscape and historic character

Less than an hour’s travel from Melbourne’s CBD, and even serviced by a direct buys route, the bush setting and proximity to wildlife and the river is a big draw.
So, why would we use planning policies and overlays which work against the natural environment, not with it?
Our township’s history lives in the walls of its buildings and the stones in its footpaths and is reflected in the trees, river and bush in which our houses sit.
Growing development pressure on our Warrandyte Township means we’ll lose Warrandyte as we know it.
We need to identify our unique Warrandyte character and adopt this into roadside landscapes and new buildings; through context-sensitive
design, using traditional and heritagesensitive materials, our town can evolve without losing its character.

Premiere riverfront township

By population and proximity to CBD,
Warrandyte is the number one riverfront township; there is no other.
Warrandyte’s community is responsible to all of Melbourne to be leaders in managing river water quality and river environs.
Concrete gutters and pipes treat water as a waste product and discharge polluted water into the river.
The solutions currently available to us seem to be either spoon drains or curband-channel, which are dangerous, and rubbish strewn or undesirable.
Water-sensitive drainage alternatives that mimic natural water-cycle systems would reduce stormwater runoff, and the risk of harmful pollutants and algae blooms impacting our natural environment.

Carbon abatement in action

Concrete production is one of the highest carbon-emitting activities; its product can only be used once.
Natural stone can be dug back up and repurposed.
State and Municipal engineers are addicted to concrete.
Examples include the rough handling and crude workmanship at the bridge bus stop stairs and the poor rendition of our civic landscape along Yarra Street (c. 2010).
Let’s get jingoistic about Warrandyte… or we will lose it!
The engineers are coming; let’s not Elthamise Warrandyte.
whsoc.org.au/foundation-stonepresentation

Foote Street closure, delays continue

FITZSIMONS LANE’S  fourth intersection is set to be upgraded at Williamsons Road-Foote Street this month, as the Major Roads project
heats up to complete three months’ work in six weeks this winter.
Major works ramped up to commence with the school holidays and will continue until Sunday, August 7, with the intersection at Foote Street and Williamsons Road in Templestowe to be upgraded with additional approach lanes and extended turn lanes.
These works will be carried out between 6am and 10pm, seven days a week.
Member for East Metropolitan Region Sonja Terpstra said: “Over these winter months, we’ll get on with upgrading the Williamsons Road-Foote Street intersection — improving traffic flow and making it quicker and safer to get around Templestowe.
“As these works ramp up, we encourage the community to continue to support our local traders as we complete this important infrastructure
upgrade.”
These improvements will help reduce congestion on Williamsons Road and Foote Street.
Pavement markings, signage, drainage, and street lighting will also be upgraded to cater for the improved intersection.
To add the approach lanes and extend the turn lanes, crews will renew drainage systems, carry out earthworks, laying new asphalt, and
install new traffic signals.
Drivers travelling east to west can expect road closures and detours in the area as the work is carried out.
There’ll be delays expected of up to 20 minutes.
Williamsons Road will remain open for those travelling towards Doncaster
or Eltham.
Finishing works around the intersection will continue until later in the year to complete asphalting, line-marking, signage installation and
final utility works.
Traffic management will be in place to keep workers and road users safe.
Williamsons Road is an extension of Fitzsimons Lane, connecting Eltham and Templestowe to neighbouring eastern and northern suburbs and the Eastern Freeway, carrying more than 60,000 vehicles daily.

Replanting plans

Students with a passion for sustainability have been given a masterclass in local flora from the Edendale Community Environment
Farm staff and the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade team.
Eltham MP Vicki Ward, Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Frances Eyre and Nillumbik Shire Councillor Natalie Duffy joined environment captains from Eltham High School at the local farm in May to learn more about how the project is enriching habitats and supporting the area’s rich biodiversity.
Vicki Ward said the project had reached an exciting point, with major works kicking off as well as hundreds of trees and thousands of shrubs set to be planted along the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade as part of the project design.
“We are planting hundreds of native trees and grasses as well as more than 5,000 shrubs,” Ms Ward said.
Last year, the project partnered with the Rotary Club of Eltham, which saw 14 local schools and community groups sow some 6,750 locally grown and indigenous seedlings at home and in the community, including Diamond Creek Trail at Wattle Glen.

Winter Solstice time to celebrate our river

THE WINTER Solstice is often a time of curling up in front of a fire with a good book, or for some, it might be dancing naked in the forest.
For the Birrarung/Yarra Riverkeeper, Charlotte Sterrett, what better thing to do than take a swim in the Birrarung?
On a crisp winter’s day, Charlotte and a hardy crew, including the ABC’s Sammy J, took to her favourite swimming hole to celebrate the solstice and World Bathing Day.
She spoke to the Diary before taking a dip.“In the Southern Hemisphere, we get the cold end of the stick, but we are here to celebrate all that is good
and wonderful about the Birrarung/Yarra River.
“We are in North Warrandyte at my favourite swimming hole where I come with my family and friends in the summer and sometimes in the winter when my daughter wants to come and swim,” she said.
Charlotte said the good news is that the Riverkeepers Association was setting a target to have a swimmable Birarrung by 2030.
“We want to have a swimmable river from source to sea.
“At the moment, there are only certain parts of the river that you can swim in, Warrandyte being one of them.
She said swimming in Warrandyte after heavy rain is not recommended because of the pollution that enters the river, and when you get further downstream, the water quality gets worse and worse.
“In fact, when you get past Dights Falls, you are not allowed to swim, so we would like to see many changes to help the river become protected, healthy and loved so that everybody can swim in the river by 2030 — we think is achievable.”
She said the EPA measure the levels of E. coli, which is one of the indicators they use, so when those levels are too high, you are not allowed to swim — or they suggest that you don’t.
But other pollutants are coming into the river, polystyrene particularly further down stream, chemical pollution, a lot of sediment runoff,
fertilisers, and agricultural waste that end up in the river.
But she said there are plans to change all that.
“There is research being done, we have some of those people here today from Regen Melbourne and from the Yarra Yabbies who are here to have a swim here at this end of town so they can see what that is like, and then we can replicate that downstream with actual swimming pools — five of them.
“In Warrandyte, we are very lucky, in summer the river is a bit lower, and there are some beautiful rocks, and when you are sitting in the middle of that river, it is the best place on earth.
“We can swim here year-round, and we want that for everyone.”
She said the solstice swim was a huge success.
“We had so many people, and everyone loved it — the look on people’s faces was pure joy, but pure cold terror.”
Sammy J said all that was on his mind when he got the feeling back in the bottom half of his body was to perhaps
have a pie at the Warrandyte Bakery.