Bulletin

Category for WD Bulletin originated stories

Another blitz for Fitzsimons Lane project

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

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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.

Exhibition a time capsule for the Shire

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

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Love Montsalvat

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.

Traders unsatisfied with Council

Macedon Square development has traders up in arms

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.
These include:

  • 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.

Its response:

“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.

They responded:

“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 bulletin@warrandytediary.com.au and let us know.

Manningham’s new pet plan

HOW MANNINGHAM’S cats and dogs are managed over the next four years is in the final stages of review, with Council currently seeking community comment on its draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022–2025.
Local Councils in Victoria must develop a fresh Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) every four years under the Domestic Animal Act 1994.
The plan exclusively manages cats and dogs; other animals and livestock are managed under different legislation, such as the Livestock Management Act 2010.
In June 2021, Manningham Council began developing its latest DAMP.
At that time, Warrandyte Diary contacted local animal advocacy group Friends of Manningham Dogs and Cats (FOMDAC) about what they would like to see in the 2022–2025 DAMP.

“FOMDAC would like to see cat curfews explored, especially in environmentally sensitive areas.
It is now rare to see dogs roaming in the streets, and we would like to see owners confine their cats to their own backyards.
It would be sensible for owners to keep their cats indoors/confined at night (we must protect our local flora and fauna).
We would like to see plans to safely assist residents in evacuating their animals in an emergency.”

In their statement, FOMDAC went on to talk about the need for more off-lead dog areas and better access to poo bins for dog owners.

“FOMDAC would also like to see more poo bins along walking trails.
Aranga Reserve has been a great success and a model which other councils have followed.
FOMDAC believes there is a need for more secure off-leash parks similar to Aranga.”

Talking points in the proposed DAMP include a 12-month pilot for a 24-hour cat curfew, a review of the number of dog waste bins, and investigations into fenced, dog off-leash areas east of the Mullum Mullum Creek.
The 29-page draft DAMP is available to read on Council’s Your Say website, which also includes a feedback form; anyone with a vested interest in the welfare of cats and dogs, in Manningham, over the next four years is encouraged to read the draft plan and supply any relevant feedback before April 12.
According to local government data, 10,410 dogs and 4,155 cats are registered in Manningham, which is an increase from data collected in 2019/20.
Visit yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/damp to have your say on this important issue.

Breaking Biases on International Women’s Day

MANNINGHAM Council was host to an International Women’s Day Morning Tea adopting the theme of #BreaktheBias.
The free event was held on March 8 in Manningham’s recently refurbished Function Centre and included a presentation and a lively panel discussion facilitated by TV and radio presenter Shelley Ware.
Shelley was joined by Asherly Bradac (disability advocate / Manningham Disability Advisory Committee), Varvara Ioannou (Food For Thought Network), Sally Goldner (Founding member of Transgender Victoria) and Aunty Irene Norman (Mullum Mullum Gathering Place).
The 2022 #BreaktheBias campaign seeks to create a gender equal world that is free of bias, discrimination and stereotypes.
Manningham Councillor Laura Mayne said that as a local council in 2022 they aim to achieve gender equality in every policy they do.
“We have just recently established a gender committee, which I am a part of, and it’s a really big action — also in gender diversity we have just established a new LGBTIQA+ diversity action plan.
“We are also undertaking a gender audit and considering our staff and operations, which is something we are continuously reviewing,” she said.
Guest speaker Aunty Irene Norman, a proud Wailwan woman and a Mullum Mullum Elder, said that breaking the bias means teaching
people — from going into schools and talking to the children and educating the teachers — is the first step to seeing change.
“One of the first things we say to teachers is, there is no such thing as a bad question, people are very uncomfortable about asking questions to first peoples of this country — gender bias, women’s issues, men’s issues, acceptance issues — don’t be frightened to ask is the biggest thing we teach them.
“How are you ever going to learn if you don’t ask questions, how are people going to learn if we don’t teach them?” she said.
Panellist Sally Goldner, an LGBTIQA+ diversity educator and founding member of Transgender Victoria, said transgender people
are not being represented at the higher levels.
“I feel mistrustful to people in positions of power because I feel trans people were often spoken for and spoken about without our consent and in ways we shouldn’t be talked about,” she said.
Ms Goldner said the value of curiosity and being open to learning is essential to breaking the bias.
“I hope we get to the point where International Women’s Day is celebrated with just the positives and we don’t have to talk about the
negatives,” she said.
Asherly Bradac single mother of four children, all living with disability and additional needs, said breaking the bias is looking within
ourselves and to understand what our own biases are — “it doesn’t take a genius or a degree to be kind.”
Facilitator of the event Shelley Ware, who has over 20 years’ experience in the media as a radio and television presenter on both
local and national AFL football news shows, said that although she has literally lived bias her whole career, we are now seeing more
women talking about AFL and having different conversations.
Aunty Irene Norman finished off the #BreaktheBias International Women’s Day discussion panel by saying: “It doesn’t matter who is biased against you, don’t hide — show yourself and your abilities, be yourself, hold your head up high and look people in the eye.”

NaNY Gallery off to a great start

THE NEW NaNY art gallery in the main street of Warrandyte has been an instant hit with locals and visitors alike.
Located inside the Now and Not Yet café and featuring local artist Jacinta Payne’s work as the first exhibition, the feedback to the gallery has been extremely positive.
Seven of Jacinta’s paintings have been snapped up by eager purchasers.
The next exhibition will be of North Warrandyte artist Tori Swedosh’s work. Entitled Can you see the beauty in it? this exhibition will feature works of mixed media, paintings, and sculptures.
“It all started by taking photos of mud”, said Tori.

“I’m a member of an awesome Facebook page called Warrandyte Nature.
“There are gorgeous photos of all the amazing birds, animals, flowers and sunsets around this beautiful place where I live in northeastern Melbourne.
“It was lockdown, and we were all confined to a 5km radius of our homes.
“I was meditating one morning down by the Yarra, and as I opened my eyes, I found myself looking at sloppy, mushy mud and some strands of grass that were growing out of it.
“It struck me then how we mostly don’t even notice the beauty of the earth beneath us.
“It’s easy to appreciate a great photo of a kangaroo, a wombat or an Eastern Rosella. “But dirt and leaves? I posted some photos on the page where a very funny conversation ensued. “’What is it?’, ‘Is there a snake?’.
“My response: ‘Nope. Just mud.’
“It made me laugh.
“Then I started to notice the exquisite quality of the fine details around me.
“A feather stuck in some leaves, bark from various trees, shadows and reflections.
“It’s endless if you dive into the minutiae of nature; the closer you look, the more detail you can find.
“It’s really quite wonderful.
“And it’s awesome to know that we are connected to all things and everyone.”

Nillumbik Council has provided a grant for the exhibition through their Nillumbik Artist in Own Residence program.
This program has been developed to commission opportunities for local creatives to create for, or with, community from their own unique art spaces.
Tori’s work has been produced in her home studio in North Warrandyte.
The exhibition opening night is on Sunday, February 6, from 5pm to 7pm.
The gallery will be set up as an immersive experience of the Warrandyte forests.
Wine and canapes will be served.
Other upcoming Exhibitions are as follows, with the opening night to be held from 5pm to 7pm on the dates below:

  • Kim Charbonneau, from April 3, 2022.
  • Myra Carter, from June 5, 2022.
  • Bronwyn Elmore, from August 7, 2022.

To stay informed of future exhibitions and events at NaNY Gallery follow their Facebook page at fb.me/NaNYGalleryWarrandyte.

Photo’s supplied

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Expect delays around Fitzsimons Lane construction blitz

**UPDATE 21/01/2022
Stage 1 works have now finished as part of the blitz, finishing five days ahead of schedule.

As of the morning of January 21, traffic can once again travel northbound from Templestowe to Eltham on Fitzsimons Lane with detours in place via Bolton Street for traffic travelling towards Eltham from Lower Plenty.
MRPV maintain Stage 2 works will finish on February 13, as per the December announcement.
For further details, read the story below.

WORKS ON THE Major Roads Project along Fitzsimons Lane are picking up during the school holidays, with plans for around-the-clock construction at the Main Road intersection from January 4 until February 13, 2022.
A statement from Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) said upgrades to key intersections in Eltham and Templestowe are set to improve safety and traffic flow for the 60,000 people who drive through the area every day.
Continuous day and night works
From Tuesday, January 4 until February 13, 2022, construction will be occurring 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to complete six months of work in six weeks and upgrade the Main Road roundabout to traffic lights.
Major construction will occur during the school holidays while traffic volumes are reduced; however, intersection closures will result in significant delays throughout the area.
Works will include:

  • installation of new drainage and new pavement,
  • installation and placement of new kerb,
  • underground services and foundation installation for the new traffic signals and lighting,
  • installation of traffic signals and lighting, and
  • completion of new sections of footpaths and driveways for the new intersection.

MRPV said it would continue to work closely with residents, businesses and drivers to undertake these works safely and efficiently.
However, during major construction, there will be lengthy disruptions, detours, and lane closures, and significant delays when travelling through the area
Residents will be impacted by noise from equipment and machinery such as generators, excavators, trucks, vibrations, dust, and light from the work area.
Speeds will be reduced to 40km/h and traffic management will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The 901 buses will continue uninterrupted, and 902 buses will be given priority travel through the work area during major construction works, so the route is also unchanged.
The 513 will be detoured via Bridge and Bolton streets.
MRPV said it was working closely with emergency services to ensure that emergency access is maintained throughout this period.

Traffic changes
The construction impacts and planned traffic management will be broken into two stages.

Stage 1
From January 4, 2022, there will be significant delays throughout the area.
Where possible, MRPV recommends drivers seek alternative routes, avoiding the intersection during peak-hours and allowing an extra 30 minutes travel time.
One lane will remain open through the Main Road intersection for those heading south towards the city via Fitzsimons Lane from Eltham.
If you are coming from the city heading north towards Eltham or travelling between Lower Plenty and Eltham, a temporary detour via Bolton Street and Bridge Street will be in place.

Stage 2
The intersection will be reopened from January 26, 2022, to allow traffic movement towards Eltham from the city via Fitzsimons Lane.
Travel delays of up to 15 minutes are expected during this time, and detours will still be in place via Bolton Street for those travelling between Lower Plenty and Eltham.
Throughout this period, Souter Street and Jayson Avenue will be closed.
While the road is closed, Souter Street will have a temporary detour via Falkiner Street.
Jayson Avenue will be detoured via Homestead Road to Fitzsimons Lane.

Managing impacts
MRPV stated it would monitor noise, vibration and dust levels at all times to ensure these impacts are kept to a minimum.
If you have any noise concerns, please contact MRPV on 1800 105 105.

For more information, visit bigbuild.vic.gov.au/projects/mrpv/fitzsimons-lane-upgrade/roads/main-road

Jazz takes up residence in Hurstbridge

IT WAS ALMOST like the “old days” at the launch of the Hurstbridge Jazz Club on Friday, December 10.
For a few hours, patrons could forget about lockdowns and all the restrictions endured due to the pesky pandemic and enjoy some world- class jazz.
Of course, there was still the COVID check-in process to do (effortlessly managed by the organisers), but the buzz of excitement from both the audience and performers was palpable.
Joy would be how I would describe the feeling in the room — joy and awe that such top-notch music was being delivered so close to home. Following an incredibly tough two years for the creative industry, it was an exciting night for musicians and music lovers alike.
With the continued uncertainty around the globe as we emerge from COVID, musicians’ opportunity to perform in their own community is more important than ever.
The club was launched by the Kimba Griffith Quintet, who are musicians at the top of their game.
Equally impressive were the young musicians who performed as special guests.
Jazz, I am told, is often a divisive genre — you either love it or hate it.
The audience was a mixed bag; yes, there were some seasoned jazz lovers in the room, but there were just as many people experiencing this type of music for the first time, and I would say that “love it” was the vibe for the night.
The music was divine, energetic, and foot tappingly addictive.
The musicians were masters of their craft, visibly delighted to be performing again and even more so in their own community.
And then there was the venue — the Anglers Club in Cherry Tree Road, Hurstbridge, is a tiny building you could be forgiven for never noticing.
Yet, it has been there for over 50 years.
Once a Guides’ hall, it is now a converted black box theatre managed by Eltham Arts Council, also the setting for the regular Comedy at The Anglers sessions.
This unique venue is intimate and interesting. Patrons are seated at cafe tables or on comfy couches with coffee tables.
There are candles, the odd red velvet curtain, a house piano, and a small, excellently lit stage.
Bring Your Own is the go, although a generous platter was also provided for those who forgot to bring any nibbles.
The venture was a huge success, led by local musician Ryan Griffith and supported by a Nillumbik Community Fund arts and culture grant.
Ryan said the idea for the club came about due to the impact the pandemic had on live music performance.
“Everything, all gigs, stopped or were cancelled. “I have many professional jazz musician friends who live in the area who were naturally in the same boat, so I thought wouldn’t it be great to bring some live jazz to our local area and foster a scene here for local players of all ages.
“We have some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians living in Nillumbik.
“Traditionally they wouldn’t play much around town because they are always touring or playing city clubs.
“Hopefully this jazz club will provide a dedicated place for jazz in Nillumbik,” he said.
Ryan went on to speak about the club’s mission to foster younger jazz artists and will feature an up-and-coming jazz musician at each event. “They are incredibly talented and I know that our audience on December 10 loved our young artists as much as they did the feature band,” he said.
Three hours whizzed by.
The interaction between the band and the audience was a bonus, being refreshingly humorous and engaging.
The stories behind the songs and personal reflections were all part of the performance.
You get the sense that this is just the start of something special.
And at just $20 a ticket, it is not only a very affordable night out but one that doesn’t require a trek into the city.
The Anglers Club is destined to become a hidden gem in Nillumbik’s cultural repertoire.
Due to the size of the venue, tickets are limited, so book soon for the next event in January 2022.

Next performance

January edition of Hurstbridge Jazz Club featuring the Gideon Brazil Quintet and The Forbidden Groove.
7–10pm, Friday, January 21, 2022.
Anglers Club, 31 Cherry Tree Rd, Hurstbridge, Tickets: www.trybooking.com/events/ landing?eid=848960&

Birrarung has a new voice

North Warrandyte resident, Charlotte Sterrett has been appointed a Yarra Riverkeeper, the first woman to take up the role.
The Yarra Riverkeeper Association (YRKA) is the voice of the Yarra, an independent, communityled organisation of advocates who represent and protect this iconic Melbourne waterway.
Charlotte said, as Melbourne’s population grows, the river is under increasing environmental pressure, pollution, and habitat fragmentation.
“Riverkeepers are vital to keeping the Yarra healthy”.
Much of Charlotte’s career has been with aid charities Oxfam and World Vision on climate change education and community adaptation
projects in countries such as Bangladesh, Vanuatu, and South Africa.
She is a member of WarrandyteCAN (Climate Action Now), as well as a local Landcare group, and is a regular environmental columnist for
Warrandyte Diary.
She told the Bulletin that working with Warrandyte CAN has shown her the impact local action can make.
She said her role is as the chief spokesperson for the organisation and “she will be telling the story of the Birrarung/Yarra and lobbying local and state governments”.
Charlotte joins another Warrandyte resident, Warwick Leeson, who is chair of the YRKA.
She replaces outgoing Riverkeeper, Andrew Kelly.

Photo BILL McAULEY

Macedon traders unsatisfied

MACEDON Square’s proposed streetscape upgrade has been in the works for over a year, with traders fighting to keep the centre functional and safe.
In August 2020, Manningham Council released two concept designs aiming to upgrade Macedon Square, one with an open space plan (Option B) and one without (Option A). Traders and community members identified several sore points in the proposed plans, leading Council to prolong consultation and work alongside community members to address these issues.
Four key areas were identified for improvement: parking, safety, accessibility, and other design features. “Consulting with the community is a top priority for Council,” Director City Planning and Community, Angelo Kourambas, told WD Bulletin.
Officers created a revised plan based on this feedback, which was endorsed by Council in its September 28 Ordinary Council Meeting.
However, traders in the centre are still left unsatisfied. Gary Cyganek, owner of Egons Bakery and representing the Macedon Square traders, spoke with WD Bulletin about the points of contention in the revised plan.
“All they’ve done is revise the plan we’ve rejected.
“We feel safety has been compromised,” he said. Although the revised concept design increases road widths along Macedon Road (5.6 metres) compared to prior plans, traders are unsettled by any narrowing of the road at all. Council will also install a 0.6m wide central traffic median to limit east/west car movements along Macedon Road. Traders are apprehensive about the prospective narrowing of the road, due to fears of potential safety hazards, increased collisions, and congestion.
“I think it’s still very dangerous on the road, which is our number one priority.
“By narrowing the road you’re putting people closer to moving vehicles when they’re loading and unloading their car.
“We know the feedback from our customers — they don’t like the congestion [in the centre] and this is going to make it worse.”
Mr Cyganek goes on to say the traders are not convinced the restructuring of the road will create any benefit to Macedon Square patrons and traders alike.
“We’re going to call for an independent TAC report because we feel we need to be shown that this will be best practice, because we just can’t see it.
“We feel this is not functional nor is it safe,” Mr Cyganek says.
In the September 2021 engagement report, Council re- surveyed the community, prompting individuals to choose between Option A, Option B or Option C.
19 per cent voted for Option A (without open space), 56 per cent voted for Option B (with open space) and 24 per cent voted for Option C (neither).
With majority community support for an open space concept, Council is now preparing to progress with the detail design phase of the project, with construction expected to commence in early 2023.
Mr Kourambas said Council will continue to engage with the community on the Macedon Square project.
“Council will continue to engage with traders during the detail design stage of the project in early 2022.
“This may include further investigation of other suggestions such as locations for new trolley bays, electric vehicle charging stations, car share spaces and smart waste bins,” says Mr Kourambas.

A new chapter for Zul and Café Z

CAFÉ Z, HAS BEEN an important part of the Research and broader Nillumbik community for more than 20 years. Owner Zulal “Zul” Rogers opened the café in June 8, 2001, converting it from the Nillumbik Country Café to Café Z with the aim of introducing the community to Turkish culinary culture.
But after two decades of introducing Research and the surrounding community to Köfte, Döner, Baklava, and Kahvalti, and being a general all-round community superstar, Zul has hung up her apron and handed the café over to new owners in late-September.
To mark this new chapter in her life, WD Bulletin spoke with Zul about the last 20 years.
Prior to owning Café Z, Zul ran a catering business from home, selling food at the Eltham Market and teaching Turkish cooking classes at the local Living and Learning Centre.
The balance between raising young children and running a small business from home was stressful, not being able to “call home, home” is one of the reasons why Zul decided to open Café Z.
“Everyone dreams of owning a café, but I had to work my butt off.”
The first five years were tough, and she initially struggled to attract customers to come and try Turkish cuisine. “Research was a very anglo area and I was introducing Middle Eastern Turkish cuisine, so I had to find the right balance to keep the customers happy”.
Zul found that her food was “accepted, and not accepted” with people making comments belittling the type of food she was making, such as falafel.
But, over time, the community discovered the delight of Turkish cuisine, and she watched her business grow.
It is nearly impossible to chart the journey of a business, especially a café, without mentioning the current pandemic. Like many, government restrictions meant Zul needed to pivot to keep Café Z afloat.
She did this by providing freshly cooked, packed foods, take away coffee, and a bright, positive attitude to everyone who came to her front door.
The community response was a true testament to how Zul has made an impact within the community, with regulars not only showing their support with their wallet.
“The number of bunches of flowers and cards we got from people saying thank you for getting us through COVID was just beautiful, touching and humbling.
“We were fortunate, very fortunate and lucky.”
Doing anything for 20 years is a long time, so WD Bulletin asked Zul what her favourite part was of owning a café. “Meeting beautiful people and customers who have become friends”.
Over time, Zul has developed a two-way relationship with her customers, from an “outpour of love and support for the café and staff ”, to customers bringing in fresh, home-grown lemons for her desserts.
Looking forward, Café Z continues under the stewardship of new owners Rosa and Paul, adding their own take on
Image supplied, Facebook
what regulars of Café Z have become accustomed to, and the new owners have her blessing.
As for Zul, she continues to provide Turkish cuisine and cooking classes under the banner of Hart & Sole Catering and is also looking forward to going back to school in 2022, with the aim to become a teacher and is looking forward to a change of pace from the stresses of running a café.
Zul would like to the thank the community of Nillumbik for the kindness and generosity over the years.
“It’s been a beautiful humbling experience and I’m glad they liked what I did, thank you, thank you, thank you”. Zul would also like to thank her four children, Jess, Dylan, Will and Hamish for their love and support over the years. We wish Zul and her family all the best for their future endeavours.

Locals plea to save Apollo Park

THE APOLLO PARK Community is battling to save their identity and the public space around Civic Drive, Greensborough.
In recent years, the renovated playground, fitness centre, library, along with ample parking, has made the space very popular.
However, a $675M State Government initiative to build 10 community hospitals close to major growth areas across Victoria has identified Civic Drive as the preferred location for the Eltham area Community Hospital.“The Victorian Government is building community hospitals so families can have peace of mind that help is just around the corner when something is not quite right or when a loved one gets sick,” a Department of Health spokesperson told the WD Bulletin.While not against the idea of a new community hospital, residents around Apollo Park are concerned the choice to site the proposed community hospital at Civic Drive will take away existing parking, forcing facility users to spill out into local streets, or avoid the area completely.Apollo Parkway resident Kelly Farrow, told the WD Bulletin why her family moved to the area, and the concerns she and her three year old son Clyde have about the works and the impact it will have on the green spaces and congestion in the area.

“He [Clyde] loves playing at the Rainbow Snake park and running around on the sloped hill and amphitheatre, which will both be loomed and shaded over by the hospital and carpark.
He is genuinely really worried about it and keeps asking me how we will save the park.
We moved to Apollo Parkways from the inner-city two years ago and one reason was that open green space and facilities on Civic Drive.
Clyde will go to the Apollo Parkways Primary School in two years, which is directly opposite the hospital site.
Due to the steep roads around here, we will have to drive there, and I’m already worrying about where I’ll park to drop him off as I’ve seen (and got stuck in!) the insane bottlenecks during peak times.
You can’t even enter the IGA carpark from 3pm as it’s completely chokkas with parents, as is every road and
carpark around there.
As his mum, I’m really worried about the greatly increased traffic that will go in past the playpark and sports centre, and out past the library, as kids like Clyde are fast runners and are used to being able to tramp around this green area quite safely,” Kelly said.

WD Bulletin also spoke to community members Rosemary Burdett and Dr Svetlana Ryzhihk, who have been active in the fight to save Apollo Park.
“I’m just disappointed that the hospital is going to be built on all the parking that services the facilities in the area — the stadium, the library — and that parking is also used by the parents of Apollo Parkways Primary School.
“I don’t understand why they think they can take all of that parking and then leave none for the local people who have been accessing those facilities for decades.
“All those community hospitals are a terrific thing, nobody is arguing against it, it’s just the site,” says Ms Burdett.
Parking pains are exacerbated with the expansion of the fitness centre — now hosting regional matches and more training sessions, increasing the demand for parking space.
There are currently no guarantees of free parking, as Austin Health will be managing future parking pertaining to the hospital.
Locals fear that potential paid parking in the precinct could deter activity in the centre and create congestion in nearby streets.
“If you take away the parking, where are people going to park?
“People are either going to use local streets or they won’t use the stadium,” says Ms Burdett.
Dr Svetlana Ryzhihk, President of Friends of Apollo Parkways (FoAP), has gained immense community support with her Save Apollo Parklands Now petition, receiving over 1,300 signatures nearly reaching its goal of 1,500.
Dr Ryzhihk says the community is also concerned by the “non-existent” public transport access.
“Public transport access is non-existent.
“There are two bus stops one 500 metres away and one 600 metres away — the terrain is very steep, so for people with limited mobility that won’t be an option,” said Dr Ryzhihk.
The open space in Civic 0Drive has been well loved by its community — many locals utilising the space for picnics, gatherings and walks with furry friends.
“Putting in one more high use facility will kill the community.
“The community is asking Council not to sell the land,” says Dr Ryzhihk.
In the coming weeks Council will decide whether or not to sell — however, if the August 24 Nillumbik Ordinary Council Meeting is an indicator of things to come, regardless of the verdict, the fate of Apollo Park could already be sealed.
Cr Peter Perkins told the meeting:

“Council has not yet resolved a formal position on whether or not to sell the land.
It is important to note that if Council resolves not to sell the land to the State Government, the option of compulsory acquisition is still very open to it.
Council will consider all available information at the time before making any decision.”

The Department of Health told the WD Bulletin they are considering community views. “We’re continuing to work with Nillumbik Shire Council to ensure community views are heard around the preferred location for the Eltham area Community Hospital.” However, a report from a member of FoAP following a Victorian Health Building Authority (VHBA) information session on September 8 would suggest VHBA’s community engagement is as tokenistic as the engagement other community groups have experienced with Big Build projects, as reported in September’s Warrandyte Diary.
Of the 40+ questions submitted by FoAP at the information session, FoAP says many were not answered or VHBA provided answers that qualified community concern.
As a verdict draws near, the local community are adamant that they will not give up their fight to preserve Apollo Park.
“We can’t let anything else happen to this land, we’re trying our hardest,” says Dr Ryzhihk. Nillumbik has an online community feedback portal on its Participate website for the Eltham area Community Hospital project, which is open until September 26. Following this, Council plans to decide on whether or not to sell the land to VHBA at the October 26 Council Meeting.
To have your say, visit: participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/hospital
To learn more about the community concerns at Apollo Park visit: www.facebook.com/Friends-of-Apollo-ParkwaysInc-101202678897604
To learn more about the Community Hospital Program visit : www.vhba.vic.gov.au/health/community-based-care/ community-hospitals-program

Sawdust in his veins

RYAN GASKETT HAS spent the last 10 years with the smell of sawdust and two stroke in his nostrils.
The filmmaker has been filming chainsaw artist Leigh Conkie since 2012 for the feature length documentary Leigh, which will have its premiere screening at ACMI in December.
Ryan first met the iconic Eltham artist while at film school.
He said he had always loved looking at the sculptor’s “outdoor gallery”, which is a feature of everyone’s commute along Eltham’s Main Road, so he jumped at the chance to interview him.
“We had to make a short documentary, and I chose to do stories from the neighbourhood, and a friend introduced me to his neighbour, and I interviewed him for two hours and made a 10-minute documentary about him,” he told WD Bulletin.
Ryan said the initial short film could not do the chainsaw artist justice, as there was so much more he wanted to tell about Leigh, so the initial interview was the first of many filming sessions they had over several years.
In late 2014, Ryan filmed Leigh sculpting a female asylum seeker holding a baby.
Then, Ryan said, they did a late-night installation of the work on the lawn of The Age’s then headquarters in Collins Street, Melbourne.
Within hours, security guards had removed the sculpture, but the installation had made its point — raising awareness of refugee issues and generating thousands of “Likes” online.
While Leigh Conkie is known around Eltham for his chainsaw art, Ryan said the film is not really about that, it is about the man behind the artist.
“He’s had a pretty hard life, he was abused as a child, had been in a major car accident, and he was in a pretty down place”.
Ryan said at one stage, Leigh lost the passion for his art and was just producing playground features for the money.
The bulk of the film was recorded between 2014 and 2016, when Leigh made the decision to turn his life around.
“He was going through a pretty low point in his life at the time, and he decided to give himself a goal and go to Japan to climb Mount Fuji,” he said.
Ryan said while that was a pretty “out there” thing to do, anyone who knew Leigh thought it was totally something that he would do.
“I actually have the moment he made the decision to do it on camera, he made his mind up while we were in the middle of an interview,” the filmmaker said.
From then, he stopped drinking and started running and working out and eating healthy — although he wouldn’t give up the cigarettes.
Ryan said it was a big deal for Leigh to attempt something as big as climbing Mt Fuji, because at the time he could barely walk to the local 7Eleven.
But Ryan was there with Leigh every step of the way, documenting the long road to his health and his art.
Originally crowd sourced through Pozible, the filmmaker managed to get a host of local collaboration on the film, including local composer Charly Harrison scoring the documentary, and including music from the Teskey Brothers, and Gotye.
The film was originally due to be premiered in October, but due to COVID, the screening has been moved to December, and has already sold out.
A second ACMI screening in February has just been announced, and if you get in quick, tickets can be booked via Eventbrite.

‘Leigh’ – Documentary Trailer from Ava Grace Productions on Vimeo.

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Photos courtesy: RYAN GASKETT

Get out on the green

LAWN BOWLS has seen a resurgence over recent times and the sport is growing in popularity around the world as people of all ages see the benefits of getting out on the green. And in Manningham it is no different.
With multiple clubs across the municipality, residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a green close to them.
Each club offers something slightly different, with everything from barefoot bowls to Pennant competitions, there really is something for everyone.
Greg Hodson from Templestowe Bowling Club said members enjoy a club atmosphere and ethic that values sporting participation.

“It is a club that demonstrates community spirit, honesty and friendship, good sportsmanship but most importantly promotes having a good time,” he said.

The club offers Saturday and midweek Pennant Competition in the summer season.

“Interclub challenge matches and Intraclub Tournaments are also eagerly anticipated and highly enjoyable events,” Greg said.

Recreational and casual bowling is made available, and Saturday social games are played outside of the summer season, and Wednesday social games are played all year round.
He said Barefoot Bowling is scheduled every Sunday or upon request.
Donvale Bowls Club’s Robert Fairweather said his club has a vision for its future, developing a strong administration, member participation, and importantly, coaching and encouragement, expressed as “Donvale a vibrant, growing and successful club”.
He said the club has overcome some hard times, but has been successfully embarking on a determined and assertive recruitment program, a program designed to attract and retain new bowlers.
The Club’s membership has grown in the last five years to 242 members and continues to grow.

“With 13 affiliated and qualified coaches, a coaching and development program in place, we are ensuring all our members, receive ample opportunities to achieve their potential as bowlers, coaches, umpires, committee members or selectors,” he said.

Rob said many new bowlers who join, are initially only interested in social bowling, have fun, enjoy the fellowship a club such as Donvale provides, lots of opportunities to keep them involved.
However, he said for those with a competitive spirit, Pennant sides provide an opportunity for all abilities. Donvale has both grass and synthetic greens, enabling members to play or roll up all year.
Rob said the club is indeed fortunate enlisting the services of current senior and highly credentialed playing Coach Scott Rees.
He said Scott has played an active and integral role in the success story associated with the Donvale Bowls Club. “Scott, our current Club Champion, continued on to win the coveted Champion of Champions — indeed a mighty effort,” Rob said.
Last season, Donvale had a remarkable Pennant season with eight teams qualifying and playing finals, including a promotion to Division 1.
New members are always welcome, and both the Templestowe and Donvale Bowls Clubs encourage anyone interested to get in touch.
No matter where you live, once play resumes after lockdown, there is a club ready to welcome you on to the green.

feature image: pixabay

A butterfly flaps its wings

in response to Derailed by the butterfly effect, (WD Bulletin, July 2021)

MANY IN MONTMORENCY welcomed the announcement of the Hurstbridge Line Duplication (HLD) project at the 2018 election.
In 2019, when the project was confirmed to start in 2021, the Montmorency community was promised an “upgrade” to our small, unmanned station following a community consultation period.
No information on planned design or footprint was given to the community during the consultation period from late 2019 until October 2020.
Montmorency locals were aware of investigative works taking place throughout 2019 and 2020, including environmental assessments as mandated by the Banyule Council Planning Scheme for any works in a declared Vegetation Protection Overlay 1 (VPO1) where native species are protected.
In January 2020, feedback was sought for Amendment GC155 to the Banyule Planning Scheme.
This was then superseded by clause 52.03 Level Crossing Removal Project of the Victorian Planning Scheme, passed in late January 2020.
Clause 52.03 gives the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXPR) wide-ranging scope to bypass all local planning schemes in order to facilitate any project undertaken by LXRP.
Only minimal consultation with councils or communities is required, and all reports and assessments can be carried out only “to the satisfaction of the Minister for Planning”, with no other checks and balances for compliance or responsibility.
The Environmental Management Framework (EMF) required by Clause 52.03 was not made available to the public, despite repeated requests directly to LXRP, until late June 2021 via Banyule Council.
The released EMF, dated March 29, 2021, is Revision 2 of the EMF.
We have been unable to obtain previous versions of this document to date.
The current EMF version does mention the discovery of the Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) in January 2021 and the actions taken to ensure the protection of its habitat since confirmation of its presence.
Environmentalists in Montmorency and beyond were extremely thankful to the local resident who recognised the endangered butterfly and reported its sighting to the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.
As WD Bulletin’s July article comprehensively related, the conditions for a colony of ECB to thrive are very particular and require a three-way symbiotic relationship between a native bush, Bursaria Spinosa, a specific species of ant, Notoncus genus, and the ECB.
We take issue however with Sonja Terpstra’s claims that the ECB “before this year, was not previously known to be in Montmorency” and “has never before been seen in Montmorency”.
According to a report Butterfly changes in a peri-urban landscape published in Austral Entomology, the colony was first detected in 1977, on a property on Looker Road.

“The Montmorency site was monitored for over 10 years (from 1977 to 1988) but was subsequently reduced in extent by housing development in 1985, and then the colony subsequently collapsed sometime during the late 1990s-early 2000s.”

According to a letter from the Hon. Jacinta Allan dated July 12, 2021:

“Since 2017, the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) has been conducting detailed ecological assessments to make sure the project would not threaten the ECB and its habitat.”

Yet these same ecological assessors failed to find any evidence of the presence of the ECB in an area where at least two of the three required species are present and would have been for a while, and close to where the ECB was recorded and monitored until the early 2000s.
The area around the rail cutting, currently fenced as an Environment Protection No-Go Zone, is also well-known to be a very significant example of pre-occupation remnant bushland where native species thrive.
It is not a stretch to assume that ecological assessments, carried out over almost four years, should have been actively looking for the ECB since it is part of the list of seven protected species potentially found in the project area as per the EMF.
Environmental and community groups are rightly worried that this fairly cavalier attitude to protecting areas of significant vegetation and wildlife is carrying through to other areas of the project.
This worry is borne out by the experience of members of the Banyule Sugar Glider Project and the Montmorency Community Group, who have been trying to work with LXRP to secure assurances that the Montmorency sugar glider colony would be shielded from impacts of the construction works as much as possible.
The Banyule Sugar Glider Project was awarded a $64,000 grant in 2019 as part of this State Government’s Pick My Project, a participatory budgeting community grants initiative carried out in 2018.
This same State Government’s LXRP has now destroyed a large part of the sugar gliders’ habitat in Montmorency and Greensborough.
The hard work of community volunteers, who nurtured and secured a thriving colony of over 70 sugar gliders in the area, was wiped out when LXRP removed most of the mature canopy trees found along the rail corridor between the Plenty River and the Diamond Creek, mostly for site access, car parks and a project whose scope is sorely lacking in foresight and benefits.
This rail corridor is also in a VPO1 zone and is recognised by local environmentalists and community groups as a thriving wildlife corridor supporting many native species of our precious and declining fauna.
LXRP’s consultation process with community groups has been tokenistic at best, and manipulated to fit their narrative at worst.
Many community members are feeling dejected and betrayed, having been used as pawns by the government’s spinning machine, to pay lip service to sham consultation processes.
As quoted in Derailed by the butterfly effect, LXPR downgraded its delivery expectations in light of the ECB habitat protection with peak services “on average every seven 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”.
Montmorency is bearing the brunt of the environmental impacts of the project, yet it appears that there is no integrated plan to improve services and amenities along the Hurstbridge line as part of this $530m project, nor any political will to ensure a lasting legacy for the communities along the train line.
The revised design has deleted 950m of duplicated tracks and a brand-new bridge at Mountain View Road, yet we are told there have been no significant savings and that the extra services can now be achieved through signalling works. Calculations, based on the current PTV timetable, have found that the current morning peak services already meet the promised average of trains every seven minutes from Greensborough, 10 minutes from Eltham and 20 minutes from Hurstbridge.
Afternoon service peaks would require eight additional services to Greensborough, six to Eltham, and two to Hurstbridge to deliver the promised benefits.
LXRP has confirmed that only two additional services in the morning peak will be delivered at the end of 2022.
Once again, we question the extent of the construction impacts on the environment and the community for only two additional services in the morning and no change to afternoon services.
Many communities around Melbourne are seeing their precious green environment devastated and irreversibly changed for the worse, for the benefit of major infrastructure projects that are being imposed on them with no meaningful consultation, and with no regard for local planning and environmental safeguards.
Locals are being disempowered and silenced by large government agencies dedicated to spinning and selling major works on behalf of a state government without an integrated transport plan.
This is devastating for our local environment and far- reaching across our city.

Information session

LXRP had planned to host some information sessions to outline the changes to the project following the discovery of the Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) in Montmorency.
In a statement from Member of Eltham, Vicki Ward, it was announced that the current lockdown has made it clear that face-to-face sessions will not be able to be run. “I have asked LXRP to host an online information session regarding the changes to the project, to replace the sessions scheduled for last month,” she said.

An online information session will now be held at 4pm on Friday, August 27.

To register, please visit:

hurstbridge-line-duplication.eventbrite.com.au

Community representatives are calling on greater consultation on landscaping, colour scheme, and artwork of the Montmorency station upgrade, to allow the community to take ownership of the project.
Local activist Cécile Ménard said:

“Monty and its surrounding area is teeming with passionate environmentalists, artists and community-minded people who would love to put their mark on the heart of their village for the better”.
She urged the local member to call on LXRP to “revisit their token Landscaping Working Group, Stakeholder Liaison Group and 2021 Consultation Report (conducted when the community had no information on the design) and turn them into forces for good — there is still time.”

feature image supplied

Lockdown extended and tightened

Updated August 23

Pandemic of complacency

VICTORIA IS in hard lockdown as the state battles to get ahead of the highly infectious Delta strain.
Existing restrictions have been expanded across the state and permitted worker scheme, which was originally implemented in August 2020, has been reinstated, the 9pm curfew has also been reintroduced for Melbourne.
The current restrictions build on what was implemented on August 5, 2021, and are currently due to expire on September 2 at 11:59pm.
For three weeks, locals have been living with work-from- home arrangements, the 5km bubble and two-hours of exercise per day.
As of 11:59pm on August 16, these restrictions were expanded to further limit movement and the risk of community infection.
In addition to the 9pm–5am curfew and the need for “authorised” workers to carry a permit, exercise was adjusted to a maximum of two people — plus dependents — even if you are in the same household, and public skateparks, playgrounds, exercise equipment and basketball hoops are closed.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton said the new measures were needed to gain control of the outbreak and come on the back of several events that flouted the restrictions, which Professor Sutton hopes will not become super-spreader events.

“At the moment we have a steady number of cases who are out in the community each day, and an increasing number of mystery cases, and we need to get ahead of that.
“These new measures will help us limit movement, so we can catch up and shut down this outbreak,” he said.

Professor Sutton has also made recommendations that masks be worn by all primary school aged children.
The government acknowledged the sense of lockdown fatigue that has set in but stressed these measures were needed to make our communities “CovidSafe” once again.

“These restrictions are hard work for every Victorian,” said State Premier, Daniel Andrews.
“Everyone wants this pandemic to be over, but the rules are in place for a reason — we know they work and if we follow them together, we’ll be able to lift them sooner.”

Although the list of exposure sites currently exceeds 500 across metropolitan Melbourne and there are more than 273 active cases in this current outbreak, residents of Manningham and Nillumbik are doing their part, with both municipalities relatively free of exposure sites, with one Tier 2 exposure site in East Doncaster recently added.

VCE Changes

All examinations, onsite school-based assessments and the General Assessment Test (GAT) will be conducted with extra health precautions.
And the Consideration of Educational Disadvantage will apply to every student completing one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3-4 subject in 2021.
Consistent with 2020, the process will consider the individual impact of Coronavirus, such as school closures, students’ health impact, remote learning and mental health challenges, and will use data like the GAT, other assessment and school comparisons to calculate final VCE results.

Getting tested and vaccinated

The message from government is to get tested if you have even the mildest of symptom

  • fever
  • chills or sweats
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • loss or change in sense of smell or taste

Visit the State Government’s Coronavirus website for the most up to date information on testing locations www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19 People aged 18 and above are now eligible for vaccination with nearby vaccination centres located in Ringwood East and Heidelberg Heights and it is highly recommended to book in advance as most centres are not taking walk-ins for under-60s.
As of August 31, anyone 16–39 will be eligible for Pfizer vaccine.
For more information about the coronavirus vaccination and where you can get it, visit: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine.

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.

Arundel Road residents cheesed off at rat-runners

RESIDENTS OF Arundel Road in Park Orchards have applied to Council to have their road closed to through traffic.
At the May 25 Manningham Council meeting, Council supported, in principle, the permanent closure of Arundel Road (west) to through traffic at the intersection of Park Road.
A petition from residents was tabled at the meeting, where Council then heard that traffic volumes have increased during the Knees Road roadworks, as motorists look to avoid congestion linked to the works.
Extensive traffic management devices were installed along the section of road when constructed in the 1990s, however residents are still experiencing traffic concerns and dangers.
Residents of Arundel Road have raised extensive concerns and objections to the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Knees Road and Arundel Road and are extremely concerned about Arundel Road being increasingly and dangerously used as a rat-run; particularly by school parents and residents avoiding traffic congestion.
Council officers held an on-site meeting with residents prior to the council meeting.
Residents at the street-meeting requested the permanent closure of Arundel Road at Park Road, indicating that the closure of the road would prevent through traffic using this section of Arundel Road making it safer for pedestrians to walk along the road pavement.
Several reported near misses and three accidents of children being hit by cars rushing along Arundel Road have occurred.
In the most recent incident in April, a child was struck on his bike at the intersection of Park Road and Arundel Road by a driver using Arundel Road as a cut through.
Residents told council officers that the street is too narrow and has chicanes and speed humps to deter this traffic — this is unfortunately not enough of a deterrent.
Residents have noted parents running late for school drop off/pick up rush at dangerous speeds down Arundel Road and residents believe the new roundabout at Arundel Road will only compound this issue.
The street was originally a private road and was set up and built accordingly, as well as originally designed as a “no through road”.
Other mitigation and pedestrian safety measures were considered, including the construction of a footpath along one side of Arundel Road.
Residents said they rejected this idea as they did not wish to change the streetscape or impact existing vegetation.
Cr Carli Lange has been advocating for the residents of Arundel Road, she told the Diary: “The residents are asking for the opportunity to provide a delegation to represent the street in the consultation process and have strong support in the street for this Road Closure solution”.
The road closure would include a turnabout area, to facilitate large vehicle movements, such as waste collection vehicles.
The implementation of the road closure is still contingent on a report being obtained from the Department of Transport and agreement from emergency services agencies.

Lest we forget

Anzac Day services were held across the country, and after missing the camaraderie during last year’s lockdown, this year people were eager to gather together to remember our fallen heroes.
Across Manningham and Nillumbik moving services were held during Anzac morning.
Well-attended dawn services in Eltham and Doncaster preceded a mid-morning service in Templestowe, along with marches and commemorations in Warrandyte, and Montmorency, where moving tributes to veterans old and young were held.
The new tradition of remembrance at home saw people light up the dawn in their driveways, with livestreams from national and local services allowing connection from afar.

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