Featured

Babes in the woods

The Warrandyte Riverside Market is one for all ages and although the sun popped through a few times during our first Spring market, these gorgeous “babes in the woods” were lucky their parents Tessa and Jacqueline ensured they were all rugged up to combat the morning chill. Pictured between a rock and a soft place were twins Abel and Olivia, 2, and friend Annika, 2.

PHOTO: Scott Podmore

aa-featured

Warrandyte junior footy teams chase flags


LOCALS are urged to put a few hours aside this Sunday to lend their support to two Warrandyte Junior Football Club teams who have made it through to the grand final in the Yarra Junior Football League.

The two teams are the Under 14s (above, celebrating a recent victory) and the Under 15s (below), who both will play at Victoria Park Lower at 12.30pm and 2.45pm respectively, which means the Red & White army of supporters can set up camp at the one venue and watch the two Grand Finals in a row.

Both teams have not only made the big dance, but are red-hot favourites and had the luxury of a weekend off after smashing victories last Sunday week.

The U15s finished their year second on the ladder with an impressive nine wins from 14 matches. They came into their semi final full of confidence after winning their last three matches of the season.

In the first week of the finals the Bloods travelled to Bundoora, who finished on top of the ladder, only losing four matches all year. Our boys dished out an impressive performance and gave the home team a lesson as they smashed Bundoora 14.14.98 d 5.4.34. The win meant the U15s could progress straight to the Grand Final and have a week off.

bloods 15s

Eugene Hanson, coach of the U15s, spoke passionately about how the boys were ready to go and had the potential (playing at their best) to win the Grand Final but had to learn to control their emotions.

“I told them don’t think about the game itself, it’s very important to make the build-up as normal as possible,” he said.

“We have been training to manage and help the players understand the emotions coming into the game. The boys lost a grand final in the U10s competition five years ago and some of them have a fear of losing, so we want to make sure their emotions don’t get the better of them.”

The U15 boys will go into the Grand Final clear favourites as they do battle with Macleod at Victoria Park Lower in Kew at 2.45pm this Sunday (August 28). The good news is our Bloods have beaten Macleod twice throughout the season by comfortable margins. A flag is looking good.

On the same day the U15s rocketed into the grand final, shortly after the U14s followed suit, giving Doncaster no chance of even a sniff of victory as they ran over them 13.5.83 to 5.12.42.

The U14 team’s road to the finals was solid as they finished the regular season on top of the ladder, winning 11 of their possible 15 games, including only one loss in the last 11 (to Preston who was bundled out last week). What made the U14s semi final win even more impressive was that Doncaster finished second, also on 11 wins, with only percentage separating the two teams.

Warrandyte will battle it out with Banyule in the Grand Final after the Bears beat Doncaster in the preliminary final by one goal on Sunday.

U14s coach Andrew Wallace says he is very confident and reckons if the boys “stay strong and work as a team” and “keep their heads up until the final siren” they can pull off a win.

Warrandyte’s U14s will play Banyule at Victoria Park Lower, Kew, at 12.30pm this Sunday (the match before the U15s).

Both coaches and the rest of the WJFC urge Warrandytians to head down to the grand finals this Sunday and support our young Bloods as they hunt for flag glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Cookin’ up a storm

Quinton’s IGA hires a top gun chef to take the supermarket to new heights.

The supermarket industry has changed significantly over the past 20 years and sadly many family owned grocers have been snuffed out by the big chains and multinationals who dominate the Australian market.

So it is becoming quite rare for a supermarket such as Warrandyte’s very own family owned and run, Quinton’s IGA, to not only survive but thrive, powering on with innovation and, at times, with community faith-based risk and often leading the way in what is a very ruthless, cutthroat industry.

The ongoing success of Warrandyte’s family grocer is due to the quality and standards set by Quinton’s.

The philosophy is, “If it’s not good enough for our family’s dinner table, then it’s not good enough for our customer’s table.”

The drive to continually evolve and to keep up with trends is also a major factor in Quinton’s success. However, Quinton’s IGA is about to take our much loved family grocery store to a whole new level over the coming few months.

With the introduction of new head chef, Dave Cafarella, who is partnering with the Quinton’s team, bringing ‘big city’ convenience to Warrandyte, while still keeping our community uniqueness and country town friendliness.

Julie Quinton’s excitement over the development is infectious, as she reels off Chef Dave’s credentials.

“Dave has been head chef at Domaine Chandon, head chef at The Public Brewery, sous chef at Olivigna and head chef at the Lilydale General,” she told the Diary. “Along with his beautiful wife Bec and his two gorgeous little girls Mika 7 and Jaidah 4, Dave is now going to get some great family/work/life balance back into his life without his ‘cheffy’ nights working in restaurants. Dave is as excited as we are so it’s a win all around we think!”

It’s time for loyal locals to get excited. Quinton’s IGA has plans underway for a bigger new deli and a full chef’s kitchen, where Dave will have full reign over his new domain.

“We are going to make meal planning so incredibly simple for our customers,” Julie explains. “We will also be opening up on lots more fresh Australian seafood and ‘ready to cook – chef prepared’ meal ideas with the focus on health, Australian grown, ethical, vegan and un- processed foods.

“We are so excited and confident in our new direction – we know we’re going to hit the mark and we know our customers are going to love the changes.”

While big changes are afoot, it’s the little things that matter, too. The supermarket’s new deli will also carry a larger range and deliver slice on demand for all hams, salamis and prosciutto.

“The gourmet cheese range will also improve with the assistance of our Cheesemonger in training, my daughter Hayley,” Julie says with a smile.

“Another sensational addition to our Quinton’s staff has been our new liquor manager, Mark Hansford. Mark comes to us with great wine knowledge and will be only too pleased to help our customers select and advise on our wines. Be sure to look for Mark’s recommendations and special deals in the liquor department.”

Julie’s nous for not only survival but also progress is leading edge. She’s an award-winner, an inspirational leader in the IGA chain and many will agree the lifeblood for our community heartbeat on so many levels.

Community cook-ups, sports club support and Fireball sponsorship just a few to name off the cuff. There’s plenty more we could reference.

She’s a leader, one who threads a community tapestry with her ability to make things happen and inspire others.

“We realise, for our continued survival and longevity in Warrandyte, we need to continually realign ourselves to be relevant in our customers’ busy lives as well as providing exceptional customer service and that’s what we are prepared to do,” Julie says.

Stay tuned for a revamped Quinton’s IGA with something big cooking in the kitchen.

Warrandyte’s Fireball hot in the city


EIGHTEEN months of planning for the biggest community fundraiser in the greater Warrandyte region nearly came undone, ironically due to the sheer popularity of the event.

Days before tickets went on sale for Fireball 2016 our popular and much loved Olivigna restaurant, which was to host the night of nights, was unable to secure the necessary permit for the number of people who will attend. Such a permit would have required an amendment to the State Government Planning Scheme.

Undeterred, organisers quickly moved to Plan B and the committee of volunteers led by chair Michelle Lambert were able to secure the 5 Star Park Hyatt Hotel, East Melbourne, overlooking the Fitzroy Gardens.
“The demand for Fireball requires us to use a venue that can cater to our capacity,” said committee member Jaime Noye.

“With only days to secure a venue and with October positioned in the midst of wedding season we were thrilled to be able to secure the Park Hyatt. It offers a range of transport options to the city and it is a beautiful venue consistent with the calibre of event that is Fireball.”

Julie Quinton, who initiated the inaugural Fireball in 2014 and who has furthered her commitment to the Wonga Park and Warrandyte CFAs by offering Quinton’s Online Supermarket as the event’s major sponsor for 2016 said: “We thought two years ago that possibly after three or more Fireballs we would need to move to a larger venue to be able to handle the growth. It has come far earlier than expected and that can only be a good thing as we fundraise for a Slip On – a first respondent 4WD vehicle which is currently on the Greater Warrandyte brigade’s wish-list.”

The 2014 Fireball contributed to a new truck for the North Warrandyte CFA.

“Thank you for our new fire truck, our new toy.  It will serve our community well,” said North Warrandyte captain Mick Keating.
Despite the location change Fireball’s mission remains the same – “easing the burden of fundraising from our volunteer firefighters”. Every cent raised from Fireball 2016 will be returned to the Greater Warrandyte CFAs to ensure they are able to access the most up to date equipment.

Tickets are now on sale at www.fireball.org.au

Gerard’s Giant Steps


Warrandyte’s Gerard Stevenson, pictured with wife Sue, may be paralysed from the neck down after a horrific fall at home almost two years ago, yet he powers on with what is a new way of life but with the same old love from family and friends. With that kind of support and finding inspiration in a famous Sir Isaac Newton quote, Gerard enters the blogosphere with his new blog ‘Stand on the Shoulders of Giants’ – www.standontheshouldersofgiants.com.au. Picture: REFLECT PHOTOGRAPHY (www.reflectphotography.com.au)

WARRANDYTE’S Gerard Stevenson suffered a fall at home in August 2014, leaving him paralysed from the neck down, but he has been nothing short of inspirational in readjusting to a new way of life. That includes starting a new blog about his experiences called Stand on the Shoulders of Giants, inspired by a quote from Sir Isaac Newton.

In a recent exam the question read, Who was Sir Isaac Newton? One young student answered: “He was the man who invented gravity!”

Well, he didn’t invent or discover gravity but he did revolutionise scientific thought with his theory of universal gravitation, the sticky stuff holding together the universe.

Sir Isaac was an outstanding scientist and mathematician. He literally changed the way we think about the world. He revolutionised our ideas about light. He invented the world’s first reflecting telescope. He invented calculus, making it possible to measure curved areas and determine the rate at which things change.

With his insights, world knowledge took a giant step forward. When he was pressed to explain how he could make so many important discoveries and inventions, he said: “If I have been able to see further than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Gerard has taken his lead for his blog from that quote. He weaves into his blog inspirational stories from the lives of greats as diverse as Columbus, early Australian sheep breeder John MacArthur and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick among others.

He describes the medical procedures he has had since his injury in easy to understand language. He keeps a keen eye on the latest developments in spinal research and brainwave technology.

Warrandytians are urged to be a part of Gerard’s journey by reading his blog at standontheshouldersof giants.com.au

A bridge to Nauru from Warrandyte


WARRANDYTE Bridge is often a focal point for the community but last night (June 21) the bridge drew a different sort of focus.

Warrandyte’s Stephen Clendinnen organised a peaceful protest on the bridge using posters and banners to bring awareness about human rights issues at the Australian Immigration Detention Centres on Nauru and Manus Island. Many would ask why Warrandyte is holding a protest of this nature and why now?

“Yesterday was World Refugee Day and today is the Solstice so I think it’s a good time to bring this up,” said Mr Clendinnen.

Although the numbers were small to start with, the group soon swelled to about two dozen people who felt passionately about the plight of the refugees being detained in the offshore detention centres.

“(The Government) has the power to make the decision to allow these people (to stay); they are no different to post Second World War, post Vietnam refugees, they’re just the same,” said Gillian, a protestor.

The protestors who turned out were a mixture of ages, from the elderly to young families including Amy who had brought her young daughter along.

“I just disagree with the way these people are being treated, they have the same rights as we have,” she said. “My daughter has been asking what’s Nauru, what’s the detention centre … I think it is good for them to get that feeling of what it is to be together with people who feel passionately about a cause.”

Both offshore detention centres were opened in 2001 and briefly shut down in 2008 by the Rudd Government, but they were reopened in 2012 and still operate today.

Although this protest was an independent event, Mr Clendinnen feels he is part of a bigger movement.

“I know there are thousands of Australians who completely agree with what I am doing and thousands of refugees who are now citizens of Australia who are desperate to see their sisters and brothers free from cruel treatment.”

There are no more bridge protests currently planned but Mr Clendinnen is keen to drive this issue back into the media spotlight through political and artistic actions.

Also try a Bridge too far or Bridge over troubled waters

 

Warrandyte shops burgled

Our riverside cafes in Yarra Street, Riverview Cafe and Thyme on the Yarra, were broken into and burgled in the early hours of Sunday morning, June 5.

A thief was captured on video security footage at both cafes and a neighbouring business, however his face was covered.

The burglar broke into Riverview (pictured) through a bottom glass panel on the front door and set off with cash registers, cash and a laptop.

0Z9A5365

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was obvious the thief injured himself (police believe his left forearm) as a large amount of blood was found on the floor of the cafe.

He also stole $40 worth of tips at Thyme on the Yarra and there was damage to the front door.

Riverview Cafe’s Nicole Salem said: “I can’t believe how someone could do this to a family business, it’s disgraceful.”

At the time the Diary went to print Doncaster Police said the thief hadn’t yet been identified.

If you have any information about the break-ins contact Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.

This weekend in Warrandyte (June 3) …


Looking for something to do in Warrandyte this weekend? Try our Five for Friday …

One … The Warrandyte Community Riverside Market is on tomorrow! Made up of hundreds of small, mainly local, businesses. Crafts, arts, fresh food, flowers, plants, gift cards, coffee stalls … all set on our lovely part of the Yarra River on a day expected to be just 15 but with little chance of rain. Be there.

Two … The grand opening of The Night Owl is on tonight (the grown up version of The White Owl at Goldfields Plaza) from 6pm-10pm. Come along with your friends to enjoy some wine, tapas and live music. Also serving craft beer, cider, antipasto and cheese platters. Open every Friday night.

Three … The Grand Hotel Warrandyte is rockin’ with Ruckus tonight! Craft beers on tap, great food (check out our review in the Diary next week) and great local people.

Four … Blatant plug for a loyal advertiser. Low energy, stress, sore muscles, women’s health issues? Try Karina Templeton Chinese Medicine in Lorraine Avenue. Karina uses acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as part of her compassionate, supportive treatments and cinorporate modalities such as cupping, electro stimulation, moxibustion and Chinese Diet and Exercise Therapy. www.ktchinesemedicine.com or call 0415 443 148.

Five … It’s time to start thinking about the Greater Warrandyte Business Expo to be held at the Warrandyte Community Church on August 17. Learn from the experts and network, network, network. Visit the website http://www.warrandytebusinessexpo.com.au/ to find out more.

 

Alpacas do the bus stop

It was Warrandyte’s version of the Great Escape recently when four pet alpacas named Boris, Mr Snuffy, Kath and Kim pulled the wool over their owners eyes and ventured beyond the boundaries of their property in Research-Warrandyte Road.

But it was their appearance at the local bus stop where it really gets interesting. They’d clearly spat it and were well and truly on the move!

The Diary’s very own IT man Bora Seker was driving past and couldn’t believe his eyes, so he snapped a quick photo on his mobile and sent it into to yours truly before rounding up the naughty escapees and calling for help.

A week or so later and a Diary Facebook photo post about the incident has clocked up more than 660 likes, 75 shares and reached more than 20,000 people in an astonishing social media viral reaction.

The culprit? Owner Monique Jaksic, who was a little sheepish when quizzed by us.

“Yep, it was my fault, I left the gate open,” Monique said with a giggle.

“After a while I thought I’d better check on the alpacas and I started calling them. I couldn’t see them, so I went into panic mode and went into the forest, ringing all the neighbours – it was four hours later and I finally found out they were up the top.”

Originally the Jaksics went down the goat route to keep the grass down on their property, but “they were a real pain”.

“They used to get into the neighbours’ property, into the roses and that sort of stuff,” Monique says.

“In the end we got onto the alpacas and bought these guys from Kangaroo Ground. They’re so beautiful, they just nibble at the grass and don’t rip it like goats do, and they don’t run through the fences, they’re great with the kids and, of course, they’re great lawn mowers.”

Let’s be honest. Hands up who wouldn’t want a pet alpaca? Even Diesel the family pet dog is best mates with them at Jaksic central.

“They have their own individual personalities,” Monique said with a smile. “The baby, Kim, she will stare you down. She’s quite feisty. Being the males, Boris and Mr Snuffy (named after Sesame Street’s Mr Snufeupagus) fight over the girls all the time. They have these really funny neck fights – they can be quite noisy and annoyed at each other.

“But they’re pretty good. We love them all, of course, especially now they’re famous.”

Boogie brilliance at Warrandyte Festival

By CHERIE MOSELEN

THERE are some realities organisers can do without when readying a large group for an outdoor celebration. Like, for example, continuous rain.

Even Town Crier Ian Craig was heard trying to auction off his velvet frock coat to the lowest bidder in light of wet conditions before Saturday morning’s Grand Parade.

But the weather gods certainly took pity on Warrandyte Festival last month, ending heavy showers before they dampened crowd enthusiasm.

Kids in kangaroo tails, mini monsters, this year’s festival theme Boogie in the Bush produced some fantastic costumes. (See parade awards).

Warrandyte Neighbourhood House waved their boogie boards, while the team from Riveresque looked right at home wearing the curtains.

Light show projectionist Hugh McSpedden, (famously first to light up the Exhibition Building in Melbourne) and accomplished musician and botany lover Glen Jameson, were this year’s parade monarchs.

Warrandyte’s Emperor of Luminosity stole the show somewhat with his fanciful pairing of giant turban and cow print pants. Arabian Nights meets pyjama party, perhaps?

Monarchs and entourage floated down Yarra Street on a “magic carpet”, stately and dignified bar the occasional honk from a squeaky clown horn. (Vintage McSpedden).

Meanwhile, down at Stiggants Reserve, festival committee volunteers showed their true colours having shovelled mulch over much of the site to combat boggy conditions.

It helped.

Numbers were a little thinner on Saturday but wet weather aside, the popular village celebration unfolded with ease.

A Welcome to Country and introduction from local councillors, then it was time to put on those boogie shoes and get around some fabulous food and entertainment.

As you would expect from an event that attracts upwards of 10,000 people, there was a lot to see and do.

I didn’t make it to the tango lessons on Saturday evening, but heard they were a huge hit. Here are some things that kept me entertained over Warrandyte’s biggest weekend.

Crowd pleaser: Crazy energy and an irresistible beat from drumming ensemble African Star had audience members dancing up a storm at the Riverbank stage on Saturday. Nobody cared about the actual rain. Bow to the rhythm!

Gozleme grace: There was some- thing serene and comforting about the ladies in white from Turkish Kitchen & Catering, calmly rolling out their pastry amid the hubbub. Most importantly, weren’t those little parcels delicious?

Move over bananas in pyjamas: Colourful costumes, stacks of talent, the Funky Monkeys musical act and circus show made me wish my teen- age boys were small again. (Yes, they were that good.)

Who’s news? The Diary decided to put the community into the community newspaper this year, rigging up a frame so people could have their photo taken celebrity-style. Congratulations if you were front page news over the weekend!

Eastern FM 98.1. A long-time festival favourite, this community radio station kept the crooners coming, pumping out familiar tunes in between announcements. Because, who doesn’t love a bit of Harry Connick with their coffee?

Second is the new first. She didn’t win. She managed second. However, her happy grin said it was just as good. Aboriginal art exhibitor Loz told the Diary she’d been trying to win Sunday’s iconic duck race for years. Next year, Lorraine, next year…

Transport Tribute: Nillumbik council donated the use of a shuttle bus and two staff to take people who needed it, back and forth between the festival ground and the commu- nity centre. Hats off, for providing these much appreciated free rides.

Caravan of care: Whether the quandary was “toilet paper?” or “I’ve lost my children”, the staff in the information caravan dealt with it expertly. One shy little girl buying a drink admitted to “only having not really enough money”. Top notch volunteer, the man in the van Cyril Dixon gave it to her anyway.

Boogie central: I wish, like Michael Jackson, I could blame my dance moves on the boogie – and no, I hadn’t made one too many trips to the beer tent! This space was all about getting down: Hip-hop, Go Go, belly dancing and more. The lessons were tremendous fun (and Bollywood a touch harder than it looks. Just saying).

Dragon dance: If you decided to wait for the last band on Sunday evening, well done. Festival organisers pulled out a surprise finale. Huge silk dragons, lit from within, whirling through the picnic crowd. The look of awe on children’s faces: priceless.

Old favourites: It’s been a feature of this town for 39 years but still the sight of family-friendly, well-behaved festival crowds never gets old. I spent part of my weekend conducting a survey and almost everyone when I asked “what do you love about this event?” mentioned the strong sense of community.

It’s official.
Warrandyte Festival, you’re a gem.

Bridge over troubled waters


Bridge over troubled waters

IN a surprise move the Andrews State Government has committed to $5.1 million funding for major works to Warrandyte Bridge that includes widening it in an aim to reduce congestion and boost safety in Warrandyte by making it quicker and easier for residents to evacuate during emergencies.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan, Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green and ALP Senate candidate for Victoria Steve Kent made a sudden visit to the bridge last week to announce the plan.

The works…

The funding is for a project to widen the bridge to three lanes and build a new pedestrian path across the Yarra River. Two of the lanes will be for southbound traffic travelling from North Warrandyte to Warrandyte and the existing footpaths on either side of the bridge will be removed and replaced with a footpath on one side of the bridge.

Improvements will also be made to accommodate an extra lane of traffic from the bridge at the roundabout at the Yarra Street and Warrandyte-Ringwood Rd roundabout. Traffic lights will also be installed at a wider Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Rd and Research-Warrandyte Rd intersection. Drivers travelling across the bridge on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Rd regularly experience significant traffic congestion and long delays. The press release went on to state that according to traffic modelling data about 2500 vehicles per hour would potentially travel southbound across the bridge during an emergency evacuation compared with the current 1100 vehicles per hour during a typical morning peak.

The works will take place either side of the fire danger season and are expected to start next month and be completed by the end of 2017.

Mr Donnellan said:We’re widening the bridge to ensure the safety of locals by reducing evacuation times by up to 90 minutes. We have listened to the community and we’re delivering a safer and more efficient bridge.”

Ms Green said: “Crossing Warrandyte Bridge, especially in the event of an emergency, has been a serious concern for the local community for many years and we’re fixing it. We’ve listened to local residents and we’re building the infrastructure that they need for a safer community.”

The history…

This announcement comes after increased community anger in the past two months (and longer) at the rapidly escalating delays to traffic traversing Warrandyte in the morning peak period, afternoon school period, and the early evening, which until this month had no funding in sight nor any state government will to resolve the problem. It might be useful to recap the events leading up to the announcement.

At the end of 2014 VicRoads installed folded signs and Displan boxes on each side of the bridge to assist in traffic control and one- way operation in emergency and evacuation situations, but this did nothing to solve the day-to-day problems of peak-hour gridlock.

In April last year Jennie Hill founded the “Fix the Warrandyte Bridge Bottleneck” Facebook group with many posts per day and more than 250 members. Note: not an official body, but merely a page with a constructive mission to create some noise and make something happen.

In June last year, after extensive lobbying over more than 12 months by Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) and supported by Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley, VicRoads regional director Adam Maguire obtained funding of $140,000 to conduct a feasibility study and modelling to look at the road network around Warrandyte Bridge in both day-to-day and emergency situations.

In November last year at a WCA Emergency Management forum the results of this modelling and four alternative scenarios and their costs were presented, summarised as illustrated below.

P9-table

Only the second of these options would in fact help in a non-emergency day-by-day situation.

And that is where the situation had stalled.

The only funding that had come through was for the installation of four traffic-monitoring webcams which are the subject of a separate article in this edition of the Diary.

So, with nothing further being done, the rush-hour situation is getting worse daily, and is particularly compounded when there are traffic accidents or blockages either in Warrandyte or on the Fitzsimons Lane bridge. Such major disruptions have happened twice in February, on the 3rd and 19th, and resulting in traffic for Warrandyte banking up most of the way to Research. An excellent video of the latter is to be found on the Fix the Warrandyte Bridge Bottleneck Facebook group page. And on February 18 a bad accident closed Kangaroo Ground Road in the morning peak hour.

Recent actions…

On February 19 Ms Hill and local resident Belinda Steve met with Ryan Smith, Member for Warrandyte, to investigate what could further be done to have some funding and action. Mr Smith produced a large file of correspondence on the matter including Hansards and letters to Luke Donnellan MP the Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He was so frustrated with the lack of action and funding by the Victorian government that he rose in the house on February 10 to make a member’s statement on Warrandyte Bridge. Mr Smith told the house: “Whilst the minister was finally pushed, kicking and screaming, into reallocating the funding the previous coalition government had set aside for work to be done to provide options for the traffic problems in Warrandyte, he has not provided Warrandyte residents the opportunity for input. Nor has any funding been allocated for a solution to be implemented … fed-up residents have now formed the Fix the Warrandyte Bottleneck group and are demanding that the minister takes action.”

It is evident Mr Smith continues to be a strong advocate for residents’ concerns now, although his party (when in office) scrapped completion of the M80 Greensborough-East- link “missing link”, a project which has now been pushed out into the next decade which will do nothing to ease the problem in the short term.

However, in more recent times Mr Smith expressed his frustration with the continuing “obfustication” and lack of will to do anything about the local traffic problem. He suggested he may be seen as a lone voice, and that perhaps it would make more impact if residents wrote directly to the minister expressing their frustration.

Just as the Diary was about to publicise a “write to the minister” campaign, the Government appears to have caved in on the matter and the new announcement was made.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley has also been a strong supporter of funding and has urged the government to act.

The media release…

We find it odd local community groups and the local Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith, who has done so much for the cause, were not invited to attend the announcement. We at the Diary were only informed the day before and given we’re a part- time office missed attending. We also find it difficult to understand the role of Danielle Green in this as the Yan Yean electorate does not come any- where near Warrandyte and wonder why defeated ALP candidate Steve Kent was in attendance. The press release announces traffic lights for the Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte and Research-Warrandyte road T-intersection, which was not part of the original VicRoads presentation in November. It also states the works will take place outside the fire danger season and are expected to start next month. However, the fire danger season does not officially end until May 1.

The announcement also makes no mention of any further community consultation, something which has clearly angered residents who have vented on social media.

Dick Davies, president of the Warrandyte Community Association, says: “It’s good that the State Government has addressed the concerns about gridlock after at least 10 years agitation for some action. However, the lack of community consultation, promised by VicRoads in their November and December visits to Warrandyte, is astonishing. After all, residents who actually use the road at different times are most aware of the problems. The modelling quoted in the press release is a desk study based on Emergency Evacuation assumptions not actual data on daily traffic movements as advocated by the WCA. VicRoads will be present at the Warrandyte Festival. It will be an occasion to discuss the plan with them and see if there is room to be more inclusive of community views.”

Other initiatives the Bottleneck group suggested:

Trial traffic lights to operate between 3pm and 6pm at the round- about south of the bridge

Guidelines making Warrandyte roads subject to heavy vehicle exclusions or restrictions on safety grounds (narrow, winding roads)

Guidelines to keep roads not designed for high traffic (including Dingley Dell, Lewis, Blooms, Boyd, Hawkes and Floods Roads) free from traffic trying to evade bridge bottlenecks.

In the medium term, completion of an emergency bridge for bushfire management, possibly at the end of Bradley’s Lane or at another agreed location.

In the longer term, completion of the M80 to Eastlink gap or construction of at least one more permanent bridge across the Yarra somewhere between the Eltham crossing and the Yarra Glen crossing.

 

 

 

What contamination?


AN Environment Protection Authority Victoria investigation has revealed there has been no contamination of the Yarra River and surrounds at Pound Bend Reserve.

A leaked incident and hazard report detailing a poorly maintained wash down facility in the Warrandyte State Park has caused much controversy since it surfaced recently and also ignited some wild speculation and guesswork on Warrandyte social media pages.

The report revealed an apparent chemical contamination of the Yarra River and surrounding vegetation within the Pound Bend workcentre.

While the validity of the report’s claims have been questioned by Friends of the Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP), the matter has seemingly been put to rest by the results of an EPA investigation which proved there was no contamination of the river or surrounds.

According to the original report, which was written on April 29 last year, the wash down facility was “used to pressure wash vehicles, to triple rinse chemical containers and to mix/fill herbicides for use in the park”.

The report revealed the facility led to chemical drainage into the Yarra River and consequent nearby tree death. It also claimed “the wash bay doesn’t meet any legal requirements and if the EPA was informed, PV would face serious fines”.

The report surfaced in early January and was published by major news outlets. The allegations caused uproar from the media and general public as many were led to believe the issue was ongoing.

“These are shocking revelations of the Yarra being poisoned in a secret government report which Daniel Andrews has tried to bury,” said shadow environment minister Brad Battin.

“Daniel Andrews needs to order a full investigation into what’s been done to stop this environmental vandalism,” he added.

In response to the abundance of reports and articles, Friends of the Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP) committee of management addressed the accusations for the Diary in an official statement.

“We are not aware of any negative impact to the environment as detailed in the report – there is no out-of-the-ordinary dead vegetation downhill of the ‘wash-down’ facility. We would, of course, be greatly concerned, if this were the case.

“FOWSP enjoys a close working relationship with the rangers who operate from the Pound Bend workcentre. Their concern for safety and the environment is not only paramount, but it’s their job. As such, we do not believe that any of their staff would knowingly be a party to the actions in the aforementioned report.”

Committee member of the FOWSP Jason Patton elaborated on this with a list of his own personal observations after attaining a copy of the infamous report.

“There is NO tree death downhill from the site – well, actually there is one dead tree among a stand of healthy trees,” he told the Diary.

“The Yarra River is some 200m downhill from the site, including crossing an 80m alluvial plain. Is anyone aware of any water quality checks that prove that the Yarra has been contaminated from this site?

“I am not versed in the operation of the containment facility (pits, etc), but I CAN say that from my many visits there, it is designed as a retention basin to prevent release of poisons to the surrounding environment.”

The report certainly raises questions as there is no sign of river contamination or dead vegetation at the time of its public release.

However, local MP Ryan Smith said the report would have been filled in by the Warrandyte State Park rangers themselves.

“In this case, Parks Vic rangers themselves would have filled in the report as they noticed the effects of the waste water on surrounding vegetation. So, in short, this is a self-acknowledged incident, not a report done by an external party,” he said.

“The Warrandyte State Park rangers would have noted it for their bosses. What happens then was a decision for those higher up the chain.”

On January 20, Parks Victoria released a statement with the results of the EPA’s recent investigation into Warrandyte State Park’s waste management practices.

The EPA confirmed there was “no current contamination of the Yarra from these herbicides” and “minor herbicide contamination of soil near the wash bay” at the Warrandyte Depot.

Parks Victoria chief executive Bradley Fauteux revealed that resolution of the incident commenced in June of 2015.

“I am pleased that there is no current evidence of herbicides being washed into the Yarra. Herbicide washing in the facility ceased in June last year after the issue was flagged by staff in an internal occupational, health and safety report,” Mr Fauteux said.

“Trucks now come in to remove sediment. We have commenced an investigation and an immediate and ongoing state-wide review of our facilities, including wash bay facilities and reporting procedures.”

While the issue appears to be somewhat resolved, Mr Smith said he did not find that explanation conclusive enough.

“There has been no feedback about why practices allowed it to happen or what has actually been done to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “The response seems to have been ‘OK, it was wrong, it’s fixed, please move on’. I think that locals need more reassurance than this.”

Mr Patton, on the other hand, remains sceptical about the accuracy of the report in the first place.

“I do not believe that there ever was any contamination, from the lack of dead vegetation. The ‘report’, which is merely five bullet-points, would appear to be written by someone who does not have an understanding of the area, for example, a temp worker, or visitor.

“Unfortunately, the public and media have jumped on the report, and taken it verbatim – no investigation of the site.”

Fire guts house close to main street in Warrandyte


A FIRE has gutted a house in Brackenbury Street in Warrandyte today as more than seven CFA trucks attend the blaze.

Firefighters are at the scene containing the fire, which is only a few hundred metres away from Yarra Street, Warrandyte’s busy main strip. At this stage it is unknown what caused the fire and it is believed the house had no people present.

Neighbours called 000 after smelling smoke today at about 1.30pm. Resident Cassie Jones told the Diary she could smell smoke for about half an hour before taking a look around the area to see where it was coming from.

“The CFA trucks were here within minutes,” she told the Diary. “That same house only had a chimney fire that did some damage just a few years ago as well.”

It is believed the house is in ruins with fire coming through the side walls and rooftop with large amounts of smoke billowing out and across the eastern suburb.

More to follow.

 

0Z9A1768 0Z9A1747 0Z9A1725

Jock and Steve the toast of the town


WARRANDYTE’S Jock Macneish and Steve Pascoe have been recognised for their great services to the community by each receiving an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).

Announced on Australia Day, Jock, our much loved Diary cartoonist and master of many talents, was recognised for his service to the visual arts and to the community of Warrandyte. Steve, a legendary figure at the Warrandyte Cricket Club, was recognised for his service to cricket.

Both popped into the Diary this morning for a photo shoot and you can read all about it in the February edition of your CNAV Newspaper of the Year (back to back) Monday week.

 

New operator being sought for Warrandyte Community Market


MANNINGHAM council is seeking applications from not for profit community groups based in Manningham to operate the Warrandyte Community Market from April 2016.

The Warrandyte Community Market is held in the Warrandyte River Reserve on the first Saturday of each month (excluding January) with a second market held in on the third Saturday in December each year.

The decision to seek a new operator for the market has been made to resolve management issues at the market and follows extensive liaison between council and the existing Warrandyte Community Market Committee over the past two years.

In the interim, a working group has been set up to operate the market until a successful market operator has been selected. This interim group, comprising representatives from the Warrandyte Lions Club, Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Club, North Warrandyte CFA, Community Church and Be Ready Warrandyte, will operate the February and March 2016 markets.

Prospective market operators must demonstrate that they have the capacity, capability and skills to manage the community market, including effective governance through a properly constituted committee.

The successful operator will enter into a licence agreement with council for a term of three years, and will commence operation from the April 2016 market (Saturday 2 April).

Applications are required by at 11am on Wednesday 17 February 2016 and must be received by this time.

For more information, visit www.tendersearch.com.au/manningham or call Paul Goodison, Council’s Co-ordinator Landscape and Leisure on 9840 9460.

Full report to follow in the next edition of the Diary, February 8.

Warrandyte police station ‘will not close’ says Victoria Police superintendent


VICTORIA Police Force superintendent Richard Watkins says Warrandyte police station will “definitely not be closing” after recent rumours suggested the Warrandyte station was on the way out.

“Not true,” Superintendent Watkins told the Diary. “There’s no one size fits all when it comes to police stations and when there’s such a high bushfire risk in the area there is absolutely no intention of closing down Warrandyte police station.

“We’re still rolling out fire setter patrols (for anti-arson measures) during the warmer months and also going ahead with preparation and communicating with the local CFAs in the other months of the year.”

A source close to insiders at VicPol called the Diary earlier this week saying “it’s a done deal, 100 per cent” regarding the topic of the station closing. It follows more recent, and alarming, downsizing at suburban stations including Ashburton which has gone from being manned seven days to two, while Somerville has a brand new $16mill station completed last year but is yet to be manned and there are reports of a station in the Geelong area operating well below it’s full complement officers among several other examples.

A post earlier this week on the Diary Facebook page asking the question about whether the Warrandyte station would be closed down prompted mixed reactions from locals, most of whom were clearly against the idea of no police station in Warrandyte. “We have been here for two and a half years and had to use the station five times; seriously stupid idea (closing it),” one new resident said. Another pointed out, “No point staying open if no one is ever there,” while others said they would be shocked and disappointed given the station is only relatively new in addition to what many locals believe is a spike in crime in the area and the fact Warrandyte is one of the biggest bushfire risk suburbs in the country.

The topic of the future of the Warrandyte police station, along with how frequently it is unmanned, as well as the recent rejection of local MP Ryan Smith’s call for a 24-7 station with greater police numbers have been big talking points in recent weeks: particularly with the increased number of break-ins and burglaries to businesses, homes and cars within properties and on the street in the lead up to Christmas – and indeed the past two years – which have been of great concern to residents, business owners and community.

From documents received by the Diary showing Mr Smith’s requests (note plural) in August, October and November in relation to his and the community’s preference (1200 signatures were received) for a greater police presence in Warrandyte, official letters to Mr Smith show it is obvious both offices for the Minister for Police and the Chief Commissioner of Police were saying the other was responsible for making the decision about the allocation of additional police. Mr Smith’s letter to Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton in October also suggested “direct communication be made with the Warrandyte community as to why Victoria Police believe the current staffing level of seven officers is sufficient”. Clearly, that suggestion has been ignored.

Interestingly, Mr Smith did eventually get official response and in a letter from the Chief Commissioner’s office it stated: “There is currently no evidence to suggest that Warrandyte requires a 24-hour station or additional resources … statistics released by the Crime Statistics Agency in March this year indicated a decrease in the total number of offences in the Manningham PSA. I trust this advice clarifies the position of Victoria Police concerning the delivery of policing services to the Warrandyte community.”

However, through our own research, the Diary checked the Crime Statistics Agency website and found there has been an increase in offence counts in Manningham year on year for the past four years. Further to this, there has been a surge in thefts and break-ins in Warrandyte in recent months leading up to Christmas.

In one of the major ones, a pop-up gem shop called Rock and Mineral Store near the Roundabout Cafe was broken into on December 8 but security camera footage of the couple caught in the act resulted in the man and woman eventually handing themselves in to police over the burglary of more than $30,000 in jewellery and gems. The man, 39, and the woman, 37, surrendered at Doncaster police station last Wednesday with a large amount of jewellery and are in the process of being questioned and charged.

Furthermore, a recent report in the Herald Sun pointed out how Manningham had become so affluent that it was becoming a hunting ground for thieves, with police warning residents to beef up home security.

And there are more contradictions.

Despite the Chief Commissioner’s office claim there was a “decrease in the total number of offences in the Manningham PSA”, Manningham crime prevention officer Carla Reardon advised the Diary only last month that burglaries were on the increase and thieves often were from out of town specifically travelling to the area and targeting homes for their valuables. Even a roadside sign was placed on the side of Ringwood-Warrandyte Road at the entry point to the town – for traffic coming from the east – warning of a rise in thefts in the area and encouraging residents to beef up security and to be alert.

In Manningham over the past four years, burglaries were up 7 per cent to 533 a year, thefts were up 7 per cent to 1509 and drug use up 71 per cent to 163 people charged with drug offences, according to the latest Crime Statistics Agency data.

MP Ryan Smith believes it is one big mess.

“Warrandyte residents have real concerns about the escalation of crime and anti-social behaviour in their community,” he told the Diary.

“Unfortunately, while the Minister for Police and the Chief Commissioner pass responsibility between each other, these concerns remain unanswered by either party, while the call for an increased police presence falls on deaf ears. This latest development that Warrandyte Police Station may close will only add to the community’s fears that it is not being heard.

“Let’s face it, there has been an alarming trend this year in suburban police stations either closing or reducing the days they are manned.”

The Diary will provide a follow-up report in the New Year.

Anyone with any information about crimes being committed or suspicious activity is urged to call Warrandyte Police on 9844 3231 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

 

Bridge of discontent


THE Warrandyte Bridge is a source of community anxiety once again as summer arrives and bushfire season starts early as residents are left waiting for a much-anticipated traffic report and more so a solution to a serious problem.

VicRoads now expects “to present and seek community feedback on a preferred option by mid-2016”. If an emergency event were to strike Warrandyte tomorrow, an estimated 2502 vehicles per hour per lane would be able to evacuate the area, causing total evacuation time to exceed three hours. That’s time Warrandyte residents simply don’t have in the event of a bushfire, Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith told the Diary.

“I’m glad there has actually been some progress around identifying some options to ease the congestion and make the community safer during a fire event. However, the timelines are too long and we actually need to see some progress from VicRoads a lot sooner than the timelines that they’ve flagged,” he says.

“I will certainly be continuing to put pressure on the government to ensure we do get some progress in a more timely manner.“

Back in June, VicRoads regional director Adam Maguire informed Mr Smith in a letter that traffic modeling of the Warrandyte Bridge road network would be conducted and a report handed down by the end of August. An additional $140,000 was committed in the 2015–16 budget to investigate ways to improve traffic capacity of the Warrandyte Bridge during an emergency.

VicRoads has since completed the traffic modelling investigation assessing potential options to provide additional vehicle crossing capacity of the Yarra River in the vicinity of the Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road Bridge in the event of a fire evacuation scenario. The report is said to comprise emergency traffic plans to assist in evacuation in the event of emergency and an update on the daily bumper-to-bumper traffic.

A community forum was held on November 12 at the Warrandyte Community Church by VicRoads and Emergency Management Victoria to discuss with residents and authorities the possible scenarios for action in the event of a bush fire, and the construction work that should be done in regards to the traffic flow on the bridge.

David Teague, VicRoads’ director transport and planning metro north west, told the Diary: “Information and supporting documentation on the potential options will be made available on the VicRoads website in early 2016.

Among the options considered as part of the investigation were upgrading the existing bridge to three lanes and building a second pedestrian bridge on Bradleys Lane, which could be opened to vehicles during emergencies.

“VicRoads, in conjunction with councils and emergencies services, expect to be in a position to present and seek community feedback on a preferred option by mid-2016.

“In partnership with Warrandyte Community Association, emergency services and Nillumbik Shire Council we are committed to delivering new traffic cameras in the Warrandyte area over the coming months which will be strategically placed to provide real-time traffic information to the community.”

VicRoads has also installed new traffic management signs and Disaster Plan boxes in the area, which contain equipment needed to assist with traffic management during emergencies and together with Victoria Police and CFA has “also developed improved traffic management plans to better cope during emergency evacuations”.

Three scenarios were proposed by VicRoads at the forum including:

+ Upgrading the bridge to three lanes, two southbound and one northbound, with new T-intersection signals at Research-Warrandyte Road and a wider entry road prior to the bridge on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road.

+ Building a second bridge at Bradley’s Lane/Everard Drive for emergency use only.

+ Combining both scenario one and two for optimum results, saving over two hours of evacuation time and costing between $7-$10 million.

Warrandyte is in for a hot and dry fire season that all residents need to be prepared for, says emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley and local fire chiefs.

“The presentation by VicRoads about the Warrandyte Bridge and the options available to help with the access and egress was a worthwhile start to the discussion but it also highlighted that no matter what option progresses, those who live in Warrandyte have to make good decisions about their safety early, and to know what they need to do in the event of a fire, or a high fire danger day,” he says.

“Victoria’s future emphasis is on safer and more resilient communities. Creating a resilience-based approach is the first step in creating a modern emergency management system for Victoria. Empowerment of local communities to drive their own emergency management processes is core to this, working through existing networks, local leadership and community priorities to ensure that planning and recovery process are tailored, meaningful and self-sustaining.”

Bush fire threats aside, residents are still up in arms about the daily traffic congestion at the bridge during peak times.

“Most residents are more concerned by the day-to-day gridlock,” says Dick Davies, president of the Warrandyte Community Association.

“I think in order to resolve the daily gridlock issue in Warrandyte, it needs to be tied into the emergency management planning. We’re [Warrandyte] too far down the list of priorities and I think the two need to be done together.”

If you have more information on this issue, or you want to voice your concerns about local issues, send an email to info@warrandytediary. com.au. To see the full report from the forum visit www.warrandyte.org.au and letters to the editor can be emailed to editor@warrandytediary.com.au

A trucking disaster


A NIGHT-TIME truck ban has been imposed by VicRoads on some of the busiest roads in Melbourne’s north-east, just a month after Melbourne’s new wholesale fruit and vegetable market opened in nearby Epping, drawing heavy truck traffic through Warrandyte from across the state.

Trucks are now banned on all major north-south roads which access the Ring Rd between Heidelberg Heights and Eltham between 10pm and 6am in response to a petition protesting increased truck traffic and noise on Rosanna Rd, signed by about 600 people.

A glance at the map of these banned routes shows the only river crossing to the east of this area that is available to trucks overnight is via Warrandyte Bridge.

The transport industry and fruit and vegetable growers have warned the Andrews government to expect road chaos as the curfew forces thousands of truck drivers onto other residential roads at night and in the early morning. The curfew is a 12-month trial on nine arterial roads that run between the Eastern Freeway and the M80, the so-called “missing link” in Melbourne’s ring road.

VicRoads have put out a brochure North-East Truck Curfew Trial which states: “The night truck curfews trial has been carefully planned to strike a balance for the local community and truck operators.”

However, the bans do not include Research-Warrandyte Road, Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Rd, Warrandyte Bridge, or Ringwood-Warrandyte Rd. Furthermore, the brochure goes to great lengths to specify where the trucks are not allowed at night, but does not make any attempt to explain where they should go, particularly for those trucks from the south and east of Melbourne coming up Eastlink to Ringwood that need to access the Ring Road.

The truck industry has warned the ban will simply create new conflict between trucks and residents elsewhere. Victorian Transport Association chief Peter Anderson called the government’s curfew “a lazy and short-term approach to the underlying problem of lack of connectivity of our road network. It’s going to push trucks down roads that they’ve never been down before,” he said.

This latest action by VicRoads reinforces the views of some residents that until such time as the state government does something about connecting the Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink, then Warrandyte is seen as the sucker in the middle that gets all the traffic.

That viewpoint gains strength when considered alongside other recent VicRoads decisions such as reneging on previous agreements to restrict engine brake noise through North Warrandyte and refusing Yarra Valley Water access from Research Road to their pumping station at Professors Lane on the grounds the road is “too busy”.

The Diary asked VicRoads to comment on why Warrandyte roads were not also considered for this ban, where the heavy traffic from Eastlink to the Ring Road was supposed to go, and what modelling had been done on the effect of this ban on Warrandyte’s roads.

Vince Punaro, regional director Metro North West, VicRoads said: “Before and after traffic volume, data is being collected at various locations in and around the curfew areas. Throughout the trial, this data will be used alongside community and industry feedback to ensure the curfews balance the needs of the local community and truck operators. At the end of the trial, all of the data collected will be assessed to determine the effectiveness of the curfews.”

Five for Friday (spooky!)


What’s happening in Warrandyte and surrounds in coming days? Hold onto your hat … and your heart! There’s something spooky in the air.

One … Tomorrow is the day when witches, monsters, black cats, zombies, vampires, werewolves and all sorts of creatures come out to play trick or treating. We don’t care if you think it’s too American and “unAustralian”. It’s all about the kids having fun, so have a heart!

Two … We are right in the thick of Spring Racing Carnival and where better to go than the mighty Grand Hotel Warrandyte for a beer, a bite, and a bet! TAB, great food, drinks, and the place to catch up with great friends. Aside from Saturday and the Cup on Tuesday, Oaks Day is on Thursday and the pub isn’t the only one having a function. It’s all happening at Olivigna http://olivigna.com.au/oaks-day/ but don’t bother trying to book – it’s a full house!

Three … Blatant plug for a valued Diary advertiser: Warran Glen Garden Centre & Cafe is holding a Pink Ribbon Charity Breakfast on November 5 from 9am to 11am with 100% proceeds going to the Cancer Council. Phone 9844 1322. What a way to start your Oaks Day and also contribute to a magnificent cause! Also don’t forget Warran Glen’s Ladies Shopping Night on November 26 that includes nibbles, fashions, specials and prizes from 5pm to 9pm.

Four … Food, glorious food, and this time it’s a Turkish Dinner Banquet at Cocoa Moon tonight and tomorrow night! $40 per person, don’t forget to book a table.

Five … Warrandyte Football Club’s amazing 15-minute DVD featuring all the highlights of the big Grand Final Day is up for sale for only $10 and available at the Grand Hotel, Warrandyte Newsagency and Diary office. Don’t miss your copy.

 

Bags of Cannabis dumped in Warrandyte


thumb_IMG_4166_1024

Images Copyright Warrandyte Diary

POLICE were called this morning after loads of marijuana plants were found dumped in Gold Memorial Drive in Warrandyte after a resident noticed what appeared to be rubbish left on the side of the road.

More than 10 large garbage bags and four pot plants along with a hydroponic globe were found at the site on Gold Memorial near Hussey’s Lane. Police are currently investigating.

The resident called the Warrandyte Diary shortly after notifying police and said “at first I thought it was some idiot who had dumped a heap of rubbish, but I quickly realised what it was – it was some idiot who had dumped a heap of cannabis!”.

More information to come in the next edition of the Diary.