TRANSDEV and CDC bus drivers will strike on Thursday August 16, leaving many Warrandyte residents stranded, as the 906 and 364 will not run at all that day.
Transdev has advised that the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) bus drivers will be taking industrial action by stopping work for 24 hours.
As a result, there will be no services on Transdev bus routes on August 16 2018.
Across the Manningham area, this effects Smart Buses 901, 902, 903, 905, 906, 907, 908, as well as the 200 and 300 series routes.
For those needing to use public transport on Thursday August 16, the only buses running in and out of Warrandyte will be the 578 and 579 to Eltham, as these routes are operated by Panorama Coaches, which, as we go to print, remain unaffected.
The TWU’s decision to take industrial action is part of an ongoing dispute about wage rises across the bus industry, with the TWU seeking a 15 per cent wage increase over the next three years.
George Konstantopoulos, Transdev’s General Manager Operations & Customer Experience, apologised for the inconvenience the industrial action will cause and advised passengers to make alternative plans for travel on Thursday, 16 August 2018.
“The TWU’s decision to stop work for 24 hours hurts our customers, especially those on routes where there are limited or no other public transport options.
“Our customers — including students, the elderly and vulnerable Victorians who rely on our buses everyday — will be hurt the most because of this action,” Mr Konstantopoulos said.
“We will continue to work with the TWU to resolve this dispute and urge the union to reconsider the decision to stop work, because of the significant disruption and distress it will cause passengers and the broader community.”
A statement from the TWU said the union had been encouraged by the positive progress of talks with CDC, however TWU (VIC/TAS Branch) Secretary John Berger said they broke down at mediation without an agreement being reached.
“While our members do not take any joy in inconveniencing the community they serve, they also need to look after themselves and their own families.
“These hard-working members are worth more than what the company have put on the table and have indicated that they are willing to continue to fight for a decent living wage and a secure future.”
DART Bus Lane upgrades
Meanwhile, bus lanes for the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) buses will commence construction on Doncaster and Blackburn Roads.
VicRoads advise that they are building new, dedicated citybound bus lanes along Doncaster Road between the Doncaster ‘Park and Ride’ facility and the Eastern Freeway entrance to improve bus travel times.
These works include:
widening the road along the median island
building a new kerb and channel
laying a new, smoother road surface that will be painted red to classify it as a bus lane
Work on Doncaster Road is expected to begin in mid- August and finish early September.
Blackburn Road will have dedicated citybound bus lanes along Blackburn Road between Canopus Drive and Bellevue Avenue to help improve bus travel times.
These works include:
widening the road along the median and service road traffic islands • building a new kerb
rebuilding the Canopus Drive bus stop near the BP service station
laying a new, smoother road surface that will be painted red to classify it as a bus lane
Work on Blackburn Road is expected to begin in early September and finish mid-October.
Bus services will continue operating during works.
The sun smiled down on Sandown Raceway on the first Sunday of July, setting perfect conditions for The Lions Club of Warrandyte’s 22nd edition of In The Driver’s Seat.
This annual event gives visually impaired persons (VIPs) the opportunity to get behind the wheel and drive a few laps of the raceway, under the supervision of a qualified driving instructor.
In Victoria, drivers need to have a Visual Acuity of 6/12 which is measured by reading the letters on an eye chart positioned six metres away. For those who are visually impaired, the inability to read this chart means they are not legally able to drive.
For people who have passed their driving test, the loss of their licence can exacerbate their sense of loss of freedom.
In The Driver’s Seat at Sandown is therefore a high point on each participant’s calendar and each year, the event expands as new VIPs sign up and previous participants return to, once again, get behind the wheel.
John Pope, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in 2013; a rare, degenerative, inherited eye disease with symptoms which include reduced vision in low light and tunnel vision.
“I had been driving for about 40 years…I drove taxis for 20 years, I drove trucks, it was a big part of my life.”
John explained how a trip to the ophthalmologist, five years ago, had suddenly dissected an activity which was a big part of his life.
“The ophthalmologist asked me if my wife had driven me here, I said yes and she said ‘well she’s driving you home’ and that was it.”
Throughout the day, VIPs told their stories of how accidents and degenerative eye diseases had forced them out of the driver’s seat and one thing was clear, days such as this allow them to experience the pleasure of driving once again, something which they clearly miss and is why they keep coming back year after year.
“This is my third time here,” said John.
Ken Gunning stopped driving in 1983 due to his degrading eyesight and after hearing about the day, first came along in 2000.
Ken travels down from Ballarat each year to attend this event, so I asked him what compels him to come back year-after-year.
“The idea that I can have a drive, on my own, without being on the road doing something silly.
“[Out on the track] the speed doesn’t worry me; this afternoon I ended up going over 100kph but if I hadn’t it would not have been a problem — it is more about being in control of the car.”
Ken remembers busloads of VIPs coming in from Geelong, Castlemaine and Bendigo in previous years and although numbers today may not be as high as in the past, Lions Club volunteers and driving instructors turn up, every year to give a sizable group of VIPs some quality track time.
When getting behind the wheel, each VIP has a conversation with the instructor before taking the car onto the track, the instructor assesses the extent of their vision and driving experience and tailors their instructions to that person’s specific needs.
These needs vary from person to person and can mean as little as saying “on” or “off”, while the instructor changes gears, and “brake”, to more complex instructions which may include distance to the corner, when to turn and how much to turn.
It is clear the instructors get as much out of this day as the VIPs.
“I found out about this about 10 years ago and have been back most years since,” said Rowan White, a Melbourne based driving instructor.
“Initially I got an awful lot out of it because one has to be really precise and establish a rapport with a vision impaired person, with any driver, but particularly with a vision impaired driver… it really helped me refine the way I assess people of what they can do and what I can give back to them.”
The event was also supported by Vision Australia, a not-for-profit organisation which supports blind and low vision Australians in helping them become more independent.
Vision Australia’s Access Technology Specialist, Elise Lonsdale was there on the day.
“Because I am vision impaired myself, I’ve not been behind the wheel of a car for a long, long time and it is one of the things I have always wanted to do… and realistically one can’t with low vision, so I took the opportunity today to get in on the fun and I was on the first drive and had a ball.”
Vision Australia’s attendance and coverage of the day by both Channel Nine and Channel Ten brought welcomed publicity to the day. In The Driver’s Seat is the brain child of the Lions Club of Warrandyte.
Pete Watts set up the day 22 years ago when his vision was damaged by glaucoma and Pete became aware of the debilitating effect of vision impairment.
From that first event to now, and into the future, driving instructors bring along their cars and give their time for free to these VIPs, to give back a piece of their old life for a few laps. Murray Rowland, 56, began to lose his eyesight at the age of 17.
“Now I don’t see past my nose; I just see dark and light perception.
“What I get out of today is what the sighted take for granted — driving a motor car every day.
“Going down the straight…and hearing the roar of the motor and knowing I am in control of it, not the driving instructor or someone else, is just a really exciting and fun time.”
A self-confessed lead foot, the smile on Murray’s face speaks volumes about what this day means to the visually impaired and blind.
“The smile will be there on my face for a week…and I just thank everybody who puts it together because it is just an awesome experience…we do not get this chance except for this one day of the year.”
I was given an opportunity to join one of the VIPs on their run of laps.
Strapped in to the back seat trying to hold the camera steady while the driving instructor and the VIP tested our nerves as we accelerated towards 100kph on the front and back straights was better than any theme park thrill ride and the joy in the voice of my VIP driver, John, was infectious.
After seven laps of accelerating, braking, turning and overtaking — at speed — I am not sure if the driver had more fun or I did.
The excitement was exhilarating and I can see why people like John come back year after year.
However, there is more to the day than just driving instructors assisting the visually impaired to relive the joy of driving.
A contingent of classic cars and the Ulysses Motorcycle Club were also in attendance to take anybody there on a hot lap around the track in a variety of vehicles.
The Ulysses Club have been coming to the event since 2012.
“It’s the children, mainly, that brings us here,” said Homer, Ulysses Club member and the club’s liaison at the event.
“We just like seeing their faces smile when they’ve gone for a ride, it gives us a buzz.”
The contribution to this event by classic car owners and the Ulysses Club make this day a great family day out for friends and family of the visually impaired and for the handful of volunteers.
“We offer rides around the track when it is our time on the track, we also offer rides around the car park and the side street.
“They get to enjoy all bits of it — they get the buzz of the speed and some may even ask if we can go a little bit faster,” said Homer.
Even though this event is run in Springvale, attracting the support of national organisations such as Vision Australia and the Ulysses Club brings in the blind and visually impaired from all over the state, and beyond, it is still, at its core, a Lions Club of Warrandyte event.
“We’ve got about 100 VIPs today,” said Jenni Dean, Lions Club of Warrandyte President.
“We’ve had people come from America just to drive around the track, they’ll even fly over from New Zealand — I think it is fantastic.”
After more than 20 years of running this event, the organisational workflow is very efficient which is lucky as year on year the Lions Club of Warrandyte seems to get smaller and smaller with only a handful of current members in both the Lions and the Leos.
“We’d love it if people out there would want to join the Lions Club in Warrandyte, they too could then get an experience like this,” said Jenni.
Bolstered by the support of Nillumbik, Park Orchards and Noble Park Lions Clubs and a handful of volunteers from within the community, the Warrandyte Lions were able to put together another brilliant day at Sandown and both the attending VIPs and myself look forward to coming back next year.
THE COUNCIL chambers’ gallery was filled with friends, family and colleagues on April 24 as Doctor Jim Poulter was presented with Manningham’s Key to the City.
Jim’s important works with Reconciliation Manningham, as a social advocate and as a member of Manningham’s University of the Third Age is the reason Council chose to recognise him with one of the highest honours they can bestow.
Many Diary readers will recognise Jim’s name from his Indigenous history column, Birrarung Stories.
Manningham Mayor Andrew Conlon had this to say before presenting Jim with his award:
“Jim has made a significant contribution to the reconciliation movement.
“Jim has worked closely with Aboriginal Elders and Indigenous organisations to produce educational material on Aboriginal history and cultural practices… has published 25 books, including several acclaimed Aboriginal-themed children’s books, and sold more than 70,000 copies in the past 30 years.
“This includes several acclaimed Aboriginal themed children’s books.
“Jim was also a founding member of Doncare and the Manningham Community Health Centre.
“Since retirement, Jim continues to contribute to the community, giving talks on Aboriginal history and heritage as well as conducting history walks along the Yarra River in Manningham.”
“This is a vehicle to do more — if they are going to give me a key to the city, well it’s got to unlock something, even if it is only their minds.”
At an intimate reception held in the Manningham function rooms following the council meeting, Jim spoke about the significance of his award and his feeling that this is a positive step forward in recognising the rights of Indigenous Australians.
“It’s gratifying to have achievements recognised, but the reality is nobody achieves anything without the help and support of family, friends and colleagues.
“Life’s a journey and we are all involved in journeys with each other and some of our common journeys are for a short time, a long time or sometimes a lifetime,” he said gesturing to his wife of 60 years.
Jim later expanded on the significant role his wife and family have played in enabling him to give in the way he has and how his wife is there to “hose me down every now and again when I get too exuberant”.
Jim concluded his thank you speech with his vision of the future of reconciliation in Manningham.
“This is not the culmination of anything, this is the start of the next phase and gives us the opportunity to get the view of council of what we will be doing next, to make sure that the myth of terra nullius is put to bed in Manningham.
“Council has established a reputation as the leading municipality in reconciliation… so tonight is about building on that.”
AN UNFORTUNATE sequence of events, coupled with ageing infrastructure, have left a large number of North Warrandyte residents without landline phones and ADSL internet for almost a fortnight.
On May 9 a contractor working on the bridge project damaged a hydrant near Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road causing a water main to rupture, which left residents on both sides of the river without water for several hours.
The ensuing flood necessitated single lane working at the bridge while Yarra Valley Water (YVW) attended and repaired the fracture which led to further misery to motorists who are already frustrated by the road congestion in and around Warrandyte.
Dona Tantirimudalige, General Manager, Distribution Services at YVW advised us “Permanent repairs were completed and water supply restored as quickly as possible, with no further works required.
“We thank the community for their patience while these works were carried out.”
Unfortunately the flood of water found its way into an important Telstra pit containing a 400-pair cable and damaged both the connections and the cable itself which has to be replaced leaving residents with no phone service and no or very slow-speed ADSL internet.
Residents had been complaining to their phone/internet suppliers about problems with their service since May 3 so it is assumed that water had already seeped into this pit before the great flood of May 9.
Loretta Willaton, Telstra Area General Manager, tells the Diary “We have up to 170 landline and internet customers without service in the Warrandyte area.
“Problems were first reported to us from May 5.
“We have had a major cable damaged and contractors are working daily to replace 150 metres of cable and join two separate ends.
“The work is complex and in a difficult area to access and completion is tentatively scheduled for May 16; however it may be restored sooner.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing and are working as quickly as possible to get customers back online.”
Vince Punaro, VicRoads Regional Director, Metro North West advised “VicRoads is aware of the issue of a burst fire hydrant in Warrandyte on Wednesday May 9.
“As soon as we were made aware of the issue, we worked quickly with the contractor, Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water and notified emergency services to minimise the impact on the community.”
Featured photo posted on Facebook Warrandyte Business and Community Page by Clive Rixon, May 9.
After numerous postponements, the full closure of the Warrandyte Bridge is set to happen this weekend.
The works between May 4 and May 7 will include:
installing supports for the downstream bridge widening works
further preparation works for bridge strengthening
roadworks and clearing to prepare the road and surrounds for further works
Being the first weekend in May, it is also the Warrandyte Riverside Market.
To accommodate this, the following timetable for bridge closures has been put in place:
10pm, Friday May 4 — 5am, Saturday May 5
One lane of the bridge will be closed, with traffic management onsite, to help keep the traffic moving.
5am Saturday May 5 — 3pm Saturday May 5
The Warrandyte Bridge will be open as usual, this should reduce the impact of bridgeworks to stall holders and visitors of the Warrandyte Riverside Market.
3pm Saturday May 5 — 5am Monday May 7
Full closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic.
Cyclists and pedestrians will still be able to cross the bridge, under the direction of traffic management.
Although the Total Fire Ban period has officially ended in both Manningham and Nillumbik, VicRoads stress that scheduled bridgeworks may be modified/postponed to ensure the public safety and the efficiency of the emergency services is not impacted by bridge widening.
With a number of local events taking place this weekend, including the Kellybrook Cider Festival and Nillumbik Artists Open Studios, additional journey planning may be required.
Both private and public transport will be affected by these works.
VicRoads have provided a map illustrating the traffic detours.
There will be four detours in place; (purple, green, yellow and orange).
All the detours start/finish on Main Street, Eltham, north of the river and cross the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge.
People travelling to Warrandyte are encouraged to follow the purple diversion which takes them down Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road.
For those travelling to Park Orchards and Warranwood and the South Warrandyte/Ringwood borders; the green diversion along Reynolds Road and Falconer Road is suggested.
For everyone else looking to travel between Eltham, Kangaroo Grounds and beyond, and Everywhere South and East of Ringwood, the yellow diversion (along EastLink) or the orange diversion (Box Hill and Whitehorse Road) is advised.
Full details of the diversion routes can be found under the diversion map.
Detour map (key)
Purple route: Main Road, Porter Street, Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road
Green route: Main Road, Fitzsimons Lane, Reynolds Road, Falconer Road
WE ARE BOMBARDED, on a daily basis, with all the horrors that occur in the world, along with the irresponsible and sometimes very awful things one person is capable of doing to another.
So, it is always extremely uplifting and hope filling, to hear the good side of human nature and how the safety or survival of a fellow human being can set a heroic deed into action.
On a Sunday afternoon in early March, Liz Marsh was enjoying her run along the river when she heard some cries for help and saw a young man; face down in the deep section of the river.
With split seconds to think, Liz’s lifeguard knowledge — not used for many decades — and her kayaking experience kicked in.
With shoes off, Liz headed into the water.
As she approached the young man, she was joined by Michael Wines. Michael and Liz instinctively worked as a team, with Michael flipping the young man on his back, allowing Liz to apply mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while they were still in the river.
Jeff Smith then assisted with the exhaustive swim to the shore and a group of people lifted the young man up the steep bank to safety.
During this time, Liz had called out for someone to call 000 and to her relief, another Warrandyte community member, Joanne Milic was speaking to the ambulance dispatcher.
Liz then ensured that her patient — in a semi-conscious state — was placed in the recovery position, enabling Liz to clear his mouth and keep his airway open until the paramedics arrived.
Several other helpers assisted with the onshore recovery, such as fetching a defibrillator and placing a blanket over the young man.
Six ambulance officers arrived, working on the young man, until he could eventually be taken to Box Hill hospital.
Saving this young man was a wonderful joint effort, but was triggered by Liz’s cool-headedness.
Her background, her first aid training and the fact that she is a former Outdoor Education leader, do not take away from her brave decision — at 54 and with a family of her own — to jump in the river and save this young man while continuing to direct his rescue.
It was not until Liz got home and had a hot shower that the reality hit her and shock set in.
Although many of us would aid and assist to the best of our abilities, not many of us could carry out such a heroic deed.
There is a mother and a father out there somewhere who will be forever grateful to Liz and the other rescuers.
Thanks to Senior Sergeant Stewart Henderson, Liz has been able to make contact with the young man she rescued.
He is fully recovered from his ordeal and Liz is still hoping to connect with him soon in Warrandyte and “give him a big hug”.
Liz has contacted Dr. Bernadette Matthews PhD, Principle Research Associate at Life Saving Victoria, who informed her that there were six drownings in the Yarra river in Warrandyte from July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2017.
Although there are no statistics on non-fatal incidents (hospitalisations), previous research indicated that for every drowning there are two non-fatal incidents.
THE 18TH ANNUAL Pottery Expo was held on the Warrandyte riverbank on the weekend of February 24–25, with an extensive list of almost 60 exhibiting potters, local music, wheel throwing demonstrations and workshops on offer.
Local studio potter, and event organiser, Jane Annois, was pleased with the turnout and the success of the Expo.
“We were lucky with lots of visitors, even though there was rain on Saturday,” said Jane, “and Sunday was fabulous, it was perfect.”
“The potters were happy, which is important too, with good sales and a few commissions and orders.”
And although it’s a lot of work, Jane says she wasn’t alone.
“A team of lovely volunteers helped make it a success.”
From the warm welcome I received as I entered, to each interaction with stall holders, I was instantly engaged with the creativity around me.
Local and intrastate potters, with guests from Tasmania and France, had certainly put on a sensory show of colour and natural aesthetics.
Marina Pribaz, a ceramicist from the Daylesford region and joint winner of the Innovative New Ceramics Award (INCA) summed it up nicely.
“Everyone is so individual; we all work with clay but it expresses in so many ways,” she said.
‘Cups to Go’ was my first stop, where a collection of cups and mugs from many of the exhibiting potters were available for sale, with the idea that you would purchase a handmade cup that took your fancy and then head over to the nearby coffee van for a fill.
Diane Williams, a potter from Central Victoria and a volunteer on the stall said,
“It’s a really good idea.
“It collects the diverse range of works from the potters in one place, and you get to enjoy your coffee in a beautiful mug.”
So I took my time choosing and then walked the stalls sipping coffee, keeping an eye out for the maker of my new mug while I chatted with some of the potters.
Exhibiting for their fourth year, Ali Duckworth and Karen Goldsmith make up the Clay Sisters in Croydon.
They enjoy coming to the Expo to connect with other potters as well as visitors.
“It’s lovely to catch up with other potters that you only see once a year,” said Ali.
“Pottery can be a solitary life and I think it’s important to have these kinds of things, to see what everyone is doing and connect.”
Josephine Cassar, from Montmorency, mentioned the importance of being part of a group of potters.
“We meet twice a week and have become a small community.
“I go for the company and to share ideas, we have a communal meal and chat and talk pots.”
Other exhibitors also mentioned the value of the network created by the Expo, saying how they appreciated coming back each year, catching up with people, and that the relationships built over the Expo are integral to their work.
Two awards are presented each year at the Expo, and this year’s judges were visiting ceramicists, Nanna Bayer and Bronwyn Clarke from Tasmania.
The Michael Hallam INCA award for innovative new ceramics, presented by the Warrandyte Riverside Market, was awarded to joint winners Marina Pribaz and Minna Graham, and the Lions Club award for the best stand was presented to Kim Haughie.
All three ceramicists are from the Daylesford region and have been exhibiting at the Pottery Expo for several years.
Kim Haughie said winning the award was a beautiful surprise.
“It’s a bit exciting,” she said with a big smile.
Kim’s work as a potter started over 10 years ago, but she says it all started much further back.
“I think it was seeded in my childhood.
“I spent hours in the sandpit, and then later, as I got into gardening, it went from there.”
Kim has a dam on her rural property and said: “Digging down deep I found clay; it’s lovely using the clay from my own property — my surroundings and my environment influence my work”.
Minna Graham, has been coming to the Expo for seven years and says that being a joint winner of the INCA is really affirming.
“I spend so much time on my own, at least eight hours a day just sitting in my studio, on my own, doing my thing, making my thing.
“You come here and you are surrounded by your peers and you really get some fantastic feedback.
“It makes you feel you are on the right track.
“This weekend is bolstering for me; it just makes me keep going.
“It’s the reset button for me every year.”
Jane Annois also likes discovering and supporting new musicians for the event and was very pleased with this year’s line-up.
“They were all good quality, local musicians, and there was a good feel about the place all weekend,” said Jane.
Wandering around, it was hard not to stop and listen to the music, and a nice patch of grass made the invitation to sit awhile even more appealing.
Nearby was the Manningham Arts Centre and Clayworks stall, where children, and a few adults, were deeply engrossed in painting and etching clay squares.
These terracotta squares will be returning to the community in a few months as a permanent piece of art for the community to enjoy.
Further along I came across French ceramicist, Jean Marc Plantier, who 20 years ago was part of the original idea to bring the Marche de Potiers (Potters Markets) of France to Warrandyte.
Jean Marc has been attending the Pottery Expo since it began in 2001 and clearly loves the river and the surroundings, and what has become of their idea.
“It’s a wonderful place,” said Jean Marc, “I like coming, and I will come again and again.”
Of course you will Jean Marc, for without you and Jane, we would not have such a glorious event.
Next year, Jean Marc will return with five other French potters, and as more and more local potters are applying to be part of the Expo, Jane says we can expect an even greater variety in the work.
Thank you Jane and Jean Marc, for you have brought something beautiful to our place.
Warrandyte’s own, Snowboarder Scotty James, has become Australia’s second medal winner at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, winning Bronze in the men’s halfpipe.
Following a hard fought battle with American Shaun White and Japan’s Ayunu Hirano, James was graceful in surrendering the top positions in the dais to his two rivals as he spoke to Channel Seven:
“Shaun is an amazing athlete and he has achieved a lot of great things. He achieved another awesome feat in his career today,” he said.
“Hats off to Hirano as well. He is one of the most flawless snowboarders I know. It is cool to watch him.”
The young athlete does not plan to rest on his laurels, James’ trajectory is upward.
With an already impressive lineup of sponsors, and an enviable lifestyle taking him around the world doing what he loves, this medal is seen by many to be James’ taking things to the next level.
“My goal is to come out here and ride as best I can and fly my Australian flag in the sport that is not necessarily done by many Australians,” James told reporters after Wednesday’s final.
“I am very proud of my country and where I come from but I can assure you I am just getting started.
“You can expect to see a lot more of me in the future. Me and my team, we are excited to keep going.”
James, who carried the flag for Australia in last Friday’s opening ceremony said: “I work so hard, and it is at times like these, obviously we are still focused, but you have to enjoy these experiences”.
“That is why we work hard … to enjoy these experiences as much is possible. I did that today. It was cool.”
However, never forgetting his roots, he told the media, for the moment that he was looking forward to getting back home to his ‘beloved Warrandyte’.
And Warrandyte are certainly looking forward to his return home with many taking to social media cheering on the local lad, some even contemplating a homecoming parade for our Olympic champion.
Warrandyte’s Julie Quinton was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community on Australia Day.
The OAM is the pre-eminent way Australians recognise the achievement and service of their fellow citizens.
Julie’s service to the community includes her role as President of the Warrandyte Business Association and her membership on the Be Ready Warrandyte Committee where she works alongside businesses, assisting them with a fire plan for staff safety.
Julie is also an inaugural member of the organising committee for the Country Fire Authority of Victoria’s Warrandyte Fireball.
“In 2014, when Warrandyte was under fire threat, it dawned on me that we, as a community, should take the responsibility of fund raising,” said Julie.
The Medal of the Order of Australia is awarded for service worthy of particular recognition.
“I’m so overwhelmed, it’s a lovely honour,” said Julie.
“I feel very humbled, and a bit undeserving.
“I’m very thankful for whoever nominated me, and to my family.
“When I first received notification of the award nomination I was hesitant to accept it.
“I felt a bit uncomfortable and almost declined the award, there are more deserving people than me.
“Then, as I reflected, my thoughts took me to my granddaughters, and that one day they will be proud of me.”
Appointments to the Order of Australia recognise outstanding achievement and service.
Acting Minister for Women (Victoria) Jenny Mikakos states: “Victorian women contribute equally to the success of our state and it’s important that we nominate them to be recognised for their service and dedication.”
Manningham Australia Day Perpetual Trophy
The Warrandyte Riverside Market has been awarded the 2018 Manningham Australia Day Perpetual Trophy.
The award was presented to the organising committee by Federal Member for Menzies, Kevin Andrews in a ceremony at the Manningham Civic Centre on January 26.
The City of Manningham delegated the task of selecting a group or individual/s, which demonstrate character traits worthy of such an award to the Manningham Promoting Character Committee.
The market committee is made up of local community groups, the Warrandyte Community Association, Warrandyte Community Church, Warrandyte Lions, Rotary Club of Warrandyte Donvale and the North Warrandyte CFA, while the day-to-day running of the market is managed by local marketing consultants Greg Rowell and Bambi Gordon at The Woo.
President of the Market Committee, Geoff Taylor told the Diary that receiving the award was “wonderful” and that it was “recognition of what a community group can achieve once they put their minds to it”.
When the previous administration informed the Council that they wouldn’t be continuing into 2016, Manningham Council put a call out for someone to take over, and a coalition of community groups formed to take on the role.
“It was a priority to us that the market continues, so that is why we put our hands up and volunteered to the council to step in and continue the thirty-year tradition.
“We had to try to make a transition from the former administration to the new administration in just over a month, which we were able to do,” said Geoff.
Geoff said he sees the market as a focal point for the community.
“We have a lot of people from the community come and enjoy the market, purchase their favourite items from the market … it is where families can come and enjoy the morning and get a variety of produce, which seems to be improving all the time.”
Bambi Gordon adds that the market is also a popular venue with stallholders.
“We get a small number of newbies every market — because regulars can’t necessarily do every one of them — but we have had over 900 applications to run a market stall in 2017,” she said.
Greg Rowell agrees: “The market is so popular at the moment, it is 75% sold out for this year, and it will be totally sold out by the time the first market is held on February 3”.
“We look at the retail mix, so that when people cancel we look at what you have got as far as applications for someone you think is going to add to the variety, not be a competitor to someone who regularly comes and sells, but also the sorts of small businesses and market stalls that are likely to attract new customers,” Bambi said.
The market has had to instigate an online booking program to control numbers, which has been necessary since Parks Victoria restricted access to some areas of the reserve to reduce impact on the vegetation.
“Part of having it pre-booked is about protecting the environment as well, because they are allocated a site number, they don’t just turn up on the day, if they are not on the list at the top of Stiggants they don’t get to bring their car in, so we don’t have those issues of people just driving through and parking where they like,” Bambi said.
President of the WCA and Market Committee member, Dick Davies told the Diary that the market has seen a large amount of money go back into the community.
“Last year we put $74,000 back into the community,” he said.
“People apply for grants, and each of the members of the committee receives a portion towards their organisation — Lions, Rotary, Community Association, Community Church, CFA and people apply for grants either as individuals or it could be for something like building a cubby house or a community garden at the kindergarten — so they will give a specific project for it to go to — so it all goes back to the community,” explained Bambi.
Bambi said that the award is not just for the organising committee, but everyone who has helped the market become such an integral part of the Warrandyte community.
“The sheer number of volunteer hours that go into this, to have those volunteers who are down here at 4am in the middle of winter in the dark — and there has been so many of them over the thirty years — they really deserve this award and more,” she said.
Dynamic duos acknowledged in Australia Day ceremony
By SANDI MILLER
Two Warrandyte couples were recognised for their contributions to the community as Kevin Andrews presented this year’s Menzies Community Australia Day Awards.
Alf and Carole Adins have been recognised for their service to Meals on Wheels, where they have volunteered for over seven years, a task which Carole says she finds rewarding.
“We enjoy it, we have made lots of friends and it gives pleasure to the people who we call on, some of them don’t see anyone else for days, except for us who deliver meals, so Alf drives, and I go in and chat with them and we go through the fridges of some of them to make sure things aren’t out of date,” she said.
Mrs Adins says she has made friends with several of her former clients and takes time to continue to catch up with them even though she has changed rounds.
“We visit still and they come over for lunch and at Christmas and they are great friends, I tend to get involved with the people, sometimes too much!” she said.
Although she admits the role can be quite challenging at times.
“We have seen people slip into dementia, it’s sometimes quite emotional, and it makes you aware of your own mortality.”
The pair have also been acknowledged for their work selling poppies, badges and bears for the Doncaster RSL and Legacy Widows Clubs.
Closer to home, Alf and Carole have both been panel members for the Melbourne Hill Road Drainage Scheme as well as members of the committee objecting to the mobile phone tower at the Warrandyte Recreation Reserve.
Cynthia and Gerry Kearney were honoured for their volunteer work with Doncare.
Mrs Kearney volunteers at the Op Shop as well as holding a voluntary position on the Op Shop committee as Treasurer.
Mr Kearney is part of Doncare’s depot crew, where his commendation noted that “he has lifted furniture, sorted through mountains of rubbish and championed metal recycling like no other”.
Gerry makes his way around Doncare’s six Op Shops collecting weird and wonderful donated items to take back to the storing facility for sorting.
“We pick up furniture and electrical goods that need to go back to the depot for testing and tagging and also we collect various metals which we sort and sell for scrap metal,” he said.
Cynthia told the Diary she finds working at Doncare very satisfying.
“Because you are helping the community, the money we raise at the Op Shop goes back into community projects, and you are meeting people, you feel like you are doing something important,” she said. Gerry said he felt honoured to be receiving the award.
“To receive an award for something you enjoy doing is the icing on the cake, but we feel there are many people in Doncare that are a lot more worthy than us,” he said.
“There are so many people who work so hard to be nominated, we do feel humble,” said Cynthia.
To receive an Australia Day award is particularly special to Alf Adins. “It was the day I arrived in Australia in 1962,” he told the Diary.
“He came to Australia as a £10 Pom,” continued Carole, “Australia Day to us is important, it is a day where we celebrate being Australian, regardless of race or colour or where you came from, for us it is a day to celebrate Australia”.
IN WHAT LOOKS like the start of a year-long election campaign, the Premier, Daniel Andrews announced that Labor would be building Corridor A of the North East Link if they are returned to power following next November’s State election.
The controversial North East Link went to public consultation in August with four routes, Corridor A, by far the most direct route, is planned to connect the Ring Road from Greensborough, down through Bulleen to connect to an upgraded Eastern Freeway near the Bulleen Road interchange.
Corridor B and C were projected to travel through Warrandyte to connect to EastLink at Ringwood, and Corridor D was discussed as traversing 40 kilometres through Kangaroo Ground, Lilydale and Croydon to connect to EastLink — these corridors have now been removed from the table.
The Premier told ABC Radio the other options “don’t stack up”, saying the chosen route will see congestion on local roads in the north-eastern suburbs slashed, with up to 15,000 trucks taken off local streets a day, and more than 9,000 vehicles taken off congested arterials like Rosanna Road.
The proposal includes several companion projects, including up to seven extra lanes on the Eastern Freeway and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the Eastern Freeway from the Doncaster Park and Ride to Victoria Park.
The BRT project will also provide more parking for commuters, and Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan says there will also be an opportunity to build a future Park and Ride in Bulleen.
“Buses will no longer be held up weaving on and off ramps, the Doncaster Busway will create a true express ride down the middle of the Eastern Freeway,” Minister Allan said.
With autonomous buses currently being trialled in routes around LaTrobe University, there is speculation that the BRT would make use of the electric powered, driverless buses in the future.
Manningham Councillor Paul McLeish says, “these enhancements to the freeway will be of some benefit to our community” noting that Manningham is “the most car bound municipality in Melbourne” due to the lack of rail services across the municipality.
Local Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith told the Diary: “While this is a good outcome for the sensitive environment of Warrandyte, it is now clear that the suspicion, uncertainty and angst that the Andrews Government put our community through was completely unnecessary”.
Mr Smith said the community meeting held at the initial announcement of the four options “made it abundantly clear that they believed Option A was a pre-determined outcome”.
“Their concerns have been ignored by the Andrews Government and their predictions have been proven correct,” he said. Mr Smith said that the Liberal party support the North East Link, however “the East West Link needs to be completed first as it will carry the added vehicles that a North East Link will direct to it”.
“Planning for the North East Link should be supported by proper planning that addresses the challenges of the project, and by genuine consultation with those affected,” Mr Smith said.
With a projected budget of $16.5 Billion, the Premier says this project will be the “single biggest transport infrastructure investment in Victorian history”. Manningham Mayor, Andrew Conlon said in a statement that Council has a number of concerns with Option A they will be seeking assurance on.
Council had previously resolved not to support Option A. Manningham Council spent $150,000 for a survey sent out to Manningham residents. 20% of residents indicated their preferred route — with support for the Bulleen Road route getting 35% of the share.
Corridors B and C each polled 27% support with only 7% supporting Corridor D. Councillor Sophie Galbally said at a recent council meeting she felt the survey results were an indication of preference for “anywhere but in my backyard”.
Councillor McLeish said while the council gave their support for the road in the September council meeting, the announced route will have significant impact on our community.
“There are many concerns we have for the liveability and safety of our community for the route that has now been announced, and I am certain that we as a council will work together to protect as best we can the desires and aspiration of the residents who are living along the alignment,” he said at the council meeting.
Manningham will be using the data collected from the survey to inform their future submissions to the North East Link Authority and to advocate on behalf of its residents.
The Manningham Mayor said that once detailed designs for Option A become available, “we will be actively advocating on behalf of our community on the issues they’ve highlighted to us.
“We will be looking at how to minimise project impacts and if any opportunities exist that could deliver benefits to our residents.
We also want confirmation that the Eastern Freeway will not be a toll road and that its median strip will be preserved for future transport options including Bus Rapid Transport and Doncaster Rail,” he said.
Neighbouring Banyule are understandably unhappy with the announcement as they had been advocating for Corridor C.
Banyule Mayor, Cr Mark Di Pasquale told the Diary: “Banyule Council’s position has been ‘Option C’ and was affirmed following a recent survey of our community.
“It is the best option to compliment Melbourne’s entire Transport Network Plan.” Although Cr Di Pasquale said that he believed NELA’s modelling was flawed.
“It is claimed that 75% of traffic movement will go south and then to the east, Ringwood way, and only 25% will travel south and then to the west, into the City. “Of this west bound traffic heading into the city only 4% will get there, it is claimed.
“I’ve grown up all my life in this area of town and many more people go into the city than that. “The idea of this road is overkill. “We may need a North East Link but a 10 lane road is too much,” he said.
The Banyule Mayor said NELA was assigned the task to investigate the best option for the completion of the Ring Road.
“What they’ve delivered is the ‘New Ding Road’ — A big ring road that travels around Melbourne and then has a ‘ding’ in it when you get to the North East.
He said that Corridor A also fails the “Grandkids test”.
“If my grandkids would think this road is a good idea then it would pass, but unfortunately it fails dismally; in 20 years’ time, we will be looking back saying ‘we should have built Option C’,” he said.
Narelle Campbell from the community action group Rural Link #buildthelinkbutdontsplitthewedge, who have been vocal opponents of Corridor D, told the Diary they have been “actively participating in the route options identification, analysis and assessment… to ensure NELA and government could clearly understand why the rural Nillumbik Green Wedge was inappropriate for North East Link”.
“As it turns out, government understands and agrees,” she continued, “North East Link Options identification and selection has always been about selecting the least-worst option, and in our view this has occurred.”
Despite Manningham and Banyule’s objections to Corridor A, Mullum Mullum Ward councillor, Sophie Galbally is pleased with the outcome for the Ward, although she told the Diary Manningham was always going to feel an impact from the North East Link, considering all the likely options were to come through the city.
“On the other hand, there is a sigh of relief that this time the Green Wedge will be saved from the possibility of destruction by a freeway,” she continued.
Following the announcement Ms Galbally held a community rally at Stintons Reserve, Park Orchards, which would have been in the direct path of both Options B and C.
“There is a sense of relief in Mullum Mullum Ward, but until the North East Link Option A is signed sealed and delivered, we should not be complacent,” she said.
On Saturday February 7, 2009, CFA members around the state were poised for the worst fire danger day in living memory, following sustained extreme temperatures and a forecast of 50 degrees with strong northerly winds — in short, a recipe for a disaster.
Crews gathered in fire stations across Victoria, including those around Warrandyte.
The events of Black Saturday are well known, and have almost passed into the annals of history.
However, one group of volunteer firefighters who put their lives on the line to battle the inferno that erupted that day have had to wait until now to receive the recognition they greatly deserve.
Some nine years later, the members of South Warrandyte Fire Brigade have received their National Emergency Medal, to honour the service they gave to the community on Black Saturday.
The National Emergency Medal was first issued in 2012 and was struck to recognise “sustained service during specified dates in specified places in response to nationally-significant emergencies within Australia; or to other persons who rendered significant service in response to such emergencies”.
Those events included the Black Saturday bushfires, the 2009/10 Queensland Floods and Cyclone Yasi. In a presentation at the South Warrandyte Fire Station in early October, 11 members of the South Warrandyte Fire Brigade received the National Emergency Medal in front of their families and CFA colleagues.
Lieutenant Warren Aikman
Responded to St Andrews and subsequently to Kinglake on Black Saturday and then responded to events in St Andrews during the aftermath for a total of 12 days service during the period.
Firefighter Alan Bastow
Responded to Kinglake on Black Saturday with a total of eight days service during the period.
Firefighter Patricia Cridland
Responded to Kinglake on Black Saturday and then responded to events in St Andrews in the aftermath for a total of nine days service during the period.
Firefighter Aaron Farr (now Captain of Wonga Park)
Responded to Kinglake on Black Saturday and then to events in St Andrews during the aftermath of Black Saturday for a total of 21 days service during the period.
Firefighter Gerard Fitzpatrick
Responded to events in Bunyip and Drouin on Black Saturday and to events in St Andrews in the aftermath for a total of 12 days service during the period.
Firefighter Chris Haggerty
At the request of Woori Yallock Captain Bendigo Bank released Chris to fulfil Communications support at Woori Yallock ICC. Chris fulfilled his Communications Support role during the evenings while still carrying out his work for the bank in the relief centres during the day, with a total of seven days service during the period.
Firefighter Andrew Hedderwick
Responded to St Andrews and subsequently to Kinglake on Black Saturday and then responded to events in St Andrews during the aftermath for a total of eight days service during the period.
Communications Officer Graham Moulden
Responded to Kinglake on Black Saturday and then responded to events in St Andrews during the aftermath for a total of 15 days service during the period.
Firefighter Kristian Nielsen
Responded to St Andrews and subsequently to Kinglake on Black Saturday and then responded to events in St Andrews during the aftermath for a total of 20 days service during the period.
Firefighter Megan Perry
Radio Operator at Kangaroo Ground Incident Control Centre during Black Saturday and the days that followed for a total of seven days service during the period.
Firefighter Lou Simonis
Operations Officer at Kangaroo Ground Incident Control Centre during Black Saturday and the days that followed for a total of nine days service during the period.
Lieutenant Warren Aikman told the gathering of the role that brigade members performed during the fires:
On Saturday February 7, 2009, South Warrandyte were at the station early in readiness for an extreme fire danger day, assigned to multiple locations we had members manning the ICC at Kangaroo Ground in management and radio operator roles, another member on Pumper Tanker Strike Team 1306 deployed to Bunyip and Drouin where significant fire suppression and asset protection activities were carried out throughout the day and night.
In addition, our members were assigned to the brigade nominated Strike Team 1364 on multiple appliances including the Warrandyte FCV and the Strike Team Leaders vehicle, North Warrandyte Tanker and of course our own Tanker.
Importantly we also had the crew in station fulfilling vital roles of protecting our own local communities and responding to incidents in our own assignment area.
We also had an ex-member at that time (now a current member) providing support to the Woori Yallock ICC.
This was a team effort by our members across many parts of the organisation. Strike Team 1364 was responded to form up at Hurstbridge fire station in readiness for deployment to St Andrews where a major spot fire from the main Kilmore fire had started, crews were deployed on Jacksons Road at approximately 4:30pm and commenced fire suppression activities and asset protection, at the time of the severe change in the weather conditions, crews moved to a safe zone as the fire intensified and the fire front moved through.
Once the front had passed, crews of ST1364 were re-deployed via the Whittlesea staging area where they were the first team to enter into the devastation of Kinglake.
Crews were assigned to fire suppression and asset protection in an attempt to save lives and property.
The South Warrandyte Tanker crew was specifically assigned to the Kinglake Primary School where a large number of residents were taking refuge.
The crew set up there for the night to ensure the facility remained defendable and residents were assured of their safety.
The morning of the 8th at around 6am first responding crews were relieved by our changeover crew who had already been up much of the night having been faced with the logistic challenges of getting into the fire zone.
Those crews commenced the painstaking and heart-wrenching task of recovery whilst also maintaining fire suppression activities.
During the ensuing days crews continued to be responded to local incidents in addition to responses back to Kinglake and Christmas Hills, while members also played significant leadership roles in the recovery and rehabilitation program in the Kinglake complex.
During this time, our members at the ICCs also continued to carry out important roles in supporting and co-ordinating the crews on the fire ground and much more.
Following Black Saturday, South Warrandyte members along with other Warrandyte brigades also took on the 24/7 manning and operations of the St Andrews Fire Station, this was done to allow their members impacted by the fires to go off-line and attend to their personal needs and recovery.
Those crews manning the station continued to conduct fire suppression, containment and recovery operations. St Andrews Captain, Helen Kenney acknowledged the positive impact of these crews and relief and support they provided to her members.
“Black Saturday was an unprecedented event which had significant impact in so many ways on CFA members and their families and communities we protect, on behalf of the members receiving the medal today I would like to thank the CFA and Government House for recognising the members for their commitment to protecting our communities during the 2009 Victorian bushfires.
I also pay our respects to the 173 people who lost their lives in this devastating event.
These well-deserved medals may have been a long time coming, however the depth of gratitude towards these Black Saturday heroes is no less than it was nine years ago.
Current Brigade Secretary Kim Dixon has worked for over twelve months to organise the presentation to formally recognise the service and commitment of the South Warrandyte firefighters. Readers of the Diary should be mindful that the devastation of Kinglake could very easily have played out in our own town, and remain vigilant and be thankful for the volunteers that strive tirelessly to protect us from nature’s wrath.
SUMMER will be soon upon us and local councils, community associations and the CFA have begun their annual bushfire preparations.
Local CFA volunteers prepare for summer
By TIM KEMM
LOCAL FIRE brigades have ramped up training of new recruits ahead of the upcoming bushfire season this summer.
Brigades from the CFA Maroondah Group met at the Warrandyte Bridge last month to conduct a practical exercise aimed at familiarising recruits with some of the equipment.
The main exercise conducted was drafting, which involves pumping water out of the river into the appliances, where it is then pressurised and pumped out through the hoses to fight the fire (or in the case of this exercise — sprayed back into the river).
“What we do is whack in some drafting lines, and then with our priming pumps we get lift, so we then turn on our main centrifugal pump, and we’ve got water coming into the appliances,” said Bob Dowie, the Maroondah Group Recruits Course Coordinator.
“We can either do a fill and drop, or an appliance can remain there and be used to fill other appliances, or we can conduct a fire fight from here if we have to.
“Later on we’ll be ‘showing’ water, which means we’re just going to fire some water back into the river.”
This technique can be used to pump water out of not just rivers, but also pools, lakes and dams.
For the new recruits it is an important step they have to take to becoming operational firefighters.
These sessions also provide an opportunity for the brigades in the Maroondah group to get to know each other, as these are the people they will be working alongside this summer.
The exercise included trucks from North Warrandyte, South Warrandyte, Chirnside Park, Yarra Glen, Lilydale, Wonga Park and Coldstream. Fire authorities are predicting it to be a long, hot summer and implore local residents to stay on alert at all times.
“We really want people to be prepared as always,” said Warrandyte Brigade member Renee Bisscheroux. “Particularly in this area it is quite dangerous.”
The drafting exercise is just one component of a rigorous, 12 week course that new recruits take in order to thoroughly prepare them for the summer.
Over the next few weeks a whole range of training scenarios will be covered, sometimes it may just involve scoping the lay of the land.
“Area familiarisation is a really big thing for us,” said Ms Bisscheroux.
“While we do have maps to get to fires it’s definitely much more useful if the driver knows where they’re going or know that they can’t get the truck up this road and need to go from a different direction.
“We’ve got maybe two main roads out [of Warrandyte] and if people are trying to get out it’s going to get congested, and we’re also trying to get the trucks in the opposite direction which causes us problems,” she said.
“We’re doing a lot of training based around bushfire scenarios in the area.”
For the new recruits, a sense of responsibility to the community is a significant driving force towards volunteering for the CFA.
“I signed up because I wanted to learn the necessary skills to improve bushfire resilience, prevent bushfire and combat fire so that I can aid my community and those in need,” said Tim Benedict, a new recruit of the South Warrandyte brigade.
“The CFA is a great community organisation with incredible commitment from its volunteers and staff,” he said.
For Tayla Walsh, another South Warrandyte volunteer, it has been a valuable and worthwhile experience.
“It wasn’t until my mum and brother joined a few years ago and I got that exposure to what being a volunteer involves that I decided it was something I really wanted to do,” Ms Walsh said.
“I’ve loved it — it’s definitely been challenging and has tested me both physically and mentally, but both the recruits and the trainers are so supportive, we’ve become a real team.”
With training well and truly underway, Warrandyte residents can rest assured that local brigades will be ready to tackle whatever this summer may bring.
Will you be as safe as houses this summer?
By SANDI MILLER
LIVING IN Warrandyte is a privilege that comes with risk.
Living amongst the bush makes Warrandyte among the places most at risk of bushfire in the world.
To lessen the risk, there are actions that can be taken before the danger period, such as reducing flammable materials around your home, installing water tanks, sprinkler systems and firefighting equipment — and having a fire plan.
The CFA has said the warmer and drier than average weather over recent months, combined with the forecasts for spring, suggest that the fire season is likely to commence earlier than usual and be more active than normal.
So now is the time to ensure your family have a plan in case of bushfire, storm or other emergency events, and one of the most important things to remember when producing your plan is to decide when you trigger your plan.
CFA recommends that a severe fire danger rating or higher should be your trigger to leave — do not wait for an official warning before you leave, as you may not get one — fires can start quickly and threaten homes and lives within minutes.
Your plan should also include a plan of where to evacuate to — hanging out at Eastland might be ok for a couple of hours, but remember you may need to take yourselves, you pets, and your valuables away from Warrandyte for a couple of days if there is an extended heatwave.
The CFA urge residents to understand your risk and plan ahead. Know what to do on hot, dry, windy days and plan for all situations. Let your family and friends know your plan — what are your triggers, where you’ll go and how you will get there.
This year especially, your plan should include strategies to avoid being stuck during the roadworks on Warrandyte Bridge.
Even if you do not have to cross the bridge, the CFA warns if you wait and decide to leave after a fire has started, you risk driving your family through thick smoke, fallen trees and power lines, and face the danger of collisions, being trapped, serious injury or death.
Your fire plan also requires a Plan B, for when you get caught at home by an unexpected event — so your home should be defendable even if your plan is to leave.
Get informed Should the worse happen and your home is threatened, how can you ensure your family and your home are more likely to survive? Get as much information as you can before the fire season is upon us.
Go along to one of the CFA Open Days or attend one of the information sessions being held by local community groups.
The Be Ready Warrandyte Safe as Houses? forum, hosted by the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) and their partners in Manningham and Nillumbik Councils and the local Emergency Response and Recovery Services, aims to answer this question.
The Safe as Houses? forum will be held at 7pm on Thursday October 26 at the Warrandyte Community Church.
The forum will explore case studies in which a house was or was not lost as a result of a fire. Justin Leonard from the CSIRO will present on different building materials and how they fare against a fire and will also look at a houses’ surroundings to give you an idea as to how best to prepare your property.
The forum will also give an overview of the upcoming fire danger period including communication and access interruptions within the area.
The community will be given the opportunity to ask questions about any of the topics raised in a panel of speakers and local agency representatives following the completion of the presentations.
Residents are encouraged to bring along your personal emergency plan as you may wish to include information that you gain from the evening.
Fire info for Nillumbik landowners
Proactive Landowners Group (PALs) will be conducting a Community Fire Awareness Program on November 19 at the Panton Hill Hall.
PALs is a group from Nillumbik who pride themselves as being “well intentioned, non-aligned landholders” who came together to dispute planning changes in Nillumbik two years ago. PALs are calling for a dismantling of native vegetation clearing regulations to remove the “archaic, draconian and overly-complicated legislation” asserting that “the process must begin afresh” with appropriate consultation.
“It needs to be collaborative process with good intent and good will,” he said.
Spokesperson for the group, Damien Crock, said “the group have come to realise that, since Black Saturday, landholders must bear some responsibility of protecting ` Shire and the State from the threat of bushfire.”
“Nillumbik Shire spreads out to the north of Warrandyte, which is recognized as the most highly populated high-fire danger areas on planet Earth,” he said.
Mr Crock says the Shire is blessed with talent from all walks of life and they have come together in PALs with “the right intent to make effective change”.
He told the Diary that the Bushfires Royal Commission key recommendations were about protecting human life “and our preoccupation is also with human safety.”
The group is therefore holding an information session to discuss fire safety and preparedness in the lead-up to what is likely to be a challenging bushfire season.
“The session can be attended by anyone in and around Nillumbik” to gain valuable information about preparing for the fire season.
The day will include guest speakers such as Neil Marshall who, with more than 50 years’ experience with the CFA, will be speaking on a number of subjects.
There is also information about preparing pets and livestock during bushfire threat.
Horse owners can also learn about the National Equine Database, an invaluable resource in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Council gets ready for fire season
With Fire Action Week kicking off from 13 – 20 October, Councils are working closely with local CFA brigades to identify and reduce bushfire risks on Council land to help improve community safety.
Nillumbik Shire Mayor Cr Peter Clarke said Council is preparing for the summer season with bushfire mitigation plans underway, this includes roadside clearing, slashing and mowing, tree management and native vegetation clearing.
“Council’s fire prevention program also includes ensuring maintenance of fire tracks, power line clearance, removing hazardous trees, clearing road sides, water tank maintenance and environmental works in our 32 reserves,” Cr Clarke said.
“This work is vital for Council to undertake but it will not eliminate our bushfire risk entirely.
“It is important for residents to have a think about their own properties and start to get them ready for summer by conducting regular maintenance of their property, including clearing long grass, timber and wood stores, gutters and drains.”
Fireball funds fire appliance
By SANDI MILLER
THE FIREBALL organising committee handed over the keys to a new slip-on unit to Warrandyte Fire Brigade. Last October’s Fireball, where 350 members of the local community gathered together for a fun-filled night at the Park Hyatt, raised over $70,000, which purchased a LandCruiser ute to replace the brigade’s old vehicle.
The slip-on unit is a four-wheel-drive ute with fire-fighting capability which enables firefighters to get to places traditional tankers would be unable to access.
The previous fourteen-year-old firefighting appliance was involved in a burn-over incident while supporting firefighters in Tasmania.
Warrandyte CFA Captain Adrian Mullens got the call from Tasmania last year saying the vehicle had been involved in a burn-over.
“My heart sank — I didn’t think my ticker could go 500 beats per minute…luckily apart from some scorch damage to the slip-on they were fine, fortunately we had an experienced crew on it, and that is paramount — there is no place for learners on a slip-on because there are only two of you,” he said.
The appliance was refurbished following the incident, however Captain Mullens believed that the 2003 vehicle was no longer providing an acceptable safety standard for fire crews.
“Having all the extra safety features in it, crew safety is something that is always top of the list,” he said.
The firefighting equipment which was replaced following the incident in Tasmania was able to be reused on the new vehicle, although supplementary donations from the Lions Club and Rotary enabled the brigade to fit out the appliance with some ancillary equipment such as winches and crew protection sprinklers.
Captain Mullens said the brigade would not have had the funds if not for the donation from Fireball.
“Fireball has just taken a huge burden off the brigade in relation to raising funds for major ticket items, so we are extremely grateful for the Fireball Committee’s efforts,” he said Jaime Noye from the Fireball Committee said while the idea that the brigades shouldn’t have to fundraise for themselves is a big part of the reason behind Fireball, it is more than that.
“It is a celebration of the firefighters and all they do for us, and last Fireball was at a time when there was a lot of uncertainty, so bringing them all together, it really did help them,” she said.
After the 2014 fires, Julie Quinton, from Quinton’s IGA, identified there was a need for local brigades to have some assistance in relation to major expenditure — trucks, generators, etc. Julie formed the Fireball Committee and then in conjunction with the four local fire captains identified the worthiest recipients — North Warrandyte were top of the list to replace its aging tanker, which was the recipient of the 2014 Fireball, then Warrandyte for this appliance.
Fireball committee member Michelle Lambert said the Fireball is only about raising money for big ticket items.
“People are still contributing from the community to the brigades in other ways,” she said.
For instance, Warrandyte Community Bank contribute $50,000 per year to our local CFAs.
“The bank also gave Fireball a grant and [when the venue was moved] they came in and put on the busses,” continued Ms Lambert.
The Fireball Committee is not resting on its laurels, it is in the process of providing a model for taking Fireball to other communities and is planning for the next Fireball event in 2019.
“When the government has a clearer idea of what the new fire service is going to look like, we can go to the community saying this is it, and this is the shortfall and this is what we are intending to do,” she said.
Warrandyte’s slip-on goes into service this week, ready for the upcoming fire season and will turn out for local incidents and be part of strike teams around the state and potentially around the country.
Taking power underground
By SANDI MILLER
COMMUNITIES in high-risk bushfire areas such as North Warrandyte could benefit from an initiative to bury powerlines, which will significantly reduce the risk to lives and property from bushfires.On February 7, 2009 Victoria suffered the deadliest bushfires in its history.
The subsequent Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission found that uninsulated overhead powerlines were the cause of many of these fires, and recommended the Victorian Government contribute towards the cost of replacing these lines, starting in highest priority areas.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said after viewing the installation of 43km of underground wires recently in Healesville: “the risk this summer is very real and we’re working to ensure Victorians have the best possible protection against bushfires.”
The State Government is calling for applications from all regional Victorians interested in applying to the Powerline Replacement Fund to underground their bare-wire overhead powerlines before applications close in February 2018.
To obtain funding under the scheme, powerlines must meet the following criteria:
• is currently in active use (ie the POEL [Private Overhead Electric Lines] must not be disconnected) — if the POEL is disconnected, the POEL owner will not be eligible for funding assistance unless the POEL has been reconnected for ongoing active use;
• is overhead and uninsulated (that is a span, or part there-of, is bare wire);
• is located in one of the PRF local government areas listed;
• is located in a High Bushfire Risk Area as designated by the Country Fire Authority.Residents of Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges could be eligible for a grant from the scheme, although property owners interested in taking part should check their eligibility at www.energy.vic.gov.au/electricity/powerline-replacement-fund.
The Manningham council area is not included in the scheme.
She starts her day in the kitchen of Warrandyte’s favourite social enterprise café, Now and Not Yet, cutting and chopping up ingredients, portioning sauces and vegetables and seasoning meats.
She commands the ovens and fryers, reigns supreme over the stove top, and knows how to make a mean batch of pancakes.
Lisa also happens to be deaf.
Her employment at Now and Not Yet isn’t just a job—it’s a life changing experience, especially after over 100 rejected job applications and years of struggling to find fulfilling work.
I sat down with Lisa, her interpreter Danielle Don and Sign for Work case worker Laura Bell to chat about her job, being welcomed into the Warrandyte community, and why she puts a few heaped teaspoons of sugar into her Now and Not Yet coffees—it takes the edge off the caffeine, she says.
Lisa started as a volunteer in the Now and Not Yet kitchen six months ago.
It was a sharp change of pace from her last job, working as a cleaner in accommodation houses in Tasmania.
From working in isolation cleaning homes—hard and tiring work—where the only person she communicated with was her employer via text, to the bustling, fast-paced kitchen on Warrandyte’s main street — it’s a big change, but a welcome one.
“I love it here,” Lisa says.
“I actually enjoy coming to work because there’s nothing worrying about it.
“It’s a really comfortable and friendly place, and everyone just goes with the flow here.”
It’s the people that make all the difference.
The worst part of her old cleaning job was that she was always working alone, Lisa says, and that it was isolating and quiet.
But here in the busy kitchen on Yarra Street, the word “quiet” certainly doesn’t come to mind.
The kitchen, the coffee counter and the café floor are almost always teeming with people.
And it’s these people, staff, customers and community members alike, that have made Lisa feel so welcome in Warrandyte.
“I’m mixing with different people and I get to meet a variety of different people.
“They’re just friendly and welcoming and they accept people for who they are — they don’t shun people or push them away, or judge them.
“With me, it’s just a different style of communication and instead of going ‘oh that’s too hard’, everyone here actually wanted to learn.
“They’re taking the time to try to communicate through mime and gesture or by writing things down — they accept me for who I am.”
When Lisa joined the team in the kitchen, the communication process between staff members changed.
Gone were loud vocal cues and yelled warnings (“HOT!), and in their place a bevy of basic sign language phrases, hand gestures and lots of smiles.
Lisa explains the system to me: one tap on the shoulder if somebody needs her attention, two taps to let her know somebody is walking behind her or carrying something hot, to avoid giving her a fright.
“Sometimes it can be hard, so we have to write things down.
But everyone is trying their best to communicate with me, and I’ve been teaching them some sign language.”
And they’ve taken a shine to it.
Now and Not Yet chef’s Lisa and Jack
Jack, a full time chef in the Now and Not Yet kitchen, has made a determined effort to learn AUSLAN and ensure that the kitchen is a safe, supportive and inviting place for Lisa.
And as a result, his relationship with Lisa is an incredibly special one, where the roles of mentor and mentee are reciprocal: Jack teaches Lisa skills in the kitchen, and Lisa teaches him sign language and deaf awareness.
“It was a bit of a struggle to start with because I didn’t know any sign language — but because Lisa and I got along so well, it was easier to learn from her.
“I’m not fluent obviously, but I’ve learned things like bacon, lamb…the really important words! It’s fun but it’s a lot of work to remember,” Jack says.
They’re both visual learners, and Lisa says having Jack in the kitchen with her ensures every day is filled with plenty of learning — but plenty of fun too.
“[Jack] has a really cheeky laugh and we have a good giggle in the kitchen together,” she says.
Laura Bell, Lisa’s case worker from Sign for Work, says that being employed by Now and Not Yet has been a transformative experience for Lisa.
“Lisa has struggled in employment previously; but now I see this happy and excited person every single day.
“Her confidence wasn’t there and her sense of self-worth, but to see the change in her is amazing,” she said.
But Laura Bell says that it’s a rarity for a deaf person to find such a cooperative and supportive workplace in Melbourne.
Now and Not Yet is the exception.
“For us to find people who are so accepting and willing to employ a deaf person…and they did it all own their own, without us prompting them!
“Even when Lisa was just a volunteer here, they all wanted to learn sign language, learn how to communicate and make it easier for her.
“Most hearing people don’t try to involve themselves in the deaf persons experience, it’s just sort of like, you’re here in my hearing world, work it out — that makes it really hard to keep a deaf person in employment,” Laura says.
“So finding a special, unique place like this… they on their own said ‘how can we become deaf? How can we make your life easier?’.
“In this situation, we’ve not come across any roadblocks, it’s just about saying how can we support Lisa? How can we make this experience great?”
Laura and Lisa agree that it’s not just about finding and creating opportunities, but more broadly contributing to deaf awareness.
“The wider community today just doesn’t accept something as basic as hearing loss — I can’t understand it, and it makes it so hard — but the community here in Warrandyte, we need more people like the people here,” Laura says.
“Just because somebody is hard of hearing or deaf, that doesn’t mean they don’t have the skills to succeed and to work, it’s about patience and resilience, and they can be on the exact same level as their hearing counterparts.”
And café owner Derek Bradshaw, says it’s people like Lisa that are the reason he does the work he does.
“It’s why we exist, there’s no point in being a social enterprise and putting money back into the community if you’re not actually willing to really live it in everything you do,” Derek says.
“I’d say that probably over a third of our staff have faced some kind of significant challenge or have a learning disability.
“We actually kind of gravitate towards employing people that maybe wouldn’t be offered a job in a more mainstream workplace.
“For me, that’s one of the most exciting things about this place is the opportunity to assist and help people every day and provide employment and training — it’s pretty hard to put a value on that.”
Derek is implementing a number of workplace modifications to make Lisa’s job easier, including putting a mirror in the kitchen so Lisa can see behind her, and getting Lisa a watch or pager, that can vibrate to let her know when alarms or timers are going off on the kitchen appliances.
Lisa’s not sure what’s next for her, but for now, it’s all about becoming a better chef, learning more skills and completing her TAFE course in culinary arts and hospitality.
OFFICIAL PLANS for the four routes under consideration for the North East Link have been released by the North East Link Authority (NELA).
The four possible corridors were determined through geo-technical investigations, traffic modelling, environment studies and discussions with community groups, businesses and local residents.
Premier Andrews made the announcement and said local roads in the north-east have become default freeways.
“North East Link will fix that — carrying 100,000 vehicles a day and creating 5,000 jobs,” he said.
However, Member for Warrandyte and Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure, Ryan Smith told the Diary: “building the North East Link without a plan to build the East West Link will simply channel 100,000 vehicles a day onto an already gridlocked Eastern Freeway”.
Of the four routes under consideration, two are set to run to the west of Warrandyte.
The proposed Corridor B would cross the Yarra at Fitzsimons Lane and follow the current powerline reserve with an interchange at the Tindals Road and Reynolds Road intersection and join EastLink at the Ringwood end of the Mullum Mullum Tunnel.
Proposed Corridor C would cross under the Yarra near Crystal Brook Caravan Park and follow the powerlines to the same interchange at Tindals Road.
Both of these options would also incorporate upgrades to Reynolds and Springvale Roads.
Further West, Corridor A is proposed to travel 11 kilometres directly south from Greensborough through the Banyule Flats to connect with the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Road; this route would include an upgrade of the Eastern Freeway to accommodate the increased traffic volume.
Corridor D is a sweeping 40-kilometre route which travels through Kangaroo Ground, Bend of Islands, Christmas Hills, Lilydale, Mooroolbark and Bayswater, with connection to Eastlink near the Burwood Highway.
Extensive tunnels are planned to protect the environment and cultural assets: Corridor A will be 50% tunnel, Corridor B is planned to comprise a minimum 70% of tunnels over its 24-kilometre length, while Corridor C will have 55% of its 26-kilometre route underground and around 40% of Corridor D will be tunnelled.
Ryan Smith said that having these four corridor options on the table “with a significant lack of detail, Daniel Andrews has created an extreme level of anxiety amongst residents who will potentially have their homes acquired”.
NELA Communication and Stakeholder Engagement officer, Kim Jordan, who presented the plans to local community groups said that NELA have discussed using the powerline reserves with AusNet and they said that to place the high voltage lines underground would not be feasible with the existing reserve.
“That leaves us putting the road underground and leaving the powerlines where they are,” Ms Jordon said.
She said the project “will be completed with a set of guiding principles”:
• Minimise impacts in communities.
• Minimise impacts on environment and cultural assets.
• Minimise impacts during construction.
• Optimise efficient use of resources.
Residents are invited to attend local information sessions during August or can provide their feedback online.
There will be an information session on August 19 at Warrandyte Primary school where residents can give feedback to NELA about the proposed routes.
The Diary will supply publish the NELA technical report on this website when it is made available, in the mean time, more details on the corridor options can be found here.
The Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) says that it is actively preparing for the short feedback period.
Convenor for the WCA’s North East Link subcommittee, Carli Lange-Boutle, says “the WCA is collaborating with other associations along the Greensborough-Eltham-Park Orchards-Donvale-Ringwood Route corridor to identify the potential benefits and impacts of the options.
“This consortium of local associations forms a study group, calling itself the North East Link Forum (NELF), which facilitates an understanding of priority concerns of each district, while also being a means to share information and ideas.”
Ms Lange-Boutle advises that each association continues to work to their individual objectives and priorities.
“The WCA’s priority is to help defend our village character, our natural Yarra River valley bush setting and the surrounding Green Wedge buffers”, she continued.
“The Park Orchards and Donvale communities are worried about potential impact on the Mullum Mullum Creek corridor and about traffic issues.
“The WCA has respectfully identified concerns regarding increased traffic pressure on Yarra Street from a possible ramp system at the intersection of Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road as a key issue.”
Ms Lange-Boutle said “We are devoting considerable effort into encouraging Manningham Council and residents that now is the time to get involved.
“Now is when we all need to communicate our core issues to NELA in response to the route option discussion paper.”
Ms Lange-Boutle said the WCA hoped “Warrandyte residents would take an active interest in this issue”.
These sessions continue the community consultation which commenced last month.
NELA received 7000 responses to their online survey and found the community’s three main issues were: protection of the environment, public transport and urban design.
Last month, residents of Nillumbik were given the opportunity to attend a series of pop-up meetings held by NELA, which were initiated by Nillumbik Council Officers and councillors Karen Egan and Jane Ashton.
Residents asked many questions of the NELA community engagement team with many of the question raised during the first pop-up meeting in Eltham concerned primarily with the routes plan to run through Warrandyte and Kangaroo Ground.
Narelle Campbell has attended several of the pop-up meetings as a concerned resident of the Green Wedge.
She told the Diary that NELA appeared receptive and welcoming of discussions.
“The NELA and Nillumbik Council pop-up sessions give us the opportunity to talk to NELA with our issues face to face,” she said.
Ms Campbell said that Nillumbik residents have been “turning up to these sessions to make sure NELA acknowledges and can articulate all of the reasons why a rural Nillumbik Green Wedge option is a bad idea in its own right and achieves a poor project outcome when compared to other North East Link options”.
Ms Campbell gave the Diary her impression of the reality faced by the North East Link Authority.
“The reality is that all North East Link Project options impact on people, homes, the environment, and create engineering challenges — there is no ‘easy’ build option, completing the Link now is about identifying the ‘least worst’ project option to achieve project benefits,” she said.
As reported in the May edition of the Diary, The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) have been advocating for a wholly aboveground option.
“Tunnels are expensive to build, prolong construction timelines, and cannot accommodate dangerous goods vehicles, which forces them onto other roads, impacting community amenity,” VTA CEO Peter Anderson said earlier this year.
However, Ms Jordon said the VTA’s preferred route through Chirnside Park would require some tunnelling, and that only around 1% of trucks carry dangerous goods.
Ryan Smith said the proposed North East link routes are an unprecedented attack on the Green Wedge.
“Daniel Andrews seems not to know or care about the impact this project will have on the local environment, Mr Smith said.
A final decision on the final route will be announced by the end of the year, with the Premier saying contracts would be signed in 2019 and construction commencing in 2020.
AFTER 17 RECORDED vehicle crashes in four years, Manningham Council began the process for a major upgrade to Jumping Creek Road in July 2016.
At an estimated cost of $17.9M and a construction period of six years, works are scheduled to begin in 2018, after the next fire danger period has ended and assuming the necessary permits have been issued.
An important link road between Warrandyte and the Yarra Valley, the road also gives access to the only river crossing with 10 kilometres for Wonga Park and the surrounding area.
Manningham Council estimates Jumping Creek Road currently carries more than 8000 vehicles per day, a number which is expected to of doubled by 2035.
Taking into account the number of accidents on this important artery, Manningham believe the road, which is already failing to keep drivers safe will be unable to accommodate a major increase in traffic without an upgrade.
The works will include roadway realignment, roundabouts, emergency vehicle stopping bays and a shared pedestrian/cycling path which will run the entire length of Jumping Creek Road between Wonga Park and Warrandyte.
This last adjustment will deliver greater accessibility to the Wonga Park community as well as improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
As part of the development process, Manningham Council have formed the Jumping Creek Road Community Reference Panel, a panel which consists of residents, businesses and community groups which are directly affected by Jumping Creek Road.
Mr Leigh Harrison, Director of Assets and Engineering for Manningham Council spoke to the Diary, explaining the role the panel will play in the forthcoming upgrade.
“The Jumping Creek Road Community Reference Panel will provide an important and long term opportunity for the community to highlight issues, queries and provide feedback on proposals to upgrade Jumping Creek Road.
“[The panel] will also help guide the materials and finishes, path widths, replanting opportunities, fauna crossings, street lighting, pedestrian crossing locations, non-regulatory signage, roadside aesthetics, emergency stopping bay locations, the Dudley Road/Yarra Road/Jumping Creek Road intersection surface treatment and the extent and nature of equestrian treatments,” he said.
Residents will get the opportunity to express their thoughts on the road upgrade via the Community Reference Panel, as well as via the Manningham “Your Say” page.
However, one major concern will be traffic congestion.
The Diary asked Mr Harrison what steps have been taken to minimise further congestion to an already heavily congested area.
“The key objectives of this project are to improve safety for all users, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, and to accommodate the forecasted increase in traffic volumes — which is expected to double to 15,000 vehicles per day by 2035.
“During our consultation process, concerns were raised about traffic congestion at the Jumping Creek Road and Homestead Road intersection — located on the municipal boundary between the Shire of Yarra Ranges and the City of Manningham.
“Council is working with the Shire of Yarra Ranges to address resident concerns regarding this intersection.
“Some traffic disruption during works of this scale is unavoidable,” he said.
Jumping Creek Road Upgrade plan courtesy of the Manningham “YourSay” page
THE VICTORIAN Government has announced sweeping changes to the fire services which will split the CFA, and while it fundamentally will have no impact on the business of putting out fires, there will be a big change in the way CFA brigades operate behind the scenes.
A joint statement issued by Premier Daniel Andrews and Emergency Services Minister, James Merlino,said Victoria has some of the best firefighters in the world, however they currently operate under systems and structures that have not changed since the 1950s.
“These important changes will deliver more modern fire services for a growing Victoria, making our state even safer”, said Mr Merlino.
Emergency Services commissioner, Craig Lapsley spoke to the Diary to reassure local residents and CFA volunteers the change for the community would be seamless.
“We have 1220 CFA stations now, and we will have 1220 when this is implemented,” he said.
CFA staff such as those at South Warrandyte will combine with MFB firefighters to form the newly created Fire Rescue Victoria, while CFA volunteers will remain with the CFA, which will return to being a volunteer focused organisation.
“It will still be local people going to local incidents… the same vehicles will be in the same stations, it is just that the signs out the front will be different” he said.
South Warrandyte Station as an integrated station will remain the same, but will have two signs, one representing the FRV staff and the other representing the CFA volunteers.
The situation for other roles within CFA — such as regional managers and staff, community education, trainers, mechanics, fire investigators — is a slightly more complicated issue.
“Operational staff at a Regional level will be employed by FRV but will be tasked to the CFA, however certain administration and technical staff will remain covered by the CFA’s [Professional Technical & Administrative] PTA employment agreement,” Mr Laspley said.
The Commissioner assured the Diary the boundaries between metropolitan and country areas will remain the same, however the Andrews Government has flagged the establishment of a Fire District Review Panel which will conduct future reviews of the boundary between fire services, based on population growth, urban development and the volume of Triple Zero calls.
When theDiary asked about the rumours generated by a photograph published in the Herald Sun showing Warrandyte was being considered for inclusion in FRV, Commissioner Lapsley said there were “no immediate plans to put staff into Warrandyte”.
He said that the position paid fire fighters in South Warrandyte, Eltham and Templestowe gave enough coverage to support the retention of a volunteer-only station at Warrandyte.
“South Warrandyte are getting into Yarra Street in 8-10 minutes”, he said.
Commissioner Lapsley said one of the most important consideration is to ensure surge capacity in times of major incident is protected, and that means ensuring we retain the State’s 50,000 volunteers.
Local member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith is not so optimistic, and said volunteer retention at integrated stations may not be so easy.
“Sooner or later if you have 20 or so career firefighters there, volunteers aren’t going to get there for a call out and it’ll get to the point that they don’t want to be there to wash the trucks once a week”, Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith is concerned that if volunteers are not given respect they will not be there in times of calamity to provide the needed surge capacity.
“I can’t see anyone but the die-hard volunteers committing to the training just for the sake of three or four callouts a year in those extreme circumstances.”
Peter De Maria, a career firefighter at South Warrandyte, said the feeling at the station was positive and the change was little more than a change of badge.
“It’s no different — really it is not going to change, we will still train with [the volunteers], it is just modernising the service for career staff… but for the community it is a win because they will get a better service,” he said.
Captain at North Warrandyte CFA, Mick Keating hopes the CFA will continue to support volunteer training and skills development.
“As long as they don’t make us a second rate service and say ‘you don’t need these courses, these trucks, this equipment’, we still have houses and big buildings to look after, we still have road accidents, none of that is going to change I just hope there is no change to any of the the training regime or the opportunities that are available to volunteers,” he said.
Captain of the Warrandyte brigade, Adrian Mullens said it was still too early to comment and would like to wait until the dust had settled on the announcement, but wanted to reassure the community that it would be “business as usual”.
“We are still going to service the community as we have for the last 79 years,” Mr Mullens said.
These reforms are currently before Parliament, and if passed, are expected to take two years to be fully implemented.
Ryan Smith is not convinced that the reforms have the community’s interests at heart.
“If it was driven for efficiencies or driven because the system was broken or to save money or whatever you could argue it was good for the community, but what you are going to be doing is basically breaking a community organisation that everyone rallies around…this is just a fix because every other way they wanted to support the UFU was blocked for various reasons — is it a win for the community? No – I think we will just end up missing something that we had,” he said.
The government has confirmed that, until June 2019, the funding for the changes will not impact on the Fire Services Property Levy, which is charged to property owners via council rates.
With this comes a promise that the existing Metropolitan Fire District Boundary will remain in place for the next two years — for the purpose of determining whether Metropolitan or CFA levy rates apply.
DAMP weather did not deter hundreds turning out for the Anzac Day memorial service this year at the Warrandyte RSL.
Some 150 people participated in the march from Whipstick Gully to the memorial at the RSL.
Lead by Ennio Torresan the march consisted of returned servicemen and women, their families, dignitaries and members of CFA, Scouts, Guides and local sporting groups.
The marchers were joined by an estimated 800 strong crowd to take part in the service around the memorial.
The address was conducted by John Byrne, who recalled the service of the late William Stringer who served in both World Wars, living in Warrandyte until his death at age 70 in 1965.
And what would Anzac Day be without the Bellbird Singers beautiful rendition of I am Australian and Barry Carozzi performing his haunting It’s Not a Soldiers Job to Question Why?
Following the requisite minute’s silence, wreaths were laid on the war memorial by local members of parliament Kevin Andrews and Ryan Smith along with representatives of other community groups and members of the public.
The memorial was vandalised on Sunday night prompting swift action by the community to restore the shrine in time for the Service.
Ryan Smith MP told the Diary he was inspecting the damage when he learned that the RSL was going to have to put on extra security to ensure the vandals did not return again before the service.
“I was lucky to be here at the right time because I was able to offer to pay half of the $700 costs of the added security which the RSL would otherwise have to find from their own pockets,” he said.
Warrandyte RSL President Hank Van de Helm thanked the community for the huge support that was given to the club after the desecration of the memorial.
Federal Minister Kevin Andrews said the act was “absolutely disgusting”.
“But the best answer to that is so many people turning out today,” he said.
Local Councillor Paul McLeish said he was “proud of the way the community came together to right a wrong”.
The restored memorial looked better than ever, so the silver linings from this despicable act were that Warrandyte’s war memorial received a face-lift and the RSL received that warm sense of community that rose from Warrandyte rallying together to erase the damage to our beloved institution.
THE WARRANDTYE community awoke to the sad news that the RSL memorial had been vandalised overnight.
The graffiti displayed the symbol for anarchy and the words “War is Murder”.
While vandalism is always a hurtful act, the defacing of the RSL’s war memorial on the eve of Anzac Day was felt particularly strong within the community.
The council were quick to act and soda-blasted the offending marks.
However, this process also strips the gold trim out of the words on the memorial.
Stephen Papal from Advanced Stone, a company that specialises in the making bespoke headstones and memorials, contacted the RSL directly to volunteer his company’s services and restore the memorial back to its former glory.
“I know what it’s like for RSLs and clubs to try and find the money to cover up something that’s been vandalised.
“I rang them because I knew they’d soda-blast it, the process should be to sand it and touch up where the graffiti has been.
“This will look magnificent tomorrow”, said Mr Papal.
Stephen and Ben Papal from Advanced Stone volunteering their services
Local Member of Parliament, Ryan Smith also visited the memorial to see the damage for himself and personally thank the men who had come out to undo the damage.
In an interview with the Warrandyte Diary, Mr Smith expressed his appal on last night’s criminal act.
“It’s just completely appalling that this has happened in Warrandyte, the vandals that did this — the very freedom that they are making a statement against were fought for by the people remembered at this memorial… that this has happened in Warrandyte is just disgraceful.”
Mr Henk Van Der Helm, President of the Warrandyte RSL stated: “We are pretty disgusted with this act but we’ve been able to clear it off”.
The Warrandyte RSL have decided to pay for security around the War Memorial tonight over concerns that the publicity that has been generated may encourage the “ratbags” to return.
Mr Van Der Helm is confident that the Anzac day ceremony will go ahead, as planned, tomorrow morning.
Victoria Police have issued a public appeal for information relating to the vandalism of the memorial, acting Sergeant Nick Bailey stated: “It’s sad to see this attempt to diminish the spirit of the ANZACs with this disrespectful act.”
If you have any information regarding last nights graffiti, please contact Crimestoppers on:
1800 333 000
Despite the attempts to deface the Warrandyte memorial, the RSL’s Anzac Day service will go ahead tomorrow morning, as planned.
The march will start from Whipstick Gully at 10:30am with a service to follow from 11am.
A storm is brewing in North Warrandyte after Nillumbik council granted planning approval for a residential building at 2 Pigeon Bank Road.
At a meeting of the Future Nillumbik committee on March 14, five out of seven councillors voted to approve the plans, going against the recommendation of the council planning department.
The land in question is a pristine, steep riverine bush-block in an extremely environmentally sensitive area.
Architect Phillip Mannerheim purchased the block in 2014 and has plans to build an eco-friendly sustainable home on it for his retirement.
The property is one of eight blocks in a low density or bush land residential street that is well serviced with existing infrastructure, including sealed road with reticulated water, power and sewerage.
There was just one objector, a neighbour, who was not objecting to the development but wanted better separation and screening from his property.
There are multiple parties both for and against this development.
Warrandyte Community Association
The Warrandyte Community Association distributed a flyer entitled Thin end of the green wedge at the Warrandyte Festival, which states:
The land is unique in having four distinct native plant communities supporting diverse wildlife populations.
The planning sets a disastrous precedent which could see the end of the “Green Wedge” as we know it.
The decision, against the recommendation of experienced Nillumbik Planning Officers to reject the planning application, will see the destruction of at least 746 trees to build a house and out-buildings on a ridge, creating a visual eyesore and threatening the nearby Koornong State Park bushland.
At 5.3 hectares, the block is smaller than the eight hectare minimum subdivision required under Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ) Schedule 3.
Clause 35.06 of Nillumbik’s own planning scheme requires use of land to protect and enhance the environmental and landscape value of the land — This proposal does the opposite.
Rural Conservation Zoning seeks to ensure that “the existing character, landscape quality, view-lines and other natural environmental characteristics of the area are protected and enhanced in an equitable and sustainable manner”.
The proposal also contravenes other clauses and overlays in the Nillumbik planning scheme.
The “Stranded Asset” argument, that a landowner has a reasonable right to build on such a site has no validity as RCZ zoning was introduced as early as 1973 and any land purchaser should conduct due diligence on any property before purchase.
The nearby Koornong land was purchased by the State in 1979 after an intensive campaign by the Warrandyte Environment League, supported by the Warrandyte Diary, to save it from destruction by inappropriate housing development.
Council has apparently identified about 700 similar undersized blocks which could be opened-up for development in Nillumbik.
This would destroy the Green Wedge and Nillumbik as “The Green Wedge Shire”.
Council planning department
The planning officers’ recommendation to councillors to refuse a permit is on the grounds that the proposal:
To use the land for a dwelling on a substandard sized lot is not consistent with the intended purpose and decision guidelines of the RCZ.
Does not seek to use the land to protect and enhance the environmental and landscape value of the site.
Is not consistent with clauses concerning green wedges, vision strategic framework, settlement and housing and rural land use.
Does not respond to the decision guidelines of the RCZ, and siting and design policy, for buildings and works in non-urban areas, due to the level of site disturbance required for the construction of the dwelling, and the associated conservation and environmental impacts.
Has not adequately responded to the objectives and decision guidelines of the bushfire management overlay and wildfire management policy as the development of the land; a dwelling will pose a threat to life and property, is inappropriately sited, requires an impractical level of maintenance — in light of the site’s topographical features — and is deemed unsafe.
Is not responsive to the objectives and decision guidelines concerning native vegetation in that the proposal has not adequately considered the role of native vegetation as both habitat, and playing a crucial role in minimising land degradation.
Has not adequately responded to the objectives and decision guidelines of the environmental significance overlay in terms of the potential to detrimentally impact on the environmental values of the land due to the proposed vegetation removal.
Will not result in an acceptable planning outcome as outlined in the decision guidelines having regard to the orderly planning of the area, the degree of fire hazard for the proposed development, the extent of vegetation proposed to be removed, and the potential land degradation and erosion.
Jane Ashton – Sugarloaf ward councillor
Jane Ashton was one of five councillors who supported the development. She spoke at length to the Diary, and these are her main points.
The decision was not made lightly; I did a considerable amount of research beforehand with regard to the design, the CFA reports and the environmental studies performed.
The block has a house number and kerbing for the driveway.
The Department of Environment and Land did not object and said the development “is not expected to have a significant impact on any rare or threatened species”.
The applicant commissioned 5 ecological surveys, has agreed to 4.5 ha becoming Bushland Conservation Zone and is providing $80,000 of offsets.
The applicant is an experienced architect.
He has designed an eco-friendly carbon-neutral home with a 10-star energy rating
The home has solar panels, a 500,000 litre water tank for bushfire survival and is recessed into the ground to minimise any visual impact and reduce the footprint substantially.
The application meets all bushfire risk management requirements and the design displays excellence in satisfying CFA requirements.
The block is very heavily treed having over 5,000 trees, many of which are small.
The 750 trees mentioned are mainly saplings and very immature trees with a girth less than 50cm, there are very few mature trees and no “significant” trees.
The number of mature trees impacted is likely to be less than 100 in total and, as with the other houses in the street, removal is necessary to provide a defendable space around the property.
The applicant has committed to connect to the sewer at considerable distance and expense, even though this is not a requirement.
The eight-hectare minimum lot size mentioned by critics is for subdivision planning only and is not relevant to this application as the area has already been subdivided.
Under RCZ Schedule 3, dwellings are not prohibited, the land is in private ownership and is not reserved for conservation purposes.
I firmly believe that we do not own the land, the land owns us; we are the guardians.
Friends of Nillumbik should embrace the applicant with open arms and help him tidy up the understory and remove the 17% of introduced species from his block.
I am of the opinion that the applicant will be an impeccable guardian of this precious land.
Friends of Nillumbik
This group’s latest bulletin states:
The permit approval undermines Green Wedge values and our Planning Scheme
The 5.3 hectares contains habitat of high conservation significance, almost a hectare of vegetation will be cleared including the loss of 746 trees.
A ridge top will be extensively cleared for the house so landscape values will be seriously degraded.
It is intended to use the land for rural residential purposes, a use at odds with its rural conservation zoning.
Councillor’s Brooker and Dumaresq opposed issuing the permit urging respect for our planning scheme.
This irresponsible council decision shows that the purpose of Nillumbik’s Green Wedge has been purposely questioned by councillors.
They have recently added the following comments:
Nillumbik was created to be “the conservation shire with the Green Wedge as its strategic focus”.
The bulk of Nillumbik’s Green Wedge was given protection under the Rural Conservation Zone (Schedule 3) of the Planning Scheme and the later placement of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) reinforced this demarcation separating planned residential land from rural land.
The government’s intention to protect our Green Wedge was given further emphasis when it required any rezoning proposal affecting Green Wedge land to be passed by both houses of the Victorian Parliament.
This permit application has brought into sharp focus the application of Nillumbik’s Scheme.
The north side of Pigeon Bank Road is outside the UGB, is zoned Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ3) and there is no mention of residential use in the zone purpose.
In fact for the RCZ it is all about protecting the natural environment, landscape, faunal habitat and cultural values including biodiversity of the area and ensuring that land use changes do not have an adverse impact on these.
The removal of close to a hectare of bushland, including the destruction of 746 trees and the clearing of a landscape-sensitive ridge top, is not consistent with these zone requirements.
It is up to a purchaser of land to consider all restrictions which may affect future plans; hence the need for a permit.
Phillip Mannerheim spoke to the Diary and stated:
“This is to be a home for my retirement.
“I jumped through various hoops, hurdles, ecological surveys and assessments required by council, at considerable expense.
“At their suggestion, the plans have already been changed so as to relocate down from the ridge top and the driveway redesigned for fire truck access.
“It was therefore quite dismaying to receive a recommendation from the planning department which was totally negative, and amounted to a statement to the effect that this land was unsuitable for a building.
“I cannot understand why my block is being singled out for special treatment, as all the other blocks in the subdivision contain houses and the planning regulations have not changed.
“Fortunately, Mayor Peter Clarke, himself an architect and with considerable experience as a Councillor at Melbourne City, saw my point of view and four of the other six councillors agreed with him.
“I am trying here to achieve a 10-star energy rating with innovations such as tracking the sun, insulation, and recessing part of the home into the ground; all designed with world-leading conservation values in mind.
“I am surprised that so-called conservation and community groups would be against this development, when what I am proposing should set an example to Australia on how to build sensitively and efficiently in the bush while protecting and enhancing the environmental and landscape value of the land”.
Not being an original objector to the proposal Warrandyte Community Association is unable to lodge a direct case at VCAT.
However — as we go to press — we learn that it is considering whether as an “Affected Person”, it will apply to VCAT for leave under Section 82B of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to apply for a review of Nillumbik Council’s decision.
WARRANDYTE’S biggest weekend is coming your way March 24, 25 and 26. This year, Warrandyte Festival honours 40 years of community celebration. It is time, lovers of ‘70s rock, to fish out your flairs and party like it’s 1977! The best in home-grown, family fun, Cherie Moselen walks you through the festival that has it all.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS
From 6pm on Friday March 24, local youth bands battle it out at Stiggants Reserve for the top prize: a day in a recording studio.
Headlining the event is last year’s battle winner, Cardinia. Soft drink, water and a Scouts’ sausage sizzle will be available on the night for cash purchase only. This is a drug, smoke and alcohol free event. Admission is FREE.
Enjoy Warrandyte/Donvale Rotary’s 33rd exhibition of artwork by local and interstate artists. Preview the art and join in the festivities at the Gala Champagne Opening from 7pm – 10pm on Friday March 24, at the Warrandyte Community Church in Yarra Street. A gala ticket costs $25. Weekend viewing extends from 9am – 5pm on Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sunday. A $5 ticket includes a catalogue. Entry is free for children and senior students.
THE LOUNGE BY NIGHT
Film lovers—don’t miss out! The Warrandyte Film Feast makes its debut at The Lounge on the lower riverbank of Stiggants Reserve on Friday March 24. Sixteen short films from different genres will be screened, including Apprentice of the Year, starring Shane Jacobson, and locally made film, Heed, among others. MC for the evening is Australian actor Daniel Schepisi. Fabulous food and drink can be purchased from 6pm; the first film starts at 8pm. A ticket costs $10. Book online at www.trybooking.com/OPEG. NOTE: Films are not classified and some content may offend.
THE LOUNGE BY DAY
String Band music will entertain Lounge audiences from 12pm – 5pm on Saturday. See authentic old-time Cajun band Iron Gob String Band, the Stetson Family, Honeyfields and the Strzelecki Stringbusters. On Sunday, check out the Funky Monkeys circus band from noon, followed by a Sanctum Theatre presentation of Otto Learns to Fly—an interactive children’s puppet show. Ukuleles and hula hoops also come out to play. And it is all for FREE!
This year, four parade monarchs have been chosen to honour the festival’s origins. Donning royal regalia are festival pioneers Yvonne Reid, Howard Geldard, Patrick Nuzum and Tim Ferguson. The procession makes its way from the Mechanics’ Institute in Yarra Street to Stiggants Reserve on Saturday March 25 after official kick-off at 11am. Community groups, schools, sports clubs, vintage cars, a vintage flyover and fabulous floats—that’s Warrandyte on parade. Incredible!
MAIN STAGE MUSIC
Music starts at midday with local school and bush bands and continues with quality acts Mango Retreat, Dannika, The Teskey Brothers and The Scrims, among others. Sunday’s programme features a variety of talent from 11.00am. A festival favourite for 20 years, acclaimed bush band Paradiddle will rouse the crowd at 3pm, followed by The April Family, The Weeping Willows and Aleyce Simmonds. Lovers of ‘70s rock—don’t miss Mother! While Nudist Funk Orchestra is closing the show! Bring seating and a picnic, or buy food and drink across the weekend.
Children’s entertainer Keeping the Beat brings noonday fun on Saturday, followed by a diverse musical line-up including Fulton Street, Watercolour and Sideglance. Get your tango on by the banks of the Yarra from 7pm Saturday. Enjoy a dance class, special show from Sidewalk Tango’s Performance Troupe and two hours of “Milonga”! Sunday’s programme will please animal lovers with everyone’s favourite Pet Parade at 9:30am and Wildlife Exposure on at 11:15am. Music lovers stick around also, to see Beautiful Beasts, Real Love and Warrandyte’s own Mia Hamilton.
An all-access bus service returns to the festival this year. Provided by Nillumbik Council, this community bus has full wheel chair accessibility. It will run every 15 minutes, stopping at the Warrandyte Sports Club carpark; at the top of Stiggants Reserve; at the bottom of Stiggant Street and opposite the Community Centre. The bus will operate from 11:30am – 5pm on Saturday and 9am – 5pm on Sunday.
BYO bathers and towel (change tent available) and get ready to slip and slide downhill at Stiggants Reserve. Hosted by Warrandyte/Park Orchards Scout Group. Charges apply. It is giant. It is awesome!
Have you got the steel to join the billycart hall of fame? Wheels line up at the top of Police Street from Sunday 9:30am. Registration of $8 takes place between 8:30am – 9:15am for children aged eight to 15 years. The event features a parents’ race, trophies and great prizes. Carts MUST meet strict safety criteria. For enquiries call 0418 357 282 or go to the website: www. warrandytefestival.org.
Duck down to the river at 2:30pm on Sunday to watch 1,000 plastic duckies take the plunge. The first to float downriver from Police Street to Stiggant Street wins the trophy. Ducks can be prior-purchased for $3 from local schools, or during festival weekend from the Information Caravan.
Discover a range of opportunities through local groups and service providers, including: Aboriginal art exhibition, Animals on the Move, Be Ready Warrandyte, Combined Emergency Services, Eltham Steam and Stationary Engine Preservation Society, Friends of Warrandyte State Park, Manningham City Council, Middle Yarra Landcare Group, Reconciliation Manningham, Warrandyte Community Association, Warrandyte Community Garden, Warrandyte Toy Library, plus miners, blacksmiths, woodcrafters, reptiles, and solar/electric bikes.
Directed by local arts therapist Tania Virgona and supported by Manningham Council, this activity encourages children to collectively create artistic instalments such as cubbies, nests and sculptures as influenced by local flora and Indigenous heritage. Nature Play runs from 12:00pm – 4pm on Sunday only.
Written and directed by Warrandyte Theatre Company members, Open Book Follies is a romp of comic sketches and musical numbers. Performance dates for 2017 are: March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7 and 8. A ticket costs $25 (concession $20). BYO food and drink. Showtime is 7.30 for 8pm at the Mechanics Institute Hall. Book online at www.warrandytehallarts.asn.au
This year marks the Grand Read’s 20th evening of presenting quality readings from local poets and writers. The feature guest for 2017 is Arnold Zable, an award winning Australian writer, storyteller, educator and human rights advocate whose writing focuses primarily on migrant experience. Warrandyte’s literary showcase takes place upstairs at the Grand Hotel at 7:30pm on Tuesday March 28. A ticket costs $20 (Concession $16) and includes a light supper. For catering purposes, please purchase in advance from Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839. Or visit the website: www.warrandyteneighbourhoodhouse.org.au
Check out www.warrandytefestival.org for information including: road closures, programme details, accessibility info, maps and registration forms. Facebookers can search “Warrandyte Festival” for regular weekend updates.
Pick up or download the March edition of the Warrandyte Dairy for your four-page pull-out of the 2017 Warrandyte Festival.