News

Council endorses Manningham 2040 Strategy

WHAT’S IN IT FOR WARRANDYTE?

AT ITS JULY meeting, Manningham Council gave its final endorsement to the Manningham Liveable City Strategy 2040.
Council heard The Liveable City Strategy (LCS) sets out an aspirational 2040 vision that will help shape the municipality’s future over the next 20 years.
The Strategy is a high-level strategic urban design framework that provides direction on improving the liveability of Manningham.
The report contains six key directions to achieve this vision:

  • Vibrant Activity Centres
  • Thriving Employment
  • Housing Choice and Distinct Communities
  • Greening Our City
  • Sustainable Transport and Travel Mode Choice
  • Building Social and Cultural Connections

The LCS outlines plans for activity centres across the municipality, with two activity centres identified in Warrandyte – the Village and Goldfields, outlining areas for placemaking activities, improved pedestrian and cycling access, and better connections between the three precincts at Goldfields.
Pleasingly, the plan also outlines the plans to connect Warrandyte via a cycle path to the Main Yarra Trail.
Councillors received a report outlining the community engagement feedback received during the draft Liveable City Strategy 2040 consultation, which took place in late 2021.
Over 360 responses were received in various forms as part of the recent LCS consultation.
The report said the feedback was “broadly supportive” of the proposed future direction.
Key feedback identified the following top five priorities for the municipality’s activity centres:

  • Diverse shops and services
  • A night-time economy (evening dining and recreation)
  • Town square and a vibrant main street (including outdoor dining)
  • Tree-lined streets
  • Multi-storey or underground car parking to free up land for public space and mixed-use development.

The report stated that although the LCS outlines several actions, implementation of the LCS has already commenced in various forms.
For our community, the LCS outlines plans for Warrandyte Goldfields and Warrandyte Village; the survey was designed to ask for more qualitative feedback due to their peri-urban/rural characteristics.
The predominant feedback for these centres related to maintaining the area’s existing character, improving traffic congestion (especially along Yarra Street, Warrandyte), improving accessibility, and maintaining the natural environment.
Warrandyte Goldfield’s top priorities relate to creating a more cohesive and well-connected centre.
The Warrandyte, Wonga Park and Park Orchards survey was based on qualitative and quantitative questions.
The top priorities identified from the Warrandyte, Wonga Park and Park Orchards Neighbourhood Plan were:

  • Acknowledge that Manningham is located on the traditional homelands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people and celebrate connection to Country, including all waterways.
  • Develop a program to support public artwork at gateways, key public spaces, streetscapes near Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road bridge and an arts/cultural trail along the Yarra River.
  • Support attractions, recreational facilities and cultural interpretation material along the Yarra River.
  • Upgrade walking and cycling paths linking parks and regional open space, including; investigating an extension of the Main Yarra Trail by creating a shared trail along Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road to connect to Warrandyte Township in accordance with the Eastern Regional Trails Strategy; investigate future linear park expansion between Mullum Mullum Creek and Warrandyte River Reserve.
  • Protect and enhance the Green Wedge streetscapes by ensuring residential streets reflect a rural road character.

The report said feedback was generally supportive or neutral in creating a public realm masterplan for Warrandyte Village and Warrandyte Goldfields Activity Centres.
An overwhelming 90 per cent of respondents supported introducing stronger planning controls to prevent inappropriate development within the Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ) and Low-Density Residential Zone (LDRZ) in the Green Wedge.
Warrandyte’s lowest ranking actions were around active/public transport and employment-related activities, along with promoting sustainable forms of tourism in the Green Wedge and supporting businesses within the Green Wedge through events and overnight stays.
Council Officers said they received multiple comments when they surveyed shoppers at Warrandyte Market about maintaining the existing atmosphere of Warrandyte Village, “leaving it as is,” and acknowledging that it is already a great place to shop and dine.
As well as comments around maintaining the existing natural environment surrounding Warrandyte Village:

Please leave it alone – it is busy enough; upgrading will just make it more crowded and degrade the bush areas – do not make us like a suburb; we are an urban edge village.”
“Continue to improve signage to acknowledge and reflect Wurundjeri/Woi Wurrung custodianship and heritage.”
“Sensitivity to our local spaces that are the last gateways of the green wedge must be treated with delicacy and care when looking at improving these spaces.”

However, the number one concern received at the Warrandyte Market was around the significant congestion along Yarra Street with cars backing up along Yarra Street/Warrandyte Road, at the roundabout, and over Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road bridge.
Therefore, the report noted that the LCS would be revised to support the feedback received and would: “Introduce upgrades to Yarra Street east of Whipstick Gully Road to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety and amenity, including additional or relocated crossings, a reduction in the speed limit, traffic calming measures, and shared pavement surface treatments.”
However, the report noted that Council does not own Yarra Street/Warrandyte Road, and therefore any improvements to the road would require a partnership approach between Council and VicRoads.
Warrandyte Goldfields also received comments about the centre’s layout and improving the pedestrian environment and amenity.
Council’s own Heritage Committee requested stronger heritage content for the Warrandyte Township Precinct proposals and across all of Manningham.
Councillors endorsed the LCS, except Cr Stephen Mayne, who had requested an extension of time to consider the 500-page report before voting on it.

Podium Finish for Abbey

CONGRATULATIONS to Abbey Caldwell our new Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist.
In a rough and tumble race 21-year-old Warrandyte athlete Abbey Caldwell ran the race of her life to finish third behind Tokyo Olympic Silver medallist Laura Muir in the Final of the Women’s 1500m.
Coming into the final 100m after being blocked early and behind the pack with little room to move Abbey ran from four-wide down the outside to finish strongly with a time of 4:04.79 and win her first international medal.
In a post-race interview with Channel 7, Abbey gave praise to her coach Gavin Burren and Team Caldwell who were watching from the stands.
“My support team have been unbelievable – Team Caldwell have been so good to me – I am just so grateful to have those people in my corner, and all my friends and family back home”.

For any queries on joining East Doncaster Little Athletics please contact Lisa Williams on: 0408 140 461.

No half measures on timeless tale

REVIEW

TWO THINGS will forever define Arthur Miller.
The first is his marriage with Marilyn Monroe, which for some overshadows the second: that Miller is considered one of the greatest dramatists of the twentieth century.
A View from the Bridge sits proudly among his string of works, such as Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, staged and studied for their brilliant, insightful and timeless texts.
So much so that Miller was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, one of the richest prizes in the arts, given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life”. Warrandyte Theatre Company has presented Miller’s precious gift with an uncompromising flair.
The first thing that hits you is the beautiful staging, with the Brooklyn apartment building, the docks and the lawyer’s office blending seamlessly to support the action.
The seasoned principal cast grasped their characters by the horns and made mastering the iconic Brooklyn, and Italian accents look effortless.
Playing the narrator/lawyer Alfieri, WTC regular Don Nicholson was engaging and measured in his performance, leading the audience through the fateful events with a persona that exudes 1950s New York small-time lawyer, reminiscent of something from a Bogart film noir. Also, familiar faces on the Warrandyte stage, Tony Clayton and Simone Kiefer produced some powerful performances as Eddie and Beatrice.
The beauty of this text is the light and shade, explored deftly by Tony and Simone, hitting just the right notes at just the right time, Eddie’s anger and frustration were at times visceral, and Bea’s heartbreak at the deterioration of her family was likewise palpable.
Newcomers Kiera Edelstein and James Banger played Catherine and Rodolpho, whose romance enrages Catherine’s over-protective uncle Eddie.
Kiera expertly explored the light and shade of Catherine and her complex relationship with Eddie, while James’ Rodolpho as the new immigrant provided some much-needed laugh-out-loud moments amidst moments that made the audience audibly gasp.
Paul Wanis makes his Warrandyte debut as Marco, Rodolpho’s brother, who stands up to Eddie when he takes his objections to the young ones’ relationship too far.
His confrontation with Eddie at the close of act one could be considered among the most powerful performances to grace the Warrandyte stage in many years.
The supporting cast was a mixture of new and returning faces playing minor walk-on roles with as much thoughtfulness as the lead cast.
In these roles, David Tynan, Adrian Rice, Jack Stringer, Michael Swann, Lara King and Kerry Walsh provided a depth to the production that cannot be underestimated.
Director Grant Purdy staged this classic without compromise, there are no rough edges, and the innovative set design draws the audience into the action.
The audience cabaret seating has been retained for this production as a sensible COVID measure, but I, for one, find it lovely and hope it is kept in the future.
Opening night was sold out, and, as we go to print, tickets are getting scarce for the remainder of the run, so make sure to book yourself a seat for the final week at trybooking.com/BYZKR before it closes on August 13 – you don’t want to miss this one.

Coming up

The light and shade continue in the next production with Calendar Girls, at times titillating but with a sobering undercurrent, which hits the boards from September 23 for nine performances.
Then the much-anticipated return of The Follies in November. This year’s production is still forming, so if you want to be part of it, head to the writers’ meeting on August 19 or the “induction” in early October, both at the Mechanics’ Institute Hall.

What would you like to ask the Mayor/Manningham Council

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

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

email editor@warrandytediary.com.au

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

With thanks to ABC Radio Melbourne Mornings with Virginia Trioli.

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

Community history goes under the hammer

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

Foote Street closure, delays continue

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

Replanting plans

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

Winter Solstice time to celebrate our river

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

Site announced for Community Hospital

THE STATE Government has again bewildered the community in its choice of a site for the Eltham Area Community Hospital.
Minister for Health Martin Foley and Member for Eltham Vicki Ward have announced that a government-owned parcel of land at 405 Ryans Road, Diamond Creek, will be home to the new multi-million-dollar facility.
While the new hospital will be a welcome asset to the community, the selection process for the site has been nothing short of contentious.
While many see a no-brainer option in the Nillumbik Council’s preferred site, the former Council Offices in Main Road Eltham, the government has dismissed the option out of hand, first attempting to acquire land in Apollo Park, at Civic Drive, Greensborough, much to the dismay of residents.
With Council agreeing with the community and blocking the land sale for Civic Drive in late 2021, the selection committee has now returned with the announcement of the Diamond Creek location.
Documents seen by M&N Bulletin obtained under FOI by Friends of Apollo Parkway note that the Ryans Road location was ranked eighth out of 12 potential sites, scoring just 53 out of 100, whereas the Main Road site scored 85.
There is concern already from the community regarding the Ryans Road site’s lack of connection to public transport and other township infrastructure, its proximity to powerlines, that it sits across a wildlife corridor, and provides a home to kangaroos and Gang Gang Cockatoos.
When asked by M&N Bulletin if Council were supportive of the announcement, a spokesperson for Nillumbik Council said:
“The Eltham Area Community Hospital is a Victorian Government project that is being undertaken by the Victorian Health Building Authority.
Nillumbik Shire Council has not been involved in the decision to locate the hospital in Diamond Creek.
We are still to gain a comprehensive understanding of the proposal and its impacts and therefore cannot comment further.
However, we will be advocating for the best possible outcome for our local community as a result of the proposed development including an efficient and safe road network, and ensuring amenity impacts are minimised.
Nillumbik Shire Council welcomes any boost to heath care services in the north-east region that will benefit our community.”
We asked Ms Ward about some of these concerns expressed, she told us a number of sites were considered against a broad criteria, with Ryans Road chosen after meeting that criteria, including its location which is close to a range of community facilities and links to
public transport.
“An ecological consultant will be undertaking a detailed survey of the Ryans Road site to provide advice on vegetation, wildlife and other ecological matters.
In response to questions about why the Main Road site was not considered, she said the old shire office site would require moving the protected Shillinglaw Trees, as well the sale of the kinder, memorial hall, and the senior citizens hall.
“There is also no guarantee Nillumbik would sell the site, as they refused to sell Apollo Parkways,” she said.
So it seems this is now a done deal.
To be operated by Austin Health, the Eltham area Community Hospital (interim name) will be a public hospital providing a range of day hospital and primary health care services, including unplanned urgent care, general medical and specialist appointments, day surgery and chronic disease management — what Ms Ward described as “a huge benefit for locals.”
She said the hospital’s strong links to specialists, community health and social support services will improve follow-up treatment and support for those requiring complex care.
Ms Ward said the Ryans Road site is close to a range of community facilities and services, including playgrounds, schools, and sporting facilities, and is serviced by several bus routes connecting to surrounding areas, including Eltham Station Greensborough, Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge.
“This location is a great outcome for our local community; it’ll mean we’ll be able to get a number of everyday health services close to home, without having to travel in traffic to the Austin or Northern Health,” Ms Ward said.
The new hospital is one of 10 new community hospitals in major growth areas, funded as part of a $675 million investment by the Labor Government.
Once complete, the 10 community hospitals will be able to treat at least 114,000 more urgent care patients and 55,000 dialysis treatments and enable more than 100,000 additional allied health sessions each year.
The Community Hospital Program will create an estimated 1,900 jobs during planning and construction and more than 1,000 healthcare jobs once completed.
Delivered by the Victorian Health Building Authority, the designs for the community hospital will be released later this year when construction begins.
The project is due for completion in late 2024.

 

Image courtety Victorian Health Building Authority

Community School gets new digs

A TINY SCHOOL has been changing lives for almost 50 years, and it will now have the facilities it deserves after an $18 million redevelopment is completed.
Croydon Community School opened as an “alternative school” in the 1970s and has been catering to students who do not fit — or do not want to fit — within the mainstream system.
Having operated largely out of portable buildings at the old Croydon Primary School site in Mt Dandenong Road, it is now moving to a brand-new, purpose-built facility in Croydon Road at the vacated Croydon High School site.
Principal Bronwyn Harcourt said the school’s student population has been kept small.
“It was 23 when I started; it is 126 this year, but we had deliberately reduced our numbers before moving to the new site, but we’ve got about 73 this year alone on our waiting list.
“And we get enquiries from Grade 4 families for Year 7 transitions and Year 11 kids who are struggling in the mainstream.”
She said the Big Picture Learning model the school uses is becoming more and more an option of choice.
Bronwyn said that Big Picture Learning allowed them to engage with students based on their passions.
“When they are engrossed and loving a topic and are able to explore it fully — students have followed passion projects including a school-wide scale model of the Tasmanian Rail system and a taxidermy project — the learning and the confidence that is picked up along the
way — they learn how to learn,” she said.
Assistant Principal Kaye Bhan told M&N Bulletin that the school is a public school, so it is open to accepting all types of students and, in essence, is run like a gifted program with student-directed learning.
She said if they attract only bright kids, “who are wonderful to have, and we want them, but we want the others who are at risk of falling through the gaps”.
Education Minister James Merlino and Member for North East Metro Sonja Terpstra recently toured the close-to-completed school.
Mr Merlino described the project as “really critical”.
“Every school project is important, but this is the last stop for these kids, and if we can engage with them and deliver them a pathway, we set them up for life,” he said.
The school redevelopment follows the ethos of the school community, with the architects consulting with the students to enable the school to be fit for purpose.
The new school offers townhall-style performance space for the music faculty, which opens onto the main courtyard, with a creek running through the outdoor areas, a multi-purpose outdoor court, stationary bikes where students can add charge to the school’s power supply, classrooms (called advisories) including Science, Food Tech, Physical Education and Technology facilities, there is even a wood-fired oven, computer lab, 3D printing workshop, and a wellness centre with private spaces for counselling or other medical interventions.
Bronwyn said the school also has an integration area for students that are disengaged from the education system.
She said school staff can work one-on-one or even two on-one with the students to build trust.
“Trust with young people who have none in adults — and young people who are used to transactional relationships.
“It is about them having a having a home here, where they feel comfortable and welcomed.”
The integration area even has a separate entrance to the main school so students can come and go on their terms.
Students were all able to participate in work experience with the various trades during the construction.
One Year 12 student, Marcus Joy, had been on-again, off-again with his school attendance but has become engaged with his learning, and, Bronwyn says, “he shows up every day, coffee in hand” and will graduate at the end of the year.
Marcus stood out as part of his work placement with the project’s landscaping team and has now been offered an apprenticeship with the firm.
During his tour of the facility, Mr Merlino offered the school community, the architect practice Crosier Scott and building company McCorkell Constructions his congratulations on the project.
“This is one of the best projects I’ve seen in my eight years, so well done,” he said.
Students will say farewell to Mt Dandenong Road at the end of Term 2 and move to the new campus at the beginning of Term 3.

Flu jabs free for all during June

AS WE LEARN to live with COVID-19, another challenging virus lurks in the wings.
During lockdowns, with our general improved hand-washing and sterilisation routines, and mask-wearing, confirmed Influenza cases took a dramatic nose dive.
Data on recorded cases provided by Immunisation Coalition shows national Influenza cases in 2019 hit 313,085 and month-on-month data had the virus tracking hight into early 2020 until March/April when there were 6,043 cases in March, this fell to 321 cases in April, as lockdown measures began to kick in.
With numbers in the hundreds, then mere dozens month-on-month for the last two years, the current strain of influenza has now seen a dramatic uptick, with Australia-wide Influenza cases as of May 30, 2022, reported to be 35,317. Victoria is reporting an increase of 50 per cent in the last week of May, rising from 10,000 to 15,000 cases.
Flu vaccines are available from GPs and pharmacies, such as Terry White Chemmart or Warrandyte Medical Centre and would normally cost between $25 and $70 depending on what type of vaccine you are eligible for.
To combat a sudden rise in Influenza cases, Victoria has joined other States and Territories in the push to get the population vaccinated against Influenza.
As part of a $33 million package, more than 3,000 GPs and community pharmacies are offering free flu vaccination to all Victorians during June.
Until now it has only been free for vulnerable groups, including children under five years, people over 65 years, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people with increased risk medical conditions.
The Government has said it will also reimburse GPs and community pharmacies for flu vaccines administered to any Victorians that are not usually eligible for free flu shots — so that immunisation providers can continue to use vaccines that they have already purchased.
This will mean all Victorians aged six months and over will be eligible for the free flu shot in June to help boost vaccination coverage as much as possible and avoid more hospitalisations throughout winter. Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley encouraged all Victorians to get vaccinated against Influenza.

“This will be the first time in two years that we will face a real flu season — we need all Victorians to roll up their sleeves and help protect their loved ones and our health system by getting vaccinated.
“Victorians really took up the call to arms when it came to COVID-19 vaccinations, and we know they can do it again — so we’re removing as many barriers as possible to help boost vaccine coverage,” he said.

The Government is also suggesting vulnerable groups get a fourth “Winter Booster” against COVID-19; also noting that it is possible to have your Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination at the same time.
Winter COVID-19 boosters are recommended for people who are:
65 years or older a resident of an aged care or disability care facility severely immunocompromised Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and older.
Those aged 16-64 and with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness those aged 16 to 64 with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities that have an increased risk of a poor outcome.
Presently, the Winter Booster is not recommended for those aged 16 – 64 who are not considered part of a vulnerable group.
Anyone with cold and flu symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 and remain at home until their symptoms have resolved — regardless of whether it turns out to be COVID-19 or flu.
People who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for seven days from the date of their result.

Grand takes the stand at hotel awards

GRAND HOTEL Warrandyte has, once again, won big at the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) Awards.
The Grand was a finalist in nine awards, including Best Overall Hotel Metro.
On the night, they returned to Warrandyte with two awards, and, we must say, the Diary is not surprised they took home the goods in these particular categories.
Our host with the most, Manager Peter Appleby was awarded the Local Legend (Metro), while the Grand took the Best Outdoor Dining Experience (Metro) award.
Peter said to take the Outdoor Dining Experience award was “fantastic”.

“During COVID, with all the rules changing, we knew that outdoor dining was going to be a thing.”

Even before the lockdowns, they had already started developing the beer garden, the Grand Stand, but they put it on hold.

“Once we realised that it was going to be the way of the future, we got the guys back on deck and created the space and have continually added to it with our fireplace, and now a kiosk.
“We think it’s beautiful out there, all year round.
“We were fortunate that we had the foresight to do what we did, and then you know to get an award for Best Outdoor Dining Experience was great — we’re very happy.”

He said that due to COVID, people are more comfortable sitting outside, especially when there are large groups, and the Grand Stand space is great in any weather.

“We’ve got the heaters out there, the fire’s roaring, people are gravitating more outside than inside, whereas in the past, it was always an inside venue — it has been well received — and the punters are happy,” he said

What a legend!

Peter told the Diary to win the Local Legend award was a humbling experience.

“It’s the first year that this award has been up for grabs — it was in recognition of someone who’s put commitment into the community, commitment to their team, commitment to all the local sporting groups, and in schools and fétés and fairs, and all that.
“We took over 10 years ago, and we wanted to get the Grand back as a community partner because it had waned a little bit over the years before us taking over — so, that was the number one goal, to give the Grand back to the community, and coming up on 10 years later, and we’re pretty proud of what we’re achieved.
“And our team here have given 15-year-olds their first job — not just in our industry, but their first job altogether, they can create some life experiences.
“Our team is pretty proud of the amount of staff that they have put through at such a young age to gain some valuable experience, which will see them advancing their lives, in whatever field.
“We like to invest in the guys who want to learn, and I also guess, with myself getting that award, it’s the investment into our team.
“And, you know, I see myself as a leader who will teach anyone who wants to be taught to better, not just themselves, but better our industry.”

He said that despite staff shortages elsewhere, the Grand has been able to find staff.

“We are fortunate that we are an employer of choice — people want to work here — we pride ourselves on our team culture, and people want to be a part of that, which is pleasing.
“People are knocking on the door four, five, six times a week for a job, which is great.”

While the Grand has been jumping of late, Peter acknowledges COVID is far from over.

“People are very cautious — people want to sit outside in the open spaces, which is fair enough, and many people are still wearing masks.
“Back to normal? Not quite, but it’s heading in the right direction.”

Menzies stays blue despite Labor, Green gains

THE FEDERAL ELECTORATE of Menzies bucked the trend and was retained by the outgoing Liberal government after an otherwise landslide election of the Albanese Labor Government.
A massive 6.1 per cent swing to Labor in Menzies was not enough to take the seat from Liberal hands, so Keith Wolahan has claimed victory in the seat that Kevin Andrews has held since 1991.
Liberal Party retains Menzies Mr Wolahan released a statement following Naomi Oakley conceding the seat almost a week after the polls closed.

“I want to begin by thanking each of the other candidates (Naomi Oakley, Bill Pheasant, Greg Cheesman, Nathan Scaglione, John Hayes, and Sanjeev Sabhlok), their families, and their volunteers.
Thank you to the people of Menzies who have put your trust in me.
My commitment remains the same: I will fight for our community, put the national interest first, and give my all to represent you in our federal parliament.
Thank you to my dedicated party members, volunteers, and supporters for your efforts, your belief in our cause, and your faith in me.
For over 12 months, we have been out in our community, listening to their hopes, aspirations, and concerns.
I never have, and will never, take the people of Menzies for granted. To my party, there is no sugar-coating what happened on May 21.
The loss of Josh Frydenberg, Tim Wilson, Katie Allen, and Gladys Liu is a devastating blow.
As a party, a movement, and a family, we must listen, learn, and regroup.
If we do that work and draw upon our core beliefs, we will come back stronger for it.
Finally, can I thank my family, especially Sarah, Leo, Eva, Mum and Dad.
I wouldn’t be here without you, and I love you.”

Mr Wolahan gave a special mention to the community of Warrandyte, telling the Diary:

“There is nowhere else quite like Warrandyte.
“I could think of no greater honour than to be your voice in our nation’s parliament”.

Labor comes close

While Menzies remains a Liberal seat, it may not be as safe as it once was.
At the Warrandyte booth, with support from Greens preferences, Ms Oakley was the front runner, 878 — 669.
Likewise, in North Warrandyte, Labor won 504 — 272. The newer booths in Menzies, in the Whitehorse Council area that were included after redistribution, also favoured the Labor candidate.
While there was solid support for Mr Wolahan in Wonga Park, Doncaster, Templestowe and Bulleen to tip the Liberals over the line, at one stage, Ms Oakley was within 45 votes of Mr Wolahan in early counting before the margin became unassailable.
She conceded defeat a week after polls were closed, as the gap nudged 2,000 votes.
Ms Oakley sat down with the Diary to discuss the result.

“I really wanted to get it over the line; it was a six per cent swing, which is pretty much unheard of, but it would have been great to get it over the line.
“My dad said to me; it’s going to be a very difficult seat to win.
“I think there was the consensus from some of the oldest parts of the party that we’re never going to win it — it was sort of unwinnable, and of course, when the results started to come through, they were pretty shocked as well,” she said.

She said the redistribution to include Box Hill and Blackburn into the seat added to the unknowns.
“It’s a marginal seat now.”
Being a safe Liberal seat going into the election, her party did not focus its efforts on the seat.

“My energy went into phoning people — because I only had a limited budget, but I also had a limited crew.
“And obviously, they were volunteers — I just did the best I could with what I had.
“And, you know, I think the phoning was a huge part of getting through to people.
“But also, once they started to understand my backstory, it resonated with a lot of the Menzies community.
“The people of Menzies want someone who is grassroots who can relate to the many issues the community faces.”

She said it was rewarding calling people over those six weeks, “I was able to help several family violence survivors by doing that and families struggling with mental health issues as well”.
She said there were several unexpected events during the campaign.

“I had Kevin Andrews turn up to one of the booths, congratulate me, and wish me luck.
“A couple of his supporters voted for me as a protest [at Mr Andrews losing preselection].

Ms Oakley said that despite the loss, she enjoyed the campaign and said this is not the last we will see of her.

“It was great to be a part of it — and it is great that it is not unwinnable anymore.
“My political career is probably not over; I’m going to try and see if I can run for the State election; I think I’m going to give it a crack because I think there is an opportunity there for me [to be a local voice] — and I think people would like that.
“I think there’s definitely room for more women — that’s coming through loud and clear.
“I put everything on hold to run — to do my best.
“I’m happy with how I went here, it would have been great to get the prize, but that didn’t happen.
“Dad ran for Deakin under Gough Whitlam, and he missed out by 400 votes.
“Dad’s been amazing support just as a mentor — as well as Sonja Terpstra.
“To have that support of people who have been there or are doing that.
“And hopefully, Keith can actually deliver on his promises, like Five Ways.”

Greens make headway

Garnering a 3.5 per cent swing, Warrandyte resident and Green’s Candidate Bill Pheasant made a creditable showing in the polls, earning 13.7 per cent of the primary vote.
With most Green preferences flowing to Labor, it was a significant factor in almost delivering the seat to Labor. Bill Pheasant told the Dairy:

“I am pleased to have run for the first time as a Greens candidate, helping make Menzies a marginal seat — one that will now benefit from increased attention.
As a Warrandyte resident, I wanted to push for more decisive action to protect this incredible ecosystem that sustains us and reimagine politics as a profoundly important activity: where facts are important, where everyone in the community matters where incompetence is not rewarded.
I congratulate Keith Wolahan as the new representative for Menzies.
It was great to spend time with all the candidates — well done all for giving many voices a chance to be heard.”

Other candidates on the Menzies ballot could not breach the 4 per cent threshold, with the Liberal Democrats Greg Cheesman and United Australia Party’s Nathan Scaglione each taking 3.5 per cent of primary votes. One Nation’s mystery candidate, John Hayes, took 2.2 per cent of the vote, while Federation Party’s Sanjeev Sabhlok received 0.9 per cent.

Challenging but well executed

DRAMA AND UNCOMFORTABLE ideas are centre stage in the Little Green Hall for Season 2, as Warrandyte Theatre Company tackle David Harrower’s Blackbird.
The play was originally written for the 2005 Edinburgh Festival and inspired by the real-life action of US Marine Toby Studebaker (32), who met a 12-year-old British girl online and convinced her to fly to Paris, where they met and had sex.
Toby was jailed in both the UK and the US for his crime.
But, that is where the similarity ends.
Blackbird witnesses an encounter between Ray — now known as Peter (Bruce Hardie) — and Una (Erin Brass).
Some 15 years earlier, when Una was 12, they had a relationship that culminated in a room in a guesthouse on an island, where they had sex.
Following intercourse, Ray goes out for cigarettes and appears not to come back; when young Una, convinced she has been abandoned, goes looking for him, she is eventually found by a couple.
Consequently, Ray is arrested and convicted of sex with a minor.
Even writing this review now — it is always going to be a confronting and challenging topic — but the script is well written, the actors are convincing in their emotions, and the incident is discussed by the characters through the lens of time, with the mechanics of the relationship and the sexual acts described with the required emotion, but handled maturely.
Coming back to the present, set in the “break room” of the factory where Peter now works, surrounded by the garbage of workers who do not care for the space they occupy, Una confronts Peter seeking answers to a question neither herself nor the audience knows.
At first, one believes she is after payback, vengeance perhaps.
We learn that following the incident at the guesthouse, she never saw Ray again — only spotting his picture in a trade magazine she reads in a waiting room somewhere.

“I asked to speak to Peter and Ray appeared”

Shock and anger — shock by Una at the mess in the room, shock and disgust as she recounts an incident in the street where some intentionally and unthinkingly littered:

“That man who dropped the litter, it’s not the litter; it wasn’t the litter, the dirtying.
It was the man, the person doing that.
Because he hasn’t been, been schooled educated civilised enough.
And I thought, and it’s if I walked into his house and dropped litter on his carpet.
But the streets, the pavements, they’re not my house, so I don’t care about the streets.
I just thought ‘you are a beast’.
No one has ever cared for you properly and you’re too stupid, too stupid to even know that, or you wouldn’t let other people see just what a see what you are.”

Peter/Ray expresses similar shock and disgust about how his colleagues treat the space and anger as to why Una has sought him out, to create a situation where they can see just who he is.
Over 90 minutes, we listen to conversations and arguments about the reasons for Ray’s actions and how their lives were impacted following his conviction.
Peter, who denies he is a paedophile, never actually bringing up the word but arguing semantics and circumstance and explaining how he has spent the last 15 years deflecting that label and trying to move on, move away from what he describes as “the most stupid mistake of my life”.
We hear a harrowing account of Una’s life, where she was made an effigy of the family’s shame — pointed at, “slapped in the street”, and made to feel like a ghost.
What one begins to wonder is if this garbage-strewn space represents the society that has failed both of them, or is it the shit of their life laid out for all to witness.
Two people whose lives were destroyed by a three-month encounter are emotionally and mentally still dealing with the detritus over a decade later.
Shock as Una recounts 83 as the number of men she has slept with since, and shock when it feels like Una and Peter may reach an uncomfortable and confronting form of closure — once again drawn back together, we witness the entrance of Peter’s wife’s 12-years-old daughter (Kate Barley), whose entrance brings the original incident back to the front of our minds, bookending the shock.

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Given it is only two actors on stage the entire time and this is a play with no interval, the acting for this performance was fantastic; both actors delivered lengthy monologues.
The pace of the performance is good, it is a quick 90 minutes and the audience is invested in the conversation — Una’s challenging and emotional account of the guesthouse runs for six pages and conveys joy, love, fear and anger — in all the right places — yet, as an audience member, the way the topics are addressed never feels inappropriate.
Kudos too to the performance of Kate Barley — who may only have one or two lines — for taking on the role of the symbolic Girl and to the Company, who managed to adeptly shield Kate from the more adult dialogue — without disrupting the flow of the piece.
Warrandyte Theatre Company is on a roll with its professional execution of challenging scripts.
If you are interested in watching good drama on the local stage, get yourself along to Blackbird.
This play does tackle uncomfortable themes and does contain harsh language and ideas so go in knowing this.
Also, note that it may be cash-only at the drinks bar for this season, and stick around for the “meet the cast” post-show.

Blackbird is being performed Fridays and Saturday at 8pm until June 11.
A 2:30pm matinee performance will take place on Sunday, June 5.
Tickets can be purchase at: trybooking.com/BYBOA
This is a play with adult themes, 16+ only.

Jumping Creek Road plan endorsed by Council

MANNINGHAM Council adopted the Jumping Creek Road Design Proposal at its April Ordinary Council Meeting.
The design proposal outlines how the Jumping Creek Road upgrade project will be constructed.
Yarra Ward Councillor Carli Lange told the meeting that the proposal successfully balances the priorities of safe road usage and the need to preserve the unique visual amenity of the local area.

“What came out [of community consultation] as the main concerns were wildlife protection, enhancing the vegetation, the footpath network, the Homestead Road intersection and the safety concerns there, and speeding along the road.
“All of these have been addressed when preparing the preferred option.
“I ask my fellow councillors to support the great work that officers have done,” Cr Lange told the meeting.

The $17.9 million Jumping Creek Road upgrade project is a major project to reconstruct the entire length of Jumping Creek Road from Ringwood-Warrandyte Road in Warrandyte to Homestead Road in Wonga Park.
Council endorsed the Jumping Creek Road Development Framework in 2016 after serious safety risks were identified on the stretch of road.
A study conducted at the time identified that between January 2009 and December 2013, 17 crashes resulting in casualties were reported at Jumping Creek Road, including one fatal crash.
It was also identified that Jumping Creek Road is an essential local link road that carries more than 8,100 vehicles per day, with the traffic volume expected to double to 15,000 cars per day by 2035.
In 2013, a Community Reference Panel was established to consult on the project with members of the community, Ward Councillors, and project officers, providing invaluable input on the road upgrade plan.
Cr Andrew Conlon was one of the original Councillors that worked with the reference panel.

“One of the great outcomes for the reference panel was the significant shift in recognising the wildlife and doing what we could to accommodate the wildlife crossing.
“I think that was one of those points of tension — I remember from the very start — and I do not think we really committed to the solution until relatively recently,” he said at the Council meeting.

Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert said that the endorsement of the design proposal signifies the start of the next chapter for this project.

“We know how passionate our community is about the safety of its members and preserving the beautiful natural environment we all enjoy.
“This concept plan has done a wonderful job of considering these two key elements.
“With a lot of constructive input from our community, we know this upgrade will add value to the everyday lives of those who use Jumping Creek Road,” Cr Kleinert said.

The concept plan is designed to improve safety for all users.
Jumping Creek Road’s original construction standard has resulted in limited locations for pedestrians to walk along the road safely.
With over 11 years of community engagement on this project, the final design reflects the community’s views that have been considered at each step of the process.
Works on the Jumping Creek Road upgrade project are expected to begin in early 2023, with an early works package commencing in late 2022.
For more information about the project, visit
yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/jumping-creek-road-upgrade.

Gold Memorial roadworks

GOLD MEMORIAL Road will be closed to traffic on May 10 to install three speed humps.
Anyone planning to circumvent the Yarra Street gridlock should be aware that, for at least one day, this detour will not be available.
Rachelle Quattrocchi, Manningham Council’s Director of City Services said the road will be closed between 7am and 5pm while works are occurring.
“This should be one day only, depending on weather,” she said.
The road will be closed to traffic at Harris Gully Road and Husseys Lane.
“We intend to maintain access for local residents for the period of the works with some potential delays,” said Mc Quattrocchi.
She told the Diary, that access to the Gold Memorial carpark will be available at all times but the direction may change during the day depending on the speed hump being installed.
Traffic guidance will be on hand to direct as required.
Access for Emergency vehicles will be maintained.
She said the road is only closed to vehicular traffic.
“Pedestrians, cyclists and horses would be able to go through.”

Another blitz for Fitzsimons Lane project

AS THE FITZSIMONS Lane project begins another major phase, motorists are warned that major disruptions will be occurring as a section of Porter Street is closed for around six weeks.
Major Road Projects Victoria’s Project Director Dipal Sorathia said creating a more reliable Porter Street junction is one of the biggest priorities for the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade team.
New traffic lights will be installed at a Porter Street intersection in Templestowe to deliver a safer and more efficient crossing for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Removing the Fitzsimons Lane/Porter Street roundabout will ensure better traffic flow for all road users and will help clear a significant bottleneck and improve safety.
Construction crews will work around-the-clock for seven weeks, from 6pm Tuesday, April 26 to 5pm Sunday, June 12, to remove the roundabout and install traffic lights, with associated kerb and channel works, drainage works, build footpaths, earthworks, pavement replacement, line-marking and lighting.
“We thank locals for their patience as we get on with this upgrade and complete about six months’ worth of work over the next seven weeks,” said Mr Sorathia.
He said this intersection is one of the busiest in Templestowe.
“As traffic volumes return to pre-pandemic levels, congestion during the morning and afternoon peaks regularly leads to queuing — causing delays, frustration and distress.”
Mr Sorathia said replacing the Porter Street roundabout with traffic lights will reduce congestion for the more than 60,000 vehicles which use Fitzsimons Lane every day and make the community safer.
Two lanes of traffic will remain open on Williamsons Road/Fitzsimons Lane in both directions when works kick off on Tuesday, April 26.
Temporary traffic lights will guide north-south motorists through the intersection.
During this first phase of these works through to Saturday, May 14 — the eastern leg of the Porter Street roundabout will be closed, meaning traffic will need to detour via Foote Street/Reynolds Road, Blackburn Road and Warrandyte Road.
Access to nearby businesses, Templestowe Reserve and BlueCross Silverwood will be maintained.
Maps describing the detour in place can be found below:
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A second stage of works will be carried out over the remainder of May and into June, with one lane to re-open for those travelling from Eltham turning left into the eastern leg of Porter Street towards Warrandyte.
With restrictions on traffic movements throughout the entirety of the major works period, motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey.
Delays of approximately 20-minutes are expected along detour routes although access through the closed road will be maintained for emergency vehicles and public transport.
Pedestrian and cyclist access has been maintained on select shared paths however, some verge areas are fenced off to ensure the safety of road workers.
A pedestrian detour is in place through Templestowe Reserve.
The temporary roundabout will be removed, and the upgraded intersection will be open by early June.
Finishing works — including asphalting, line- marking and signage works — will continue throughout 2022.
The upgrade will also improve the reliability of public transport with the introduction of bus prioritisation signalling.
Once traffic lights are installed at Porter Street, the project team will then turn their attention to major construction to upgrade the Foote Street intersection in Templestowe.
For more information or to sign up for updates, visit roadprojects.vic.gov.au/fitzsimons.
For up-to-date travel information visit:
ptv.vic.gov.au and vicroads.vic.gov.au.

Nieta Manser appointed Principal at Warrandyte PS

STUDENTS, parents, and teachers alike were delighted when it was announced that Nieta Manser, the current Acting Principal at Warrandyte Primary School (WPS), is to be appointed as their substantive Principal.
After undergoing a formal recruitment process, School Council President, David Wells, announced the great news to the school community.
As the new Principal, Ms Manser will continue the work she has been undertaking since she took the Acting role at the beginning of 2021.
Nieta is a passionate educator and leader who uses her teaching and leadership experiences as the springboard for the work she undertakes at WPS.
She is a fervent believer in building a team of educators who excel; supporting staff as they become involved in new initiatives and Professional Development.
As an advocate for Literacy, when arriving at Warrandyte Primary at the beginning of 2021 as the Acting Principal, she began a campaign to get high-quality texts into the classroom for teachers and students to use during their Literacy block.
The drive was so successful the school was able to purchase over 150 books across all age groups.
These texts are known as “mentor texts” that can be used to teach reading and writing strategies to students as they learn what good readers and writers do.
The push for more books in the classroom is also part of a schoolwide shift to promoting student voice and agency in the classroom.
“Students should be able to read quality literature from texts of their choice when practising their reading goals and apply the strategies taught in the lesson,” said Nieta.
In 2020 Nieta joined the Northeast Victorian Regional office as an Education Improvement Leader for Inner East schools, working with
school leaders to build staff capacity to deliver improved student outcomes.
She brings with her all the knowledge that she gained in this role and has begun to drive an agenda that complements and builds on
the current practices at the school, including the application of the ten High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) that are proven to improve
student outcomes.
She regularly leads staff development and training, and has an ongoing commitment to creating a culture where students and teachers are all
working together towards excellence.
“Our new instructional model sets clear roles for the teacher, the student and the peers in the classroom and supports explicit teaching, student voice and differentiation,” said Nieta.
It is not just the pedagogical knowledge that Nieta is known for around the school.
Anyone working with her knows that she strongly believes that wellbeing and academia are equally important.
After two very disruptive years for students, families and teachers, this will continue to be a focus for Nieta as she becomes the substantive
principal.
“Recovery from a difficult time is a big consideration this year,” she said.
Having attended Warrandyte Primary School herself, Nieta says she is thrilled to be able to give back to the community that instilled a strong
sense of community in her.
“Warrandyte Primary has a strong history and connection to our broader community.
“In many ways, it still reminds me of how things were when I was a student here, but Warrandyte Primary is anything but the small country school I went to.
“Our teachers have a very strong pedagogical knowledge and are passionate about their students achieving positive outcomes,” said Nieta.
She believes the students get the best of both worlds at WPS.
“The open spaces, strong cross-age relationships and of course the iconic Bushband are all still here, but when the students are in the classroom, they get to work with their teachers towards achieving their learning goals,” said Nieta.
Dave Wells, President of the WPS School Council, congratulated Nieta on her appointment.
“Nieta is to be congratulated — she submitted an outstanding application and her interview with the council was a delight.”
“Of course, Nieta is well known to the school having been interim Principal throughout last year.
“We would like to thank her for the wonderful work to date and congratulate her on being appointed to the role.
Nieta, we are very proud of our school and proud to have you leading it,” he says.

Future remains uncertain for former South Warrandyte Fire Station

AS DISCUSSED in the March Warrandyte Diary, the future of the former CFA Station in Brumbys Road, South Warrandyte, is uncertain with the CFA putting the site up for auction.
Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, pointed out the property is required to be offered to other government bodies, including Manningham Council, on a first-right-of-refusal basis, which had not happened.
The Diary understands that the auction has been postponed, and this first-right-of-refusal process has commenced.
Former South Warrandyte CFA Captain, Greg Kennedy acknowledges the CFA has made an investment in providing the new station in Falconer Road.
However, he notes the current fire station in Falconer Road has no different facilities than the FRV stations at Ringwood, Nunawading,
Croydon or Templestowe.
“The CFA has done nothing special with this facility.
CFA has a statutory obligation to provide the infrastructure, including buildings and equipment, to discharge its duties under the Act.
The CFA made the decision to upgrade the facilities at South Warrandyte to include career staff — this was simply the CFA undertaking the function that it has responsibility for.
There were no favours, nothing special, so there are no grounds for accolades.”
Mr Kennedy said the greater Warrandyte community appreciates the high bushfire risk level in this area, and the community support has been and continues to be significant.
Each of the brigades in the area — South Warrandyte, North Warrandyte, Warrandyte and Wonga Park — have over the years appealed to the
community for financial support.
“The community has been very generous, and I estimate that over the past 40 years, our community has provided at least $2 million to the
annual brigade appeals,” he said.
He said the level of support and commitment our community has towards their CFAs is exemplified by Fireball.
“In 2014, North Warrandyte brigade were raising funds to replace their ageing brigade owned tanker by holding a sausage sizzle outside
Quinton’s IGA on Saturday, February 8.
The next day a fire destroyed three houses in Warrandyte.
Julie Quinton was gobsmacked that the volunteers had to sell sausages to raise money to buy a fire truck.
Julie and a few colleagues then organised a one-night event, Fireball, which raised a little over $80,000 in the one night — to me, that’s a
community that gives.
North Warrandyte CFA was able to replace its truck.
Over the next three years, two more Fireball events were held, raising more than $80,000 on each occasion.
Warrandyte brigade replaced their ageing slip-on, and South Warrandyte replaced their FCV.
COVID came along and delayed Wonga Park’s opportunity to benefit to date.”
Local government and services clubs have also provided additional financial support to the Brigade.
He said the brigades used these funds to provide members with appropriate protective clothing in the earlier years, additional equipment,
including hoses and couplings, and additional appliances.
“The contribution has been significant and has saved the CFA financially,” Mr Kennedy said.
He said the Greater Warrandyte community has financially supported their CFA brigades with significant contributions over a very long period.
“It is now opportune for the CFA to return the favour,” he said.
As we go to print, Manningham Council has not been offered the property under the first-right-of-refusal provisions.
Lee Robson, Acting Director of Planning and Community, told the Diary: “While there has been recent discussion in the community around
the former CFA site in Warrandyte South, Council has not identified this location as a strategic site for community use.”
He said the site has a heritage overlay with very restrictive controls, but when Council receives notification, the property will be
considered.
Mayor of Manningham Michelle Kleinert said there are several issues that Council must consider, including potential users of the facility, what expenditure will Council need to undertake to bring the facility up to the required standard, and whether the potential user of the facility is willing and capable of making a financial contribution towards the necessary works.
Expressions of interest Mr Kennedy said now is the time for community groups interested in the property to come forward.
Let the Diary know if your community group could use the old South Warrandyte Fire Station, in what capacity, and whether you could make
a financial (or in-kind) contribution to the upkeep of the facility.
The Diary will collate details for the working group, headed up by Mr Kennedy, who will make a submission to Council.
Write to editor@warrandytediary.com.au to show your interest.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: re Brumbys Road Fire Station

The above property has recently been advertised for sale by the CFA.
The advertising of the same has made a few large assumptions about future use which conflict with current zoning and planning, but as a long-term resident of Warrandyte (20 plus years) and a long-term reader of the Warrandyte Diary, I would like to offer a comment as a first time contributor.
The Warrandyte Diary has a rich background of the history of the fire station at Warrandyte South over many years as I have read with interest.
I do not propose I know the full history, but I offer my thoughts and views to gauge if others within Warrandyte have similar thoughts, other ideas to what is a great locally owned and built asset that deserves to be utilised by those that built it.
By way of short history, the station was established thru the generosity and sweat of local Warrandyte people- the land was, thru a special council subdivision, donated for use as a fire station for the local CFA brigade, the construction was mostly thru donated labour and materials by Warrandyte south residents and CFA volunteers.
This was a community at its best.
With the growth and merger with the MFB to new facilities in Park Orchards, the site was deemed an engineering and research site for a few years.
The site was offered to council for other purposes of use to the community, but in my opinion the offer was confusing and lacked clarity and sadly any interested party, never ventured any further back in 2017-19 when it was offered.
The current sale process will see any funds put into a “special capital account” with the CFA/MFB according to the current property officer of the CFA.
My concern is if they are successful in achieving a possible windfall of $900,000 plus, will these funds be domiciled to the Warrandyte community or to the wider pool of CFA/MFB? I note the main CFA pumper truck is ten years old and as we have just finished donating for a fire support vehicle for Warrandyte South, could this money be directed/restricted to those and the area that made this CFA/MFB windfall happen?
I would not enjoy being involved again in a drive to fundraise for a support vehicle and equipment for one of Australia’s most highly rated fire zone’s, when our treasured local Warrandyte volunteers should have the best and newest equipment, but his “windfall” disappeared into the ethers of the combined CFA/MFB with unknown use or purpose.
As to a future use, I am sure if it was again offered to the local community as a re-purposed asset and location that the words local, community, involvement, have changed in the new COVID world, since a technically confusing offering back some 5-3 years ago.
We now live in a different world and such a significant asset built with local goodwill, has a future better than the real estate agent’s offering as a brewery etc!
My family and I would be prepared to offer up adjoining land for use as a community garden to assist a possible use as a not-for-profit community café/ artist display etc and in some way recognise the locals that gave and made the site a reality.

DONNA SMITH
Warrandyte South

Warrandyte Men’s Shed still homeless

[OPINION]
By CHRIS CHEWY PADGHAM
WARRANDYTE MEN’S SHED

AS SOME OF you may know, a group of men from the Warrandyte Community have been working to establish a Men’s Shed in Warrandyte.
A Men’s Shed is a men’s health initiative aimed at improving the mental and physical health of older men in our community through social
inclusion in an environment that is meaningful and comfortable for men.
The success of Men’s Sheds throughout Australia and abroad is a testament to the valuable contribution that they make to the welfare of the community in which they are present.
I have been working on the establishment of a Men’s Shed in Warrandyte for the last five years, and it is fair to say that everyone I have
spoken to agrees that it would be a magnificent asset for Warrandyte, including Manningham Councillors, and our State and Federal Members of Parliament.
There is one major obstacle in our progress: a suitable site to house it.
Imagine my pleasure when  it became apparent that the old South Warrandyte CFA building was available for Council to acquire.
It is fit for purpose and ideally located close to public transport.
However, Council’s current position on the old South Warrandyte Fire Station is: “the South Warrandyte Fire Station has not been identified
by Council as a strategic site for acquisition.”
And its position on finding an appropriate site for a Warrandyte Men’s Shed is: “work is being undertaken by officers to identify existing Council-owned land that may be suitable for community
focussed uses such as a Men’s Shed.”
For five years, I have heard that line.
It seems it takes the council a long time to identify their own land.
It is frustrating, but we will continue to meet at the Scout Hall, which is falling down because of council neglect.
I worked with the council to specify appropriate upgrades to address its glaring deficiencies.
That was completed in July 2021; the last informal word I had was that it might make it into the budget for 2023/2024.
I know councils like to think of themselves as businesses these days; a key performance indicator for them is the provision of appropriate and
well-maintained facilities to benefit the community.
From my perspective, Manningham Council is comprehensively failing Warrandyte on this KPI.

Community history for sale

By SANDI MILLER
March 2022

PAST AND PRESENT members of the South Warrandyte Fire Brigade and other members of the broader Warrandyte community are dismayed as the Country Fire Authority has placed the old South Warrandyte fire station on Brumbys Road up for sale.
Greg Kennedy was a member of the South Warrandyte Fire Brigade for 36 years, holding the office of Captain on two occasions, Lieutenant at various levels on several occasions, and President, Secretary and Treasurer.
He said he was “disgusted” to see the former fire station in Brumbys Road advertised for sale.
“Whilst the CFA is undoubtedly the owner of the land and therefore entitled to dispose of the property and everything that is built upon the land, there is a moral obligation for the CFA to take fully into account the history of this site.”
Mr Kennedy provided the Diary with a background of the site; he said the land was acquired in 1954 for the token amount of 40 pounds from Mr Pridmore.
The Pridmore family was very grateful for the assistance of brigade members in searching for their young son, who had become lost in the area.
“It is unclear who provided the funding, but I have been reliably informed by members from that time that the brigade raised the necessary monies — not the CFA.”
After a delay of two years, a rural shed donated by a resident was erected on the site by the brigade members — no cost to the CFA.
In 1963, a building suitable to house an appliance was acquired by the brigade from a resident and erected, again by the brigade members.
Over several years, the shed was refurbished with additions of a meeting room and communications facility and eventually a brick façade.
The members sourced all the materials and provided all of the labour.
The brigade undertook the supply and erection of the shed at no cost to the CFA on the understanding that the brigade would be provided with an Austin tanker as soon as there was somewhere to house the appliance.
The CFA honoured the undertaking, and an Austin tanker arrived in 1963.
By the early 1980s, the facilities were inadequate.
The brigade approached the CFA and was advised that a new station was scheduled, but not for at least 10 years.
Under the leadership of Captain Les Dixon, the brigade went about designing a new station with assistance from a local architect who provided his service pro bono.
Additional land was required to house the new building.
The brigade negotiated on behalf of the CFA to acquire an additional parcel of land adjoining the existing site.
“I recollect that the CFA paid for the additional land, but the purchase price was well below market value — the only cost to date for the CFA,” said Mr Kennedy.
The CFA approved the plans and agreed to allow the brigade to construct the building provided the brigade met
all costs — and that is precisely what the brigade did.
The brigade went to the South Warrandyte community and, through various fundraising activities, raised a little over $100,000.
The brigade members then undertook the building of the station.
Working bees were held most evenings and every weekend, and all brigade members freely gave their time.
Local tradesmen — carpenters, electricians, roofers, cabinet makers — gave their time without payment.
Materials were donated by various residents who were involved in the building industry.
Corporates were encouraged to provide materials with plant hire company, Wreckair Ltd, providing all types of machinery weekend after weekend for no charge.
Mr Kennedy said the only other financial contribution made by the CFA was $30,000 to assist in the final fit-out of the station.
“This contribution was made very late in the building program and only after the then Chairman Mr O’Shea was embarrassed by what he found the brigade had achieved without any financial support from the CFA.
“To me and the many members and especially former members of the brigade, the fire station in Brumbys Road, holds a very special place in our hearts — we toiled long and hard both in fundraising and construction to provide ourselves and our community with a decent facility with virtually no financial assistance from the CFA.
“The facility was provided by our community, for our community.
“The CFA may own the land, but it can never own what has been built — it belongs to us.
“To simply have this facility placed on the open market for sale shows no understanding of the history and importance of the facility.
“For the CFA to expect to pocket $900,000+ with no recognition of what the community has contributed is a heartless act.
“This is a community facility, built and paid for by the community.
“Morally, it belongs to the community,” Mr Kennedy said.
Valerie Polley of the Warrandyte Historical Society (WHS) notes the site is protected under a historical significance overlay.
She told the Diary that the site is an important part of the town’s history.
“The Warrandyte Historical Society is concerned that this heritage- listed building could be lost to the community.
The fire station is listed as of local significance on Manningham’s Heritage Overlay (HO27).
It has strong links back into the community.
This building which dates to 1986/7, used brigade (community) raised funds and CFA volunteer labour.
It was listed due to its ‘elegant and sympathetic adaptation of an organic design approach to a public building’. The citation felt it contributed to a future design for rural public buildings rather than a colonial vernacular, and WHS agrees.
WHS considers it detrimental to lose yet another well-designed community asset when there are local demands for premises, including for a Men’s Shed, which is currently homeless.
That its heritage values could also be compromised is also a big consideration.
WHS is hopeful that any changes will not lead to the loss of the building’s heritage significance and contribution to the architectural heritage of Warrandyte.”
Mr Kennedy said that during the planning of the new station, when he was Captain of the brigade in 2014, he met with then Chief Officer, Ewan Ferguson, to discuss the future of the Brumbys Road site.
“I received an assurance that no decisions on the future of the station had been made and none would be made without further consultation with the brigade — I accepted the word of the Chief Officer.
“On May 24, 2016, I wrote to the newly appointed CEO, Lucinda Nolan seeking assurance that the disposal of the fire station would be handled with care and compassion, bearing in mind the history of how the facility was provided.
“I received a telephone call from Lucinda Nolan again advising that no decision had been made and a consultative process would be undertaken at the appropriate time.
“To my knowledge, neither of these commitments have been honoured.”
He said the CFA as the property owner, clearly has a right to dispose of the property, but there should be at least some compassion and understanding given to those who hold the facility dearly.
“There are retired members of the brigade who are very upset by the current actions of the CFA.”
Mr Kennedy said the decision to list the property without any consultation is “immoral, heartless and totally inconsiderate”.
He said he hopes the CFA will reconsider and is prepared to accept a peppercorn payment if the facility becomes a community centre.
“After all, the investment by the CFA is minimal, but the investment by the South Warrandyte community is enormous.
“I cannot believe the CFA who promote themselves as ‘WE ARE COMMUNITY’ can so heartlessly place this property on the market without any consideration of the community – what am I missing here?”
A CFA spokesperson told the Diary the Authority is not in a position to gift properties to other parties, nor retain or sell them at undervalued amounts.
“CFA and the Victorian Government made a significant investment of
more than $6m in the acquisition of land and construction of a new and modern fire station in 2015 to serve the community of South Warrandyte and neighbouring areas.
CFA has an obligation to utilise its assets in the best possible manner to support our volunteer brigades, and the sale of surplus stations is a significant contributor to our program of station refurbishments and replacements, which benefit all CFA volunteers and our local communities.”
Despite being placed with a real estate agent, the Diary has been told the former South Warrandyte station property has recently been resubmitted through the First Right of Refusal process, which gives state and local government entities, including the Manningham Council, the ability to express interest in the property and purchase from CFA at the Valuer General’s valuation.
This process takes around 60 days, and if there is no outcome from the process, CFA will relist the property for public auction.

Promises broken on CFA Shed

RYAN SMITH MP
Member for Warrandyte
[OPINION]

I RECENTLY raised a very important issue in State Parliament regarding the former South Warrandyte CFA station on Brumbys Road.
The former station has recently been listed for sale for close to $1 million, an exorbitant mark-up from the Manningham council evaluation of $120,000 in 2017.
I have been campaigning with local community groups for the past six years for the government to allow the community use of the building, ever since the multimillion- dollar integrated station in South Warrandyte was completed.
Every time that I have raised this issue with the government, I have been told that the station continues “…to meet internal needs and will do so for the foreseeable future — there are no immediate plans for the CFA to vacate or dispose of these premises.”
Locals I have spoken with have been rightly angered by this response as the station has stood largely empty over the last six years.
In April 2021, the acting Minister for Emergency Services wrote to me stating that : “Should the CFA determine in the future that the site is no longer needed, there will be an opportunity for the local council to purchase the property for community purposes.”
Four months later, in August, the minister wrote again stating that, if the land was deemed surplus by the CFA, it must be offered through a First Right of Refusal process to Victorian government departments as well as to local government, whilst again reiterating that the CFA still require the South Warrandyte station for the foreseeable future.
Through conversations with Manningham Council and volunteer CFA members, it appears there has been no offering of the former station for community use as promised by the government.
It has become apparent that the government’s only vision for community assets is to try to sell them in order to fill the bottomless black hole of state debt.
This is just another example of the difference between what this government says and what they do.
Each Minister I have written to was aware of the various community organisations that would have been interested in using the space, including a permanent base for the Warrandyte Men’s Shed, the Warrandyte Scouts, or a dedicated ambulance station for the Warrandyte area or even for the volunteers at South Warrandyte to return home.
This is another disappointing result for the communities of the Warrandyte electorate, who have continued to be let down by this government.
I will be pursuing this matter further to ensure that all proper processes were followed by the government.
If they have not, my community will be made aware that this government continues to ignore community needs and expectations.
I have asked the Minister to withdraw the station from the market and gift it to Manningham Council for community use or at least — at the very least — offer the property at a properly valued price as was promised.
I will continue to keep the community updated on any developments.

Disruptions continue for Fitzsimons Lane upgrade

MAJOR ROADS Projects Victoria (MRPV) continues the works on the Fitzsimons Lane upgrade.
CONSTRUCTION teams are about to embark on another roadworks blitz, completing six months of work in seven weeks.
They will be transforming the Fitzsimons Lane/Porter Street roundabout into an traffic light-controlled intersection.
Residents are advised that the Porter Street/Fitzsimons Lane intersection on the eastern (Warrandyte/Donvale)
side of the road will be closed from April 26 for the seven-week period, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
From April 26, until May 14, there will be no access to eastern end of Porter Street.
Traffic Diversions will be in place, taking diverted traffic along Williamsons Road, Foote Street, Blackburn Road, and Warrandyte
Road.
Major Roads are advising there may be delays of up to 20 minutes for road users in this area during works.
There will also be no access to Hawtin Street from Porter Street; this street will be local access only.
Entry to Water Tunnel Car Wash, MarketPlace Fresh, Templestowe Reserve and BlueCross Silverwood will be from the Warrandyte side of the road closure.
Local bus route 905 is also likely to be affected by these works, the Diary and M&N Bulletin will have additional information about how this service is impacted closer to the time.

Lane closures
Lane closures have been in effect from Sunday, March 6, as works are undertaken to complete drainage works and build up the road along Williamsons Road and Fitzsimons Lane between Atkinson Street and Westerfolds Park, and on Porter Street — west of the roundabout if you are driving towards Templestowe Village.
During this time, there are lane closures and speed limits are reduced to 40km/h on Porter Street.
Construction crews will be in place Monday to Friday from 6am to 5pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 7am to 5pm.

Nightworks
There will also be some nights works from Sunday to Friday, between 6pm and 5am each night.
Traffic management will be in place to guide road users through the area. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained during these works.
Crews will be relocating powerlines underground.
The installation of new drainage and construction of pavement will continue in the centre medians of
Williamsons Road, either side of the Foote Street intersection.
As crews work to relocate overhead powerlines underground, there will be boring and trenching on Foote Street, west of the intersection.
One end of Glendale Avenue will be closed, with lane closures continuing across the Foote Street intersection.
There will also be trench and bore works around the southwest corner of Williamsons Road and Foote Street.

Main Road completion works
Following on from its major construction campaign, crews will be tidying up around the Main Road/ Fitzsimons Lane intersection and finishing off work on medians and the Fitzsimons Lane retaining wall.
There will be minor traffic management in place for the ongoing safety of drivers and workers.

Porter Street road surfacing
Heading into the final stage of works to upgrade the Porter Street roundabout to traffic lights, crews will continue to prepare the road surface for the signalised intersection.
Over the next three months, lane closures and changed traffic conditions will continue on all legs of the intersection as the new pavement is built and new drainage is installed throughout the area.
MRPV said it will notify directly impacted residents regarding nightworks.

Breaking Biases on International Women’s Day

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