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Doggie doo and cat curfews

THE DOCUMENT which outlines how Nillumbik residents and businesses manage their cats and dogs for the next four years has reached the next phase of public consultation.
Nillumbik’s draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025 (DAMP) is on display with Council requesting feedback until September 22.
Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, every Victorian council is required to plan how it deals with its cats and dogs.
Council received more than 860 submissions from the public earlier this year about the management of cats and dogs in the Shire, collected at pop-up consultations in the community and via the Participate Nillumbik website.
Mayor Peter Perkins thanked everyone who made a submission to inform the draft, and said he hopes to see plenty of community submissions on the draft plan.

“To have more than 800 responses to the DAMP survey is reflective of how important pets are to our community.
“The consultation that has now kicked off is asking for your thoughts on the draft plan.
“You can quickly and easily provide feedback and let us know if you think anything else should be covered in the draft,” he said.

During the August 24 Ordinary Council Meeting, Councillors Natalie Duffy and Ben Ramcharan spoke to the motion.

“Education is key and that is one of the messages we have heard and what we have been trying to do as a council in coming up with this plan, “ said Cr Duffy.
“It is looking at how we can educate about responsible pet ownership and that seems to be the highest level of importance for the community.”

10 issues of community concern have been highlighted:

  • Dog owners not picking up excrement after their pets.
  • Dogs off leash when in on-leash areas.
  • Cats outside of property at night- time after curfew.
  • Dogs with owners far away/absent in parks and reserves.
  • Dogs barking for long periods of time.
  • Cats preying on wildlife.
  • Cats causing a nuisance to resident’s properties.
  • Cats that appear unowned.
  • Residents unaware of services the
  • Community Safety Department provides to the community, such as where the pet registration funds are spent each year and the cat trapping program.
  • Residents unaware of how to find on and off-leash areas in their community.

During the Council meeting, Councillors spoke specifically around the issues of dog poop and cat curfews.
Cr Duffy spoke to the unpleasantness of finding un-scooped dog poo and the frustration experienced by responsible dog owners.

“Most dog owners do scoop their pooch but there are many that don’t, which makes it really unpleasant for those of us who either step in it, dodge it, or are left to clean up the mess.
“It makes it really uncomfortable for those dog owners who do do the right thing as well so that would be my call to the community to make the effort to pick up your dog poo,” Cr Duffy said.

The DAMP outlines how, without any Local Laws in place around responsible pet ownership, it intends to use education through social media, printed materials, pet events and park patrols to inform and encourage responsible pet ownership.
Cr Ramcharan spoke about a proposed cat curfew.
The DAMP suggests a 22.5 hour cat curfew, which would run from 7:30am to 6am.
During these times, cats would be confined to their owners’ properties, although if a cat is found roaming the streets outside the curfew, it can be trapped if the resident “objects to the cat being on their property”.

The DAMP reports that a number of communities within the Green Wedge areas were in favour of a 24- hour cat curfew — including North Warrandyte, Bend of Islands and Christmas Hills, which Cr Ramcharan spoke to.

“A lot of submitters were in favour of that, and it would be a win for our wildlife, although I do understand that many people do have concerns with that,” he said.

There are many issues and procedures covered in the draft DAMP and Nillumbik residents are encouraged to read the plan and make sure they have their say on how our cats and dogs are treated, in Nillumbik, for the next four years.

The draft DAMP, its accompanying consultation finding report and the mechanism for submitting a written submission responding to the draft DAMP is available at participate. nillumbik.vic.gov.au/damp

Fiveways intersection strikes again

A MAJOR COLLISION at the intersection at Croydon Road and Ringwood-Warrandyte Road has seen a resurgence of calls for an upgrade to the dangerous intersection.
A Police spokesperson told the Diary a 24-year-old woman was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries following a collision between a car and a truck just before midday on Friday, September 3.
The intersection of Ringwood- Warrandyte Road/Croydon Road/ Husseys Lane and Brumbys Lane in Warrandyte South, known locally as “Fiveways” is on a State controlled arterial road managed by the Department of Transport (DoT) which incorporates VicRoads.
Member of Warrandyte, Ryan Smith said he had been lobbying the government with three successive Labor Roads Ministers, “all of which have either ignored our community or assured us the intersection is safe”.
After years of agitation falling on deaf ears at VicRoads, many locals have taken to social media to vent their anger at the lack of action, with one local saying it is an “absolute disgrace that VicRoads refuse to do anything despite the community pleading for years”.
Renny Koerner-Brown created an online petition in 2019 that gathered more than 1,000 signatures.
Following this most recent accident she said: “It hurts my soul that after years of fighting VicRoads for something to be done, and their response to me and Ryan Smith has been “not on their radar”.

“What is it going to take to get this horrendous intersection “on the … radar”?

Former Police Officer and now Secretary of South Warrandyte CFA, Kim Dixon was first on scene at the accident, and has since written to Roads Minister Ben Minister, which she has shared with the Diary.

“If this isn’t a fatality, it will only be by the grace of god,” she wrote, after outlining the seriousness of the woman’s injuries, and the trauma of waiting with her until the Ambulance arrived.

She said it is not just the victims of the car accidents that occur at this intersection that suffer.

“The workers at the Shell Service station, who constantly see and hear accidents occurring and then go to their assistance.
The locals that live nearby, that assist the victims till emergency services arrive.
The Police, Fire and Ambulance Services that attend this intersection regularly, that just ‘accept’ that accidents happen at this intersection, as no one will acknowledge that there is a major issue there.”

Ms Dixon asked the Minister “why are roadworks being performed or proposed at intersection like Warrandyte Road and Tortice Drive, North Ringwood, that don’t carry as much traffic or seem to be less accident prone that this intersection.

“Why are insignificant roundabouts and gutter works being performed on Knees Road, Park Orchards, where there is definitely minimal traffic compared to this intersection and I would say little to no accidents occurring?” she asked.

Ms Dixon wrote:

“Someone needs to stop saying that this intersection is not on Vic Roads radar to be fixed.
Bureaucrats that allegedly keep informing members of the community that there need to be at least 3 deaths before they will even look at fixing the intersection.
This is not acceptable.
Passing the buck needs to stop and it needs to stop now.”

A spokesperson for the DoT told the Diary the Fiveways intersection, is a key, high volume access route.

“We will be working with Victoria Police to investigate the circumstances of the crash — and our thoughts are with the victim and her loved ones.
The safety of everyone travelling on our roads is our number one priority.
As part of the investigations we will review this intersection and make any improvements required to keep Victorians on our road network safe.”

The DoT spokesperson said assessments to improve the intersection are continually being made — including working to reduce bottlenecks and improve traffic flow.

“We receive many requests each year for safety improvements and upgrades to intersections, including new traffic lights, from across Victoria.
All requests are prioritised based on the extent to which such a treatment would improve safety and/or congestion at each intersection.
We consider a range of factors such as the number and type of vehicles using the intersection, the need to cater for pedestrians, the historical safety record of the site and the impact the improvements would have on the surrounding road network.”

The DoT spokesperson said there were six incidents at this intersection between 31/12/2016 and 31/12/2020,

A Woi-wurrung name for our park

THE UPGRADED park and land along the Yarra River in Warrandyte, locally known as Lions Park, will be given an official Woi-wurrung name to reflect the language, culture and heritage of the local Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people.
Once endorsed by Council at its September meeting, the park will be officially named wonguim wilam.
Following earlier consultation with key stakeholders, Manningham Council met with the Warrandyte Lions Club and Masterplan Community Reference Group, who showed support to adopt a Woi-wurrung name for the park.
Council has worked with Aunty Doreen and the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, who has provided the park name of “wonguim wilam” [pronounced “won-goom willum”], which means “boomerang place”.
Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon said Council’s commitment to reconciliation is underpinned by respect for the rich and complex nature of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung culture and heritage and thanked the Warrandyte Lions Club for taking up this important opportunity in reconciliation.

“While Council has committed to creating equity, equality and building relationships, and is close to finalising our Reconciliation Action Plan, reconciliation requires a commitment from the whole community,” he said.
“The Lions Club has shown their willingness to be a community leader by supporting this name change.”

In the coming weeks the precinct will officially adopt the Woi-wurrung name approved by the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, honouring the original owners of the land.

“We would like to thank past and present members of the Warrandyte Lions Club of the last 40-plus years for maintaining the park and the tennis courts, as well as contributing $45,000 towards the latest exercise equipment,” Cr Conlon said.

Warrandyte Lions Club President David Englefield said it was an honour to look after the park and provide a much loved gathering space for the community over the last four decades.

“The Lions Club has always been looking to make a difference and improve the lives of the Warrandyte people and others in our community,” he said.
“Reconciliation is important and this is an incredible opportunity for us to work with Council and with due consultation, provide leadership in honouring First Nations communities.”

Works on the playspace upgrade are anticipated to begin early next year and completed by mid-2022.
The completed upgrade of the park will feature significant signage taking visitors on a journey through its history and the involvement of the Warrandyte Lions Club.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club on recognising their contributions on a plaque and interpretive signage.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club, Warrandyte Historical Society and the Warrandyte Community Association on the maintenance of the park to ensure it honours its past and present custodians.
An official naming ceremony is planned to be held when COVID restrictions allow.

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Get out on the green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

feature image: pixabay

A butterfly flaps its wings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information session

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

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

To register, please visit:

hurstbridge-line-duplication.eventbrite.com.au

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

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

feature image supplied

Lockdown extended and tightened

Updated August 23

Pandemic of complacency

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

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

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

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

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

VCE Changes

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

Getting tested and vaccinated

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

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

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

The Warrandyte Pentathlon

MUCH ADO

By KATRINA BENNETT

2021 WAS PROVING to be a rollercoaster ride to rival the Tower of Terror or Arkham Asylum. Superheroes no longer had to live in Batcaves or steer clear of kryptonite. Nor was Hollywood necessarily on the Gold Coast. Those Hemsworth boys had made sure that Byron Bay was taking that dubious title, attracting micro-influencers like mice plagues to a grain silo. No longer were billionaires content to stand at the urinal together and swing their little fingers. No, they had to fly into space in crafts shaped like their underpaid and overworked minimum wage employees got together and said “Let’s design a ship that truly represents what we think of our boss”. Some people were lucky enough to escape the icy clutches of Melbourne’s winter and head north during the school holidays. They were awarded an extra 14 days off, isolated in their house with boutique bottle of gin, their mates Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Disney+ passwords, and a few bonus Covid tests for their efforts. The snow lovers weren’t neglected either. After missing the entire 2020 ski season, 80 per cent of Warrandyte’s population threw on their roof racks, dragged out the rusty snow chains and added alpine diesel to the fuel tank. Then they remembered they had bought a new petrol car, with different size wheels and a wider roof. The kids had grown, the adults hadn’t lost their iso-gut and the Warrandyte Secondhand Facebook page broke the internet as ski gear was traded with the same ferocity and lack of understanding as BitCoin. I still have 15 pairs of skis, 19 pairs of boots, 38 ski jackets, 29 pairs of pants and 29,000 non-matching pairs of mittens if anyone is still interested.
Victoria entered Lockdown 5.0. Muscle memory kicked in. No need to panic buy, no need to exercise more than two hours a day, we could ignore soaring petrol prices; we weren’t going more than five kilometres from home. This lockdown had an entertainment bonus that the previous four didn’t. The Olympics. Who doesn’t love an opening ceremony that at best is three hours too long and at its very best is full of weird interpretive dancing and disturbingly bewildering characters? It was my time to shine. I could dazzle my disinterested offspring with my encyclopaedic knowledge of absolutely nothing. Eyes went blurry from uninterrupted screen-time, thumbs blistered from incessant googling and I acquired a strange mottled hue to my skin as I slowly morphed into an unwashed coach potato. Turns out quad skulls is a rowing race not a Russian drinking game and the Coxless fours isn’t just a boat without any males in it. But the real revelation was the kayaking and canoeing. What a sport, there had to be more steel in their abs than in the reinforced concrete of the course. As I gaze out at the murky waters of the Yarra River, I briefly consider that this could be the sport for me. I mean, sure it would take a bit of work to transform from a mouldy couch potato to a well-oiled French Fry, I’m scared of water and by the time I’d got my act together I’d be eligible for the aged pension. Not impossible but I reckon I’d be more likely to win a Tattslotto draw that I never bought a ticket in. Lucky I’ve got the Modern Warrandyte Pentathlon to fall back on. A collection of five events that require the cunning of a fox near a henhouse, the speed of a kookaburra at a barbie and the patience of a horse at an anti-lockdown rally.
Event 1: The Duck Race
Twelve ducklings whose parents have left them unattended in your pool, need to be rescued and returned one-by-one to the negligent Mum and Dad. Time penalties are given for any ducklings lost to a circling wedge-tailed eagle or if contact is made by the attacking Drake, who hasn’t worked out you’re actually trying to help.
Event 2: The NBN Modem reset
When the power goes out it’s a race against time to reset the modem and get the wi-fi up and running before any teenagers emerge from their caves complaining the live gaming stream has dropped out. This a sport that requires precision timing. Too quick and you blow a fuse in the box and you’ll get lost in a telco call centre queue never to be heard from again. Too slow and hell hath no fury like an internet-less teenager, they can move lightening quick when they want to.
Event 3: The Skatepark Challenge
The quickest to run over to the fish and chip shop, order and take delivery of your minimum chips, six fried dim sims and a bottle of Gatorade. Run back to skatepark, consume, drop all rubbish on the ground and run for the bus stop. Time penalties incurred for being yelled at by an adult before getting on the 906 and disqualified if called out by an outraged member of the Warrandyte Community and Business Facebook page.
Event 4: The Mountain Bike slalom
The course runs along the river from Stiggants Reserve to the Stonehouse. Obstacles include dogs off lead, toddlers released from their pram and irregular groupings of baby boomers who drift like brown’s cows when you startle them. Bonus points for dog poo-less tyres at the finish line.
Event 5: The Double Scull
Simple — a pot and shot at the Grand Hotel. There are no rules and everyone’s a winner. The perfect end to a gruelling Modern Warrandyte Pentathlon.
But now Lockdown 5.0 is over; the roller-coaster ride continues with 6.0. The Gold Coast may still not be Hollywood, but it is now the home of the 2032 Olympics, the games that no one else wanted. And you can’t

Cricket gets set for 2021/22 season

PREPARATION IS WELL underway at the Warrandyte Cricket Club (WCC) for the upcoming season. Despite the disruption and impacts last season due to Coronavirus, the Club heads into 2021/22 in great shape. At the recent AGM, re-appointed President Bill Stubbs detailed how — despite COVID-19 — the club increased participation levels and community involvement last season. For 2020/21, WCC had its highest ever number of members, teams, and sponsors.
“It’s a great reflection of how in uncertain times, that importance of sport and the sense of community is vital.”
He then went on to talk about how the club plans to build on this success and strengthen community bonds.
“WCC is committed to providing a safe and friendly environment where all members can join in and participate, regardless of age, gender, or ability”, said Stubbs.
WCC will provide participation from Junior Blast for the littlest cricketers (5–8 year-old), Juniors from Under 10s to Under 18s, Junior Girls team, Women’s Social program, Senior teams, and Veterans teams including Over 40s, 50s, 60s and for the first time ever an Over 70s team.
The club also announced some key leadership roles for 2021/22. Matt Whitbread has taken on the role of High Performance Coach and will be implementing focused coaching, directed towards the club’s best young cricketers.
Ben Taylor, a mainstay of the 1st XI for many years, has been appointed Firsts’ Captain. He brings a wealth of experience and leadership ability to the role and says he is looking forward to having an impact on the playing group.
“It’s incredibly exciting for me to lead the team.
“With so much young talent, I can’t wait for the season to start, and to work with our younger players in helping them become great first eleven cricketers.”
Martin Rakuscek will again lead the WCC Junior Program supported by a great group of Team Coaches.
Michelle Heffernan will continue to lead the Girls and Women’s Program and build on the great success of last season.
Mick Spence will coordinate all the activity for the Veterans, keeping the spirit of cricket going regardless of age.
Pre-season training has commenced and will run through August/ September at Saxon Sport in Croydon (Juniors, Girls, and Women on Saturday afternoons at 2pm and Seniors on Sunday mornings at 10am) Anyone interested in getting involved and joining the Warrandyte Cricket Club in any way, as a player, social member, volunteer or sponsor, please make contact via the website: www.warrandytecc.com.

Lions Park “Taffy’s Green” set to stay

CONSTRUCTION IS set to commence on the Lions Park upgrade along the Warrandyte River Reserve, following Manningham Council being awarded a $300,000 grant as part of the Victorian State Government’s Local Parks Program. Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon said Manningham was successful in securing the maximum value of the grant per project from the Government’s $10 million program, and works are anticipated to begin early next year. At the end of 2020, Manningham consulted with the community on the concept plan for a new play space as part of the park’s upgrades. When the completed Stage 1 works were unveiled at the start of 2021, there were many that attended the highly successful Year of Wonders exhibition at the site who asked Council to retain the grassy area adjacent to Taffy’s Hut and happily, this has now been incorporated in the amended plans. Council said results showed there was a good level of support for the new play space, designed to connect children with nature and offer play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities.
“Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. “We’ve reviewed these and have adjusted the final plan,” Cr Conlon said. Overall, the community were in favour of the concept’s direction, including the natural look and feel of the space. However, Cr Conlon said there was large support for the existing grass space to remain, which required planners to reduce the size of the play space.
Changes to the final design include:
• retention of the open grass space
• reduced number of picnic tables
• smaller footprint on the main structure
• one less spinner.
The stage two upgrade includes:
• full play space design and upgrade
• new shelter, drinking fountain,
BBQ, picnic area to accompany the play space
• new art piece with an indigenous focus and community art piece.
“The successful grant application will enable us to make the necessary amendments and carry out the works, improving the amenity of the park,” said Cr Conlon. Works on the upgrade of the play space are anticipated to begin early 2022 and to be completed by June 2022. The existing play space will be completely removed for the duration of works. Council says the new upgrades will expand the existing play-space and aims to further connect the community with the natural habitat of Warrandyte. The play space is inspired by the animal crossing structure completed in Stage 1, and gives children the impression of moving among the trees like native animals. It will feature play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities. In addition, the ceramic leaves produced at the Warrandyte Pottery Expo have now been installed along the Warrandyte River Reserve. During the 2021 Warrandyte Pottery Expo, Warrandyte ceramic artist Jane Annois and Clay Talk at Montsalvat led a children’s art activity in creating these colourful “leaves” representing leaves from the local area. Landscaper, Crafted Landscape has now installed the new art element along the path edging by the new shelter under the bridge. Stage 2 works are anticipated to be completed in mid-2022.
The final plan is now available on: yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/lions-park.

Building the path less travelled

TWO RECENT projects to construct footpaths and kerbing on Research-Warrandyte Road have been completed by Nillumbik Council. Both sections were constructed and fully funded as part of the Getting to School Safely Program, which is known by the Federal Government as the School Infrastructure Road Upgrade project. Council received $1.6 million from the Federal Government for the project, which includes 17 sites across Nillumbik. The less contentious of these works connects Danita Drive to the bottom end of Valias Street, requiring pedestrians to cross the road at the bus stops, and runs for approximately 180 metres costing approximately $90,000. But the one that has caused controversy is a short length on the north side of Research-Warrandyte Road from the traffic lights at Kangaroo Ground Road up to the junction of a service road, a distance of around 90 metres, with associated kerbing and fencing at a cost of approximately $80,000.
Shane Drieberg star ted the discussion on Facebook and described it as a “path to nowhere”. In his post, he stated:
“Is anyone else a little disappointed with the new short stretch of path on the north side of Research- Warrandyte road which only serves the small number of houses in the little lane way it leads to? This was funded from ‘Getting Kids to School Safely’ program but it has missed the mark.”
Many others complained that the money could have been better spent. Reg Byrne, who lives in that little service road posted:
“We now use that path and whilst I don’t disagree that there may be families who need a path more, someone old or young may benefit from what has been done. I hope as a community we can seek support for continued development of services.”
When asked by the Diary for comment on the rationale behind this work, a spokesperson from Nillumbik Council said council sought community feedback on the project in March–April 2018, before advocating for funding.
“We received 144 submissions from 70 respondents. “A number of submissions from the North Warrandyte community sought footpath improvements to access the existing bus stops located on Research- Warrandyte Road and Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road”. It could be argued that a benefit from the works has been to tidy up that side of Research Road following the bridge and traffic lights works, and the rebuilding of part of the culvert in the low section before the lights. Cr Ben Ramcharan had been pushing to have this footpath extended to Somers Road in the short term, and eventually all the way up to the top of the hill, but is struggling to get this up the priority list and to get the necessary funding. He has advised the Diary that Council officers are arranging a site visit at Somers Road in the coming weeks. This will give them a chance to see what the issues are there and will help inform where it sits in Council’s priority list. We asked Council for information on further footpath works in the pipeline and it advised:
“A further project planned for North Warrandyte is the design and construction of a 1.2m wide asphalt footpath along Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road, North Warrandyte between Aton St and Blooms Rd. This project is still being designed to minimise native vegetation impacts.”
There has also been community concern for the difficulty that people, especially schoolchildren, have in crossing Research-Warrandyte Road, particularly in the vicinity of Browns Road where the footpath crosses from the north side to the south side at a blind corner — this concern was put to Council.
“There is a safe pedestrian crossing of Research-Warrandyte Road at the intersection of Kangaroo Ground- Warrandyte Road. A pedestrian crossing near Browns Road has not been funded as part of this program and there are no plans or funding at this stage for such a project. As a declared State arterial road, any additional crossing locations on Research-Warrandyte Road require the consent of the Department of Transport.”

Festival event is all about the music

BANDS WILL be back on the Main Stage at Stiggants Reserve from 4pm to 10pm on Saturday, 23 October, all going well. Despite the ongoing threat of cancellation due to COVID-19 restrictions, Warrandyte Festival organisers continue planning the one-off community celebration. Warrandyte: Together Again — which will feature the iconic festival event, the Battle of the Bands — will focus entirely on musical entertainment. However, complying with COVID health and safety standards for large gatherings is an added task for the volunteers staging this musical event. A festival committee spokesperson told the Diary that to meet expectations from primary festival-funding body Manningham Council, organisers must prepare a comprehensive COVID-Safe Plan.
The overlay addresses five key areas: oversight and administration, attendee management, cleaning and hygiene, workers, vendors and contractors, and operational spaces. This increased workload — to provide and implement measures and event controls to reduce the risk of COVID transmission — has meant curtailing the size of the event originally planned. Spirits remain high among the organising group.
“The show must go on,” an enthusiastic spokesperson said, “and barring any lockdown issues, it will!” For decades the Battle of the Bands has provided a platform for young local musicians to perform in front of a home audience. Contemporary bands and musicians, aged 12 to 25, interested in being a part of the Battle this year are invited to email a summary of their act to battle@warrandytefestival.org. This year, awards from the Battle’s Melbourne music industry judges — including a day’s session in a recording studio — will be accompanied by the People’s Choice Award and a new award, to be presented by Manningham Council in support of our local music industry. The Battle will get underway at 4pm on the Main Stage at Stiggants Reserve. A Welcome To Country and opening of the event by council Mayors is also planned. Following Battle of the Bands, several musical acts will rock the stage from about 7pm. At this stage, a limited number of food stalls will be provided.
Warrandyte Diary will keep you posted on further updates. Stay tuned.

Cyclist safety concerns on Knees Road

MANNINGHAM COUNCIL announced as part of their 2020/21 Capital Works Program, Knees Road, Park Orchards, would be receiving a long-awaited upgrade.
Knees Rd is a crucial local link in our community, bringing traffic into Park Orchards and Warrandyte. The upgrade aims to improve safety for all users, including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, and incorporates kerb and channel, new footpaths and shared paths, and a roundabout at the Arundel Road intersection.
However, Park orchards local Stephen Gleeson says the plans leave cyclists feeling excluded and unsatisfied.
“I’ve been riding bikes in Park Orchards for the last 26 years – every Tuesday and Thursday morning there’s a group of us here in Park Orchards who come together and ride our bikes”, he says.
Mr Gleeson has voiced his safety concerns to Manningham Council and recently wrote a letter to Ward Councillor, Cari Lange.
“The new works have narrowed the existing road considerably — the result is those bike riders, heading in both directions, will be pushed in with car and truck traffic.
“Vehicles will either have to slow down and travel behind the cyclist to avoid hitting the rider or enter the lane of oncoming traffic,”
These concerns run rampant among cyclists, due to the increased rate of cyclist fatalities in recent years, a report by the Australian Automobile Association stated that in the 12 months up to December 2020, 42 cyclists died on Australian roads, an increase of 7.7 per cent.
“It’s so bloody dangerous now.
“Cars just get so impatient — they pull out and pull over the other side of the road and pass me, then jam the breaks on because it’s a narrow road.
“Their [the motorists’] mentality is ‘what are you doing on the road?’ ‘why are you holding me up?’ and they’re totally right in thinking that, because roads haven’t been designed for bikes to be on there with cars,” Mr Gleeson tells the Bulletin.
As part of the upgrade, the Council will be building a 2.5m wide off-road shared path aiming to accommodate cyclists of all abilities, including children, to cater for the influx of students who ride their bikes to St Annes Catholic and Park Orchards Primary Schools. Manningham Council supplied Mr Gleeson with a response to his letter outlining the reasons why it chose to proceed in this manner, but Mr Gleeson feels the pathway solution will only add additional stresses, especially for groups of cyclists who wish to ride together.
Mr Gleeson notes the dangers of cycling on shared paths due to the “unpredictable behaviour” of other path users such as off-lead dogs, children, or cars reversing out of driveways.
“We estimate that upwards of 100 bikes go through Park Orchards, none of those cyclists will use that path.
“Have you seen a group of say 30 road bikes get up on a footpath and have to battle it out with kids on bikes, dogs off-leads and prams? Paths are dangerous too,” he says.
“What they could do is make the road wider, make a shoulder which is divided from the roadway where cars and trucks go, with a raised concrete strip painted a bright colour – make that a metre and a half for either side of the road, just make it separate,” Mr Gleeson says.
Mr Gleeson and the broader cycling community attest to the benefits cycling has had on their health, wishing more people would get on the bike.
“Making it safe for inexperienced bike riders will encourage more people to participate, it will be better for their physical, as well as their mental health,” he says.

 

Image courtesy Google Earth

Roos to be locked out of golf course

Cull cancelled but questions remain

AFTER A HUGE community outcry, the Heritage Golf and Country Club has decided not to proceed with a planned cull of kangaroos on its two courses, instead installing fencing to lock the roos out of the fairways. The Club put out a press release in July announcing that they had listened to community concerns and decided to cancel the “Council approved cull”. Local Councils came out swinging as Heritage Golf Club attempted to implicate them in approval of the now aborted kangaroo cull at the club. In a strongly worded statement, both Yarra Ranges and Nillumbik Councils refute the claim in their press release that the cull was “Council approved”.
Yarra Ranges statement said:“Council wishes to advise it was not involved in any decision to approve the culling of kangaroos at the Heritage Golf and Country Club. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) not Council, is responsible for managing wildlife in Victoria. Council understands the management of kangaroos is a sensitive topic that is of great concern to our community. We will be contacting Heritage Golf and Country Club to ask them to correct their media release.”
Nillumbik Shire Council also issued a statement to “correct unequivocally for the record, inaccuracies contained in this statement”.
The land owned by the proprietors of the Heritage Golf and Country Club encompasses three separate Local Government Areas — Nillumbik Shire Council, as well as Yarra Ranges and Manningham. Councils, however, do not have the authority to make decisions on the culling of native wildlife. Permission to do so can only be sought and obtained through the appropriate State Government agencies – the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) or the Game Management Authority. A key consideration in this matter is that the area in which the club is situated is a significant protective corridor for native wildlife and any use of the land must therefore take this status into account. Our community places a high value on the protection of native wildlife and the environment in which they live, and Council makes it a priority to act in the community’s interests on this issue. At its Planning and Consultation Committee Meeting on 8 June 2021, Council resolved, unanimously, to express its concern over initial reports of a planned kangaroo cull and subsequently wrote to the club to inform it of this resolution. Council also requested that the club consider alternative (nonlethal) approaches to managing the kangaroo population, should there be an absolute need to control the numbers on its property. In light of recent developments, Nillumbik Shire Council also wishes to express its deep concern at reports from the community — including from animal rescue service Wildlife Victoria — of the killing of kangaroos in the area.”
Heritage’s Press Release went on to say there was a meeting on May 6 where interested parties including Wildlife Victoria, Club management and residents met and discussed plans to cull kangaroos at the Heritage Golf and Country Club property. Club management claim their plans to cull the kangaroos was due to a “tripling of the population in 12 months due to a breeding surge during the drought and the advantages of easy access to a carpet of grass on golfing fairways”.
However, Wildlife Victoria CEO Lisa Palma said a tripling of a kangaroo population in 12 months is “simply biologically impossible and absolutely ludicrous”.
“Female kangaroos commonly have one young annually, with the mortality rate in the wild for joeys typically at 70 per cent in the first year of life,” she said.
New club Managing Director Dr Cher Coad has blamed Parks Victoria for not managing the population in neighbouring Warrandyte State Park.
“If the Victorian State government was doing its job, in terms of managing the land bordering the Heritage Golf and Country Club, then we wouldn’t have this problem,” she said.
She says the lack of golfers during the recent COVID lockdown has provided kangaroos with unlimited access to the Heritage Golf and Country Club and they are reluctant to move, with management raising fears of the bigger male kangaroos becoming aggressive towards people.
“While the risk of this happening is quite small, the responsibility of the HGCC is to club members, visiting golfers, residents and their families and young children,” said Dr Coad.
“We have excessive numbers of kangaroos on our fairways and grounds, and they are powerful and potentially dangerous.
“The last thing we want is for a large grey kangaroo to cause harm to a golfer or children visiting their grandparents,” she said.
Ms Palma said she absolutely refuted the notion that the kangaroo population is dangerous with Wildlife Victoria receiving no reports kangaroo aggression towards people at the site.
“Some of the larger male kangaroos are known by the locals to be peaceful creatures, who enjoy the natural habitat of the local landscape.
“Indeed, the big fellow known as Scar Face is beloved by many in the community,” said Ms Palma.
“In direct contrast to Heritage’s statement, Wildlife Victoria has received an inordinate number of calls from concerned members of the public, residents, golfers and staff who are terribly worried for the safety and wellbeing of the kangaroo population on site.
Dr Coad said while the treatment of kangaroos is fraught with regulatory and ethical difficulties, the Heritage Golf and Country Club recognises the need for golfers and kangaroos to co-exist. Growing evidence leans towards the idea that the kangaroo population must be managed via more humane means. Ms Palma said that since the meeting of May 6, no further discussion had taken place between those parties.
“Instead, we have witnessed the result of stealthy cruel and violent attacks on the kangaroo population night after night at the site — this has been ongoing for months now!”
The recent spate of kangaroo deaths at the Club is currently subject to a multi-agency investigation. Ms Palma said to date, Wildlife Victoria has seen a significant number of cases of kangaroos that have been savaged by dogs, shot, dismembered and driven over by vehicles.
“We have taken many calls and received letters from members of the public who are too afraid to walk on or near the grounds for fear of the dogs turning on the locals,” Ms Palma said. DELWP issued a statement, saying the Conservation Regulator is “continuing its investigation into alleged fatal and harmful dog attacks on kangaroos at Heritage Golf and Country Club in Chirnside Park”. The statement said Victoria Police and local councils are assisting the Conservation Regulator with the investigation and Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers are conducting patrols in the area. Dr Coad said the task to oversee the management and protection of kangaroos lies with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). She said the “kangaroos will be relocated back into the Warrandyte State Forrest [sic] and the property will be fenced”. Ms Palma said it is outrageous, unacceptable and illegal for the Heritage Golf and Country Club to relocate the kangaroos without the required authorisation from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning. Despite this, Ms Palma said Wildlife Victoria remains hopeful that Heritage Management will consult with the group to achieve a positive outcome for the remaining kangaroos on the site.
Anyone with information about the alleged dog attacks or other cases of wildlife crime should contact Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.
The Diary will continue to follow this story over the coming months and hopes to speak further with Club management and Wildlife Victoria in time for the September edition.

(UPDATE) This story was originally in the July Bulletin and has been updated for the August Diary.

Thinking positive about Climate Change

MY NAME IS Amari.
I’m a 13 year old girl who has been invited to write about climate change from the perspective of a young person, on behalf of WarrandyteCAN, our local climate action group.
I want you to know that I, and many of my peers, feel anxious about climate change, and I would like to share how we can manage to work towards a better future.
Knowing that we do have the solutions to fix climate change is inspiring .
And as you read this, even more solutions and ideas are forming.
All we have to do is use them.
Many friends I know fear climate change.
Every time I hear someone talk about climate change, global warming and the environmental risks facing our future, I have a sinking feeling in my stomach.
Some people don’t even believe in climate change.
I’ve seen climate change deniers that seem to be connected to the interests of big and powerful corporations —some of the greatest polluters and carbon emitters in our country.
Instead of trying to help, it’s easier for them to pretend that climate change is a myth.
But if you look at the facts, it’s undeniable and already starting to impact our world.
I recently finished reading a book called A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety by Sarah Jaquette Ray.
It went into detail about how climate change affects your wellbeing.
In one of the earlier chapters, a few students were asked what they saw in the future.
When they said that they couldn’t see anything, they thought they needed to try harder.
Whereas they later realised they were trying, but genuinely could not see anything.
And this isn’t restricted to just those students who were surveyed; people all over the world feel the same, including me.
I found I’m often thinking about what has to be done instead of recognising what we have done.
I would like to share that I am starting to feel more hope when I hear of big businesses making changes and taking responsibility for their emissions.
Although we have a lot to do, there is so much good, and we should recognise the good.
Energy use is one of the biggest causes of carbon pollution, with 35 per cent of total carbon emitted to create electricity according to the National Greenhouse Accounts.
I am happy to say many Australian retailers are taking responsibility for the environment and changing to renewable energy.
Coles, Woolworths and Bunnings have committed to being 100 per cent renewable in the next four years.
This would have sounded far-fetched only a year ago but is now fact.
Momentum is building quickly, and it is so exciting to be part of this change. Some people have this excuse that we don’t have the technology to fix climate change.
Maybe this was once true, but not anymore.
We do have the technology.
Some people have these excuses that it’s too expensive but in reality, it’s cheaper.
I recognise that it’s not just big businesses and governments that need to act.
In our own lives, we can all be doing things to make a difference.
We can fix our mistakes.
We just need to move fast.
Because every day is one day closer to a disaster we can’t fix.
We can all do simple and small things to help.
You don’t need to be the hero and change the world.
Some people might want to help but don’t know how.
Feeling overwhelmed won’t help them.
So, inspire people and lead by example.
Remember to congratulate yourself and the work you do, no matter how small.
Also, make it fun.
Maybe organise something with your friends or get in touch with a local action group.

Amari Larratt is a supporter of WarrandyteCAN, a Year 7 Secondary School Student and a Warrandyte Resident.
To learn more about WarrandyteCAN find them on Facebook: facebook.com/warrandytecan

Young Auskickers’ dreams come true

WITH FOOTY well and truly back on the weekend agenda, so many young boys and girls are back to dreaming of being a footy star just like their idols.
For two Park Orchards girls, Poppy and Abi, their dream has come true.
These best friends from Park Orchards North Ringwood Parish Auskick became the envy of thousands of Auskickers up and down the country when they were recently announced as NAB AFL Auskicker of the year nominees.
The girls outshone Seven’s broadcaster, Hamish McLachlan, during the network’s Friday night match interview in Rounds 3 and 7.
Joining 20 other nominees, Poppy and Abi will take part in the Grand Final Parade in Melbourne later this year and play on the hallowed turf of the MCG at half-time during the Grand Final game.
Staunch Hawthorn fans, Poppy and Abi live and breathe football, and have been taking part in their local Auskick program for the past few years.
Their dream is to one day play for the Hawthorn AFLW team.
“We are so excited,” echoed the seven-year-old girls.
This national competition celebrates the passion and dedication of thousands of children who attend NAB AFL Auskick centres every week.
“We are so thrilled and proud to see two of our very own following their dreams.
“Such an amazing opportunity for them both,” says Kate Gniel, Park Orchards Auskick Coordinator.
Auskick is an inclusive program designed to teach the basic skills of Australian rules football to boys and girls aged between 5 and 12, of all abilities.
To find out more or to register for your local Auskick centre visit play.afl/auskick

Melbourne locked-down once again

METROPOLITAN Melbourne braced for bad news on Wednesday, June 2 when the inevitable announcement came that they would have to endure another seven-days of lockdown.
The highly infectious “Kappa” variant of COVID-19 arrived in Melbourne via a hotel quarantine breach in South Australia, in early May.
In in the last week of May, the outbreak reached 60 cases, encompassing exposure sites numbering more than 350 across Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
Locally, there have been no reported cases in Warrandyte, although a burger bar in Doncaster Shoppingtown and a popular petrol station in East Doncaster were listed as exposure sites as part of the outbreak.
Following the announcement, Acting Premier James Merlino highlighted just how frighteningly contagious the Kappa is.
“To date, the approach has been to track the spread through friends, family and workmates.
“People spending time together for minutes and hours — not seconds.
“What we’re seeing now is something else — something even more serious. “At least one in 10 current cases have caught this virus from a stranger. “People brushing against each other in a small shop.
“Getting a take-away coffee from the same cafe.
“Being in the same place, at the same time for mere moments.
“Just walking past someone you’ve never met can mean the virus is jumping to a whole new network.
“And when you don’t know someone — you don’t know their name or where they live — you’re looking for one person in 6.6 million,” he said.
Local businesses, such as Warrandyte IGA and Grand Hotel Warrandyte were both impacted by the 2020 lockdowns, both financially and emotionally.
This latest lockdown is throwing new challenges at Melburnians on a daily basis, as we go to press, there are more than 70 active cases related to this latest outbreak and recent news that the Delta variant of COVID-19 — which is also highly infectious — has also been detected.
As we enter the final five days of the extended lockdown, health authorities race to link mystery cases in this outbreak.
For the local Warrandyte economy, lockdown is particularly hard.
Our bustling restaurant and café strewn high street is eerily quiet and new rules around the mandatory requirement to check in with the Government QR code system is causing additional queues at cafes and supermarket entrances.
It is now mandatory for all customer facing retail businesses to record whoever enters their premises, even if it is only for a few minutes — businesses can take paper records if a customer is unable to use the QR code system, and businesses who are found in breach of following the new mandatory QR code tracking rules could face a fine.

Five reasons to leave home

Under the new lockdown rules, locals have to, once again, adhere to:

  • 10 kilometre radius
  • Some school students on remote learning
  • Limits on weddings and funerals
  • Playcentres, gyms, entertainment venues, hair and beauty and tourism closed.
  • Community sport cancelled
  • Restaurants and cafes restricted to take away service
  • Visitor restrictions on aged care facilities and hospitals

There are now five reasons to leave home; essential shopping, exercise (two hours maximum per day with one other person), care and caregiving, authorised work, and vaccination.
As of Friday, June 4, the lockdown of late May changed slightly — once again Melbourne and Regional Victoria (RV) were separated by rules and although the “ring of steel” has not been reinstated, retail businesses close to Melbourne are being asked to check IDs of all their customers to ensure people aren’t, effectively, breeching Melbourne quarantine.
Checking into the Government’s QR code system will now also be mandatory anyone who enters any retail premises for any duration, even if it is less than 15 minutes.
The Acting Premier acknowledged this was going to be tough, but stated it was necessary.
“No one wants to be here.
“And I know this news is tough for every Victorian, every family and every business in this state.
“But the Chief Health Officer has no choice but to give this advice.
“And the Government has no choice but to follow it.
“If we don’t, this thing will get away from us and people will die.
“No one wants to repeat last winter.
“To stop that from happening, we need every Victorian to follow the rules, to get tested and to get vaccinated when it’s your turn.
“We can do this, but we need to do it together,” he said.

Some good news

While we settle into the second week of lockdown, Years 11 and 12, as well as any student taking a Unit 3 / 4 VCE or VCAL subject have returned to the classroom at this most crucial time and some outdoor businesses, such as landscaping, gardening, painting, et cetera have been reclassified as “authorised” businesses for the extended lockdown.
The State Government has also added an additional $209 million to its business support package, raising the funding to nearly $450 million to support businesses impacted by the lockdown in the form of a series of grants.

New support package for businesses
The aptly named Circuit Breaker Business Support Package aims to help up to 90,000 businesses affected by the current lockdown.
However, there is a catch, one of the requirements for accessing the Business Costs Assistance Program funds is that the business must be registered for GST, as of May 27, 2021. As many businesses know, if your annual turnover is below $75,000 then registering for GST is optional.
Not-for-profits which have an annual turnover between $75,000 and $150,000 and meet the other grant requirements can also apply for the Business Costs Assistance Program. The package is divided into three initiatives:

  • Business Costs Assistance Program •
  • Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
  • Support for events operators

In its original form, the package would see $190M funnelled into a second round of the Business Costs Assistance Program, offering grants of $2,500 for eligible businesses directly affected by the lockdown’s industry restrictions; this includes restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation providers, and non- essential retail.
A new round of the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund will see $40.7M provided to businesses with a liquor license and food certificate, distributed in grants of $3,500 per premises.
With the extension of the lockdown and an additional $209M package, eligible businesses, who find themselves in a second week of lockdown will have access to additional funds.
Businesses which are still unable to open will be able to apply for a $5,000 grant while licenced hospitality venues applying for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund, who find themselves still unable to operate, will be able to apply for $7,000 per premises.
It is important to note, if you were unable to open for the first week of lockdown but are now able to operate, you will still be able to claim a share of the business support package, but only for the original amount.
For operators in the events industry who have been impacted financially by the lockdown, they will have access to a share of a $20M support scheme.
At the announcement, Mr Merlino said this new package will help businesses stay open in the long term. “The circuit-breaker action will keep Victorians safe and protect businesses and jobs — but we know it’s not easy shutting your doors and putting your plans on hold.
“This support will help businesses pay the bills and maintain their workforce as best they can, as we work together to get through this challenge,” he said.
Minister for Small Business, Jaala Pulford added: “small businesses are crucial to our economy and beyond dollar and cents, important contributors to local communities — we’re proud to stand with them and their workers.”

Emergency essentials in Warrandyte

Warrandyte Neighbourhood House is launching its new food relief service on Wednesday, June 9.
Any locals who are struggling to keep food on the table during the pandemic can collect an essentials hamper on Wednesdays, at Warrandyte Neighbourhood House, Webb Street, from June 9.
See story Page 14 for further details.

Eligible businesses can visit business.vic.gov.au/grants-and- programs/circuit-breaker-business- support-package for further information and to register for a share of the package — most grants opened for application on Thursday, June 3, and are open for three weeks.

Nillumbik unveils pandemic recovery plan

 By SUSAN FOREMAN

AS WE ALL stand together during the ongoing battle with COVID-19, Nillumbik Shire Council has released a critical new “roadmap” to support the community in its recovery from the pandemic.
The Nillumbik Community Pandemic Recovery Plan 2021-22 was endorsed at last week’s Council meeting, just prior to the Shire going into its fourth lockdown in a bid to contain the latest outbreak of the virus.
The plan outlines Council’s initial response, along with the actions it will take to ensure the Nillumbik community can recover as restrictions continue to evolve and life shifts to a “COVID normal”.
The plan is based on four main themes which guide the recovery process:

  • Inclusion
  • Healthy Environments
  • Healthy Behaviours
  • Employment and Education

The plan’s actions span across several areas of Council, and will be supported by State and Federal Government initiatives, and those delivered by community organisations and local partners.
While this plan addresses the short to medium term approach to recovery, Council says it recognises there will be longer term pandemic impacts, which will be addressed through the Council Plan and Municipal Health & Wellbeing Plan.
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said Council’s approach throughout the pandemic had been comprehensive and collaborative, and would continue to be so.
“Collaboration is a key principle of any work we do, and is especially the case for pandemic recovery,” Cr Perkins said.
He said Council’s approach is reflected in this plan, which highlights
Council’s critical role in service delivery and in advocating to other levels of government on behalf of our community.
“It will be a critical roadmap as we, alongside our community, navigate what continues to be a highly volatile and unpredictable environment.”
Cr Perkins acknowledged the resilience and resourcefulness of the Nillumbik community, which has come to the fore on many occasions over the years, whether in the face of fire, flood or now, pandemic.
“Nevertheless, the challenges of the past 18 months have been like nothing we’ve previously experienced and have, not surprisingly, taken their toll,” he said.
“Council recognises that pandemic response, relief and recovery are all dynamic.
“Therefore, Council is committed to shift and adjust its approach where required, based on local need and the direction of the State Government.”
The plan was largely developed based on the survey results from the Together in Nillumbik survey, conducted last year with healthAbility, an independent, community health organisation.
To view the plan visit nillumbik.vic. gov.au/pandemic-recovery-plan

Keeping our community safe

By STEPHEN BENDLE

WE HAVE ALL heard a lot about vaccines lately.
They have been around since the late 18th century when used to fight smallpox.
There is a pretty strong push for all Australians to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they can.
Some in our community might choose not to; but to avoid future lockdowns, protect the vulnerable among us, ease the stress on our health system and enjoy the wonders of international travel again, we are being encouraged to line up and get the jab.
There are a million websites to review, but the Diary thought we would go straight to those in our community who know best, our doctors, starting with Dr Garth Cooze, GP at Warrandyte Medical Centre, just prior to the latest outbreak.
“It is understandable that some people are apprehensive about a vaccine which has not been around for a long time.
“It is important to note, when making decisions about COVID-19 vaccination, that the risks posed by the vaccinations are infinitesimally small and are by far outweighed by their inherent benefits.
“Vaccinations have been hailed by infectious disease experts as one of the safest forms of medicine.
“As we are heading into the winter months, we face a significant and very real threat in this country, as we have seen across Europe, of virus surge in the community again.
“This virus, as with most respiratory viruses, thrives during the colder months.
“In light of this, it is important not to be complacent — this pandemic, is still very real and we remain in a precarious position (notwithstanding Australia’s clear successes).
“Our principal exit strategy remains en-masse vaccination.
“I would urge people not to delay or be complacent with this.
“We encourage members of the community to get vaccinated, to protect ourselves, our families and also the wider community.
“This will pave the way to some sustainable semblance of normality.”
Dr Paul Proimos from Goldfields Family Medical Centre told the Diary their practice is proud to be part of the biggest vaccination rollout in Australian history.
He encouraged all locals to be vaccinated as soon as they can.
“Goldfields Medical Centre commenced their COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in April and are currently working through our waiting list.”
The Diary also asked one of Warrandyte’s most celebrated scientists, Professor Doug Hilton AO, who is the Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne and Head of the Department of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne.
Coincidentally, when we spoke to him, he had just received his first vaccine.
“For me, growing up in Warrandyte meant being looked after by the whole community, which was such a privilege.
“In 2021, by the far the best way we can look after everyone in our community is to get vaccinated.
“The vaccines against Sars-Cov-2 are among the safest and most effective vaccines ever developed.
“The side-effects that have been reported so prominently in the media are incredibly rare — much rarer than the side-effects of medicines we use routinely.
“Please get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible — through your GP or at a mass vaccination centre.
“Both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines will reduce your likelihood of getting infected by Sars-Cov-2 and they will reduce the severity of illness if you are infected.
“A single dose of either vaccine is more than 80 per cent effective at preventing admission to hospital and preventing death from COVID-19.
“The second booster dose will greatly increase this protection.
“In addition, both vaccines greatly reduce the chance of passing the virus on to someone else.
“Vaccination is a win for you and a win for the community,” said Doug.
For further information about vaccines, where to get tested or current exposure sites, visit: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

A symbol of community spirit and optimism

By JAMES POYNER

JOAN DENISION’S fence post Iso Chooks have returned to the streets of Eltham, Warrandyte, St Kilda, and beyond, as a symbol of community spirit.
Last year, Joan, who has a passion for art and fashion, began painting chicken characters on old fence palings.
These cheerful Iso Chooks became an overnight success and what started as a distraction for her street soon saw Joan painting thousands of Iso Chooks which now adorn gardens and shop fronts all over Eltham.
The Diary asked owners of Iso Chooks to send in pictures of their proudly placed pictoral poultry.
Marg and Michael Weston’s “Three Tenors” from the Woodridge area of Eltham told us a little about the journey their three Iso Chooks have been on.
“We are a very theatrical and musical family and love working in and attending the Opera.
We couldn’t resist calling our chooks The Three Tenors (they cost $10 each). Each of our four adult kids have an Iso Chook, so they are bringing smiles in St Kilda, East Malvern, Ivanhoe and Elizabeth Bay NSW.
Another was gifted to a dear friend in Windermere, Tasmania and is greatly loved down there!”
Joans Chooks are also being given to new Australian Citizens at Nillumbik Citizenship ceremonies.

Arundel Road residents cheesed off at rat-runners

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

Community rejects Taroona Avenue plan

RESIDENTS were left with more questions than answers last month when the plans for a long-delayed shared path upgrade along Taroona Avenue advertised a very different concept to what was originally proposed three years ago.
The original plan involved an asphalt path with a kerb running the length of Taroona Avenue, except for a section of boardwalk near the small oval.
The updated plan is a shared pedestrian/bicycle path running the length of Taroona Avenue, separated from the road by kerb and channel.
The Diary asked Council a number of questions last month regarding the updated plans, questioning the appropriateness of the new plans in reference to the character of the area and the confusing documentation regarding the apparant removal
of trees, including the two mature manna gums at the corner of Everard Drive, which were to be retained in the initial plans
Council was unable to get a response to us in time for the May 2021 edition of Warrandyte Diary, but has now supplied a reply.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Andrew Conlon told the Diary the path is now part of Council’s Bicycle Strategy Plan 2013.
“This is an exciting project as it delivers on Council’s long-term Bicycle Strategy Plan 2013, working towards providing a fully integrated and continuous trail.
“We started engaging with our community in 2017, asking for feedback on the layout and design.
“After considering the feedback, including concerns with the impact on vegetation, we have reworked the design and layout and have more
recently gone back out to nearby residents with an updated design.”
“The proposed design is for a 2.5m wide shared path that avoids all large significant indigenous trees along the roadside, with eight sapling trees identified for possible removal.
“We are keen to ensure that the final design fits with the aesthetics of the local area following feedback from the community.”
“A detailed arboriculture assessment to determine the ecological value and impact of the works on adjacent trees and referenced a Cultural Heritage Management assessment for the area is now underway.
“Improving our liveability, providing safe and accessible connections that encourage recreation and minimises reliance and use of vehicles continues to be a key activity of Council”, Cr Conlon said.
Despite what council says, it is
clear that residents are not happy with the proposed plans with local cyclists exacerbated at the absurdity of having a fully engineered curb and channel shared bike path along a 200 metre stretch of road which only really gets busy on market and community sports days — when both sides of the road become a car park.
A number of concerned residents have flagged the danger of the path crossing the road at First Street.
The crossing is half-way down a hill and in a blind spot for any oncoming vehicles.
Warrandyte Community Association has informed the Diary it is seeking to meet with council on the community’s behalf with president, Terry Tovey calling on council for further consultation.
“The current proposal seeks to do too much with what is a constrained roadway with the consequence that
no one is happy with the result. “Identifying Taroona Avenue as part of the bicycle network seems misguided when there are much more urgent bicycle link priorities, such as that between Warrandyte and the Yarra Trail from Beasley’s
Nursery.
“The Council needs to look for a less
intrusive solution for Taroona Avenue which better protects the streetscape and environment and which meets the community’s continuing need for adequate parking and safe pedestrian access,” he said.
Ensuring our cyclists are safe on the roads is important, but the real missing link is the connection between Warrandyte High School and the Mullum Mullum Trail at Beasleys.
The Diary, the WCA and the broader community request Council makes linking Warrandyte safely to the Mullum Mullum trail its priority.

Heart and soul of our community

WE LOVE our pub.
In fact, we love our pub more than any other town in Victoria.
Grand Hotel Warrandyte has taken out the Heart of the Community award at the recent Australian Hotels’ Association Victorian awards.
The AHA Awards recognise venues who do over and above outstanding service and contributions to the industry and the community.
The Grand’s General Manager, Peter Appleby is rightly proud of this award, and of his Functions and Event manager, Nicole Irvine, who has taken out the Emerging Leader award at the same event.
“We nominated for six awards — then it goes through a mystery shopper process, and we were a finalist in all six of those awards, and the best part was, and you can’t nominate for the Best Overall Hotel, Metropolitan — on the back of our success during the program we were then elevated into that category, which was fantastic,” he said.
Peter said he is particularly excited to have taken out the Heart of the Community award.
“It is very dear to my heart, because we have been in this town a long, long time.
“I grew up in the town as well, so it is a pretty proud moment to snare that one for, not just myself, but also the team, and the community who has invested in us over the years, and we in them,” he said.
Peter said he nominated Nicole for the Emerging Leader of the Year.
“That was a CV and then interview process, and she nailed it, she got the top gong in the state as the emerging young leader.
“She is our Function and Events Manager but took on a hell of a lot more through lockdown last year, and once we reopened, I saw her advance her skills on the floor, and take a lot more management opportunities.
“I am very proud of her and what she went through last year in lockdown — she chose to swim when others chose to sink — and that is not just here, that is across everywhere — and every industry.
“She self-educated, she did courses online to better herself and I think that shone through with the recognition of that award, so we are super proud of her,” Peter said.
Nicole told the Diary she was honoured when Peter chose to nominate her.
“Entering this award is not something I would usually do and was completely outside of my comfort zone.
“The support and encouragement I received from my team was incredible, it really helped me prepare for the judging process.
When they read out my name to win the award, I was so shocked and so proud, I began to cry.
“I could not believe it — it is a moment I will never forget”.
Nicole said like everyone, she found 2020 to be a challenge, with The Grand closed, she was not in a position where she could work from home.
“We all had the option of sitting back or stepping up and I chose to step up,” she said.
“Throughout lockdown, I was determined to not let COVID beat me, and I took that time to better myself and my knowledge by signing up to as many training resources as possible.
“When we re-opened our doors in late October of 2020, I was prepared and ready to go.
“This award is a true testament and acknowledgment of all my hard work and dedication, and I could not be more proud of myself,” she said.
Nicole’s award includes a $10,000 scholarship, which is a joint initiative from the Australian Government and the AHA Victoria.
She said the scholarship can be used on training courses or a hospitality experience, such as a seminar.
“I will use this opportunity to gain new skills, and grow as a hospitality professional,” she said.
Peter said the Grand is now eligible for the national awards, which are held in September in Tasmania.
“It would be great to be recognised not just in Victoria as the Heart of the Community, but in Australia, it would be pretty special for our little Warrandyte pub,” he said.

Festival brings us “together again” this October

IT IS WITH huge enthusiasm that Warrandyte Festival Committee has recently been discussing the return of its much-loved local weekend.
Warrandyte’s unique festival has enjoyed a proud history, dependably entertaining and celebrating the local community since 1977.
Life, of late, has been utterly transformed due to Coronavirus, with many organisations now having to “reimagine” day-to-day activities and one-off events.
Because the untimely emergence of Coronavirus brings with it the horror of cancellation, the when, what, and how of staging a large event needs careful consideration.
The option to crank up a full festival weekend later this year, then attempt to pull that off again in March 2022 is an effort even beyond these committed volunteers.
They are good, those festival-party-people, but not that good — but there will be a celebration this year.
Warrandyte: Together Again will be staged at Stiggants Reserve from Friday evening, October 22 through Saturday, October 23 only — there will be no Sunday activities.
Festivities kick off on Friday night with a short-film extravaganza.
Seating will be suitably spaced, so tickets will be limited — you will need to get yours quick once they go online.
Saturday will feature a solid music programme: kids’ and community choirs and the full thrust of an epic Battle of the Bands.
Two major acts will play the Main Stage between 7pm and 10pm on Saturday night.
Front-of-stage real estate will be prime seating, so don’t forget your picnic blankets (although there will be limited takeaway food and drink for purchase).
There will be dedicated fun for the kids: circus activities and the like.
And there is a wee rumour that “light magician” Hugh McSpedden is planning something special.
Anyone that has had the privilege of seeing one of Hugh’s “spectacles” won’t want to miss that.
Service providers will, as usual, showcase their range of opportunities and the involvement of local community fundraising stalls will be welcomed.
More details of what’s on offer will unfold as preparation for October develops, so keep a lookout in the Diary for updates.
A fully gold-plated edition of Warrandyte Festival — with favourites like the parade, billycart derby and duck race — is on the agenda for March 2022.
In the meantime, festival organisers are working hard on getting everyone together again.
So, tell all your friends and we will see you in October, Warrandyte!
We’ve missed you.