Tag Archives: news

Derailed by the butterfly effect

WORKS ON THE Hurstbridge Rail Duplication project have been disrupted by the discovery of the Eltham Copper Butterfly in bushland near Montmorency station. Since the last confirmed sighting of the butterfly in January this year, works on the project have been diverted to avoid the butterfly habitat as experts engaged by the Level Crossing Removal Project have carried out further investigations, assessments and design work to avoid impacting the butterfly. In 1986, the Eltham Copper Butterfly (Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida), then thought to be extinct, was rediscovered in Eltham, and before this year, was not previously known to be in Montmorency. The butterfly habitat comprises a three-way relationship between the butterfly, a tree, and an ant. The life cycle of the butterfly includes an intimate and obligatory association with ants of the genus Notoncus and a dwarfed form of the shrub Bursaria spinosa (Sweet Bursaria). The butterflies have not been found in areas where Notoncus ant colonies do not occur. Adults lay their eggs on the roots of Bursaria spinosa. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars are guarded by the ants, which lead them to and from the ant colony to browse on the Sweet Bursaria leaves. In return, the ants feed on sugar secretions which are exuded from the caterpillars’ bodies. Vicki Ward, Member for Eltham said Labor has a long history of protecting the butterfly over many decades.
“I’m proud and happy we’ve been able to work alongside our engineers to continue that record,” she said. As the Diary reported in the lead up to the 2018 election, the Andrews Government made the commitment that the works
“would allow trains to run every six and a half minutes at Greensborough, every 10 minutes at Eltham and Montmorency, and every 20 minutes at Hurstbridge, Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen, as well as two extra Hurstbridge express services, and would be completed by 2022”. To allow the project to continue duplicating the Hurstbridge line while protecting the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly, which is listed as protected under the Commonwealth Environment and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, there will be changes to the original scope of the project and how the project will be delivered. The Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) claims it will still be able to deliver the election commitments, with adjustments to signalling to compensate for the 950 metres of line that will now not be duplicated. However, the revised outcomes do fall slightly short of the election commitments, as the project now promised trains will be able to run
“on average every 7 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”. Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said:
“We have had to act quickly to ensure that we are both following the Commonwealth environmental legislation and can still get on with this vital project”. LXRP CEO Kevin Devlin assured the Diary the endangered Eltham Copper Butterfly will be protected during the works.
“We’ve avoided the Eltham Copper butterfly and its habitat won’t be impacted during construction,” he said. Mr Develin said they will continue to deliver the Hurstbridge line duplication,
“which will allow for more frequent and reliable services for passengers on the Hurstbridge line as well as new stations at Greensborough and Montmorency.” The discovery of the butterfly means there is almost 1km of track that will remain single track, however, Mr Develin said there is still
“approximately 2km of the rail line to be duplicated between Greensborough and Montmorency, and approximately 1.5km between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.” He said the bulk of the original scope of the project was located outside of the butterfly habitat and therefore will continue to be delivered under the revised design. The new sections of track, along with other infrastructure improvements, will facilitate the delivery of the planned service improvements for passengers. There will be two new stations at Greensborough and Montmorency which will feature greater weather protection, better and safer connections to the surrounding area and new car parking. Platform two at Diamond Creek Station is getting an upgrade and a new pedestrian connection will be built behind Diamond Valley College. Construction for the new design of the project is underway, and the butterfly habitat has been fenced off, with major construction set to start early next year and the project completed in late 2022. Sonja Terpstra, State Labor Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region said she commended Vicki Ward MP, the Member for Eltham on her strong advocacy around the preservation and protection of the Eltham Copper Butterfly habitat.
“The Andrews Labor Government will continue to modernise and upgrade Montmorency station, whilst ensuring the rare Eltham Copper Butterfly, which has never before been seen in Montmorency, be protected whilst important rail upgrades take place. “I look forward to seeing the completed project at Montmorency Station as this rare butterfly flourishes in its new-found habitat near the station,” she said.

Volunteers make the world go round

CAN YOU IMAGINE a world without volunteers? Volunteers do so much for our community, our CFA, Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, SES, Op Shops, sporting clubs, Run Warrandyte, Neighbourhood House… they even write for the Diary. Volunteering has taken a bit of a hit during the pandemic, but local community organisations are hoping for a resurgence in volunteerism now COVID lockdown seems to be behind us.
If ever there was a time to step up and volunteer it was right now.
The Diary has put together a few suggestions to how you can help. Judy Hall from Warrandyte Rotary said the pandemic has been causing a real problem with a lot of volunteers.
“A lot of volunteers are older, and they are more worried about going into the community.” She hopes that once the pandemic is over, people might feel a little more disposed to getting out and about and helping out.
“There are so many good openings for volunteers, there is no reason for anyone to be bored,” Judy said. Lions Club, Rotary, and the Warrandyte Community Association and Doncare are among several groups in the local area that rely on volunteers to help people in the community through fundraising and hands-on projects. Local community organisations are looking for people to join them to enrich and enhance life in Warrandyte for all of us. Beyond the feel-good factor of helping others, volunteering can be a great way of gaining employable skills, connect with other like-minded people — and it looks great on your CV. While service clubs like Rotary and Lions may have, in the past, been seen as stuffy old blokes meeting for dinner once a week, modern service clubs could not be more different. The fundraising and community spirit are all still alive and well, but the clubs are now much more dynamic, and project based. Gone are the obligations to attend weekly meetings, or to be a certain demographic, and while the current members are getting older, an injection of “youth” will ensure the clubs remain viable into the future. Judy said Rotary is looking for people who can help get things done.
“Things get done outside of meetings, not in meetings”. Judy said modern family life means people with young families who are working full time probably do not have the time to give to service organisations.
“So we are looking at people whose kids have got to the point where they don’t need supervision all the time, the 40–60s, or early retirees, people with a bit of time up their sleeves,” she said. Rotary has many projects that it undertakes to help the community, members help run both the Warrandyte Riverside Market and the Tunstall Square Market, as well as the Rotary Art Show.
“We are a small group, but we are very dynamic — we are risk takers, we put our hand up to do things, even if they might sound a bit way out.
“We will try things if we think they are going to benefit people in the community,” she said. Judy said Rotary has adopted a new area of focus lately and are developing projects around environmental issues.
“Rotary is getting on board with a lot of environmental projects, and it is something I would like see our club getting involved with a bit more, particularly in Warrandyte because there are so many opportunities here,” she said.
Lions Club has been part of the Warrandyte Community for almost 50 years, it provides help and support to community members in times of need, through its Op Shop and providing emergency food or other staples, like school fees or clothes. Lions’ secretary, Lyn McDonald says that those doing the helping get a lot out of it too.
“What you get out of it is the boost of knowing that you are actually helping people, which is why I think anyone volunteers, they want to help people.
“But it is also good to know that someone who is invisible can be seen and be assisted, and that is where I worry, there are all these invisible people out there who don’t know who to ask for, don’t know how to ask.” Or when disaster strikes, Lions can jump in with practical assistance, like following the Black Saturday Fires, when the club took a tool library to Kinglake to assist the community to rebuild things like fencing. Lions also runs events during the year that are designed to both provide something for both their members and the broader community. The club also works with Doncaster All Abilities Basketball, the Warrandyte Riverside Market, Warrandyte Pottery Expo, and many other community projects that enhance our community. Once a year the Lions rev it up with a day at Sandown Raceway, giving vision impaired motorists a chance to get in the driver’s seat and do hot laps of the racetrack.
“It is such a boon to so many people and so many other clubs love it and get involved — there is a real buzz about it, people love it, we have people from all over and it has been really disappointing we haven’t been able to run that during COVID,” said Lyn. A major fundraising stream for the club is the Op Shop. Lyn said the Op Shop is not just an asset for the community, but also an asset for the people who work there.
“It is a social hub, and a lot of customers come in on a regular basis, you get to know them and they find it a nice social atmosphere too.” However, as the pandemic has kept some of their regular volunteers away, the Lions are facing a challenge keeping the club, and therefore the Op Shop viable.
“It would be a real shame if we had to fold, people have busy lives and so might not have the time to volunteer, if we could get a few people under 60 it would be wonderful, we have talked to other groups, it has been a major issue overhanging us for the last few years, it is just getting less and less and falling on fewer and fewer people.
“We find we are very useful, and we want to stay useful.” Dick Davies from the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) is on the Warrandyte Riverside Market committee, and says it is a case of many hands make light work. But at the moment, it is falling to the same people to turn up month after month.
“It is a question of just getting enough new people in, and the more people you get the easier it is, because you are not relying on the same people all the time,” he said.
“Everyone enjoys the market, and it doesn’t just happen, a lot of people put a lot of effort into it.
“It would be very nice to have a list of people we could call on now and again, and not rely on the same people all of the time.” He said the market is always looking for people to help with set up and pack up.
“It is mainly to direct traffic and make sure the cars don’t block the pathway and the stall holders, facilitating the exit, and being friendly to people.” The Market is run by a collection of community groups, North Warrandyte CFA help with the setup, while Rotary, and the WCA help with the bump in and the Lions help with the pack-up. WCA is also involved in the Warrandyte Retirement Housing Co-Operative, which has built and now operates two small retirement villages in Warrandyte. Dick said the Co-Op was started many years ago by Valarie Polley and Cliff Green. It took several years to get all the ducks in a row and the first block of five units, Creekside, went in at Harris Gully Road in 2011, and Riverside was opened in West End Road in 2019. However, Dick said many of the founding members of the committee have passed away and so they are looking for assistance in a range of different areas.
“It is a question of getting a bit more assistance right across the board, we have a formal board and we do have vacancies for board members, people don’t have to be a board member they can help on a casual basis, give advice or assistance.
“We used to have a lawyer and a bank manager, but they have both passed away, but we had legal and financial expertise on the committee, Doug Seymour is on the committee, he is a retired council engineer so he is very good on that and Andrew Yen is a developer and he has done an enormous amount.
“My concern as chairman of the Retirement Housing Co-op, is these buildings are going to be around for another 50–100 years, it is run on a cooperative basis, so we have to keep it going.
“We could do with people with general board and accounting experience, people with nursing experience, people who know about old people — it is a community thing,” he said.
Doncare Op Shops in staffing crisis
Doncare has been predicated on volunteerism for over 50 years with volunteers providing support to vulnerable families through their work as Community Support Workers, Op shop workers, Social Support volunteers, Counsellors and mentors to women recovering from family violence. Doncare CEO, Gaby Thomson said volunteer numbers in the op shops are down 30 per cent.
“We are now faced with having to temporarily close stores because we cannot staff them.
“Doncare has already suffered significant losses in revenue due to the closure of stores due to restrictions in the past 12 months,” Gaby said. Doncare relies on the revenue of its seven opportunity shops to support women and children recovering from family violence, provide emergency relief to disadvantaged families, counselling, therapeutic support groups and provide recreational activities to socially isolated seniors in Warrandyte.
“We desperately need people to volunteer as retail shop assistants in Tunstall Square, Templestowe Village and Mitcham in particular,” she said. There are shifts available during the week or Saturdays from 9:15am–1pm and 1pm–4pm.

Bike path goes back to the drawing board

COMMUNITY ACTION against the proposed Taroona Avenue bike path has won, and Council is going back to the drawing board to come up with a design more fitting with the surrounding environment and the needs of the community.
Following the advertising of an updated plan for the shared path in April/May this year; plans which left more questions than answers regarding the appropriateness of the design and which trees were going to be removed.
Nearby residents and users of Taroona Avenue and adjacent areas were spurred into action to submit their objection to the planned path. At a submitters meeting, in early June, a number of locals, including Jozica Kutin, Doug Seymour, and Warrandyte Community Association President Terry Tovey were in attendance and have supplied the Diary with the following comments: “There were quite a few people in attendance,” begins Ms Kutin.
“The council meeting chair pointed out that the application and meeting was only about the removal of trees — nothing else. “However, it was clear that many people wanted to, and did, express their concerns about the actual design of the path, the materials from which it is going to be constructed and the route it was taking.
“Doug Seymour presented an overview of the previous path plan (a board walk on the creek end) side of the road at the Everard end and suggested this was still a viable option — the council engineer didn’t think so — and pointed out that when they built boardwalks in Wonga Park, the residents did not like them,” she said. Mr Seymour told the Diary he had been nominated by the WCA in 2017 to work with Council on the original plans. In the June edition of the Diary, Manningham Mayor, Andrew Conlon said Council had “recently gone back out to nearby residents with an updated design” but Mr Seymour says neither he nor Bev Hanson, who provided consultation on the 2017 design, were notified changes to the original design had even been drafted.
“I don’t recall the final 2018 drawings being forwarded to Bev and me for comment; on reflection the 2018 location of proposed crossing could have been improved, but overall, the design had merit. “The latest design for the path departs significantly from that previous concept, particularly in the use of a rigid concrete pavement and the deletion of the boardwalk in favour of squeezing the path past a couple of those magnificent trees on the east (oval) side on the edge of the road pavement.
“The boardwalk solution at this tight spot guided users behind the trees, much as boardwalks are built around the world take us through sensitive forests without disturbing the habitat. “A method worthy of closer consideration by Council and, moving the path back from the road pavement also allows parking to continue. “Both editions of the design include a crossing from east to west near the intersection of First Street to avoid the narrow and vegetated verge alongside Andersons Creek as Everard Drive is
approached. “The current design locates the crossing on a crest allowing good visual checks but as a local objector pointed out at the Objectors meeting there is a boundary error on the drawings which complicate this detail. “Warrandyte’s impressive skills pool was demonstrated by the presentations at the recent Objectors meeting; I find myself working with locals who are positively working on alternative concepts to help present imaginative solutions to the forthcoming Community Forum,” he said.

Glenn Jameson drew the Objectors meeting to the need for improved attention to a good drainage outcome, point discharges being a big problem: “Curb and channel and drainage pits are proposed for a site that I’ve never ever noticed any drainage problems. Presently excess water flows into the creek along a broad flat creek bank area thereby avoiding hydraulic pressure causing erosion. How will the water collected by the proposed drainage system be treated as it goes into Andersons Creek?
If the road drainage along Everard drive is anything to go on, then it will be another dysfunctional road drainage effort by Council. Everywhere the road drainage goes into the Warrandyte State Park from Everard Drive, there has been massive erosion from single pipe discharge with unprotected impact points, which is still ongoing and which the Council have been unable or unwilling to find a creative solution to. Consequently, metres of soils have eroded from the Warrandyte State Park into the Yarra River causing all sorts of environmental damage. Trees have been undermined and fallen into the river; weeds have enjoyed the excess water; as well as creating eroding holes that are a danger to people using the park. Manningham needs and can do better than this.” Council had placed the path in its Bicycle Strategy Plan 2013 and had heralded it as one step closer to linking Warrandyte to the Main Yarra Trail, but as a local walker, runner and cyclist, Ms Kutin felt there were better ways in which Council could spend funds set aside as part of the Bicycle Strategy. “As a local cyclist, runner and walker — I use this area a lot. I was a bit taken aback by council representatives talking about this section ‘as an important missing link in the Yarra Trail’. I would have to say that the most important missing links were: between Beasley’s Nursery and the High School, then the section between Pound Road and Taroona Avenue — these sections have no paths and the alternative is walking or riding on the incredibly busy Warrandyte-Heidelberg Road. But, of course, these are difficult and presumably expensive sections to tackle. Taroona Avenue is low hanging fruit. I have witnessed my fellow riding friends being almost side swiped by trucks riding the section between Beasley’s and the High School — the truck in question having no regard for keeping their distance from cyclists. Touting of this section by council as an ‘important missing link’ misrepresents these issues.
It is the least important missing link — Taroona Avenue is a relatively quiet road for cyclists. Taroona Avenue could benefit from a path but if it doesn’t follow how people already use the road they will continue to walk on the road or the shoulder. “Take the path on Everard Road between Yarra Street and Taroona Avenue as an example — or even the footpath on West End Road. For some reason, people in Warrandyte love walking on their roads. The shoulder on the opposite side of the creek near Everard is very muddy at the moment — but this is also an informal over-flow parking area on busy weekends. As a cyclist, I’m likely to continue to use the bitumen on Taroona
Avenue to access the river path and surrounding areas — with or without a shared path,” she said.

On June 25, Council informed submitters that the advertised plans have been withdrawn “to allow for further consultation and time to review the design”. The email goes on to say: “A public information session is planned to be held at the Warrandyte Sports Pavilion, Warrandyte Reserve in coming weeks. This will be a feedback session on a suitable path and to discuss options to overcome the concerns raised by the community. I can advise that Council will not be proceeding with the proposed contract for the works and has withdrawn the contract.” WCA applauded the Council on their June 25 decision, and WCA President, Terry Tovey encouraged residents, and sporting groups to attend the proposed community session. “We are delighted that Council has responded to the 25 objections and the expert presentations made during a recent objectors meeting. “This side of Taroona Avenue is packed with cars during sports and market days, and we are therefore amazed that no parking impact study was undertaken by council to inform the design. “We would urge the sports clubs affected and the market committee to register their interest in attending a council forum which is planned to discuss the project,” he said. The WCA is currently working with residents and expert Association members to develop a submission setting out a less urban and more imaginative solution, which respects Warrandyte’s leafy bush landscape while maintaining much needed parking for community activities. Mr Seymour said the outcome of this whole process needs to consider ‘what works for Warrandyte’. “There is a body of opinion that Warrandyte does not need this path and in fact doesn’t want it because it would ruin a valued streetscape,”he said. The Diary will continue to report as this story develops and will publish dates for the community information sessions when they are released.

Ways to stay connected

THE BRAWL between the Australian Media and digital platforms, moderated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) through the News Media Bargaining Code turned an ugly corner this morning as Facebook pulled all Australian news content from their platform.

All content deemed “news” both domestically and internationally has been pulled from Australia and has also impacted pages such as Bureau of Meterology (BOM).

While mainstream media platforms have the budget and personnel to weather the storm and find alternative ways to connect to their audiences, small community publisher – such as the Warrandyte Diary are less fortunate.

For many, who have been adapting to an increasingly digital landscape, Facebook’s action sends them back to the dark ages.

Maybe this is a good thing.

Maybe this is a chance to get away from the dancing cat memes and incessant trolling, but Facebook’s action caught everyone off guard and media companies across Australia and now pivoting to reconnect with their audience.

Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin are still here and now has even more ways to keep you engaged, informed and up to date.

Join our mailing list

Visit the Warrandyte Dairy homepage and subscribe to our mailchimp mailing list. You will receive information about when the latest edition is out, as well as notification for important, breaking news and events.

Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Prefer your news RSS Style? Join our RSS Feed by selecting the RSS Link on the homepage.

Link to: warrandytediary.com.au/feed

Using an RSS reader plugin, you can get news stories fed straight to your browser, or download an app such as Feeder to get your local news sent to your phone.

Follow us on Google News

Head to Google News to find the Warrandyte Diary and catch up with our latest content from the Diary and WD Bulletin.

Print

An of course the Warrandyte Diary and the WD Bulletin are available in print and available from locations all over Warrandyte, South Warrandyte, Warranwood, Wonga Park, Kangaroo Ground, Park Orchards, Research, Eltham, Templestowe, and Donvale.

More to come…

We are actively working on more ways to connect digitally, so watch this space for exciting new announcements about ways to catch up on local content.

Doncare produces iMatter app

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.34.52 pmSOME people may find it hard to realise the warning signs of a potentially violent partnership at first. Young or old, no one is immune to the psychological predatory behaviour that domestic violence abusers use to isolate victims before subjecting them to more physical abuse.

Unfortunately, when family and friends try to intervene they are pushed away because the victim is in denial about their situation: their judgement clouded by emotion.

As is common in abusive relationships, the victim may experience feelings of shame, intimidation and fear, compounded by the isolation from support networks that generally accompanies domestic abuse.

To combat this, local Manningham counselling service Doncare has developed a revolutionary new app called iMatter, which takes the perceived judgement and pressure out of identifying and accepting that one may be in a harmful relationship.

The app is designed to help young people recognise the early signs of abusive and controlling behaviour and empower them to avoid and leave unhealthy relationships.

iMatter includes images, quizzes, videos, a diary and links to information about domestic abuse services in every country in the world. It also includes positive messages designed to encourage resilience and self-esteem in young people.

The project is managed by Youth Foundation facilitator Katherine Georgakopoulos and Doncare’s placement student Jo Maddock, who both oversaw the launch of the iMatter app on February 14 by Australian of the Year and anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

“These types of relationships aren’t always as obvious as a black eye or split lip, so it is vital victims are empowered to deal with psychological abuse as well,” Rosie says.

“I think throughout our communities, at any age, we’re learning it’s not just about physical violence,” she said. “Violence is also psychological, which includes verbal. It’s not just about physical harm, it’s far more complex than that.”

Batty said it wasn’t until she was 40 that she finally realised the psychological and physical abuse wasn’t her fault, proving the importance of young people being able to recognise the warning signs early.

Recent Australian research has revealed that 22% of women under the age of 20 have experienced intimate partner violence and what’s even more concerning is that many young women misinterpret behaviour like extreme jealousy and controlling tendencies as signs of love and affection. From these figures it is clear that an app of this kind is long overdue and the creators have already seen an overwhelming response.

Doncare director Carmel O’Brien says, “We hear again and again from young people that they are putting up with things in relationships that are really very disrespectful and sometimes frightening.”

Working closely with domestic violence victims, the Doncare team is aware that young women feel they are rarely warned about the very fine line between controlling behaviours and abuse. The app also promotes self-esteem and confidence, as Batty believes low self-esteem can lead young women to enter and remain in damaging relationships.

“If you’re approaching a relationship when you have no self-esteem, you’re most likely to enter into a toxic relationship,” Batty said. “It will not get better, it will wear you down and will reduce you to a very low point.”

Her most important message? “If (the relationship) doesn’t feel right, get out of it. Get out.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au

In an emergency, call 000.

The iMatter app is available at iTunes and Google play stores.

Music to Isaac’s ears … and the Warrandyte community’s, too

JUST as Warrandytians gear up for another festive season, the McMullen family has something extra to cheer about this Christmas.

For this one will be the 10th Christmas that 12-year-old Isaac McMullen can hear the sound of tearing wrapping paper, can sing along to Christmas carols and listen to his family chatter over the dinner table.

Isaac is profoundly deaf and without his hearing aid and cochlear implant can only hear sounds as loud as a chainsaw or an aeroplane taking off.

“Isaac was first diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2002, so it went from being the worst Christmas ever, completely ruined, to just the happiest time when he was implanted, started speaking and could hear Christmas songs two years later,” his mother Mel told the Diary.

Mel first suspected Isaac was deaf after he slept peacefully through the loud noise of an industrial vacuum cleaner as a baby.

A worker at an early childhood centre told her she was just being paranoid, but after months of closely monitoring her son’s reactions as she intentionally dropped pots and pans around the house, she took Isaac in for an audiogram.

The McMullens at home

The McMullens at home

“After he was diagnosed, they told me Isaac could do oral deaf education, which would allow him to still develop his speech and language, or signing. However, if we wanted him to do oral our time was running out because he’d have to know all sounds before he turned two years
old,” Mel said.

His parents, determined for Isaac to have the same opportunities as every other child, had to fight long and hard to secure funding for his expensive implant, which costs thousands of dollars.

“We went through MRI and CAT scans to make sure he was the right candidate for it and they said no to start with. We had to appeal the decision.”

Mel successfully appealed the decision with the help of Professor Graeme Clark, the man responsible for the pioneering research and development of the bionic ear.

His work has brought hearing to more than 200,000 people across the world.

Mel’s great aunt, Gwen, who coincidentally had taught deaf children her entire life, also encouraged her to not give up.

Gwen lived in Warrandyte and was passionate about educating deaf children and she made Mel promise that she would keep fighting for Isaac’s implant.

“After seeing Isaac’s audiogram she burst into tears and she told me ‘get him implanted, you get this child to speak, do it for me’,” Mel said.

“She was 97 when she passed away, about eight months after Isaac was implanted. She glowed when we took him over and she got to hear him speak. She died a happy woman.”

Isaac now hears normally with his implant and hearing aid, which even has a waterproof cover, allowing him to go swimming with his three brothers.

His family says moving to Warrandyte has been one of the best things for Isaac because he gets to listen to the sounds of cockatoos, king parrots and rainbow lorikeets around their house every day.

Isaac is also doing extremely well in school at Ringwood North Primary, where his favourite subject is art.

A keen listener of music, he also plays the violin and the piano.

While it’s difficult for people with implants to perfectly mimic music, Isaac’s hearing has developed so well that he’s now starting to correct the sound as he plays sharps and flats on the violin.

“I’m really grateful for the implant because life without it would be sad, like black and white, no colour,” Isaac told the Diary.

As the first baby to receive a cochlear implant at the Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital, Isaac has been credited with helping change some of the perceptions surrounding hearing impairment and deafness.

Earlier this year he travelled to Canberra where he gave a speech in front of the nation’s politicians about how his cochlear implant had transformed his life.

And after the New Year, Isaac will begin high school at Donvale Christian College.

“He will be one of the first profoundly deaf kids to go to a mainstream primary and secondary school, as far as we’re aware,” Mel said.

“It’s a pretty big thing and we’re hoping the government will have a look at and see that the path we chose for Isaac works so they can then give other hearing impaired kids the same opportunities.”

Spooky cute

Halloween hit the streets of Warrandyte again this year as all sorts of creepy crawlies, witches, monsters, vampires, black cats and even female teenage mutant ninja turtles converged on homes for a trick or a treat.

Sarah and Rosie set about giving everyone a fright before bewitching one and all with those wickedly delicious hypnotic big browns … and demanding some treats!

Scenario event a great success

A packed audience of more than 160  from Warrandyte, Park Orchards and surrounding townships actively participated in a ‘Be Ready Warrandyte’ bushfire scenario based on the February fire – but with significant changes and potential outcome.

Warrandyte Community Association chairman Dick Davies said “the scenario was realistic” using CFA Phoenix Fire modelling.

“Our BRW local emergency service officers envisaged what could have happened last February if a similar situation had escalated”.

The scenario was a serious fire in Park Orchards spreading to North Warrandyte with a wind change.

Steve Pascoe and Joff Manders did a great facilitation job, painting the picture, asking the questions and engaging both the panel of experts and the audience.

Questions such as “what are your actions triggered by this warning” and “what are the dangers facing you now” elicited a lively interaction between the facilitators, audience and panel.

Steve is an emergency management and fire safety consultant familiar to Warrandyte audiences after facilitating a debriefing forum after the February fire. He works closely with the Victorian Emergency management commissioner.

Steve is a Strathewen resident who experienced and survived the impact and aftermath of Black Saturday.

Joff Manders, a well-known Warrandyte identity, is a former MFB commander and advisor to the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Strategic Fire Management Committee.

The panel of experts included local CFA captains Greg Kennedy and Adrian Mullens, local senior sergeant Stewart Henderson, chief park ranger Conrad Annal and Joe Buffone, the director of Risk and Resilience at Emergency Management Victoria.

Cartoonist Jock MacNeish captured some of the proceedings in his inimitable style.

Mr Buffone congratulated the WCA and the Warrandyte community on the success of the evening and the level of community engagement.

At the end, Mr Davies presented Pastor David Molyneux with a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of the outstanding assistance in hosting fire meetings from the Warrandyte Community Church to the Warrandyte community since Black Saturday 2009.

More information on local fire planning and Be Ready Warrandyte events is available on the WCA website. More info or inquiries phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667.

Be Ready Warrandyte is supported by funds from the WCA, Manningham and Nillumbik councils, the Bendigo Bank, Warrandyte Community Bank and the Warrandyte Community Market committee.

(page 4, Warrandyte Diary, November 2014)

Is it time to bunker down?

RESIDENTS of Warrandyte and the surrounding suburbs know only too well the danger that the warmer months of the year start to bring. The hot, breezy days have long been threatening the community, as Warrandyte remains one of Australia’s most dangerous bushfire locations.

Fortunately there is an option, which, in combination with a solid fireplan, should give some relief to the nerves of some this summer.

Wildfire Safety Bunkers, managed and owned by Anthony Tratt, are producing the first private use bushfire shelters to have been fully accredited by CFA Australia.

Commencing his work on the project in October 2007, Anthony took on a lead role in the installation and testing of the units, and saw the shelters receive their official accreditation in 2010.

“We did two years with the Victorian Building Commission and the CFA, we did an enormous amount of testing, and we’ve been proved to be fit for purpose in a bushfire attack level flame zone,” Anthony states.

The bunkers come in a various range of designs, varying from smaller family units to larger options with the capacity to facilitate dozens, as Anthony explains.

“We’ve got a six person unit for domestic use, a 12 person unit that can also be multiplied, and we’ve even got a big 250 person community shelter. However, before a community shelter is built, there are a lot of factors such as access and location of the shelter that need to be addressed.”

Despite having their shelters proven to be fire proof, Wildfire Safety Bunkers urges residents in fire danger areas that the bunkers are a last resort defense mechanism. Complementing this, the company emphatically reminds citizens as to the importance of the community’s fireplan.

“Obviously in Warrandyte they have one heck of a fireplan, and we absolutely promote evacuation. Evacuation is the number one priority for people living in a bushfire area. Our shelters come into the equation when people do happen to get trapped or unaware. Then they have a place of refuge for that situation,” says Anthony.

Many people in the Warrandyte area have already pulled the trigger on purchasing and installing a private bunker in preparation for the sweltering days ahead. Due to the influx of customers in the region, Wildfire Safety Bunkers recently sponsored the fireball, providing valuable support to the community.

“We’ve met a lot of people in the Warrandyte area through installation, we have a lot of units in the area and a fair few people are starting to know about us so we want keep that going and provide an option,” says Anthony.

Full installation of a bunker, including excavation and placement, can be wrapped up in as little as six hours, so for those on the fence about installation, it certainly isn’t too late. Truly now, with the development of these shelters, there is somewhere to go when there’s nowhere to go.

(page 6, Warrandyte Diary, November 2014)