Tag Archives: Park Orchards

Development a tall order?

YOUR LOCAL shopping strip or centre might look very different in the next decade as Manningham Council begins community consultation on the look and feel of the municipality’s Neighbourhood Activity Centres (NACs) as part of its response to the significant population increase projected by the State Government.
Council has identified nine NACs:

  • Bulleen Plaza
  • Donburn
  • Doncaster East Village (Devon Plaza)
  • Jackson Court
  • Macedon Square/Plaza
  • Park Orchards
  • Templestowe Village
  • Tunstall Square
  • Warrandyte Goldfields

In its Victoria in Future 2023 report, the State Government predicts the state’s population will grow from its current 6.8 million to 10.3 million by 2051; the metropolitan/region split predicts growth in Metropolitan Melbourne will increase from 5.1M to 8M in this period, and from 1.7M to just 2.3M in regional Victoria.
Manningham is expected to have an influx of an additional 18,300 residents by 2036, taking its population to 144,120 and, compared with neighbouring Nillumbik, which is expected to gain an extra 3,970 residents (to 67,420) in the same period.
Manningham’s other more suburban municipal neighbours, Banyule and Maroondah, are predicted to increase by 21,490 and 17,490, respectively.
The bottom line is that the State Government sees the population growth in the state is likely to be focused in Metropolitan Melbourne, and the suburbs will bear the brunt of this population increase as significant new housing is needed.
Manningham, for example, needs to build an additional 8,000 homes to accommodate the 18,000+ residents.
New homes need to be balanced or complemented by access to nature, essential services, public transport, hospitals, and education, and both the State Government and local councils are exploring ways to do this.
One part of this is the Activity Centre Design Concepts community consultation, which is open for feedback — via a survey — until June 16.
The survey asks whether you agree or disagree with aspects of your local NAC, such as subterranean parking, the amount of natural light, and footpaths/cycleways.
Manningham Mayor Carli Lange said:

“We want to hear from the community on how we can best accommodate growth and development while ensuring that our activity centres and surrounding neighbourhoods maintain their liveability.
“If you’re a resident, chances are you regularly visit at least one of our vibrant activity centres across the municipality.
“We want to ensure that they continue to provide desirable destinations for people to live, shop, work and play — offering a range of retail, office and business opportunities, housing, community and education facilities.”

However, the most contentious detail of the Design Concepts is the proposed building height changes.
The document notes six development typologies in Manningham, ranging from single-storey “fine grain” development, such as the Donburn shopping strip, to high-rise housing, eight storeys, in areas such as Doncaster Hill.
The Design Concepts document states:

“It is proposed to support building heights of 4-6 storeys throughout our neighbourhood activity centres, with strategic redevelopment sites identified for up to eight storeys.
In keeping with the existing character of Warrandyte Goldfields and Park Orchards it is proposed to allow for heights up to 3-4 storeys.
This height will provide for growth and development beyond the current single or double storey character, while ensuring an appropriate transition to the public realm and sensitive interfaces”.

MN Bulletin contacted the Park Orchards Ratepayers Association (PORA) for feedback on the proposed potential growth of the Park Road/Hopetoun Road NAC.
A PORA Spokesperson provided this response:

“PORA has been absolutely blindsided by Council’s ‘consultation’ (or total lack thereof) regarding the Neighbourhood Activity Centres.
However, PORA has been actively involved in communication with the Manningham Council regarding many other issues we now face in this area in the last 10 months.
These communications have involved face-to-face meetings by appointment at the Manningham Council offices.
At no time were any of these issues raised by any representative of Manningham Council present.
Looking at Manningham Council’s initial consultation, the local Park Orchards area was never actively consulted, and Park Orchards was never identified as being considered a Neighbourhood Activity Centre.
We were grouped in with responses from Warrandyte and Wonga Park.
Given that surveys were conducted in Warrandyte, it stands to reason that input from Park Orchards and Wonga Park residents would be minimal to non-existent.
Looking at Manningham Council’s Liveable City Strategy Results summary, the Park Orchards area was never identified as a Neighbourhood Activity centre.
Consultation was not offered or given locally to the Park Orchards area.
The Liveable City Strategy report by Manningham Council shows that the Park Orchards area is now identified as a Neighbourhood Activity Centre.
Where is the basis for this inclusion, considering no consultation has effectively taken place in the area of Park Orchards? How did Park Orchards go from not being a Neighbourhood Activity Centre in the Liveable City Strategy Results summary to being declared a Neighbourhood Activity Centre in the Liveable City Strategy report?
The number of total submissions was 360 across Manningham.
The total population of Manningham is estimated to be approximately 130,000 people.
The number of submissions is woefully disproportionate to the number of residents these proposed outcomes will affect.
There is so much more to this; we haven’t even discussed building heights and building areas, the effectiveness of Council-initiated building ‘guidelines’, and the strength of existing overlays.
Overlays that are controlled by the State Government, who is also working with Council to push these initiatives through.
The same State Government has recommended that current residents who may be directly affected by medium-density housing projects have their rights to object removed.
The same State Government has also put local councils on notice regarding any failure to issue building approvals based on a numbers outcome.
All residents have a decision to make.
How much do they value their current neighbourhood amenity?”

The State Government has pledged to build 80,000 homes in Victoria in the next 10 years, and it will be up to local governments to make that happen.
Now is the time to have our say The first stages of determining where these new homes go are in the bones of surveys such as the Activity Centre Design Concepts survey.
We all need to ask ourselves what housing in our street, suburb, NAC—wherever we are in Manningham—looks like now and what we want it to look like in the coming decades.
There are numerous surveys circulating at the moment which will, ultimately, contribute to housing outcomes over the next decade.

The Victoria in Future 2023 report can be found at planning.vic.gov.au/guides-and-resources/data-and-insights/victoria-in-future.
What do you think? Email bulletin@warrandytediary.com.au.

Public meeting in Park Orchards

PORA has convened a public meeting on Tuesday, May 28, to discuss a number of issues/strategies/policies impacting Park Orchards residents, these include:

  • The Park Orchards Chalet
  • Manningham Residential Strategy
  • Neighbourhood Activity Centre Design Concepts

The meeting will take place at 7:30pm at St Anne’s Primary School, Knees Road.

New play space at Park Orchards Community House

PARK ORCHARDS Community House and Learning Centre welcomed over 150 people to their centre on Friday, October 27, for a Family Fun Night celebrating Children’s Week 2023.
As a member of the neighbourhood house sector, the centre delivers social and recreational activities, including health and well-being programs, accredited and pre-accredited learning, providing short and long-term courses with certificate and diploma-level courses, and childcare for the community.
The childcare program enables children to learn through exploration and stimulating experiences in a safe and secure environment.
In line with the 2023 Children’s Week theme, “Children have the right to relax, play and to take part in activities they enjoy”, the Family Fun Night ensured this was well and truly covered.
The team at the Centre put together an event full of free, fun activities for the children and families to enjoy, including face painting, cuddling furry animals in the animal nursery, ice cream treats from our local Mr Whippy Alex Xu, and a tasty sausage sizzle cooked by Park Orchards Lions Club.
The event was also supported by representatives from Victoria Police, giving the children (and adults) a chance to try on the police uniforms and get a close look at a police car.
During the evening, the centre officially opened its new Early Learning Centre playground. Community Bank Warrandyte Volunteer Director Claire Jones was invited to officially open the new play space, which was made possible due to funding support from the bank’s Community Investment Program.
Over the preceding month, the old playground has been transformed to provide zones for the children to have fun and be creative, including soft turf areas, a bike track, and a sand pit providing spaces for many sandcastles to be created.
Ms Jones said Community Bank Warrandyte was proud to fund accessibility projects for children of all ages and abilities.
“What a bonus that this new space is not only educational but fun as well!
“It is because of local residents that bank with us that we are able to give back up to 80 per cent of our profits to community projects, including $45,000 this year, for the new play space at Park Orchards Community House”.
The centre looks forward to welcoming new families to the childcare centre in years to come to enjoy this space delivered through this funding.

Park Orchards BMX host State Series round

ROUND 6 of the AusCycling HutSix 2023 Victorian State Series came to Stintons Reserve on August 27, giving the Park Orchards Panthers a chance to host 430 riders from all over the state and show off the recently refreshed facilities.
Thanks to Community Bank Warrandyte and Manningham Council’s support, riders could use the new start hill gate and shelter.
The new facilities were enjoyed by the visiting Mayor Deirdre Diamante and Councillor Carli Lange. Panthers President Terri McKinnon said it was wonderful to have riders from across the state enjoying the new facilities.

“The Club is completely run by volunteers, which includes all the track maintenance and grounds work being completed by the members themselves.
“For us to be able to host an event that draws Australian world riders to the track is a testament to their hard work,” she said.

Manningham Mayor Deirdre Diamante, Club President Terri McKinnon, and Yarra Ward Councillor Carli Lange

The Park Orchards Panthers saw 20 of its 50 competing club riders finish on the podium at the end of the day.
World elite riders Bodi Turner (Maroondah Eastfield BMX) finished 1st in the Men’s Superclass, beating his previous track record to finish in 30.343 seconds, followed by Wade Turner (Maroondah Eastfield BMX) in 2nd, and Josh Jolly (Ballarat Sebastopol BMX) in 3rd.
In the Women’s Superclass, Bella May (Frankston BMX) took home 1st and the women’s track record of 33.875 seconds, Mia Webster (Park Orchards BMX) 2nd, and Jaclyn Wilson (Bendigo BMX) in 3rd.

Photos: TAKE IKE

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A fresh look for Park Orchards mural

AS PART OF the Park Orchards Recovery Wall project, as reported in February M&N Bulletin, the community, through Park Orchards Learning Centre’s Nature in Art group, has given Pauline Brooke’s village map a fresh coat of paint, and a mural depicting local flora and fauna.
The Diary spoke with members of the Nature in Art group about the project.
Terry Napier, the founder of the Nature in Art group, said their goal was to represent the nature of Park Orchards on the wall.
“Our main theme in Nature in Art is to remind people of the beauty of nature and what we are losing rapidly, so we hope the mural is going to be a constant reminder.
“We have had so much reaction to it including all the little kids from school coming home, and that’s been tremendous,” he said.
The idea was presented to the Nature in Art group via local “dabbler” and Nature in Art member Anne Gibson who was approached by the Park Orchards Lions Club when they decided to give Pauline Brooke’s map a touch-up.
“Trevor from the Lions Club said ‘we’re redoing the map which Pauline Brooke did years and years ago, do you want to do something on the rest of the wall?’.
“I just thought it would be a nice community project, get the Nature in Art students from the Community House involved.
“I thought we would depict the 100 Acres.
“All of that is pretty close to my heart, all the mess we’re making of our environment,” she said.
The mural took a little over three- and-a-half weeks to paint.
Anne and the group usually paint with watercolours, but for this project they had to use housepaint, which Anne explained was a challenge all on its own.
“I had to pick out a red, white, blue, green, yellow and black.
“Because they are not primary colours — because they are made up of other colours — mixing them was a real challenge.
“We had a bit of fun with this, some strange colours,” she said.
The Park Orchards Nature in Art group is the second biggest group of its kind outside the Botanical Gardens.
The addition of the animals to the town map breathe new life and new meaning into a long-standing town feature, and the mural’s message “tread lightly and care for country” is a fitting reminder we need to look after our environment, as well as our community.

Come and try: Nature in Art
Where: Park Orchards Learning Centre, 572 Park Road
When: Saturday, March 19, 9:30am–3:30pm
Info: Inspired by the Park Orchards mural, always wanted to try your hand at this great art form? This is a great opportunity to work with the wonderful Terry Napier. Be introduced to the world of botanical art using pencil and watercolour. In this intensive one day “Come and Try” workshop you will be guided in:
– An overview of botanical and natural history art
– Sketching and illustrating techniques
– Principles of composition
– Watercolour techniques, dry brush and wet on wet
This is particularly designed for people who wish to learn more about natural history art and who are interested in continuing in our term classes.
Cost of course includes notes and drawings to guide you. Bring your own pencils, sketch pad, however you will have access to our class set of brushes, paints and watercolour paper. Course cost: $100.
**To assist us in planning, we appreciate you enrolling 7 days prior to start date**
To book visit www.parkorchards.org.au
Pictured: Margaret Napier, Terry Napier, Deborah McNeil, Graham Pilley and Anne Gibson
Photo: James Poyner

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

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

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.

Majesty by the side of the road

WELCOME TO Meeting with Remarkable Trees.

I have borrowed the title from Thomas Pakenham’s book that reflects on the character of the old, the sacred, the mysterious and the poetic through 60 of his favourite trees.

Unbeknown to many, trees serve us way beyond the comfort of shade on a hot day or ascetically pleasing additions to a garden.

Through 17 products derived from trees, they provide for over 5,000 of our daily commodities from mobile phone screens (cellulose acetate) to strengthening concrete (lignin).

Because of this, mono-culture plantations are a massive global industry predominantly operated by multinationals in collaboration with governments.

Our world forests are under threat and with the climate in crisis, attention is due.

On the flip side, much is now being discovered about the importance of diversity in old-growth forest and how trees communicate via a vast underground network.

Interest is growing, and trees, just like us, are becoming recognised as deeply fascinating individuals wholly reliant on their environment for survival.

In my experience, fostering a relationship with the trees based on curiosity and connection has been a necessary step towards creating personal climate-crisis solutions rather than being overwhelmed by the bigger picture.

I want to share this journey with you by seeking out and presenting the bold, the beautiful, the humble and the dignified in the Manningham’s community.

Do you have a tree favourite tree in your own garden or a tree you are fond of in your area?

Please email me at the address below.

I’d love to connect with you and hear your story.

There is no set criteria.

Large, small, young or old, character is all that matters.

Let’s celebrate Manningham’s forest.

By way of introduction then, meet March’s beauty.

Just down from the corner of Park Road and Feversham Avenue in Park Orchards, resides a tall and elegant eucalypt, who has taken an approximate 150 years to reach maturity.

At a distance she is well-balanced, neither thick in canopy nor thin, but just enough to see her graceful arms reaching up.

As I approach, a delightful mess of shredded skin crunches underfoot.

Her girth is furrowed with age-old protective layers, and looking up, her formidable branches carry the elegance and colour typical of early Victorian paintings: dark shadows highlighted with soft, silvery greys.

Creamy smoothness that merges into the blue-green tone of the canopy.

There are cavities emerging from some of her branches; a borer making a home, or larger hollows resulting from a branch felled by stormy weather.

Residing in deep time, it will be decades before any such borers outdo the tree.

Meanwhile,larger hollows provide nesting sites for our native parrots, cockatoos, and owls.

(On that note, if you need to trim or remove a tree, consider the possibility of providing a nesting site.

The hollows take decades to develop and a good arborist can advise and trim your tree accordingly).

In all, this Faversham resident presents a lovely impression of the many unique characteristics of Australia’s eucalypts.

As I watch and listen, I ponder what the breeze would do without long, slithery greenery to play with.

How would our days be without wind in the trees, and what would stories be without the touch of leafy whispers?

To share your favourite tree, email jennahmrose@outlook.com.

Jennah is captivated by the quiet, unassuming presence and of trees.

She is currently training to facilitate Forest Therapy and working towards a PhD about how we relate to the natural world.

Bus stop bomber

Earlier today, the Police detonated a homemade explosive device at a bus stop in Park Road, Park Orchards.

The Warrandyte Diary has contacted the Police who issued this statement:

In the early hours of the morning on 9th October a small and unsophisticated home-made explosive device was detonated at a bus stop in Park Road, Park Orchards.

No persons were injured and the bus stop sustained minor damage only.  Police believe this to be an isolated incident designed to cause damage to the bus stop but advise that home-made devices such as this are dangerous and have the potential to cause serious injury. 

Anyone  locating an unidentified or suspicious looking device should leave it undisturbed and call 000. 

Police would like to hear from anyone who saw any person or vehicle in the vicinity of 605 Park Road, Park Orchards, between 2.30 AM and 4.30 AM on 9th October 2018. 

If you know any thing or of anyone related to this incident, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers on: 1800 333 000

Five houses unite under one roof

Manningham’s five Neighbourhood Houses have formed a new strategic alliance, which will improve access to adult education for the municipality’s residents.

Under the banner “Manningham Learns” the Neighbourhood Houses of Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Wonga Park, The Pines Learning and Living and Learning at Ajani can to pool their resources and aggregate each centre’s courses and activities into one place, making it easier for adults to access courses and activities across the municipality.

Outgoing Mayor of Manningham Cr Michelle Kleinert told the Diary having all of Manningham’s Neighbourhood Houses united will grant residents with more options when exploring their adult education needs.

“When you consider you have Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Wonga Park they are all offering different things, if someone is living in an area and they only know Warrandyte they are missing out and Park Orchards is not that far; so it gives us better access for our community to feel they have better access to more tools,” she said.

In 2016 10,500 people enrolled in activities at Neighbourhood Houses across the municipality, according to data from the 2016 Census, that would indicate between 10 and 12 per cent of the residents of Manningham who are beyond compulsory schooling age are involved in some form of activity or course run by Neighbourhood Houses.

At the Manningham Learns launch, Cr Kleinert spoke on the importance of this alliance in promoting education within the municipality.

“For young people who are struggling with learning, with education; when they see their parents and grandparents still learning — it is a very powerful message for us to give back to the next generation,” she said.

There are around 300 organisations in Victoria who are eligible for funding under the capacity and innovations fund, the money helps organisations evolve the way they engage with the community to provide education, but there is only so much money to go around and often strategic alliances are a more attractive way to fund enhancements, but alliances between independent organisations are tricky, especially in the adult education sector.

The Manningham Learns project has taken 18 months to get from planning to launch and has meant the five Neighbourhood Houses have had to change their view of each other, they have had to become collaborators instead of competitors, a task not easy to achieve and one which Julie Hebert, Manager of Training and Participation Regional Support for north eastern Victoria Region praised.

“There are about 300 [community education organisations] in the State and if every single entity tries to do it by themselves in this modern context, it is a big risk — it is working together that saves everybody in the end.

“It isn’t an easy task to get five organisations who are vastly different to agree on a course of action to do the same thing, it is a very, very, very hard task.

“It is a very, very great outcome, what you’ve done, you should be very proud,” she said at the launch of Manningham Learns.

This new alliance has received accolades from all levels of government and the managers of the five Neighbourhood Houses have worked hard to make this happen, under the umbrella of Manningham Learns they will be able to make their administration more efficient which means each manager can focus on providing a better education service, as Pauline Fyffe, manager of Park Orchards Community House explained.

“Initially we still have a lot of work to do in determining how the alliance will operate and the benefits we will see, the project has been about bringing us together, we have come a long way on that journey but there is still quite a lot to do in terms of how we will operate, how we will make our lives easier, this is the beginning,” she said.

Emma Edmond, of Warrandyte Neighbourhood House added: “because we know each other a lot better now and there is a high level of trust amongst us we will be able to just put our hand up to do something I can do instead of all of us having to do the same thing individually”.

The efficient running of an organisation like Neighbourhood House is vital if it is to evolve the service it provides the community and a lot of the changes in policy which Manningham Learns has initiated will not be seen by most.

What will be seen is the ability to see, in one place, what all five Neighbourhood Houses have on offer, which will give those members of the community who are seeking to educate themselves further a more convenient picture of what courses and activities are available, and where.

“The biggest benefit is that all our services are now in one place, so they can access the website and download a course procure — it is a one stop shop for learning,” said Ms Fyffe.

Visit their new site

EPA called in to investigate

VICTORIA’S Environment Protection Authority (EPA) followed up a request from local CFA officers to investigate the cause of spontaneous fire eruptions in Park Orchards recently.

CFA crews were called to Stintons Reserve twice in six weeks to attend to fire incidents that appear to have been ignited by “self-combusting material”.

“We asked the EPA to inspect the site to determine the cause of the eruptions, as our fire investigation team were satisfied they were not deliberately lit,” South Warrandyte CFA captain Greg Kennedy told the Diary.

The fires ignited at the reserve’s fenced-off greyhound slipping track. The reserve is above the original site of the Park Orchards tip, which closed in the early 1990s.

The track has been free of fire incidents since its inception about 12 years ago.

Mr Kennedy stressed it was purely a precautionary measure.

“I felt a bit uneasy given the history of the reserve and the fact that it happened twice in a matter of six weeks,” he said.

An EPA spokesperson said they had attended the site along with Manningham council officers and determined the cause of the outbreaks to be naturally occurring decomposition. He advised that they eliminated “the possibility of a sub-surface fire”.

“The fire was caused by a mixture of decomposing organic matter (sawdust in this case), generating enough heat to ignite the sawdust,” he said.

The fires caused concern about methane leaks among Park Orchards residents, as reported on 3AW’s Rumour File program.

That was understandable given what happened at a Cranbourne landfill several years ago.

A methane issue resulted in a class action against the City of Casey and the EPA that saw residents awarded $23.5 million in compensation.

Many such domestic waste dumps (including Stintons Reserve) were closed over before the introduction of more stringent regulations in 2004, requiring all landfills to be lined to provide leak protection.

The EPA subsequently reviewed metropolitan landfills, putting councils on notice to clean up sites where pollution of land or groundwater posed a potential risk to human health.

In 2013, the environmental watch- dog issued a pollution abatement notice to Manningham council.

The EPA issued the warning after con- ducting a compliance inspection at Stintons Reserve to assess management of contaminants leaking from the closed landfill.

The notice, which was later amend- ed to allow additional time for the works to be completed, stated: “Water sampling results and an assessment of the pipe integrity shows leachate from the landfill is contaminating the surface water piped beneath the landfill and the surrounding ground.”

It also stipulated: “… that this non-compliance, or likely non-compliance, must be remedied.”

Manningham council’s director of assets and engineering Leigh Harrison said the landfill had been rehabilitated in accordance with applicable standards at that time.

He confirmed that council had been “progressively upgrading” management of the site over the past 12 months “to accord with current standards”.

Mr Harrison said: “The present situation offers no threat to the health of those persons using the oval, BMX facility or the slipping track. The works will simply result in a renewed, and improved, leachate management system.”

With regard to recent fire activity at the site, Mr Harrison was adamant there was “no evidence of any issue with methane generation from the landfill contributing to these issues”.

The EPA pollution abatement notice stipulates that all relevant works must be completed by May 31 2015.

The arrival of warmer weather has also triggered community fears of recurring spontaneous fire activity at the slipping track.

Manningham council advised: “Council has spoken to the club and suggested that the track surface, which becomes compacted, be ‘turned over’ on a semi regular basis throughout the year and especially the summer months.”

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)