Tag Archives: South Warrandyte

Future remains uncertain for former South Warrandyte Fire Station

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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: re Brumbys Road Fire Station

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

DONNA SMITH
Warrandyte South

Warrandyte Men’s Shed still homeless

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

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

Community history for sale

By SANDI MILLER
March 2022

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

Promises broken on CFA Shed

RYAN SMITH MP
Member for Warrandyte
[OPINION]

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

What will CFA changes mean for Warrandyte?

THE VICTORIAN Government has announced sweeping changes to the fire services which will split the CFA, and while it fundamentally will have no impact on the business of putting out fires, there will be a big change in the way CFA brigades operate behind the scenes.

A joint statement issued by Premier Daniel Andrews and Emergency Services Minister, James Merlino,  said Victoria has some of the best firefighters in the world, however they currently operate under systems and structures that have not changed since the 1950s.

“These important changes will deliver more modern fire services for a growing Victoria, making our state even safer”, said Mr Merlino.

Emergency Services commissioner, Craig Lapsley spoke to the Diary to reassure local residents and CFA volunteers the change for the community would be seamless.

“We have 1220 CFA stations now, and we will have 1220 when this is implemented,” he said.

CFA staff such as those at South Warrandyte will combine with MFB firefighters to form the newly created Fire Rescue Victoria, while CFA volunteers will remain with the CFA, which will return to being a volunteer focused organisation.

“It will still be local people going to local incidents… the same vehicles will be in the same stations, it is just that the signs out the front will be different” he said.

South Warrandyte Station as an integrated station will remain the same, but will have two signs, one representing the FRV staff and the other representing the CFA volunteers.

The situation for other roles within CFA — such as regional managers and staff, community education, trainers, mechanics, fire investigators — is a slightly more complicated issue.

“Operational staff at a Regional level will be employed by FRV but will be tasked to the CFA, however certain administration and technical staff will remain covered by the CFA’s [Professional Technical & Administrative] PTA employment agreement,” Mr Laspley said.

The Commissioner assured the Diary the boundaries between metropolitan and country areas will remain the same, however the Andrews Government has flagged the establishment of a Fire District Review Panel which will conduct future reviews of the boundary between fire services, based on population growth, urban development and the volume of Triple Zero calls.

When the Diary asked about the rumours generated by a photograph published in the Herald Sun showing Warrandyte was being considered for inclusion in FRV, Commissioner Lapsley said there were “no immediate plans to put staff into Warrandyte”.

He said that the position paid fire fighters in South Warrandyte, Eltham and Templestowe gave enough coverage to support the retention of a volunteer-only station at Warrandyte.

“South Warrandyte are getting into Yarra Street in 8-10 minutes”, he said.

Commissioner Lapsley said one of the most important consideration is to ensure surge capacity in times of major incident is protected, and that means ensuring we retain the State’s 50,000 volunteers.

Local member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith is not so optimistic, and said volunteer retention at integrated stations may not be so easy.

“Sooner or later if you have 20 or so career firefighters there, volunteers aren’t going to get there for a call out and it’ll get to the point that they don’t want to be there to wash the trucks once a week”, Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith is concerned that if volunteers are not given respect they will not be there in times of calamity to provide the needed surge capacity.

“I can’t see anyone but the die-hard volunteers committing to the training just for the sake of three or four callouts a year in those extreme circumstances.”

Peter De Maria, a career firefighter at South Warrandyte, said the feeling at the station was positive and the change was little more than a change of badge.

“It’s no different — really it is not going to change, we will still train with [the volunteers], it is just modernising the service for career staff… but for the community it is a win because they will get a better service,” he said.

Captain at North Warrandyte CFA, Mick Keating hopes the CFA will continue to support volunteer training and skills development.

“As long as they don’t make us a second rate service and say ‘you don’t need these courses, these trucks, this equipment’, we still have houses and big buildings to look after, we still have road accidents, none of that is going to change I just hope there is no change to any of the the training regime or the opportunities that are available to volunteers,” he said.

Captain of the Warrandyte brigade, Adrian Mullens said it was still too early to comment and would like to wait until the dust had settled on the announcement, but wanted to reassure the community that it would be “business as usual”.

“We are still going to service the community as we have for the last 79 years,” Mr Mullens said.

These reforms are currently before Parliament, and if passed, are expected to take two years to be fully implemented.

Ryan Smith is not convinced that the reforms have the community’s interests at heart.

“If it was driven for efficiencies or driven because the system was broken or to save money or whatever you could argue it was good for the community, but what you are going to be doing is basically breaking a community organisation that everyone rallies around…this is just a fix because every other way they wanted to support the UFU was blocked for various reasons — is it a win for the community? No – I think we will just end up missing something that we had,” he said.

The government has confirmed that, until June 2019, the funding for the changes will not impact on the Fire Services Property Levy, which is charged to property owners via council rates.

With this comes a promise that the existing Metropolitan Fire District Boundary will remain in place for the next two years — for the purpose of determining whether Metropolitan or CFA levy rates apply.

Volunteers See Red

IN a stoush that has claimed the heads of the emergency services minister, and both the CFA’s chief executive officer and chief fire officer, and dampened Labor’s Victorian swing in the federal election and possibly costing them government, the very public dispute over fire fighters pay and conditions has been well and truly felt in Warrandyte.

About 50 volunteer fire fighters from the area met at Warrandyte fire station on the morning of the election before setting off in convoy as a “show of strength” to pro- test over the lack of consultation with volunteer fire fighters.

Ken Reed, group officer of the CFA’s Maroondah group of brigades, which includes Warrandyte, Wonga Park, Yarra Glen, Lilydale and Coldstream, said despite the politics, they also want to demonstrate they are still there to support the community.

“Our main aim is to make people aware we are still here for the community, but the way we have been getting screwed is very unfair and the worst part about it is the volunteers have had no say in the EBA at all, and that’s what we are disappointed about,” he said.

Head of the United Firefighters Union (UFU), Peter Marshall, addressed volunteers in an open letter.

“Fire fighters need to fight fires, not each other,” he wrote.

Volunteers involved in the convoy did not want the protest to be a sign of disrespect for the career fire fighters they work with, but saw it as sending a message to the State Labor government.
“We have to send a message to Labor that certain things are sacrosanct and CFA is one of them,” said one volunteer from Cold- stream.

“I’ve got no problem with the paid staff, all we want to do is fight fires,” said another.

The timing of the dispute, which has lasted over 1000 days, is seen as unfortunate by outgoing South Warrandyte captain Greg Kennedy.

In a recent interview with the Diary, Mr Kennedy said politics would not affect the operation of the station.

“The guys who work there are going to be paid in accordance with their EBA, they will do their duties in accordance with their EBA, which will be exactly the same way they do their duties at the other 31 CFA career staff stations,” he said.

“Poor old South Warrandyte just happens to be the poor buggers that are trying to open a fire station when all this is going on.”

Jamie Hansen, new officer-in-charge at South Warrandyte, did not want to comment on the dispute while the EBA was still being negotiated.

“What I can assure the community is that the volunteers and career staff at South Warrandyte Fire Brigade will maintain their commitment to providing the highest level of emergency response and there will certainly be no reduction of service from any of the surrounding brigades as a result of this ongoing dispute,” he said.

Current captains of Warrandyte and North Warrandyte also declined to comment on the dispute, but former North Warrandyte captain, Rohan Thornton, says the issue is not about fire fighters’ pay.

“I think most volunteers, and I have never found an exception, believe that all our emergency service workers, police, ambos, nurses are underpaid and deserve everything they get – this is not about the conditions and the pay,” he said.

He believes there will be positive benefits from the EBA for all fire fighters, including the contentious clause to have seven fire fighters dispatched before starting to fight a fire.

“I don’t see that and never did see that as an issue, I just see it as a union providing a safe workplace for their members which is fine – yes please,” said Mr Thornton.

Both staff and volunteer alike have made claims about lies and misinformation, and Mr Thornton can see why that is confusing the public.

“There is truth and lies on both sides and that’s what’s confusing everyone, certainly the community who I’ve had feedback from, they are worried they are concerned and they don’t understand it: it is hard to understand,” Mr Thornton said.

He says for those not in the CFA many aspects of the organisation are confusing, least of which is why people volunteer, and Mr Thornton is concerned the EBA dispute will hurt the volunteer spirit in the organisation.

“It is hard to understand the culture, what makes people, you know, get out of bed at four o’clock in the morning and hold someone’s hand until the ambulance arrives, it takes a special person to have that commitment and it’s just getting harder and harder to maintain that commitment,” he said.

Olivigna applies for helipad in Warrandyte

AN application for a proposed helipad at Olivigna in South Warrandyte is being considered by Manningham council.

The helipad will enable emergency services to have easier and more immediate access to the estate’s surrounding area.

Olivigna property manager John Di Pietro said the threat of bushfires prompted the business to apply for the helipad permit.

“During the height of a particularly hot and threatening summer we thought about our estate and its positioning and realised that if local emergency services could fly in and out of here it would really help them, which is essentially protect and help our community,” Mr Di Pietro said.

Although the proposal has been welcomed by emergency services, including the police and the local CFAs, it has received about 60 objections. Nonetheless, Olivigna management maintain that the helipad will not be used often and, when it is, will create minimal disturbance.

The number of flights will be limited to two arrivals and two departures per month and the size and type of helicopter will be restricted according to the acoustic report. As per Clause 52.15 of the Manningham Planning Scheme, flights will not take place before 7am (8am on weekends or holidays) or after sunset on weekdays.

Mr Di Pietro said that two acoustic reports indicate that the noise generated by the helicopters is well below the Environment Protection Authority 1254 Noise Control Guidelines. He also reiterated that the proposed flight path will not impact on the neighbourhood as the helicopters will only cross the Olivigna properties.