Tag Archives: Warrnadyte Diary

Not just for Christmas

Pictured: Veroncia Holland, Doug Evans and Sally Brennan

RESIDENTS of Christmas Hills have had their concerns heard regarding the consultation process around the Melbourne Water land disposal with Lisa Neville, Minister for Water calling on Melbourne Water to extend their consultation period.

As reported in the June Diary, the community are concerned that Melbourne Water is taking a short-term view of the divestment of 1,000Ha of land being sold off, now that the decision has been made not to construct the Watsons Creek Storage Reservoir (WCSR).

Melbourne Water met with residents in May seeking community input into how the land should be configured and which zoning would be most appropriate for the land.

Local residents and representatives of the Christmas Hills Landcare Group, Veronica Holland and Doug Evans spoke with the Diary and said that the consultation since the May public forums and their subsequent Melbourne Water Options Development Report — Christmas Hills Land Use Study (ODR) has been non-existent.

“Just deathly silence,” said Ms Holland.

However, she said that Nillumbik Council has been put in a “wonderful report that just outlines all the planning regulations that don’t seem to be mentioned in Melbourne Water’s report”.

“It starts off by saying that the land can only be sold once, so you have to be sure that the use of the land before you sell it is what you want it to be into the future,” Ms Holland said.

The Council’s Draft Assessment report highlights what it says are a number of deficiencies that are evident in the ODR. When the document was tabled at the Nillumbik Futures Committee meeting, the Council heard how the “ODR outlined the key considerations that have informed the development of the, largely residential-led, land use options proposed for the ‘study area’”.

“Council’s draft Assessment Report highlights concern with the lack of evidence to demonstrate how Melbourne Water has considered and is seeking to implement key State Green Wedge policies and objectives.

“Further, there are a number of statutory planning concerns about implementing the residential outcomes shown in the ODR” the meeting’s minutes note.

Nillumbik Councillor Jane Ashton spoke to the Diary at the time of the July meeting and said that Melbourne Water need to “look higher-level, they have to look to what the State Government is saying about Green Wedges moving into the future.

“We think what they have done is pretty simplistic, if they define ‘best use’ basically meaning how many residential blocks can you get in there, we think ‘best use’ is not that, it is preserving Ponylands and Wanneroo and Rob Roy.

“I love Christmas Hills, it is an absolute microcosm of what the Green Wedge can be — you’ve got all these amenities, you have got walking trails and tracks, you’ve got a sailing club — how many people have got a sailing club like that with views like that?”

Mr Evans said that Melbourne Water’s approach “appears to be a shorter term outlook than what the community wants, which is longer term — how do we protect the values of this place for the long term?”

“How do we protect the potential for agriculture and contributing to Melbourne’s food bowl for the long term?

“How do we protect what community values here in the long term?

“Whereas Melbourne Water ’s approach, from our increasingly cynical point of view, has been a shorter term, ‘what is in it for us quick, which is how do we get more houses in there and make more money’,” he said.

He and Ms Holland say the current community have a feeling of stewardship over this place, “it’s not something to be exploited, it is something to be appreciated and protected forever”.

“Chop it up and put a house on it and you have lost that potential forever, keep it as big as possible and use it in ways that don’t preclude agriculture in the future is much better,” he said.

Sally Brennan is the Labor candidate for Eildon, which includes Christmas Hills, in the forthcoming State election.

Ms Brennan has met with local residents and raised the community’s concerns directly with the Minister for Water and she is calling on Melbourne Water to engage further with the community to understand these views.

Ms Brennan is calling on Melbourne Water to take a long term view within the context of what is best for Christmas Hills, what’s best for the environment and what is best for the long term future of the land.

Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish told the Diary that the Andrews government is “hell bent on selling land in order to pay for big infrastructure projects in the city”.

“Those land sales, and the potentially inappropriate development that follows, pose a big risk to the amenity of our local area”.

She said that she had called on the Minister to ensure that Melbourne Water conducts transparent and robust community consultation to ensure local resident’s views are incorporated into the development of a Master Plan for the Christmas Hills land.

“I was concerned that only two options were put to the residents when in fact the consultants had developed three options,” she said.

Minister Neville has told the Diary that this is a “once in a generation opportunity to protect and enhance the environmental and community assets of Christmas Hills by identifying options for the disposal of land in the area currently owned by Melbourne Water”.

“As part of this process, we want to ensure the community’s voice is heard on the Master Plan for the area, so I’ve asked Melbourne Water to extend the independent assessment following concerns raised by community members,” she said.

A spokesperson from Melbourne Water told the Diary they are continuing to review the range of feedback that has been received related to the draft Master Plan for land in the Christmas Hills area.

“We recognise that, while we have undertaken significant community engagement and consultation, some concerns remain.

“We also acknowledge there are further opportunities for Melbourne Water to engage with stakeholders and the community and we’re committed to doing this.”

The spokesperson said “as a first step, we are working closely with Nillumbik Shire Council in response to their detailed submission to our draft Master Plan and considering the importance of this process, we want to allow appropriate time for these discussions”.

Melbourne Water has said it will provide the community with another update later in the year and is “currently looking at further opportunities for stakeholders and the community to engage with Melbourne Water” before the draft Master Plan is finalised.

Mr Evans says that more consultation in itself is not the complete answer.

“It is not just more consultation per se, I think we would only be interested in more consultation if there was a genuine shift in focus to the long term view.

“We need to see the current position, has it changed from what has been presented to us previously, if it hasn’t changed there is not a lot of value in meeting again to say yes there is no change,” he said.

“We want the end result to reflect the principles of the Green Wedge, it should be in the largest lots possible under the Green Wedge provisions because now that it is public ownership, one ownership, they can address the problems of small lots within the Green Wedge by consolidating them, and if you do that you have basically created, or preserved, what is this unique place close to Melbourne,” said Ms Holland.

Ms Brennan said: “it is very much the context of the consultation…which is what is best for the future, what is best for the community, what is best for Christmas Hills, what is best for Melbourne”.

“This is a unique opportunity to look at a piece of land that we as Victorians, and certainly as residents of Christmas Hills, seek a stewardship role over to protect for the future — not a short term solution, one that gets rid of the problem for Melbourne Water.

“For a whole range of reasons, there has been a disconnect between the process that Melbourne Water has undertaken and those long term aspirations of the community — so what we need to do is bring it back together — it needs to include a much more broad-ranging, longterm solution, that includes the expectations of this community, which are about protecting the Green Wedge, protecting the integrity of that land.

“This is a rare opportunity to do something important and valuable and in fact to make it better than it was,” Ms Brennan said.

Warrandyte Basketball for life

ROUND 15 of the 2018 Big V Basketball League was coined the “Life Members Round” and during the break between the Division One Women and Division One Men on the Sunday, Warrandyte Basketball Club’s life members were recognised by the club.

Club President Emma MacDougal spoke to the Diary about how much the club values the effort and time life members have put in and continue to put in.

“The aim is to reflect on the contributions they have made and recognise it in a really meaningful way in terms of the work they did to set the club up and setting the wheels in motion to get the club to the point where it is.

We have a number of life members who have invested significant amounts of their time into the club to make it successful,” she said.

Justin Nelson, Warrandyte Basketball former coach, and current general manager for the Melbourne Boomers told us about the clubs development and how the life members are the embodiment of the club’s history.

“I was privileged to be able to coach Big V here for 10 years, we won a lot of Championships, and were in a lot of Grand Finals.

“The club through the late 2000s was quite extraordinary, and now Warrandyte Basketball is home to a whole brigade of young kids coming through the ranks, which is really good to see… the Warrandyte community really does extend through its sporting clubs, a lot of clubs in this area are really family focused.”

Justin’s work with the Boomers means he is unable to be as active in the Warrandyte club as he would like, but he treasures his time spent coaching Warrandyte Venom and hopes to come back in the future.

“To be able to coach more than 200 State league games here was exciting and I hope to be able to help off the court and help the next generation come through”.

After the life members presentation, some of the Junior players played a seven minute exhibition match, demonstrating the quality of their coaching and their passion for the game, a passion Cameron Whitmore, 11 and Hamish Thompson, 10 exude off court as well as on it.

“I like the competition and it is always good to get a win,” said Cameron.

“I have been playing Basketball for four years, I normally play point guard — I love that I get to play with my friends and I have an amazing coach and I love the competition,” said Hamish.

With two rounds to go, both Men’s and Women’s Division One teams are unlikely to see a place in the Grand Final this season but the club’s passion, experience and quality is reflected in all members of Warrandyte Basketball club.

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MDD awareness month

MAY is Metabolic Dietary Disorders awareness month and Warrandyte’s own Grand Hotel have announced a very special program — in what is believed to be a world first; they are offering a special menu to cater for people living with this rare group of diseases.

The Warrandyte Diary spoke with the President of the Metabolic Dietary Disorders Association (MDDA) about the most common of this rare disorder Phenylketonuria (PKU) and what this menu initiative means for people living with PKU.

What is it like living with PKU?

Phenylketonuria is considered a rare disease and I guess the significance of this disease is it is one of the things they pick up with the heal prick test.

The heal prick test has been administered for about 50 years and most newborn babies are tested, so PKU is usually diagnosed within the first ten days of life.

My son is seven and he’s got PKU — when he was diagnosed, I had never heard of it before and it came as quite a shock.

However, as a parent you learn — over time —it is a manageable disease as long as you are diagnosed early, are on top of it, and you teach your child as they are growing into a teenager and an adult.

They live a relatively normal healthy life — the biggest challenge is the diet, because it is all about your metabolism.

What are the symptoms and restrictions?

To have PKU means you have got a faulty enzyme in your liver that prevents you from metabolising a particular amino acid which is found in protein — Phenylalanine.

It can’t be metabolised and therefore creates toxic levels in your body which effect the brain — so a young child, if they are not diagnosed early, just simply breastfeeding is getting more  Phenylalanine than they need.

It sends their levels sky high and potentially within 6-12 months, they are brain damaged, so it is all about avoiding brain damage.

When they are young that is when it is most critical, as they get older their brain gets to a point where it is considered to be developed, which they now say doesn’t happen until they are 25, but they advocate diet for life to protect the brain for life so what that means it they have to have a very strict low protein diet.

My son Charlie is allowed to have 12 grams of protein, kids his age with a metabolism his age would probably have about 40 grams, that doesn’t sound too bad because he is a child, but as he gets older that 12 grams won’t change, most adults will have around 70 grams of protein a day.

For example, an egg is six grams or a glass of milk is 10 grams of protein, a potato is two grams, so it is fruit and vegetable as well — everything has protein in it, even nuts legumes soy; we have to avoid all those things too because they are too high in protein, so what we have to counteract this is a specialised synthesised protein, it is like a protein shake — Charlie will have that three times a day and that gives him all of the other protein amino acids his diets is missing out on.

We also have special protein free rice, pasta, milk, cereals, cheese, the whole lot to make up a lot of the staples of the diet and then depending on what their actual allowance is we will incorporate normal foods in to their diet — I am always to the supermarket now reading labels.

It is a very complex diet and because it is not an allergy, or something like diabetes, it doesn’t have that instant effect so it is very hard for people to understand. oIt doesn’t really fit into any category of special diet either, people say, oh you are just vegan — and then they will bring you out a vegan meal with all these sesame seeds or lentils or something.

So what happens is people with PKU often don’t dine out because it is too hard to explain and prepare a meal and so most places you go generally the staple they have is hot chips, but we generally have to weigh them, because one potato is two grams of protein so if someone is going out trying to find a two gram meal for their kid they have to weigh them and they say: Charlie you can have that many — so it is tough.

 The Grand Hotel are doing a special PKU menu, how important is that?

With dining out, a lot of people say it’s just too hard so they take their food everywhere and they often eat the same bland stuff, that is the other sad thing they have their special free pasta they boil it up they put a bit of their free cheese they might sprinkle some herbs on top, you think how much food is a part of our lives and it so bland – even drinking — I mean beer has protein so to even go and have some beers with your mates, to have that social aspect, for families with kids and teenagers and for adults to be able to come out and have that dining experience and just eat some beautiful foods.

What it will mean is that families that are in the area can come and have a dining experience with their kids or as adults and actually be able to order something off a menu without having to explain it — it is just brilliant to be able to eat something and feel like everyone else.