Friday, December 24, 2010

merry christmas and best wishes for 2011

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year.

It's been a tough year for many, the impact of the global financial taking its time to filter through our communities. I know from talking to our local relief agencies that they've seen an increase in demand on their services and have had a greater workload helping those in crisis as more people struggle financially.

We're a very generous community in the Dandenong Ranges with great spirit and willingness to help out and volunteer our time. If you can, please give some support to our local relief agencies, Mission Impossible and the Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service, they do great work with compassion and care and provide that vital safety net for those in need.

Wishing you all the very best for the festive season, I'll be back to regular writing in January, 2011.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

colouring christmas

Congratulations to Eva, Laura and Melody, winners of the Belgrave Trader's Association Christmas colouring competition. It was terrific to be able to award Eva and Laura with their prizes (unfortunately Melody couldn't make it but she will get her prize).

Pictured left to right: Cr Samantha Dunn - Lyster Ward, Eva - award winner in the 1 - 5 category, Mikey - BTA Treasurer and local Dry Cleaner, Laura - award winner in the 6-9 category and Charmaine - BTA Committee member and Bendigo Bank Manager.

The girls were very excited to be awarded winners and keen to get home to use their new art materials.

The Belgrave
Trader's Association actively works to promote and market Belgrave.

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sweet sounds through belgrave

Congratulations to BRAG for once again organising this years Carols in the Park in Belgrave. It was a wonderful night, performers donating their time, whilst Rotary cooked up a storm on the barbeque sponsored with my ward funds.

Sweet Sassafras were in fine form.

It was a great family friendly event, with food, face painting and entertainment all being free. A wonderful start to the festive season.

Santa is always popular, armed with lollies for the children, he was ably assisted by Ian from BRAG and JJ the storyteller.

If you'd like to hear more carols, it's not too late. Kallista Community House will hold their annual carols at the Village Green, Christmas Eve, starting at 7pm.

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monbulk soccer - have your say

Plans are underway for the new soccer facility in Monbulk and we want to know what you think.

The plans can be viewed at the new Monbulk Living and Learning Centre or at the Soccer Rooms at the Moores Rd ground in Monbulk.

The centre will feature a pavilion, 3 full size synthetic pitches and 1 full sized grass pitch, a training pitch, special lighting, car parking and access road and is located at 115 Old Emerald Road, Monbulk.

The impact of the popularity of soccer has been huge with the local club outgrowing the ground at Menzies Creek. An increase in player and team numbers has seen council commit $4million in our capital works budget to the new facility with the federal government putting $2million towards the project as well.

You can find more information and also look at the plans online by clicking here.

Submissions are due by 31 January, 2011 and can be emailed to or posted to PO Box 105, Lilydale VIC 3140.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

samantha in the press - planning

Big Sassafras development rejected by council
Free Press Leader
by Kimberley Seedy
22 December 2010

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samantha in the press - planning

Yarra Ranges Council orders the closure of Olinda bunny shelter
Free Press Leader
by Kimberley Seedy
22 December 2010

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

samantha in the press - planning

Billabong plan withers in a stand against 'commercial creep'
Yarra Ranges Weekly
by Elisa Miller
21 December 2010

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Friday, December 17, 2010

rabbit shelter a no go

report from the roundtable - 14 dec

This week council had to consider an application for a dwelling and use of land for Animal Boarding up on Mt Dandenong (Olinda).

The application for the dwelling was straight forward, however the same couldn't be said for the Animal Boarding/Shelter which sought to keep 16 rabbits on site (6 as pets and 10 as unwanted rabbit pets).

There were nine objections to the application with a number of concerns around the amenity impacts, obstruction of roadway, blocked and damaged driveways, management of waste and water and more recently black rabbits on the loose.

I seconded the motion to approve the dwelling but refuse the Animal Shelter. The proposed location is what I'd describe as billy goat country on a goat track. The terrain is extremely steep and Stanley Street is unsealed and only as wide as a family sedan. It is completely inappropriate to site any type of business which generates traffic in this location (already Stanley Street has been obstructed many times by people dropping off their pet rabbits for boarding).

It was alarming to hear about the applicants burning the waste generated by the rabbits, which, if true, would be a breach of the Shire's Open Air Burning Local Law.

It was also alarming to hear about the black rabbits being sighted on the loose in the area, we already have an enormous problem with feral animals, we certainly don't need anymore.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the dwelling and refuse the animal shelter.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

protecting what's precious - planning in the dandenongs

report from the roundtable - 14 dec

This week's council meeting had to consider an application for an Open Billabong Garden and Foot Massage in Sassafras.

After numerous questions to the applicant, particularly around the operation of a souvenir shop shown on the plans it became apparent that this application was about more than an open garden and at the heart of the issue was the creep of commercial activities into residential areas of the Dandenongs.

I seconded a motion to refuse the application, in speaking to the motion I talked about the importance of very careful planning for the Dandenongs in relation to protecting the amenity of residents and also retaining the charm of our hills villages for tourists. It is important that commercial activities are contained within townships in the Dandenongs and our strategic policies reinforce this view.

The significant landscape overlay covering the region is explicit "the protection of the diverse landscape elements of this area would be compromised by further intensification of residential development, the spread of commercial land uses outside established town centres".

The application sought to remove many exotic trees and shrubs, impacting on the neighbourhood character of the area. Rhododendrons, Camelias, Birch and Maples are beautiful and part of the character of this region of Sassafras and residents and visitors alike admire their beauty. Our planning policies are that low density single dwelling residential use is the primary function of the region.

In relation to Commerical Development our policy is to "Protect surrounding residential and rural and green wedge areas from adverse visual and amenity impacts of business encroachment".

In relation to Tourism our policy is to "encourage tourist facilities in town centres" whilst our policy for Tourism in Green Wedge areas states "Preferred sites for commercial and other non residential uses in the Green Wedge A zone have direct access to a sealed road, and be clustered within or adjoining an established commerical area".

We don't want to see commerical creep beyond our townships, we want to keep what's precious about the Dandenongs for residents and for tourists.

The majority of councillors voted in favour of the motion with only one councillor voting against the refusal.

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this year's committees

report from the roundtable - 14 dec

This week's council meeting included Appointments to External and Other Bodies, this is where council allocates the various committees to Councillors for 2011.

Next year I'll be representing the Shire of Yarra Ranges on:
Advocacy Reference Group
Belgrave South and Heights Township Group
Birdsland Reserve Committee
Burrinja (substitute)
Eastern Regional Libraries Corporation
Eastern Transport Coalition
MAV Environment Advisory Group
Municipal Emergency Management Committee (substitute)
Yarra Ranges Environment Advisory Committee.

I look forward to representing the community across this range of committees.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

samantha in the press - infrastructure

Upwey hub set to come to life
Free Press Leader Newspaper
by Kimberley Seedy
15 December 2010

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

where are you going on a high fire risk day?

The Shire of Yarra Ranges is currently developing a list of places our community can go on high fire risk days.

Everyone living in a high fire danger area should have a bushfire plan which includes a range of things to do on a high fire danger day. The plan should include where to stay overnight if needed, and consider children and pets as well.

Every year the shire receives a lot of calls from people wanting to know where they can go on high fire danger days, so we thought we'd compile a list and we'd ask the community for their ideas too.

You don't have to live in a bushfire prone region to contribute, we'd like to hear everybody's suggestions.

If you'd like to contribute, click here to participate.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

sdcn turns 15

It was terrific to join in the celebrations of the Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery who turned 15 this year.

Part of celebrations included the official part of the day, the AGM where current president and one of the key driving forces behind the nursery, Garrique Pergl, was re-elected as president for 2011.

Noel and Dudley provided this magnificent cake to celebrate 15 years of SDCN, Garrique and I had the pleasure of cutting the cake after a rousing rendition of happy birthday.

It was tremendous to hear about the current activities of the group which include:
providing plants for the Shire of Yarra Ranges and the City of Casey, Melbourne Water, Melbourne Water Alliance and Parks Victoria as well as residents, schools and community groups
Supporting the 350 demonstration in Belgrave
Supplying plants for the Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group stall at Kallista market
Delivering an introduction to native plants course for community members
Doing site inspections for weeds, plant selection and habitat development for the community

To mark the occasion I planted an indigenous tree, a long leaf box (eucalyptus goniocalyx), with Garrique, SDCN President. May it thrive into the future along with the nursery.

Over the past 15 years the nursery has produced over 500,000 indigenous plants, quite an achievement and a positive note for our environment that is under constant threat in many ways.

The nursery plays a key role in our region, volunteers giving freely of their time to ensure an ongoing and timely supply of thousands of indigenous plants.

Congratulations to the incoming committee, it's wonderful that you are keen to further support the nursery in this way. The new committee comprises:
President: Garrique Pergl
Secretary: Michael Butler
Treasurer: Rhonda Adams
General members:
Paul Birch
Lesley Wilson
Robert Pergl
Ian Rainbow
Anton Pergl
I look forward to working with you in the future.

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our generation screening soon

As part of the lead up to Belgrave Survival Day 2011, the organisers are presenting "Our Generation", a documentary about Aboriginal land rights and the Northern Territory intervention.

The film is a roller coaster journey into the heart of Australia's Indigenous relations, a hidden shame that is pushing the world's oldest culture to the edge.

Through the story of Yolgnu of north east Arnhem Land, the film looks at the government's ongoing policies of paternalism and assimilation, examines the real issues underlying Indigenous disadvantage and opens dialogue on ways forward that respect Aboriginal culture and dignity. It's a film not to missed.

Where: Burrinja, 351 Glenfern Road, Upwey
When: Tuesday 14 December at 6:30pm
Cost: $10 or $5 concession
Bookings: Jane or Davey on 9754 6121

More details soon on Survival Day for 2011.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

the campaign wrap up

to read on click on the image

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

carols coming to belgrave

Put aside next Friday night, 10th December, for Carols in the Belgrave Town Park. BRAG have been busily working away organising this year's carols event for the community. The night will include something for all with many local artists donating their time and talent whilst Rotary will be cooking up a storm on their barby sponsored by my community ward fund.

Last year's Carols included a visit by Santa, I'm sure he'll be back again this year!

It would be great to see you there (if it's raining the venue will be Mater Christi college on Bayview Rd).

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southern dandenongs landcare has another busy year

It was great to be invited to chair the Southen Dandenongs Landcare Group AGM for 2010. I never cease to be amazed by the activities of this group of dedicated volunteers.

It's the group's third year as an umbrella group for environmental volunteers who look after the Southern Dandenongs region. 2010 has seen some great work from the group including:
A landcare award for Vicki Boyle for Volunteers Working on Public Land
Meet the candidates night for the federal election
Weed assessments project to assist residents
A regular stall at the monthly Kallista Market
Stalls at Selby Primary school and the Upwey Grassroots market
Hosting the Sherbrooke Transition Towns group to run a website workshop
Participating on the Birdsland Master Plan reference group
Coordinating the launch of Friends of Birdsland (early next year)
A myriad of environmental courses covering all manner of topics
The Awesome Ornithorhynkids Day at Belgrave Lake Park
Launching the Visual Platypus Monitoring Program of Monbulk Creek
Not to mention weeding, planting, attending network meetings!

The SDLG executive for 2011, from left to right: Cr Samantha Dunn, Lyn Young - Treasurer, Anne Elizabeth - Vice President, Jackie Glen - President and Vicki Boyle - Secretary. These people put in countless volunteer hours to improve our local environment.

I'm pleased to announce the committee for this year is:
President: Jackie Glen
Vice President: Anne Elizabeth
Treasurer: Lyn Young
Secretary: Vicki Boyle
General members:
Jillian Anderson
Lesley Wilson
Darcy Duggan
Bernadette Sakini

Congratulations to all, you are a committed and enthusiastic bunch and I look forward to working with you in the year ahead.

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samantha in the press - heritage

Extra cash needed to finish Yarra Ranges heritage study
Free Press Leader
by Kimberley Seedy
1 December 2010

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