Thursday, March 31, 2011

beanies galore at burrinja

It was terrific to attend the launch of Colours of the Country II at Burrinja. Featuring works from the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, the exhibition is a cornucopia of beanies of all persuasions.

The Beanie has been celebrated at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival since 1996, a festival that has unleashed a wonderful creative spirit, it seems there are no creative bounds for the beanie.

Pictured left to right: Ross Farnell - Executive Director of Burrinja, Jenny Francis, Marion Wheatland and Cr Samantha Dunn.

People attending the launch were encouraged to wear their favourite beanie or headwear of their choice. I had the job of judging the best two beanies and selected Marion Wheatland for her extraordinary beanie featuring sheep complete with fleece and ears and Jenny Francis, who reworked her handknitted tea cosy into a fabulous floral beanie.

The collection also features works from indigenous artists from the Central Desert region who are regular collaborators in this event.

It's a wonderful exhibition, everyone was captivated by the variety of beanies on display, from the whimsical to the beautiful, there's a beanie for everyone.

The exhibition will be on display until 15th May, 2011.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

bus lane removed, where's the priorities

It was disappointing to learn that the bus lane on Stud Road between Ferntree Gully and Kellets Road will be removed.

The removal of the lane was an election committment by the Bailleu government. This section of Stud Road has been identified as a critical section carrying higher traffic volumes than other sections of the road. VicRoads advises the reinstatement of the bus lane to general traffic will improve traffic flow and minimise the need for lane changes.

However what of the commuters who travel along Stud Road by bus? Well you can expect longer travel times and greater delays as buses are no longer a priority, it seems car is king again on this section of Stud Road.

To get people out of cars and on to public transport it has to be effective and efficient and that means that road based public transport needs priority treatment. I doubt the motorists will get to their destination any faster due to these changes however I'm certain that the commuters will be disadvantaged.

I will be taking up this issue, along with many others in the East of Melbourne, with the Minister for Public Transport and Roads, Terry Mulder, when I meet with him in my role as Chairperson of the Eastern Transport Coalition.

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samantha in the press - public transport

Upwey plan derailed Leader Newspapers by Kimberley Seedy 30 March 2011

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

samantha in the press - public transport

Platform patrol Mail Newspapers by Casey Neill 29 March 2011

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samantha in the press - planning

Towers' bad reception Mail Newspapers 29 March 2011........... Fallout patched up Mail Newspapers by Russell Bennett 29 March 2011

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Monday, March 28, 2011

upwey grassroots makes it mark

This weekend saw the second running of the Upwey Grassroots Market and it was a wonderful success.

People flocked to the market which focusses on locally grown, made and produced food and wares.

The community harvest group were there with all their home grown produce, the rhubarb took my fancy. Food Swap is a great idea and being facilitated by Transition Sherbrooke who have been set up by some committed community members in response to climate change and peak oil. It's focus is to create a sustainable and resilient community whilst transitioning to a low carbon future.

Peter Cook, president of the Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association was there with DRREA solar oven and information aplenty about renewable energy. Peter also had some postcards promoting Container Deposit Legislation, a campaign he's been supporting for some time.

TVAG (Tecoma Village Action Group) were there too. TVAG have recently been contacted by a consultant working for McDonalds about the potential for a McDonalds on the site of Hippie Haven and Saffron Cottage in Tecoma. McDonalds met with me and shire officers earlier this month and I recommended they speak to community groups, particularly TVAG, about the proposal. I also emphasised to them the importance of broader community consultation on this proposal.

TVAG are gauging the community response to the expression of interest by McDonalds. If you'd like to give some feedback to TVAG you can find more details by clicking on this 'stop press'.

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samantha in the press - pokies

Councils take on government over pokies Northern Weekly by Meagan Weymes 28 March 2011

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Friday, March 25, 2011

telecommunications towers get the thumbs down

report from the roundtable - 22 mar

At this week's council meeting we had to consider three applications for telecommunications towers, two from Telstra and one from Optus.

The two Telstra ones were very similar, in both cases the ridgetop locations in Healesville and Seville were a key concern in considering the applications.

I moved the motion to refuse the application in Healesville. In speaking to the motion I talked about the importance of our scenic and iconic landscapes and the importance of our tourism industry.

Cornish Hill, the proposed location of the tower in Healesville, is in a prominent position, one of the gateway peaks which frames the township. The proposed tower would be visually prominent and an intrusion on the landscape, impacting on viewlines from many angles.

It is a repeat application, back in 2000 council refused a very similar application, nothing has changed, time has past and our tourism industry is even more important now than it was then.

At 50 metres from the nearest house, it is too close and is contrary to council's policy on telecommunications facilities.

It would be located in a Green Wedge A Zone, a zone that is important in providing a buffer and transition between more urban and rural properties. At 24 metres high, the tower would protrude 7 metres above the treeline.

Our ridgelines are not negotiable, I'd like to see applications council could support, telecommunications are important but it seems Telstra is not willing to go for less prominent locations due to the cost (something they confirmed to council at a briefing).

I'm pleased to say council unanimously supported the refusal for this tower in Healesville.
(Cr's McRae and Cox absent due to a declared conflict of interest)

The tower in Seville was very similar in circumstance, located on a prominent ridgeline, the visual amenity impacts mirrored those of tower proposed for Healesville, however this came with the addition of a 'cypress shroud' to disguise the pole.

In speaking to this motion I highlighted the fact that an almost identical application had come to council in 2009, was refused by council, a decision that was then upheld by VCAT.

The Cypress Shroud was awful proposition, on a pole with a proposed height of 25 metres, this highly engineered leafy rocket or giant pipecleaner would protrude 7 metres about the tree line and in supplied mock ups looked ridiculous.

What we need to see from Telstra is applications for smaller facilities in greater numbers to ensure that our landscapes are protected from these visual intrusions.

Our vistas and views are our stock in trade and tourists flock to our region for the Yarra Valley experience. I'm not against telecommunications but I urge Telstra to give us applications we can support.

Councillors voted unanimously to refuse this application.
(Cr Cox absent due to a declared conflict of interest)

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

labyrinth launched

It was terrific to join the Healesville community at the official opening of their labyrinth. The project was borne out of an idea by local artist Julia Peddie who was undertaking a Yarra Ranges Vista Leadership Project at the time.

Many years of dedication and commitment have seen the project come to fruition. After the Black Saturday bushfires the project stalled and Julia wondered whether the community would want to continue with something that seemed so frivolous in the face of such tragic disaster.

But the Healesville community rallied around the project and have delivered a wonderful community asset that can be enjoyed for generations.

It was terrific to watch the young and not so young follow the path of the labyrinth never straying to cross the line, keeping true to course, and delighted to be part of the occasion.

Pictured left to right: Artist Julia Peddie project visionary, Aunty Dot Peters who did the welcome to country, Shane Charles who did the smoking ceremony, Cr Jeanette McRae - ward councillor for Ryrie and Peter Ruzyla - project partner and CEO of EACH.

It was a wonderful community celebration, Healesville is a beautiful part of the Shire, I encourage you to go have a look and a wander on the labyrinth as well.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

samantha in the press - planning

Tecoma restaurant's future in doubt
Leader Newspapers
by Kimberley Seedy
23 March 2011

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

samantha in the press

Dunn takes the presidency
Mail Newspapers
by Russell Bennett
22 March 2011

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Monday, March 21, 2011

selbyfest coming soon - 16 april

Looking for a festival that celebrates music, art, environment and community?

Then Selbyfest is for you.

The Festival Fanfare Opening will take place at the All Saints Selby Church on Friday 15th April, 7pm at their 10th anniversary art show.

Selbyfest is on Saturday 16th April, from 11am till late, at Selby Community House and the Minak Reserve in Selby.

Don't want to use the car? Puffing Billy will make special stops at Selby Station for Selbyfest and a shuttle bus will run from Selby station to Selbyfest.

It's shaping up to be a great community event.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

library signs off on prime time

At it's board meeting last last month, the Eastern Regional Library board (of which I'm deputy chairperson) signed off on Prime Time, a strategy and action plan designed with mature aged people in mind.

The plan is to ensure that quality library services are provided for mature age people across the region. It will guide the development of sustainable and relevant services to meet the needs of our ageing population.

Prime Time aims to provide opportunities for older people to remain active and participate in life long learning through technology. It will also provide opportunities for inter-generational connection by using young people as tutors.

It's extensive in its scope and looks at how we communicate appropriately, how we ensure our library spaces are well configured for older community members.

There's some interesting and diverse services in the plan, I look forward to seeing them delivered throughout the Eastern Regional Libraries in Yarra Ranges.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

yarra ranges offers flu vaccine

Flu season is just around the corner and Yarra Ranges will be offering flu vaccinations as part of its immunisation program from April, 2011.

Limited amounts of the vaccine are available for $25 at the council immunisation sessions.

If you'd like a flu vaccine this year you can book through our public health unit on 1300 368 333.

You can check where your local immunisation session will be by clicking here.

The flu vaccine is also available annually from your local GP where it is free to older people and those at risk.

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latest update - party in the patch

I've had confirmation from Party in the Patch organisers that they will be donating $200 to the Kallista/The Patch CFA from their past fundraising events.

As mentioned in a prior blog post as a show of goodwill I am willing to match the PITP contribution with monies from my community ward fund.

Myself and Party in the Patch organisers will be presenting our respective donation cheques to the Brigade some time next week.

No doubt the Kallista/The Patch CFA will be very pleased to receive the funding and it's a great recognition of the work they do so selflessly for our community.

My advice to anyone organising an event is that it's important to determine whether you're having a private party or a public event as it has a great bearing on your responsibilities and your duty of care.

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party in the patch - the radio interview

Last week I had the opportunity to speak about Party in the Patch on local radio station 3MDR. If you'd like to listen to the podcast click here.

Here I am in studio with Hills Hoister, Jedi Jenny and Party in the Patch organiser, Kye Garrett. It was great to pop into the Hills Hoist on 3MDR (97.1), it was also good to have a chat about the circumstances around Party in the Patch.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

aunty dot honoured

It was wonderful to join in the celebration of the twenty amazing women who were added to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for 2011. I was invited to attend as VLGA president.

The event honours women who have made a difference in their sphere and coincides with International Women's Day celebrations. I was impressed by the diversity of work and advocacy, with women recognised for social justice work, education, health, the arts, multiculturalism, indigenous affairs to name a few.

It was particularly wonderful to see Yarra Ranges local, Aunty Dot Peters, honoured on the night.

Aunty Dot is a respected Aboriginal Elder and has worked tirelessly for many years raising awareness of indigenous issues and strengthening the community.

For over 20 years Aunty Dot has been teaching the art of traditional basket weaving at TAFEs, Museum Victoria, festivals, community organisations and more locally at Burrinja and Belgrave Survival Day.
In 2002 Aunty Dot won the Arts Red Ochre Award, which recognises outstanding contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island arts and culture. She was also awarded with the Victorian Aboriginal Women's Award in the same year, whilst in 2010 she won the National Aborigines and Islanders day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Elders Award.

All of the Victorian Honour Roll for Women recipients are remarkable women, who have given much back to their communities. It was truly an inspiring night.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

samantha in the press - planning

Residents fears over proposed Tecoma development
Leader Newspapers
by Kimberley Seedy
16 March 2011

The Party's over in the Patch
Leader Newspapers
by Kimberley Seedy
16 March 2011

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party in the patch - the unreported side of the story

There's been a couple of articles in the local press about the cancellation of Party in the Patch, however they contained little information from the shire's perspective so I thought I'd publish a chronology of events and correspondence. I want to be completely transparent in this process and be frank about the conversations that have taken place that I'm aware of.

I want to stress once again that I have always supported live music and have invited discussion with the organisers around the development of a youth based event in the Dandenong Ranges.

March 2010
Kye Garrett applied for funding for Party in the Patch through Council’s Grants for Community Program – Festivals and Events funding. The assessment panel had asked questions about its compliance with planning, building and health requirements. The application became ineligible due to concerns around planning and compliance requirements and the fact that it is prohibited in a Green Wedge Zone.

May 2010
A letter was sent to Kye explaining the reasons why his application was unsuccessful. A phone call was also made to explain this, and support offered for further advice regarding planning, building and health requirements when planning these events.

16 December 2010
Kye sent an email requesting funding for rubbish removal at an event he was organising. He said Council had provided funding for a similar event in the previous year. This email was forwarded on to me.

It is important to note the past event was promoted as a "free community festival", regular readers will know I've always been very supportive of community events and festivals.

This year it was unclear as to the nature and extent of the event, which led to further investigation by Council.

10 January 2011
I asked Kye if a permit was in place for the event.

19 January 2011
Kye requested to meet with me during the week to discuss the event.

19 January 2011
I couldn't meet as I was on holidays with my family, but continued to email and said what I really needed to know was whether there was an entry fee, which would trigger the need for a permit, or whether it was a private function, in which case it wouldn’t qualify for public funding through my community ward fund.

19 January 2011
Kye stated that the event would be a private function with no entry fee, and that "everything about the party is non-profit".

He also mentioned Council’s support for the event in 2010. In 2010 I paid for waste removal through my ward fund. However, the location for this event was not known by me at the time and it was on a much smaller scale, where 750* people attended.

*note: Although this number is unconfirmed, at various times the organiser has quoted 500 (as recently as on 3MDR last week), 750 in correspondence and a local CFA member tells me around 20 cars were on site.

20 January, 2011
The Shire's Manager Community Compliance emailed Kye requesting information about the proposed event including the location, arrangements including bands, stages, amplified music, etc. He also requested information regarding food or alcohol sales to the public, the expected number of patrons and impact on amenities, including traffic, parking, vegetation, as well as the time and duration of the event.

Kye did not reply and this email unfortunately remained unanswered until a phone call by Kye on 7 March.

7 March 2011
The Shire's Manager Community Compliance received a phone call from Kye Garrett, and discussed the proposed event’s activities. A number of concerns prompted the manager to check the website for Party in the Patch.

The Manager then sent an email to Kye, reminding him of his initial correspondence from January 20 to which he had not received a response. (Kye had also apologised to the Manager during the above mentioned phone conversation for not responding until the phone call).

The Manager mentioned the Party in the Patch website and advised of issues with a number of aspects of the planned event including:
- It is located in a Green Wedge Zone (which seeks to protect and enhance biodiversity and agriculture), and the event would be a prohibited use
- The event would be a commercial venture because of a fee to be charged for car parking entry, making it a prohibited use in a Green Wedge Zone
- Food would be sold at the party which requires approval from Council’s Health Department involving a host of compliance requirements relating to hygiene and food safety responsibility.

- Approval from Council's Health Department would also apply to the proposed market where "$100 gets you a site and power" where food sales was intended
- The event’s website states "Everything you see at the party is built from scratch ", there are stringent building controls relating to the siting and construction of stages, marquees and rigs, again relating to public safety
- Traffic management issues.

The Manager stated in his email Council’s responsibility in terms of community risk and public safety, and that Council’s Executive Officer Environment and
Planning Compliance would be writing to the land owners of the proposed location to outline these concerns.

9 March 2011
1:26pm Kye left a phone message for me.

10 March 2011
10:15am I returned Kye's call to his messagebank. I did not receive any further voice messages or sms's from Kye.
6:42pm Kye sent me an email, claiming he's attempted to contact me (however only one voice message was received by my messagebank) among many other things.

11 March 2011
I replied to Kye's email at 1:08pm saying I'd catch up with him at local radio station 3MDR that afternoon and advised I'd send a more detailed response "in the very near future".

15 March 2011
I emailed our planners, youth services and Kye to facilitate a meeting, as offered on 3MDR. I'm yet to hear back from Kye.

16 March 2011
I sent an email to Kye offering to match the PITP donation to the Kallista/The Patch CFA of $2,000, as confirmed by Kye on last week's Hills Hoist radio show on 3MDR. I've also asked the fine presenters of the Hills Hoist if it is okay with them to come back on the show with Kye and make the presentation to the CFA.

"Samantha Dunn to The Hills Hoist via facebook
Hi there Hoisters, I thought as a goodwill gesture I'd match Kye Garrett's $2,000 donation to the Kallista/The Patch CFA from Party in the Patch previous fund raising events with ward funding to the same value. I know Kye mentioned on last week's show that the brigade would still receive the funds raised from PITP which is a wonderful gesture. I thought it would be great if myself and Kye could present our respective cheques to a brigade representative on an upcoming and always fabulous Hills Hoist show?"

I'm yet to hear back from the Hills Hoist presenters (it's a bit too early), but I stand by this offer as a goodwill gesture to the event organisers and the CFA.


It's been confirmed to me today (18 March) that the actual donation to the Kallista/The Patch CFA from PITP is $200 (10% of $2,000), of course I'm still willing to match this funding as a show of goodwill and myself and Kye will be presenting our respective donations to the Kallista/The Patch CFA next week.

The Hills Hoist declined the invitation for the presentation to be on their show.

Where to from here
I'm as disappointed as Kye that this event cannot continue, however I must point out that the use of the proposed venue for such a festival is prohibited due to the fact it is located in a Green Wedge Zone and Kye knew this in May last year. There is no opportunity or discretion for me to change the strict provisions of the Green Wedge Zone.

I fully support and encourage community events, particularly events for young people and look forward to our future discussions.

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monbulk soccer - come and have a look

A second community information session for the proposed Monbulk Regional Soccer facility will be held at the Monbulk Living and Learning Centre (the new hub) on Tuesday 22nd March.

Landscape master plans will be displayed so community members can get a better idea of what is being proposed on site.

People will also have the chance to give feedback to council on the proposal - we want to hear what you think.

Here I am celebrating with the Monbulk Rangers Soccer Club. The Monbulk Rangers are one of the fastest growing, largest clubs in Melbourne. Junior and women's participation is off the scales, it's great for soccer but we need facilities to cater for soccer's popularity.

The proposed Soccer facility will feature a pavillion, three full size synthetic pitches and one full sized grass pitch, a training pitch, lighting, car parking and an access road.

Council has allocated $4million towards stage one of the project. At it's meeting on the 22nd February, 2011 council noted a report on the project, you can read more here. The federal government has also allocated $2million to the project.

Soccer has grown exponentially in the region and proper facilities are well overdue. The local club has over 600 members and fields over 40 teams, putting great pressure on existing grounds which haven't been built to sustain these levels of use.

If you're interested in learning more you can visit the Monbulk Living and Learning Centre (21 Main Rd, Monbulk) from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Tuesday 22nd March.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

samantha in the press - environment

Should Yarra Ranges parks be open to tourism?
Leader Newspapers
by Alex Munro
15 March 2011

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samantha in the press - waste

Cash in
Mail Newspapers
by Russell Bennett
15 March 2011

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samantha in the press - roads

Long wait on road
Mail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
15 March 2011

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samantha in the press - planning

Restaurant to stay
Mail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
15 March 2011

No Party in The Patch
Mail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
15 March 2011

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Monday, March 14, 2011

a fence or two

It's terrific to see work starting on the replacement fencing in Belgrave. The push for a new fence was made some time ago by traders and community, after consultation it's great to see work starting on a new fence for the Belgrave Township.

Work on the fence is starting at the "Earthly Pleasures" end of town and will take around 14 weeks to complete.
The fence is the same style as the fence at the Belgrave Town Park and will be far more attractive than the current pool fencing that's been part of the town for many years. The current fence is past its use by date with some sections requiring constant repair.

The new look will enhance the look of Belgrave and be a great addition to the streetscape.

Children can play safer at Belgrave Lake Park now with a fence around the playground.

A fence has also gone up around the playground at Belgrave Lake Park. The fence has been installed in response to complaints from concerned parents about dogs roaming off leash through the playground. Belgrave Lake Park does have a dog's off leash area but also includes a playground, fitness park and basketball practice area.

On some occasions dogs have wandered into the playground area and parents were concerned about their children's safety. A fence around the playground ensures children can play safely without fear of dogs.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

container deposit legislation - yarra ranges wants it

report from the roundtable - 8 mar

At this week's meeting I moved a motion to show Yarra Ranges support of Container Deposit Legislation to both the State and Federal governments.

I became aware that legislation for Container Deposit Legislation will be introduced to the federal parliament to consider the introduction of a national Container Deposit scheme. I'm also aware that Container Deposit Legislation will be re-introduced into the State parliament now there's been a change of government.

I thought it was important the both tiers of government know that the Shire of Yarra Ranges wants to see this legislation in place.

Yarra Ranges has long supported a deposit system for drink containers. We are abundantly aware of the rubbish in our environment, mostly drink containers, and this particularly takes prominence after Clean Up Australia Day.

In Yarra Ranges 15% of recyclable material still ends up as landfill, an incentive based system like a Container Deposit scheme would have an enormous impact on recycling rates.

It's worked in South Australia for years, it can work in Victoria too.

I'm pleased to report that councillors voted unanimously to support the motion (note: Cr Templer absent).

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

selbyfest coming soon

The program for SelbyFest 2011 is nearing completion. SelbyFest 2011 will have a focus of green awareness and a local sustainability focus.

Being held at Selby Community House in the heart of the Selby bush, organisers want to promote local community interest and awareness in looking after our local environment.

Wherever possible they'd like to encourage stallholders and groups who "Think Global, Act Local" to connect us into Australia's move to greater sustainability. If you're interested in participating, holding an activity or demonstration, having a stall then SelbyFest 2011 would like to hear from you.

You can find SelbyFest
2011 on

or email

SelbyFest 2011 will be held on Saturday 16th April from 11am to 11pm, with the official opening at the Selby All Saints Church Annual Art Show of Friday 15th April.

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party in the patch

Organisers of Party in the Patch cancelled this event earlier in the week. I know there's a lot people who are disappointed but I'd like to clear up a few misconceptions floating around in cyberspace.

I fully support and encourage community events, particularly events for young people. However they need to be well organised so people's health and safety are properly looked after.

The size and nature of this year's Party in the Patch event raised some significant concerns in relation to community safety and public facilites. As advertised on the PITP website, the organiser was planning to charge an entry fee, offer market stalls and sell food. This makes the event a commercial event, which then becomes subject to a number of both state and local regulations.

We (myself and officers at the Shire) contacted the organisers back in January to discuss some of these issues however we heard nothing until this week, at which point they decided to cancel the event.

The idea for PITP 2011 that was pitched to me, a private party and non commercial venture, is far from the large scale event that was planned however I'd be keen to work with the organisers in the future to try and bring a youth event to the hills because I know how important it is to provide local opportunities for performers and their audience.

for more background info on pitp see this later blog entry

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

container deposit legislation, how long do we have to wait?

It's good to hear the Senator Scott Ludlum has drafted legislation to introduce a national container deposit scheme. The legislation aims to put a 10cent value on beverage containers that would otherwise end up in landfill or our environment.

As thousands of people across the country participated in Clean Up Australia Day activities last weekend, beverage containers continued to be a large part of what was collected by volunteers. A deposit system would go a long way to getting this waste out of our environment and into the recycling stream. Recent reports show that 94% of Victorians support a container deposit scheme.

The Shire of Yarra Ranges has long supported a Container Deposit scheme, first resolving to support it back in February, 2008. Our support led me to present to the Senate Inquiry into the Management of Australia's Waste Streams where we highlighted to Senators the importance of a mandatory broad based container/packaging recovery scheme.

At the moment the only thing standing in the way of a national container deposit scheme is the federal government. The new parliamentary secretary for sustainability and waste, Senator Don Farrell has responsibility for this issue. If you're keen to see this issue progressed then write to Senator Farrell to ask him to stop delaying the scheme.

South Australia has had a very successful scheme in place for over 30 years, putting much money into the pockets of community groups across the state whilst they have far greater recycling rates than other states with no scheme. The Northern Territory has just introduced its own scheme. It's time for the country to have a national based container deposit scheme.

There are so many benefits to a beverage container deposit scheme, less litter in the environment, more money in the pockets of community groups, higher recycling rates and less need for raw products as there's greater availability of recycled materials.

If you'd like to see a national container deposit scheme be sure to write to Senator Don Farrell and let him know.

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samantha in the press - wildlife

Finish it off, Monbulk Creek Fishers
Leader Newspapers
by Kimberley Seedy
9 Mar 2011

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

international womens day turns 100

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of International Women's Day, a global day connecting women around the world to inspire them to reach their full potential.

The day celebrates the achievements of women politically, socially and economically around the world. In 1893, New Zealand women were the first in the world to gain the right to vote in a national election. Australian women had to wait to 1903 where women first voted in the second federal election.

Prior to gaining the right to vote women were often depicted as weak, too emotional and incapable of decision making. Given the current scrutiny of women leaders, their wardrobe, their hair, their emotional state I wonder how far we have come.

There has been a lot of progress but there is still much to be done. It is hard to believe that in 2011 women do not get equal pay for equal work. In local government only 20% of women are represented in management roles, 5% of CEOs or Directors are women and less than 30% of councillors are women.

The Shire of Yarra Ranges has been a keen participant in the Local Government Women's Charter Project, a project to assist councils to adopt the Victorian Local Government Women's Charter. Last year I was nominated as "Charter Champion", to advocate for the charter's implementation and to encourage participation by councillors, officers and community in local events.

Yarra Ranges has made great progress implementing our charter. We've established a Women in Local Government Working Group, held the immensely successful Women's Panel Be Inspired event in November, 2010, the event was so successful that we're planning another one for 2011.

Most recently we held an online Women in Local Democracy (WILD) forum, which included 268 site visitors, 65 comments and 38 downloads, including the Women's Charter.

This survey is from our recent WILD Forum.

We're also in the process of developing a Promoting Respectful Relationships forum and exploring plans to host a pre election workshop for women before the 2012 council elections.

International Women's Day is a great day to celebrate the wonderful contribution by women to our community at every level.

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

borthwick park - in the swing

Borthwick Park, in Belgrave (next to the Belgrave Pool), has just has a major refurbishment of its play equipment.

Made possible through the Shire's Playground Replacement and Upgrade funding, new play equipment, along with park furniture and minor landscaping has been installed at the park.

It was smiles all round from kids at the park today, enjoying the new climbing frame, rock climbing wall, slides and swings to name a few.

Families were happily enjoying the new equipment which is aimed at younger children.

I am committed to ensuring that the Shire continues to have good quality places for our children to play, the early years are very important and playing in the park is an important part of development.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

vce creative showcase

It was wonderful to be able to launch the VCE Creative Showcase at Burrinja this week.

Here I am with the student artists from the region. I was impressed by the range of works on show, the talent these young artists display augers well for the future of arts.

The showcase, in its fourth year, features art from 46 students across 17 schools in the Shire of Yarra Ranges.
Every year the exhibition has grown to the point that this time round the exhibition is taking place in three venues across the Shire. Burrinja in Upwey, the Mooroolbark Centre in Mooroolbark and the Upper Yarra Arts Centre in Warburton.

The event is a colloboration between the Shire and the Bendigo Bank and its Community Bank Enterprise and features emerging artists from the Yarra Ranges VCE year 2010.

There's some wonderful work, in a variety of mediums, highlighting the depth and breadth of artistic talent of young people in the Shire. It's great to be able to support our young artists, it's a wonderful exhibtion, well worth a visit.

The VCE Creative Showcase at Burrinja features artists from Mater Christi College, Mountain District Christian School, St Josephs College, Upwey High School, Belgrave Heights Christian School and Emerald College.

VCE Creative Showcase is on:
Burrinja - 4th March to 27th March
Mooroolbark Community Centre - 3rd March to 17th March
Upper Yarra Arts Centre - 5th March to 30th March

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

samantha in the press - planning

Restaurant Rules
Mail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
01 March 2011

Super sign-off
Mail Newspapers
by Mara Pattison-Sowden
01 March 2011

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samantha in the press - public transport

Full Steam Ahead
Yarra Ranges Weekly
01 March 2011

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samantha in the press - weeds

Blackberries a blight for Mt Evelyn resident
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
01 March 2011

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

burrinja booming along

Anyone driving past Burrinja will notice a significant change to the site, with works on the new Performing Arts Centre rocketing along.

It was terrific to see comedians Monica Dullard and Dave O'Neill at the Burrinja Cafe this past weekend. It's important to retain a functioning arts venue whilst this major construction is underway.

Still in operation through the building works is the Burrinja Gallery and Cafe so the community can still be treated to wonderful art exhibitions and live performances throughout the construction process.

Still on track to finish in July, the new performing arts centre will provide a wonderful space for the performing arts. The new theatre will be used by regional schools, professional and community theatre, music groups and children's theatre, for performances, rehearsals, workshops, dance, arts, youth arts activities, the list is endless. It also has capacity to be used for seminars and presentations.

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