Tuesday, May 31, 2011
samantha in the press - libraries
samantha in the press - reconciliation
Friday, May 27, 2011
lets walk the mile, lets reconcile
It was wonderful to celebrate the start of Reconcilation Week with a luncheon in Healesville. An annual event on the calendar, it's wonderful to catch up with community members and elders.
Pictured left to right: Top Row; Cr Len Cox - Deputy Mayor, Cr Samantha Dunn - Lyster Ward, Garry Detez - Yarra Ranges Indigenous Liaison Officer & Peter Ruzyla - CEO of Each, Bottom Row; Andrew Peters - Lecturer in Indigenous Studies at Swinburne, Aunty Dot Peters, Cr Terry Avery - Mayor and Robyn White - Chair, Yarra Ranges Indigenous Advisory Committee.
Speakers on the day included Aunty Dot Peters, Andrew Peters and Peter Ruzyla (CEO of EACH). All of them compelling, challenging the notion of reconciliation and identity.
Yarra Ranges is proud to acknowledge our indigenous heritage and work positively with our indigenous community in many ways.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
erl, puffing billy and literacy
It was terrific to see a packed Puffing Billy full of children celebrating Library Week.
The "Story Train" celebrates the benefits of books with a trip from Belgrave to Emerald Lake where children on board enjoyed a range of activities centred around reading.
The program is part of the Shire of Yarra Ranges Early Literacy Project and is supported by the wonderful staff at the Eastern Regional Library Corporation.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
samantha in the press - homelessness
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
tagging on public assets
Ever wondered who you should call to report tagging on public buildings or assets, this list might assist.
Australia Post - 13 7678
Melbourne Water - 13 1722
Metro Trains - 1800 696 876
Shire of Yarra Ranges - 1300 368 333
SPAusnet - 1300 36
Telstra - 13 2200
Victorian Government - 1300 366 356
(there's a number of different government departments but the operator will help you get through to the right one)
Yarra Valley Water - 13 2762
Monday, May 23, 2011
samantha in the press - budget
calling all artists
If you'd like to enter a piece into the Belgrave CFA Annual Art Show contact Ted Heron on 9754 3943 for an entry form. It's a great way to get your work exhibited and you might even pick up a prize.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
council told to lift reflex ban
Readers will recall that at the council meeting on the 27th April, I moved the Ethical Paper Pledge motion which was supported by a majority vote of council. Council has since gone on to sign the pledge which is a public statement of commitment not to purchase paper with native forest content.
The signing of this pledge and it's implications has since been highlighted in an article in the Herald Sun.
Council told to lift ban on Reflex paper or lose new jobs
by Anne Wright
21 May 2011
In response Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Terry Avery issued this statement:
Ethical Paper Pledge
"Council's procurement policy supports sustainability, protection of the environment, corporate social responsibility and local community needs. We purchase copy paper in line with the procurement policy, it requires that paper is made in Australia to minimise 'paper miles' and our carbon footprint.
The paper Yarra Ranges purchases contains 80% recycled fibre and 20% plantation timber fibre, it contains no native forest content from any country.
Australian Paper supplies almost 100% of Council's paper and their Australian (TM) product line was chosen on its environmental credentials and alignment with our sustainable procurement commitments.
We purchase paper in accordance with the Ethical Paper Pledge and encourage other authorities to do likewise. We feel strongly that the pledge is an accurate reflection of our commitment to sustainability, protection of the environment, corporate social responsibility and local community needs as outlined in the procurement policy."
Relocation of VicForests' corporate offices
"Council is supportive in principle of a proposal to relocate the VicForests corporate headquarters to the Yarra Glen/Healesville area. As part of this approach, the CEO of Yarra Ranges Council has had meetings with Minister Walsh and the VicForests CEO to advance the project.
Such a partnership would demonstrate the commitment of State Government and Council to expand local employment bases, promote working closer to home, deliver recurrent operational savings and stimulate the local economy in areas directly affected by the February 2009 bushfires.
We are disappointed that Minister Walsh has chosen to establish a direct link between the two unrelated issues.
We certainly remain open to discussing the opportunities to partner with the State Government to relocate VicForests' corporate headquarters to Yarra Ranges."
Saturday, May 21, 2011
open studios coming soon - 28 & 29 may
The group exhibition for the Dandenong Ranges Open Studio opened this week at Burrinja. It was a terrific night and a great way to showcase all the artists involved in this year's open studios.
It was wonderful to catch up with local artists and chat all things art in the Dandenongs. Open Studios is on next weekend, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May across the Dandenong Ranges. Local artists open up their studios and welcome visitors across the two days.
Joy Serwylo does amazingly intricate work, this year's works feature rusted cars and torn encyclopaedias in a new body of work called "relics". Joy's studio is well worth a visit.
Kirsten Laken is a very well known and loved glass artist. Working with a variety ot techniques, Kirsten uses hot and cold glass, stain painting, fusing and slumping. She pushes the boundary of glass art and always has an extraordinary breadth of work. A must for this year is checking out the solar panelled chook shed with self opening doors!
CJ Baxter and Brent Dakis are newcomers to Open Studios, operating Limerence in Belgrave, they are both committed to Australian made and local art. CJ, under the label Twisted Fig, creates unique clothing and accessories from reclaimed fabrics whilst Brent creates amazingly unique jewellery from found objects under the label Depths of the Never Never. They have created a wonderful space at Limerence in Belgrave, it's well worth having a look.
If you'd like an Open Studio's catalogue click here.
Can't make up your mind who to see? Perhaps a quick visit to Burrinja for a bit of a preview will help.
Friday, May 20, 2011
drers need your help
Earlier this week I visited the Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service to talk about a whole range of issues. I am always inspired by the people who bring this service to disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community. They are committed to assisting people and volunteer countless hours doing so.
Pictured left to right: Eddie - Volunteer, Tania Bevan - DRERS Manager, Cr Samantha Dunn - Lyster Ward and Bob - Volunteer in front of one of the DRERS pantry food storage areas.
DRERS are currently fundraising to purchase a van to assist with their food collections from the Victorian Food Bank. At the moment staff and volunteers are using their own vehicles but there's severe limitations due to the size of their cars and issues around insurance.
I'd urge any of you with some spare funds to contribute to DRERS. DRERS will also be fundraising as part of the Belgrave Lantern Parade, be sure to look out for them.
If you'd like to contribute send your donation to:
Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service Inc
1632 Burwood Highway
Belgrave VIC 3160
or call them on 9754 7777.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
belgrave heights planting extravaganza
It was terrific to join with the students of Belgrave Heights Christian School, Southern Dandenongs Landcare, Melbourne Water and the Shire of Yarra Ranges in a major planting of the riparian area of Monbulk Creek. The project is part of the Melbourne Water Stream Frontages program.
Belgrave Heights Christian School shares it's boundary with a substantial amount of the waterway and has been working to improve the environment in this area. Highly degraded and covered in weeds the site has had a major transformation.
Led by passionate Environmental Science teacher, Colleen Peele, students from all levels (except the Year 11 & 12's who have exams) came out and helped with the planting. They planted an exceptional 2,300 plants, of which 1,500 were grasses, shrubs and trees on the Apsley Road side of the creek and 800 shrubs and trees on the school side of the creek.
Students had a great time planting, staking and bagging and I have a sneaking suspicion that the younger ones enjoyed the mud too. I look forward to returning to see how the new plantings thrive in this area.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
samantha in the press - budget
samantha in the press - libraries
lantern festival getting closer
Preparations are well and truly underway for the 2011 Lantern Parade in Belgrave. A wonderful community event, it goes to from strength to strength every year.
In it's fifth year, this year's theme is celebrating cultural diversity. It's a wonderful community event, you can make a lantern and march in the parade or enjoy watching this breathtaking beautiful event as it wends its way down Burwood Highway in Belgrave.
A number of lantern making workshops are underway, if you'd like to create your own masterpiece for the parade or touch up a lantern from past years, you can attend a workshop being held at a number of local venues around the region.
Saturday 21 May: Belgrave Library 10am to 1pm
Sunday 29 May: Selby Community House 1pm to 4pm
Tuesday 31 May: Ferntree Gully Library 5pm
Saturday 4 June: Belgrave Library 10am to 1pm
Saturday 4 June: Kallista Community House 1pm to 4pm
Friday 10 June: Ferntree Gully Library 10am
Sunday 12 June: Belgrave Library 1pm to 4pm
Saturday 18 June: Belgrave Library 10am to 1pm
Bookings are essential for all workshops - group bookings available too, call 9753 6234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It costs $10 for a bamboo lantern or $5 for a decoupage or asian style lantern.
If you can't make a workshop but would like some instructions on how to make a lantern click here.
The lantern parade will run on the evening of Saturday 18th June, watch this space for more details as they come to hand. I look forward to seeing you there, to enjoy one of the highlight annual events for the hills.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
samantha in the press - public transport
happenings at the belgrave library - may
There's a couple of great events coming up at the Belgrave Library in May, 2011.
First up there's Creative Cupcakes with chef, Stephen Wilson. Being held on Wednesday 25th May at 11am, Stephen will delight participants with a delicious demonstration of cupcake decorating. Come along, enjoy a cuppa and learn the finer art of cupcake decorating. Your gold coin donation to participate as well as funds raised from a Giant Cupcake Raffle will be donated to the Cancer Council as part of a fundraiser for Australia's Biggest Morning Tea.
Bookings are essential, call 9754 7266 or book online.
On Thursday 26th May, 12:30pm, Toni Jordan visits the library for their regular event, the Literary Lunch. Toni's first book Addition was published to critical acclaim and the publication rights have been sold around the world. Her second book Fall Girl has received similar positive responses. This will be a great event, at a cost of $10, which includes lunch.
Booking are essential for this one, call 9754 7266 or book online here.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
open studios about to open their doors
It's that time of year again when the wonderful artists of the Dandenong Ranges throw open their doors for Open Studios. This year's event proves to be yet another spectacular visual delight.
This year's theme is Naked Beast - Where the Wild Things Are, artists have combined their efforts for a joint exhibition of works at Burrinja, which opens on Friday 20th May at 6:30pm and runs through to June 26th.
Dandenong Ranges Open Studios weekend runs over the weekend of the 28th & 29th May features 30 local artists across the Dandenongs. It includes artists across a range of mediums including painters, potters, wood carvers, digital artists and even a digeridoo maker. Open Studios is an eclectic event with something for everyone. Its a wonderful day trip to a region that is looking stunning against a backdrop of tall eucalypts and the colour of autumn leaves.
If you'd like a catalogue of the Open Studios artists for 2011 click here. I look forward to crossing paths with you at one of the many artist studios on the trail.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
yarra ranges regional museum opens its doors
It was terrific to be part of the opening of the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, which officially opened on Saturday 14th May in Lilydale.
The museum, over 20 years in the making since its inception is a wonderful addition to the Shire of Yarra Ranges community.
It was wonderful to listen to Wurrundjeri Senior Elder, Aunty Joy, do the welcome to country. The museum features the history of Coranderrk Aboriginal Station (located in Healesville) and stories of the Aboriginal struggle for rights, led by William Barak.
The museum features a number of exhibitions, Connections - Stories People Place, an exhibition that tells the story of the Yarra Ranges region, the connections and relationships between people, the environment and the histories we share.
DigiTALES is the museum's first temporary exhibition, featuring personal images stories and objects for the region from 1950 through to the present. Visitors can also check out the digital photobooth, a modern day version of the photobooth it proved to be very popular.
The museum was jointly funded by all three tiers of government and a hefty contribution of $480,000 raised by the local community, a testament to the dedication of the local community to see this project delivered.
It's a terrific facility, the cafe is operated by the wonderful Healesville Hotel, renowned for their use of local and fresh produce. I encourage you to go for a visit, you can find them at 35 Castella Street, Lilydale.
If you'd like to know more you can call 9294 6313, email email@example.com or click online here. You can also find the museum on facebook or follow them on twitter.
Friday, May 13, 2011
algwa visits ballarat
It was wonderful to join with colleagues from across the state under the banner of the Australian Local Government Women's Association Victorian Branch in Ballarat.
The presidential trio, here I am (Cr Samantha Dunn - VLGA President) pictured with MAV President Cr Bill McArthur and Kate Lempriere - ALGWA Victorian Branch President.
ALGWA was first formed in 1951, in 1952 Cr Violet P Lambert of the Shire of Ferntree Gully was one of the founding members of the Victorian committee of ALGWA.
The Shire of Ferntree Gully, preceeded the Shire of Sherbrooke and the now Shire of Yarra Ranges. I have long admired Cr Lambert, dedicated to her community she served as a local councillor for a hefty 31 years. She was instrumental in ensuring maternal child health services in the region as well as water security by developing Belgrave Reservoir (now Belgrave Lake).
ALGWA provides a great opportunity for women in local government to get together and talk about the wide range of issues women face in the sector. They are committed to furthering women's knowledge, understanding and participation in the function of local government and actively support women to become involved in their communities and key decision making at a local government level.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
draft budget released for comment
report from the roundtable - 10 may
This week's council meeting had to consider our draft budget for 2011/12. Many meetings and much work have gone into the development of this draft and this council meeting was to approve it's content for public exhibition and ask for public comment and submissions.
There's a range of things that influence and impact on the budget. Council is acutely aware of the pressures created by the need to maintain and renew our Shire's ageing infrastructure in a municipality that has very little growth in its rate base due to the low levels of development.
Our population continues to age, placing and increasing demand on direct care service provision, whilst the capping of many fees by the state government means that council is unable to recover the cost of many services it provides particularly in the planning and building area.
Every year we see continued cost shifting and the burden of increasing legislative obligations by state government and two examples that come to mind include funding of our libraries where ratepayers pick up more and more of the costs and the cost imposition of Neighbourhood Safer Places.
Increases in the landfill levy, imposed by state goverment had a surprise additional increase on the original known increase of $10 per tonne, in last week's state budget councils learnt that the $40 per tonne charge was to be increased to $44 per tonne (for metro). There had been no prior warning, no ability for the Yarra Ranges budget to reflect the charges.
I am supportive of a landfill levy and its purpose to implement strategies to reduce waste going to landfill, however I am disappointed that the money contributed by Yarra Ranges residents doesn't flow back to the Shire for local waste reduction initiatives.
There's some terrific initiatives in the budget, a beefed up allocation going towards drainage improvements and maintenance as well as an extensive capital works program.
I think its a responsible budget, that meets the demands of service provision and infrastructure challenges whilst setting up a solid long term financial plan.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the budget for public exhibition.
If you'd like to read the budget or submit comments click here for more information.
housing strategy, another step closer
report from the roundtable - 10 may
At this weeks meeting councillors had to consider Planning Scheme Amendment C97. C97 puts into effect Council's adopted Housing Strategy and Neighbourhood Character Study using a series of different planning controls which address sub-division, building height, site coverage, vegetation protection and design criteria. It also defines residential land in the shire into areas of consolidation (higher density), incremental change (infill development) and least change (no change or low density).
There has been extensive public consultation around C97, it affects around 39,000 households in the shire and yet the shire only received 150 submissions. Some of the submissions sent to council are not supported by council so we are obligated to request the Minister of Planning appoint and independent Planning Panel to review the submissions.
As a result of submissions Council has endorsed some changes to the proposed planning controls including greater vegetation controls in Mount Evelyn and changes regarding subdivisions in court locations, these as well as others will from part of council's submission to the Planning Panel.
It's been a long process, one that started well before I was elected to council, but its good to be inching closer and closer to seeing the Shire's Housing Strategy and Neighbourhood Character Study being incorporated into the Yarra Ranges planning scheme.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
samantha in the press - planning
affordable housing - a serious concern for local government
The impacts of the lack of affordable housing options for renters and buyers, affecting a widening demographic in local communities is of growing concern to local governments, according to a survey and forum conducted by the Victorian Local Governance Association - VLGA (of which I'm president).
The survey and forum show that housing affordability for home buyers is only one dimension of the rapidly growing housing crisis.
The lack of community and social housing is also affecting the most vulnerable members of local communities. Better cooperation between the three tiers of government is a logical way to make a difference.
Key findings of the survey indicate that there is an emerging housing crisis in rural and regional areas, coupled with a lack of resources within local government for developing appropriate strategic responses. The survey also underscores the recent finding that Melbourne is now the least affordable city for residential housing in the country.
A key measure requiring the attention of the new State Government is the need to change state planning laws, so that at the very least, local governments and developers can enter into voluntary affordable housing agreements without fear of being overruled by VCAT.
The VLGA also calls on the State Government to resource a significant increase in the capacity of local government to develop and implement local affordable housing strategies.
This should not be done as a cost shift from other levels of government, who have most of the tools and powers to really make a difference. It is more cost effective for all tiers of government to work together to improve partnerships and cooperation. A first step should be the collation of reliable local data highlighting affordable housing needs across the state. Once the data is collated specific local strategies for increasing the supply and diversity of affordable housing can be developed.
The VLGA will continue to profile the importance of affordable and diverse housing, it plays a key role in underpinning sustainable and engaged communities.
If you'd like to know more about the VLGA's work on Affordable Housing visit this link. The VLGA's forum on the issue is available via webcast and can be viewed here.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
samantha in the press - cdl
samantha in the press - public transport
anti obesity intervention coming soon
Breast feeding for at least six months has been shown to provide health benefits for Mother and baby and has been proven to reduce the risk of obesity in children.
A lactation clinic, in association with Eastern Health Maternity Services, will soon be based at the Monbulk Living and Learning Centre in the Maternal Child Health area. The clinic will support women and provide positive intervention with breastfeeding issues before they impact on the mother/baby relationship and prior to the mother potentially deciding to wean her baby to formula.
Up until now mothers wanting to access this service have had to travel to the Angliss Hospital in Upper Ferntree Gully, it's terrific to be able to offer this service to Mothers in the hills and provide Mothers with support locally.
Monday, May 09, 2011
kallista community house still going strong
It was terrific to attend the Kallista Community House AGM last week. It's always great to visit local community houses and see the diversity of activities and services available for community members and Kallista Community House is no exception.
Kathy Cann, long time house supporter, past house manager and current house committee member and Cr Samantha Dunn checking out the diversity of courses on offer at Kallista Community House.
It's been another good year for the house, despite the gloomy financial outlook of the GFC. The house has continued to offer a diverse range of classes including photography, painting and drawing, singing, cooking, health and fitness, first aid and computer classes.
The house also continued to provide Childcare, one of their staples whilst Playgroup has been very popular too with a second day added to the program.
I thanked the house for their ongoing efforts, particularly the wonderful community market, Kallista Community Market, a terrific example of community engagement providing locals with a chance to relax and chat in a beautiful setting. I also thanked the committee and volunteers that make it all happen, they contribute greatly to our community and the social fabric of the area and are to be commended.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
say no to mcdonalds - meeting held in tecoma
Late last week I attended the Say No to McDonalds public meeting held by TVAG. I was there to talk about the planning process and how the community can participate in this statutory process.
The meeting was well attended, with over 200 community members coming along on a frosty Friday night. I advised people that council were yet to receive an application from McDonalds.
I went on to talk about the statutory planning process which starts once McDonalds lodges an application.
Once council receives an application planners will determine if any additional information is required and if so request further details from the applicant. The application will also be forwarded to the Shire's internal departments (Environment, Engineering, etc) and to external bodies too, such as VicRoads, to seek their opinions on the application.
The application will be advertised both on site (with a permit application notification sign) and via letters, it is at this point when submissions should be forwarded to council. I encouraged those community who wish to object to ensure that they included a copy of their objection to all councillors, it's important that all Yarra Ranges councillors understand the issue and concerns of locals.
I also talked about the three types of objections council usually receives, individually written letters, form letters and petitions and explained that an individually written letter carries more weight in the eyes of a councillor than a form letter or petition.
I advised community members that their objections must be based on planning matters rather than any ideological reasons for objection to McDonalds and that likely areas to concentrate on could be traffic, amenity, neighbourhood character, built form, hours of operation and residential interface.
The planners will make an assessment of the submissions and consider the responses by the applicant to these.
Once all referrals are returned (both internal and external) the planners will make an assessment of the application.
In my view it is likely that the application will be heard by council as the trigger is more than 6 objections and given the enormous turn out at this first meeting I think it's a safe bet that there'll be more than 6 objections heading to council.
The planner as part of their assessment will prepare a report for council which will include a recommendation which will either be to approve or refuse the application. Council will then decide at a public council meeting whether to approve or refuse the application.
It is also my view that this application is likely to end up at VCAT, regardless of whether the application is refused or approved.
For those unfamiliar with the planning process it can seem very bureaucratic but I hope this advice assists the community to engage fully in this important statutory process.
samantha in the press - vlga
US-inspired elections planned for Victorian mayoral vote
Sunday Herald Sun
by Hamish Heard
8 May 2011
Saturday, May 07, 2011
free e-waste collection across melbourne
The Metropolitan Waste Management Group is organising a Melbourne wide free e-waste collection on the weekend of 14-15 May, 2011.
All items accepted for collection will be dismantled and their components sent for recycling. This is your chance to get rid of computer equipment, home office equipment, mobile phones, electronic games or entertainment equipment including televisions, VCRs, DVD players, cameras, etc.
There is a limit of 20 items per person per day.
Details for the E-Waste collection in Yarra Ranges:
When: Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May between 9am and 4pm
Where: Council Operation Centre, Nelson Rd, Lilydale
For more info click here.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
etc welcomes public transport initiatives
ETC WELCOMES PUBLIC TRANSPORT INITIATIVES
The Eastern Transport Coalition has welcomed the announcement of feasibility studies for Rowville and Doncaster rail networks as part of the State Budget 2011.
The feasibility studies will examine a range of issues related to the projects, including construction, operation, land use and potential environmental impacts.
ETC Chairperson councillor Samantha Dunn said the funding announcement was a great win for public transport and commuters in the east and outer east.
"The community has been crying out for these missing links in our rail network, so it’s good to see that these well overdue projects are back on the table," Cr Dunn said.
"It is important that the government consults broadly and extensively to capture the needs of commuters and the business community, and the ETC looks forward to assisting the government in their consultative process," she said.
"The economic and environmental benefits of an extended rail network in the east of Melbourne are enormous.
"As coalition of seven municipalities in the east of Melbourne, the ETC has an extensive knowledge of our local communities and can provide important local knowledge to the consultation on the feasibility studies."
Cr Dunn said the ETC also welcomed the attention and focus on grade separations.
"Traffic congestion around rail crossings has a real impact on the road system and also impacts on the ability for train services to run more frequently," she said.
"We’re glad that the government has recognised that Rooks Road in Mitcham and Springvale Road in Springvale need priority attention."
Cr Dunn said while the feasibility studies were a welcome budget announcement, it was disappointing that the Upwey station hadn’t been included for a premium upgrade.
"An upgrade to a fully staffed station would have been of great benefit to local commuters," she said.
"It seems the only improvement we can expect in Yarra Ranges is the focus on grade separations on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines, and although welcome, this falls well short of community expectations."
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
samantha in the press - heritage
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
samantha in the press - environment
Monday, May 02, 2011
samantha in the press - environment
Do you agree with Yarra Ranges Council ban of Reflex paper?
by Kimberley Seedy
2 May 2011
Sunday, May 01, 2011
monbulk aquatic club presentation night
It was wonderful to join with local families in the 2011 Monbulk Aquatic Club presentation night.
The awards are a great way to recognise the contribution of past and present swimmers, committee members and the wonderful volunteers that make the club run so smoothly.
I was there to present the Yarra Ranges Perpetual Trophy for the 400mt Freestyle Handicap.
This year's winner, Cooper Bass, loves swimming for the club, he also took out the boys most improved first year swimming perpetual trophy.
The trophy is one of the most hotly contested perpetual trophies with the winner remaining a mystery right up till the awards.
It's terrific to see the enthusiam young people have for the sport. The Monbulk Aquatic Club plays a key role in providing opportunities for young swimmers, there is no doubt they are passionate about their sport and dedicate many volunteer hours to the club and its swimmers.