Wednesday, October 31, 2012

belgrave south community house, active as ever

Lyn Young, BSCH Manager, Cr Samantha Dunn and
Chairperson Heather Zethof at this years AGM.
I had the privilege of chairing the Belgrave South Community House Annual General Meeting this week.

A vibrant place to be, it was wonderful to hear about all the happenings of the house over the past year.

The house has been active in a range of areas and they never cease to amaze in terms of their willingness to take on new challenges. 

Changes to their Occasional Child Care program now mean that families can access the Child Care Benefit making the program more attractive. The change to approved care also means that the house can receive funding which goes a way to replace the Take a Break funding which was cut by state and federal governments last year. 

The house continues its strong program of adult education as well as offering hobby classes, health and fitness programs, out of hours school care and a range of community development activities. 

I'm always impressed by their range of Disability Services, including Sailability at Lysterfield Lake, Fun 'n' Fitness - a specific exercise class for people with a disability, the Extend Program which focuses on a range of skills development, in home support, the Gardening Group and not to mention the annual celebration of International Day of People with Disabilities which I'm proud to support with funding from my community ward fund.

They are supported by a small core of staff as well as a committed group of volunteers, I congratulate them in their efforts, they are part of the social fabric of the area and continue to reach out and provide vital support to community.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

samantha in the press

Should Yarra Ranges Council fight Maccas win?
Free Press Leader
by Emily Webb and Kimberley Seedy
30 October 2012

Mac attack impasse
Mail Newspapers
by Mara Pattison-Sowden
30 October 2012


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end of the line is coming

Mark Saturday 24 November 2012 - 10am till late in your diary
The END OF THE LINE Festival is planned to be a celebration of place, space, sound and “art” in some of the hidden and lesser known spaces of Belgrave.
Scores of locals have already come forward offering to exhibit, perform, help organise events and stage workshops in the rarely seen nooks and crannies of this iconic hills town.
It’s an event all about the celebration of “art” and fun.

I've been pleased to be able to support the END OF THE LINE Festival through my community ward fund. END OF THE LINE is a wonderful way to recognise and support arts and artists in our community, this is a very creative region and the festival is away of bringing community and artists together in a celebration of creativity and community spirit.

There'll be plenty more announcements on performers, stalls, venues and events soon. Check this animation by Nick Simpson here.

For more info on how you can get involved, volunteer or make a donation to the Festival visit END OF THE LINE.

END OF THE LINE Festival organisers, Limerence’s Brent & CJ Dakis, have been busy helping co-ordinate the idea into existence. Organised totally by volunteers, the END OF THE LINE Festival is an all-ages, not for profit, free, community event.

END OF THE LINE is supported by Belgrave Community Arts Partnership, Belgrave Library, Belgrave Traders Association, Burrinja Cultural Centre, Cameo Cinemas, Cr Samantha Dunn, Limerence, Orchestrated Noise, Seagull Press, Shire of Yarra Ranges, Sign X, Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group, 3MDR FM and the Tiffaney Bishop Collective.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

thank you

An enormous thank you to the people of Lyster for having the confidence in me to represent you for a third term as ward councillor for Lyster. 

I am humbled by your support and assure you I will continue to be a strong and supportive voice for the people of Lyster.

I am looking forward to the next four years in local government. There are still many challenges, especially protecting the townships of the Dandenong Ranges against inappropriate development. I will continue to work to make Lyster and the Yarra Ranges an even better place to live.

VEC Result:
DUNN, Samantha4590 58.93%
Election victory looms
Herald Sun
by John Masanauskas
28 October 2012

The wall

Vic Greens

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Friday, October 26, 2012

lucky last day

There is never a dull week in local government and this week has been no exception with one issue overshadowing all others in the Lyster Ward.
Today is my last day as the Lyster Ward Councillor for this term. It has been a great four years and my thanks must go to all those people in the community who have been overwhelmingly supportive of me and what I have tried to achieve on behalf of the people of Lyster and the Shire of Yarra Ranges. There have been so many well wishers and I feel most humbled by your best wishes and kind words.

I must also thank my colleagues, for without their support no councillor can achieve what they set out to do, after all I am only 1 vote in 9. Whatever happens on Election Day I know I have done the best I possibly could for our community over the last four years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
Authorised by S Dunn, 1/377 Lt Bourke St, Melbourne 3000.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

samantha in the press - planning

Maccas Tecoma battle would have been 'too expensive'
The Age
by Adam Cooper
25 October 2012

'Gutless' Yarra Ranges Council rejects pleas to go to the Supreme Court to fight a mountain McDonalds restaurant
Herald Sun
by Emily Webb
24 October 2012

McDonalds avoids court challenge over Tecoma plan
The Age
by Adam Cooper
24 October 2012

Anger boils over as council rejects Tecoma Maccas fight
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
24 October 2012

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

appeal a no go

report from the roundtable – 23 oct

The last meeting of council for this term of councillors turned out to be a much bigger event than the agenda conveyed. The gallery was packed with community members from the Dandenong Ranges (in my reckoning 200 plus), there to urge council to support a Supreme Court appeal in relation to the McDonalds VCAT decision.

In support of the Dandenong Ranges community push for council to lodge a Supreme Court appeal I moved an urgent motion for council to lodge an appeal in relation to the VCAT decision P3933/2011 McDonalds v Yarra Ranges Shire Council and others.

My first challenge was for the motion to be considered urgent, and there was a great deal of urgency around it. This would be the only opportunity for council to hear the matter given the tight timelines around lodging an appeal (it’s due by 6 November).

Contrary to reports on social media, there is no window for a new council to consider the matter. Councillors only become councillors after the statutory meeting on 7 November. Councillors do not have the power to change the date of this meeting. So the meeting last night was the only practical opportunity to raise the issue.

Councillors agreed to hear the motion, which meant I didn’t have to attempt to call a special council meeting for later this week.

In speaking to the motion I talked about the contentious nature of this application, it has broken every record in Yarra Ranges, 1090 objections, 670 attending the council meeting, 320 objectors at VCAT, to me this defines it as the most contentious planning application in Yarra Ranges history. I recalled to councillors that we refused the application unanimously, based on 15 different grounds.

I reminded councillors of our role, to represent the community and we would be doing the community a disservice by not lodging an appeal. I also reminded councillors of the oath we took, “to undertake duties in the best interests of the people”. If the people resoundingly say no, then we should be saying no too.

In summing up I assured councillors that the intent of this motion was in accordance with the Local Government Act and was within the provisions of the caretaker period. I went on to say that the gallery (some 200 plus people) was a small slice of the community and that for every 1 person who was for McDonalds there were 100 against.

We supported the community when we heard the application and refused it unanimously, we need to support them now. With that I urged councillors to support the motion.

Disappointingly the motion was lost, the votes, 3 for and 6 against.
Cr’s Dunn, Cliff and McRae
Cr’s Warren, Cox, Templer, Avery, Higgins and Heenan

I know the Dandenong Ranges community, you will continue the fight and I’ll be there fighting with you.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

school focused youth services, it needs to continue

At the last meeting of the Municipal Association of Victoria I was nominated to represent the Yarra Ranges Council.

I was pleased to be able to represent council as I had to speak to a matter very dear to my heart, the School Focused Youth Services program. Yarra Ranges had put a motion to MAV members to support advocacy to retain the service. I'm pleased that 97% of MAV members supported the motion.

First established in 1997, the School Focused Youth Service (SFYS) is an initiative that supports primary and secondary students in effective prevention and early intervention for vulnerable 10 - 18 year olds.

Of concern is the announcment that the future of the SFYS program beyond June 2013 will be dependent on the outcome of a review of services funded to support vulnerable children.

In the east the SFYS has been particularly effective to address:
- Making a positive transition from primary to secondary school
- Reducing bullying/cyber bullying and improving cyber safety
- Improving emotional health, well being and self esteem
- Building positive school cultures through restorative practices and relationship building
- Improving self discipline, anger management, building leadership skills
- Promoting community volunteering and inter generational/cultural connection
- Improving relationship and health choices associated with adolescence
- Providing mentoring
- Improving cultural understanding and communication skills
- Improving the inclusion of students with disabilites
- Providing information for parents.

In 2011/12 a total of 9,100 young people took part in 91 different SYFS funded programs.

The state government has advised that funding for SFYS beyond the current extension to June 2013 is subject to review. To date there has been minimal opportunity for dialogue in relation to this and no published timetable or further information about the review, casting doubt on the future of the program.

The SFYS relies entirely on state governent funding to operate and will cease if such funding is withdrawn. As a preventative program its loss will create higher costs to other state departments and agencies.

Let's hope that the state government heeds the calls to commit to the future of the program by providing long term funding agreements for local government and other SFYS providers. To do any less will be a great disservice to our young people. 

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Monday, October 22, 2012

samantha in the press - planning

Council eyes Supreme Court over McDonald's stoush
The Age
by Adam Cooper
22 October 2012

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urgent business

At tomorrow nights council meeting (23/10/12) I will be raising an urgent motion for council to consider lodging a Supreme Court appeal in relation to the VCAT decision P3933/2011 McDonalds v Yarra Ranges Shire Council and others.

Any urgent motion is considered in item 9 on the agenda “Councillor Motions”, this is after council have heard the other business items on the agenda.

As it is an “urgent motion”, I first need to seek leave for the motion to be heard at all, this needs the majority support of councillors.

If I get permission I’ll be asking council to support an appeal to the Supreme Court.

If I can’t get leave for that motion, I will again seek leave for another urgent motion to call a special meeting of the new council (this also requires the majority support of councillors).

If I get permission on that one I’ll be moving a motion to support the call for a special meeting of the new council to consider lodging a Supreme Court appeal.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

southern dandenongs community nursery agm

It was terrific to attend the Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery AGM this month and preside over their elections. I'm always impressed by the passion and commitment of our community and for those involved in the nursery their passion definitely hasn't waned.

Alex Maisey was guest speaker for the SDCN AGM,
his knowledge on the habits of Shebrooke Forest's
Lyrebirds is impressive and people were impressed
by not only Alex's knowledge but some of the forest
footage he's captured on sensor cameras.
Pictured left to right: Alex Maisey, Cr Samantha Dunn and
SDCN President Garrique Pergl.
I was amazed at the breadth of activities the nursery has undertaken in the last 12 months. The rains of the last year have made for some of the best seed collection in a long time. The nursery continues to supply Yarra Ranges, Casey, Cardinia and Melbourne Water with indigenous plants and has provided plants to rehabilitate the habitat corridor along the Monbulk Creek.
I was delighted to be invited by SDCN President
Garrique Pergl to plant a Hakea to mark the
SDCN AGM for 2012.
The revegetated corridor creates an important link between the Dandenong Ranges National Park and Lysterfield Park and provides habitat for some of our threatened species including Yellow Bellied Gliders, Wedge Tail Eagles, Powerful Owls and Platypus. Over the last 12 years, 45,000 plants have been planted along the creek corridor - a truly impressive effort.

The nursery have been participating in a DPI biological trial to eradicate boneseed and are supplying Kangaroo Apple to Monash University, as they contain a chemical compound that may be a cure for eye cancer.

They've also been doing a lot of work on the nursery itself and developing an online presence through the internet and facebook.

The list of partnerships is impressive and the nursery continues to support Friends of groups, schools, Monash Uni, DPI, residents, councils, Melbourne Water Stream Frontage Program, bushland contractors and South East Water.

I congratulate the ongoing efforts of the committee and the volunteers, you do a great job supplying indigenous plants and our environment and native animals are all the better for it.

I'm pleased to report the committee for 2012/2013 are:
President: Garrique Pergl
Secretary: Ian Rainbow
Treasurer: Rhonda Adams
General members:
Anton Pergl
Kerry Furnell
Paul Birch
Robert Pergl
Leslie King
Anne Elizabeth
Michael Butler

Congratulations to you all.

If you'd like to visit the Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery, they are located at Birdsland next to the Education Centre (right at the end of the vehicle track) and are open:
Tuesday - 9 AM to 4:30 PM
Friday - 9 AM to 1 PM
Sunday - 9 AM to 12 Noon 

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

samantha in the press - planning

Sit in at proposed McDonalds site
The Age
by Adam Cooper
18 October 2012

Have your say: Take it away Maccas
Leader Newspapers
by Kimberley Seedy
17 October 2012

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

chocker block children's week

This painting was given to me by the children
of Tecoma PreSchool, I'm always delighted
by the creativity of children and Children's
Week is a great way to explore new things with
your children.

Yarra Ranges has organised a great range of activities and events to celebrate Children’s Week, 2012 running from 20 – 28 October. There’s a wide range of music and free play based interactive and stimulating activities across the Shire and because it’s the National Year of Reading there’s also an array of reading activities. 

You can visit:
  • Heritage Open Day at Gulf Station where families can discover our region’s past.
  • Burrinja Open Day will include performances, workshops, talks in the Art of Indigenous Garden and photography for teenagers.
  • Yarra Glen Day, hosting story telling, puppet shows and music group where children will join in singing, dancing and learning musical instruments.
  • Upper Yarra Family Centre Open Day with The Gumboot Gang Playgroup, Playgroup Victoria and Play Australia with puppet shows, music group and guest appearance by Bookaburra.
  • Sing me a story, sharing stories and music at Belgrave Library
  • Protecting kids online hosting a Cyber safety session at Montrose (to coincide with
  • Community Safety Month).
  • Drawing and Story time, with guest appearance Katz Cowley reading The Wonky Donkey, the Fidgety Itch and Willbee the Bumblebee at Healesville Community Garden.
  • Teddy Bears Picnic at Lilydale Lake with stories, songs and fun with the Mountain
  • Musician.
  • Dandenong Ranges Music Council at Sherbrooke Family and Children’s Centre including reading, music and face painting.
  • Spring Festival at Mt Evelyn Primary School.
  • Week long activities at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum where children will learn the art of texture rubbing, play-doh and magic lanterns and participate in activity trails and costume dress-ups. Thursday will host a performance by Koo Wee Kapers (a $2 fee is payable for this activity).

This year’s program is the largest ever and has involved the collaboration of many organisations including Eastern Regional Libraries, Burrinja, Dandenong Ranges Music Council, Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, Morrisons, Healesville Community Garden, Yarra Valley Community Health, Gulf Station, Mt Evelyn Primary School and highlights the potential of working with organisations to get a great program for children.

If you’d like a copy of the program click here.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

where to from here

These indigenous plants were donated by the Southern
Dandenongs Community Nursery.
I attended the community action in Tecoma today, more than 500 people attended, coming together to protest the VCAT decision to allow McDonalds to go ahead in Tecoma. What an enormous response from the community, it doesn't surprise me, the Dandenong Ranges people are passionate about the area.

There's plenty of pics of the day across many social media sites and the No Maccas in the Hills webpage, as well as news coverage of the day.

I have asked the Shire's legal team to review the VCAT decision to see if there's any avenue to appeal through the Supreme Court, I'm still awaiting the outcome of that.

The VCAT decision can only be appealed at the Supreme Court on a question of law, not because there's disagreement with the decision. So it's about seeing if the law has been followed, it's not about the merits of the decision.

I'll keep you posted as I get advice back.

A consistent conversation throughout the day was the flaws with a planning system that allows objectors to participate but then discounts those objections when it comes to appeal at VCAT. As I've said already the decision paid scant regard to community concerns and the concessions to the community are what I'd describe as "window dressing".

The resolve of people to continue the fight was inspiring and I'll be there supporting them.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

want higher ed in lilydale? then it’s time to act

There’s a push by key prominent people in the community as well as the Shire of Yarra Ranges to see the Swinburne site in Lilydale continue to be used for education.

A recent community forum saw 200 people come together concerned about access to ongoing higher education for the outer east. Their vision is for a Yarra Valley Education Precinct.

Yarra Ranges Council has been seeking interest from potential education providers with the aim of continuing the delivery of tertiary education and skills training. Part of council’s work includes finalising a masterplan for the site which envisages cultural and community uses to complement the core educational use.

8 Things you can do
The need is apparent, the reason the site was sought in the first place was due to the low retention rates in the outer east, to encourage students to further their studies and provide local employers with a skilled workforce.

The Education Precinct needs a lot of support, not only from council or a small group of organisers, this is a whole of community effort to make sure we keep higher education available in Lilydale.

10 Key things
Forum organisers came up with a nifty list of 8 Things you can do to support further educational opportunities in Yarra Ranges and 10 Key Points for the ongoing provision of a Yarra Valley Education Precinct in Lilydale.

There you’ll find hints on who to speak to, what to say and why it’s important.

And in the broader TAFE4ALL campaign, there’s a short video competition so you can tell everyone why TAFE is awesome. TAFE4ALL are looking for 2–3 minute videos that illustrate the value of TAFE for students and the community.

To find out more you can download a poster here or visit TAFE4All for full details, including terms and conditions. Deadline for entries is October 29.

Win from a total prize pool of $2000. One Victorian TAFE student will also be selected to undertake a two-week internship in Madman's Entertainment's DVD authoring department.

Entrants can submit a short video in any category on the theme "Why TAFE is Awesome". Let your friends and family know that this is a great — and creative — way to support TAFE.

So don’t hold back, time to act, we need to keep higher ed in Lilydale.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

community battle continues

Community outrage continues as word gets out about VCAT approving a 24hr McDonalds for Tecoma. The passion and energy of the community to continue to fight this decision does not surprise me. It is characteristic of the people of the Dandenong Ranges. Our connection to place is deep seated and our sense of community strong. The community are not going to take this lying down.

So far there’s two online petitions going

In an act of reclaiming the space, the community have organised Reclaim Tecoma from McDonalds – Community Garden planting, you can find out more on facebook.

The tribunal decision makes for disappointing reading (you can read a copy here). When I read the 56 pages, it seemed I was at a different hearing to the Tribunal Members. They have paid scant regard to the 320 written objections to VCAT or to the 30 community submitters at the hearing.

The residents live and breathe Tecoma, they know what it’s like to traverse Burwood Highway, they understand the character of the area, their intrinsic understanding of place has been utterly ignored.

There’s been no recognition of the built form issues, we’ll still be getting a boxy, blocky, bulky building out of character with the Tecoma Village. The traffic issues raised fell on deaf ears as tribunal members accepted that a McDonalds would only generate 1 extra car in the Burwood Hwy traffic queue and the issue of ‘rat running’ through local streets has been disregarded all together. The context of the Tecoma township has not been taken into account at all, highlighting the bluntness of the planning scheme when interpreted in it’s most basic form.

Reading the permit conditions makes for gloomy reading. In terms of built form the only concessions were tokenistic with the roof now to be a subdued and non-reflective material and colour, the ‘blades’ on the north and the canopy to be muted tones, a timber treatment on the blank wall to the west and the use of local stone for the vertical column (blade signage) rather than stacked stone out the front. The canopy along Burwood Highway is to be reduced to a width on no more than 3m and be painted in subdued brown, green or ochre colour(s).

As a concession to residences to the west a 2.7m high transparent timber screen has been included to mimimise the visability of the Customer Ordering Devices. The bicycle parking will now need to be separated in an enclosure under the building not stuck up the back of the loading dock where they were in the original plans.

Minor tinkering with signage includes the deletion of the flagpoles and banner, one thank you sign, a small wall sign at the front and either the deletion of another thankyou sign or welcome sign and the replacement of a wall sign that was 3.87m x .45m with one that measures .93m x .77m. The enormous 5.25m wide sign at the rear has not been changed through permit conditions, however will be required to be turned off between 10pm and 7am.

In terms of the landscaping, the planter boxes to the front are to be reduced in extent and height. If the Liquid Ambar gets removed a suitable replacement native tree is to be planted, the trees originally planned to line the drive through, White Cedars, are to be replaced with a species of tall slender native canopy trees.

Lighting will need to achieve the recommendations of the “Dark Surrounds Residential Areas” (part of Aust Standards 4282-1997) for the dwellings at 85,87 and 89 Sandells Rd and baffling required to limit views to external lighting in the car park and drive through for residential areas to the north and west of the site.

The permit conditions include a clause on the preparation of a Litter Management Plan which among other things means the McDonalds will need signage within the restaurant and adjacent to the drive through food collection booths advising patrons that they are within the scenic Dandenongs and encouraging patrons to not litter public areas and road side reserves. They’ll also be required to conduct a litter patrol each day that the premises are open for trading to the public within a 200 metre radius of the site to collect and dispose of any litter emanating from the site. 

Deliveries can’t take place between the hours of 10pm and 7am, a small concession to nearby residential areas.

Another permit condition includes the construction of left and right turning lanes in Sandells Rd which will see the centre line of Sandells Rd moved closer to the angled carparking near DVD Destination therefore narrowing the northbound lane of Sandells Rd. This will create a very interesting dynamic when someone is pulled up to turn right into Burwood Hwy from Sandells Rd and a bus turns right from McNicol, on to Burwood Hwy and attempts to turn left into Sandells Rd as submissions provided to the Tribunal indicate that a narrowed Sandells Rd means buses will have to cross the centre line to make the turn and if there’s a car waiting to turn right into Burwood Hwy, the bus wont be able to make the turn.

Pedestrians will now have a marked crossing point at the rear of the building and the conditions require details of pedestrian safety measures in the northbound aisle of the carriageway to Burwood Hwy adjacent to the loading bay (this is the ‘entry’ way from Burwood Hwy). There’s also conditions that are subject to the consent of adjacent landowners that there be details of the provision, cost and maintenance of car parking and traffic management measures including speed control devices, directional signage, car parking information and restrictions including any signs designating car parking areas for particular premises between identified times. This is to cover off on McDonalds traffic management, car parking and signage on other people’s land but those landowners must consent if it’s to happen.

The conditions provide the framework of how the plans and construction are undertaken. It’s sobering to see so few concessions to community or councillor concerns. But rest assured I will stand united with the community in what is the third round of this battle.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

maccas gets green light in tecoma

I was bitterly disappointed to hear that VCAT had approved McDonalds for Tecoma. Of all the issues I have ever dealt with in the Lyster Ward in my 7 years, this was the one that had more interest and concern above all others.

Community members have consistently raised this issue with me, I know as they learn the news of the VCAT decision they will feel a deep sense of loss, be angry and frustrated by the process. I think it is a disastrous outcome for Tecoma, particularly for the nearby primary school and those who live close to the site.

We won round 1, we’ve lost round 2, but let's not let them win round 3.

I’ve read the decision made by the Tribunal, it seems that all of the issues raised by council and community have gone unheeded in the final outcome for the site.

The tribunal said (in para 36) “We are satisfied that this proposal is generally consistent with the entirety of the State and local planning policy framework. We find that it complies with the following specific policy directions:
- The development before us is a modest sized convenience restaurant located in a Business 1 Zone and within an established activity centre.
- It is to be located within the ‘urban corridor’ between Ferntree Gully and Belgrave identified in the policy framework rather than the rural areas.
- It will contribute to the range of services available within an established activity centre. It will also contribute to the consolidation of established centres. It will provide convenience services to both local residents and visitors to the area.
-  It would not contribute to ribbon development along major highways, or propose a standalone restaurant within an area of scenic beauty.
- It will enable some synergies to arise with other businesses in Tecoma (and the wider region) that would be to their mutual benefit, hence supporting economic outcomes identified in clause 17.
- It would provide employment opportunities for local people, particularly young people.
It would provide a new building of modern contemporary design.”

The tribunal went on to say (para 198) “We are satisfied that many of the problems raised in submissions are not so significant that they cannot be managed through permit conditions and final design solutions. We are satisfied that Burwood Highway will operate satisfactorily. The car park, loading bay and pedestrian access will be designed to be acceptable. The concerns that are relevant to development (as distinct from use) are not fatal to this proposal. In fact this development has only two sensitive residential interfaces and any possible adverse impacts can be minimised through landscaping, acoustic fencing and limits on signage and illumination.”

I haven’t had time to go through the permit conditions, but will update you as soon as I can.

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dark day for tecoma

In news just to hand VCAT have handed down their decision to approve McDonalds in Tecoma. This is a very disappointing outcome and I believe it is a disastrous outcome for Tecoma. 

I've had a cursory look at the decision, it seems the tribunal have paid little regard to community concerns but I'll upload a more detailed analysis soon.

Green Light for Tecoma McDonalds
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
10 October 2012

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belgrave pool starts with a splash

It’s getting closer to summer and that means the Belgrave Pool is re-open for business. It’s a beautiful setting and a great place to exercise or relax. To kick off the season 2012, pool manager Belgravia are offering Boot Camp, Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you’re interested you can email

The pool opened on Monday 8th October from 6am to 9am and 4pm to 7:30pm (hours will change in school holidays).

I’m pleased to announce that council will be upgrading the change facilities at the pool early next year. It’s been a project I’ve long fought for and well overdue. Once this year’s swim season is over the change rooms will be revamped and a new disabled carpark will be established making it easy for people with mobility issues to access the site. I’ve been working with the team at council to make sure we get a great outcome. With this refurbishment and the brand spanking new pools currently being constructed in Monbulk the Lyster Ward will have some great pool facilities into the future.

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Monday, October 08, 2012

inspiro, inspiring health

In a first for me, I've never unveiled a sign before, it was terrific
to welcome Inspiro to Belgrave.

I was delighted to be invited to unveil the new name and sign at Ranges Community Health in Belgrave.

Ranges Community Health provide our community with very important health services and are a great model of community based health care.

Back in 2011 Ranges Community Health undertook research to better understand community needs and what the community thinks about the service. One of the key results was there was confusion about the service as people thought they were part of the Yarra Ranges Council.

In response to the survey, which covered off on many topics, Ranges Community Health rebranded themselves into Inspiro.

The new name aims to inspire health and wellbeing in the community and establish the organisation as a leader in health provision.

The organisation’s mission and values are impressive and actively promote innovation and people being active in managing their health and wellbeing as well as focussing on effective relationships with service providers.

Inspiro provide important wholistic health services to the community and prioritise access for disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community.

I congratulate Inspiro, I’ve had many positive comments from your new brand and friendly logo.

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Saturday, October 06, 2012

reverberation makes waves

Cr Samantha Dunn and Reverberation Festival
Director, Kathleen Snowball. Kathleen's
passion for the arts and our local community
is terrific. I'm glad I can support Reverberation
with a grant from my community ward fund.

Reverberation Hills Culture Festival is coming to the hills soon. Reverberation was conceived by a local resident’s passion and love for the Dandenong Ranges community, Kathleen Snowball.

Kathleen’s passion is link traders and community through the arts by holding a culture festival in Belgrave. Reverberation will be held at Ruby’s Lounge in Belgrave on the 20th of October 2012 from 2pm. The festival provides a snap shot into a world of arts delights that the Hills has to offer, showcasing some of the most talented local artists, musicians, crafters, writers, actors, comedians, performers and people.

I’m proud to support Reverberation with a grant from my community ward fund. Kathleen’s vision is a great fit for Belgrave and the festival will assist our local economy as well as provide a platform for a plethora of hills based artists.

If you want to know more visit the festival website here and click here for the latest event updates on facebook.

What: Reverberation Hills Culture Festival
Where: Ruby’s Lounge – 1648 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave
When: Doors open at 2pm
Cost:$20 book tickets here
Featuring: Fats Wah Wah, Lily and King (Album Launch), Ebony King and Band, Ben Kelly, The Snowball Effect, Luna and Belle, The Prairie Kings, Singers in the Round, Spoken Word, Art Gallery and a Twilight Market.

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Friday, October 05, 2012

let me keep working for you

It’s been my privilege to serve the people of the Lyster Ward in the Yarra Ranges as your current councillor.

Living in the Dandenongs comes with its challenges and as a resident for over 20 years I’m familiar with the issues we face.

I’ve worked hard to win funding for our community, major projects like the Sherbrooke Family and Children’s Centre and the Monbulk Pool redevelopment and the myriad of smaller projects that improve community assets and liveability for all of us.

I’m a strong and successful voice for improved public transport, weed eradication, investment in the early years, better library services, economic development, responding to climate change, with a sensible and pragmatic approach to environmental management.

But there’s more work that needs to be done and I want to keep working for you. I’m keen to build on my achievements and continue to encourage appropriate development for the hills.

I offer sensible, balanced decision making and stand for transparent, hard working, cooperative grass roots democracy.

If you’d like to help my campaign you can donate here. All donations cheerfully received and are tax deductible.

Ballot papers will be in your letterbox soon, so I ask for your vote to let me keep working for you.

authorised by S Dunn, 1/377 Lt Bourke St, Melbourne 3000

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Thursday, October 04, 2012

container deposit takes a step up

I was delighted to learn that COAG has decided to progress a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement to consider the introduction of a Container Deposit System (CDS). I have long advocated for Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) through both the state and federal governments. Yarra Ranges Council first supported  CDL in February, 2008.

The Decision Regulatory Impact Statement will explore the benefits of a CDS, long championed in Yarra Ranges. At the moment it is ratepayers and our volunteers who bear the brunt and cost of litter created by people discarding their beverage containers into our environment. A CDS would see a value put on this rubbish and also provide opportunities for community groups to earn an income from other people’s rubbish.

I hope that the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement process includes proper public consultation and a full and transparent submission process. For too long we have waited for a CDS, something that’s been in place for decades in South Australia. It would certainly make Yarra Ranges roadsides and waterways much cleaner.

For more information and background on Container Deposit support:
message in a bottle - june 2012
presentation to standing committee on environment and planning legislation committee - november 2011
submission supporting the environment protection amendment bill - october 2011
submission management of australia's waste streams to senate standing committee on environment - july 2008

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

belgrave south masterplan gets the tick

Inspecting the Belgrave South Recreation Reserve after a
re-seeding in 2009. It will be great to see the masterplan
progress, this is such a well loved and used reserve.
At last week's council meeting, council unanimously endorsed the Belgrave South Master Plan. It was a great step in what has been an extensive journey.

The masterplan was the formalisation of the community effort to determine the next steps for the improvement and enhancements at the Belgrave South Recreation Reserve.

This reserve is much loved by the community, in fact 83% of community members who responded to council's survey had recently used the reserve. What was really pleasing to see was the amount of passive recreation use there, so many more people use the reserve for walking and playing rather than organised sport.  

Some of the key recommendations include:

  • Upgrading the current sporting facilities including the expansion of the size of the oval to meet senior club dimensions
  • Consolidating club rooms and change room facilities into a new integrated facility
  • Upgrading the playing surface, lighting and drainage for the netball courts
  • Developing the reserve as part of a network of open space with better linkages on site and off site trail connections
  • Improving the functionality of the internal road network and carparking
  • Upgrading the playground and barbeque area
  • Developing better landscapes and path network within the site

The masterplan provides a robust strategic framework to pitch to other tiers of government to access funding and also provides a basis for works to be referred to the Shire's Capital Works program.

I thank the community members for their efforts, there's no doubting they are passionate about their reserve. I look forward to seeing the masterplan come to fruition in the future.

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