News

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Local Laws - Have Your Say Now!

10:54PM, Sat 29/05/2021
Local laws determine what people can and can't do in Nillumbik. We are currently reviewing our local laws and this is a huge, exciting opportunity to create regulations that will protect what we love about where we live!

We can't miss this chance!

Our local laws are only reviewed once every ten years. If we miss this chance, we won't get to do this for another ten years!

Click here to make a submission to the local law review.

There is a discussion paper on the council website, which you can respond to but in particular, I'm interested in your answers to the following questions:
  • Do you support restricting the construction of new barbed wire and ringlock fencing to protect wildlife?
  • Do you support requirements for all new fences to have wildlife-friendly features such as gaps at the bottom and visible top wires?
  • Do you support banning single-use plastics from council venues and all council-endorsed events, markets and festivals?
  • Should council have certain designated areas where we prohibit the use of single-use plastics (e.g. by waterways)?
  • Should council create regulations to minimise the impact that lighting on private property has on the circadian rythms of our nocturnal wildlife?
  • Should council restrict the use of carcinogenic herbicides such as glyphosates?
  • Should council regulate the use of pesticides to prevent secondary poisoning (e.g. where a rat is poisoned, an owl eats the rat and then the owl dies)?
  • Remembering that local laws are here to specify what people can't do in Nillumbik, what other local laws should we make to protect what we love about where we live?
Don't wait. Submissions close 2 July. We only get to do this once every ten years!

Make your submission now!

I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

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Small Wins

09:52AM, Sat 24/04/2021
When I started on council, I got a call from a former councillor, who told me in six months’ time, I’d find myself an eight of the way through my council term, having achieved nothing. He was right (almost). The first six months are about learning and finding your way and that’s exactly what Nillumbik’s five new councillors have done. With our mandatory induction training coming to an end and having gained somewhat of an understanding of how things work in council, we’re finally about to move out of this first uphill battle and with the development of our council plan well underway, we can be confident that the things we want to achieve for our community will be on the agenda over the next three and a half years.

However, I wouldn’t say that we’ve achieved nothing. These may be small wins but I can honestly say I’m proud of what we’ve done so far.

Community meetings

Cr Frances Eyre and I held our first community meeting together in Research. Thank you to the Research CFA for being so accommodating and to everyone in the community who came down to have your say. Your input was invaluable and it will all go towards the development of a township plan for Research, which will help put Research’s needs on the agenda going forwards. We are also looking at short-term wins we can make while we wait for the township plan to progress.

My next community meeting will be in North Warrandyte. Stay tuned for details.

Research shops

It’s been great to see some landscaping works at Research Shops. This will be the first in a long list of improvements to the shopping strip, with the toilet block soon to be upgraded too. Once we have a township plan in Research, we will have a solid plan for what needs to be done to make the shopping strip into the vibrant community centre that Research deserves.

Youth council

As Nillumbik’s youngest ever councillor, it was an honour to be involved in the first meeting of the Nillumbik Youth Council. The Youth Council will help develop our Youth Strategy and will also help advocate for the needs of young people in our community. Congratulations to our new youth mayor, Fieke van der Kamp and our new youth deputy mayor, Jack Linehan.

Fill dumping

We love our Green Wedge and this council is committed to protecting it. That’s why we’re introducing new regulations to limit fill dumping in Green Wedge areas. After Amendment C131 passes, you will need a permit to dump more than 100 cubic metres of fill on any property. Have your say here.

Nillumbik’s Artbeat

We’re currently accepting community input on our Arts and Culture Strategy, which will soon be up for review. Make a submission online or come to one of the focus group sessions we’re holding across Nillumbik. Find out more and have your say here.

Wildlife-friendly Fencing

Fencing can have a devastating impact on wildlife. That’s why our local law review will be investigating ways to regulate fencing to protect our precious wildlife. New regulations will not be retrospective. This means existing fencing can stay but any new fencing will need to meet certain standards. This may include banning or restricting the use of barbed wire and ringlock fencing, controls on fencing height, gaps in fencing to allow wildlife through and materials to make fencing more visible to wildlife. We still need to do more research and consultation on this but when we’re done, this exciting move will save lives. Stay tuned to have your say.

In addition to regulating new fencing, I’ve heard suggestions about providing incentives for people to replace or upgrade existing fencing as well as fact sheets to help people understand the impact that fencing can have. This can’t be covered in our local laws but can form part of our wildlife protection strategy down the track.

Roads

I’ve been approached by residents about a whole range of road issues from truck crashes to speed limits to rat runs to school crossings to dangerous intersections right across Sugarloaf Ward, including North Warrandyte, Research, Kangaroo Ground, Smiths Gully and St Andrews. While Council has some control over local roads, a lot of these issues can only be addressed by the Department of Transport.

I’m in the process of arranging a meeting with the Department of Transport so I can raise our traffic issues with them and ask for action. I’ll be discussing the list of issues with Nillumbik’s Director of Operations and Infrastructure on Tuesday so we can decide the best way to discuss these with the Department of Transport to give us the best chance of success.

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Sugarloaf Reservoir Solar Farm - What do you think?

08:52PM, Sat 06/03/2021
On Friday 5 March 2021, Melbourne Water began advertising plans to build a solar farm on the spit of land at the north of Sugarloaf Reservoir. This is at the opposite side of the reservoir to the popular Saddle Dam Picnic Area.

The solar farm will fully power the Winneke Treatment Plant located at the opposite side of the reservoir.

The works will mean removing approximately 289 trees, however "over 85% of trees on the site are either small trees, short-lived species and/or in poor condition."1

With the world in a state of Climate Emergency, it's vital that we transition to renewable energy as quickly as possible but is this the right way to do it?

While the project won't see the removal of many significant trees, there will still be tree removal and a small piece of scenery will be changed forever.

I want to know what you think. This project will significantly reduce the emissions from our water supply but is it worth it and is this the right way to go about it? Or, should we be asking for more? Should we work with Melbourne Water to install more solar panels on the site to provide cheap, clean energy to nearby landowners?

This is your chance to have your say. Please get in touch to let me know your thoughts.

For more information or to make a formal submission or objection, click here.

References
  1. Tree Logic Pty Ltd. Arboricultural Assessment and Report 40 Simpson Road, Christmas HIlls. 2021. Available from: https://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Planning-and-building/Planning-application-of-significant-interest
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A Steep Learning Curve

10:56PM, Sun 21/02/2021
Well, it's been three months since the new group of councillors started. For the five new councillors, it's been an uphill battle to learn the ins and outs of being a councillor while staying on top of all the reading and long meetings. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm settling in. We've got some exciting projects on the way and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them.

Now that things are settling down, it's time to get back to connecting with my community. With a wide range of important work ahead of us, now is the time for us to be actively listening to what people want and need in Nillumbik so I'm very excited to be writing my first community newsletter. Please hit the signup button at the bottom of the page to sign up for email updates.

What's happening?

Have Your Say

The Our People, Our Place, Our Future consultation is open now. This consultation will inform a wide range of council plans, including our four-year strategic plan and our long-term community vision. It's crucial that you have your say on what you want your community to look like going forward. Please fill out the survey at https://participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/our-future.

I'll also be arranging community meetings across Sugarloaf Ward in the coming months. Please keep an eye out for a meeting in your area so you can come along and have your say on what you want to see me working towards over the next four years.

Kangaroo Ground War Memorial Park and Tower

Last year, Nillumbik Council began the process of creating a masterplan for Kangaroo Ground Tower. This was a welcome initiative until we learned that the plan proposed huge changes to the tower complex including tearing down the Moor-rul viewing platform and the firespotter's cabin. The community said no.

Now is our opportunity to turn this around. Because of the excessive and needless scope of the proposal, the masterplan has become prohibitively expensive. Writing it alone would cost tens of thousands and to actually follow what's suggested would cost millions. I am working on reviewing the scope of the plan to make it cheaper and more appropriate so we can end up with a plan that will protect and preserve our precious war memorial tower.

Climate Change Action Plan

Council recently conducted a survey to inform the development of our Climate Change Action Plan. The survey results have been very interesting. We've learned that people want to take a range of actions to reduce their emissions including by installing solar panels on their roofs and installing better insulation and window sealing but we also learned that people face a number of barriers including the cost and time involved in making changes. Knowing this means we can put in place measures to help people overcome these barriers so everyone has a chance to move to cheaper, cleaner power.

The survey also told us that concern about climate change is high across Nillumbik and the majority of our community is keen for Council to meet or exceed the emissions targets set by the State Government.

Next financial year, Council's insurance premiums are expected to increase by $150,000 due to increased extreme weather events, which are a direct result of Climate Change. This is a problem that's costing us money - Council and ratepayers.

I've been putting together a long list of initiatives that can be covered in our Climate Change Action Plan, with a big focus on cost-effective measures and even some measures that could reduce emissions and make money at the same time. I can't wait for the next round of community consultation on the plan.

Road Safety

The recent incident on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road where a car ended up on its roof is a sobering reminder of the dangers we face on our roads. I'm in the process of reaching out to the Department of Transport to find out what we can do to keep residents safe. I hope to be able to arrange a community meeting with the department so they can hear from our community about what we want to see them doing in our area.

Research Toilet Block

The toilet block by the Research shoppoing strip is in a horrible condition. Thanks to funding from the Federal Government, we could be getting a fancy new toilet block in Research by the end of the year. Stay tuned to have your say on the location and design of the new toilets. I hope this will be the first step in a long list of projects to make the Research shops a more welcoming, vibrant place.

Warrandyte to North Warrandyte - A Pedestrian Bridge

I've recently met with Manningham councillors about the possibility of constructing a pedestrian bridge between Warrandyte and North Warrandyte. Depending on the location of the bridge, this could create an easily walkable and cyclable route for North Warrandyte residents to get to school, to the shops or just to go for a walk. If we can get this off the ground, it will be a long way off but it's an exciting project and I can't wait to see the outcome.

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