Thursday, May 31, 2012

making history in belgrave

My congratulations go to the team at BRAG for their tireless work in seeing the Belgrave Self Guided Historical Walking Tour come to fruition.

Cr Samantha Dunn with the BRAG team and the Year 9s
from Sherbrooke Community School outside one of
Belgrave's most iconic heritage buildings, Jorgensen House,
now trading as Earthly Pleasures Organic Cafe.

A project in the making for some years, it was terrific to share the inaugural walk with the Year 9's from Sherbrooke Community School as well as Liz and Ian from BRAG and Elaine from the Southern Sherbrooke Historical Society.

Students learnt about the history of Belgrave and
gained a greater insight into the life in this once
burgeoning township in the heart of the Dandenongs.
This site (the current Puffing Billy Cafe) was the
Tarax Bar, which operated for over 20 years
providing a social place for teenagers of the day.
Funded through a Yarra Ranges Council Community Grant in 2011 as well as funding from the state government and the Belgrave Trader's Association, the team at BRAG have been able to design and install 16 plaques throughout Belgrave, complete with guide, to celebrate and rediscover the history of the town.

Students learnt about our two iconic heritage listed buildings, Jorgensen House (now Earthly Pleasures Cafe) and the Cameo Theatre, still with its original art deco light fittings in cinema 1, as well as numerous other significant sites in Belgrave. There was also plenty of stories about the founding families of the region.

Elaine from the Southern Sherbrooke Historical Society
moved into the area in the 50's. She had some great
insights into how the town had developed with stories
of some of the key characters who played a major
part in the development of Belgrave.
The Self Guided Historical Walking Tour Guide will be available at various outlets in Belgrave as well the Tourist Information Centre in Upper Ferntree Gully. It's a great way to learn more about Belgrave at your own leisurely pace.  

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

samantha in the press - emergency relief

Service now has more in store
Mail Newspapers
by Emma Sun
30 May 2012

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samantha in the press - planning

Tecoma approval given curry
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
30 May 2012

Hot move for curry house
Mail Newspapers
by Emma Sun
30 May 2012

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

samantha in the press - health

Fat food penalty rates
Leader Newspapers
by Kimberley Seedy
29 May 2012

Growing hunger for a healthy diet
Yarra Ranges Weekly
by Claire Thwaites
29 May 2012

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samantha in the press - emergency relief

Food relief comes out of box
Yarra Ranges Weekly
29 May 2012

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samantha in the press - planning

Shire OK's new site for eatery
Yarra Ranges Weekly
by Claire Thwaites
29 May 2012

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saffron gets approval

report from the roundtable - 22 may

At this week's council meeting we considered the Saffron Cottage application for Tecoma.

In its second design iteration, the new plans responded to the site in a way the first set of plans didn't (that application was refused by officers). I had called the application in, as planning officers did not give me the opportunity to back in January.

The development is a good transition between the business and residential zones of Tecoma. It's low scale and is respectful of neighbourhood character in Tecoma. It's certainly a better transition than the current concrete walls that currently abut residential land.

Important to note is that the development will be limited to a 38 seat restaurant with an Operations Site Management Plan which includes a Booking Managment System, which restricts the number of patrons to 15 - 20 at any one time. This has been written into permit conditions so remains attached to the restaurant operations in perpetuity.

Overall the design does not detract from the area and it's management will be tightly controlled by the Operations Site Management Plan.

Councillors voted to approve the application. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

blitzing weeds this weekend

From left to right: Gavin Prentice - Yarra Ranges
Bushland Coordinator for the Southern Dandenongs,
Cr Samantha Dunn - Lyster Ward and Kym Saunders -
Coordinator of the Urban Fringe Weed Management
Initiative, with a skip brimming with wandering trad.
Well done to the team from the Shire who staffed the weed blitz at Monbulk over the weekend. Through some trying weather conditions, residents were still keen to take up the option to 'skip' their weeds.

It was great to see people bring trailer loads of agapanthus and wandering trad to fill the skips out at the Monbulk Reserve.

The trailer loads of weeds didn't stop coming, this load
from Belgrave full of Agapanthus and Wandering Trad.
Although all environmental weeds were part of the blitz, it seemed that wandering trad and agapathus were the order of the day.

The first skip, brimming with environmental weeds
gets taken away.
It's great to know that there's less environmental weeds in our environment and I congratulate those residents who took up the option to 'skip' on one of our more inclement weather days.

Did you know that council offers tip vouchers as part of our "Weed Wipeout" program? If you'd like to know more visit the Shire's website here.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

koha cafe back on the menu

The community came out in droves to support the Koha Cafe fundraiser, held at Wild Thyme in Warburton this weekend.

Cr Samantha Dunn, Suyin Chan of Cafe Koha
and Cr Jeanette McRae, at the Cafe Koha
Fundraiser at Wild Thyme in Warburton.

The fundraiser, organised by Michelle, Kate and Lily, was a great success with organisers reporting a whopping $3,799 raised to help the cafe continue it's operation.

The Yarra Ranges Councillors also contributed to the day, all of us donating funds from our community ward funds, making a total contribution from councillors $1,350. Our Deputy Mayor, Cr Jeanette McRae presented the cheque to Koha Cafe powerhouse, Suyin Chan.

African Dancing was part of the day's entertainment as
part of a terrific line up of local talent to celebrate this
well loved community cafe.

Cafe Koha is a community based project located in Yarra Junction. Anyone can come in and have a meal and pay what they can afford or what they think it's worth. The aim of Cafe Koha is to create community resilience and promote social inclusion. They do a great job and it was clear from the support received on the day, they are a very much loved community enterprise.

Well done to the organisers, you did a great job and have given the cafe much earned breathing space in terms of its operation. 

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

open studios open for business

What a wonderful display of creativity this year's open studio in the Dandenong Ranges is.

Glass artist, Kirsten Laken, from Spirit of Glass (Studio 16) 
and Cr Samantha Dunn. This is Kirsten's wonderful creation
as part of this year's open studio. It's an extraordinary piece
made out of recycled chandeliers and a beautiful piece of
wood sourced locally in Kallista.
On for two days over the weekend of 26 & 27 May and in its ninth year, the event is going from strength to strength.

Cr Samantha Dunn, with the Juet Sculpture team,
Michael Hyett and Martin Judd - Studio 6. Michael
and Martin used reclaimed materials, including steel, iron
copper and stone to make their beautiful garden sculptures.

This weekend artists throw open their studios and encourage visitors to walk through their space, chat to the artists and perhaps buy a piece you like.

Yarra Ranges Council is pleased to support Open Studios through a community cultural grant.

It's not too late to get to see some wonderful art in a beautiful environment. Artists studios will be open again on Sunday(27/5) from 10am to 5pm. If you'd like to know more, visit Open Studios here.

Local artist, Emma Johnson with Cr Samantha Dunn
at the lantern making workshop - Studio 13.
Emma is part of the team behind this year's
Belgrave Lantern Parade, you can make your own
lantern for the parade on the 23rd June, get some
help at a lantern making workshop or purchase
one of these gorgeous butterfly lanterns.

If you're not sure where to head, perhaps start at Burrinja and visit Curves and Corners, the Open Studios group exhibition for a taste of many of the artists in this years event.

You can find Burrinja at 351 Glenfern Rd, Upwey.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

world environment day - 5 june

What will you be doing to mark this year's World Environment Day?

Here's a couple of things happening to mark the day.

Firstly The Wilderness Society are holding:

World Environment Day 2012: Think Outside the City Block
When: 1pm, Tuesday 5 June 2012, Melbourne CBD
Where: Corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets (bottom of Bourke St Mall)

WEDCityBlockthumb.pngHundreds of people will join hands around one of Melbourne CBD’s 1 hectare city blocks on World Environment Day as a measure of the threat to our forests, oceans and wild places from logging and mining.

And for something more local that night...

Transition Sherbrooke & Sherbrooke Community Harvest are coming together to celebrate World Environment Day with a shared dinner and movie screening

When: Tuesday 5th June
Where: The Tin Shed, Belgrave
Details: Shared dinner at 6.30pm, Movie screening at 8pm
Cost: Gold coin donation, bring a plate of food to share

Movie to be chosen on the night!

For more information contact or visit the website

World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.

World Environment Day celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become the one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

Want to know more, click here.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

dandenong ranges open studio - this weekend

It was a great pleasure to officially open the Dandenong Ranges Open Studio group exhibition for 2012.

This is the wonderful team leading the workshops for the Belgrave
Lantern Parade, coming up on the 23rd June. From left to right:
Cr Samantha Dunn, Emma Johnson, Renate Crow and Jane.
What a magnificent job they have done on these powerful owl
lanterns, stunning.
In the Jarmbi Gallery at Burrinja, the works were impressive and a great sample of the works on offer over the Open Studios weekend.

On Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May, artists will throw open their studios to visitors, it's a great way to see some local art, have a chat with the artists and tour the magnificent Dandenong Ranges.

The fine team from the Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief
Service in Belgrave.
From left to right:
Bob, Carol, Tania, Cr Samantha and Fr Frank.
This year 20% of sales from the exhibition will be donated to the Dandenong Ranges Emergency Relief Service. DRERS provide a valuable service to those disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community and this is a great way to support them.

This years Open Studio showcases 33 studios representing over 200 artists and cements our reputation as a place of great inspiration for artists.
Local artist, Roxanne Hull, with her newest creation
Dragon Riders.
Roxanne is a regular at Kallista Market.

If you'd like to download the Open Studios booklet, click here.

Potter, Helena Griffiths, with her volcano installation, very impressive.
Don't forget to stop in to Burrinja too, to see the group exhibition, it's a great way to work out where you might like to head next.

It's a wonderful event, it's great to see it go from strength to strength.

Executive Director of Burrinja, Ross Farnell with artist Tracey Roberts,
Cr Samantha Dunn and artist Roxanne Hull in front of Tracey's work

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samantha in the press - tecoma

Flash clean-up effortMail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
23 May 2012

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no maccas pledge

Those dedicated community campaigners at No Maccas in the Hills are asking people to sign a "pledge".

The pledge is intended to convince McDonalds that the community don't want an outlet in Tecoma.

The No Maccas in the Hills group are asking people to download the pledge, sign it and get others to sign it too.

If you'd like to know more about the pledge, click here, on the No Maccas in the Hills website.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

samantha in the press - vlga

Four more years for Brimbank administrators
Brimbank Leader
by Caitlin Ryan
22 May 2012

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samantha in the press - planning

CFA nod for house
Mail Newspapers
by Emma Sun
22 May 2012

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Monday, May 21, 2012

samantha in the press - early years

Opening puts Upwey children at the centre of attention
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
21 May 2012

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Friday, May 18, 2012

samantha in the press - early years

Sherbrooke Children's Centre finally opened
Yarra Ranges Weekly
by Claire Thwaites
18 May 2012

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

the people of brimbank deserve a vote

The people of Brimbank deserve a vote

The Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) has expressed its concern about a decision by Minister for Local Government, the Hon Jeanette Powell, to introduce legislation next week to extend the Administration of the Brimbank City Council through until March 2015.

"We are extremely disappointed that the Minister has reached a decision to extend the period of administration at Brimbank,” said the VLGA’s President, Cr Samantha Dunn.

“In September 2009, the VLGA advocated to the former State Labor Government for the return of elected representatives at the latest by the October 2012 local government elections, on the basis that the required organisational changes recommended in the Ombudsman's report would be put in place within that time frame.

"While we note the advice that the community can expect to go to the vote in March 2015, our strong preference is to see the people of Brimbank able to cast a vote in October 2012, just as the people of every other Victorian municipality will have the chance to do.

"We now call on the Minister to give an undertaking to the people of Brimbank that the restoration of elected councillors can be brought forward and ensure the newly appointed administrators achieve the required objectives in a shorter time frame.

"We will raise our concerns directly with the Minister, and we will be looking to assist Brimbank staff and administrators as much as we possibly can to prepare for the return of democratically elected councillors as quickly as possible."

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samantha in the press - vlga

New laws keep Brimbank under admin until 2015
Brimbank Leader
by Caitlin Ryan
17 May 2012

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

samantha in the press - early years

Boost for hills childcare
Mail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
16 May 2012

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samantha in the press - budget

Rates squeeze
Mail Newspapers
by Emma Sun
16 May 2012

Black news on Yarra Ranges rates
Leader Newspapers
by Kimberley Seedy
16 May 2012

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weed blitz coming to monbulk - 26 may

Weed Blitz - Free Environmental Weed Tipping Day
Skips will be available at Monbulk Reserve, Moores Rd, Monbulk on Saturday 26 May.

Cr Samantha Dunn gets rid of some agapanthus,
ranked as Yarra Ranges 5th worse weed.
Still not listed as noxious and available
for sale in some nurseries!
The sorts of weeds you can bring:
Arum Lily
Asparagus Fern
Banana Passionfruit
English Holly
English Ivy
Japanese Honeysuckle
Mirror Bush
Red Cestrum
Sweet Pittosporum
Wandering Trad
Wild Tabacco Tree

We can't accept Noxious Weeds, due to legal limitations on transportation. You can find out more about noxious weeds on the DPI website.

There'll be weed information and advice available on the day, or you can visit the Shire of Yarra Ranges website

note: When removing weeds please be aware of the potential that native animals may be sheltering in them. Always check woody weeds for nests before removing and where possible replace a weed with an indigenous native plant. Nest boxes are easy to make, inexpensive to buy and a great way of providing homes for native animals  and there's 3 nest boxes to win on the day!

This event is being sponsored by the Urban Fringe Weed Management Initiative, a collaboration between Yarra Ranges Council, our environmental volunteers, the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Landcare Network, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

celebrating reconciliation week at burrinja

Burrinja is planning a great range of activities to coincide with this year's Reconciliation Week.

There's a wonderful exhibition, 
Memories - Contact with White People Exhibition
4 May - 24 June
Based on Patsy Lulpanda’s canvas painting with the same title comes an exhibition of artworks from the Burrinja Collection that explores the theme of contact with white colonisers from the Aboriginal perspective. Depictions of policemen, cattle, prison trees, massacre sites and nuclear test sites tell stories of dispossession, disempowerment and destruction, and yet their telling provides future hope. Entry Free.

Friday 1st June, is Indigenous Film Night, details:

Session 1 @ 7pm
Too Many Captain Cooks (1989), Documentary, 18mins
This film seeks to replace the stereotypes promoted by the non-Aboriginal history of white settlement in Australia.
Beneath Clouds (2001), 94 mins
Drama about Lena, the light-skinned daughter of an Aboriginal mother and Irish father and Vaughn, a Murri boy doing time in a minimum security prison in North West NSW.

Session 2 @ 9.30pm
Babakiueria (1986), 30mins
A comic but powerful satire that reverses roles, imagining what it would be like if a black first fleet had arrived in Australia in 1788 to settle an area inhabited by white natives.
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2001), 94 mins
Dramatic feature based on the 'stolen generation' theme about three young indigenous girls who are snatched from their mothers' arms and placed in a settlement 1,500 miles away. They escape and use the rabbit-proof fence to guide their way home, as they are chased by white authorities and a black tracker.
Entry Free

Saturday 2nd June has some great activities.

Toy-Making for Children - 11am and 2pm
Kids will combine soft grasses with colourful wool to create their own beautiful animals. This is a 2-hour workshop by Adrienne Kneeborne, and parents are welcome to stay.
Places are limited so please book online or call 9754 8723. Cost $5

In Words: Eileen Harrison and Carolyn Landon - 2.30pm
Aunty Eileen describes herself as a survivor of a failed political push to assimilate Victorian aborigines into the wider community by forcing them off the mission at Lake Tyers, and she talks about her life from a cultural, personal, emotional and political perspective.
Cost Free. It will go for approx. 1 hour. Places are limited so please book online or call 9754 8723.

Sunday 3rd June, the activities continue...

In Conversation: Bruce Pascoe and Bill Gammage
Sunday 3 June - 2.30pm
Gippsland resident and author of Convincing Ground, Bruce Pascoe will present his recent book Dark Emu, an examination of the Aboriginal economy as seen by the “Explorers”. Bruce Pascoe will be in conversation with Bill Gammage, who recently published The Biggest Estate on Earth – How Aborigines made Australia, a book that examines land-management strategies used by Aboriginal people around the country prior to colonialisation.
Cost $10/Members Free. This talk will go for approx. 90 minutes. Places are limited so please book online or call 9754 8723.

Basket Weaving for Adults
11am to 4pm
Using coil stitch, thread and locally collected native grasses participants will create one gorgeous basket to take home. Materials provided. Adrienne Kneeborne is an artist from Tennant Creek, NT, living and working in Warburton.
Cost $35/$25 members. Places are limited so please book online or call 9754 8723.

It's a great program of events to celebrate reconciliation week. 


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samantha in the press - state budget

Dark on pulling shire plug
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
15 May 2012

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samantha in the press - planning

Bid to fry Tecoma McDonalds
Leader Newspapers
by Emily Webb
15 May 2012

Monbulk soccer club closer to goal
Yarra Ranges Weekly
by Melissa Cunningham
15 May 2012

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Monday, May 14, 2012

monbulk aquatic club presentations

I was delighted to be invited to the 2012 Monbulk Aquatic Club Presentation Night to present the perpetual Yarra Ranges Handicap Trophy - 400mts.
Winner of this year's Shire of Yarra Ranges
Handicap Trophy 400mts
Nathir Alkhlawi with Cr Samantha Dunn.
Always a hotly contested trophy, club swimmers are always left guessing who'll be the winner.

It is a delight to present the award and share the surprise and delight of the winner and their family.

This year's winner, Nathir Alkhlawi hails from Monbulk and is a keen swimmer.

He was very happy to receive the 2012 perpetual trophy.

I was also delighted to be able to announce a grant of $5,000 to assist the Monbulk Aquatic Club maintain their club whilst their "home ground", the Monbulk Pool, is under refurbishment.

It's a challenging year for the club with no pool to call home and club members are all very keen to see the Monbulk Pool refurbishment completed, which I'm sure will see the club go from strength to strength. 

I was impressed to learn that the club is still growing with at least 31 swimmers, for a club with no pool this year, that's a tremendous vote of confidence in the club and what they offer. I congratulate Marg Evans, President of the Monbulk Aquatic Club, her committee, the families and swimmers that make up Monbulk Aquatic Club.

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It's that time of year again, autumn in the Dandenongs and time for the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios.

Scattered amidst the Dandenong Ranges, just outside of Melbourne, lie some of the Victoria’s hidden artistic treasures. Over one exciting, interactive weekend in May the Open Studios program shines light on over twenty-four of these vibrantly-diverse artists as they open up their homes, studios and artistic process to the public. 
The weekend sets an eclectic range of artists and mediums against the backdrop of one of the state’s most beautiful and popular tourism destinations – one with a proud heritage of artistic inspiration and appreciation. Celebrating its ninth year in 2012, the annual event attracts artistically-minded, culturally interested and generally curious people from across Victoria. Visitors use the Open Studios map to guide them through the tall trees and winding roads to the artists’ secluded ferny studios. There they can experience the artwork in its natural environment, while meeting the artists as they work and gaining a unique insight into their creative process.

Artists’ studios are open from 10am to 5pm onSaturday and Sunday, 26-27 May (as well as other times right throughout the year by appointment). An easy-to-use Open Studios guidebook with touring map is available free online, and in hardcopy from Burrinja Community Cultural Centre and other tourist and arts locations throughout the Hills.

I'll certainly be taking a wander through our iconic hills, hope to see you on the arts trail!

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samantha in the press - public transport

Doncaster rail study - options divide community
Melbourne Weekly
14 May 2012

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

friends of birdsland - its official!

I couldn't think of a better way to launch Friends of Birdsland than at the Mini Beasts festival held out at Birdsland this weekend.
Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery
President, Garrique Pergl and Cr Samantha
Dunn stake out the Sheoak Cr Dunn
planted to celebrate the day.

It was wonderful to see a diverse range of community members visit the Education Centre and Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery to be enlightened about our local Mini Beasts.
It was terrific to learn about the importance of wetlands
in maintaining healthy waterways. This region of
Birdsland has had extensive work to revegetate it
back to its natural state. It's a wonderful habitat for
mini beasts and their predators.
Children had a great day out as Junior Scientists exploring our waterways for mini beasts. It was a delight to see the joy as they discovered boatmen, baby dragonflies and other waterbugs. Beth Wallis, Yarra Ranges' Water Management Officer was on hand with our microscope monitor, so children could see an enlarged view of their mini beasts on the TV screen. 
There were playtpus talks with Glenn Brooks-MacMillan, the new Southern Ranges Environment Alliance facilitator. 

It was wonderful to be able to launch the Friends of
Birdsland at the Minibeast Festival. It's a
bushland reserve that's very dear to people
in the region.
I had the great pleasure of launching the new Friends of Birdsland group and talking about the upcoming masterplan consultations for the reserve. To celebrate the occasion I planted a Sheoak (Allocasuarina) amongst the Landcare for Singles plantings.

Birdsland was originally a farm (owned by the Bird family),
there are still many relics of the old farm, Garrique found
this old farm tool whilst we were wandering around
 the heritage orchard.

Garrique Pergl, President of the Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery, spoke about the history of the reserve and led participants on talk, walk and gawk down to the wetlands and around the historic farm house and orchard. 

This palm tree is part of the original
farm cottage garden. The cottage
is part of the heritage on the site
and is protected with a heritage
There were family plantings on the creekbank of Monbulk Creek, a waterway that is considered significant due to it's population of platypus and proximity to Melbourne. These plantings will assist in the health of the waterway to encourage 'mini beasts', food for platypus.

Kids had a ball playing games, being ably assisted by Southern Dandenongs Landcare President, Jackie Glen and the "Selby Fairy". Wonderful to see TVAG there, making sure there was food on hand with their sausage sizzle. 
Michelle Jones from the Community Food Harvest Group gave a talk on planting out a herb garden and growing your own garlic, whilst Tamara Griffiths with her assistant "Ducky"  talked about swales and heritage fruit trees. 
It was a wonderful day out, I commend the organisers for putting it together, it was lovely to see this part of Birdsland used as it was intended, for Environmental Education. 

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Friday, May 11, 2012

sdlg welcomes a new committee

One of the joys of being a local councillor is the request to preside over elections in community AGM's. I'm always pleased to be part of this process, I'm always impressed by the enthusiasm our community has for it's various activities.
The Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group (SDLG) is no exception. A wonderful and dynamic group of people dedicated to improving and enhancing our environment and our understanding of the local environment.
From left to right: Anne Elizabeth, Mike Clarke, Vicki Boyle,
Jackie Glenn, Gillian Anderson, Cr Samantha Dunn
and Leslie Wilson.
It was terrific to be part of this occasion and hear the many activities this group has undertaken in the past year. SDLG were a constant at the Kallista Market helping locals understand what is a weed and what is a good indigenous plant to replace the weeds. 

They held two successful weed trade days, one at Belgrave Lake Park, the other in Tecoma. Yarra Ranges Council was very pleased to support these initiatives by funding plants, promotional material and a skip for the days. 

Not satisfied with one planting for National Tree Day, the group held three tree plantings, including Monbulk Creek - Colby Drive, Monbulk Creek - Trestle Bridge and Monbulk Creek - Colin Avenue. All of the plants, stakes and guards were supplied by Yarra Ranges Council from our Ribbons of Green program. 

Monbulk Creek got even more focus with a collaboration between SDLG and Belgrave Heights Christian College, which saw 2,500 plants planted to improve the riparian health of the creek in the Apsley Rd region. 

The SDLG also had a great program working with Mater Christi students, who are starting to make a real impact on their section of Monbulk Creek near Stoney Road. I congratulate teachers of Mater Christi for their efforts to embed Environmental Science into the curriculum. 

SDLG will also play a role in council's new Waterwatch Scheme, Council's Water Management Office, Beth Wallis, has been keenly working with volunteer groups to get out and start monitoring our waterways. 

Of course there's the ever popular Awesome Ornithorinkids Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of our local platypus population, held at Belgrave Lake Park. Last year's was a delight as the resident Powerful Owl roosted just above us!

The group were instrumental in participating in consultations for the Shire's Flora and Fauna Strategy and I thank them for their time. 

This is a snapshot of some of the key activities of this group, it goes on, I am always impressed by their boundless energy for their volunteer work. 

I congratulate the group, your passion for our environment is second to none. 

I'm pleased to announce that the committee for the ensuing year is:
President: Jackie Glenn
Vice President: Vicki Boyle
Secretary: Anne Elizabeth
Treasurer: Mike Clarke
General Committee Members:
Leslie Wiliams
Gillian Anderson
Darcy Duggan

Well done for going that extra mile and dedicating time to these important leadership roles in the group.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

samantha in the press - environment

Push to save forests
Mail Newspapers
by Mara Pattison-Sowden
10 May 2012

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

samantha in the press - vlga

Wait for budget details
Mail Newspapers
by Casey Neill
9 May 2012

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it's official - sherbrooke family & children's centre opened today

What a wonderful celebration of community activism and council cooperation at the opening of Stage 1 of the Sherbrooke Family and Children’s Centre today.

James Merlino, Member for Monbulk
with SOSCC Campaigners,
Jenny and Claire and
Cr Samantha Dunn celebrating
the opening of stage one
of Sherbrooke Family &
Children's Centre.
I was delighted to be able to speak at the event. The issue of childcare is very dear to my heart, saving Sherbrooke Children’s Centre was the very reason I ran for council in the first place.

It was wonderful to regale in some of the stories of the Save Our Sherbrooke Children’s Centre (SOSCC) and acknowledge the efforts of those parents who campaigned relentlessly to save the much loved council run, community based, long day care in the Dandenong Ranges. If we hadn’t got angry and active then we wouldn’t be celebrating today’s journey.
SOSCC members, Jenny Lindstedt, Samantha Dunn
and Claire Ferres-Miles. This SOLD sign was one of the
 props created by SOSCC back in 2005, to be used for
a media stunt in another attempt to save the centre.
I was very pleased to be able tear it up in a symbolic
 gesture of celebration.
We certainly wont be needing it anymore.

I pay tribute to those parents who made who gave up a substantial part of their lives to saving this centre, you should feel very proud of your achievements for without you we wouldn’t be standing here today. It is wonderful to see our vision of integrated children’s services become a reality.
It was important to acknowledge the SOSCC group, they were instrumental in putting up a hard fight to council to save this centre and campaigned relentlessly.
  • Claire Ferres-Miles
  • Christiaan O’Dea
  • Matthew Clarke
  • Faorligh Hunter  
  • Kevin Jose
  • Peter Kinrade
  • Jenny Lindstedt
  • Ingrid Wood
  • Matthew Clear
  • Hans Damen
  • Samantha Dunn
Of course a lot of effort has gone into saving the centre but it wouldn’t be possible without funding and this project is a great example of the three tiers of government working together. I acknowledge my colleagues on council who unanimously supported an allocation of over $5million towards this project. We were also assisted by Jason Wood (Federal member for Latrobe at the time), with a grant of $1.6million and by James Merlino (State member for Monbulk) who’s office not only assisted the SOSCC greatly, the state government also provided a grant to council of $0.5million.
Sherbrooke Family & Children's Centre chef, Antonio
did an amazing job with this cake to celebrate the
opening of stage one. Antonio is passionate about
providing the children with nutritious and diverse
food selections and is much loved by children
(and parents too!).
The development of the centre has been quite a journey, including a 2 year stint meeting regularly on the Project Control Group (PCG), touring centres around Melbourne to work out what were the best options for this centre and working with community around issues as well as formal public consultation sessions.
I particularly thank PCG members:
  • Chris Clerici – the Shire’s Project Manager
  • Karen Bowen – our Childcare Services Coordinator
  • Alissya McKinnon – Sherbrooke Children’s Centre Coordinator
  • Sue Lakeland – Upwey Community Link
  • Tammy Dance – Upwey Pre School
  • Claire Ferres-Miles - Sherbrooke Children’s Centre Parents Advisory Committee Rep
  • Malcolm Aspinall – Upwey Primary School
  • and Sam Shattock & Peter Sandow – architects for the project.
Cr Samantha Dunn and
architect Sam Shattock. Sam
has been instrumental in the
design of the centre and has
done a great job incorporating
the needs of the centre, working
with the community as well as
designing a facility to fit into a
challenging site.
The architects have come up with a wonderful design, it is a great example of what a municipal building should be, a statement of aspiration and a reflection of the community.
I have no doubt there is a demand for this model of childcare in the Dandenongs, the current waiting list consists of 150 families, more than 150 children. I look forward to seeing the project completed and the facility bursting with children getting the best start in life.

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