Scoot Wheel N Move panel preparation

Today’s Scoot Wheel N Move meeting included a discussion with other panelists for the Good Access = Good Business discussion forum next Thursday.

The panel will consist of:

  • Ben from Maroondah Home Healthcare;
  • Pam Usher from Invicta Bus Company;
  • Robyn from Glen Park Community Centre;
  • John from Scoot Wheel N Move;
  • and myself as a Councillor for the City of Maroondah

The panel includes a mixture of businesses, community members and organisations and will provide their thoughts on accessibility and inclusiveness within Maroondah. Good access means more than just having an accessible entrance into a shop it also includes uncluttered aisles, accessible counters and customer service.

The panel discussion is part of a range of presentations that will feature in the Good Access = Good Business discussion forum held at Maroondah Federation Estate from 10:30 on Thursday the 4th of October.

SCOOP Meeting – progress update on Croydon Pool

Save Croydon Outdoor Olympic Pool (SCOOP), is a local action group that was formed in response to the uncertainty that was surrounding the Croydon Outdoor Memorial Pool. This evening SCOOP held a meeting to provide an update on the status of Croydon Pool.

Works are progressing on the repair work that is necessary to allow the reopening of the pool in time for the November swimming season this year. These works will largely resolve the ongoing leaking issues that existed and will guarantee the life of the pool for another ten years.

These works will mean that the Croydon Pool will be able to reopen for this year’s Summer season and will provide an opportunity to undertake further works to enhance the existing facility in coming years.

2007 Ringwood Historical Society AGM

The Ringwood Historical Society serves to preserve and promote the history of Ringwood and includes extensive archives of documents and photographs and other content relating to Ringwood’s history at Norwood Hall in Warrandyte Road.

I was invited to officiate the AGM, which marked the retirement of the Society’s President Richard Carter after ten years, as well as the Secretary Sandra Smart, who provided twelve years of service to the society. Ringwood is poised to undertake significant changes over the next few years and while this will transform Ringwood into a vibrant suburb, it is crucial that we preserve the historical integrity of Ringwood through highlighting and promoting its history.

Maroondah Council needs to ensure it works alongside organisations such as the Ringwood Historical Society to ensure that Ringwood’s transformation strengthens our links to our local history.

The meeting also included discussion around Alan Robertson, former Chief Executive Office and City Engineer, who served the former City of Ringwood for over 40 years, after beginning his career in local government as a cadet engineer.  Alan shaped much of Ringwood throughout his professional life and oversaw a number of major projects, including the construction of Eastland and the relocation of the Clocktower to its current site. Alan Robertson also saw the growth of Ringwood into the fully fledged suburb it is today.

Maroondah Snippets Film Festival Award

The Maroondah Snippets, is a youth film festival that was developed by young people in conjunction with Maroondah’s Youth Services Team. The award ceremony, held at the cinemas at Ringwood Hoyts, showcased the six short films and provided an opportunity to speak to each of the entrants.

Winners under each of the categories were:

  • Best School: Southwood Boys Grammar School, for supporting two films for this year’s festival;
  • Best Acting: ‘Tonight Today with not so current affairs in 60 seconds’ (Southwood Boys Grammar School);
  • Best Script: ‘Bad Day’ (Southwood Boys Grammar School);
  • Best Cinematography: ‘Pedaled by Fate’ (Southwood Boys Grammar School);
  • Best Film: ‘documenTRY’ (Swinburne College), and
  • Best Soundtrack: ‘Trolley Boyz’ (KYM Multi Media Class)

This marked Maroondah’s first Youth Film Festival but with strong community interest it is hoped to make Snippets an annual event to showcase the many multimedia and cinematographic skills of our youth.

MAV TIAG: Transport update

Today’s MAV Transport and Infrastructure Advisory Group meeting included a further presentation in regard to the East-West Needs Assessment (otherwise known as the Eddington Study). The presenters spoke about the study scope and that it will include an examination of the rail and public transport needs for the western suburbs.

The final report from the East-West Needs Assessment will be due around May next year and is likely to include a number of recommendations for Melbourne’s overall infrastructure needs.

The advisory group was also updated on the recent motion to the MAV board, which will allow the MAV to develop a research paper investigating federal involvement in urban public transport and the current taxation disincentives for public transport usage. This research paper will be developed in conjunction with other transport coalitions and will serve as a framework for the MAV’s position on the issue.

Transport Infrastructure for Victoria: The Challenges

This afternoon I attended a CEDA lunch featuring a presentation from Howard Ronaldson, the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure (DOI). The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) is an independent think tank, which aims to promote the economic development of Australia in a sustainable and socially balanced way.

As part of its series of topics critical to the success of Victoria, CEDA organised the lunch presentation as an opportunity to explore the infrastructure issues facing Melbourne and Victoria. As Secretary of the DOI, Howard Ronaldson, has responsibility for ports, as well as the road and rail network.

Howard’s presentation largely included content from the State Government’s Meeting Our Transport Challenges, but did discuss the need for further integration between transport and planning particularly given the goals of Melbourne 2030 in encouraging public transport usage and the development of activity centres.

After the presentation I discussed the needs of Ringwood and Maroondah directly with Howard as an opportunity to reiterate the need for State Government action over Ringwood Station, particularly given that major projects, such as the new town centre, are likely to be delayed until a commitment to the redevelopment is made.

I also discussed the need for more frequent services beyond Ringwood, given Ringwood’s status as transit city and the high proportion of trips taken between Ringwood and Croydon, as well as from further east. The Belgrave and Lilydale lines currently have just a half-hourly service beyond Ringwood from 10am to 4pm during weekdays, despite the fact that services operate on a 20 minute frequency on weekends.

Given the desire to help shift peak hour travel demand to other times of the day and that more frequent services are clearly possible, it seems absurd that the State Government has not acted to provide at least a 20 minute frequency along the Belgrave / Lilydale line during weekdays.

Hopefully, progress will be made on these issues now that they have been raised directly with the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure.

Forum: 40 years as citizens where to next?

Today I attended a forum as part of the discussion surrounding 40 years of citizens where to next? Today’s discussion focused around a number of key themes, including citizenship, governance, business development, justice, education and health.

The morning began with a Ministerial Address by the newly appointed Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Richard Wynne. While the Minister referred to the leadership role local government needs to provide, little was spoken about the leadership required from the State Government. Most disappointing was the Minister’s abrupt departure at the conclusion of his speech.

While a number of local councillors were present at the two-day event, there was a complete absence of State Government MPs or Ministerial advisors.

The forum provided a useful insight into the issues facing Indigenous Australians, particularly in discussing the need to engage the business community and to ensure that our health and educational systems are mindful of Indigenous Australia. As a council, we need to explore our practices to help engage with Indigenous Australians and to serve as a conduit between different levels of government and community organisations.

Maroondah Journal: A little less conversation, a little more action wanted at station

The Maroondah Journal has been following the progress of the latest campaign to achieve a State Government commitment for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said commuters were rightfully frustrated. “The No. 1 issue is the poor condition of the station and the poor image. It really is crunch for Ringwood’s transit city”.

While Ringwood has been earmarked as a designated Transit City, which means a supposed State Government focus on increasing public transport usage, the Government has been lacklustre in its support for Ringwood.

“This is like watching a slow and painful game of chess where everyone seems to be waiting for someone else to make the first move. It is up to the State Government now to lead by example and start the redevelopment of Ringwood Station.”

As the ward councillor over most of the Ringwood Transit City, I have been able to mandate the construction of footpaths for new developments, demonstrating a tangible commitment to encouraging sustainable forms of transport. Unfortunately without action from the State Government, the revitalisation of Ringwood, including the establishment of a new town centre and new walking paths, is likely to be delayed.

The redevelopment of Ringwood Station is not just a nicety but a necessity, given that the Station fails disability compliance and is often perceived to be unsafe. Sustainable transport and a newly developed Ringwood Station is critical to ensuring the much needed revitalisation of Ringwood.

The Ringwood and Maroondah community will be rightfully disappointed with the State Government if funding is not announced as part of the next State budget.

Panel discussion: 40 years as citizens where to next?

This evening I was invited to participate in a discussion surrounding reconciliation and the role of local government. The panel included several aboriginal elders, business entrepreneurs and departmental officials.

With indigenous life expectancy being 20 years less than other Australians, there is a clear need to address disadvantage and to actively engage indigenous Australians that reside within Maroondah. Local government has a role to play through supporting organisations such as the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place, well as health and educational service providers.

Most importantly, as a council we need to support the current proposed Indigenous Policy and ensure that the items contained within the policy are actively implemented. Committees such as the Maroondah Partners in Health, Safety and Wellbeing should also provide an opportunity to allow networking between relevant organisations and to ensure a focus on service outcomes and not bureaucracy.