Ringwood Chamber of Commerce – Secrets of growing businesses

Tonight’s Ringwood Chamber of Commerce was held at des Amis, a new restaurant located in the North Ringwood Shopping Centre.

The guest speaker was a marketing consultant who discussed strategies to assist in maintaining business growth during times of economic uncertainty. Key messages included the need for collaboration across complementary businesses, to support local traders and localise growth, as well as valuing customer loyalty and ensuring that all staff reflect the aims of the organisation.

The Ringwood Chamber of Commerce aims to represent the businesses and traders within Ringwood and as such has a particular interest in the Ringwood Central Activities District. In addition to the guest speaker an update was provided on Ringwood, including the Eastland redevelopment which is currently anticipated to begin early next year.

Tour of Maroondah’s Community Facilities – Ringwood

The council tour of community facilities continued this evening to include several community and leisure facilities located within Ringwood.

The first destination was the Karralyka Centre, which is Maroondah’s home to theatre and the performing arts. The Karralyka Centre also serves as a performance space to local groups and schools and also provides function rooms for events.

While the location of Karralyka is not ideal, it is accessible through bus route 670 along Maroondah Highway and hopefully the State Government will introduce a new direct service from along Mount Dandenong Road as part of the bus service reviews.

The tour continued through to Central Ringwood Community House, which is located in Bedford Road, Ringwood in close proximity to Ringwood Station. Central Ringwood Community House is part of Bedford Park and manages the community hall that is located on the site.

Central Ringwood Community House. includes a number of classrooms and permanent computer training facilities. The Community House is the recipient of the Federal Government’s Better Regions Program which will be utilised to improve accessibility and provide new classrooms.

Federation Estate was the next destination and is located along Greenwood Avenue near Jubilee Park and Ringwood’s main sporting precinct. Federation Estate includes the Maroondah Art Gallery, which features several prominent exhibitions, including local artists. The arts are further reinforced through an artist in residency program where artists are able to complete their artwork within Federation Estate.

The facility also includes several meeting rooms available to community groups and the Amazing Space playground, which is a fully accessible playground focusing on the senses and imagination. Amazing Space is a unique sensory focused playground and has received a number of awards and positive reviews.

The Maroondah Indoor Sports Stadium, was the next destination and is located along Canterbury Road. The facility provides four basketball courts and recently introduced martial arts lessons. The stadium is extremely well utilised by a number of basketball and netball clubs.

Ringwood Golf Course, is next door to the Maroondah Indoor Sports Stadium and is an eighteen hole public golf course. The golf course includes a cafe, which caters to both golf patrons and external functions with views overlooking the course. Ringwood Golf Course offers coaching and golf lessons, as well as a golf shop which stocks a wide range of golfing equipment.

After the golf course the tour continued through to the Jubilee Park Ringwood Soccer Pavilion. Council has applied for federal funding to redevelop the soccer pavilion and to provide facilities for the MVC Boxing Club. Should this grant be approved it will provide premiere soccer facilities within Maroondah, as well as introduce new sports within the Jubilee Park sporting precinct.

Ringwood Aquatic Centre was the last destination of the tour. The Aquatic Centre provides a 50 metre indoor pool, as well as a hydrotherapy pool and general purpose swimming facilities. The floor of the aquatic centre is currently being re-tiled and funding was successful to introduce a co-generation plant to reduce the facility’s energy consumption.

While Ringwood is fortunate to include several prominent sporting and cultural facilities that are only a short five or ten minute walk from the centre of Ringwood, improvements to wayfinding and signage would assist in re-connecting these facilities.

The Economy and You – Maroondah Business Lunch

Maroondah Council holds regular business events to discuss topics relevant to the business community and to encourage networking among the many businesses situated within the municipality.

Today’s business lunch held at the Karralyka Centre, featured Matthew Hassan, Westpac’s Chief Economist, who discussed the latest economic trends amid the continuing global economic uncertainty.

Matthew discussed the global situation including the potential for a further deterioration in global economic growth. While China continues to still experience positive growth its output has been halved and there are signs of further deterioration within the United States.

Matthew did however state that while Australia may experience negative economic growth, Australia is relatively fortunate and is unlikely to see a level of deterioration along the magnitude experienced within other parts of the world.

The discussion should assist Maroondah’s business community in planning during these uncertain economic times. For further information on Maroondah’s business events please visit www.bizmaroondah.com.au.

Scoot Wheel n Move – representing people with mobility aids

Scoot Wheel and Move is a local community group under the auspices of Eastern Access Community Health. The group aims to improve accessibility within Maroondah, particularly for people that use mobility aids such as wheelchairs, scooters and walking frames.

Today’s meeting discussed Maroondah’s recently adopted Principal Pedestrian Network, with members supporting the need for more footpaths. Footpaths were recently constructed within central Ringwood and footpaths will be extended around Maroondah Hospital.

The need for a Disability Advisory Committee was also discussed and this is currently being explored through the Maroondah Disability Policy. A Disability Advisory Committee would augment the quarterly forums for people with disabilities and carers, through advising council on policy initiatives that would improve accessibility within Maroondah.

While based within Maroondah Scoot Wheel n Move does include members from Knox and the Shire of Yarra Ranges, ensuring that the group is able to focus on the accessibility needs across Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs.

Picnic in the Park – Cheong Park

Maroondah Council’s Picnic in the Park provides an opportunity for local residents to explore the many parks and reserves that exist within the municipality.

Today’s Picnic in the Park was located at Cheong Park in Eastfield Road, South Croydon and included a barbecue and festivities to coincide with the unveiling of new kitchen facilities for the Croydon South Football Club, which was jointly funded by the State Government and Maroondah City Council.

In addition the football oval at Cheong Park received funding through Council, the State Government and the Eastern Football League to convert the grounds to warm season grasses, which will reduce water consumption by up to 75% and improve its playing quality.

Alex at the launch of new kitchen facilities for Croydon South Football Club

The kitchen facilities were officially launched by James Merlino, the Minister for Sports and Recreation and Shaun Leane, the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region was also in attendance.

Several Councillors were present including Rob Steane, Paul Macdonald, Michael Macdonald, Natalie Thomas and Peter Gurr. While Cheong Park was formally part of Mullum Ward, the electoral review last year altered the ward boundaries and as a result Cheong Park is now part of Arrabri Ward.

The Picnic in the Park was extremely well attended by the Croydon South Football Club, as well as local residents and it is great to see the strong interest in Maroondah’s parks and sporting facilities.

Rotary Club of Ringwood – Support and employment for our youth

The Rotary Club of Ringwood, is part of the wider Rotary network through District 9810 and while each club is largely autonomous they do cooperate on regional projects.

Rotary clubs within the District were heavily involved in fundraising through the Eastlink Open Day and tonight’s guest speakers from KYM Employment Services received $1,500 from the Rotary Club of Ringwood through these efforts.

KYM Employment Services was formed in 1998 through a merger of organisations within Maroondah, Knox and the Yarra Ranges

KYM Employment Services is a community based not-for-profit organisation that has sites within Boronia, Ringwood, Bayswater, Camberwell and Glen Waverley.

The organisation provides support and training services for young people with the aim of encouraging high school completion or alternatively assisting younger people through a range of accredited training courses.

KYM Employment Services links employers with younger people through the Youth Pathways Program and provides support services during the transition from education into employment.

While the organisation’s priority is to try and keep younger people within school, KYM Employment Services recognises that a range of educational options should be available to meet the needs of our youth.

The organisation also delivers other support services to build the confidence of younger people, including regular breakfast and lunch programs, as well as providing advice and peer support.

For further information on KYM Employment Services please visit www.kym.com.au

Central Ringwood Community Centre2009 AGM

Central Ringwood Community Centre is located within Bedford Park in Ringwood and provides a range of educational courses, as well as workshops for newly arrived migrants and meeting rooms for a variety of community groups.

Due to the new ward boundaries, I am fortunate to have two community houses within the Mullum Ward, Central Ringwood Community Centre and North Ringwood Community House.

The houses cater to different needs within the community while also working in partnership to deliver joint courses. Central Ringwood Community Centre, with its location in Bedford Road has worked closely with newly arrived migrants, including the Sudanese and Burmese communities, as well as providing a number of computer courses and several social groups.

Today’s annual general meeting confirmed the committee of management for the upcoming year and provided an update on the House’s successful application to the Federal Government’s Better Regions Program. This funding will improve the accessibility of the house and create new classrooms to further expand its services.

The Federal Government should be congratulated for recognising the importance of community houses and the services they provide.

Community Houses provide a critical service within a community through encouraging social inclusion and delivering new skills and educational opportunities.

I look forward to working closely with Central Ringwood Community Centre as it continues to serve the Ringwood community.

For further information on Central Ringwood Community Centre please visit www.crccinc.org.au.

Ringwood Precinct Open House

The centre of Ringwood, has recently been identified as a Central Activities District and has been earmarked for significant urban revitalisation and aims to transform Ringwood into an accessible and vibrant urban centre.

Within the Ringwood Central Activities District is a significant residential area, such as the North Western Residential Precinct, which is bound by Ringwood Street, Nelson Street, Bond Street and Burwood Avenue.

This part of Ringwood has seen significant changes such as the construction of multi-storey developments and as a resident in Bond Street I have seen and experienced this first-hand.

This afternoon Council organised an Open House for residents and property owners within this area to discuss amenity issues and identify potential solutions. Residents and property owners were able to express their concerns and speak directly to council staff and myself as an elected Councillor.

Recently constructed footpaths have improved the accessibility of this area and a new playground is planned for the park on the corner of New Street. The playground will be connected through the Eastlink shared trail and will include play equipment, seating and shelter.

In addition, a bridge over Maroondah Highway will provide a continuous linkage for pedestrians and cyclists and is expected to be completed later this year.

Sustainability is at the forefront of Ringwood’s transformation with water tanks, energy efficiency, as well as bicycle facilities and footpath construction, being a part of new developments within this precinct.

Waste management is also being improved through conditions requiring body corporate involvement such as maintaining their own private garbage collection. This will reduce the number of rubbish bins located on nature strips during garbage collection days.

In addition parking issues are also being explored and council will shortly be releasing a strategy to address these concerns and reduce difficulties in travelling through streets within this area.

It was great to see the many people, including neighbours of mine, taking advantage of the Open Day and speaking directly to council.

The transformation of Ringwood presents challenges to Maroondah Council and the wider community. These challenges are being addressed to ensure that our amenity to achieve our vision of creating a more sustainable and accessible Ringwood.

Ongoing updates are critical to Ringwood’s revitalisation and a dedicated website www.ringwoodgoingplaces.com.au has been created to provide ongoing updates on projects undertaken within the Ringwood Central Activities District.

North Ringwood Community House 2009 AGM

This morning North Ringwood Community House held its Annual General Meeting to elect committee members for the next two years. The community house appoints a two-year term for its committee members to provide continuity, while still providing flexibility for new members to get involved.

I have been re-elected onto the Committee of Management so that I can continue to provide advice in regard to advancing the aims of the new Community House for Ringwood North.

While changes to the Local Government Act may unnecessarily complicate a councillor’s involvement in community organisations, I believe that my inclusion on the committee assists the house in being able to achieve its goal of new premises. The relocation of North Ringwood Community House will allow for the expansion of its services and to meet the growing needs of an increasingly diverse Ringwood North and Ringwood community. In particular it would provide for an accessible community house within a location that can be accessed by people residing in both Ringwood and Ringwood North.

I was also the guest speaker at the AGM and discussed the transformation of Ringwood as a designated Central Activity District and the need for community facilities to be at the forefront of this project.

Recent improvements to Ringwood include the construction of footpaths throughout the residential precinct, including Nelson Street, Bourke Street, Bond Street, Browns Avenue, Churchill Street, Montgomery Street, Sherbrook Avenue and Burwood Avenue. These footpaths were constructed through development contributions and will assist in creating an accessible environment that encourages sustainable forms of transport, such as walking.

The redevelopment of Eastland and the creation of a new town square for Ringwood is expected to begin at the start of next year and will restore a civic heart to Ringwood through delivering new public open space and a new library and community complex.

The creation of a forecourt and bus interchange for Ringwood Station is expected through State Government funding of $39 million. This work is expected to begin either late this year or early next year.

While this funding will improve the appearance of Ringwood Station and make it easier for pedestrians to access the transport interchange, it will not improve the accessibility of the station itself, meaning that further work is required to ensure that the standards meets the needs of people with disabilities.

It is imperative that State Government funding is received for these further works to create an accessible, safe and integrated transport interchange.

The major challenge facing both Ringwood and the North Ringwood Community House is the need to deliver new community services within Ringwood while still providing facilities for the Ringwood North community. In this regard a proposed location for the community house will need to retain its connection to Ringwood North while being accessible to the Ringwood community.

The feasibility study which is designed to identify potential sites will explore this criteria to ensure that the most suitable location is found.

I look forward to my continued involvement in the North Ringwood Community House as we advance the aims of providing a community focus for the Ringwood and Ringwood North communities.

For further information on North Ringwood Community House please visit www.nrchi.com.

Maroondah Journal: Transport priorities outlined

The Maroondah Journal has reported on the council’s transport priorities, which will be advocated through the Eastern Transport Coalition, which includes Melbourne’s seven outer eastern councils.

The Eastern Transport Coalition represents one million residents within Melbourne’s outer east and provides a united council voice for public transport advocacy within the region.

Specifically Maroondah’s priorities include the redevelopment of Ringwood Station into an accessible and safe transport interchange, track improvements along the Belgrave and Lilydale line and bus improvements to provide more frequent and coordinated and readily available services.

Cr Alex Makin, the council’s representative on the ETC, said the council confirmed its public transport priorities at its meeting last Monday.

“As council’s representative, I will be ensuring that these priorities are uppermost in the minds of the coalition and in our advocacy to the state and federal governments.”

These projects will provide economic, social and environmental benefits to not just Maroondah but the entire eastern region. The redevelopment of the Station interchange alone, into an accessible, safe and integrated facility, is expected to contribute $19 million benefit to the State economy.

In addition, there are social benefits through creating more inclusive communities and enhancing social mobility, as well as environmental improvements such as reducing greenhouse emissions.

The redevelopment of Ringwood Station coupled with rail and bus improvements will improve the sustainability of Ringwood, Maroondah and the wider outer east.

The Eastern Transport Coalition, through its membership of Melbourne’s outer eastern councils, will continue its ongoing advocacy for these public transport improvements.