Storytime at Croydon Library

Children’s Week is held annually during the fourth week in October and has the theme “A Caring World Shares”, which aims to focus on the needs of children and the ability to enjoy childhood.

This morning, as part of Children’s Week, I attended Storytime at Croydon Library, a weekly program that involves the reading of stories and songs to preschool children. The program typically involves four children’s stories and I was invited to read two of them, as well as participate in the songs and activities held during the session.

Storytime is a great program designed to encourage reading and an appreciation for books and it was great to see so many children and their parents attend the session. Storytime sessions are available at both Ringwood and Croydon Libraries, for details please visit

Hey Hey It’s Monkami

The Monkami Centre is based in Croydon and provides a range of services for people with intellectual disabilities, with the aim of developing employment and educational opportunities.

Monkami has a strong focus on community development and has established the Monkami Drama Group which holds an annual theatre performance to demonstrate the talents of its clients. The Monkami Drama Group is one example of the organisation’s community focus, which also includes a focus on artistic skills and volunteering opportunities.

This year’s performance was titled ‘Hey Hey It’s Monkami’ and followed the plot of performers auditioning for a part in Red Faces. As the Mayor of Maroondah, I provided a cameo appearance via a video sequence, in relation to Monkami’s suggestions. The Monkami performance is possible due to a partnership between Karralyka and the Ringwood Movie Makers, who have provided ongoing multimedia support including filming sequences to accompany the stage performance.

The annual Monkami theatre performance continues to grow in popularity each year, including a number of external performances to showcase the skills and talents of the performers. Tonight’s show was a tremendous success and Monkami is already planning for their 2011 theatre season.

Launch of the Eastern Region Family Help Cards

Community Safety Month is held throughout October to promote safer communities. Councils across the Eastern Region worked together to promote community safety, including the prevention of family violence.

This afternoon I attended the launch of the Eastern Region Family Violence Help Cards, which are pocket sized cards containing information on services available to assist victims of family violence. The launch, which was conducted in the City of Whitehorse, emphasised ongoing concerns over the rate of family violence, which is a problem often hidden from the wider community.

The cards contain important information on the resources that are available to assist in family violence situations. The cards, which are available for both men and women, are available through the Cities of Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Media Release: Support grows for Ringwood Station upgrade

Maroondah City Council is delighted that the Greens and Liberal parties have listened to the community’s concerns with both of them pledging to upgrade Ringwood Station within the term of the next government.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin said Council will continue its advocacy campaign leading into the state election in the hope the Labor party would follow its parliamentary colleagues, and also commit to an upgrade.

“The campaign calls for all major political parties to commit to an upgrade of Ringwood Station within the term of the next government. With the Greens and Liberals now on board, we await a commitment from the Labor party,” Cr Makin said.

“Council’s campaign has received a lot of community support with the petition signatures fast approaching 3000,” Cr Makin said.

“The strong community support for the campaign has secured a commitment from two out of three major state political parties. Now we need to continue the campaign and secure a commitment from the Labor Party to fund the missing piece of the State Government’s own Central Activities District,” Cr Makin said.

“The feedback I have received from people during the course of the campaign is that people want a station which is safe, accessible and integrated,” Cr Makin said.

“I urge those who haven’t already signed the petition to visit Maroondah City Council’s information booth at the Maroondah Festival on November 7,” Cr Makin said.

“At the booth we will have the Missing Piece jigsaw puzzle which highlights how important an upgrade to Ringwood Station is to the overall success of Ringwood as a Central Activities District,” Cr Makin said.

Some of the comments posted on Council’s online petition:

“This station urgently needs an upgrade due to the increasing older population, to assist in making the train more accessible. It is very difficult for the elderly to manage stairs etc and updating the station would hopefully make it more secure for travellers. Older people don’t want to travel for this reason, it limits their freedom.”

“No one feels safe at this station. Our worries should not be ignored.”

“The upgrade is urgently needed if it wants to attract future residents. It’s needed to keep the existing travel users safe and secure. What happened to the Government’s duty of care. What happened to the Government’s responsibilty to Maroondah residents?”

“The current state of Ringwood Station is unacceptable. It is clearly not safe for the community- particularly those who are vulnerable ie pregnant women, elderly, disabled, mothers with prams- and its complete redevelopment should be the government’s highest priority.”

“This is an issue of great importance and ought to be a priority on the agenda for state political parties. Ringwood has been very much left behind and the upgrade would not only assist with the mobility of disabled commuters but will also make the area safer for all commuters.”

The petition is also available at Council’s service centres or sign online by visiting

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Media Release: Maroondah’s top youth recognised

Maroondah City Council recognised the efforts of more than 45 young people at the 2010 Youth Volunteer Recognition Evening on Thursday, October 21.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin, who attended the night, said the event recognised the outstanding contribution made by young volunteers and leaders in the Maroondah community.

“Young volunteers in Maroondah play an important role in our society, and it is important to have events like the 2010 Youth Volunteer Recognition Evening to officially recognise the efforts that these young people are putting in to help others in their community,” Cr Makin said.

“Whether it be by organising events for young people or acting as a role model for new settlers in the community, all of these volunteers have dedicated their own time to better the lives of others, and they should be applauded for their efforts,” Cr Makin said.

“It is great to know that we have such generous and dedicated young people working to better our community,” Cr Makin said.

Guest speaker for the 2010 Youth Volunteer Recognition Evening was Gerard Pidoto, owner of Fist2Face Music Store in Ringwood.

“Gerard spoke about his own past involvement in volunteering for a number of organisations including Maroondah Youth Services and talked about how the skills he learned through volunteering had helped him in his journey to become a successful business owner,” Cr Makin said.

The individual awards went to:

Matthew Allard, Joshua O’Toole, Frances Rowlands, Lane Tukiri, Kristie Stark, Matthew Bass, Katelyn Smith, Melissa Nicholls, Georgia Appleton, Naomi Corbett, Jonathan Medlin, Scarlett Sobota, Shenae Kerr, Darcy Krenn, Mikaela Kos.

The group awards went to:

EV’s Festival Crew: Josh Kerr, Ashley Mallett, Marissa Lee, Alex Wakeley, Jessica Wilson, Jackson Miller, Kayla Jones, Sophie Gill and Sarah Ross.

Beaut Buddies:
Anyang Majok, Rosetta Ivy, Mary Mabior, Parku Khup Lian, Mitch Gowland, Tania Tuima, Jodie O’Donahue, William Smith.

Audio District 2010 Maroondah FReeZA Group: Athena Soldo, Christie Taylor, Stephanie Luff, Brittany Josephs, Eleanor Savage, Gage Roberts, Shane Barton, Ratih Grayson-Widarsito, Keely Lohman, Montee Douglas, Gavin Styles

1st Croydon Hills Scout Group: David Nicholls, Tahlia Purdie and Rochelle Anderson

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Media Release: Push to turn Maroondah’s street lighting green

Maroondah residents were among more than 3500 people to support a Municipal Association of Victoria petition calling on an upgrade to energy efficient street lighting.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Alex Makin thanked those Maroondah residents who pledged their support to the Give Our Streets the Green Light campaign.

“The petition was calling on the State and Federal governments to partner with local councils to fund the $114 million upgrade costs which come with the switch to energy efficient street lighting,” Cr Makin said.

“The Municipal Association of Victoria delivered the community petitions to the Premier and Opposition Leader ahead of last Friday’s Local Government Climate Change Summit,” Cr Makin said.

“The Municipal Association of Victoria are confident the strong support by 46 councils and their communities will result in a commitment ahead of the state election to contribute some funding to fast-track the changeover to energy efficient street lighting,” Cr Makin said.

“Securing a combined contribution of $45million over four years from the Federal and State Governments would mean that councils could change about 330,000 street lights from 80W mercury vapour lamps to energy efficient globes at a low cost and in a quicker turn around,” Cr Makin said.

In Maroondah the upfront costs of replacing more than 5500 mercury vapour globes currently lighting Maroondah’s streets is about $2million.

Cr Makin said the reason for changing to more energy efficient globes was to reduce Council’s greenhouse gas emissions and create a greener more energy-efficient future.

“Council estimates that 31 per cent of its green house gas emissions and 22 per cent of its electricity costs are generated by lighting Maroondah’s local streets,” Cr Makin said.

“Electricity is predominately generated by burning brown coal which results in significant green house gases. By making the change to energy efficient globes, we can reduce our carbon footprint and work towards mitigating the effects of climate change,” Cr Makin said.

“The sooner the change over the sooner we start making a difference,” Cr Makin said.

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Media Release: Proposed Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure on display at Maroondah Festival

Maroondah City Council Mayor Councillor Alex Makin congratulates the 14 Ringwood Diving Club members who have qualified for the National Competition next year.

“It is a fantastic effort from our local club to have so many divers representing the state at such an elite level,” Cr Makin said.

“The news of the club’s success timed in perfectly with Council’s proposed Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure facility information expo at Ringwood Aquatic Centre on Saturday October 23,” Cr Makin said.

“The expo gave the community a chance to find out more about the proposed facility which includes the state diving centre. The proposed state diving centre would provide Ringwood Diving Club and other diving clubs with a state of the art training facility,” Cr Makin said.

“The proposal has been strongly supported by Diving Australia, Diving Victoria and Ringwood Diving Club. If we can secure state and/or federal government funding, the facility would include unique dry driving training facilities and a FINA standard 10 metre diving tower and pool,” Cr Makin said.

“The recent success of former Ringwood Diving Club members at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games level proves that we have the talent to compete on the world stage,” Cr Makin said.

“A facility like the proposed state diving centre would offer these athletes a chance to train in a world class venue, perfecting their skills and putting them in a better position to compete at an international level,” Cr Makin said.

Council is hosting another proposed Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure facility information expo at Maroondah Festival on November 7.

Members of the Ringwood Diving Club will provide an interactive display as part of the festival with divers performing on the portable springboard, mini trampolines, and kinder dive activities.

The expo will also highlight the types of exciting aquatic and leisure activities the new Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure facility would provide for families and individuals,” Cr Makin said.

“There will be a variety of information, images and concept plans on display and an opportunity for people to provide feedback on their thoughts of the proposed facility,” Cr Makin said.

“For those who want to discuss the proposal further there will be leisure experts, representatives from aquatic clubs and council staff on hand to answer all of your questions,” Cr Makin said.

The proposed facility is accessible for all, and includes warm water pool; dedicated learn to swim pool; 50 metre pool; and extensive water play and large indoor water slides. It is also proposed to include an extensive gymnasium with multipurpose exercise rooms and a wellness centre.

“With all of this under the one roof the proposed facility will offer exciting aquatic and leisure activities for everyone,” Cr Makin said.

What: Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure information expo
When: Sunday November 7
Where: Maroondah Festival, Town Park, Croydon
When: 10am to 5pm

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Maroondah Leader: roll out the issues

The State Election is just over a month away and the Marooodah Leader has canvassed community organisations on the issues facing Maroondah and Melbourne’s outer east:

Mayor Alex Makin said the council’s focus was on funding for the $48 million Maroondah Aquatic and Leisure Centre, but the major parties should also provide an ongoing commitment to Ringwood Central Activities District, preserving local government’s authority over planning decisions and more frequent public transport services.

It is imperative that all parties commit to a shared vision for Maroondah, including Ringwood’s status as a Central Activities District. This requires an ongoing commitment and planning certainty, as well as facilities that serve not only Maroondah but the wider eastern region.

Celebrating Community Safety Month through Community Art at Bayswater North

Community Safety Month, an initiative of Victoria Police is held every October with the aim of encouraging safer communities. One of the major focal points of Bayswater North Community Renewal is safety and this has led to the formation of the Paths and Parking Action Group.

The Paths & Parking Action Group is a working group of Community Renewal consisting of three members who have worked for almost three years to improve safety, particularly in regard to pedestrians and accessibility.

The Action Group advocated for an accessible bus stop to be located on Colchester Road, opposite the Canterbury Gardens Shopping Centre. This bus stop has been decorated with mosaic tiles created by students from grades 3 and 4 at Bayswater North Primary with the theme of community.

This morning I officially launched the new bus stop and congratulated the three founding members of the Paths & Parking Action Group, all of whom are mothers with children at Bayswater North Primary. These three members not only advocated for safety improvements but also encouraged community participation through their links to the Bayswater North Primary.

The accessible bus stop and community art project demonstrates the positive improvements that can be undertaken in partnership with the community and Council. I congratulate the three members of the Paths and Parking Working Group for their dedication and community service.

10th Anniversary of the Swimming Bus Program

The Maroondah Swimming Bus provides transport for frail aged older adults to access Ringwood Aquatic Centre on a weekly basis each Monday. The program is provided by volunteer drivers who provide their time to deliver the members to and from the Ringwood Aquatic Centre.

The service has delivered not only improved health and wellbeing but social interaction and inclusion through the forming of friendships and support. This afternoon volunteers and participants celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the swimming bus program

The speech I delivered during the celebrations is available within this entry:

Good afternoon and welcome to the 10th anniversary of the Swimming Bus Program. I would like to welcome Cr Ann Fraser, as well as welcome past and present participants, volunteer drivers and aerobics instructors of the program from the past 10 years.

I’m very pleased to be here at the 10th anniversary of the swimming bus program which began on 9 October 2000. There has been approximately 43 residents participating in the program over the past 10 years.

Over 15 volunteer drivers have given their time enabling a large number of otherwise house bound older adults to access the Ringwood Aquatic Centre on a weekly basis for the Monday Swimming Program. This free service has played a vital role in both maintaining and improving health and providing an opportunity for socialisation. Many valuable long term friendships have been formed on these bus trips which has provided another support mechanism for these otherwise isolated residents.

Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in this program over the 10 years including the volunteers who provide the transport services, your dedication has improved the lives of many older Maroondah residents.