Time to shine

It’s time to tune up your instruments and practice your scales as entries to the 2017 Boroondara Eisteddfod are now open to young musicians and singers.

The Boroondara Eisteddfod is a wonderful musical and vocal competition that has been fostering the careers of young artists since 1991. In that time the event has given close to 60,000 young performers the chance to showcase their musical talents.

I am proud that we continue to foster the careers of young musicians and offer such a high calibre event to residents and visitors to Boroondara.

Entries are now open, and close 31 March so get your entries in quick for your chance to show your musical talents.

This year’s Eisteddfod will be held from 19 April to 25 June across two locations – in the Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Road, and the Parkview Room, 340 Camberwell Road (beside Camberwell Library).

The majority of events are free so whether you’re a classical music fan, or have simply never attended the Eisteddfod before, you should get along to see this fantastic competition.

This is a great event and I warmly encourage you all to attend and see some terrific young talent and some stars of the future.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

Entry details

You can enter online via the Stardom database at www.stardom.com.au or find out more information here.

Tickets

Ticket sales open on 10 April 2017 and I strongly encouraged you to book in advance. To book your tickets, visit our ‘Buy Tickets’ page, call 9278 4770, or come to the Hawthorn Arts Centre Box Office located at 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn.

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The City of Harmony

One of the joys of being Mayor of our great City is knowing it’s a diverse and vibrant part of Melbourne, home to people and cultures from all around the world. In fact, Boroondara is made up of people originating from over 150 different countries, ensuring our community is filled with a broad range of traditions, religions and languages.

That extraordinary diversity is one of our City’s many strengths. So it is appropriate that on 21 March we celebrate Harmony Day.

Harmony Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the key message of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’. The day aims to encourage people to participate in their community, respect cultural and religious diversity and foster a sense of belonging for everyone.

As a Council we’re committed to supporting the wellbeing and inclusion of residents from all backgrounds. You can learn more about our Cultural Diversity Plan here.

So wherever you’re from, whatever your cultural traditions are, a very happy Harmony Day to you and your family. It is great to have you as part of our wonderful and diverse City.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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Vote for your priorities and shape the next ten 10 years in Boroondara

Since November, we’ve asked ‘What’s important to you in Boroondara?’ to inform our 10-year community plan. We’ve had an extraordinary response and received more than 7,000 responses from people right across our community.

Your responses have been analysed and fall into seven priority themes.

  • Your parks and green spaces
  • Residential development
  • Your community services and facilities
  • The environment
  • Getting around Boroondara
  • Your community
  • Your local shops and businesses

Now we want you to vote for what is most important to you. During March and April,  Council will be popping up at community events across our city to hear your views about the priority themes. So find us at one of the following events, participate in some fun (and informative) activities and have your say on setting our priorities for the community plan.

If you can’t make it to one of the community festivals, you can tell us online how you would prioritise the themes for our community plan. The website is a quick and easy way to have your say and your input will help guide our services, facilities and budgets for the next 10 years.

I am proud to work for a community that cares about each other, and our shared future. Together we will create a plan that honours what makes Boroondara such a remarkable place to live today, and sets the direction for what we are building tomorrow.

Find out more by visiting www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/ourcommunity. If you would prefer to receive a copy of our survey in the mail, please call Community Development on 9278 4753.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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The heart of the community

Volunteering makes us feel great and is a wonderful way to give back to our community – but I don’t need to tell you that. The people of Boroondara already know better than most the benefits of volunteering given we volunteer more than any other community in metropolitan Melbourne. An extraordinary 24 per cent of our city’s residents engage in some form of volunteering.

Volunteers make a valuable contribution to community life – and as an added benefit receive improved health and wellbeing from their volunteer activities. Many organisations rely heavily on volunteers to keep their vital services running for the benefit of the whole community.

To help members of the community find the right organisation to volunteer with, we run the Annual Boroondara Volunteer Expo. This is the twelth year of this terrific event and it just keeps geting better every year. During this years expo on 1 March, you can connect with over 50 community organisations from a diverse range of sectors and causes all in one place.

The event is free so if you’re looking to volunteer in 2017, come along and learn about the many ways you can make a difference in our wonderful city.

Event details

Annual Boroondara Volunteer Expo
Wednesday 1 March, 2017
1-6pm
Hawthorn Arts Centre (360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn)
FREE
www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/volunteerexpo

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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Transparency missing in Government process on Markham Estate

There are few more serious breaches of faith in a democracy than governments lacking transparency and using extreme powers to force through a decision at the expense of the community.

The Victorian Government’s approach and proposal to redevelop public housing at Markham Estate in Ashburton has been ill-thought- out from the very beginning:

  • The Minister for Planning took away Council’s planning control and made himself the responsible planning authority for the site.
  • The Minister refused to allow the community to have the usual rights which apply in any other planning process. The community is barred from their normal notification processes or to an independent appeal process.
  • The plan proposed an excessive number of private housing apartments. We were told that this is necessary to pay for the cost of building public housing. Meanwhile, a similar public housing project in Darebin is not subject to funding from private housing sales.
  • The development plans lodged with Council include 27 failures to comply with the Boroondara Planning Scheme, 30 failures to provide adequate information and 56 failures to comply with the Minister’s own newly released guidelines for new apartments.

The list of nonsensical actions by the Victorian Government goes on. In late December, Council was asked by the Minister for Planning to provide feedback on amended plans that were to be prepared following Places Victoria’s community engagement period.

It was disappointing to see that the amended plans received in early February remained incomplete and have not addressed the significant concerns raised by Council and the community.

In the amended plans, Places Victoria claims that they have increased boundary setbacks between the site and the adjoining park and improved the landscape design. These are incorrect.

The facts are that the increased setbacks will be occupied by large elevated decking structures, and modifications made to the landscape design will jeopardise the health of established canopy tress purported to be retained.

The fact remains that cramming 250 dwellings on what used to be a 56-unit development is ludicrous. It will cause traffic nightmares and will destroy our beloved neighbourhood character.

Six and seven storey buildings in an area where existing detached homes are a maximum of two storeys is completely unnecessary and driven by an entirely false construct.

The cost neutral economic basis for the size of the development includes the cost of land that was bought and paid for by the Victorian taxpayers many years ago. This cost should be excluded, enabling a smaller scale proposal, more in keeping with the area.

Over the years, we have lost a significant number of public housing dwellings within the City of Boroondara. With nearly 2000 people in inner-eastern Melbourne on the waiting and transfer list for public housing, Council supports increased public housing in our city.

What we don’t support is sham consultation and the destruction of our neighbourhood character and amenity.

Council remains strongly opposed to the proposed development. I call upon you to help voice our deep concerns by writing to the Minister for Planning (richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au) to stop this monstrosity from happening.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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It’s still summertime in Boroondara

Everybody loves summer. The warm weather means we can get out and about with our family and friends in our great city, enjoying the many parks and gardens, festivals and events on offer.

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Even though we are getting towards the end of the official summer, we still have plenty of great events planned for the warmer weather that extends well into March and beyond.

We’ve already had some fantastic music as part of our Summer Music program over the first couple of weekends in February. The last event for this terrific (and free) program is on Saturday 18 February in the Canterbury Gardens and will feature the music of Mojo Juju, Charm of Finches and more. The music will be playing from 6pm to 9pm and you can find out how to get there here.

We also have some terrific family friendly festivals coming up across Boroondara. Our festivals are a great way to enjoy the many sights and sounds of our city, as well as a chance to support your local community. So check out the wonderful festivals coming up and enjoy the last days of summer (and beyond).

Ashburton Community Festival

When: 12pm to 7pm, Sunday 26 February 2017
Where: High Street Shopping Centre, between Johnston Street and Carool Road, Ashburton
Web: www.ashburtonvillage3147.com.au

The Ashburton Community Festival has a tradition of encouraging performances from local schools and residents wishing to display their talent and hone their performing skills.

KEWfest17

When: Friday 3 March to Sunday 19 March 2017
Where: Various locations
Web: www.kewfestival.org

The festival presents a variety of events and activities throughout the duration of its program. The Kewmunity Day and Evening Concert includes many diverse musical acts and presents as an opportunity to enhance community awareness between participants who are culturally and generationally diverse.

Glenferrie Festival

When: 11am to 5pm, Sunday 5 March, 2017
Where: Glenferrie Road, between Burwood and Barkers Roads, Hawthorn
Web: www.glenferrie.com.au

The Glenferrie Festival 2017 Civilisations provides a space for the community to meet and enjoy all the sights, tastes and sounds of this vibrant and evolving community hub – connecting through food, entertainment, education, health, play and fun.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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Vale Cr Gerard Petrie

It is with great sadness that we announce that Cr Gerard Petrie, a former Mayor of Kew from 1973-1974, has passed away after a lengthy illness.

Cr Gerard Petrie. Photo by Tony Michael, Kew History Group

Cr Gerard Petrie. Photo by Tony Michael, Kew History Group

Gerard Petrie was deeply committed to his family and community, giving his time generously to many organisations and causes over nearly four decades of public service leaving a significant legacy that will continue to touch our lives for years to come. He was an educator, motivator, leader and mentor.

He was involved in local government, inter-church and community activities for thirty-five years. He helped initiate the first Kew Festival in 1974, and compered the Carols by Candlelight in Kew for an extraordinary thirty years, both events we enjoy each year.

Gerard also chaired many committees such as the Victoria 150 committee and the Bicentennial committee for the City of Kew. He was also the first chairman of the Kew Inter-Church Council and the first President of Hawthorn Junior District Football League. He was also one of the founders of the Kew Little Athletics and a Probation Officer for the Children’s Court.

His passionate and dedicated service to the community will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this time.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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Acknowledgement of Country

Boroondara Council adopted its Councillor Code of Conduct on Monday 13 February 2017. Included in the Code of Conduct is a protocol with respect to an Acknowledgement of Country.

There is nothing in the Code of Conduct that prevents any Councillor, at their absolute discretion, from providing an Acknowledgment of Country at any event where they have been requested to make a speech.

It is important to have an agreed, formal set of words for an Acknowledgement of Country to make sure when this acknowledgement is delivered it is consistent. More importantly, it is essential that the words, when spoken, mean something to the speaker and the audience and are not seen as tokenistic.

Essentially what we have done is allow Councillors the freedom of choice to say the Acknowledgement of Country or not.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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Creating new digital options

A key priority for this year is creating new digital options for our community to access our services in ways that are more convenient for them.

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We’re meeting the changing needs of a large group of our customers who prefer to interact with their local government via their mobiles, tablets, or desktops.

Thanks much to the many residents and businesses who are giving us great feedback as we develop our online forms, website and mobile functionality and the ease of use of our digital content.

Our ongoing digital transformation does not represent a reduction in our traditional service offerings, as we know that there are many Boroondara residents who value more personal interactions, or who feel more comfortable using non-digital means.

Customers can now access more and more services from the City of Boroondara at any time of day, from wherever they are, as long as they have internet access, through our new online forms.

Since creating our hard waste collection online form in March, 6,257 pickups have been booked by residents. Since creating our animal registration form in June, 458 pets have been registered online in Boroondara. Please visit www.boroondara.vic.gov.au and check out what you can do online if that is your preference.

Our development team is working on further online forms to release in the lead-up to the launch of our new website in May 2017.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

 

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Boroondara holds MAV to account

The City of Boroondara resolved on 7 November 2016 to not appoint a representative to the Municipal Association of Victoria the peak body for local government in Victoria (MAV) owing to concerns regarding serious governance deficiencies at the MAV and has nothing to do with gender.

Ratepayers pay in excess of $60,000 per year to be a member on the basis that the MAV is to advocate for the local government sector and represent its interests in dealing with state and federal governments. With membership comes the opportunity to nominate a representative.

As a newly elected Council, Councillors have had to make a choice. Consistent with the Council resolution in August last year which stated that Council was “reluctantly” renewing its membership, Council resolved on 7 November to not appoint a representative to the MAV.

Since this time there has been media interest in Council’s decision. Unfortunately, some observers have alleged that the basis for Council’s decision reflects gender bias because the previous representative was a female.

There is simply no basis for the allegations of gender bias at Boroondara Council, a Council which has 5 female and 5 male councillors, 3 female and 3 male members of its executive team and who has elected Cr Coral Ross as Mayor three times.

Cr Thompson probably expressed the views of all councillors when he said,

“I am deeply offended with the allegations that I am part of a Council that is biased against women. I have two young daughters, daughters that I want to grow up as strong and independent women. I shouldn’t have to explain such falsehoods to my daughters and yet I find myself and my colleagues have become easy targets for others pursuing different agendas.“

There are inherent conflicts between the MAV attempts to prop up its revenue through reliance on commercial enterprises while at the same time discharging its obligation to provide the best possible outcomes for its local government members. We have written to the Minister for Local Government to ask that the current review of the Local Government Act removes these conflicts.

This decision is about one thing and one thing only – it is about our deep concerns regarding the performance of the Board and the administration of the MAV. This is perhaps best reflected in the MAV’s resistance to an independent review by the Auditor-General’s office and the damning report highlighting serious governance deficiencies.

These deficiencies occurred under a Board which has been in place for quite some time and it is this Council’s view that the only way to rectify such deep-seated problems is to replace the entire board and the leadership of the administration.

The truth lies in the culture of the Board and the MAV leadership which resulted in the Auditor General’s report and that message needs to be heard.

We are so concerned with the functioning of the MAV Mutual Insurance Scheme we have requested the Victorian Auditor General investigate the scheme including the determination of the insurance premiums applied to different members, the proportion of funds distributed to the MAV and the margin taken by the insurer.

Let us stay focused on the very serious matter of the performance of the MAV.

Cr Phillip Healey
Mayor

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