Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Governor General drops in and we are in the news

The Governor General Quentin Bryce came to Flowerdale on Saturday evening and visited the residents at the temporary village. She met with Paula and spent twenty minutes over a cup of tea listening to the story of the post fire recovery in Flowerdale. She was happy to see how the residents were being catered for and enjoyed her time here.

We also featured on Sky News yesterday. There was coverage of both the tree planting and the Future Flowerdale Forum. Most of the footage shown was taken in the forum meeting.

It is good to see we are on the national radar as we go through the recovery process.

I am trying to track down the footage from Sky News as well as some photos of the Governor General's visit.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Tennis Courts

The Victorian Minister for Sport, James Merlino and local member, Ben Hardman came to Flowerdale yesterday and announced that Flowerdale will receive $100,000 for two new tennis courts as part of the $3million Bushfire Relief Grant Funding for Sports Clubs in fire affected areas.

We had asked for four courts however the maximum grant available under the fund was $100,000 which means we can only get two new courts. The Tennis Club will continue seek additional funding to get the other two courts. This will enable the existing courts to be available for a more diverse range of sporting activities in Flowerdale.

The FRC, Recreation Reserve committee and Tennis Club will continue to lobby for additional funds for sport and recreation facilities in Flowerdale, and Sport and Recreation for all in the community was a priority identified at the Future Flowerdale forum.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Future Flowerdale outcomes

The Future Flowerdale workshop was held at the Community Hall on Sunday 19th July. There was a big turnout with the crowd of approximately 150 people at its peak.

The purpose of the workshop was to get Community input into the future of Flowerdale. The workshop got off to a testy start as the community wanted to "get on with it" rather than go through the exercises that were proposed by the facilitators. Once we got through that we went into a presentation by John Burgess and me (Pete) on what was already underway, including:

  • A new CFA ultra light tanker has been confirmed by the CFA
  • The new kinder has been identified by VBRRA as a priority project and community consultations are underway regarding the location
  • A community house has also been identified as a priority project and the location is part of the community consultation process
  • An Integrated Planning Office or "One Stop Shop" building advisory centre. This is a Flowerdale Recovery Committee initiative as Flowerdale was left off the list for the VBRRA Building Advisory Centres. We will have information to step people through the process.
  • A memorial has been identified as a priority project
  • A "Cultural" Precinct on the rec reserve incorporating an Arts Studio, Mens Shed and Communal Garden
  • Picnic Ground at Moores Rd Reserve
  • 300 tonnes of timber has been made available by Parks Victoria and is being sold to community at a discount via the local mill
The session then went into capturing the needs and wants of the community and there were plenty of ideas thrown in. After lunch we went back to some more facilitator's exercises for people to pick one priority. This was despite objections from members of the FRC and me that this would limit the discussion and could cause things to drop off.

The key areas that came up (with a short summary) were:

Communications - Mobile, Broadband, TV, Radio, Emergency Services, Warnings
Recreation - The need for recreation for people of all ages across a wide range of activities
Water and Sustainability - covering tanks, the creek, blackwater, grey water etc
One Flowerdale - One postcode, one town, effectively between the welcome signs
Community House - Covered the need for a multi purpose facility to provide a space for health services, kids and youth, clubs, classes and many more activities
Roads and Bridge - Seal the roads, keep the bridge, beautify the roadsides
Transport - Connect to Kinglake West service, school bus
Education - Covered area for kids, kindergarten, childcare, school bus

(I am doing this from memory and I think I have listed them all... comment if I have left things out)

Overall it was a long day and there were times when the crowd (me included) got frustrated but at the end of the day we got a lot of things on the table. There were things that didn't get covered including:

  • What safety measures do we need to put in place to prevent such disasters and losses in the future?
  • What character is desired for the town and should there be some planning guidelines?
  • What can we do for economic development and jobs in Flowerdale?
  • How do we get the population back to a level that can sustain the things that Flowerdallians want?
  • Does Flowerdale need a town centre?

Some of these issues were discussed at the Community Workshop on the 19th April and in discussions with Kerry from VBRRA today she assured me that information that has been gathered in any of the Community Forums or meetings can go into the Community Recovery Plan. The next step will be to get the typed up notes from the workshop and for a meeting with the FRC and VBRRA to take place within the next week to start to pull the plan together.

The meeting was an important step in moving forward on the recovery journey and thanks to everyone who contributed. In future the FRC will look to be the primary facilitators in these forums. Feel free to add your thoughts and comments below.

I will post the video of the kids performance once I upload the video.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tree Planting kicks things off

At 9.00am on 19th July, the Flowerdale community together with the help of some friends planted over 1200 trees in Collins Rd. The planting was organised by Landcare
and was a great way to kick the planning day off. Peter Auty provides the background:

It was also great to see Christine Nixon, Chairman of VBRRA, get in the mix and get her hands dirty. It was a real lift for those that were there.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Things are on the move

There has been a lot of activity over the last few weeks leading up to Sunday's workshop. In particular work is being commissioned with Engineers Australia to investigate the current position in terms of waste water treatment and sewage. This initial piece of work will identify where things are at and will provide a basis for looking at the future options.

CSIRO who have already provided us with assistance, are also looking to look at how Flowerdale can become a Zero Emissions Neighbourhood and can help with applying for grants.

We are moving quickly on the Planning Office and we have a building at the hub and we are getting furniture, computers, brochures and a website together. The idea is to help those looking to rebuild by providing a one stop shop with all the information that is required. We have had plenty of feedback from people that the process is pretty torturous so we will do our best to make it easy.

Hope to see people on Sunday which kicks off with tree planting at 9.00am and the workshop starts at 11.00am.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photography by Samm Hall

Photography by Samm

Community Newsletter Update

Community Meetings
Community meetings will be held at the Rec Reserve, Spring Valley Road on Friday evenings commencing 8pm
Please note: Meeting will now be held fortnightly. Next meeting is 24th July.

Updates from Community Meeting 10th July

· A new grant for toilets and showers
It is anticipated that the Bushfire Appeal Fund will shortly announce a new grant to help those that lost their primary place of residence put toilet and shower facilities on their blocks while they rebuild. Further details to be advised; please check with the Hub once the grant officially announced. We believe there will be some assistance for those who have already arranged facilities.
· Material Aid
Thanks to a mighty volunteer effort by Russell, Chrissy and Deb, all donated items have now been shifted from the three portables outside the Flowerdale Hall into two of the large Grocon buildings behind the Hub. We are working to remove the three portables this week ahead of the community's planning/tree planting/market day at the Hall on the 19th July.
Material aid hopes to operate 9-6pm Mon-Fri and Saturday morning 9-1pm, if sufficient volunteers/Hub staff are available.
From now on, ALL material aid will be issued via the Hub. Arrangements are being made to remove the shipping containers from the Rec Reserve; storage of items within the containers that are needed in the Village and Rec Reserve will be arranged shortly. A huge thank you to everyone who has been working in recent weeks to sort and distribute the donated materials from the containers.
· Hub Shuttle service
From Monday 13th July the Hub will operate a free shuttle service for people in the Flowerdale area that need transport to/from the Hub. Anyone wishing to come to the Hub for material aid or other assistance, including village residents, can ring the Hub on 5780 2704 and book a time for the shuttle to collect them.At this stage we hope the shuttle will operate 9.15-2.45pm Mon-Fri and 9-1pm Saturday, or outside of these hours by arrangement, if we can source drivers.
One day each week, the shuttle will run to/from Whittlesea, leaving the Hub at 10am and returning 2pm. Anyone wishing to register for this service should call the Hub on 5780 2704.
· Australian Government Services
A reminder that Centrelink staff are at the Community Services Hub (on the Flowerdale Hall site) 1-5pm Tuesday-Friday, and 10am-1pm Saturday. Esther and Tom (and/or their colleagues) are able to help with issues across all government services, including taxation and child support. No appointments necessary; just call in during the above hours.

· Firewood
The Hub received its first load of firewood this week. At this stage the deliveries are just enough to meet immediate needs for people to keep warm. We are still working with the Shire and other agencies to try to source dry wood, and/or arrange regular deliveries.
Should people want to replace stockpiles lost during the fires, they are welcome to contact either Henry Kielbaska, 3505 Whittlesea–Yea Road, Flowerdale, 0427 808 435 or Ric Stubbings, 31 Spring Valley Road, Flowerdale, 5780 1494, to arrange access to their properties (where felled trees are stored) and take a chainsaw to cut wood.
· Recovery Service Meeting
The Hub is hosting a meeting at the Flowerdale Hall on Wed 15th July for as many agencies, volunteers and organisations as possible who are delivering recovery services in the Flowerdale area.
The meeting intends to identify anyone/everyone who is interested in being part of Flowerdale medium-long term recovery, the services they are looking to provide, how long they intend to be here, how people access their services, and whether there is a lead/coordinating agency operating within their field.
As part of the meeting, agencies will also be advised about the community's planning day on 19th July, where the community will determine what it envisages the Flowerdale area being like going forward. Agencies will be invited back after the 19th to hear what the community wants, and to identify how they can help realise the community's vision.
A representative of the Flowerdale Recovery Committee will be present at these meetings to ensure the community's voice/interests are considered; although everyone involved is committed to the community leading the recovery.
· Stories The Rural Women's Network are looking for stories about what women are doing to help rebuild lives of those directly affected by the 2009 bushfires. Submissions are due 15th July. Anyone interested can read full details at
· Fresh fruit & vegies
Fresh fruit and vegies are now available at the Flowerdale Hall on Saturday mornings, 9am-1 pm.
· Free Men's Golf Day
A free men's golf day is being held at Broadford Golf Club on Friday 31st July 2009. A morning round of golf (experience not necessary, but BYO golf clubs!) will be followed by lunch and speakers covering topics around the recovery process, financial counselling and the role of case managers. Registration forms are available at the Hub, or email or call 5784 5555. You're encouraged to take a mate, brother, son or other male family member affected by the February bushfires. Men wishing to attend can register for a shuttle service from the Hub by calling 5780 2704.
· Family Portraits
On Sunday 26th July families are able to have portraits done for those who have had total loss of houses. People will be given a disc for free so they are able to print. Book through Odette (Community House) 0429012129
· Centrelink (Tax Returns)
Centrelink are able to help people with their tax returns for people who have lost documentation through the
fires. This also includes people with small businesses. See Centrelink at Hub for more details.

Flowerdale Recovery Committee
· A weekly report will be sent to all agencies eg: VBRRA, Shire in regards to recovery projects that are currently being worked on with what status they are at. This will help enable communication between Recovery Committee & all agencies involved.
· Community Workshop for the 19th July is now changed venue to the Hall.
· CFA Tanker: The CFA, via Alan Davies, have told Darley that they will pay for a new tanker. The CFA, via Alan Davies, have told Darley that the tanker has been ordered, and the supply time would be 12 months. Region 12 Flowerdale Brigade have not been informed by the CFA that a tanker had been ordered, or indeed was even being allocated to Flowerdale.
As a result there will be a meeting on Tuesday 14th July with Alan Davies. John Burgess will attend. He will bring Natalie Welsh from Darley with him to that meeting.
It was also noted that Deb Simmons knew about negotiations and plans with the CFA, but did not inform the Region 12 Flowerdale Brigade or any member of the Flowerdale CRC of these negotiations.
· Recovery Committees meet once a month to discuss & share issues. A weekly report will go to John from other committees & will be forwarded to all agencies. VBRRA have similar plan principles which will be scored 1-5 on issues.
· Press on Bob Dixson being in Flowerdale is on the internet & ABC. SBS Insight are wanting to do Web Story on Flowerdale.
· Greencross are fully supporting Flowerdale with us rebuilding. If you would like to see more information
· IPO will be at Hall. Darley will fit out office space with necessary equipment. Should be up & running in approx 2 weeks. Will have full interactive services including touch computer screen technology & other internet sources. You will be able to print out information & take away with you.
· Sustainability workshop being held in Kinglake West will be videotaped and copies will be available on DVD. Small fee maybe charged to cover costs of disc.

Poems for Sale at Next Community Market
Mark writes poetry and has written poems "Brick by brick - we will rebuild" and "Ode to the fireys". He sells them for $5 each with all profits going to our CFA (already handed over $55 which was gratefully accepted from last Community Market), and they will continue to do so from sales of these 2 poems. They also sell frames, magnets, bookmarks, etc. with his poems on them and will be at the next market again.

Material Aid
VBRRA have now opened Material Aid at 5 Oldfield Road, Pheasant Creek (the old choc factory). Everyone who has a blue DHS form can now access all material aid from this centre. Opening hours are Tues-Fri 9am-5pm. Phone 0435656811 (Kat or Dave) for further information.

Independent Planning & Building Surveyors
The question was raised at community meeting whether only the council can approve planning & building permits. No they are not the only people who can do this. The following are links to building commission website which maybe of interest in obtaining information:
Bushfire information:
Registered Building Practitioners:
Main Website page for Building Commission:

Sponsors for Goods

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Christian Church at Flowerdale

A Christian Church will be operating in Flowerdale at the Hall every fortnight from 12th July.

Upcoming events as at 30th June

UPCOMING EVENTS (so please mark in your diaries)

19th July
Replanting at Phelan’s Reserve, Collins Road, Flowerdale 9am

19th July
Flowerdale Community Workshop, Recreation Reserve, Spring Valley Road, Flowerdale 11am

26th July
Family Portraits thru Community House

5th August
Community Dinner, Flowerdale Hall, 6pm Gold Coin Donation includes band at 7pm

14th August
Girls Night Out, Flowerdale Hotel, Rebecca Barnard entertainment 7pm

16,17&18 Oct
Hoof Over Hills

Community Winter Events Payment

VBRRA have now released a grant for community groups to help with winter events for the community.
contact Julie Bateman for copy of information or 0418589072

Community Meeting update 26th June 2009

Community Meetings Update 26th June 2009

Flowerdale Community Recovery Committee Update

Flowerdale Recovery Committee

  • During the week VBRRA meet with the Recovery Committee at the Jarara site to discuss site as Community House. Committee are to meet with all stakeholders involved. It will also be discussed at Community Workshop 19th July with the community.
  • Committee has received a copy of Marysville’s Community Workshop plan to peruse to gain more ideas for our Workshop on 19th July.
  • Received donation from Blue Circle Transport of $1,000 which is now in the Flowerdale Relief Fund.
  • The committee has gained funds for the Flowerdale Primary School to go on an excursion to see the show Wicked during August. Total cost is $5,500.
  • Submission was put to Parks Victoria in regards to pine logs for community. You will see trucks now going to Strath Creek and approx 300 tonne of logs will be milled into timber at Andrew Morris sawmill. It will be sold to the community as pine timber and will be sold to anyone in the community needing it at a cheaper rate.
  • Lions Club Altona have agreed to put a Pergola, Picnic area, BBQ, Toilets at the Moores Road Reserve fully funded by them.
  • Arts Studio 12x9m shed has been funded by VBRRA. It will be erected at the end of the Rec Reserve for community use.
  • A submission has been put in for Mens Shed Grant of $50,000 for the Flowerdale Community.
  • Rec Reserve Building will have new reverse cycle air conditioner as a donation & installed for free.
  • New appointments in Committee:
    · Ric Stubbings – Funds (Flowerdale Relief Fund)
    · Relief Fund has approx $50-$60,000 which none has been used
    · Creating Finance Group which will be made up of:
    · David Long, retired accountant & involved in Yea Community Bank & Yea Rotary
    · Steve Phelan is a signatory as he was on original committee and some of the money has been specifically donated for Flowerdale Groups eg: Youth Group.
    · Other signatories will change. John Burgess will be no longer be a signatory.
    · Funds will only be used if we are unable source from elsewhere eg: grants, govt depts. Etc.
    · Julie Bateman – Events·

. All Recovery Committee Events will promoted
· All other Community Groups to advise Julie of any events they maybe having to be promoted and see if there is clash of dates

  • The Flowerdale Recovery Committee will meet weekly on a Monday Night and all minutes will be published through Community Update and on the Blog once they have been passed by the committee.
  • The mobile IPO that we were getting in Flowerdale will no longer be happening. See edition 6 of VBRRA Recovery Newsletter. So this means if you need to find information on planning etc you would have to go to Kinglake. We are going to have our own here through other sources & should be up & running by the end of July. (Further details will be advised as they come to hand).
  • There are two structure plans in place one from Council & one from VBRRA. It was questioned at Friday night’s Community meeting with Sally Abbott-Smith as to which one was correct and would like official response as to structure.
  • Issues on Section 86 were also discussed with Sally Abbott-Smith as they are advertising for committee members for advisory groups. (See attached minutes of Section 86 Meeting).
  • The shire also have (in the Section 86 minutes) about a Recovery Plan already drafted & put forwarded to VBRRA. This was questioned at Friday night’s meeting. Sally advised that it should be on the shire’s website as an attachment. It was also a plan for the whole of the shire just not Flowerdale. (We have since received copy see attached under Section 86 Committee meeting minutes).
  • Community Workshop on 19th July the Committee is open to any suggestions & ideas of needs/wants for the community. If you have any ideas etc please contact: or talk to any of the committee members.


Flowerdale CRC Minutes of Meeting 22nd June 2009

Girls Night Out

There is a girls night out planned in August at the Flowerdale Hotel

See the brochure below for details

Girls Night Out

Murrindindi Section 86 Committee Minutes of Meeting

MBRRC Minutes 10 June 2009

MBRRC Planning Committe Group Encl. 8.2

Encl 8.2 Kinglake and Flower Dale PCG Reports

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Flowerdale, Greensburg and Green Cross on Bush Telegraph

We got some great publicity on Bush Telegraph this week where we were on with Bob Dixson, Mayor of Greensburg and Mara Bun, CEO of Green Cross, and organisation founded by Mikhail Gorbachev that has been helping rebuild New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina.

If you didn't hear you can listen to it here

It is great for us to be associated with people like Bob and Mara who can help us with coming out of Black Saturday much stronger with the community taking control of its future.

Sustainability Workshop - 12th July

There is a sustainable building design workshop on 12th July. It would be great for some Flowerdallians to attend. I am going to organise to get it filmed as well so those who cant make it can still get the benefit.

Location: Kinglake West Hall
Date: Sunday 12 July 2009
Time: 12pm-5pm
Cost: Free

Murrindindi Climate Network in partnership with the Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd are hosting another workshop on sustainable building.

This is the second in a series and will focus on design aspects of sustainable building.

Presenters will include Duncan Hall and Peter Lockyer, local designers/architects specialising in sustainable building; Mark Sanders of Third Ecology Architects in Geelong; and Paul Mitchell of ShelterSpace specialising in building earth homes.

Contact details: or 0402 181 513

Stay tuned as we are working on getting a planning office in Flowerdale that incorporates all that you need to know about rebuilding from a financial, sustainable, safety point of view. We will cut the video into bite size chunks and put it onto the web and have it accessible in the planning office.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Important Community Forum - 19th July

On 19th July their will be a community forum at the rec reserve. The forum is being organised by VBRRA to gain input from the community into the masterplan for Flowerdale. VBRRA and the Recovery Committee are working together on the forum which will have an external facilitator.

The Community Expo held in April gathered some high level aspirations and the forum will go deeper into the aspirations to put together a formal masterplan for Flowerdale.

The outcomes of the forum will provide direct input into what the community wants Flowerdale to be as it emerges from the recovery. It is the forum that provides people from Flowerdale the opportunity to particpate in shaping the future of Flowerdale so it is really crucial that we get as many people as we can involved to get the broadest perspective.

An agenda and timing will be released shortly but we wanted to get some advance notice out so everyone can mark in on the calendar.