Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Flowerdale Youth Workshop

Flowerdale Community Dinner - Good Friday

Just to let you know the the Flowerdale Community Dinner will be on this Friday Night as usual.

Fish, Salads, Bread Rolls & Apple Crumble.

This dinner is being catered for Julie Whittaker-Smith who has provided many of our dinners since last year so please come & enjoy yummy food & great company.

If you know of anyone who would be interested please let them know.

Flowerdale Forum II - Video presentation

After a momumental battle with video file formats, conversion software, video sharing sites and rogue networks i have managed to get the Flowerdale Forum II video presentation online. It is 224mb (ie big) so will chew up bandwidth if you have low bandwidth limits but will run OK on any broadband connection.

Flowerdale Forum II- Bushfire Recovery Update from Peter Williams on Vimeo.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Update from Flowerdale Forum II

Flowerdale Forum II was held on 20 March at the Community Hall. There were about 100 people in attendance with good representation from VBRRA, Murrindindi Shire Council and the Community.

The main purpose of the Forum was to provide an update on progress on the 14 areas identified by the Community at Flowerdale Future Forum in July, which then formed the basis for the Community Recovery Plan submitted on the 18th August.

Betsy Harrington from VBRRA opened the meeting and gave a report on the progress from a VBRRA perspective.

Rob Croxford, CEO of Murrindindi Shire Council, gave a report from the Shire perspective and explained some details of funding that had been provided to the Shire to help them continue to provide services. With the large loss of property in the Shire there has been a $3.2m revenue decline from rates. In addition, the demand for services has increased due to the recovery and reconstruction effort. Rob also explained how the Shire had appointed a Section 86 Committee made up of Councillors, VBRRA people and other state government representatives to manage the Recovery and Reconstruction efforts in the Shire.

A video presentation followed that outlined the progress on all 14 of the areas included in the Community Recovery plan. (I will try to get the video and put it online as many people commented on how useful it was to see everything in the one place).

Overall 12 of the 14 areas are well underway. Two areas, namely, Communicatons and Sustainability, particularly Water, require more work.

Michael Sammut from Telstra and Pete Williams went through Communications. Michael gave an overview of some of the options available to residents in terms of accessing mobile coverage, improving mobile coverage, setting up a broadband internet connection and also wireless broadband. The price of wireless broadband has recently reduced and Michael gave a brief outline of the new pricing. Importantly Michael has offered that Telstra Countrywide will make home visits and go through testing and advice to the residents to ensure they can maximise the use of communications services that are currently available. It was acknowledged that sometimes people had the right handsets but wrong sim cards or that setting up a Yagi antenna can make all the difference to improving both mobile phone and wireless internet reception. The Community was also advised that we had been awarded a Forrester Groundswell Award for the use of technology to communicate since the fires.

A representative of Goulbourn Broken Catchment Management Authority gave an overview of its activities particularly in relation to managing the King Parrot Creek.

messages were also relayed to the Community from both the Prime Minister and Andrew Forrest, effectively saying how they saw Flowerdale as leaders in the recovery process.

After an afternoon tea break there was a question and answer session. Issues covered included:

One Postcode for Flowerdale - it was confirmed that work was proceeding on this issue and funding had been provided to go through the process.

Flowerdale Relief Fund - The Flowerdale Relief Fund has approximately $62,000 from various donors. To date only $2340 has been expended on Arts Materials on the specific request of the donor. The funds were being held until after decisions are made on the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Funding Applications that have been submitted to VBAF on behalf of a range of community groups or for specific projects. An amount of approximately $24,000 was raised from the Flowerdale vs Flouros event and these funds were disbursed to 6 community groups.

Flowerdale Recovery Committee - A number of questions were asked about the Flowerdale Recovery Committee in terms of tenure, size etc. The meeting was advised that as a result of a petition presented to the Section 86 Committee of Council an independent facilitator will be appointed to facilitate discussions between the FRC and the petitioners.

Community House Grant and Jarara - A number of questions were asked about the process of obtaining the $1.67 million grant from the DEEWR jobs fund, the selection of the Jarara site and the removal of the Jarara Committee. It was explained that the grant application was put together in a very short time frame and that at the time it was not expected that the grant application would be successful but it was worth a try. When the grant was awarded in October, Coomunity House contacted Council to inform them of the successful application. It was acknowledged that there should have been more consultation and Council also acknowledged the good work of the Jarara Committee. Paula Turner of Community House also issued an open invitation to all in the Community to become involved with Community House and the new facility.

Overall it was a positive day and I will try to get the video online ASAP.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Organics Forum

As part of creating sustainable economic and employment opportunities in Flowerdale VBRRA, the FRC, the Victorian Farmers Federation and Regional Development Victoria have been exploring the opportunity for Organic Farming in the Kinglake Ranges region.

The Forum will take place at the Flowerdale Estate Conference Centre, details below

Organic Farming Flyer High Resolution -- D10-36095

Lost but Found - Our Global Award

You may recall that in October, 2009 the Flowerdale Community won a Groundswell Award, from Forrester Research, for Best Use of Social Media for Social Impact. Flowerdale was the first group outside North America to ever win one of these awards.
The award acknowledged the use of the Blog, Flickr, Youtube, Scribd and the Flowerdale Wiki as well as , the step by step rebuilding guide.

The Award was picked up in Chicago by a Deloite colleague of mine in October but only landed on my desk this week having been in the ether of the mail system for some time.

Forrester Groundswell Award 2009

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Working Bee at Flowerdale Recreation Reserve

Hi. Do you have a few spare hours?

The Flowerdale Tennis and Cricket Club are holding a working bee on Sunday 21st March at 10.00am at the Spring Valley Recreation Reserve.

In preparation for the building of the new proposed tennis courts and re-establishment of the cricket ground and new nets we plan to remove the old cricket nets and shed, clean the Recreation Reserve and do some gardening.

Please bring your tool and come and join us!

There will be a free lunch for all the workers.

For any further information please contact Jeannette on 5780 1520

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stimulus Package to attract Business Investment

The Premier John Brumby today unveiled a $10 million Commonwealth and Victorian government stimulus package to create new jobs and attract business investment in communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. Mr Brumby said the new Victorian Bushfire Business Investment Fund would make available grants to support capital costs involved in setting up new businesses and expanding existing businesses to drive jobs, business confidence and economic growth in bushfire-affected regions.

Under the $10 million fund new businesses can apply for grants of between $50,000 and $4 million with the grants also available to support the expansion of existing businesses. The criteria for funding from the Victorian Bushfire Business Investment Fund will include:

  • The level of economic benefit the project will bring;
  • The number of sustainable, new full-time equivalent jobs created;
  • The applicant’s access to skills, experience and resources; and
  • The project’s longer-term sustainability without need for ongoing Government support.
We will seek further information from VBRRA and ensure this is covered off at the Flowerdale Forum II. If you would like assistance in applying for a grant let me know and we will look to get access to help or run a session for interested parties.

See the full announcement on the VBBRRA website.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I see a sign

Time is a relative thing but I am happy to announce that after 13 months since Black Saturday the "Welcome to Flowerdale" sign that was burnt beyond recognition has been replaced at the Southern end of town.

I put a sticker on it in April and someone spray painted Flowerdale on the sign around November but we now have a brand spanking new sign. It is not a big thing but given the amount of renewal and rebuilding going on the sign wasn't a good look.

Not a great look for a town in recovery

Thanks to the people in Government who agitated to make it happen.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Some additions to the Blog

We have made a couple of changes to the blog on the Links section on the top right hand side.

We have added a calendar link to a Flowerdale calendar (using Google Calendar) where it will be easy to find what is going on.

We have also had some feedback that Minutes of FRC meetings are not easily accessible so we have added a link our Scribd site where we have set up a page where all of the minutes are in the one place. We will also set a link up for Community Updates.

We are working right now on populating the content and putting everything in the one place as well as putting in the Community Events on the calendar this may take some time so please bear with us.

You can also use the search bar on the top left hand side of the Blog if you want to find older posts.

Hope this helps people find stuff more easily.

Tree People help out

As many of you know more than 70 people have had the Flowerdale Tree logo tattooed.

An article, entitled "The Tree People" appeared in "The Monthly" magazine, talking about how tattoo artist Olivia Brumen from Vic Market Tattoos had provided the service free of charge. There are copies of the magazine at the school and Community House if you would like to see the article.

A new group was due to go down on Tuesday however when Community House contacted Olivia on Saturday she told them that the shop had been washed out in the floods that hit Melbourne on 6th March.

The Flowerdale Community action spirit kicked in and today 12 people from Flowerdale went down to Vic Market Tattoos to help clean up after the floods.

Thanks to Olivia and thanks to those who have stepped in to payback Olivia for her work in helping the community.

Flowerdale Forum II 20th March

Flowerdale Forum II 20th March

Yea Celebration Weekend

Yea Celebration

Friday, March 5, 2010

More on the Tennis Club a great story of collaboration

Local MP Ben Hardman has issued a press release with more detail on the Tennis Club grants.

See below:

MEMBERS of the Flowerdale Tennis Club and surrounding communities can look forward to
having a hit on four new synthetic grass tennis courts thanks to a $60,000 Brumby Labor Government funding boost, Sports Minister James Merlino announced today.

Joining Member for Seymour Ben Hardman at the club’s home ground, the Spring Valley
Recreation Reserve today, Mr Merlino said the new courts would be funded through the
Community Facility Funding Program.

“Victorians love their sport and that’s why we’re investing heavily in grassroots sporting infrastructure to ensure our communities are strong, happy, healthy and active,” Mr Merlino said.

“In times of adversity, sport can play a key role in developing community strength – that’s why it’s so important that we continue to assist these clubs so that local people can stay involved in their communities and in sport. Last year $100,000 from the Community Recovery Fund was allocated towards new court development at the Flowerdale Tennis Club.”

Mr Hardman said once complete, the four new courts will feature synthetic grass surfaces that are easy to maintain, require no watering and allow high levels of use.

“The new courts will be of great benefit to Flowerdale, including nearby schools and residents of the temporary community at Spring Valley Recreation Reserve,” Mr Hardman said.

“I would like to acknowledge members and volunteers in the community as well the efforts of the Flowerdale clubs who continue to help out well after the fires – you have done an amazing job. Working together we can ensure that bushfire affected sports clubs like Flowerdale Tennis Club get the help they need when they need it most.”

Mr Hardman congratulated the Murrindindi Shire Council for their $30,000 contribution and the club for providing more than $45,000 in funding and in-kind support. The Victorian Government has invested more than $200 million for community sport and more than 2,000 community facilities across Victoria since 2000.

Flowerdale Tennis Club president Jeannette Kamar thanked the State Government for its
assistance in helping the club to provide sporting facilities for the fire-affected community. Ms Kamar said the club had grown from 32 before the fires to 78 paid-up members with families from Flowerdale, Strath Creek, Glenburn, Pheasant Creek and Kinglake West coming to enjoy tennis coaching and competition.

“Many of the members are new to tennis and are really enjoying the physical and social benefits of playing regular sport in their own community,” Ms Kamar said.

“With the assistance of Colin Grace, the club’s first ever regular tennis coach who travels from Yarrawonga each week, the skills of those who participate in his weekly lessons are clearly improving.”

With the social inter-club tennis competition now including ten teams, play had to be extended over five nights to accommodate all players. This meant reduced hours for coaching on Mondays and the men’s Friday evening social play was suspended. Ms Kamar thanked local ward councillor Sally Abbott-Smith for her strong support as well as former mayor Lyn Gunter, current mayor Peter Beales, Murrindindi Shire’s Acting CEO Rob Croxford and shire community services manager Sandra Saxton, The Flowerdale Cricket Club, Flowerdale Sports Club, Spring Valley Recreation Reserve, Committee of Management, Flowerdale Recovery Committee, Flowerdale Primary School, Flowerdale Junior LandCare group and the Flowerdale community were also thanked for “their wonderful co-operation and support to help get this project up and running”.

Ms Kamar also thanked neighbouring landowners Denis & Shirley Hodge for their co-operation in enabling a land transfer to ensure the project could go ahead.

“The great assistance received from Tennis Victoria and Tennis Australia was also acknowledged, as was the support from others across Australia,” Ms Kamar said.

“Coach Phil Conlan and friends from Essendon contacted Flowerdale Tennis Club only a few weeks after the fires, and since then they have provided significant financial and moral support and have become close friends. The financial assistance received from the Westmeadow & Nambucca Heads Tennis Clubs and the Hoppers Crossing Sports Club are also very much appreciated.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tennis Club's persistence and passion pays off

Over the course of the year the Tennis club has raised funds and worked across the layers of government to raise money to put in four new artificial grass courts. Until today they were $60,000 short of what they needed but Minister James Merlino today announced the State Government would provide $60,000 to enusre there were four new courts. Local landowner, Dennis Hodge, donated some land to allow the project to go ahead.

The announcement was attended by representatives from:

  • State Parliament, Ben Hardman MP
  • Shire Council, Mayor Peter Beales
  • Tennis Club
  • Cricket Club
  • Sports Club
  • Recreation Reserve Committee of Management
  • Land Care
  • Primary School
  • Flowerdale Recovery Committee
  • Hotel
  • CFA
  • Community House

There has been lots of hard work and nervous moments but the persistence shown by all those involved has really paid off. It is a great result.

The tennis club is keen to see membership keep growing and it is a good time to get involved.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Construction Begins on Artists' Studio

One of the areas raised at the Flowerdale Future Forum was the establishment of an Artists' Studio, Mens Shed and Community Garden behind the recreation reserve. The provision of an Artists' Studio, Community Garden and Mens' Shed was included in the Flowerdale Community Recovery Plan submitted back in August 2009.

A building permit was issued on Monday 22 February, 2010 and work commenced on Tuesday 23rd February.

The plans can be seen at It is a big file so may take time to load.

The artists studio will provide a facility for local artists to work from together with materials. It will also provide the opportunity to bring in visiting artists as well as a place where people can learn to create art. We also have received a significant donation of Jewellery making equipment which will mean it is also accessible for those who may not see themselves as artists but want to participate in some creative therapy. The Salvation Army will donate materials for use in the studio and it is anticipated that the studio will be up and running by May.

Funding for the studio came via the "Rebuilding Together" statewide recovery plan. The idea was originally generated by long term Flowerdale resident and artist Peter Byrne and was driven by the Arts Work Engine convened by Sharon Collins. Well done to all involved.

Minister to visit Tennis Club

Sorry for the late notice however there is some exciting news on foot for the Tennis Club. James Merlino, the Minister for Sprot, Recreation and Youth Affairs will be visiting the Flowerdale Tennis Club on Tuesday 2nd March, 2010 from 12.15 to 1.00pm to make an announcement. The Minister will be accompanied by Ben Hardman the local MP in the State Government.

We hope that you, your family and friends as well as other supporters from the wider Flowerdale Community will be able to join us on Tuesday at 12 noon.