Author: Liz Bell

PENINSULA Transport Assist wants more volunteer drivers to join the low-cost service that gets clients to where they need to go. The service, established in July 2013, was started to tackle chronic transport disadvantage and related social isolation both on the Mornington Peninsula and in Frankston. The target clients are people who cannot get to medical or social appointments and fully engage and participate within their community. While the service costs about half the price of a taxi and for medical appointments clients are personally escorted to the destination and back. PTA president Nick Jones said volunteer drivers pick up…

PLANNING Minister Richard Wynne has again been asked to “call in” the proposed $200 million-plus development of Mount Eliza’s Moondah Estate into an aged care facility. During the one sitting day of state parliament two weeks ago, Mornington MP David Morris demanded the minister stop and reject the application by Ryman Health. Morris’ plea follows opposition to the development plans from parts of the community and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, which rejected the proposal when it first came to council in 2020. The health care giant Ryman then took the decision to VCAT last year, which also rejected the…

MOUNT Eliza illustrator Karen Erasmus’s new children’s picture book brings to life the heart-warming and true story of runaway greyhound, Albert. In her second illustration project with Gippsland author Kylie Miller, Erasmus has created colourful and engaging images of Albert’s chaotic adventures as the anxious, adopted greyhound overcomes his fear of cats to find a safe home, a warm bed, and a family of his own. The book, Albert, The Greyhound Who Loves to Run is about a two-year-old greyhound who jumped the fence at his Gippsland lakes home after being spooked by the family cat a day after his…

A REVIEW is being held into the trial of allowing homeless people to stay long-term at Mornington Peninsula foreshore reserves. The shire’s community partnerships manager Chris Munro said soaring rents and property values had led to an increase in the number of peninsula residents at serious risk of becoming homeless. “This includes many elderly residents, as well as women and children fleeing family violence. Most will end up couch surfing or sleeping in their car, but there are some who run out of options and may end up rough sleeping,” he said. “For the past year we have been working…

BALNARRING Primary School has collected a staggering 798 pairs of shoes for recycling to become the national prize winner in the TreadLightly sustainability awards. Students at the school collected the shoes and raised awareness by giving a short presentation on TreadLightly to each class to encourage students, parents, teachers and the wider community to get behind the cause. Their efforts have won $8600 in prizes and school resources. Teacher Kate Large said the school was dedicated to sustainability and “we know kids’ feet grow so quickly”. “This was a perfect opportunity for our school to get onboard with an initiative…

CAMP site managers from Rye to Blairgowrie are bracing for a backlash following the banning of re-booking options that give exclusive camping rights to ongoing users. The Whitecliffs Foreshore Reserve management committee is abolishing the re-booking of camp sites from next year – which means dozens of families will lose their long-term access to the same site. Around 125 sites come under the re-booking banner, where existing holiday campers are given preference when booking sites for the next year. As expected, long-term campers are not happy, with some families having a 40-year history of holidaying every summer at Rye foreshore.…

FAMILIES are sleeping in their cars in petrol stations and other public car parks around the Mornington Peninsula, as housing affordability and the rental crisis worsens. At the all-night BP stations on Peninsula Link in Baxter, every night at least two cars – sometimes more – pull up in the anonymity of nightfall and park for the night. The wife of a truckie who sees the despair and dilemma of the car sleepers and contacted The News to say it was heartbreaking and more should be done. At Rosebud and Rye foreshores rough sleepers and people in cars have access…

CELEBRATIONS were under way last week following the news that Flinders pier will be restored and plans to demolish it scrapped. The community fight to save the pier began last year when 300 people gathered at Flinders village hall following the announcement by Ports Minister Melissa Horne that the old wooden first 180 metres would be demolished. A sub-group of Flinders Community Association, Save Flinders Pier, was formed, and so began a relentless, David and Goliath-style battle involving 45,000 supporters to try to turn the decision around. Twelve months of campaigning, money raising, and media coverage ensued, with the state…

FEMALE soccer had been going from strength to strength on the Mornington Peninsula, until COVID hit in 2020. Mount Martha Soccer Club is on a mission to encourage the return of females to the sport after two years of disruption. The club has an opportunity to do so with the Go Soccer Mums program, which was started in 2019 with Football Victoria and VicHealth. Committee member and recovered stroke sufferer Shelley Christie said the program at Mount Martha was called Women’s Social Soccer – Go Soccer Mums, as it is promoted not just to mothers, but females from all walks…

PUBLIC toilets across the Mornington Peninsula are being reviewed in a bid to modernise the older ones and improve cleanliness. Mount Martha public toilet block has been described as a “disgrace” by resident Ian Summers. “There are a lot of local businesses in this block of shops, cafes included, whose clientele are forced to use these disgraceful toilets,” he said. “The main car park here is generally fairly full, including the other parking areas on the beach side, meaning the area gets a lot of visitors who must use these amenities. “I would feel very embarrassed and ashamed if I…

ANYONE familiar with Australian rock ’n’ roll groups of the1970s and 1980s will remember Rick Springfield and his catchy pop songs like 1972’s Speak to the Sky and Jessie’s Girl, a number one hit in 1981. Now, Sydney actor Jackson Carroll, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Springfield, will front the stage at The Shed theatre at the Pig & Whistle in Main Ridge on 14 May as part of the touring show Late, Late At Night. From 1969 to 1971, before going solo, Springfield was a member of Zoot, alongside Daryl Cotton, Beeb Birtles and Roger Hick. But there…

SEVENTY-TWO years ago, a young couple met at a dance, fell in love and began a partnership that has stood the test of time. On Friday 22 April, Mount Martha couple Gerry and Val McKenna, pictured, celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary and reflected on the strength of a loving union that has lasted more than seven decades. Mrs McKenna, 94, said her husband Gerry, 96, was “a wonderful man” who had been a loving husband and father. There was no “secret” to their strong union other than shared interests, music, travel, working together and being dedicated to raising a family,…

A WHEELCHAIR bound Mornington woman is demanding more accountability from the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council over the slow clean-up of storm-related damage from as far back as last October. Karen Ford, who lives in a block of units in Prince Street, said residents had been waiting months for help and had trouble getting any “real answers” from the shire, despite six contacts and requests. “I’ve called many times but nothing happens,” she said. “Then, after many calls and emails, I had a web chat with someone who said I didn’t provide a phone number from the beginning, only to backtrack…

INDEPENDENT candidate for Flinders Despi O’Connor says the main parties have “failed” to increase their relevance at the polls, and as an independent she “is likely” to be the only viable alternative to a Liberal candidate for Flinders. There are 10 candidates standing for Flinders, including the Voices of Mornington Peninsula-backed independent Sarah Russell (“Voices return to election race with second candidate” The News 14/2/22). “The majority of voters leaving the Liberal Party appear to have shifted their support to independent candidates,” O’Connor said. “The ALP, the Greens and other minor parties have either failed to meaningfully increase their share…

ONE of the Mornington Peninsula’s premier art shows – the Red Hill art show – is returning virtually after a year’s hiatus. Art Red Hill comes back to life in style on Friday 20 May with a party to launch the fortnight-long virtual exhibition. The show has emerged as the jewel in the peninsula’s art crown since its inception 42 years ago, drawing talent from the region and beyond. An evening of music, art and drinks will be held on a private property in Main Ridge to mark the start of Art Red Hill, which also serves as the key…

THE job recruitment ad says applicants can take their time talking about the beauty of the Mornington Peninsula and the many things to see and do, as well as making personal assessments. That’s the lot of people manning the Sorrento Visitors Information Centre, which is on a recruitment drive after a COVID-caused volunteer drop off. Kera Zaltsberg said the centre was looking to attract volunteers who loved the peninsula, who liked dealing with people, and who would enjoy the occasional opportunity of getting together to sample the delights of the region. “We provide full training and also have networking nights…

EVERY Monday until the end of May, volunteers around the Mornington Peninsula are being asked to search for little black nuggets – the poo equivalent of searching for gold. The volunteers are part of a study led by Kelly Smith, of Dromana, from Federation University, which is gathering information on the movement and health of koala populations around the peninsula and Gippsland. There have been plenty of Eureka moments for Smith and her volunteers, with every find contributing to a bank of evidence and data about presence of disease, genetic diversity, ancestral origin and gender. Smith says the genetic sampling…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Anthony Marsh has called for calm over a proposal to change dog access to public areas. As part of the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025, a “dogs in public places” policy will be considered at a council meeting in July, to allow time for community consultation and amendments after a draft policy was withdrawn from the 8 February meeting. The policy will cover designated off-leash and prohibited areas for dogs on shire-managed land. Marsh said there had been a lot of misinformation and concerns about the policy proposal, with some dog owners “jumping the gun”…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire’s inaugural 11-day arts festival Drift started on Thursday 21 April, with performances continuing until 1 May. CAROLE Pattulo, one of the artists whose work is included in the Drift festival. For 11 days Drift is bringing the peninsula’s venues, places and spaces to life with more than 80 works from all disciplines including performance, music, visual arts, public art installations, film and projections, writing, culture and heritage. With a focus on immersion, participation, creativity and fun, Drift honours the local creative community across the peninsula, while also bringing new talent to the region. There is even the…

THE Rhinestone World Tour hits Mornington in June to properly celebrate the patron saint of self-love and line dancing, Dolly Parton. Lonely Boot Creations is preaching the good word of Dolly Parton up and down the east coast with the Dolly Parton Dance Party. A chance to dance with sparkly self-expression, it honours Dolly Parton for the spiritual and entertainment leader she is. For nearly 60 years, Dolly has been singin’ her heart out, urging audiences to be the brightest, truest, gaudiest version of themselves. She’s world-wise, intelligent, inclusive, and huge-hearted. Her teachings, known as Dollyisms, are just like her:…

A PROPOSED child care centre in a small, dead-end street in Mount Eliza has upset neighbours in an already traffic congested area. The child care centre is being proposed for 126 children in the heart of Mount Eliza’s residential Woodlands area. Resident Sanja Sridharan said the advertised plans show a “significant overdevelopment” in a dead-end residential street already suffering from heavy school traffic from Mount Eliza North Primary School. “Around 600 children attend the primary school and adding a 126-capacity child care centre right next to it is not only outraging the residents in Moseley Drive, but also residents along…

WHEN Yulia Voituk fled Ukraine a few weeks ago under an Australian government emergency evacuation scheme, there was little time to do anything more than grab a few belongings. One of 600 Ukrainians to receive the visa to Australia, Voituk says she feels “safe” in Australia, but is desperate to be with her husband and to again believe in the future. The mother of one was in the middle of a course of extensive dental treatment at the time she was given the opportunity to escape Ukraine and had no choice but to discontinue the treatment and travel in pain…

ANIMAL protection group Save the Kangaroos of the Mornington Peninsula wants community help to get a large mob of kangaroos off a Cape Schanck private property before they are killed. The nine-month saga of the Cape Schanck kangaroos continues, with kangaroo numbers reportedly growing as they access the fenced, private property through several gaps recently made in the fence. Around 500 kangaroos have made their home on the 176-hectare property, which abuts Greens Bush national park and is owned by Mornington Peninsula horse racing figure Jonathan Munz. Groups frustrated with the lack of progress in the kangaroos’ release say it…

AS people from Melbourne’s suburbs flock to the Mornington Peninsula, wildlife advocates say native animals are coming under increasing pressure from the urbanisation, tree clearing and domestic and feral predators. Continued population growth in the region and the development of new homes and businesses is having an immediate impact on native animals, particularly tree-dwelling animals, including birds, gliders, koalas and possums. Rye wildlife carer Brenda Marmion said she is taking in more injured and displaced native animals every year, as constant vegetation removal makes way for new buildings. Older trees, which usually contain hollows used by birds and small animals,…

THE application to build an aged care centre and retirement units on the site of the Moondah mansion in Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza, is returning to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. As Mornington Peninsula Shire Council was unable to decide on the application within the 60-day statutory timeframe, the tribunal will now get to decide whether to approve the amended plans. Ryman Healthcare’s proposal for the aged care and independent living “village” on the site of the former Reg Ansett-owned land was knocked back at VCAT last July, but just weeks later the New Zealand-based company submitted new plans…

MEMBERS of the Flinders Zero Carbon Community were disappointed to see newly erected signs displaying the town’s move to net zero emissions by 2030 painted over. Mark Aarons said the vandalism had cost ratepayers’ money and was against the community sentiment for taking local action to make a difference to climate change. “It would seem to be done by someone who doesn’t agree with the net zero message,” he said. Installation of the signs, as well as other work of the group, are supported by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and another volunteer group called eMPower. Flinders is the first…

COASTAL groups are pinning their hopes on pressure from the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to delay an artificial reef being installed off Port Nepean. The groups are concerned about the impact of the reef on the environment and lack of community consultation. As part of a plan to improve fish stocks for recreational fishers, the Victorian Fishing Authority wants to install 16 large concrete structures in clusters of four about 50 metres apart in the ocean north of Observatory Point, at Point Nepean. The council has sided with residents and beach users concerned about the reef and is urging fishing…

MORNINGTON Peninsula residents are being asked to open their hearts and provide a forever home to the unwanted calves of the dairy industry. The ’Til The Cows Come Home charity is looking for adopters who can take on two calves to raise as pets, never to end up on the dinner table. Operations manager Rachele Clarke says every year millions of unwanted farmed animals suffer an unimaginable fate. “These animals are the forgotten ones, they often endure terrible lives before they come to us, but we feed them up, get them healthy and try to find caring homes for them,”…

MORNINGTON Peninsula residents are being warned that leaving donations outside closed shops or full bins over Easter could lead to them being captured on CCTV and fined. According to the waste watch group Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria, around 90 per cent of all donations left outside charitable stops or recycling bins end up in landfill because they are damaged or soiled. Vinnies general manager Jeff Antcliff says that although peninsula residents are getting better at reducing this waste, there is still a long way to go. “Over the past five years we have had a reduction on things being left…

THE Briars property at Mount Martha could be opening up for glamping and new dining opportunities under a new plan to expand “experiences” at the heritage-listed property. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is calling for expressions of interest for restaurant/village and “glamping precincts” at the property, which already includes a historic homestead and gallery, visitor’s centre, wildlife sanctuary, wetlands, gardens, nursery, vineyard, cafe, kiosk and picnic areas. The expressions of interest document states the “rare” business opportunities now opening up would come under The Briars master plan, which focusses on “protecting, enhancing and celebrating” the natural, cultural and heritage beauty of…