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Upper Yarra

11 Tuesday, 5 November, 2013

Fears over dog stalkers


Mail Covering the Upper Yarra Region of the Yarra Ranges Shire

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■ Residents push to force council’s hand over smelly chicken farm...

Plan hatched

First class couple say goodbye IT WAS a teary farewell as Norman Orr and wife Kerry waved goodbye after 16 years as owners of the Warburton post office. A surprise goodbye on the steps of the post office gave the chance for an official goodbye to many of their customers and friends, and for the business and wider community to say ‘thank you’ to the couple who quickly became part of the community, and who have made contributions far beyond their Picture: KATH GANNAWAY own business. See story on page 3. 109448



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A YELLINGBO poultry farm that has increased from 36,500 birds to 101,000 is causing a stink that neighbours say is outside the rules. Neighbour John Clark wrote to Yarra Ranges Council saying a change of use since Kevin Crean bought the farm a year ago has resulted in increased odour and noise which is making life unbearable for him and his wife, Sue, and other nearby residents. Mr Crean, however, says he has an existing right and claims he was given the go-ahead by Yarra Ranges Council planners when he first looked at buying the farm. The farm was traditionally run as an egg farm but is now used as a free-range chicken farm supplying eating chickens to Inghams Enterprises. The options open to Mr Crean according to Yarra Ranges Council are for him to go to VCAT to seek a declaration establishing existing use rights or, alternately, apply for a planning permit for the use of the site. Mr Crean has told the Mail he will do neither and the Clarks are now pushing Yarra Ranges Council to force the issue. “It was always running as a fertile egg farm which quite a low-key type of farm, now he’s turned it into a broiler farm with lots of issues about smell and noise from midnight through to 3am, sometimes longer, every five weeks and seven weeks,” Ms Clark said. “He has completely changed the use, for which he has no permit, and for some reason the council is reluctant to act,” she said.

“Council asked VCAT and they said he must be able to prove existing rights before he can continue operating, but that seven or eight months ago. “Eventually we got a letter to say they couldn’t make up their minds whether he had existing rights, and he has been directed by council but is just ignoring them.” Mr Crean said the issues is not about the change of use, or the numbers. “It has been used as a poultry farm of various sorts over the past 47 years and council advised us unitially that it didn’t need a permit. Mr Crean claims he approached the council about the change of use from a fertile egg farm to a freerange chicken operation and was given written and verbal assurances that he didn’t need a permit. “They, basically, said ‘go ahead’; I said I was going to be spending a lot of money and even asked them to look at it, which they declined to do... and here we are.” Yarra Ranges Council declined to answer questions on whether Mr Crean had, in fact, been given assurances - either verbally, or in writing, saying only that for the benefit of the community it would like to see the issue resolved at VCAT. In response to the Clarks’ letter at the council meeting on 22 October, Director of Planning Andrew Paxton said the council was currently seeking legal advice on whether further compliance action would be taken. He said the EPA had conducted an inspection and the council was waiting for the outcome.




Connecting people and communities

Tuesday, 5 November, 2013 Page 3

Dismissal claim proof sought

Post icons bid adieu By KATH GANNAWAY

By KATH GANNAWAY A FORMER Narconon employee has called on Dr Nerida James to support claims she made in the Mail last week that the employee was fired. In the article “Unnatural high”, Dr James responded to statements made by Jane* and by another former employee, Paul Schofield, that disputed Narconon claims about drugs and alcohol being smuggled into the East Warburton drug rehabilitation facility, labelling them “embittered former employees” and saying they were dismissed by Narconon. Jane told the Mail she was never given any official warning, or dismissed from Narconon. “I didn’t believe in what they were doing, and resigned after a number of confrontations with Nerida,” Jane said on Tuesday. The Mail asked Dr James to clarify the ‘dismissal’ claim, but has received no response. *Not her real name. Norm and Kerry Orr (far left and right) were given a fond farewell by the Warburton Community including (from left) Jeremy Nicholson, Ron Howard, Gaia Mitting, staff member Margaret De La Rue, Geoff Vickers and Paul Picture: KATH GANNAWAY Jackson. 109447 grow, and come and go in Warburton, had shared happy times and made a lot of friends. “Families also share sad times and unfortunately we have experienced those times as well,” he said. The Orrs paid tribute to their staff, saying they had been blessed to have staff who shared their commitment to their customers. Warburton Primary School captains Gaia Mitting and Jeremy Nicholson said what a lot of people were saying, that

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fying details. She said in many cases the council’s compliance officers had investigated rubbish and had been able to identify dumpers, who when caught were fined and made to clean up the rubbish at their own cost. Mr Keogh, however, says the reason people don’t phone in is because they get frustrated that their time and effort seems to fall short on results. “It costs me time and money to ring all the time and what I have found is instead of just acting on it, they will say it’s VicRoads land and you then have to go through it with VicRoads. “It starts all over again because they tell you it’s council land because it’s on the other side of the road,” he said. The graffiti has been removed, but the rubbish was still in clear view of motorists over the past weekend.

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A WOORI Yallock resident is calling on Yarra Ranges Council to be more pro-active in dealing quickly with dumped rubbish and removing graffiti. Jamie Keogh said he was disgusted by the amount of time it took to have rubbish and graffiti removed, even when it is in clear sight on roads used regularly by staff and contractors employed by Yarra Ranges Council. Mr Keogh said building rubble and tyres dumped on Sunday and Monday night (27-28 November) in plain sight near the Yarra River bridge in Woori Yallock, and lewd graffiti on an electricity box just down from Woori Yallock Primary School which also appeared over the weekend, was offensive and needed to be removed immediately. He said he had given up

reporting dumped rubbish after numerous phone calls for previous incidents at the same location failed to get action, and asked “whose job is it any way?”. Yarra Ranges Council didn’t get back to the Mail before deadline on the responsibility of council employees to phone in when they see rubbish or graffiti, but have said in the past on the issue that the public needs to be vigilant in reporting. In August, Yarra Ranges Council told the Mail ratepayers pick up a bill of more than $200,000 for around 30 garbage trucks of rubbish to be picked up each year. Executive communications officer Tracey Varley said at the time anyone who saw rubbish dumped should phone the council on 1300 368 333, and if they saw it happening to take a vehicle number, or other identi-



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Upper Yarra

Lethargic on graffiti removal, says resident

they would miss Norm as post master. “We have known him for a very long time, and he is just a very lovely man with a smiling face, a really nice person,” Gaia said. “He has helped a lot of families,” added Jeremy. The Orrs say they plan to continue living in the area, but will miss the daily interaction they have had with customers over the years. “We will just be enjoying Warby in a more social way now,” Norm said.


of which he was president for a number of years, and to community projects including the train murals in which he was instrumental. Norm said it had been a fantastic 16 years which was part of 43 years in the postal service. “I always had an ambition to be post master,” he quipped, “ ... but I didn’t think I would have to buy my own post office. I did, and we have enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. He said they had seen many families


WHEN Norm and Kerry Orr took over as licensees of the Warburton post office 16 years ago, they introduced themselves to their 3000-odd customers with a tea-bag in the mail. The invitation to “enjoy a cup of tea” and read a bit about the new owners was the start of a special relationship that ended in its official capacity on Thursday last week with a surprise community thank you to post master Norm and Kerry - now officially ‘retirees’. It was a teary farewell on the steps of the post office that has been their second home, to people from the business and wider community, and staff, that they acknowledged as “our Warburton family”. It was a typically Warburton farewell as well; Jeff Wilmott playing violin, an impromptu song by 97-year-old Ron Howard, lots of food, a big ‘thank you’ banner from the local primary school, and an eclectic mix of customers and friends - even Hoppadoo the cockatoo. The tea bags were swapped for champagne as Upper Yarra Community Enterprise secretary Geoff Vickers and Paul Jackson, vice president of Warburton Valley CEDA, stepped up to thank the Orrs for their contribution to the community. “We are here to say thank you for your service to us,” Mr Vickers said, adding that the Warburton post office with the Orrs at the helm had been a place to collect the mail, have a laugh and learn about the successes, and the tragedies that are part and parcel of a community. “It has been an absolute pleasure to have you both as contributors to what Warburton has become,” he said, presenting a framed historic print of Warburton as a gift from the Warburton community. Mr Jackson spoke of Norm’s contribution to the Chamber of Commerce

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Mail - Upper Yarra Mail - 05th November 2013  
Mail - Upper Yarra Mail - 05th November 2013