Car wipes out kindergarten

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In the early hours of this morning a vehicle ploughed into the Diggers Rest Kindergarten causing extensive damage to the building and fencing.

The vehicle is presumed stolen and the occupants of the vehicle are reported to have fled on foot following the collision.

It’s understood police were quick to respond and remained at the scene for some time after the accident.

Melton City Council are working with families affected by the incident which could have been much worse if the situation had taken place during business hours.

It seems that the facility will remain closed until further notice.

Anyone with additional information is being urged to contact Crime Stoppers
on 1800 333 000.

Shopping centre sits high on agenda

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In a recent online survey 53% of participants preferred to see supermarket chain Coles established in Bloomdale ahead of Aldi and Woolworths.

For many years the growth of Diggers Rest has been uncertain due to Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay, Green Wedge Zones and the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

In 2008, land at 2-40 Old Calder Highway was rezoned to accommodate mixed use like retail, office space and residential.

According to Melton City Council, the future growth of the Diggers Rest Township is confined by the UGB, which in its current form will allow the township to grow to around 14,000 residents.

Using the current estimates, this should take between 12 to 14 years to achieve.

At present, the criteria to sustain a full line supermarket requires an immediate catchment population in excess of 20,000.

Many residents (both new and existing) have invested in this community in the belief that a shopping centre is not too far away.

Meanwhile, the Foodworks neighbourhood supermarket in Glitter Road offers a wide range of basic grocery lines.

We may well start to see smaller lot sizes established to help create the critical mass required to fully sustain a full-line supermarket for Diggers Rest.

However, despite the constraints the developers for Bloomdale remain hopeful of a store opening in 2019 and are doing all they can to try and make that happen.

Use the following link to view the detailed survey results:
https://goo.gl/CcLlDX

Push for “Doggy Park” in Diggers

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Local resident Karen Prewer has flagged the idea for the development of an off leash dog park for Diggers Rest.

The concept has got tongues wagging on social media offering suggestions and requesting more information about the proposal.

According to Cr. Lara Carli, “we have two off the lead dog parks in our municipality. One is at Boronia Reserve in Hillside and the other is at Navan Park in Melton”.

The development of Diggers Rest has seen a shift toward smaller block sizes and the need for a purpose built dog park is growing.

A number of residents currently use the fenced off section of the netball courts as a make shift doggy playground when the courts are not in use.

Off leash dog parks are an excellent idea which help to provide a safe and welcoming environment for dogs and their owners.

These types of facilities have proven to encourage responsible pet ownership and provide an opportunity for residents to get to know each other whilst exercising the family pet.

Some well-developed parks offer agility course equipment, dog waste disposal systems, green areas and access to fresh drinking water.

It’s understood at this stage no plans have been finalised and some discussions have taken place sighting the area of land known as “Punjel Park” to develop the K9 playground.

For additional information, contact Amanda Mizzi at Melton City Council 9747 7200
or email amandah@melton.vic.gov.au

Gary, gone but not forgotten.

Gary Sunderland was well known in the Australian Aviation Industry as an aeronautical engineer, glider and light aircraft pilot, model aircraft enthusiast and WW1 aviation historian.

As part of the 2010 Houdini Festival of Flight celebrations in Diggers Rest, Gary built a flying scale model of the original biplane flown by famous escapologist Harry Houdini.

Sadly, Gary passed away suddenly on Thursday November 3, 2016 at the age of 82.

At the time of his death, he was doing what he loved, flying model aircraft at the model field in Parwan, near Melton.

The community of Diggers Rest will be forever grateful for his participation and efforts during the Festival of Flight festivities.

His now famous model biplane has been donated to the Diggers Rest History Group and hopefully will soon be a permanent feature at Houdinis Café E Cucina in Diggers Rest.

Gary’s funeral was held yesterday and our thoughts are with his family during this sad time.

Hotel rebuild needs a plan.

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Last month was the 8th anniversary of the fire which destroyed the historical Diggers Rest Hotel, one of the few Mount Alexander Road gold rush wayside hotels known to survive.

Unfortunately, due to a series of issues the hotel cannot be re-developed by the current owners and may never be rebuilt without some level of community involvement.

The hotel site is subject to a Heritage Overlay control and under the current zoning of the land, the use of the land for a hotel is prohibited. However, the presence of a Heritage Overlay control on the site would allow Council to consider an application for a rebuild of a hotel, bistro and bottle shop, subject to a permit.

The hotel is listed for sale and the asking price is $1.6m. It is estimated that an additional $1.5m would be required to fully rebuild the hotel in accordance with the expectations of Council, taking into account the conservation of the heritage place.

Some preliminary discussions with the owners and Council have taken place this past week with the idea of fast tracking the prospect of a re-development plan.

At present the hotel is not economically attractive from an investment viewpoint, nor is it physically attractive to locals and visitors to Diggers Rest.

The existence of a blueprint for the hotel would help encourage potential investors, reducing the risk of uncertainty and pave the way to re-developing the site.

If you’re keen to be part of this project, then please give me, David O’Connor a call on 0417 300 707 or join the facebook group via the following link:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/204256669983544/

Minister says no on toilets.

Despite all promises by the former Brumby Labor Government to provide additional services to Diggers Rest as part of the $270 million upgrade to the Sunbury line, the toilets and waiting rooms will stay locked.

In response to a recent letter from Melton City Council, the Minister for Transport, Jacinta Allen MP, said “I appreciate your continued concerns that the facilities at Diggers Rest Station remain closed. As you are aware, PTV (Public Transport Victoria) advised that the decision to staff a station is based on passenger numbers. PTV confirmed that there are no plans to open the waiting room and toilets at Diggers Rest station or to staff the station, until passenger numbers increase”.

Anecdotal evidence would indicate that patronage at the station continues to grow with the significant number of commuters using the station and Park-n-Ride facilities.

The facilities currently being offered by PTV do not reflect those of a premier “Park-n-Ride” station and are not  in accordance with expectations of residents during the planning phase.

The Minister seems reluctant to provide any further indication to Council with respect to when the waiting room and public toilet facilities will be made available to commuters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MORYfdJBpEY