Kids hit local pools in their pyjamas

Geelong youngsters took a dip in their pyjamas or clothes that have “seen better days” to sharpen their skills for Water Safety Week.

So why pyjamas?

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Campaign to save cottage gathers momentum

Time is running out for the historic landmark with Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) to begin duplicating Barwon Heads Road in a few months.

The group proposed relocating the cottage to nearby land and suggested a variety of community uses for it.

Three Geelong council heritage studies recognised the cottage as “significant”.

But MRPV said the cottage is not included on the Victorian Heritage Register or any Greater Geelong Planning Scheme heritage overlay.

The authority asserts that the condition of cottage’s roof, floor timbers and internal brickwork prevent a relocation that maintains its integrity.

MRPV program director Tim Price earlier this year said the authority would work with council to honour the cottage’s history, which “may include reusing some of its materials,” he said.

Campaign details:

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Florists gear up for mums

While the temporary lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions last year impacted some Geelong florists, Mr Collins still did quite well with online orders, according to Mr Pett.

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Fighting the good fight

Breast cancer survivor Marketta Macdonald is hardly the type to let a “crazy” fortnight stop her from running in the Geelong Mother’s Day Classic.

“It’s been crazy,” Marketta said.

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Elsie’s community law legacy


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Out and about

Locals rugged up and braved miserable weather for a stroll along the waterfront on Tuesday, as did Independent photographer Louisa Jones.

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Council invests in fight against dumped rubbish

Council is proposing to buy a large dedicated
collection truck to better tackle the scourge of illegal rubbish dumping in the

The City removes dumped rubbish from public
areas more than 4000 times a year, using small duty trucks. 

Given the limited size of the vehicles, crews
are often forced to take multiple trips to the one site and call on a front-end
loader to help pick up larger items.

To address this, Council has allocated
$410,000 in its Proposed Budget 2021-22 to purchase a fit-for-purpose truck and
support a dedicated employee for the job.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said
Council was committed to reducing the incidence of illegal dumping and its

We know that our community values and takes
pride in our beautiful region and we’re all disappointed when rubbish is
dumped, creating an eyesore and in many cases, a health and safety issue. This investment will provide our crews with
the right equipment to respond more quickly and efficiently to clear away the
rubbish and restore the location to its original condition.

The City Works team will run a trial on the
preferred vehicle in coming weeks, before committing to any purchase from July.

Cr Anthony Aitken, Chair, City Works, Parks
and Gardens portfolio said dumped rubbish was a huge financial burden on the
Council’s bottom line.

This proposed purchase is a direct response
to the increasing amount of dumped rubbish in Greater Geelong. The volumes are now such that we need to
purchase dedicated fleet and have a dedicated team working every single day to
respond to community calls to pick up dumped rubbish. Our costs in responding to this illegal
activity are growing and they will top $1 million this financial year. We can curb these costs by cutting the amount
of time we spend cleaning up dumped rubbish sites and transporting the material
to resource recovery centres. This is where the proposed fit-for-purpose
truck and staff member can be so valuable.

Residents are urged to access the hard waste collection service, which allows households to recycle or dispose of their
bulky items, including mattresses, without charge twice each financial year.

The initiative is well supported, with 22,678
requests for hard waste collection from 1 December 2019 to 1 December 2020.

As well as hard waste collections at their
home, residents can freely dispose of white goods, paint, scrap metals, oils,
car batteries, BBQ gas cylinders, televisions, computers equipment and excess
recycling at one of our Drysdale or Geelong resource recovery centres.

We urge people to report anyone seen dumping
rubbish to the EPA’s 24-hour hotline: 1300 372 842, along with details like a
licence plate. The dumping of rubbish illegally is a criminal offence and
significant fines apply.

The Proposed Budget 2021-22 and associated
draft Our Community Plan 2021-25 can be viewed here.

Public feedback is being received on both
documents until 25 May.

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Brennan back to serenade Geelong city-goers

Torquay musician Rach Brennan is back in central Geelong serenading CBD-goers after a COVID-19 hiatus.

The 27-year-old made her return to council’s Music and Street Serenades in the City in March and has another two shows coming up this month.

“I’ve been playing these gigs for eight years now,” the indie-folk pop-rocker said, while on holiday in the Daintree Rainforest this week.

“It’s a great place to set up and it creates a cool vibe in the city.

“Music adds a lot to our town – having it dotted throughout the city is really exciting for everyone.”

Brennan entered the musical world as a child following the footsteps of her grandfather Russell Sheridan, a veteran jazz musician.

“He was a big influence,” she said.

As early as age 10 she would get up on stage and play songs on the piano – the first instrument she learned – during breaks in her granddad’s sets.

“When we were a bit older my brother and I got on stage and jammed with him,” she said.

“He’d always call us up to play with him.

“Watching him play live, we saw that being a musician was a legitimate career.”

The singer-songwriter has performed at Port Fairy Folk Festival and Queenscliff Music Festival, and is perhaps best known for her band Rach Brennan and The Pines.

“My brother, who plays in my band, and I have always played together,” she said.

But now she is branching out, with the band playing its last gig together at Barwon Club on June 5.

“It felt like the end of an era when COVID put a halt to things,” she said.

“I just wanted a change – I wanted to change the direction of the sound. It will still sound like me but a different me – a newer me.”

Brennan has been busy writing new tracks while teaching year 12 music part-time, and working side-gigs as a PR and booking agent, and teaching song-writing to kids.

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Winter snapper and redfin on the bite

Use pilchard or fresh-caught squid fished as light as the conditions will allow, as the winter fish are notoriously fussy.

Big schools of salmon are also cruising along the waterfront from North Shore to Stingaree Bay with the occasional bust-up occurring allowing anglers to cast lures into the action and catch fish to 40cm.

St Leonards pier has produced the goods this week with gummy shark and elephant sharks being caught in decent numbers – one angler reports catching a gummy and three elephant sharks in a single session while using squid for bait.

Queenscliff Harbour or ‘the cut’ has seen big silver trevally caught by anglers casting soft plastics around the slack tide.

The classic 4 inch Gulp Turtleback worm in pumpkin green fleck colour is a proven favourite that will also pick up a pinkie snapper if they happen to be present on the day.

The freshwater fishing across the state has been fantastic as the temperature cools down.

Wurdi Buloc Res has produced redfin to 45cm for anglers casting lures of a late afternoon.

Those keen enough to be at the water’s edge for first light could be rewarded with trophy-size trout that the lake is known for this time of year.

Upper Stoney Creek Res, just out of Anakie, is reportedly fishing well too with redfin caught on scrub worms, yabbies and Bob’n’spoon lures cast off the rock wall.

Trout are also being caught and fly fishing the lake has proved very effective lately in a morning or afternoon when the fish are feeding over shallow water near reeds and weed beds.

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Traffic worse than before the pandemic in outer suburbs as Melburnians shun public transport

Melbourne’s roads may have become quiet during the pandemic lockdowns, but the morning rush is once again a nightmare for outer-suburban drivers, according to new data.

Between 6:00am and 10:00am, suburban arterial roads have filled up as more workers head back to the office — but the city’s train network remains well below capacity.

However, drivers in some of Melbourne’s wealthiest suburbs are still experiencing a better run, with workers in those areas having more opportunity to work from home, experts say.

Data from traffic analysis company Intelematics Australia shows that in 2021, the numbers of vehicles in Chirnside Park in Melbourne’s outer east has doubled on 2019 levels during the morning peak.

In Mill Park, about 21 kilometres north of the CBD, the vehicle count is up 35 per cent.

The data also suggests there has been a huge spike in drivers from Geelong and Melbourne’s western suburbs using their cars to head into the city via the Princes Freeway.

On average, more than 30,000 cars are passing through Altona North each weekday morning, an increase of 20 per cent on 2019 levels. In Geelong West, the count is up 24 per cent.

Intelematics product manager John Cardoso believes flexible working arrangements, cheap parking deals and infection fears are behind the squeeze on the roads.

“Because [some] people don’t have to come to the office every day, they’re more willing to pay parking for one or two days a week and just decide to drive,” he said.

Inner-city arterials like Hoddle Street, Kings Way and Punt Road are “above pre-COVID levels”, Mr Cardoso said.

For Andy Witlox and his daughters, the morning rush is a constant headache from their Chirnside Park home, about 40 kilometres east of the CBD.

In recent months, the roads became so bad Mr Witlox gave up driving all the way to the city, and now takes the train from Heatherdale Station, in Mitcham.

And it was lucky he did so yesterday — the Eastern Freeway was brought to a standstill before 7:00am after a pile-up involving five cars.

Mr Witlox, a former deputy mayor, believes his suburb’s traffic woes have been caused by increased development, the installation of more traffic lights and workers who are reluctant to catch public transport during the pandemic.

“Not everyone’s going to the city either. A lot of people are driving through to other suburbs. There’s a lot of tradies in the area,” he said.

“The roads out here in the outer suburbs are getting fuller. It’s more time away from the family and more time in traffic.

“Everyone’s using the suburbs as a rat-race. They’re going through the backroads to avoid where it’s getting busier on the main roads.”

The bad news for drivers like Mr Witlox, according to Mr Cardoso, is things will get worse before they improve.

“People may feel compelled to use public transport again when the traffic actually gets really worse,” Mr Cardoso said.

If there is any consolation, Monday is now no longer the worst day for weekday traffic, Mr Cardoso said.

“Wednesdays and Thursdays are actually busier than Mondays and Tuesdays,” he said.

In Donvale, where drivers can access the Eastern Freeway, traffic levels have all but returned to pre-pandemic levels.

It is a similar story in Clayton and Mulgrave, where Princes Highway and the Monash Freeway respectively pass through.

But some suburbs in Melbourne’s bayside and inner-east have seen huge drop-offs in morning traffic volumes since the pandemic, according to the Intelematics figures.

Canterbury is down 34 per cent, while there have also been significant declines in Middle Park (26 per cent), Sandringham (22 per cent), Hawthorn (16 per cent) and Hampton (15 per cent).

These city-wide trends were predicted by Professor Graham Currie, a Monash University expert who has been studying how COVID-19 has impacted transport.

“A lot of the effects here are quite divided by income as well. Working from home really is occurring more for richer people,” he said.

Passengers have been slow to return to the city’s train network, despite all caps on public and private-sector offices being lifted by the state government.

On April 22, the Department of Transport said its network was at 62 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

Professor Currie said “infection fear” would be a long-term issue.

“We’ve been doing surveys of the population. We found that more females have concerns about infection fear and perceived crowding issues than men do. That’s affecting how they travel,” he said.

“We expect public transport ridership to be about 10 per cent to 20 per cent down in the long-term. But with population growth that will not take long to get over.

“Based on previous growth rates, it’s a seven-year return to full ridership.”

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