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March 2015

Mayor’s Message 
Welcome to the March edition of Yarra’s Environment E-News. I encourage everyone to get out and about and enjoy the sunshine in the coming weeks.  A visit to one of our many parks and gardens really helps to recharge the batteries and connect us with the extraordinary natural beauty at our doorsteps.
A big thank you to our community for providing such valuable input during our consultations for Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy and the Urban Agriculture Strategy, both of which were adopted by Council at the end of 2014.
This year will see some exciting new developments in Yarra’s sustainability journey.
On Thursday I’ll have the honour of launching Livewell Yarra, a sustainability initiative supported by the Low Carbon Living Cooperative Research Centre, the Yarra Energy Foundation and Council. I’m looking forward to seeing the creative ways that our community can work together towards low-carbon living. 
Nominations are now open for the 2015 Yarra Sustainability Awards. This year, the awards will be held on Thursday 4 June, the eve of World Environment Day. This is a great opportunity for Council to celebrate innovative community-driven environmental projects.
This edition also brings you up to date on the Copenhagen style separated bicycle lanes planned for Wellington Street, the international success enjoyed by one of Yarra’s most sustainable schools, and plenty more. 
Don’t forget, you can also access previous issues of the E-News from Council’s website.

Cr Phillip Vlahogiannis
In this edition:
Council Sustainability News
Sustainable Transport News 
News from the Community 
Events calendar
How to eat seasonably 
Parks and Gardens
Council Sustainability News
One of the most exciting events on the Yarra calendar is shifting to a new time of year. The sixth annual community Yarra Sustainability Awards will be held on Thursday 4 June to align with World Environment Day celebrations.
Nominations for the awards which honour community efforts towards environmental sustainability are now open!
An easy to fill out nomination form can be downloaded from Council’s Yarra Sustainability Awards webpage. Nominations close 5pm, Tuesday 31st March and late entries cannot be accepted.
Nominate yourself or encourage anyone else in Yarra who you think deserves to be recognised for making a difference to our environment.
Nominate for the 2015 Frank Fisher Award
2015 marks the second year of the Frank Fisher Award as part of the Yarra Sustainability Awards. This award celebrates individuals who have made a significant contribution to sustainability in Yarra. 
Named in honour of Professor Frank Fisher (1943-2012), an environmental educator, activist and advocate for lifelong learning and a Yarra resident, the award aims to build on his legacy.
Nominees will have engaged and inspired people around them and demonstrate qualities of mindfulness, insight, humility and civic spirit.
Proud to be Yarra success
On Sunday 22 February the Proud to be Yarra Festival made its debut appearance in celebration of sustainable living.
Developed by the Yarra Energy Foundation, in partnership with Abbotsford Convent and supported by bacnkmecu, the City of Yarra, Shadow Electric, Midnightsky and the Sustainable Living Festival, the Proud to be Yarra Festival inspired pride in the Yarra community through celebration of individuals, communities and businesses promoting sustainable living.
The festival featured dozens of stalls, presentations and workshops, as well as musical performances and a delicious assort of food for the whole family.
Attendance on the day was estimated to be over 700 people.
The new face of YEF
Yarra Energy Foundation welcomes a new CEO, Sarah Johnson. 
With a diverse background that spans conservation, community engagement & education, energy efficiency, outreach, sustainability and a sojourn in the Arts, Sarah is delighted to join the Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF) and is especially looking forward to working with business owners, residents and the active and engaged community across the City of Yarra. 
“I have spent much the past 12 years in the conservation sector and the last 7 years managing a sustainable living program... Undoubtedly, the scope of YEF is ambitious and bold, and by working with business, Council and residents, I am certain we can achieve some really exciting outcomes.”
Sarah takes over from Kate Nicaoazzo, founding CEO of YEF. Kate has been busy helping coordinating the Proud to be Yarra Festival with a team of volunteers.
Redefining Waste
Council has recently adopted a Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy (2014 – 2018) to guide our waste and recycling services and waste education programs over the next four years. The strategy is based on the vision that avoiding and reducing waste will make Yarra more sustainable and increase the availability of resources for current and future citizens.
The strategy aims to redefine waste as a valuable resource, moving away from our traditional understanding of waste as something that needs to be transported elsewhere to be ‘cleaned up’. It focuses on sustainable and localised solutions to waste management, including reducing the amount of waste that ends up landfill, promoting new uses for waste and changing consumer attitudes so the amount of waste that is produced is considered when purchasing products.
Food fresh from the City
The Yarra community has a long history of growing its own food.  This has now been formalised with the adoption of the Urban Agriculture Strategy (2014-2018) which aims to support and shape the growth of urban agriculture in our city.
Urban agriculture is about providing opportunities for our communities to grow food where they live, share in its preparation and distribute this food amongst our family, friends and communities, ensuring good fresh food is available to everyone. 
Sharing Yarra
Do you know of any sharing projects within the City of Yarra? If so why not pin them onto the interactive Share Yarra map, the result of a recent ‘MapJam’ that the City of Yarra hosted in partnership with WeShare, LiveWell (Low Carbon Living CRC) and Shareable Melbourne.
The Yarra MapJam was one of 60 that occurred in October 2014 as part of the Second Annual Global #MapJam organised by the Sharing Cities Network.
Sharing projects include initiatives such as food co-operatives, lending libraries, community gardens, co-working spaces, social enterprises and car-sharing. The Share Yarra map identifies many sharing projects but there’s plenty more to be added.
Making a difference in your patch
There was a great response to the Expression of Interest process for the new ‘In Your Patch’ program late last year.
Six community-led projects have been selected out of the 22 applications.
The successful projects are: 
  • Alphington Community Centre – Compost Hub and Sustainability Suitcase
  • Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre – Sustainability Social Enterprise Hub
  • Melbourne Farmers Markets – Food Hub in Abbotsford
  • Solar Neighbourhoods – small-scale solar bulk buys
  • Yarra Community Housing – community gardens for social housing residents
  • Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) – kitchen garden and compost project
Over the next six months, the groups will work with Council on transforming their idea into a fully formed project.

One of the projects is already seeking participation. To get involved with a Solar Neighbourhoods bulk buy, please contact Jennifer on
Sustainable Transport News
Yarra schools gear up
National Ride2School Day is on Friday 13 March and Yarra’s schools are encouraged to register with Bicycle Network to receive their promotional pack.
The event is a great opportunity to show your school community that riding to school is not just healthy and sustainable but also easy and fun!
Last year 19 Yarra schools joined 915 Victorian schools in this national event.
This year Yarra Council is launching the pilot WoW Yarra (Walk/Wheel Once a Week) program with three local schools. Schools will nominate a day of the week on which to promote active travel and students will record their participation through to the end of Term 2.
Students will receive WoW Yarra shoelaces to mark their involvement in the program. One class at each of the four schools will receive a Golden Boot Award to celebrate their outstanding participation.
Copenhagen Lanes come to Yarra
Yarra Council is planning to construct new separated bicycle lanes on Wellington Street, Collingwood between Gipps Street and Victoria Parade.
The lanes, often referred to as Copenhagen lanes, improve safety for cyclists by separating bicycles from road traffic.  Construction of the new lanes is expected to start in early 2015 and will take about 12 weeks to complete. The project is identified as a priority in the Yarra Bicycle Strategy 2010 – 2015

The lanes will be separated from traffic using raised concrete islands on both sides on Wellington Street, as well as a lane of parked cars on the east side. This will result in nine parking spaces being removed from the east side of Wellington Street and 48 parking spaces being removed from the west side. The lanes will look very similar to the Copenhagen lanes on La Trobe Street in the City of Melbourne
24-hour bus lanes improving your journey
VicRoads is undertaking a major project which includes installing 24 hour dedicated bus lanes along Victoria Parade.
The $32 million project will improve the journey for the almost 20,000 people who travel daily on buses along Victoria Parade using DART services.
Construction work started late 2014 and is expected to be completed by mid-2015.  The Victoria Parade work includes:
  • Creation of dedicated bus lanes
  • Improved cycling and pedestrian connections
  • Upgraded public transport stops
  • Improvements to signalling, giving priority to public transport.
  • Removal of parking along the central median
 The benefits will include:
  • Improved reliability of bus services, including faster trips for bus users
  • DDA compliant bus stops
  • Improvements to the north-south bicycle routes crossing Victoria Parade.
 Public consultation on the project has been conducted in Yarra and council officers have been liaising with VicRoads staff.
News from community
Yarra School global winner
In January Melbourne Girls College was awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize receiving a US$100,000 grant for the Global High Schools (Oceania) category. The Victorian school received funding for its proposal to build a curriculum-integrated renewable energy education centre - with the aim of becoming carbon-neutral by 2020.
Now in its third year, the Global High Schools category provides valuable funding to schools around the world aiming to accelerate the adoption of clean energy through education.
With their project, the students of Melbourne Girl’s College aim to generate 45% of the schools energy needs through renewables.
The project, consisting of solar photovoltaics, a wind-turbine and micro-hydro generators, will produce up to 50,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. In addition, the school will engage students on the production of renewable energy by using specialised gym equipment powered by kinetic energy. By rowing and pedalling these machines, the young women will generate bio-powered clean sustainable energy.
All sustainability systems go
Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre (CNLC) is ‘all sustainability systems go’ for 2015, having received a State Government grant in late 2014 to implement the Carlton Future Gardens Project.
The project will transform the centre’s garden and utility spaces by introducing best practice water management and sustainability practices. The project is generating a lot of excitement and interest across the Carlton community, and aims to develop the site as an educational tool and vibrant ‘green space’ for ongoing learning, practice and use.
It’s going to be a busy few months ahead as the community works to turn ideas and visions into reality, and there’ll be lots of opportunities to get involved through working bees, workshops, community forums, tours and more!
Essential ways to Livewell in Yarra
An exciting new project known as Livewell Yarra is set to help residents work together towards low-carbon living, with a focus on quality of life and wellbeing. An initiative of Curtin University, with the support of Council, the Yarra Energy Foundation and the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, Livewell Yarra aims to form small groups of volunteers who will receive assistance to measure their carbon footprint and implement simple lifestyle changes. The program will also involve a range of learning activities, discussion groups and practical workshops.
Community members are welcome to attend the official launch of Livewell Yarra on Thursday 5 March from 7-9pm at the Fitzroy Town Hall.
Thursday 5 March (7pm - 9pm)
Livewell Yarra Launch
The launch will feature guest speaker Professor Ross Garnaut, author of the two Garnaut Climate Change Reviews
Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier St, Fitzroy 3065

Tuesday 10 March (4pm – 6pm)
Collaborative Workshop Showcase & Cocktail Networking Evening
To celebrate the booming collaborative workspace scene in Melbourne a free Collaborative Workspace Showcase is taking place at Abbotsford. The showcase will provide you with the opportunity to meet and mingle with an exciting range of creative small business owners, all of whom will offer an insight into the benefits of sharing a workspace. 
Tickets:  $55.
Friday 13 March
National Ride2School Day
Yarra’s schools are encouraged to register with Bicycle Network to receive their promotional pack

Sunday 15 March
Pasta Making @ Alphington Bowls Club, Parkview Road Alphington
Tickets: $25.00
Get messy with this wonderful community workshop. Bring along glass bottles and we will show you how to make enough tomato sauce to last for the whole year!

Saturday 21 March (9.30am – 11.30am)
Seasonal Produce Swap @ Alphington Community Centre 2 Kelvin Road Alphington
Come and share your excess veggies, fruit, a gardening tip or homemade preserve at our seasonal produce swap. All Welcome!

Saturday 21 March (9am - 5pm)
Psychology for Safe Climate Conference: Climate Change Turn-On or Turn Off: What helps and hinders engagement?
189 High Street, Northcote 3070


Sunday 22nd March (9am - 5pm)
Psychology for Safe Climate Post-Conference Workshops: to support, nourish and foster reflection. 
Venue: 189 High Street, Northcote 3070


Friday mornings during school terms from Friday 13 February, 11am – 12.30pm
Alphington Patch Gardening Group @ Alphington Community Centre 2 Kelvin Road Alphington
The garden group meets every week, helps maintain the Alphington Community Centre gardens, swap seedlings and ideas and attend a monthly planned garden
activity. All skill levels welcome!
How much do you really know about clean energy in Australia?
Take the ABC Science quiz now and find out more.

How to eat seasonably in March  
Apple, banana, blackberries, cantaloupe, cherries, fig, grapefruit, grapes, honeydew, lemon, loganberries, lychee, mango, orange, passionfruit
Asparagus, avocado, cabbage, capsicum, daikon, eggplant, leek, lettuce, onion, peas, snowpeas, potato, radish, silver beet, zucchini.
Basil, chilli, coriander, dill, lime, kaffir (leaves) lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme.
For more foods that are in season visit
seasonal produce guide or this month-by-month guide.
Food markets near you:

Want to know more about Yarra's Environment Strategy?

Read more here about the "city where current and future populations enjoy a high quality of life within our fair share of the earth's resources”.
Parks and Gardens

Yarra City Council's parks and gardens include some of Melbourne's best known open space areas.

For information on specific parks in Yarra, click on the links below.




Clifton Hill




North Carlton

North Fitzroy

Princes Hill


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