A year of highs and lows

NOT unusually, 2012 was a mixed bag for the City of Greater Dandenong.
The year started off on a high after Little India traders were awarded six months of rent compensation following months of fighting Places Victoria for answers on their future.
Like many other councils around Victoria, elections were a talking point. Only weeks before the polls opened long-term councillor Pinar Yesil was sacked for failing to attend four consecutive council meetings, and a tight race in Red Gum Ward saw manufacturing stalwart Jill Walsh pipped at the post on preferences.
The council also made headlines when workers seeking a pay increase went on strike, causing rubbish to pile up in Springvale’s streets.
As usual, manufacturing and business dominated in Greater Dandenong. Yoghurt giant Chobani announced a multi-million dollar factory expansion after buying Bead Foods in Dandenong South.
The official opening was big news for dairy farmers and potential employees, with 50 new jobs already created and 150 more to come.
Grendas made news around the world when former owner Ken Grenda sold the family business and distributed $15 million to his employees. The bus industry icon was also inducted into the Manufacturing Hall of Fame in 2012 and won City of Greater Dandenong’s Corporate Citizen of the Year on Australia Day.
In other business news, Dandenong Retail Traders’ Association chairman Roy Aspinall stood down after 16 years at the helm.
A fatal collision between a train and truck in Dandenong South shook road and rail commuters to the core and reignited calls to remove all level crossings throughout Victoria.
In sport, the Dandenong Panthers were runner-up to Richmond in the Victorian Premier Cricket grand final, a loss that saw former captain and club legend, Darren Dempsey, hang up his spikes after a long and glittering career.
The Dandenong Rangers Women’s basketball side defeated Bulleen to take out the WNBL title, and then backed that up with their third consecutive SEABL crown, defeating Knox in the final. The men also reached the SEABL final, but went down to Albury-Wodonga with the last shot of the night.
Four Dandenong Stingrays were recruited into the AFL with Taylor Garner, Lewis Pierce, Lachie Whitfield and Nathan Wright all currently preparing themselves for a shot at the big time.
The Dandenong Thunder brought home a rare treble in the world game, winning the minor premiership, VPL grand final and State Knock-Out Cup. The gloss of victory lost its lustre however when the club was fined heavily for a flare incident on grand final day.