Meander Valley Gazette

Your Independent Community Newspaper


Valley launches into action for the 100 Day Challenge

Community, EventsJoanne Eisemann

THE 100 Day Challenge launched into action recently when Meander Valley community members gathered at the Western Tiers Community Club to discuss the future of youth engagement and mental health, helping to identify the major issues impacting on the youth of today.

Deloraine Primary and High school students were present to voice their concerns about mental health issues and engagement in learning ‘real world life skills’ such as understanding home finances and mortgages and how what they learn in school applies to their futures.

The workshop identified several key areas while working with the two themes of hands on learning and youth mental health. In the spirit of co-design, the participants chose to work with the theme of hands on learning for the 100 Day Challenge.

Discussions focused on how the community could draw upon local resources and create actions that would be completed within 100 days. The overall goal is to make a long-lasting impact on the future of young people by creating sustainable and measurable changes in the Meander Valley.

‘The Meander Valley community should give itself a huge round of applause for the enthusiasm and commitment that was so evident at the workshop’, said Bob Muller, from Devil’s Advocate Consulting.

The workshop produced several potential ‘actions’ that will help to get students engaged with community and into practical, experience-based projects such as careers events, wilderness adventures and mentoring programs.

Year 11 and 12 students from Deloraine High School said that the workshop was good for meeting new people and learning about the ideas that the community have.

‘It was really fun. They were really encouraging for us to share our ideas. They really wanted to know what we liked to do.’

The 100 Day Challenge is a community driven project supported by Westbury Health, The Van Diemen Project, Devil’s Advocate, Deloraine High School, Collective ed. and Meander Valley Council.

Further information: Victoria Homer, Collective ed. Lead on 0400 526 806 or email

Garden pride and joy

CommunityJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Luke Cole at the Deloraine Community Garden with the new mower, courtesy of a community grant from the Meander Valley Council.

Photo by Mike Moores

Luke Cole at the Deloraine Community Garden with the new mower, courtesy of a community grant from the Meander Valley Council.

LUKE COLE has been mowing the grass at the Deloraine Community Garden since March 2018.

He does a great job, and takes a lot of pride in keeping the garden looking neat and tidy.

The old lawn mower has done a great job, but was old and tired, and was needing increasing maintenance to keep it going.

A grant from the Meander Valley Council’s community grants program, has made it possible to upgrade the mower for the Community Garden.

Nell Carr – a remarkable life

People and Places, Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Nell Carr, in the garden at the Western Tiers Visitors Centre which she tended for many years with the Garden Girls and where she is now garden consultant.

Photo by Mike Moores

Nell Carr, in the garden at the Western Tiers Visitors Centre which she tended for many years with the Garden Girls and where she is now garden consultant.

By Hayley Manning

A LARGE contingency of the Deloraine Days for Girls were joined by other well-wishers to present Nell Carr with the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, at the Bush Inn on 12 August.

The award was presented to Nell in acknowledgement of the countless hours she has dedicated to volunteer work over her remarkable life. From Meals on Wheels to Secretary of the Deloraine Film Society, she has thrown herself into many varied roles over the years.

And despite recently reaching her 93rd year, the dynamo has no immediate plans to retire from the volunteer positions that reflect her long-held passions in life – education and gardening.

Nell is a Deloraine House Community Garden Volunteer, and continues to maintain the Commonwealth Bank garden.

Meander Valley’s very own garden guru, Nell tended the Great Western Tiers Visitor Centre garden with the Garden Girls for many years, and has been appointed garden consultant.

The third of six children, Nell Carr grew up on the Dunorlan farm founded by her father on land made available for servicemen who had served in the Great War. Her mother was the daughter of a neighbouring farmer. Nell, her husband and first two children returned to Tasmania from Scotland in 1953. She has lived on the farm ever since.

A writer for the former Great Western Tiers local newspaper, Nell currently writes the knowledgeable gardening column for the Meander Valley Gazette.

Nell organised short courses that included gardening with the former host of the ABC’s Gardening Australia, Peter Cundall, when she introduced and coordinated Adult Education courses in Deloraine.

The Gazette recently contacted Peter who was delighted to hear about Nell’s ongoing activities. ‘The Nell I know and love is an absolute inspiration, a modern-day philanthropist of the gardening universe,’ Peter said. ‘

My personal list of all-time great gardening minds would read: Jane Edmanson, Costa Georgiadis, Don Burke, Jamie Durie, the groundskeeper at Keilor East Recreation Reserve and Nell Carr.’

Nell, the long-term advocate for education joined Days for Girls in 2015, to make sanitary products so Nepalese school girls ‘don’t have to miss school a few days each month.

‘I have met such very interesting people in Days for Girls. As you get older, it’s more important to relate to your fellows.

If everyone stopped volunteering, the whole community would fall to bits, I’m afraid.’ Nell Carr, MVG 2015

Nell recalled aspects of her own education during her award evening speech. ‘Our father being a poor soldier-settler, could only afford to send my three sisters, two brothers and myself to high school for three years each, as it meant paying board for all of us in Launceston.’

After high school, Nell landed her first job in Launceston as a messenger girl. ‘The only qualifications were that I had a bike. But no experience is wasted – it gave me an intimate knowledge of the CBD.’

A young Nell met her husband-to-be, a Scotsman in the Navy, and they married in Sydney before going to Scotland to live. After several years, the couple and their small two children, Deidre and Geoffrey returned to the Dunorlan farm to build a family home, where sons Alistair and Clive were later born.

Nell’s interest in further education was piqued when she read her daughter’s UTAS Hobart study notes. She said if uni ever became available in Launceston she would enrol.

First year university classes were eventually offered at the Adult Education building in High Street, Launceston.

The courses Nell completed there were acknowledged when she completed an off-campus Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in History and Politics, as a mature age student.

The epitome of ‘blooming good health’, Nell credits her robust resilience with her life on the farm where she was born.

‘Life was tough. Up at 4.30 on frosty, dark mornings to milk the cows, followed by a walk across several farms to catch a train to school.’

She was still milking cows on the farm well into her 70s. Nell Carr is a credit to her family and the Meander Valley community.

On behalf of those in the Meander Valley and elsewhere who have had the pleasure and privilege to spend time with her, the Meander Valley Gazette would like to say thank you to Nell for her ongoing contribution to the community through all her hard work.

No blowing raspberries – local café wins tourism award

People and Places, Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Café supervisor Peta Robinson, chef Michael Lambert and manager Elise Chilcott – proud of their staff, service and food – now proud customer experience award winners.

Photo by Mike Moores

Café supervisor Peta Robinson, chef Michael Lambert and manager Elise Chilcott – proud of their staff, service and food – now proud customer experience award winners.

By Sharon Webb

IN LATE afternoon on a mid-winter day the atmosphere at Raspberry Farm Café in Christmas Hills is cosy.

Outside the wind is bitter but a fire burns brightly in the generous fireplace and afternoon tea customers tuck in to scones with raspberry jam and cream and delicious-looking desserts.

It’s tempting to think it’s all about the luscious food - but the ambience and the view of the small lake and surrounding fields take the last bit of tension out of tight shoulder muscles.

But all of that is not why Raspberry Farm Café recently won the Great Customer Experience Award given by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association.

The association recognised the efforts of the venue owners and their staff in providing their customers with a great customer experience, measurable through social media analysis.

Customers have a memorable experience at the café, comment on Facebook, Instagram and Tripadvisor – and then Raspberry Farm Café comments back, setting up a conversation. It’s interactive.

According to manager Elise Chilcott, ‘We have almost 15,000 likes on Facebook, quite a heavy traffic page.

‘We respond quickly to comments and aim to answer every question. We respond in some way to everyone who posts a photo. For everyone there is some sort of acknowledgment.’

The award was a complete surprise.

Unlike many tourism awards, Raspberry Farm Café did not nominate themselves. Yet there they are in the fabulous company of fellow Tasmanian venues such as Black Cow Bistro, the Watergarden Bar and St Helens Furneaux Restaurant.

So, after beginning as a tin shed on the side of the road selling raspberries and soft drinks, what does a 25 year old café in rural Tasmania need to do to win a great customer experience award?

Oh yes, the location and ambience come into it, as does the imaginative food. ‘Customers want raspberries. You find a place and we’ll put a raspberry in it! ’ says Elise.

But Raspberry Farm Café has also put in the hard yards with customer service, training staff to acknowledge customers within five seconds of entering the café and to read the needs of every table.

‘Customer service expectations have changed – it must be way better than it ever was,’ said Elise.

‘With the advent of social media we must be consistently good at what we do.’

According to café supervisor Peta Robertson reading each table is key.

‘It’s about responsiveness: tourists like us to know the area, some people want a joke around the table while others want us to deliver the meal and leave them to it.’

Good staff with the right attitude and skills are critical, says Elise.

‘We have a stable local staff of around 26 in winter. In summer staff numbers grow to 40 plus.

‘Former staff members call from overseas to ask if they can a have a summer job. We don’t often advertise – it’s mainly word-of-mouth.’

Raspberry Farm Café understands its clientele to the extent that it doesn’t just employ cheaper juniors.

‘We’re looking for people who want to work, who have different levels of experience, different personalities, aged into their sixties,’ said Peta.

‘We have absolutely amazing staff; we’re a team, it’s a team environment, we can’t do it alone.’

And finally, yes, it is about the food. A few weeks ago a special dessert with the unlikely name of A Walk in the Forest splashed on social media with 462 likes and 301 comments: chocolate mud soil sprouts magic mushrooms and raspberry cream-filled tuile logs adorn the delightful scene.

‘We serve a raspberry latté, a soup all year round and raspberry waffles will never leave our menu,’ Elise said.

Another thing: this café makes 8.5 tonnes of chocolate-covered raspberries a year. Yes. And they give away 3.5 tonnes over the counter.

Elise has recommendations for start-up cafés.

‘Know where your values are, and your community and their expectations. And once you’ve got your brand, whatever that may be, build on that.’

Of course, having chocolate-coated raspberries on the counter is a big help as well.

Eric Manukov, photographer and dreamer

Arts & Artisans, Community, People and PlacesJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Eric Manukov, a passionate photographer and documentor of people.

Photo by Mike Moores

Eric Manukov, a passionate photographer and documentor of people.

By Lorraine Clarke

HIS LIFE in Tasmania is a far cry from the dizzy heights of international fashion photography, but Eric Manukov has never regretted moving to Launceston a few years ago.

He was born in Sydney, with Georgian heritage, and describes himself as ‘a strange creative child, a daydreamer’ absorbed with painting, art and music, whose first purchased album was jazz rather than pop or rock.

At school, he had dreams of becoming a photojournalist. Eric spent several years as a photographic stylist in the world of fashion, before studying at the Australian Centre of Photography at age 28.

‘Because I had the skill to create an image, my photography took off instantly,’ he said. ‘I could style my own photos. I worked in Fashion and Editorial for many years.’

Over six years, Eric often headed for outback Australia in a camper van to create his first big self-assigned project – Eric's Aboriginal series. He would fly back to Sydney for his commercial work, then return inland to his passion.

Representatives of five separate environments – desert, fresh water, salt water, cold climate and tropical – feature in this stunning photographic documentary that has been exhibited in Europe.

‘I kept going around the country. I met some very prominent Aboriginals. I would live in a community for about six weeks to get to know them, to develop trust and relationships.’

Eric posted photographs on his van or a tree to generate interest in what he was doing, in the remotest areas where some residents had never seen a white person and spoke no English. He travelled throughout indigenous communities, from Mornington Island in the Gulf, through the central desert, to Hermansberg, the home of famed Aboriginal painter Namatjira.

Eric hangs a dark vertical canvas as backdrop to all his portraits, and people are invited to step out of their own environment into his.

‘The person is the subject and context, not the environment,’ he explains. ‘The canvas is used to delete the background completely and remove the time-line. The intention was always to show them as a very proud people. All the photographs were taken of people in traditional tribal totem paint. I wanted to capture these totems before they were lost. It will all disappear. The series is a historical document.’

Eric holds great respect for the subjects of his hauntingly beautiful photos. He knows their names, their histories, and remembers their home lands. ‘I would wait and talk to people, and tell them what I was hoping to achieve historically. Some of the older people knew about the genocides and would not allow photos.’

Earlier photographers have captured the shaming history of our country’s treatment of its first inhabitants, but Eric had loftier aims. ‘The injustice has been covered. I don’t need to show that. I wanted to show how beautiful they are.’

All Eric’s 80 Aboriginal portraits were taken on film, and developed as silver gelatin prints. ‘I am very proud to have photographed them and printed the pictures myself as well,’ he said.

‘I was allowed in. They trusted me. That’s the number one thing I am very, very proud of.’

Pixels Gallery at Deloraine Online Access Centre is pleased to display Eric Manukov’s significant and striking Aboriginal series throughout the month of October.

There will be an evening viewing where invitees can speak with Eric about his photography and the subjects of his Aboriginal series.

Check the Gazette Facebook for the date and details, or call 6286 8216.

Eric’s website showcases all his photographic collections:

The Forest Folk at work

Arts & Artisans, Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Jasmine Rocca of Jackey‘s Marsh, an instructor at the Forest Folk workshops, preparing plants and fabric for dyeing with Bonnie McGee of Weetah.

Photo by Mike Moores

Jasmine Rocca of Jackey‘s Marsh, an instructor at the Forest Folk workshops, preparing plants and fabric for dyeing with Bonnie McGee of Weetah.

NESTLED IN a child-friendly wooded wonderland in Jackey’s Marsh, the Forest Folk recently hosted a fun eco-printing workshop.

Jasmine Rocca and Alena Leek are two ladies who have been running a nature club each Tuesday at Deloraine Primary.

They run programs for children, teaching such natural crafts as making lavender bags, growing eggshell gardens, making hommus and colouring fabrics with natural plant dyes. So successful have these programs been that they hope to expand into other schools.

Jasmine and Alena decided it was unfair for kids to have all the fun, so they have extended their workshops to teach natural skills to adults.

First on the agenda was a forest walk to gather a selection of leaves, wattle blossoms, vines, barks, buds and other vegetation.

An imposing steel tripod supported a blazing outdoor fire that dispelled the winter chills, and boiled two large pots of water.

Back at the work tables, lengths of recycled fabric were sprayed with vinegar water.

Leaves were dipped into a bowl of rusty water, then shaken off, and arranged in pleasing designs on one edge of the fabric. The other side of the fabric was folded on top of the leaves. All was rolled around lengths of bamboo, secured with twine, then tossed into the boiling water, one coloured with turmeric.

An hour of convivial tea drinking and story swapping later, the bamboo rolls were retrieved and laid out with much oohing and aahing as the fabric revealed its secrets.

All were amazed at the almost photographic clarity of tiny details in leaves and buds, and the range of muted colours.

The many prints were hung out to dry on a line, some of them turmeric-yellow with the tie-dye effect of the twine adding more interest.

That such a delightful result could be achieved in little more than an hour was motivation to experiment more with this simple, fail safe technique at home.

Jasmine and Alena explained that their intention is to use only found or recycled objects to create beautiful crafts. They source all their boiling pots, tongs, fabric and rusty objects from tip shops and op shops. The only thing bought retail was vinegar.

The Forest Folk will be teaching eco-printing at Cygnet Folk Festival next January, but until then, they have a great program of other fun, nature-based skill-building workshops at Deloraine.

So if you have ever yearned to whittle, learn bush survival skills, make your own clay bead jewellery, colour fleece and fabric with dyes made from your own garden plants, twine flax into cordage and weave useful baskets, identify and collect edible mushrooms from the forest, and even grow your own shiitake mushroom logs, the Forest Folk can grant your wishes.

Materials are included in the cost for each course, and you can take home anything you have made (including two shiitake logs!)

To view the full range of workshops that are available and to make bookings, go to: Email jasminerocca@gmail. com or call/text 0422 193 971 for enquiries.

Mild Vegie Curry Noodles

CommunityJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Wai Lin Coultas  A sambal-spiced coconut soup rich with Australian spring produce, tofu and hard-boiled eggs.

Photo by Wai Lin Coultas

A sambal-spiced coconut soup rich with Australian spring produce, tofu and hard-boiled eggs.

By Wai Lin Coultas

AS TASTY as an Indian curry, Indonesia’s lontong sayur is a sambal-spiced coconut soup rich with rice cakes, tofu and hard-boiled eggs. Malaysia’s lodeh variation is loaded with carrots, cabbage and French beans.

Australian spring produce and a slurpylicious take on dry curried Singapore noodles gives a curry that vegetarians can happily construct by pouring gravy into vegetable-filled noodle bowls – perfect for dinner guests who love food play!


1 x 220g bag Kan Tong thin rice or laksa noodles, soaked 10 minutes in boiling water, drained and tossed in canola oil

2 lettuce leaves, thinly sliced

2 sprigs fresh basil, thinly sliced

4 spears asparagus, blanched

4 sprigs broccolini, blanched

2 florets cauliflower, cooked & quartered

1 ½ small carrots, cooked & thickly julienned

6 truss tomatoes, skinned

4g bean curd sheets, sectioned, shallow-fried in canola oil & drained

2 eggs, hard boiled, peeled & halved

6 fresh curry leaves, another

8 shallowed fried in canola oil & drained

2 onions, peeled & finely diced

8 cloves garlic, peeled & minced

1 lemon, juiced

30g pickled sushi ginger, drained & finely diced

2 tbsp ginger paste

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp ground cardamom

2 tsp ground fenugreek

2 tbsp Hill Farm’s ploughman’s mustard

3 tbsp tomato paste

4 vegetable stock cubes

400 ml water

2 x 400 ml cans coconut milk

50g shredded desiccated coconut salt canola oil

Note that laksa noodles and sushi ginger are available at most large supermarkets. Bean curd sheets are available at most Asian grocers.


1 Over high heat, sauté onions till softened,

2 Add garlic, sushi ginger and ginger paste and sauté till fragrant.

3 Add dry spices and the 6 unfried curry leaves, sauté till fragrant

4 Stir in water, mustard, tomato paste and stock cubes, dissolve then bring to boil.

5 Stir in coconut milk, bringing to boil

6 Add lemon juice and shredded coconut, bring to boil again then season with salt.

7 Mix oiled noodles with lettuce and basil and divide mixture into 2 bowls

8 add half the vegetables, half the fried bean curd and 1 boiled egg into each bowl’

9 divide the hot curry gravy over the 2 bowls and garnish with half the fried curry leaves on the side.

Serves 2

In the Garden with Nell Carr

CommunityJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Tanya King  Turnips grown in the raised boxes at the Deloraine Community Garden.

Photo by Tanya King

Turnips grown in the raised boxes at the Deloraine Community Garden.

In the vegie garden

Turnips and swedes can be sown, according to the notes on the seed packets, throughout the year, although the Garden Guide excludes the months of April, May, June, November and December in the colder districts.

Turnips can go into well manured soil, the shallow drills lined with a layer of seed raising mix. Those pictured by Tanya King, were grown in one of the raised boxes at Deloraine Community Garden.

To make room for growth, they were thinned out and the smaller, golf ball sized ones were used raw for salads. The fully grown turnips are delicious, peeled, sliced up and boiled briefly, served with butter and scattered with finely chopped chives.

If dry enough soil can be located, broad beans are able to be sown in September, as are cabbages, spring onions, silver beet (add a little boron), and peas.

In the landscape – Acacias

It would hard to miss the most prolific of these in the landscape just now.

The Black Wattle (Acacia dealbata), springs up wherever a patch of native forest has been cleared, and in September becomes a golden fringe along the forest borders.

The flowers of Blackwoods (A. melanoxylon) are paler and not so conspicuous, but their dense foliage and spreading branches make them attractive and useful shade trees.

Tasmania has seven species of Acacias. The smallest of them A. verticillata, (Prickly Mimosa), commonly known as Prickly Moses, is a shrub with gracefully arching branches and large pale yellow flowers.

Pottery Hub launched

Arts & Artisans, Community, Meander StyleJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Pottery Hub coordinator Trish Richers (left) and Brenda Griechen in front of the Pottery Hub kiln, discussing Brenda’s pottery echidna.

Photo by Mike Moores

Pottery Hub coordinator Trish Richers (left) and Brenda Griechen in front of the Pottery Hub kiln, discussing Brenda’s pottery echidna.

By Wendy Laing

SATURDAY 24 August was the official launch of the Deloraine Pottery Hub, held at Deloraine Creative Studios. Sonja Grodski, the President of DCS, welcomed 30 guests to the launch.

Sally Darke, Chairperson of the Tasmanian Community Fund congratulated the Deloraine Pottery Hub on their launch. ‘It is a pleasure’, she said, ‘to see the kiln we have funded set up and being used by the community in this large open space.’

Sonja also spoke of the work that Trish Richers, the Pottery Hub coordinator, has achieved with kiln firings, organising beginner classes and arranging for professional and amateur potters to use the Hub. ‘Through her efforts,’ Sonja said, ‘Trish has produced a relaxed atmosphere where people using the space feel most welcome.’

A toast was then given to the success of the Deloraine Pottery Hub.

The Meander Valley Council was thanked for their generous support supplying shelving, benches and cupboards.

For more information please call into the Deloraine Creative Studios and chat to Trish Richers in the Pottery Hub area, contact her on 0407 930 342 or email

Smash Tas comes to Deloraine

Sport, CommunityJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Jan Atkins  One of the day's participants, Anastasia Looby of Elizabeth Town prepares to serve.

Photo by Jan Atkins

One of the day's participants, Anastasia Looby of Elizabeth Town prepares to serve.

LASSE BUNDGAARD, former national and Olympic badminton coach came to Deloraine recently to hold a ‘Smash Tas’ Badminton Clinic.

‘Smash Tas’ Clinics have been held at various locations around the state, including Hobart, Devonport, Burnie and Ulverstone.

About 30 young people from around the district and several from Launceston were treated to expert coaching by Lasse and his two helpers, Scott Johnston and Scott Viney of Launceston.

Lasse also showed several videos of some of the champion players he has coached during his career. All participants in the clinic were given a Yonex badminton racquet.

Kicking goals with volunteers

Sport, CommunityJoanne Eisemann
Photo Supplied  James Baldock at Auskick, with some possible future players for the Deloraine Roos or the Tasmanian AFL team.

Photo Supplied

James Baldock at Auskick, with some possible future players for the Deloraine Roos or the Tasmanian AFL team.

By David Claridge

VOLUNTEERING IS the backbone of local grassroots sports. Parents encourage their children to get out and get active and in turn they join in.

It’s thanks to parents such as James and Phillippa Baldock who keep local football alive for future generations.

Last year, James was chosen as the Tasmanian State Winner of the NAB AFL Auskick Volunteer of the Year. Phillippa shared how James has been involved in football pretty much all his life.

‘James started playing Juniors with the Deloraine Football Club before moving into the senior side. Later on he joined the committee and then coached,’ she said.

‘We both became involved with Auskick when one of our daughters wanted to join in. We agreed to take on the role from the previous coordinators and continue their good work.

’ James’ prize was a paid trip to Melbourne to see a finals game of AFL in 2018. ‘We were actually overseas at the time the game was going to be on, so we were able to go recently instead to watch his team, the Hawks, play Collingwood.’

AFLTAS is once again calling for nominations for Volunteer of the Year, to reward someone who has made a significant contribution to their community.

Information from AFLTAS suggests there were 209 000 volunteers involved in football across Australia last year.

Supreme Court bid in Meander ratepayers’ fight for school

Community, NewsJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

THE MEANDER ratepayers association will go to the Supreme Court with their case for the return of the Meander school to the community.

The trigger for the move was an appeal loss last month at Tasmania’s planning appeals body RMPAT in their fight against Meander Valley Council to prevent a drug dependence rehabilitation program taking over the former Meander Primary School site.

MARRA secretary Karen Hillman said, ‘Our legal advice is that we have a good case.’

Meander Valley Council’s decision to hand over the school property for a peppercorn rent to Teen Challenge has already cost the council dearly in legal fees to RMPAT.

MARRA, which has 85 paid up members, says its fundraising through GoFundMe is going gangbusters.

At RMPAT, MARRA argued that Teen Challenge’s use of the property does not comply with the planning scheme’s standards for vulnerable use of the Bushfire Prone Areas Code.

Speaking about Teen Challenge’s appeal win, the organisation’s executive director Tania Cavanagh told ABC Radio’s Mornings program she believes the majority of the Meander community supports the proposal to take over the school property.

‘Our clients will consist of women with addiction issues – substance addiction, sex addiction, gambling addiction etc. They must detox for six weeks before they move in to the centre and enter a oneyear program.

‘The women can bring their children, who will do schooling.’

Ms Cavanagh said Teen Challenge’s next step would be to gain a building permit.

Local resident Kevin Knowles told ABC listeners that Teen Challenge was a division of ‘the far right religious group Assembly of God’, and the school would be a religious conversion centre rather than a drug rehab centre.

Ms Hillman commented that Meander Valley Council was supposed to act in the best interests of the community but seemed to be operating in the best interests of Teen Challenge.

‘A drug facility is just the wrong thing for our community. MARRA members are adamant that the school can be put to better use.’

Meander Valley mayor Wayne Johnston, who lives in Meander, told ABC listeners, ‘We need a drug facility somewhere. It’s all right to say “not in my backyard” but someone’s got to help the women and children.’

Mr Johnston said the school buildings, now empty for several years, need maintenance.

‘At the end of the day we can’t lift the school up and take it somewhere else; it’s in the middle of Meander. There’s got to be some give and take on both sides,’ he said.

Ms Hillman described RMPAT’s rejection of the appeal as ‘a bump in the road’.

‘We will return the school to community ownership,’ she said.

‘Community benefit’ winner at the Blackstone Heights tower tribunal

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

TASMANIA’S PLANNING appeals body has agreed that Telstra can build a 25m communications tower at Blackstone Heights – with barely a nod to the concerns of neighbouring residents who fought it for months.

The Resource Management Planning Appeals Tribunal conceded only that work to build the tower can start weekdays at 7am, with slightly later starts on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Telstra’s RMPAT appeal was caused by Meander Valley Council initially rejecting permission to build the tower. According to general manager Martin Gill the cost was around $32 000 in legal fees and about $5000 in council officer time.

The tribunal rejected every condition suggested by appellant Steven McGee, whose property in Zenith Court neighbours the proposed tower, including that:

• the tower be decommissioned after 10 years

• Mr McGee be compensated for the impact on his visual amenity

• Telstra screens the tower or compensates Mr McGee for its inability to provide screening to his property

• Telstra protects Wedge Tailed Eagle breeding habitat

• the tower’s electromagnetic emissions levels be monitored.

Mr McGee, who has a law degree, said the two days he spent at the RMPAT hearing were like being in an alien world.

‘It’s an adversarial system, court-like with lawyers and supposed experts, with no way for ordinary people to get involved in the planning process,’ he said. ‘

Before having a three year old I wouldn’t have taken a stand on this but I want to look after him.’

‘I believe the tower should be on the Stephensdale estate, away from residential areas.’

RMPAT’s decision justifies comments by former Meander Valley Councillor Andrew Connor in a December 2018 council meeting. He warned against rejecting a permit for the tower because should Telstra appeal the decision in RMPAT the legal bill would drop in the council’s lap.

‘RMPAT has only ever refused one tower. These things are rarely successful,’ he said.

Despite the warning Meander Valley Council heard Blackstone Heights residents’ concerns and rejected the permit. But in a closed meeting in April, councillors changed their decision.

Mayor Wayne Johnston said this was ‘because Telstra gave us information it should have given us in the first place’.

Despite the council’s change of mind, according to Jarrod Bryan from RMPAT the tribunal was obliged to hear from Mr McGee and so the hearing went ahead – involving Meander Valley Council even though it now supported the tower permit, at the cost of $37 000 to ratepayers.

Meander Valley Council initially rejected the tower on grounds of visual impact and the lack of significant community benefit.

But the extra information Telstra provided demonstrated a community benefit and in the tribunal this over-rode all other objections.

Specialist network engineer for Radio Network Engineering, Ramesh Perera, told the tribunal that if significant capacity relief was not provided, customers in Blackstone Heights would have very slow data internet speeds, followed by data access blocking and eventually the inability to make or receive voice calls.

Currently, the Blackstone Heights area has several locations with poor or no indoor coverage. The capacity of the two current towers in Juliana Street and Strahan Hill is forecast to run out in 2020 and 2024 respectively.

Telstra maintains the new tower will provide significant long term capacity for current and future customer needs.

In brief from the council

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

Small blocks go-ahead for Reedy Marsh

Meander Valley Council has approved subdivision of a 4.8 hectare block at 1 Farrell’s Rd in Reedy March despite some residents objecting to the small size of the two resulting blocks.

Resident Andrew Ricketts said Reedy Marsh Rural Living Zone blocks should be a minimum of 15 hectares.

Resident Nick van Amstel maintained that approval would ‘inevitably lead to avoidable clearing of valuable vegetation and habitat and set a precedent for further subdivision’.

Cllr Frank Nott commented that under the incoming planning scheme the subdivision likely would not be passed. But he said approval meant council could control the undocumented building and road access on the property, which is owned by Ralph Young.

MVC General Manager resigns

The General Manager of the Meander Valley Council, Martin Gill, will take up a new appointment as CEO of the Borough of Queenscliffe Council in Victoria on 7 October.

An announcement on the borough’s website said Mr Gill ‘was selected from a long list of applicants from across Australia as part of a rigorous recruitment process that included multiple rounds of interviews’.

Mayor Wayne Johnston said Mr Gill will finish at Meander Valley Council on 22 September.

He expects finalisation of a new appointment will take three or four months and the council will appoint an acting general manager in the meantime.

Rural rubbish collection tossed out

A plan to extend the wheelie bin system to more rural areas has been ditched because residents objected.

In February general manager Martin Gill wrote to rural residents telling them the system would be introduced between July and September and asking for feedback.

A fiery Mole Creek public meeting in March left the council in no doubt of most residents’ reactions, with the cost more than $200 a household.

Mr Gill said councillors had requested further assessment of the proposed service and consultation on delivery options.

Three new blocks in Grigg St Deloraine

Council has approved subdivision of a block at 18 Grigg St in Deloraine to create two additional residential lots.

The land, owned by Corey and Kassey How, is 5400m2 in area. Subdivision will result in three residential lots. Lot 1 (702m2 including an existing dwelling) and lots two and three (2,360m2) are capable of accommodating a range of dwelling sizes.

Councillor Andrew Sherriff, whose Deloraine Signs business adjoins the proposed blocks, objected to the lack of stormwater drainage.

The permit is therefore conditional on changes to sewerage and stormwater systems, also impacting 20 Grigg Street and 4 Railway Street.

New truffle property road named

A short road off Mole Creek Rd which passes through the Tasmanian Truffles property is likely to be named Askrigg Lane.

Meander Valley Council has agreed to forward the proposal to the Tasmanian Nomenclature Office.

Taking away the pain with MVU3A

Community, EventsJoanne Eisemann

LIVING WITH persistent pain can literally be ‘a pain in the neck’. For Seniors’ Week, Meander Valley U3A is offering an event which is a mix of fun, entertainment and the opportunity to hear some good news about pain relief.

MVU3A will welcome the developer of the ‘Overcoming Pain And Living Life’, (OPALL) program Michelle Nicholson and facilitator, BJ White, to speak about strategies used in the OPALL program. This program can be accessed through self-referral.

One of our U3A members has done the program and found the strategies amazing and hugely helpful in overcoming pain. She definitely recommends OPALL.

The public is invited to this free event, sponsored by Meander Valley Council.

The event will be held at 1:30pm, Tuesday 8 October, at Westbury RSL, Lonsdale Promenade. This is in the U3A term break, the week before official Seniors’ Week. Light refreshments will be served.

Old Hydro village, a new folk festival

Community, EventsJoanne Eisemann

THE MOUNT Roland Folk Festival is a brand new folk festival grown out of the rich cultural soil of North West Tasmania. It will be held just outside Sheffield at Gowrie Park Wilderness Village and The Old Black Stump restaurant from October 11–13.

Over 50 musicians and 30 volunteers from around Tasmania and Australia will fill the quaint timber caravan park, which is a decommissioned Tas Hydro Village.

There will be a mix of veteran and emerging Tasmanian performers, including Ben Salter, Claire Anne Taylor, The Stragglers, New Holland Honey Eaters, Luke Plumb and Jane McArthur.

Interstate artists will include Celtic rock band Dalriada, and acclaimed social justice songwriter Little Foot. One of the festival organisers, musician Teri Young, says that the focus will be as much on the festival goers as the performers. ‘It's not intended to be a passive entertainment experience, but to encourage active engagement from everybody who comes.’

The program of activities includes an open mic stage, allin sing-along sessions, choir rehearsals, daily yoga, bushwalks, and a poets’ breakfast for anyone to recite at.

There are craft workshops and a bushdance, kids’ shows and youth activities, including a Youth Blackboard Concert for under 20s to perform at.

The festival is capped at 200 tickets this year, which can be bought at www.mountroland