Meander Valley Gazette

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Evacuation centre poised for action

NewsJoanne Eisemann

March 2019 | Hayley Manning

THE TASMANIAN Government, in association with Tasmanian Fire Service and local councils, opened evacuation centres for those areas impacted by fires or threatening embers.

Meander Valley Council’s Social Recovery Coordinator, Patrick Gambles, in response to guidance and direction from Tasmanian State Emergency Services (SES) and other emergency services, activated the Westbury Town Hall Supper Room as an evacuation centre several times during the recent bushfire threat.

“Our role is to help the community get back on its feet by providing access to personal support, shelter and information. It could be as simple as come in and let us know you are safe and we will register you. We can help with immediate needs and for more substantial support we will bring in services like Red Cross, financial or health services, and ultimately, if people need somewhere to sleep, we have contingency plans to turn a hall like this into an overnight evacuation centre,” Patrick said.

“Regrettably, Council does not always have the time or resources to door-knock during an emergency situation so we work in partnership with volunteers from our six local service clubs, who can provide low-risk support, check on people in their home, help with clean-ups and do minor repairs.”

Patrick says the Council emergency management team has a strong association with Red Cross, and they appreciate the support of agents with training in psychological first-aid, evacuation centre management and all forms of disaster impact experience.

Emergency Services Manager Tasmania, Howard Colvin, says Red Cross staff help people complete a ‘Register. Find. Reunite.’ national registration service that informs Tasmania Police, other emergency services and loved ones of evacuation details (according to permission indicated at the time of register) – in the event that communications are compromised.

“In my experience, Meander Valley Council is one of the most switched on councils in Tasmania when it comes to emergency management,” Mr Colvin said. “They have engaged with Red Cross in emergency management, adapted some of our emergency management operational practices, and worked with us to train a range of community organisations in the joint recovery effort that follows.

“We see the benefits every time they respond to an event and the community can take comfort from the hard work the Council has put in.”

Patrick says while it is heartening to receive offers of goods and volunteer assistance, it is not practical due to the unpredictable nature of events.

The best way people can help is by registering to volunteer. To do so, please visit www.volunteering tas.org.au.

Patrick Gambles and Vicki Jordan, ready to offer assistance to those in need at Meander Valley’s Evacuation Centre in Westbury   Photo | Mike Moores

Patrick Gambles and Vicki Jordan, ready to offer assistance to those in need at Meander Valley’s Evacuation Centre in Westbury

Photo | Mike Moores

A common problem

NewsJoanne Eisemann

March 2019 | Sharon Webb

TASMANIA’S THREATENED species manager will inspect Westbury Common this month before further permits are issued for grass mowing there. The Common has been slashed three times over summer after no mowing for a year. Environmentalists have voiced loud concerns about the effect on the threatened Green and Gold Frog as well as on skinks and bandicoots.

A DPIPWE spokesperson said that species mapping of the Common done before Christmas was not added to the State’s Natural Values Atlas in time for the information to be taken into account when the summer mowing permit was allocated. “All observations submitted for inclusion in the atlas go through a verification process. The accuracy of records - both in terms of location and species identification - is critical to good management outcomes,” he said.

“The permit issued to Meander Valley Council was based on the verified records contained in the atlas at the time the permit was being prepared, prior to new records for the Westbury Town Common being entered into the database and verified. “DPIPWE ensured the new records were swiftly verified and they will inform any future permitting and associated management planning.” Cllr Tanya King first brought Westbury residents’ rumbling discontent to public attention in the November 2018 council meeting when she asked what measures could be reasonably adopted to promote more harmonious use of the town common? “My question was in response to ratepayer enquiries as to why the grass on the Common had been allowed to grow so long, and to the unrest building about its use,” she said.

Cllr King, who lives in Westbury and said she supports the Common’s grass being baled for animal fodder, elaborated on the cause of Westbury residents’ “unrest” by claiming “long grass at the moment reportedly makes it dangerous for dog owners to use the common. “I am told that with the grass at the current length, the grass seed heads are proving hazardous for dogs. “The people that have contacted me are all seeking to enjoy this rare off lead environment for their well-behaved dogs, whose owners like to socialise and interact in a unique setting.” Cllr King told councillors: “There also seems to be some confusion in the community about the purpose of the Common, and I understand that there has been unnecessarily aggressive behaviour exhibited by a user of the common.”

Conservationists such as citizen scientist manager Craig Broadfield and Westbury Common supporter Di Robinson are concerned about the possibility of frogs being killed in their mating season and nocturnal bandicoots having their heads lopped by slashing equipment as they sleep in the grass. Council manager Martin Gill denied animals die by slashing.

He also indicated he believes only Ms Robinson and Mr Broadfield are the only people concerned about the effect of mowing on wildlife: “We’re really only servicing two people with this process.” While DPIPWE‘s policies on endangered species demand Meander Valley Council completes a Common management plan before DPIPWE issues further slashing permits, Cllr King believes such a plan is unwarranted.

“In my opinion the Common is no different to any other public spaced owned and managed by the council,” she said.

On track for rubbish collection

NewsJoanne Eisemann

March 2019 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY Council has asked ratepayers living off‘ the beaten track to signal their interest in a new rubbish and recyclables collection – but not many people are interested in paying the council an extra $206 a year for the privilege.

General manager Martin Gill wrote to “rural households in accessible areas”, telling them the proposed service would begin July to September 2019.

“This initiative will allow more households to participate in recycling efforts and promote better environmental outcomes,” he wrote.

“Properties that are accessible will be provided with a wheelie bin for a weekly rubbish collection and a wheelie bin for a fortnightly recycling collection.”

One Mole Creek ratepayer said she knows no-one in favour of a new service. “We are organised to take our rubbish to the local tip and don’t want to pay more,” she said.

“I believe having it collected just makes people more reckless about what they throw away. I also don’t like the way rubbish collectors leave bins thrown untidily on the roadside.”

While Mr Gill’s letter implies the new service is a done deal, the measure has yet to be voted on by the newly elected Meander Valley Council.

Confirming that the council has made no formal decision to implement the service, he said: “The model currently under review was developed with the previous council.

“The letter has been issued to property owners to obtain feedback which will be provided to the council to inform their future decision.”

Ratepayers wondering whether the offer of rubbish/ recyclables collection applies to them should take a look at their access road.

“For properties to receive the service the waste collection vehicles need to be able to safely travel up roads and be able to turn around at the end of dead end roads,” Mr Gill said.

“Council officers and a contractor have inspected the road network to gain a better understanding of which areas are accessible without having to undertake significant road works.”

The rubbish/recyclables collection will be compulsory, as will payment.

Subject to council approval, Mr Gill said, the cost for the service will be added to the rates notice for relevant properties.

Ratepayers who wish to comment on the proposed service are encouraged to contact Meander Valley Council. This can be done by email: waste@mvc.tas.gov.au; writing to Meander Valley Council PO Box 102 Westbury; or phoning 6393 5300.

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High frequency fence

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Roadkill, a common sight on Tasmanian roads.   Photo | Diego Delso

Roadkill, a common sight on Tasmanian roads.

Photo | Diego Delso

Feburary 2019 | Hayley Manning

DATA RESULTS from Australia’s first virtual fence trial, reveal the system is effective at reducing the estimated 500,000 animals, reptiles and birds, killed on Tasmanian roads each year. A 2018 white paper published in the Australian Mammalogy journal, ‘Roadkill mitigation: trialing virtual fence devices on the west coast of Tasmania’, shows the most commonly affected species impacted by road traffic are the Brushtailed possum, wallaby, pademelon, spotted-tailed quoll and Tasmanian devil. The Tasmanian Government’s ‘Save the Devil Program’ (STDP), lead by researcher and author of the paper, Dr Samantha Fox, conducted a three year trial on a 13 km stretch of road between Arthur River and Marrawah, from 2014 to 2017.

The small, high-tech devices are mounted onto posts at 25 metre intervals along the roadside and work when approaching headlights prompt audible, blue and yellow lights that deter animals from entering the road. Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary Director, Androo Kelly, said it took the devil facial tumour crisis to stir the government into action. “Road trauma does take a lot of devils and eastern quolls each year, so the government could have been looking for solutions earlier,” Androo said.

Wildlife Safety Solutions (WSS), founder Jack Swanepoel, “appalled” by the amount of roadkill he witnessed while holidaying in the state, was researching online when he discovered the virtual fence system on an obscure tech website in Austria. Jack says the system he imported into Australia is still at an experimental stage, but he has “high hopes” the Tasmanian government will take notice of the world’s first published, peer reviewed article and start using the cheap and easy to install devices around Tasmania.

“There is power in voices and numbers. I encourage everyone involved in conservation to band together with councils and make them realise we have a good solution here,” Jack said.

Where the devil has it gone?

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Thieves probably used power tools to remove the bronze devil from its locale near the Cenotaph.   Photo | Mike Moores

Thieves probably used power tools to remove the bronze devil from its locale near the Cenotaph.

Photo | Mike Moores

The damaged sculpture.   Photo | Mike Moores

The damaged sculpture.

Photo | Mike Moores

Feburary 2019 | Sharon Webb

THE MAN who dreamed up Deloraine’s Kooparoona Niara Cultural Trail wants residents to keep their eyes open for thieves following the theft of a valuable bronze Tasmanian Devil. Greg Murray said he has reported the theft to police and is disgusted that anyone would steal the devil. “It doesn’t just hurt me because of what the cultural trail means to me personally but it leaves a nasty taste in the mouths of locals and visitors,” he said.

Greg said he last saw the sculpture when he pointed it out to visitors around 9.00am on Friday 25th January. When he was on the riverbank at 2.00pm the following day it was gone. “This theft comes after someone tried to steal one of the muttonbirds last year – also on a Friday night,” he said. The bronze devil was smaller than lifesize, weighing 10-15kg and about 50cm in length. The Kooparoona Niara Cultural Trail project was funded by State Government, Bendigo Bank and Meander Valley Council grants. The Golden Valley artist who created the riverbank bronzes, John Parish, said the thief may have used power tools to remove the devil because it was anchored by three metal rods into a stump with fiberglass resin.

The devil theft follows the recent theft of a to-scale replica letterbox at the grainstore building in Parsonage St. Owner Richard Dunlop said: “They must have really wanted it; they would have needed a power tool because it was bolted to stone. “I imagine it will turn up at Evandale Market or on Gumtree. You can’t underestimate human inventiveness when it comes to making money.”

A very grave dilemma

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Thelma Wood (L) and Lorraine Carroll visit the gravesite of Thomas Reibey.   Photo | David Claridge

Thelma Wood (L) and Lorraine Carroll visit the gravesite of Thomas Reibey.

Photo | David Claridge

February 2019 | David Claridge

A NEW Year is meant to be a fresh start for everyone but, unfortunately, it has meant pain for many people. At the end of 2018 the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hadspen held its last congregation. The church has been listed as one of the properties to be sold as part of the plan to fund the redress to victims of child sexual abuse.

For sixty years it has been a place of union, a place of celebration, and a place to put family members to rest. The cemetery has a number people buried in it, including important Tasmanian figure Thomas Reibey who, among his many other achievements, was Premier from 1876-7.

Locals who have family members buried behind the church have also purchased lots for themselves and family members, with no sign of reimbursement from the decision. The Church now has no congregation and a question mark over what its future may hold while it is on the market. Hadspen resident, Lorraine Carroll, is devastated about the sale of the church because of the significant history of the church and what has been invested into it by the community.

She wrote a letter to the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania in December. The response was, that after further consideration, the Church of the Good Shepherd would remain for sale. It was indicated in a public statement that where cemeteries are involved it would be ideal for community groups to take ownership. “What’s annoying is that many of the furnishings in the church have been donated by Entally House.

I would hate for them to be sold,” said Lorraine. “My friend Thelma has nine family members buried at the church, including her husband, and has prepaid for a grave beside him. What is going to happen now?” The Church of the Good Shepherd holds history about Thomas Reibey III and William Hadfield, two prominent names in Tasmanian history who are both buried beside the church.

Difficult to find Common ground on slashing

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Westbury Common, pictured here in flood, provides a unique habitat for local wildlife.   Photo | Mike Moores

Westbury Common, pictured here in flood, provides a unique habitat for local wildlife.

Photo | Mike Moores

Feburary 2019 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY Council has used an outdated plan to slash Westbury Common three times this summer, killing endangered frogs and other wildlife, according to Tasmanian expert Craig Broadfield. General manager Martin Gill denies any wildlife was killed, saying the council followed a Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) permit for the 2018-19 summer.

“Immediately following slashing in December and January we surveyed the town common for casualties or injured animals. There were no deaths or injuries of any fauna,” he said. A DPIPWE spokeperson said the department is aware several local residents have expressed concerns regarding the mowing/slashing. “But we have not been presented with any evidence the permitted activity has resulted in the deaths of threatened species,” she said.

According to DPIPWE, a condition of the current permit is that if the council is to get further permits, DPIPWE must approve a Westbury Common management plan to protect wildlife such as frogs, bandicoots and skinks by the end of this summer.

But Mr Broadfield, a citizen scientist who manages Frogwatch Tasmania, maintains DPIPWE allowed the council to use an outdated plan which did not take into account the most recent updates on threatened species data in DPIPWE’s Natural Values Atlas. “I inspected the common immediately after the first cut and in my opinion the cut was not carried out in accordance to the DPIPWE-approved plan,” he said.

Editor of the Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW, Monica Wangmann, wrote to all councillors and Mr Gill in December, seeking help to save the vulnerably listed, Green and Gold Frog which inhabits the common. She told councillors protecting the frog’s habitat needs to be a priority: “I dread to see photos again this year of more Green and Gold Frogs body parts in the cut hay.” Ms Wangmann said it is nonsensical to slash in the frogs’ breeding season: “The council is thumbing its nose at community concerns and it’s mean-spirited.”

Mr Broadfield is also concerned about the timing. “The disturbance of any threatened species’ habitat at the time of year when the species is most active (breeding season, mobility, numbers) is highly irregular and goes against all normal management protocols.” Longtime Westbury Common supporter Di Robinson, who takes school groups to the common to introduce them to wildlife habitat, said the council has slashed the common three times this summer.

“Nocturnal animals such as bandicoots sleep in the long grass during the day and the machine comes through and chops their heads off,” she said. But Martin Gill maintained that while council employees do not walk ahead of the slasher to rowse animals out of the long grass, “the pattern of mowing is done in such a way as to work toward the protected areas and use the vibrations from the machinery to rouse the animals.” Mr Gill said the council determined which areas of the common were to be protected by reviewing DPIPWE’s Natural Values Atlas and had worked with the local Landcare Group, constituting Ms Robinson and council’s natural resource management officer, Stuart Brownlea.

“We have been working with the same plan for four years and make slight adjustments each year if there are changes to conditions on the ground,” he said. Mr Gill denied knowledge of slashing areas planted with skink tussock, habitat planted with funding from NRM North. “We were slashing areas identified in our permit. To the best of my knowledge this did not include areas where habitat had been planted,” he said.

Ms Robinson, who has organised Green Army, Youth Futures and Conservation Volunteers groups to thistle-weed sections of the Westbury Common, firmly maintains council has slashed habitat. “I’ve put 10 years into this area; someone needs to be a voice for the wildlife,” she said.

Cash to sweeten the Grenoch pot

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Nationals Senator Steve Martin (L) discusses with Aged Care Deloraine’s CEO, Charlie Emmerton upgrades to the facilities in the kitchen at Grenoch.   Photo | Emma Hodgkinson

Nationals Senator Steve Martin (L) discusses with Aged Care Deloraine’s CEO, Charlie Emmerton upgrades to the facilities in the kitchen at Grenoch.

Photo | Emma Hodgkinson

February 2019 | Emma Hodgkinson

AGED CARE Deloraine has secured funding to undergo major facility upgrades in its Grenoch Home. The grant of almost half a million dollars was approved from the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $40 million Aged Care Regional, Rural and Remote Infrastructure Grants scheme.

Nationals Senator Steve Martin had been lobbying for funding under the scheme to contribute towards Tasmanian aged care facilities. “This is a big deal for Deloraine, because we’ve had to compete against 3,000 other nursing homes Australia-wide for our fair share of 40 million dollars,” Senator Martin said. “This funding will help improve the residents at Grenoch’s quality of life.”

Charlie Emmerton, CEO of Aged Care Deloraine said that the funds will be used to build a new laundry and completely renovate the kitchen. “The upgrades will help improve our services, care, and the quality of life for the residents at Grenoch Home.”

Grenoch Home has 47 beds, providing care and accommodation for senior citizens throughout the local community. Mr. Emmerton said that the upgrades will not only benefit the residents, but it will make the facility more functional and better for staff as well.

“We’re really thankful for the grant because it’s really dicult in small rural communities to actually generate sucient profits that enable us to spend that on redevelopments like this,” he said.

This is the most significant upgrade Grenoch Home has had in twelve years and will take approximately five months to complete. The renovations are due to start in August, with the goal of completing them before Christmas arrives.

Campfire restrictions remain

NewsJoanne Eisemann

THE PARKS and Wildlife Service (PWS) is reminding everyone that campfire restrictions are still in place across all national parks, reserves and Crown Land state-wide until further notice.

PWS General Manager Jason Jacobi said PWS campfire restrictions will remain in place indefinitely due to elevated soil dryness and the risk of new fire starts, at a time when there is a significant number of fires already burning across the state.

Under the PWS campfire restrictions, campfires, pot stoves and any fuel stove that burn coal, wood or plant material are NOT permitted.

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Property insurance dispute settled

NewsJoanne Eisemann

Feburary 2019 | Sharon Webb

THE OWNER of Blue Wren Hideaway at Mole Creek has been paid $35,000 in insurance to replace fittings and fixtures allegedly stolen from the property after he bought it. Blue Wren Hideaway became famous Australia-wide when Meander Valley Council sold it to gain $3,500 in rates owed by its former owners whose religious beliefs led them to believe the council was not entitled to demand rates.

The sale also created indignation among Meander Valley residents on behalf of the previous owners: the 2.4 hectare property, possibly worth around $500,000, sold for only $120,000 at auction. When the council put the property on the market, the former owners refused to allow potential buyers to see it; when new owner Geoff Styles entered the house he found many missing fixtures and significant damage created by removal.

New owner Geoff Styles’ insurance company, CGU (operating under Insurance Australia Ltd) refused to cover the missing fittings and fixtures, claiming that Mr Styles did not have proof the items had actually existed. But the Australian Financial Complaints Authority upheld Mr Styles’ claim that his insurance should cover the missing items. Its investigation report into the missing items found that “most likely the items claimed were part of the property purchased on 1 September 2017.

“The available information suggests the property was vacated by the residents shortly prior to 16 October 2017.” At the time Tasmania Police refused to investigate the theft saying it was “a civil matter”; the complaints authority also has no idea who took the items. It commented: “No information is available from the former owners. Whether the items were taken by the former owners or some other person is unclear.”

Mr Styles who previously had claimed a $50,000 loss, said he was satisfied with the outcome: “We didn’t get the full amount we asked for but this goes some way to putting back what was stolen.” Items missing from Blue Wren Hideaway included solar panels and inverter, all light fittings, a combustion stove, a heat pump, a vanity unit, oven and cooktop and built-in cupboards.

The home’s water system was damaged, as were walls, ceilings and floors. The $35,000 paid by the insurance company covered the items stolen but not the damage caused by their removal. After the property was sold for $120,000 and Meander Valley Council deducted the owed rates and the cost of the sale, the remainder of the money was returned to the previous owners.

But the family returned the $105,000 to the council saying it had been a hostile sale and they didn’t wish to collude in it. Mr Styles will now put in a claim to the Supreme Court for some of that money.

sharon.webb@meandervalleygazette.com

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Council to embrace new planning

NewsJoanne Eisemann

February 2019 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY Council is set to be the first to implement the new Tasmanian Planning Scheme.

The council’s general manager Martin Gill said Meander Valley residents will be the first Tasmanian community to work with the scheme, one of the key outcomes of the Tasmanian Liberals’ planning reform process.

“We are the first council to put the new Tasmanian Planning Scheme on formal public notice and will most likely be the first to have the scheme including a local provisions schedule declared by the Minister sometime later this year,” Mr Gill said.

The new Tasmanian Planning Scheme is designed to deliver consistency in planning controls applying across the State and provide the necessary flexibility to address local issues through local provisions schedules.

It consists of State planning provisions and local provisions schedules, indicating how the provisions apply in each municipality and containing zone maps and overlay maps or description of places where the codes apply.

They will also contain local area objectives and any planning controls for unique places specific to the local area. These unique areas can be in the form of particular purpose zones, specific area plans, and site-specific qualifications.

Councils are responsible for preparing their local provisions schedules in consultation with their communities and other stakeholders to ensure it reflects the community’s expectations.

The schedules include planning controls to accommodate unique locations such as universities and hospitals, as well as unique development conditions such as building height restrictions.

sharon.webb@meandervalleygazette.com

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Ashley site for new prison?

NewsJoanne Eisemann

Feburary 2019 | Sharon Webb

THE TASMANIAN Government has confirmed it is still examining location options for a new northern prison. A government spokesperson said locations are currently being assessed and the government would have “more to say on this in due course”.

It is believed the list includes the Ashley Youth Detention Centre site just outside Deloraine. Expressions of interest opened in September for potential sites for a northern prison, with Meander Valley Council supporting use of the Ashley site. A recent spat between the State’s major parties saw the Liberals accusing Labor of planning to close Ashley.

But the Shadow Minister for Corrections Josh Willie MLC said Labor would not close Ashley. “While the data continues to show young people are assaulting staff and causing self harm at Ashley, all Roger Jaensch can do is attack Labor,” he said. “It is time for Tasmania to have a conversation about its approach to youth detention. It takes a huge proportion of the youth justice budget and there needs to be more of a focus on therapeutic and restorative justice.”

The government responded saying significant work has already been achieved via the Ashley Youth Detention Change Management Program move to a more therapeutic model of care. Mr Willie quoted this week’s Productivity Commission report on government services recording 19 assaults and five self-harm or suicide attempts at Ashley in 2017-2018, little improvement on 16 and nine respectively in 2016-2017.

The report also reveals a cost of more than $3,000 a day for each person kept in youth detention in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government allocated $7.2m in its 2018 budget to refurbish the Ashley Youth Detention Centre, saying the decision will protect 60 jobs in the Deloraine area. But those job numbers look to decrease because the detention of young Tasmanians is decreasing dramatically.

According to the government’s Custodial Youth Justice Options Paper by Noetic Solutions Pty Ltd, between 2008-2009 and 2014- 2015 the total number of youth offenders in Tasmania declined by 47 per cent. While Ashley currently has a 51 bed capacity, in the 2018 June quarter, 13 young Tasmanians were in detention per night according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures. Noetic predicts that by 2020 only six young people will be in detention.

sharon.webb@meandervalleygazette.com

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Call for donations of necessities

NewsJoanne Eisemann

February 2019

DONATIONS FOR families affected by the current fire situation in Tasmania will be accepted at all Roberts Rural Supply Stores, Roberts Real Estate Offices (non bulky items only) and TP Jones Stores across the state.

Examples of what to donate; non-perishable food goods, clothing, toiletries & personal hygiene products, Manchester, bedding, towels, childrens toys, fencing products, stock feed.

Cash donations can be made via Rural Alive and Well. Go to https://www.givenow.com.au/raw Alternatively, there are RAW cash donation boxes in Roberts and TP Jones stores.

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Friends around the world

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Deloraine Rotary is planning to provide residential vocational training for young people in Nepal.

Deloraine Rotary is planning to provide residential vocational training for young people in Nepal.

DELORAINE ROTARY has recently received a Department of Foreign Affairs National Friendship Grant of $60 000 towards their RAWCS trade training centre project in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu. Aiming to encourage participation in Australia’s aid program, one grant was given to Deloraine Rotary because of their effective international projects to build sustainability in neighbouring countries in need. In Nepal for four years the club is involved in building schools, supplying water and sanitation in schools and villages and conducting eye screening and surgery in remote villages.

Over the past 2 years, with the Rotary Club of Bhadgaon, Deloraine Rotary has been helping young people attend school. In particular, helping young girls by providing personal hygiene kits made by Days for Girls. The grant project is the construction of a centre to provide residential vocational youth training for disadvantaged rural boys and girls, preparing them for employment and small enterprises. Some will be special needs students, very disadvantaged and at risk of homelessness. Short intensive courses will cover trades, hospitality, sewing and light manufacturing. Currently, thousands of young people in remote areas of Nepal have no access to education or vocational training. Girls are also discriminated against and find it hard to attend any form of school.

The donation of land in Kathmandu by a local businessman has enabled Deloraine, supported by other Australian Rotary clubs, to proceed with the project. The construction will include training rooms, a residential floor for 40 students, community room and conference training facility to generate operating income for the centre. The build will take 12 to 18 months, with the first pilot training course to start late in 2019.

Tasmanian Rotary Clubs have a strong commitment to building international relationships, reducing poverty and improving lives, particularly aiming to help young people at risk of child marriage, slavery, trafficking, sex trade, homelessness, exploitation, violence, starvation and deprivation.

Project manager Dr Lois Beckwith will be promoting the project in Tasmania to gain more financial support. $150,000 is needed to get the first stage completed. Fundraisers will be held across Tasmania to help make the centre fully operational. Information: contact Lois Beckwith, 6369 5393, loisbeckwith@bigpond. com or Maree Matanle on 0402 692 066. Alternatively, you can email maree.matanle@gmail.com

Fields of fire

NewsJoanne Eisemann

A grass fire adjacent to Meander Valley Rd Deloraine received prompt attention when 2 tankers and 3 helicopter water bombers were called in to extinguish a fire threatening newly baled hay.

Photo | Mike Moores

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Deloraine Police Station to remain open

NewsJoanne Eisemann

THE STATE Government has confirmed that the Deloraine Police Station is to remain open.

A police media spokesperson said that Deloraine station is in addition to a new $5 million police station planned for Longford.

The Longford station was announced in the 2018 ˜State Budget with funding allocated for this financial year.

Deloraine Police Station

Deloraine Police Station

Camping in Meander Valley

NewsJoanne Eisemann

MEANDER VALLEY Council will submit a planning application to provide camping at Westbury recreation ground.

Moving the motion, Cllr John Temple said he had initiated the move following the council’s March closure of three free campgrounds on council land.

“This is simply a planning application to see if we can use the Westbury location for that purpose,” he said.

“The loss of the three campgrounds has meant a loss of business and vibrancy.”

Cllr Susie Bower said that during her recent election campaign, the campground closures had been one of the biggest issues.

“The campers bring a lot of business and currently those people are driving through the town and not spending money,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Michael Kelly said the community misses the campers and wants them back: “We are obliged to get them back.”

Council manager Martin Gill closed down free campgrounds in Westbury, Bracknell and Deloraine last year, saying he had no choice because they did not have the appropriate planning approvals.

“Because no permits were in place council had to stop the activity,” he said.

In addition, some neighbouring residents were fed up with campers’ poor behaviour: noise, camp fires, public urination and public safety issues.

But others are frustrated and angry about the closures as local businesses, many of them on tight margins, have lost camping customers.

However, it is also against the Federal Government’s national competition principals for local government to offer free camping in competition with local businesses.

A State Government inquiry into the impact of camping on local council land on national competition principles has dragged on for months.

Mr Gill said in December he anticipated a government statement on the issue in the new year.

Photo | Mike Moores

Campers could be on a good wicket in Westbury.

Campers could be on a good wicket in Westbury.

Internet-savvy Millennials lax on cyber security

NewsJoanne Eisemann

EACH YEAR the number of Australians impacted by cyber criminals continues to rise. In 2017, over 6 million adult Australians were impacted by cybercrime and 46 per cent of Millennials fell prey to cybercrime, putting them in the lead as the most common group to be targeted.

A Norton by Symantec report revealed 37 per cent of Millennials admitted to having at least one device without any protective measures and were the group most likely to share their password. This is in significant contrast to Gen X users, where only a quarter had shared the passwords to their smartphones and laptops.

The good news is password hygiene is as easy as 1,2,3: 1. Create strong passphrases. 2. Use a different password across all of your accounts; and 3. Don’t share your password with anyone!

In 2017, over 6 million Australians were impacted by cybercrime.

In 2017, over 6 million Australians were impacted by cybercrime.

Council rejects Blackstone Telstra tower

NewsJoanne Eisemann

January 2019 | Sharon Webb

BLACKSTONE HEIGHTS residents were triumphant when Meander Valley Council rejected Telstra’s 25m proposed mobile phone tower but the decision means ratepayers could be landed with up to $10,000 in legal fees.

At the December council meeting, Cllr Andrew Connor warned councillors that should Telstra appeal the decision in Tasmania’s Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal, the legal bill would drop in the council’s lap.

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

A Telstra spokesperson said the company was still considering whether to appeal the decision.

In a tense December meeting packed with objectors to the Zenith Court tower, councillors heard from residents who believe their property values will be negatively impacted, fear possible health effects from tower emissions (said to be unproven) and fear the effects on nesting eagles in the area.

More than 357 residents formally objected to the tower: 357 through a petition to the council and 30 more through letters of objection.

Petition signers were not just from Zenith Court and Blackstone Rd but from Canopus Drive, Bayview Drive, Glover Avenue, Panorama Rd and Longvista Rd and as far afield as Hadspen, Westbury, Rosevale, Hagley and Bracknell.

At the meeting Blackstone resident Steven McGhee offered to pay half the legal fees should Meander Valley Council be forced to fight a Telstra appeal in the RMPAT.

He also said the council had made no effort to investigate whether the tower was avoidable.

“Only 20 people will benefit from the tower, and near the West Tamar tower house prices have dropped.

“There has been no full and frank discussion from Telstra.”

But Telstra senior project specialist Katie Hill told the meeting Telstra had been contracted by the Federal Government to create optimum coverage for black spot areas.

“There were four other candidates for the tower but we found this site has optimum benefit for 3G Plus,” she said. “There will be a benefit for new residential areas coming through and new businesses.

“We heard the community angst in the [September] community information session and we’ve tried to be as transparent as possible.”

Clinton Northey from telecommunications provider Visionstream told councillors that from a planning perspective the Zenith Ct location belonging to Taswater was a utility zone needing no tree clearing.

“We feel the tower is not in anyone’s direct line of vision,” he said.

Other councillor comments included:

Cllr Susie Bower: “I find it difficult to believe a report could not be generated to show how many Telstra customers would benefit from this. More than 180 people expected to benefit do not want the tower.”

Cllr Michael Kelly: The tower will decrease the value of properties; I have to consider that.”

Cllr Frank Nott: “I have concerns about the tower’s height and the single 10-year lease is deceptive – a smokescreen. We need to take heed of the petitioners and letter writers, particularly those with young families. I am supporting the interests of the residents.”

Cllr Connor: “Put your hand up if your don’t have a mobile phone – very few. Councillors should use their heads not their hearts on this issue.”

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400 personalised poppies

NewsJoanne Eisemann

RESIDENTS OF Kanangra Faye Woods and Bessie Westwood put the finishing touches to the ‘Poppy Banner’ they’ve been making during several months worth of their craft days.

A true labor of love, the Banner contains over 400 crocheted Red Poppies, each complete with a name tag, duplicating all the names of the World War 1 service personnel listed on the Deloraine Cenotaph.

The banner has been formally handed over to the Deloraine RSL Sub-Branch for safe keeping and display, and may currently be viewed at St Marks Church in Deloraine.

Sub-Branch President, Mr Peter Ashton DCM, stated “What a very thoughtful and practical way of saying, We will remember them” and thanked all the ladies involved in the banner’s making: Faye Woods, Bessie Westwood, Joan Scott, Phyllis Cubit, Daphne Cole and Rita Whiteley.

L-R Faye Woods and Bessie Westwood put the finishing touches on the impressive poppy banner. Photo by Mike Moores

L-R Faye Woods and Bessie Westwood put the finishing touches on the impressive poppy banner. Photo by Mike Moores