Meander Valley Gazette

Your Independent Community Newspaper


Extinction Rebellion in the Meander Valley

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Meander Valley XR at the Extinction Rebellion ‘Die-In’, Launceston Town Hall.  Photo supplied

Meander Valley XR at the Extinction Rebellion ‘Die-In’, Launceston Town Hall.

Photo supplied

REPRESENTATIVES FROM the Meander Valley recently took part in an Extinction Rebellion ‘Die-In’ at Launceston Town Hall.

As reported in the Examiner on Friday 12 July, Extinction Rebellion Northern Tasmania (XR) held a peaceful protest in Civic Square outside Launceston Council Chambers.

XR’s Declaration of Rebellion, delivered to Mayor Van Zetten and councillors, states: ‘Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history. One which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: this nation, its peoples, our ecosystems and the future of generations to come.’

A number of Meander Valley residents car-pooled into Launceston to support this protest and are in the process of establishing a local XR affinity group.

The United Nations gives the planet 10 years, so what can you do? XR Meander Valley is looking for members to be a part of the global movement.

Find information online at Extinction Rebellion Northern Tasmania can also be found on Facebook.

To make contact with a local, try Graeme at All are welcome.

Woolworths with a heart

NewsJoanne Eisemann

MEANDER VALLEY residents now have access to a defibrillator in Woolworths Deloraine to assist in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.

The Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was installed in Woolworths Deloraine on 21 June is part of a priority roll out program at Woolworths that ensures rural and regional communities, or areas where it may be hard to access a medical site get first access to the roll out.

The AED is designed to be used by anyone, with clear Woolworths with a heart step-by-step voice instructions that can guide members of the public through the process.

Woolworths Deloraine Store Manager, Steve Coppleman said, ‘You never know when a sudden cardiac arrest might strike and in the unfortunate event that it does, having the local community able to access this treatment, could help to save lives.

‘The best medical advice tells us that access to an AED early on can greatly increase the chance of survival.’

An estimated 20 000 Australians suffer a cardiac arrest outside a hospital every year. The survival rate if you have a cardiac arrest outside of hospital is approximately 10%.

Burning down the house!

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Smouldering ash ignited a blaze between two houses in Beefeater Street on Friday 14 but Deloraine Fire Brigade was quick to respond.  Photo Mike Moores

Smouldering ash ignited a blaze between two houses in Beefeater Street on Friday 14 but Deloraine Fire Brigade was quick to respond.

Photo Mike Moores

LUCKILY IT was Friday the 14th and not the 13th when Bruce McNicol and Lisa Bartholomew received the news that their woodshed caught fire while they were away down south.

Vigilant neighbours and a quick response from the Deloraine Fire Brigade meant that the fire was quickly under control with no one hurt and only some damage to two properties in Beefeater Street.

The next morning, after a brief flare up, investigation into the cause of the fire found that ash from a fire had reignited, despite being left outside in the cold and damp.

Bruce explained that despite always carefully disposing of ash, in this instance the ash had been mistakenly put on top of older, damp boxes of ash.

The ash had started to smoulder, the boxes caught fire and spread to kindling and other flammable material in the wood shed, then to the fence and the next door property.

Deloraine Fire Brigade had responded immediately, thanks to numerous call-ins by neighbours.

Daniel Watson from the brigade noted that the fire truck was already being prepped for a joint training night and the fire was only a short distance away.

Bruce and his partner Lisa Bartholomew were lucky to only lose a woodshed and part of the adjoining fence, although the fire did burn most of the ivy off the brick walls of their house.

The property next door suffered damage to the back corner of the main weatherboard building, with damage and charring extending up to the rafters on their lean-to.

Bruce and Daniel both stressed that careful disposal of ash from fire places, stoves, fire pits or bonfires is of paramount importance on any property.

Even in the middle of a cold and wet winter, ash will retain its heat and can re-ignite if it is in contact with other combustible material.

Ashes can smoulder for days, so should be stored well away from any flammable material. Placing a metal container with a lid and pouring on water will help to douse any embers.

Cold moist ash can be added to your compost or placed in the garbage if necessary, but be very careful – wheelie bins catch fire!

And if you are planning to go away, check that any ashes are well and truly cold before you go. This might just save your property or your neighbour’s lives.

Thinking globally, protesting locally

Community, NewsJoanne Eisemann
Student climate action protest on polling day, in Deloraine.  Photo by Mike Moores

Student climate action protest on polling day, in Deloraine.

Photo by Mike Moores

IF YOU have seen Adani protesters in Deloraine over the past few weeks, you may have wondered why Tasmanians are bothered by a proposed coal mine in Queensland.

You may also have seen this small group of concerned young locals, protesting on the Saturday of the Federal election. Too young to vote, but old enough to be concerned about how their elected representatives are going to manage their future.

Recreation re-creation for Westbury

Community, Sport, NewsJoanne Eisemann
Westbury Recreation Ground development.  Supplied by MVC

Westbury Recreation Ground development.

Supplied by MVC

By David Claridge

WESTBURY RECREATION Ground is a-buzz with activity since work started in April with parts of stage one being ticked off.

A 100-seat capacity function space is coming together as stage one with more works planned to be completed by July.

Following that, there will be new lighting installed, change room facilities, space for umpires, a medical room, eight showers and equipment storage space amongst many other upgrades.

The Meander Valley Council distributed a media release to explain that the upgrades have begun and are currently going to plan.

‘The development is being undertaken in two stages so that the existing clubrooms remain operational for as long as possible,’ Mayor Wayne Johnston said.

The Meander Valley Football Club has announced on their Facebook page their excitement for the $440,000 upgrade from the State Government’s Levelling the Playing Field Grant Program.

The upgrades to the ground and clubrooms will help them to a standard that will support the growing female participation at the club.

Closures on Emu Bay Road

Business, NewsJoanne Eisemann

By Hayley Manning

THE ANZ, a well established bank on Deloraine’s bustling Emu Bay Road has closed and a popular retail shop is set to follow suit.

The Reject Shop will close its doors on 5th July 2019. A spokesperson from the Reject Shop Head Office (Vic) issued the following brief statement. ‘After taking lots of factors into consideration we have decided to close the store. Staff will be redeployed to other stores.’

ANZ Deloraine branch closed at short notice on 24th April, after many decades of service.

Guy Barnett, MP, has gathered a petition to be tabled in the House of Assembly, aiming to draw attention to the effect the sudden closure has had on residents and small businesses throughout the Meander Valley.

ANZ General Manager (Vic/Tas), Michael Wake, said ANZ is disappointed that leasing circumstances beyond their control led to the Deloraine branch closure.

‘We were recently notified of changes to our leasing arrangement and have now reached an impasse which will see us discontinue our lease. We are working with customers and staff to ensure we can make this difficult transition as smooth as possible,’ Mr Wake said.

Online banking saves a bank the most money per transaction, followed by use of an ATM. Face to face customer service within a branch is the most expensive transaction for a bank.

In 2017, the four major banks spent a combined 4.2 billion dollars on online and mobile banking technology; giving an insight into the future direction of banking.

Mr Wake acknowledged the inconvenience rural branch closure would cause to a rural community.

‘We understand our regional customers are often adversely affected by branch closures and we apologise for the inconvenience we know this will cause some of our customers,’ he said.

Mending the rift

NewsJoanne Eisemann

THE TASMANIAN Catholic Diocese has removed Father Nicholas Rynne from his position at the Deloraine and Westbury churches after an outcry from parishioners.

But after an incident on his final Saturday in the job, police have charged three parishioners with common assault.

Tasmania Police say they were called to attend a minor disturbance at Deloraine’s Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 6:50pm on 30th March.

Father Rynne and a 77-year-old Deloraine woman were allegedly pushed and grabbed by three other people during a minor altercation. No one was injured.

A 76-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man, both from Elizabeth Town, were charged with common assault via summons and will appear in the Launceston Magistrates Court.

The Catholic Diocese has confirmed Father Rynne has ceased work in the Meander Valley parish and is on leave.

It was also confirmed that the Dean of the North, Father Mark Freeman, has agreed to act as a moderator of the parish for the immediate future.

Provision of masses for the community in the coming weeks has been arranged

Telstra tower approval at Blackstone Heights

NewsJoanne Eisemann

By David Claridge

THERE HAS been a development with the process of a Telstra tower being built in Zenith Court, Blackstone

Heights. Since the Meander Valley Council rejected the proposal by Telstra it has been appealed and is now before the Resource Management and Appeals Tribunal.

In a media release from the Meander Valley Council, the council held a meeting and decided to support the approval of the tower being built.

Mayor of Meander Valley, Wayne Johnston spoke for the council to explain their decision change was due to new information coming available during the appeals process.

‘Council have decided not to be a part of the appeals process anymore, as a planning authority we can’t contest it.

‘The new information which we had been waiting for from Telstra since the beginning was about the community benefit of having the tower in Blackstone, now it has been produced our hands are tied.’

‘We all live in our own towns, the petition and the arguments of the neighbouring land owners were all relevant, but when we act as a planning authority you are not supposed to take certain things into account which is hard when you are trying to act on the good of everyone.’

The council stated that it was a ‘difficult decision’ and that some residents will be ‘extremely disappointed’.

Many residents have disapproved of the tower’s proposed location due its proximity to houses, possible health issues, affecting future sale prices and being an eye sore.

Council’s initial rejection was based on strong community feedback and lack of due diligence on Telstra’s part.

Church moves to mend parish rift

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Father Nicholas Rynne has replaced Father Richard Ross as the new Meander Valley priest, causing friction only six weeks after his arrival.   Photo | Sharon Webb

Father Nicholas Rynne has replaced Father Richard Ross as the new Meander Valley priest, causing friction only six weeks after his arrival.

Photo | Sharon Webb

April 2019 | Sharon Webb

ONLY SIX weeks into his job, Tasmania’s Catholic Archdiocese has moved to mend a rift in the Meander Valley parish. According to some parishioners, Nicholas Rynne has already sacked the local board of the Westbury and Deloraine congregations and decreed that mass will be in Latin at Westbury.

One lifetime Catholic said, “People’s attitude is that he has taken our church and parish from us,” describing how Father Rynne had replaced the board with people who support his traditionalist views. The parishioner said congregations halved to about 30 people after the dispute. Two parish chairs and two sacristans (who prepare the church for mass) have also left. In late March, the archdiocese sent retired Melbourne bishop Peter Elliott to attempt to reconcile the antagonists.

Staying five days, appointments with him were booked out by distressed parishioners, well before he arrived. A spokesperson for the Hobart Archdiocese said Archbishop Julian Porteus was “aware of tension within the parish” since Father Rynne’s appointment. “Archbishop Porteous has instigated a process to clarify the situation. His primary responsibility in this situation is to ensure the pastoral care of all concerned in the Meander Valley Parish.” Father Rynne, aged 38, said he had been instructed by the archdiocese not to make media comment. Preferring to wear the very traditional soutane or cassock, Father Rynne has worked in several Sydney parishes and is now seconded to Meander Valley for a year.

One parishioner said that of 62 people attended a meeting on 3rd March to discuss the conflict, only one supported the changes. A second meeting on 17th March attracted 40 people at short notice. “The new priest is an ultra-conservative and most of the parish does not want to follow his line,” another parishioner said. “There is a lot of unrest; people say their health is being impacted by his changes. “For 50 years we were encouraged to participate in our parish but the laity is irrelevant in the church he is trying to impose on us.

And he is supported by Archbishop Julian Porteus.” Another parishioner branded Father Rynne’s actions divisive: “We seem to have gone back a few generations. The well-being of the community is at risk and it’s sad to see how upset everyone is.” Father Rynne was ordained a deacon in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 2012. He served at Pope Francis’ first Pontifical Mass in March 2013, the year he was ordained a priest in front of Cardinal George Pell at St Mary’s Cathedral. Using the 1570 Latin version, he celebrated his first mass that same afternoon.

Putting on a great Show

NewsJoanne Eisemann

LARGELY OUT of sight of the majority of residents, the Westbury Showgrounds can be found at the northern end of Westbury. The Showgrounds are under the ownership of the Westbury Agricultural Society Inc. – a volunteer committee dedicated to running the very successful Westbury Show (now in its 156th year) as well as providing a venue for many other events.

The Showgrounds are home to horse shows, dog shows, horse training, dog training and are a venue for various community group fundraisers. Five local community groups are also provided with storage facilities for their equipment.

As with all committees, W.A.S.I. is always looking for new people to join and bring fresh ideas. In particular, they are now looking for a new secretary, as the current secretary is looking to step down after five years of excellent administration.

With many new people moving to Westbury, the committee hopes to make them aware of W.A.S.I. and the benefit it is to the community. “It is a great feeling seeing the many smiling faces at the show, or a hundred horses using the arena, or hundreds of well-groomed dogs strut - ting around the dog arena, knowing you are part of the organisation of these events.”

If anyone would be inter - ested in joining the W.A.S.I. committee, please contact President Kevin Lattin on 0417 104 520, or Secretary Shan - non Barwick on 0438 636 149. They would be very pleased to hear from you.

World’s greatest shave!

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Outside the Empire Hotel for the 21st World’s Greatest Shave, hairdresser Liz Walker wields her clippers on Mole Creek cave guide Angela Enright.   Photo | Hayley Manning

Outside the Empire Hotel for the 21st World’s Greatest Shave, hairdresser Liz Walker wields her clippers on Mole Creek cave guide Angela Enright.

Photo | Hayley Manning

April 2019 | Hayley Manning

ONLOOKERS DECLARE without a doubt that four fearless people had a close shave outside the Empire Hotel on the 22nd March. Friends, family and supporters all gathered around to spur on hairdresser Liz Walker, as she took to the three sponsored entrants and one passerby with her clippers.

The head-shaving event was for the Leukemia Foundation’s 21st World’s Greatest Shave campaign. Kim Lord, maintenance at Deloraine Primary School, was motivated by his own current cancer treatment to do the shave. “My hair was going to come out anyway!” Kim said. “I was walking down the street two days ago, when I saw a Greatest Shave sign and then decided to do it. It is the best thing I have done.” Kim has raised around $1,200, thanks largely to the staff at the School and Timber World.

Mole Creek cave guides Angela Enright and Shannon McMonagle were next in the chair. Angela credits Shannon for getting her involved in the campaign, which she decided to do because her dad suffered a blood condition and she had lost a good friend to leukemia.

“The aim of the annual campaign is to raise money for blood cancer research, so every little bit we do helps,” Angela said.

Shannon and Angela raised $1,300, not including donations on the night. All participants gave a heartfelt thank you to Liz, the Empire Hotel, and all their sponsors and supporters.

Happiness is a smashed avocado

NewsJoanne Eisemann

THIS MONTH, as part of their youth employment campaign, the Brotherhood of St Laurence has published a report ‘Smashing the avocado debate’, that looks at Australia’s youth unemployment hotspots. As at December 2018, the national youth unemployment rate is 11.2%, more than double the overall Australian unemployment rate of 5%.

Young people lacking in experience, training opportunities or higher educational qualifications are at significant risk of being left out of the work force altogether. Despite 28 years of continuous economic growth, youth hotspots across the country have unemployment figures ranging from 14.3% to 25.7%, with significantly more unemployment in regional than urban areas.

Three of the top 20 hotspots are in Tasmania — South East (17.8%), Hobart (16.9 %) and West and North East, including Meander Valley, (15.0%). The statistics quoted in the report are taken from the Department of Jobs and Small Business Labour Market Information Portal. But the ABS definition of unemployment is quite narrow.

Falling outside the narrow terms of reference, another group of people, who are not working and want to work are classed as ‘marginally attached’ to the work force. The report stresses that successful solutions to unemployment need strong local networks. The Brotherhood and other not-for-profits are working to develop innovative regional approaches to job creation for young people.

The last steam traction engine finds a new home

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Engine No 87964, out in the weather at Entally, hiding behind other farm machinery.  Photo supplied

Engine No 87964, out in the weather at Entally, hiding behind other farm machinery.

Photo supplied

April 2019

THE LAST steam traction engine manufactured by British company Marshall, Sons and Co. has been at Entally House since the early 1980s. With no buildings large enough to house it, Engine No 87964 has spent many years out in the weather and is in need of major conservation.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society have finalised an agreement for the long-term loan of the Marshall engine to RCSHS, ensuring that this significant piece of industrial heritage will be preserved and will remain in Tasmania.

With no direct links to Entally, it will now be housed at Sheffield Steam and Heritage Centre alongside other historic engines. “A conservation plan will be prepared and over time, works will be carried out with the intention of eventually returning it to an operational state,” PWS General Manager Jason Jacobi said.

Made for the Tasmanian Public Works Department in 1937, Engine No 87964 crushed rocks for road works in the state’s north until 1957 when all use of steam ceased in PWD quarries.

Mole Creek ratepayers reject rubbish collection proposal

NewsJoanne Eisemann

April 2019 | Sharon Webb

AROUND 50 pensioners and retirees attending a Mole Creek public meeting in March were hostile to Meander Valley Council’s proposed new rubbish and recyclables collection for rural areas. Mole Creek pensioner Keith Cole stated the majority view: he does not want to pay more for the privilege of having his rubbish collected. “In Queensland I paid $4,000 a year in rates,” he said.

“I came here to get away from that. Here I pay $400.” Another woman who lives on a rural road just outside Mole Creek said: “It doesn’t fit, I don’t want to pay for something I don’t need or want and haven’t asked for.” But a vote showed eight people attending would like the service.

Peter Sykes who lives in the town centre said he’d like the convenience of the rubbish collection because it’s a problem for him to go to the tip. Robyn Grace and Ellen Scott also supported the proposal. The public meeting was arranged by Mole Creek Ratepayers Association president Trudy Richards and addressed by council director of infrastructure, Dino De Paoli, who gave a run-down of current operations. Mr De Paoli explained that councillors had suggested the collection to give equity to rural residents and cut illegal rubbish dumping.

He said of 400 ratepayer responses to the collection proposal, 330 had been against it and only 60 in favour. Of 272 Mole Creek ratepayers, 50 (18 per cent) had voiced their response: 43 against it and seven in favour. Council’s general manager Martin Gill wrote to “rural households in accessible areas”, telling them the proposed service would begin July to September 2019. It would cost an extra $206 a year. Meeting attendees voiced their suspicions about the letter from the council.

Mr De Paoli replied that a decision needed to be made soon for budget reasons.

Hagley RV homestay conditional approval

NewsJoanne Eisemann

April 2019 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY councillors have placed a condition on an application for a caravan park in Hagley to protect intrusion on a young family living across the road. Annette and Stephen Camino, who own a farming property at 62 Meander Valley Rd in Hagley applied for a permit to establish an RV homestay for 20 self-contained recreational vehicles.

It will operate seasonally at $10 a night for each RV and no facilities other than van space and a 3m high sign. The Caminos envisage setup to cost them $500–10,000.. Council officers had recommended the permit be approved but after councillors heard objections from Shaun and Danika Leatherbarrow they amended the permit. The amendment ensures RV locations directly opposite the Leatherbarrow residence will be filled only after all other spots had been filled. Mr Leatherbarrow told council at the March meeting that he and his wife were distressed by the proposed land use and its location.

“We stand to lose quite a considerable amount if this venture is to go ahead as planned. “The current plan has a caravan park directly opposite our house, with campers to be located no more than 30 meters from our toddler’s bedroom. Not only does this propose noise issues but also privacy and the risk of strangers almost on our doorstep on a regular basis.

“Whilst the caravans are planned to be behind a row of trees, to state that 20 RVs parked alongside of the road would not adversely impact the current charm of our little village is misguided. “I would never have bought this property if it was located opposite what is being proposed. We love this area, but have talked about selling up if our dream of a beautiful quiet home in the country is ruined.”

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

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:; writing to Meander Valley Council PO Box 102 Westbury; or phoning 6393 5300.


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.”