Meander Valley Gazette

Your Independent Community Newspaper

Meander Valley Council

Innovative plan for church villas

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

A PLAN to build villas on Anglican church land in Deloraine is almost a certainty after the planning application was passed by Meander Valley Council.

Funds raised by the sale and rental of the eight villas to be built adjacent to St Mark’s Church on East Westbury Place in Deloraine will cover the church’s funding obligation to the National Redress Scheme for children sexually abused in institutions.

The plan is the result of an innovative collusion between St Mark’s parish council and Traders in Purple, the company behind Ridgeside Lane in Evandale and Kingston Park in Kingston.

Traders in Purple, along with Rytenskild Traffic Engineering, MRC Engineering, Lange Design, Michael Jirku Architecture, PDA Surveyors, are working pro bono to deliver the project.

St Mark’s minister, Reverend Joshua Skeat, said the parish council and his congregation are encouraged by the council approval of the application and excited by the prospect of the project becoming reality.

Council received only one representation from a nearby resident, confirming that a comment on the safety of the entrance to the complex was valid and therefore instructing that the proposed entry and exit locations be swapped.

The land for the villas, historically known as The Saleyards, and St Saviour’s Church in Meander originally had been listed for sale by Tasmania’s Anglican Diocese to cover the parish’s obligation.

The parish council paid the redress money out of parish funds to have time to make considered decisions about the land and St Saviours.

They decided to develop the Saleyards land and to consult the Meander community on the future of St Saviours Church. It is expected that work will begin early next year, to complete in November 2020.

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.

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

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.

Raising the flag on NAIDOC Week

FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Cold and rainy weather for Deloraine did not put off attendees from celebrating at this year’s NAIDOC Week ceremony. Deloraine Elder Hank Horton holds baby Layken West while helping to raise the flag .  Photo by Mike Moores

Cold and rainy weather for Deloraine did not put off attendees from celebrating at this year’s NAIDOC Week ceremony. Deloraine Elder Hank Horton holds baby Layken West while helping to raise the flag .

Photo by Mike Moores

Celebration of NAIDOC Week

By Hayley Manning

NAIDOC WEEK celebrations at Deloraine still drew impressive numbers despite the challenging conditions on the day.

The National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee theme for 2019 was based on reforms in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart, that acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.

Voice. Treaty. Truth. ‘Let’s work together for a shared future.’

This delivered a powerful message and created impact in the national media during the 7–14 July NAIDOC Week.

However, the overarching message to emerge from the intense week of discussions was the importance of community. Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt spoke of ‘community pathways’ that allowed each community to have a voice.

Organising the Deloraine event for the first time, Melinda Scott said NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to engage in, and therefore protect, ancient cultural rituals by teaching the next generation while educating the wider community about the achievements and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Melinda planned traditional activities throughout the day, starting with a Welcome to Country, spoken in palawa kani, with poise by Laura Tatnell, which was apt as this is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The indigenous voice of Australia is over 65 000 years old, but Melinda says many stopped using their language when they were relocated.

‘They were ‘rewired’ – they became indecisive. If you lose your voice, you lose everything you have ever stood for. Without the Elders and their knowledge and their voice, we wouldn’t be where we are today, or as knowledgeable as we are.’

Several guest speakers also focused on strong community ties. Founder of the Kooparoona Niara Cultural Trail (Great Western Tiers Mountain of Spirits), Greg Murray, initiated the NAIDOC Week for Deloraine five years ago. ‘The local community has been very positive and supportive right from the start, with respect for our Elders, respect for our culture. It is about everyone being culturally connected.’

Meander Valley Mayor Wayne Johnston’s address also captured the community spirit. ‘In times past we may have been marching, but today it is a walk and the steps we take, we take together.’

Melinda would like to thank Jill Harvey for cooking and catering, the Deloraine Trade Centre trainees, Meander Valley Council and everyone who attended on the day

Piecing things together

Arts & Artisans, Arts, CommunityJoanne Eisemann
MVU3A member Susanne Puccetti works some of her mosaic magic on an old skateboard.  Photo by Mike Moores

MVU3A member Susanne Puccetti works some of her mosaic magic on an old skateboard.

Photo by Mike Moores

ON A cold and rainy Thursday, a group of dedicated artists meets in the Deloraine Baptist Church Hall to explore creativity through mosaic.

The Meander Valley is wellknown for the numerous talented groups and individuals who practice their art or craft regardless of the seasons.

U3A is one of the many organisations that bring people together for a variety of pursuits. The mosaic classes, overseen by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Linda Ireland, is just one of these gatherings.

Class members learn basic skills and develop a familiarity with materials, recipes and techniques, ensuring that pieces will be made to last, indoors or outside in the elements.

Once the artists are comfortable with their medium, creativity can be let fly.

Mosaic can be created on many different surfaces or objects. Linda commented that with the weight of the mosaic on the outside, it is always a good idea to minimise the weight underneath!

Scouring charity shops for china and ceramics is a regular activity. Discarded items can be brought back to life with mosaic. An old bowling ball, an old skateboard or just a wood panel – each artist has their own vision.

Working in a group allows artists to provide commentary and advice, watching and learning by example, building relationships as well as art. Regular meetings provide impetus for creativity as well as an excuse to leave the house.

An exhibition of the group’s mosaics, themed ‘Personality Plus’ is currently on display in Westbury.

In Linda’s words, ‘It is very rare, especially in our area, to have an exhibition dedicated solely to the art of mosaic.

A group of MVU3A mosaic artists jumped at the chance to showcase some of their artwork when Patrick Gambles, the Community Development Officer for the Meander Valley Council, offered the use of the reception area at the council building.

‘The nine represented artists clearly demonstrate their wonderful differences in imagination, and very individual approaches to the construction of each of their items. The possibilities appear endless. It is worth taking the time to view this small, but exciting, glimpse into the world of mosaic art.

’ The exhibition is on display from 1 July to 30 August, and can be viewed between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, MVC reception foyer, Lyall Street, Westbury.

Council in brief

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

Dunorlan blackberry farm to expand

Costa Exchange Pty Ltd will invest $1.7m to expand blackberry production at 172 Bengeo Rd Dunorlan following council approval to increase the number of poly tunnels within 50m of the boundary.

Property manager Rohan Kite said the move would complete the first stage of a three-stage development.

‘We currently pay $3.7m in wages and salaries annually,’ he said.

No to axing Prospect trees

Meander Valley Council has refused permission to cut down all street trees in Cheltenham Way, Prospect Vale but will organise extra street cleaning in autumn.

A petition signed by 43 people asked for the trees to be cut down because falling leaves create a mess.

Councillor Susie Bower said the trees add value to the area, ‘whether the residents believe it or not’, Cllr Frank Nott said he would hate to see the trees removed.

House blocks for Westbury A 13 lot residential sub-division has been approved for land fronting William and Franklin Sts, Westbury.

Meander Valley Council approved sub-division of the 2.3 hectare block despite railway noise and minor flooding concerns.

New cafe in Mole Creek

A plan to convert the front of a house at 20 Pioneer Drive Mole Creek to a cafe has been approved by Meander Valley Council.

The business proposed by property owner Petra Mansfield, will be an 18-seat cafe with indoor and outdoor seating serving croissants, baguettes and light lunches.

Steady development in the Meander Valley

BusinessJoanne Eisemann

By Wai Lin Coultas

EVER WONDERED how building and development is getting on in the valley? Some research into Meander Valley Council building approvals from 2017 to April this year, shows there is a steady rate of approved building works.

As of April, MVC issued a total of 71 building approvals, comprising 37 building permits and 34 notifiable building works, of which 17 were for urban and 54 for regional development.

This compares favourably with the first four months of 2017 and 2018 – a total of 64 and 78 building approvals issued respectively.

In total, there were 244 building approvals in 2017 and 235 in 2018, so similar numbers could be anticipated this year.

Building permits so far this year were valued at $10,315,018. Most were for new dwellings, units, additions and alterations to existing dwellings. Only four were for commercial buildings.

Of the 132 building permits issued in 2018, 49 were for urban and 83 for regional works, valued at $46,945,782 in total. The permits were for 52 new dwellings, 21 units, 23 additions and alterations, 3 farm buildings, 3 offices/ factories, 12 commercial buildings and 17 outbuildings.

For 2017, a total of 145 building permits were issued, for 53 urban and 92 regional works, valued at $30,297,701. This was for 44 new dwellings, 30 units, 23 additions and alterations, 3 farm buildings, 6 commercial buildings and 30 outbuildings.

Of course, building development is only one element of local prosperity, but by this standard, it would seem that the Meander Valley is on the right track.

At your service

Community, EventsJoanne Eisemann
Tristan Webb and Shane Dale (right) from Deloraine Trade Training Centre.  Photo by Hayley Manning

Tristan Webb and Shane Dale (right) from Deloraine Trade Training Centre.

Photo by Hayley Manning

By Hayley Manning


The Rotary slogan captured the collective sentiment of the volunteers who attended the National Volunteer Morning Tea on 23 May at Deloraine House.

The occasion was officially opened by Mayor Wayne Johnston and OAM recipient, Merrilyn Young, who said the community needed more young volunteers. ‘It is not all hard work. You make friendships for life, while helping others,’ she said.

The day room full of volunteers mingled to the lively beats provided by U3As Strummers and Drummers.

Hardy’s ‘Frogs’ Bakery made the Meander Valley Council funded cake, Linc funded the lunch, which was catered by Deloraine House with Deloraine Trade Training Centre volunteers serving.

Here are some of Meander Valley’s dedicated volunteers.

Kathryn Bryan

‘I did my Certificate 3 in Community Service and want to do Cert 4 via TAFE to get into welfare work. I love meeting people at Deloraine House.’

• Deloraine House Reception

• Deloraine Footy Club

• Junior and Amateur Basketball


‘I Iove meeting new people and being involved in the community.’

• Literacy volunteer for Linc Tasmania

• Community Visitor Scheme for Aged Care

Paul Kilroy

‘Meeting people and being useful to others as part of community. Satisfaction. Fun. Mixing with other like-minded people.’

• U3A Golf organizer

• Movie Club Exercise Group

• Lions Club

• Strummers and Drummers

Russell Witcombe

‘The rewards are fantastic and far outweigh the effort. You come to realise how much the same people do, five days a week.’

• U3A golf

• Cycling group

• Westbury Baptist Church Kids Club

• Westbury Rotary

• Strummers and Drummers

Tristan Webb

‘I like serving the food and doing the clear away afterwards.’

Shane Dale

‘I enjoy working with food and gaining work experience today.’

• Shane and Tristan are both doing the Core course Certificate 2 in Hospitality at Deloraine Trade Training Centre.

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.

The prospect of bright lights

SportJoanne Eisemann

By David Claridge

THE FUTURE of night football in Prospect is looking bright with new oval lights recently installed.

As part of a long process between the Prospect Hawks Football Club, the AFL and Meander Valley Council the club was able to have LED lights installed, the first for grassroots football in Tasmania.

To commemorate this achievement, the Prospect Hawks have hosted a series of night games in April.

Vice President Prospect Hawks Football Club, David McCormack, hopes that the new lights will encourage more night games at Prospect Park.

‘This gives us more light and with that more opportunities,’ he said. ‘The LED lights, are the first array in Tasmania on a field, better light, less cost, longer life, it’s a significant thing.

‘Prospect Park is a highly sought-after field with its high-quality surface, it’s used by many other teams and even the Northern Tasmanian Umpires are based here for training.

‘We are looking to get some Deloraine girls’ teams soon. We are providing many opportunities for female footballers also.’

The Prospect Hawks initiated conversation with the AFL about the need to have their ground and lights redeveloped to benefit their 300 players and 11 teams.

The AFL, the State Government, a grant from the Community Infrastructure Fund and Meander Valley Council all contributed to make it happen. Prospect Park is scheduled to field 120 games this year, many of those at night.

Big sound for Little Theatre

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann
A Sound House technician formatting the new sound system at the Little Theatre in Deloraine.  Photo supplied

A Sound House technician formatting the new sound system at the Little Theatre in Deloraine.

Photo supplied

AT THE Western Tiers Film Society April screening, the Little Theatre Cinema was filled with the surround sound of the new $40,000 sound system, recently installed to address difficulties that the Society has experienced since setting up in 2014.

With the previous system, audiences struggled to hear some of the more rapid dialogue. The partial solution of using sub-titles was helpful to those with hearing difficulties, but sometimes took away from delicate moments portrayed on screen.

Installing a more complex sound system was expensive, so WTFS Secretary Deb White looked to local funding bodies for support and was successful in obtaining major sponsorship from the Deloraine and Districts Community Bank.

WTFS also received generous contributions from the Rotary Pratt Foundation and the Meander Valley Council, who provided a Community Grant and in-kind support with electrical work. The Film Society and the Deloraine Dramatic Society also contributed funds to enable the project to go ahead.

The new system allows Little Theatre users to select a mode that suits either movies or performances. Both the DDS and the WTFS are confident that having such a sophisticated system will result in increasing use of the venue as movie goers (including U3A), bands and performance groups find that the system on offer caters so comprehensively to their needs.

On the ‘opening night’, President Lyn Prove expressed the Society’s gratitude to the sponsors, noting the benefit to the community of having such a well-equipped venue.

‘Being able to provide audiences with a top-notch experience goes a long way to ensuring the continued success of movies, plays and concerts at the Performing Arts Centre,’ she said, ‘and proves again that the Meander Valley is a great place to live!’

Past members are invited to attend the bonus movie I am not a Witch as WTFS guests on Saturday 29th June, to experience the new sound system.

For information about WTFS, email

Deloraine’s fountain – a sad trickle of miscommunication

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

WITH ITS lop-sided spray and preponderance of concrete and rock, Deloraine’s Emu Bay Road fountain could be labelled the nation’s most disappointing.

Locals have called it an excuse for a fountain, others have said it’s boring and some have simply asked ‘Why?’

Deloraine resident Lisa Bartholomew attributes vandalism to its ugliness: ‘Nothing about that fountain encourages people to enjoy sitting by it or to take care of it.

‘Given all the beautiful sculpture around this town, this lets us down.

‘It’s a 1970s concrete fountain that reminds me of the old Cat and Fiddle fountain in Hobart – not in a good way!’

So cheers to Meander Valley Council for coming up with an idea to add a contemporary creative element.

Director of works, Matthew Millwood, shot off an email to Deloraine Rotary, who funded the fountain originally, to ask for a donation to the project. And he spoke to Golden Valley sculptor John Parish about the possibility of designing a fountain adornment.

Without a formal project being established, and to his financial detriment, John blazed ahead with his idea.

‘I’ve made a bronze family of native hens,’ he said – most appropriate considering the hens on the river banks.

But this great idea has stalled. After 8 months, Deloraine Rotary has not replied to the email from Mr Millwood.

On being contacted, Deloraine Rotary president Maree Matanle said she’d never heard of the project but would look into it. The miscommunication could be because the email went to Deloraine Rotary’s website. Meander Valley Council may still be able to find some funds to contribute – if the idea goes ahead, general manager Martin Gill said.

Meanwhile, a beautiful family of three native hens sits in John Parish’s studio, preserved in glowing bronze, waiting patiently

Unloved by some, does Deloraine fountain need a make-over?  Photo by Mike Moores

Unloved by some, does Deloraine fountain need a make-over?

Photo by Mike Moores

Charging ahead

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

ELECTRIC VEHICLES still face many barriers in Australia, foremost being our dependence on international car manufacturers for supply.

Mid-range car manufacturers may still be 4 to 5 years away from fully committing to electric models. Luxury brands are ahead, as their potential buyers can afford more expensive vehicles.

Another obstacle is the lack of quick charging infrastructure across the country.

In the run-up to the federal election, both sides of politics have had to address the future uptake of electric vehicles.

Labor’s electric vehicle strategy contains proposed emission standards as well as a target for 50 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030.

Labor has also promised about $100 million in grants for about 200 new stations.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor denies that the Liberals are against electric cars and are currently working on an electric vehicle strategy. Speaking to 7.30 he said ‘What we’re not going to do is tell people what cars to drive. That’s just not the role of government.’

Less than six months ago Mr Taylor announced funding for an ultra-rapid charging station network from Brisbane to Adelaide via Sydney and Melbourne, with charge times around 15 minutes.

Fewer than 200 battery electric vehicles were sold in Australia last year, along with about 1,100 plug-in hybrids.

A recent Cities Power Partnership survey shows that almost 81% of local councils are looking at increasing EV uptake in their local areas.

More than half the councils are planning charging infrastructure and just less than half have begun installing public charge points. Thirty- eight per cent say they are planning to include EVs within their council fleets.

In the Meander Valley, as part of the Tasmanian Government’s Chargesmart Program, MVC has installed a 22kw electric vehicle charging station at the Great Western Tiers Visitor Centre and another at the Council offices in Westbury.

‘The charging units are compatible with major vehicle brands and are a first step in providing more energy efficient transport alternatives across the community,’ Mayor Johnston said.

Meander Valley Council is working through recommendations from an Electric Vehicle Implementation Plan completed after an assessment of their current fleet by Sustainable Living Tasmania and The Tasmanian Climate Change Office.

The charging stations support the future transition of Council’s fleet from petrol to electric and are currently available to the general public for use for free.

Installed approximately six months ago, the chargers are equipped with meters to measure electricity use with investigations under way to enable a payment system as usage increases.

‘Initial estimates indicate that over the last six months, 227 kilowatt hours have been used at a total cost of approximately $57.00,’ Mayor Johnston said.

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

Cats, rats & all take their toll

EventsJoanne Eisemann
A selection of Sarah Lloyd’s bird photographs will be on show at the Meander Valley Council o‚ces in Westbury and Pixels Digital Gallery in Deloraine until the end of March.   Photo | Sarah Lloyd

A selection of Sarah Lloyd’s bird photographs will be on show at the Meander Valley Council o‚ces in Westbury and Pixels Digital Gallery in Deloraine until the end of March.

Photo | Sarah Lloyd

March 2019 | Sarah Lloyd

TASMANIA HAS a special bird fauna, with many species found nowhere else. Some, the Tasmanian Native-hen, the Black Currawong and the largest honeyeater in Australia, the Yellow Wattlebird, are conspicuous. But others are easily overlooked - Scrubtits, Tasmanian Thornbills and Tasmanian Scrubwrens are cryptic birds of wetter habitats; the endemic honeyeaters (Yellow-throated, Strongbilled and Black-headed) forage high in the canopy of eucalypts and rarely descend to the understorey; and the tiny, leaf-sized Forty-spotted Pardalote is now only found in the woodlands of the south and south-east.

In the past two hundred years the Tasmanian landscape has changed irrevocably and there is no doubt that this has been disastrous for birds. Cities and towns are encroaching on bushland; agricultural activities, once restricted to the most fertile soils, are expanding and intensifying and native forests are being decimated to feed our voracious appetite for timber products. A wave of bird declines and extinctions is sweeping the planet and island populations are the most vulnerable.

Their inherently small size, vulnerability to habitat modification, fragmentation and introduced predators, especially cats and rats, and the changing climate are taking their toll. Birds are part of our everyday lives; we are captivated by their antics, beautiful colours and melodious songs.

They have crucial ecological roles in controlling insect populations, pollinating plants and dispersing seeds. Birds have an intrinsic right to exist; we can all play a part in ensuring they do.