Meander Valley Gazette

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Meander Valley Council

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.

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.


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.


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.


Our feathered friends

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann

February 2019

TWO OPPORTUNITIES to view the photographic work of well-known local naturalist Sarah Lloyd are available in Meander Valley during the month of February.

Pixels Gallery will show a selection of Sarah’s ornithological pictures in an exhibition titled ‘Our feathered friends’ for the month of February. The digital gallery at 21 West Parade Deloraine (behind the Library) is open 10.00am to 4.00pm weekdays and 1.00 to 3.00pm Saturdays. ‘The Birds and the Bees’ is the title of a showing of selected bird and insect photos Sarah will have on show at Meander Valley Council offices from 12th February to 31st March.

Sarah is eager to see greater care taken of birds and their habitats in Tasmania saying, “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 plum job for pickers

NewsJoanne Eisemann

LAST SUMMER, Nan Preston saw the need to acquire preserving equipment for Harvest Helpers. She applied for and recieved a Tasmania Hydro grant, one of six awarded from the 90 applications received.

“It was one of those projects that you just have to support,” explained Kate Hickey, Hydro Tasmania Community Coordinator.

Based at Deloraine House, fruit tree owners in the Valley contact Harvest Helpers when they have fruit they are unable to pick and wish to share with the community.

Once assessed, a crew is sent to pick fruit when ready to harvest. Fruit is divided between owners, pickers and the community.

The community share goes out fresh through various programs such as Deloraine House emergency aid, the Eating with Friends program and other meals and functions prepared by volunteers, or is preserved by Harvest Helpers Preservers.

Outreach areas are linked through Westbury Community Health Centre, with other areas being implemented this year.

The need to preserve excess fruit has grown with the Harvest Helpers program, so Preservers have now joined Pickers as volunteers.

As an experienced preserver, Nan Preston knows fruit can be preserved by various methods. Tasmania Hydro and Meander Valley Council grants have helped purchase equipment so excess fruit can be juiced, bottled, dehydrated, water-bathed, pressure-canned and stored for distribution throughout the year.

“We train those who have done no preserving,” Nan said. “We use accredited kitchens in the community and all volunteers are trained in safe techniques”. The group is selfsustainable, partnering with other community groups and through generous community donations.

“We want to remove wasted food in the community and get it to people struggling to give good food to their families. We also want to teach people to preserve and use the food they have access to,” said Nan.

Working with Westbury Community Health Centre, Deloraine House and the Tech School, Nan will bring food-preserving awareness through programs beginning in autumn.

To volunteer as a Picker or Preserver, call Nan Preston at 6302-3377 or email

David Hudson from Harvest Helpers tests the newly-preserved produce with Elena Olah from Deloraine House. Photo by Mike Moores

David Hudson from Harvest Helpers tests the newly-preserved produce with Elena Olah from Deloraine House. Photo by Mike Moores

Meander dispute continues ...

NewsJoanne Eisemann

By Sharon Webb

TASMANIA’S PLANNING tribunal has made a ruling allowing progress on a dispute about use of the former Meander Primary School, a dispute already costing thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The Resource Planning and Appeals Tribunal in October ruled Teen Challenge, the organisation renting the school property from Meander Valley Council, must allow accredited town planning and bushfire hazard practitioners onto the property.

As the dispute continues, Meander Valley Council has spent $20,000 on legal advice; MARRA has spent around $15,000.

Teen Challenge declined to answer legal cost questions but it is believed their legal expertise is donated.

Council’s general manager, Martin Gill, indicated there was no ceiling on council’s legal costs to defend its decision to hand over the property to Teen Challenge for a peppercorn rent: “I cannot anticipate the total legal costs. Council is obliged as the planning authority to participate in the current tribunal process.”

Since May, Meander Residents and Ratepayers Association has requested two experts be allowed onto the property to gather information to appeal Meander Valley Council’s decision to allow Teen Challenge to use the property to reform female drug users.

Teen Challenge has refused the experts’ access.

MARRA secretary Karen Hillman said: “We welcome RMPAT’s decision.

“We couldn’t understand Teen Challenge’s refusal to allow site access in the first place, given the site is not even in use yet. Their refusal also caused a six month delay that is at odds with their frequent claims that they are being prevented from operating.”

Teen Challenge spokesperson Tanya Cavanagh said: “We [originally] submitted our application and received a permit approval from the council.

“This approval was appealed against by Timberworld Pty Ltd and the appeal is currently before the tribunal. We see no merits in the appeal and so we intend to see the appeal process to its final conclusion which we expect will be that the council decision is upheld.”

More than two years ago Meander Valley Council approved Teen Challenge taking over the former school property for drug users’ education and residence.

This has not begun, MARRA having appealed the council’s decision.

Teen Challenge leaders Ms Cavanagh and Mr Peter Ferrall are using the property; Mr Gill said living there is not permitted and Teen Challenge must maintain the buildings and grounds.

MARRA’s grounds of appeal to the TRMPA are that:

  • Council incorrectly categorised the property as being used by Teen Challenge for “hospital services”;

  • Council incorrectly categorised the application as “non-residential use”;

  • the application does not comply with bushfire regulations because it has no bushfire plan;

  • there is no site-specific study showing the facility is a suitable distance from noise and dust generated by neighbouring timber business, TimberWorld.

Wayne takes the rein at a canter

NewsJoanne Eisemann
New Mayor, Wayne Johnston.

New Mayor, Wayne Johnston.

WELCOME TO Meander Valley’s new Mayor, Wayne Johnston. Receiving a massive 40.4% of first preference mayoral votes, Wayne received almost twice as many votes for position of mayor than any of the five candidates, the closest being Susie Bower receiving 25.88% of first preference votes. Mike Kelly was returned as Deputy Mayor with 50.08% of first preference votes. 55.81% of eligible people voted in Meander Valley, slightly below the state average of 58%.

Photo | Image supplied