Dance gong beckons

THE Great Southern is making waves in the dance industry with Denmark choreographer Annette Carmichael now in the running to take out Most Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance at the prestigious Australian Dance Awards.

Carmichael is up for her work The Beauty Index, which debuted at last year’s Denmark Festival of Voice.

The dance production featured 15 men from the Great Southern and was kept heavily under wraps until its reveal at the festival when it was performed at Denmark’s Old Mill site.

Carmichael is one of four shortlisted choreographers from across the country in the award category.

She said she jumped for joy after receiving news of the award and rushed to tell her loved ones.

“I was sitting in my pyjamas checking emails,” Carmichael remembered.

“I was feeling fairly exhausted after a few weeks of long rehearsals and then the news hit.

“I jumped up, cried a few tears of joy and ran and told my husband and kids.

“The exhaustion just melted away!

“Then, I had the happy task of sharing the news with all the performers and creative team. I think we were all a bit stunned.”

Carmichael said the shortlisting is a huge accolade for her group of performers and artists and said she’s proud of her team’s efforts.

“It’s a major achievement and means more opportunities for not only myself, but for the regional artists and communities that I collaborate with,” she said.

“I share this honour with my close collaborator and sound designer, James Gentle.

“We have created a number of performances together and this shortlisting tells us we are on the right path.”

Carmichael is continuing that performance path with the second and third instalments of The Beauty Index currently underway.

A Light Shade of Red is already in rehearsals and will feature young men and women from across the region.

It will be performed at the Albany Entertainment Centre in October.

Carmichael is also now on the lookout for 200 women to take part in the final chapter of the series, Chorus, to be performed in 2020.

“This trilogy of works has been consuming our lives for years, and making the awards shortlist just encourages us to keep going,” she said.

“Any women interested in being part of Chorus should subscribe to our e-news or go to”

The winners of the Australian Dance Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Brisbane in September.

Continue Reading

Vancouver survey call

CRITICALLY endangered possums, carnivorous plants known only to occur three places on Earth, and foraging habitat of endangered cockatoos should trigger flora and fauna surveys lest a tourist resort planned for Albany’s Goode Beach breach State and Federal environment laws, an eminent biology professor says.

University of Western Australia Professor of Biodiversity Stephen Hopper said that, contrary to a report produced for the owner of the Lot 660 development site beside
Lake Vancouver, banksia bushes, with seeds often eaten by endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos, were present on the block.

“I have made regular observations of black cockatoos feeding on Banksia sessilis, the parrot bush, on Lot 660 and nearby,” Professor Hopper said on Monday.

“Consultants have said there is no banksia on the site.

“That may be because they were relying on the 1992 flora survey of Lot 660 and its predecessor at which time this plant was called Dryandra sessilis.”

Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act states that if foraging habitat of an endangered species is to be destroyed by a project, the plans
must be referred for consideration by Federal authorities.

A structure plan for the resort recommended for endorsement by Albany’s City councillors this coming Tuesday, ahead of consideration by the WA Planning Commission, does not recommend referral to the Commonwealth.

“The second thing is that the cockatoos themselves have been observed perching on the site, and this relates to the statement attached to the proponent’s report for the project that there is no substantial food foraging habitat on the site to be cleared for the buildings,” Professor Hopper added.

“I noticed that on the coastal reserve, just in front of where the major building is going to be, walking through very low peppermints last Saturday, that something had been stripping the bark off these arm-thickness branches of peppies and exposing the burrows of woodboring beetle larvae, witchetty grub sort of animals, finger diameter and rich in protein.

“I inferred that the only animal capable of ripping the bark off and chewing through the wood to get at these burrows made by the woodboring beetle larvae would be black cockatoos.

“And yesterday, my wife and I in returning from our daily walk to the beach saw just near our house 25 black cockatoos from 10m away and we stood there for five or 10
minutes. They were ripping the bark off and going for beetle grubs in what turned out to be these significant burrows through the wood on peppermint trees.”
Professor and Chris Hopper live 100m south of Lot 660.

“What we can draw from all this is that we know for sure that a listed threatened species of black cockatoo is in Goode Beach and on Lot 660,” Professor Hopper said.

“It strikes me that the planners have recommended to councillors there’s no listed species, and hence, there’s no need for any further fauna surveys on Lot 660.

“A survey for that foraging habitat is absolutely essential to come up with a sensible evaluation as to whether clearing of the lot for the development would have a significant impact on this population of Carnaby’s cockatoo.”

Environmental consultants for Lot 660 owner, Perth paediatrician Cherry Martin, saw a critically endangered Western ringtail possum on the block along the route of the proposed access road.

“And that to me triggers a need for a comprehensive survey for ringtail possums,” Professor Hopper said.

Importantly, he said that in 2013 a local consultant botanist collected a rare pygmy sundew at Lot 660.

“They’re quite tiny plants, carnivorous, that feed on insects and the like with stickiness on their leaves,” he said.

“It’s a species that was collected by Robert Brown on Matthew Flinders’ 1801-02 expedition.”

Brown collected the little plant either at Lake Vancouver where it is only known to occur in a 20sqm patch on and beside the access road, or in Little Grove where its only other two known locations are.

“They’d bulldoze it out of existence at Lake Vancouver,” Professor Hopper said of the current resort plans.

“At the moment, the precautionary principle would say: ‘Don’t mess with this precariously rare plant, as we presently know it’.”

He said he would soon recommend to councillors and others that urgent and comprehensive fauna and flora surveys be done for Lot 660 ahead of possible listing of the sundew as a threatened species, and referral of the block to the State and

Commonwealth for consideration of impacts on the possum and black cockatoo.

In a recent submission on the project, the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said it could not comment on the resort’s impact on vegetation because a current flora survey was not conducted.

“The new evidence that’s just been obtained with relatively little effort by admittedly quite experienced people just raises alarm bells that this site is even more significant than previously appreciated,” Professor Hopper told The Weekender.

Continue Reading

School holidays slows Midds EOI

LANDCORP’S deadline for developers to express interest in erecting a hotel-cum-apartment block at Middleton Beach has been extended for three weeks.

General Manager Regional for the State Government property development arm, Stuart Nahajski, confirmed as much when contacted this week.

“The Middleton Beach hotel developer expression of interest period has been extended from July 17, to August 7, 2018,” he told The Weekender.

“EOI extensions are reasonably common and in this instance advice from the selling agents was that more time would help ensure fair representation of the opportunity to all developers, especially given local school holidays.

“The EOI process is subject to strict probity requirements and as such any submission is commercial in confidence until the final outcome is determined.”

And with that, Mr Nahajski declined to reveal how many expressions had been received or which, if any, developers had submitted them.

The Landcorp website is yet to be updated to reflect the extended deadline.

Continue Reading

Sport blueprint gets tick

RESIDENTS in the western part of Denmark shire finally had their say on the masterplan for the development of sport and recreation in the shire, which was unanimously approved at a council meeting on Tuesday night.

The Sport and Recreation Masterplan was presented at Council’s June 19 meeting, but was voted down with a deferral motion passed instead, allowing time for residents and ratepayers in the western area of the shire to be included in the final submission.

In their belated consultation summary, representatives from the Nornalup community and Peaceful Bay Progress Association stressed the importance of the Frankland River, detailing the opportunities of the natural resources for consideration for future recreation plans.

Topping their list was the development of a Nornalup Trails Concept Plan to identify existing trails and develop new trails with linkages to the Nornalup townsite and to the Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun tracks.

“Currently, trails are in existence but better identification is required as well as better signage for existing infrastructure,” the submission says.
Peaceful Bay Progress Association also requested the prioritising of a recreation concept plan specific to their patch.

“The need to provide a safe and accessible means to the beach is the important issue for the community,” it says.

The PBPA propose to explore the area immediately east and west of the beach walkway at Peaceful Bay.

“It would include a picnic area overlooking the beach, fish cleaning facilities, graduated access to the swimming beach for people with disabilities, a pontoon swimming area and outdoor gym equipment and playground,” the submission details.

The masterplan includes a proposal for the development of an additional oval at McLean Park, the redevelopment of the Denmark Surf Lifesaving Club and developing a youth hub located in the Denmark townsite.

The masterplan will be up for public comment for the next 28 days.

Continue Reading

Showtime for orchids

A STRANGE winter with unusual conditions has slowed down regular flowering patterns of orchids this season, but that hasn’t slowed the Albany Orchid Society’s efforts in putting together a blooming good display.

The group’s annual winter show opens today at North Road Shopping Centre and will be available for public viewing every day until 12.30pm on Saturday.

The green thumb experts will be on location throughout the four-day extravaganza to hand out gardening tips and sell some of their orchids.

Ahead of the display, society members Gail Brodziak, Carol and Neville White, and Barbara Hawes gave The Weekender a sneak peek at some of their best plants.

Among the collection of colour were phalaenopsis orchids, red, white and yellow cymbidiums, dark pink dendrobiums and a native Australian dockrillia.

The orchidists agreed the colder and darker winter this year had slowed down the flowering of their orchids, particularly the hot weather phalaenopsis orchids that require a lot of sun.

To care for their orchids a little better, the group had all chosen to relocate their plants to their respective kitchen benches near a window.

When asked whether it was difficult to care for and manoeuvre such delicate looking flowers, Mrs White said only transport was difficult.

“Most people think orchids are delicate, but they are tough as nails,” she said.

“They don’t need much water, you might water them twice a week.

“I’ve got a little moisturemeter that my husband got for me and I use that to check how much moisture there is in the pot.”

Her husband, Neville laughed and agreed, but said they were still a nightmare to get from point A to B and that you have to be very careful not to knock anything while transporting them, if you want to qualify for judging.

“There are lots of criteria for the show,” Mr White said.

“The leaves have to be pristine, 60 per cent of the flowers have to be open and there has to be a certain number of flowers.”

Mrs Brodziak said prizes would be raffled during the show, and a judge from Bunbury was travelling especially for the event.

Continue Reading

Race all downhill for mountain bike club

A DOWNHILL bike race that will launch from Monkey Rock was given the go ahead by Denmark Shire Council on Tuesday night.

The downhill speed event was proposed by the Denmark Mountain Bike Club and unanimously supported by council.

Club president Nathan Devenport said the Monkey Rock Speed Run had been on the cards since last year in the hope that it would be approved.

“It’s only going to be a small scale event to start with. If I got 50 riders I’d be stoked,” he said.

“We’re such a new club so the process of getting the event ready to propose to the Shire has been a learning process for us.

“We’ll have the chance to ride in the amazing Denmark environment.

“We’re pretty privileged to be able to do that.”

Mr Devenport said the club would need to put certain practices in place to stop the distribution of phytophthora dieback and to further protect flora and fauna in the reserve.

“We’ve been taking the Shire’s advice with planning the event,” he said.

“We’ve had meetings and site walks with the sustainability officer, Donna Sampey, to make sure we put proper protocols in place to protect the environment.”

Denmark Police have also put their support behind the race and will put their speed gun to good use to clock contestants during the race.

Shire Councillor Mark Allen said endorsing the club’s proposal was a no-brainer.

“The Shire had a can-do policy on this, which I think is just fantastic,” he said.

With one in five Western Australians owning a mountain bike, Councillor Kingsley Gibson also supported the speed run.

“Obviously mountain biking is a rapidly growing sport, offering the community health benefits,” he said.

Following the council’s decision, Mr Davenport said the club would begin advertising for the competition which will be held on August 5.

“All our club members have been aware the race would be coming up,” he said.

“But I think we’ll get riders from Albany and even a few from Perth.”

Continue Reading

Wall of sound raised for waterfront apartment plan

THE spectre of a sound-attenuating wall along Princess Royal Drive has been raised in the face of a 26-page objection from Southern Ports to apartments planned for harbour-front land owned by Albany business identity Paul Lionetti.

As previously revealed, farming and transport groups have vehemently opposed conversion into apartments of hotel rooms proposed for a plot owned by Mr Lionetti across Toll Place from his Due South tavern (‘Port users slam apartments plan’, July 5).

Now, The Weekender has seen a 26-page objection from recently resigned Southern Ports CEO Nicolas Fertin.

The objection says “incremental” modifications to a plan for the hotel in response to “concerns over commercial viability” may see a mixed-use building emerge “with insufficient protection for the port’s freight transport corridors”.

“Permanent residential land users will be subject to freight road and freight rail noise associated with the road and rail corridor servicing the port, the future ring road, the rail marshalling yards and noise generated by the operation of the port,” Mr Fertin argues.

“Detailed consideration has not been given to the use of building materials, appropriate distribution of land uses across the site and the orientation of balconies
to mitigate and reduce the impact of noise on residents/guests within the development.

“History shows that uncertainty of port access is a factor that drives investment decisions away from a port and its region.”

Despite the pointed objection, Henry Dykstra of Harley Dykstra Planning told a City of Albany committee last week that Southern Ports “seems to be opening up to the idea of residential” provided the port is “protected” from complaints by future residents.

Mr Dykstra was acting for landholder Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd, and his assertion was echoed by chief City planner Paul Camins.

“They seem they might be supporting permanent residential if the noise is at that level,” Mr Camins said of moves to limit noise inside any future apartments to 55 decibels.

This week, a Southern Ports spokesperson said the organisation met with Harley Dykstra to brief the planning firm on its objection before it was lodged with the City.

At last week’s committee meeting, Mr Dykstra and Mayor Dennis Wellington opposed a recommendation from Mr Camins that a noise attenuation package be
developed prior to the project’s detailed design phase.

“Under no circumstances do we want a wall around this development to attenuate noise,” Mr Wellington said.

Councillor Robert Sutton agreed with Mr Dykstra and the mayor.

“If the proponent came in with a noise wall, it would be knocked back,” he predicted.

But Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks had his doubts, saying early signoff to an anti-noise package was essential.

“I think it’s very important that we send a message early,” he said before saying Harley Dykstra should “guarantee” a “sound wall” would not be entertained.

Buffering options preferred by Mr Camins include triple glazing and noise-reducing building and unit design.

Mr Fertin’s objection argued the 6800sqm of apartments being sought equated to 40 per cent of the project’s floor area and would erode the “primary tourism and
entertainment intent of the waterfront precinct”.

Mr Camins’ recommendation was endorsed nine votes to one, with Mr Wellington the sole opponent.

Cr Paul Terry abstained from voting because one of his sons works for a company associated with the project.

The endorsed recommendation is slated for final debate at a Council meeting on Tuesday.

Continue Reading

Bridge ‘own goal’ averted

IN THE same week the FIFA World Cup was emphatically decided, opponents of a second traffic bridge over the Denmark River scored a resounding 7-1 victory as Shire councillors booted the political football deep back into State Government territory.

On Tuesday night, Shire President Ceinwen Gearon was a late omission from Denmark’s monthly Council meeting, citing urgent personal reasons. Substitute chair Peter Caron was, on several occasions, moved to quash applause from the
capacity crowd.

Ahead of the chamber-room match-up, between councillors opposing the bridge and those in support, Shire CEO Bill Parker recommended the State be told Denmark was “unable” to deliver the project for lack of funds. Mr Parker had recommended the State assume control and build the bridge using $4,291,000 Royalties for Regions money earmarked for the project.

He advised the Shire would otherwise be required to identify a $3.1 million funding partner and contribute a further $1.51 million to the project that includes the $4.83
million bridge, land acquisition, road, fences and consultants.

“This represents three years’ of Roads to Recovery funding,” he continued.

“The $1,510,000 earmarked for this project is desperately needed to address the Shire’s [roads] renewal backlog.”

But in a dig to keep the cash for Denmark, Councillor Kingsley Gibson moved and Cr Jan Lewis seconded that the Shire negotiate with the State to repurpose the funding, preferably for upgrades to infrastructure at Greens Pool.

“We don’t need it, we can’t afford it,” Cr Gibson said of the bridge.

In a pre-siren twist, Cr Ian Osborne launched an amendment motion – that the State deliver the bridge in accordance with Denmark’s shire plan – which includes a crossing at the contentious East River site.

He said an East River bridge was in the plan for good reasons, including its proximity to town and there having been a bridge there previously.

In a major assist that helped Cr Gibson push his motion over the line, Cr Lewis chimed in from the chambers’ left wing.

“There was not a lot of science behind that particular part of the Local Planning Strategy,” she countered.

Cr Rob Whooley, the Shire’s former chief engineer, said the crossing had not been in the plan “forever anyway”.

“We may be many years and years, if not decades, away from needing another bridge and I think we should leave [Cr Gibson’s] resolution as it is,” he vollied.

But Crs Osborne and Roger Seeney were not going down without a fight.

“The reality is the Government is not going to switch funding to Greens Pool,” Cr Osborne said.

“I will go to my grave to fight [an alternative] southern [bridge] option.”

Cr Seeney said the bridge was required as a second evacuation route, as Denmark had been assessed as having the highest fire risk in Western Australia.

In true underdog style, Cr Allen closed with a partial quote from The Castle and the lawyer of lead character Darryl Kerrigan.

“The vibe of this traffic study is we do need a bridge but we don’t need it now,” he reasoned.

Cr Gibson’s motion was passed seven councillors to one, with only Cr Seeney voting against.

Continue Reading

Ag college sheep program all class

DENMARK College of Agriculture is set to bring its sheep enterprise class in to the 21st century following the appointment of nationally recognised sheep grazing expert Michael Hyder as the head of the program.
Mr Hyder is known in the industry for managing the acclaimed Lifetime Wool and Lifetime Materials research projects for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
In his approach to sharing his wealth of sheep information Mr Hyder said his vision was to ground students in the basics of pasture and animal production.
“If you understand why pastures and sheep grow like they do, then you will have much more success managing them,” he said.
“I’ll highlight the role of grazing management to improve sheep production.”
Mr Hyder said he plans to introduce more technology and innovation to the college.
“Graduating students will be well versed in the technological tools being used by advanced sheep producers,” he said.
“We have amazing technology available today such as satellite estimations of feed on offer to assist with feed budgeting.
“There’s bluetooth technology to match up stud ewes with their lambs and flexible fencing to make sheep graze where and when we want them to.
“We just need to put it all together.”
Building on the high tech approach to sheep industry education, the College will attend and exhibit at LambEx in Perth early next month.
College principal Kevin Osborne said he wanted the school to showcase their standards of sheep industry training.
“It’s important to us that we set the standard whilst also offering a quality university entry pathway at one fifth the cost of private schools,” he said.

Continue Reading

Jackson’s big idea to help a mate

FIVE-year-old Albany boy Jackson Brown is a little boy with a big heart.
Jackson has made it his mission to turn $30 into $35,000 to help his sick pre-primary friend who was diagnosed with an aggressive, rare form of blood cancer in March this year.
Jackson’s mum Nikki Notman told The Weekender that upon hearing his little friend Izzy had been diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, young Jackson decided he needed to do something about it.
“He turned around one afternoon and said, ‘Mum, what can we do to help Izzy?’,” Ms Notman explained .
“I said, ‘money, kiddo, money helps’.
“So, he decided he was going to shave his head; he needed a haircut anyway!”
Ms Notman said despite a slight battle holding Jackson down at the hairdressers, the five-year-old walked out the salon door with a shiny top.
“We went to Best and Less because he wanted a beanie, and the lady there said he had an interesting haircut for winter,” Ms Notman said.

“Jackson told her he was raising money for his sick friend and she gave him $10.
“He then got $10 from the Mean Fiddler and $10 from his guitar teacher so he had $30 and he said, ‘Here’s some money, Mum’.”
After a bit of thought and a discussion with Izzy’s parents, Ms Notman decided she and her son would try to raise even more money than Jackson’s head shaving episode by placing donation tins around town at local businesses.
Dominos, Jo-Joe’s Pizza, Wilson’s Brewing Company, Six Degrees, Alkaline Café, Snap Fitness, Denmark Tavern, Earl of Spencer, Great Southern Supplements and Gourmandise and Co are currently aiding the fundraising effort.
The collaborative aim is $35,000.
“The Dominos owners’ daughter is in Izzy’s class, so they are helping out,” Ms Notman said.
“Libero from Jo-Joe’s is going up this weekend to meet Izzy, Six Degrees is hosting a ticketed event in October with a silent auction and all proceeds from that will go to Izzy, and Wilson’s is donating $1 from every beer sold during the school holidays to Izzy.
“It just shows how awesome the Albany community is.
“We’ve only been in Albany for two years, and for us to be able to drum up so much support for a little guy who wants to help his mate…it’s astronomical.”
Ms Notman said the latest update on Izzy’s progress is that she received her fourth and final round of chemotherapy in Perth last week and is now awaiting a PET scan, which is due in the next couple of weeks.

Continue Reading