The Goode, the bad and the ugly

ALL was quiet in the leafy enclave of Goode Beach on Tuesday night as 50 locals tripped into town to protest a luxury resort that Albany City councillors were later to endorse for State approval.

At an animated council meeting, 10 of 57 people in the gallery rose to slam a plan for 51 units, cafe, swimming pool and function centre between the squeaky white sand of the beach and the snake-infested banks of Lake Vancouver.

Goode Beach resident Roland Paver was rebuked by Mayor Dennis Wellington after saying a report on which elected officials were set to base their vote reflected “a level of bias that is unacceptable in quasi-judicial proceedings”.

“Mr Paver, Mr Paver, Mr Paver!” Mr Wellington interjected.

“You have two choices right now – to temper your words in a polite and reasonable manner … or I will shut you down.”

Asked by Mr Paver what words the mayor disliked, Mr Wellington nominated the charge of bias, which he said was “manifestly incorrect”.

“You are very sensitive about it,” Mr Paver retorted before continuing.

He said the report by City planners argued a coastal study prepared by the resort’s proponent had been accepted by the State planning department.

“This is a thoroughly misleading statement because it may encourage Councillors to believe the Department of Planning has approved proposals in the structure plan that the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has criticised and described as negligent,” he explained.

“Councillors need to be disabused.

“The Department of Planning has approved nothing.”

Mr Paver was referring to a striking submission by the State that asserted: ‘For the proponents … to dismiss State policies and instead state that they will plan and manage for a 50-year sea level rise is negligent to future owners and investors … as well as local and State Government authorities that may be expected to protect the infrastructure from erosion”.

The submission was later remarked upon by Cr Anthony Moir who moved, contrary to a recommendation put by the City’s planners, that the project not be supported.

Cr Moir’s motion was defeated 10 councillors to three, with only he and Vancouver Ward councillors John Shanhun and Tracy Sleeman in support.

Ultimately, the same three councillors were defeated when they voted to oppose and 10 of their colleagues supported the plan.

At the start of the meeting, project proponent, paediatrician Cherry Martin, spoke in support of her resort.

Dr Martin said she had been a tourism operator in Denmark for the past 22 years, and the Goode Beach development would create jobs long after construction finished.

She reprimanded “small minority groups” she said had misled with incorrect assertions, and the changing nature of their objections.

She said this would discourage investment in Albany, and that a 10-chalet project already endorsed for the site would have a “much larger” footprint than the one now she now proposed.

Her plans will now be considered by the Western Australian Planning Commission. If approved, the project may advance to detailed assessment by a State convened panel, meaning any resort could still be years away.

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ACCI fosters stability

THE Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry hopes the appointment of interim CEO Graham Foster will bring a period of stability after the turbulence surrounding its recent decision to part ways with former CEO Mark Forrest after just six weeks in the role.

Mr Foster was CEO with the City of Albany for three years before he left the post late in 2015 and is expected to fill the position at the Chamber for four to six months.

ACCI President Caroline Hayes said Mr Foster would be charged with finding a permanent replacement for the CEO role and to continue some of the projects that were underway at the Chamber.

She said the board shortlisted a group of local candidates for the interim position and then made an approach to Mr Foster.

“The board is excited and we welcome Graham’s input,” she said.

“With his expertise and history, the board looks forward to working closely with him.”

Mr Foster will take the helm on Monday, relieving Ms Hayes of the position she has filled since the departure of former CEO Russ Clark, except for the six weeks of Mr Forrest’s brief tenure.

Mr Foster said he hoped to bring a “bit of consolidation” to the Chamber and was confident of finding a permanent CEO.

“I won’t be riding in there on a white horse and shooting from the hip,” he quipped.

“Hopefully I can be the catalyst to settle things down and bring things back to basics.”

Mr Foster was optimistic the CEO role would be filled locally, but said the Chamber may have to look further afield.

“There’s certainly people in Albany who could undertake the role,” he said.

“If we can convince them that taking the role is a good move professionally, then that will be good for the Chamber.

“That’s not to say we won’t cast the net a bit further.”

Ms Hayes declined to comment specifically on the decision to part ways with Mr Forrest citing legal reasons, but said she was satisfied with the lengthy recruitment process that was undertaken prior to his appointment.

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Sharing is caring at bridge

AMONG the slightly competitive players at Albany Bridge Club, it seems sharing is still caring – for the winners at least.

Carole Munro and Jane Ellen have both been playing bridge for around 30 years but have only teamed up as a pair in the past few years.

When they took out the recent Geraldine Sutherland Memorial competition, they had a simple solution as to what to do with the perpetual trophy.

The prized shield and clock would spend six months with each player before Munro and Ellen set out to defend their title next year.

Munro said the pair generally weren’t highly competitive players in comparison to other teams within the club.

“We’ve played together for a couple of years and we enjoy our game,” she said.

“It’s not the be-all and end-all to win a competition, but it’s definitely nice for a change.”

Munro said the club was the perfect way for people to make friends when moving to a new town, and with 104 members in the Albany Bridge Club, there certainly isn’t a shortage of new faces.

“When I moved to Albany in 1988, I was driving past the old clubhouse on Bolt Terrace and went in and introduced myself,” she said.

Ellen said she started playing bridge as a young mum when she wanted something to do to keep her brain working.

Both Munro and Ellen agreed that while bridge was a difficult game to master it was highly enjoyable to play.

“It’s a very complex game but very addictive,” Munro said.

“It stimulates your brain. It’s a card game with an edge.”

Munro said the Albany Bridge Club was calling for some young blood to join its ranks.

“We have a good mix of ladies and men but it’s definitely an older demographic,” she said.

“We have a beginners day on Monday s and no matter your level, people are more than welcome to tag along.

“If you can’t find a partner we can help organise one for you too.”

Albany Bridge Club is set to host a fundraiser for Albany Community Hospice on August 4 from 10am at their Mill Street clubhouse.

The entry fee of $25 per person includes morning and afternoon tea with all proceeds being donated to the Albany Community Hospice.

For more information or to purchase a ticket, contact Pam Minchin on 0419 193 006.

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Pay dirt at Sukey Hill

GREAT Southern motocross riders can take their skills to a new level at the Sukey Hill motorcycle track near Cranbrook following the announcement of funding to help improve facilities.

The Sukey Hill track is the home of the Cranbrook Districts Motorcycle Club that hosted a formal opening of a new scrutineering and first aid shelter at the site last
week during the Southwest Interclub Series.

State Government funding of $200,000 through the Great Southern Development Commission supported the construction of the facilities.

GSDC Chair Ross Thornton said the track was a significant asset for the Shire of Cranbrook and for the wider region.

“Sukey Hill is a quality motocross track that has the potential to host state and national events,” he said.

“Sports venues like this can attract people to events in the region and make a real contribution to the regional economy.

“Sukey Hill will also build the skills and competitiveness of the region’s motocross riders.”

Sukey Hill’s track design was guided by highly regarded New South Wales based motocross and supercross coach Greg Moss who lauded the terrain at the site as
well suited to a motocross track.

The scrutineering and first aid shelter are the first element of a four stage development.

Later stages include the construction of an ablution block for campers, track watering facilities and a clubhouse.

Sukey Hill will host the second round of the South Coast Tri Series on August 25 following Jerramungup District Motorcycle Club hosting the opening event this
Sunday.

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Paperbark writer speaks

ALBANY author Dianne Wolfer took a ‘breather’ from her hectic writing schedule on Saturday morning to set up camp at Paperbark Merchants, chat to fans and sign
copies of her latest novel.

The Dog with Seven Names has been a three-year project for Wolfer, requiring hours upon hours of historic and anthropomorphic research to get all the finer details just right.

The story is told from the perspective of a dog caught up among the drama and fear in north-western Australia during World War II.

The little Australian terrier-dingo cross is the runt of the litter and after her first owner is forced to leave the pooch behind when evacuating, the dog travels with different people and gains seven different names.

“It’s been massive,” Wolfer said.

“There was so much research.

“And it’s been really interesting, because I didn’t realise how far south was bombed in Australia during the war.”

Ms Wolfer said she embraced her inner animal to see the world through the eyes of a four-legged fur ball while doing her research.

“I had to tell the story by scent and hearing,” she said.

“So, I had to smell the Pilbara and hear what the wind sounds like, because Dog would know the history through scent and smell.

“That was the fun part but it was hard, because I had to try and not make it cliché.”

Wolfer said The Dog with Seven Names was due for release in August, but was pushed forward a month, meaning she’s had two books published in three months.

“It’s really unusual, so I’m just trying to catch my breath now!” she said.

Wolfer said amidst preparing for her state-wide tour for Book Week and heading to Sydney to be a guest speaker for The Kids Book of the Year Event, she is ‘going back’ to a story she started 10 years ago to see where it takes her.

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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 annettecarmichael.com.au.”

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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