Star shines in Barker

INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed actress Miranda Richardson will join big screen favourites Sam Neill and Michael Caton in Mount Barker for the production of feature film Rams.

Filming started in September with a cast featuring the likes of Australian sweetheart Asher Keddie, director of The Sapphires Wayne Blair, Leon Ford from The Light Between Oceans, Travis McMahon from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Hayley McElhinney from the Aussie horror flick The Babadook.

Richardson has two Oscar nominations and multiple BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations and awards to her name in a career spanning nearly four decades on stage and screen.

Rams director Jeremy Sims said Richardson would play the role of Kat, a local veterinarian of a sheep farming town overcome by a rare ovine disease.

“I am completely thrilled that Ms Richardson is able to join us in telling our version of this beautiful saga about warring brothers,” he said.

“I’ve been a fan forever, from ‘Queenie’ in Blackadder to Stronger.

“I fought hard to bring her out here to play Kat and complement our awesome local cast.

“She is a world-class performer whose presence will bring another dimension to our production.”

Richardson has featured on both the small and silver screen with roles in popular television series including Blackadder and Absolutely Fabulous, while also having roles in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, Tim Burton’s classic Sleepy Hollow and nosy witch journalist Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

She also voice-acted for the villainous Mrs Tweedy in Chicken Run.

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Magnificent mo’s

STUDENTS at Mount Lockyer Primary School had fun comparing the impressive facial hair of their teachers throughout Movember, as a group of nine educators raised money for charity.

Year Five teacher Mark Coppack was the proud owner of a horseshoe moustache and the wrangler of the other fundraisers.

“I did it last year at a previous school,” he said while thoughtfully stroking his magnificent mo.

“I spoke to the guys and got them on board this year to raise money for men’s mental health.

“It’s something I’m really passionate about.”

Mr Coppack said the whole event was a great way to have some fun and raise money for a worthy cause.

“It’s a bit of fun and great to see how everyone looks,” he said.

“We definitely had lots of comments and the students liked to compare the teachers.”

Mr Coppack said out of the range of men bearing a majestic mo, there was one standout to the crowd.

“Dan Van Mens is the school’s gardener and definitely had the best moustache,” he quipped.

“He was a bit unsure at the start but it grew in quite nicely.”

At the last tally The Magnificent Moustaches of Mount Lockyer had raised $2416 for the Movember Foundation.

“We’ve easily surpassed our goal and it’s just fantastic,” Mr Coppack said.

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Higher duties

FATHER Randolf Subiaco will become the youngest parish priest in the Diocese of Bunbury next year after answering the call to guide the parishioners of Denmark and Mount Barker in 2019.

Father Randolf has been based in Albany for the past two-and-a-half years, serving as the assisting priest for St Joseph’s Church and the St Joseph’s College chaplain.

“I completed my studies and was told I was needed in Albany,” he said.

“It’s definitely not a standard thing to be sent to Albany.

“I’ve since become a counsellor as well, that’s recognised in Australia.”

Father Randolf said as a 32-yearold parish priest, he wanted to bring more youth-orientated programs to his parishioners as well as provide his counselling services.

And while he would provide the traditional Catholic services to the far reaches of his parish, he was also hoping to reach out to help people in need of support.

“With my counselling services I can give support for people that might be struggling with substance abuse and other issues,” he said.

“Having both spiritual support and mental support is important.”

“I’ll spend parts of my week between Mt Barker, Cranbrook, Frankland, Pardalup Prison, Denmark and Walpole.

“There will be lots of driving, that’s for sure.”

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Cancer machine meeting

STATE Health Minister Roger Cook has now met with a company that plans to install a radiotherapy machine in Albany after being urged to do so by Federal MP Rick Wilson who recently announced $6.6 million funding for the project.

Mr Cook met with facility provider GenesisCare’s general manager Michael Davis on November 27 regarding the company’s planned machine.

This week, Mr Cook told The Weekender the meeting was “positive” but a range of matters needed to be considered before proceeding.

“GenesisCare have offered to work with the Department of Health and the WA Country Health Service on a feasibility study,” he said.

“Projects of this scale and complexity rightfully demand appropriate financial due diligence to be observed and the feasibility study will need to consider the cost of [a] bunker [to house the machine], the supporting infrastructure and associated service costs.”

Mr Wilson told The Weekender he believes $3 million is the remaining cost to install the machine. He does not agree that $14 million is required, as floated by Mr Cook when he compared the potential cost of an Albany facility to a larger one built in Bunbury nine years ago (‘Cancer cost counted’, 15 November).

“Michael [Davis, Genesis Care] seems very confident that it could be built on Albany Health Campus for around $3 million,” Mr Wilson said.

“$3 million in the State health budget is a very small percentage.

“I hope the Minister expedites this study.”

The meeting follows a two-year campaign for a radiation machine led by Denmark resident Mary Williams.

While pounding the pavement on Albany’s York Street on Tuesday to increase awareness, Ms Williams said the campaign had raised $34,000 thus far.

She said she wanted Mr Cook to know she “won’t be moved”.

“We are coming up to Christmas…wouldn’t it be wonderful for everyone to put down their swords, as true Australians? Labor, Liberal, whatever?” Ms Williams posed.

“We can’t carry on like this…this isn’t about politics, it’s about sick people.

“It breaks my heart to hear stories from people who feel like the Great Southern is left out.”

Mr Wilson said he too would continue to push for the oncology service.

“I don’t think the State Government will want to be on the wrong side of history with this one,” he said.

“It’s not rocket science; the radiation machine itself is rocket science but the 1.8m thick concrete walls needed for the bunker are not.”

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New brand of blues

DAN HOWLS’ gig at The Albany Blues Club on Saturday night comes with a warning.

“I don’t just rip through the pentatonic scale,” he declared, when describing his approach to blues guitar.

Howls said he much preferred to take the foundations of the blues and add a little something.

“I love the blues, but I take it as the basis for what we play,” he said.

“We’re a bit different than your regular 12-bar blues bland. We want to do something modern with it – think Jack White, Gary Clark Jnr…those sorts of guys.”

The gig at Six Degrees’ backroom will be Howls’ first in Albany, and he said his repertoire and style was well-suited to playing in rooms of varying sizes.

Regular tours of Europe have taught him to ac- commodate crowds of anywhere between 20 and 2000 blues music fans, and he’s just as happy in either scenario.

“I just try to be genuine. Unless you are a typical obnoxious rock star and can pull it off – which I can’t – then you’ve just got to be yourself,” he said.

“I don’t mind talking to the crowd, or a bit of heckling.”

Howls will be joined on stage by four other band mates, including bassist Ben Power, who is based in Denmark, but travels to-and-fro the big smoke to keep his valuable place in the band.

Power will save some fuel for the band’s first of three gigs when they play a set at the Denmark Arts Markets on Saturday. The Blues Club gig follows, then the band finish the quick trip south from their Fremantle heartland with a private gig on Sunday.

South Coast favourite Myles Mitchell will warm the crowd on Saturday night with the support slot. Tickets are $10 at the door, which opens at 8pm.

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Home among the hempcrete

DENMARK’S hempcrete housing village is now complete, bar a bit of landscaping, and you can be the last of 12 homebuyers to secure a dwelling in the $6 million grassroots project.

Project manager Paul Llewellyn, a former GreensWA MLC for South West, says the village arose from an extensive scoping exercise.

“We wanted land that was within 500m of town, which was solar reflective – this is about 90 per cent solar reflective – with a stream, Millar’s Creek is right there, and we’re about 150m from Mrs Jones (Cafe) and the arts precinct,” he says.

“We used the model of collaborative or Co-Housing, which was developed in the real Denmark.

“It is a model for delivering friendly neighbourhoods, and the design of the neighbourhood gives rise to the community.”

The DecoHousing Denmark project has four four-bedroom family homes, eight two-bedroom homes, a den for teenagers, and a common house complete with kitchen and games/movie room.

Social worker Pam Rumble, the project’s community development practitioner, says the home-grown company behind the project received no favours from Denmark Shire.

“We had to widen Wattle Way, cede the land either side of the creek, and give a three-metre-wide pedestrian strip,” she says.

In addition, the company had to cede 27 per cent of its 6500sqm block to the Shire.

“History shows that if you do anything outside the box, a commune, a Green Title, the banks don’t like it, the shires don’t like it, so we decided to set up a company, get organised and do it by the book,” Ms Rumble explains.

“We were very fortunate; we had a couple of town planners, facilitators, environmental scientists, an accountant, people in business, so we had a very good team.”

Mr Llewellyn says the block was parcelled in strict accordance with Western Australia’s Strata Act.

“We wanted to use the Act to its maximum potential, to use the rules and liveable neighbourhood frameworks to give expression to this vision to have a well-organised, friendly neighbourhood,” he says.

“It’s hard to do because you have to get around so many tick-a-box rules.

“The structures are built out of industrial hemp … a high-performance, environmentally sound material.”

Mr Llewellyn says the project is the largest hempcrete one in Australia, and probably the Southern Hemisphere.

With landscaping not yet complete, the project is already exporting power to the grid.

“There’s no heating or cooling,” he says.

“We may put a fire in the common house.

“We have an amazing power system; we’ve collectivised the energy and communalised the water supply.”

The development’s youngest resident is seven months old, and the eldest an octogenarian.

Albany-based H+H Architects managed the project contract.

“They stuck with us in being responsive to what we needed, but not too responsive, because it was like herding cats,” Mr Llewellyn says.

“We had eight or nine households involved in the preliminary design, and some people came and went.

“It’s affordable, high quality housing, not just affordable housing.”

For Ms Rumble, the project is all about “the sharing, the connection”.

“Everyone’s kitchen window looks out into the commons,” she says.

“That’s the Co-housing design, so that you can be at your sink and see something happening out there and if you would like to join in, or are feeling lonely or whatever, you go out there and chat and share with what’s happening.”

And for anyone “having a bad hair day”, Mr Llewellyn says each house has a private courtyard, and a second entrance that does not open to the undulating common area.

More than 20 people now call the project home. If you’re interested in snapping up the last house – a two-floor, two bathroom, four-bedroom one – call Ms Rumble on 0428 482 015.

Photo: Pam Rumble and Paul Llewellyn tend to their emerging garden. Image: Chris Thomson

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Trucks in firing line

A PRIME mover run by Plantagenet-based Southern Haulage was one of two trucks hit by what its owner calls ‘a bullet’ and what police call ‘a projectile’ along Albany Highway at McKail on Saturday.

Albany Detective Senior Constable Aaron Reichstein said it was not yet known what type of projectile hit the northbound semi and a southbound white Hino truck in separate incidents between noon and 1pm.

But Director of Southern Haulage Chris Pavlovich, who is also Plantagenet Shire President, reasoned the projectile came from a gun.

“We got shot by a bullet,” Mr Pavlovich said on Monday.

“The dent would be nearly 10mm at the door.

“It was a gun shot for sure.”

Mr Pavlovich said truck driver Danny Redlich was heading north on Albany Highway after dropping a load of wheat at the port when he heard a loud noise and thought he’d hit a big bird.

“It was a hell of a whack,” Mr Pavlovich said.

“The driver didn’t know what had happened.”

On Monday, after delivering another load of wheat to port, Mr Redlich showed The Weekender the dent on the passenger’s side door of Southern Haulage 1. The dent was about a centimetre wide, as described by Mr Pavlovich.

The projectile did not pierce the cabin.

“It seems as though someone got a .22 or something and is having a pot-shot at vehicles going past,” Mr Pavlovich said.

“We run 70-odd trucks, and have done for 55 years, and have never seen anything like this.

“It shouldn’t happen anywhere in Australia.”

Mr Pavlovich said the semi was hit while heading north between Rocky Crossing Road and Reddale Road, at lunchtime, about 12.30pm.

Det Snr Const Reichstein said both Mr Redlich and the Hino driver reported “a loud ‘bang’ similar to a rock hitting the vehicle, except a lot louder”.

“There’s nothing to indicate that this is an ongoing thing,” he said.

“It [appears to be] isolated at this point in time.

“Both these drivers are professional truck drivers but still it’s something they don’t expect to have happen to them and it was of course concerning to them.”

Det Snr Const Reichstein said anyone who had something similar happen to them recently, or with relevant dashcam footage, should call police.

“Any time an object hits a moving vehicle, it’s obviously of concern to us,” he said.

“It can have catastrophic outcomes for not only occupants of the vehicles but also other road users who are passing by.”

Det Snr Const Reichstein said neither projectile penetrated the trucks’ cabs, but the southbound Hino was hit on its driver’s side door.

Photo: Danny Redlich with the dent on his passenger’s side door. Image: Chris Thomson

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Major highway upgrade

A ONCE-in-a-generation fix to a 1.2km stretch of Albany Highway notorious for pumpkin-sized potholes will be complete by April, says Mayor of Albany Dennis Wellington.

“What we want to do, very similar to Middleton Road, is do it up in such a way that it’s a good surface,” Mr Wellington said of the looming roadworks on both sides of the highway between Barker Road and Macedon Street.

“We’re trying to do that on the major arteries.

“I think Sanford Road is next year, because that’s in a pretty bad state as well at the moment.”

Mr Wellington said the City of Albany spent about $3 million-a-year maintaining roads, and the highway upgrade would cost about $1.6 million – or $800,000 for each side of the city’s main thoroughfare.

“Albany Highway from the roundabout through here is a local road and it’s in a bad way,” he said.

“It gets a lot of traffic, so it needs to be upgraded, and that’s our major project for this year.

“Certainly it will be the same standard as Middleton Road, because with the traffic it gets it’s got to be done properly and you try to do it for a 40 to a 50-year period.”

During the October 2017 local government elections, amid a particularly stormy spring, Albany’s humble but vexatious assortment of potholes became an election issue.

Mr Wellington said Albany’s wet winters meant it was necessary to conduct roadworks in the warmer months.

“It will get done when a lot of people are around, so some of the other roads will get used, obviously,” he acknowledged.

“We’ll keep one side of it open and do the other.”

Pavement repairs and patching have already been completed in preparation for the works. The existing surface will now be removed using a large profiling machine before a bitumen seal is placed.

This will be followed by two layers of asphalt. Also on the cards are new sections of kerbing, drainage pits and grates.

Works will start on the outside southbound lane in early January, with closures likely from January 7 to 18.

From there, the outside northbound lane will see closures between January 21 and 31.

The City will confirm further closures by January 15, with work extending through to late March.

Various side roads will be closed on and off during construction.

For more information, hit

Photo: Dennis Wellington near where the roadworks will commence. Photo: Chris Thomson

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Evers wins probe into election promise costing

A PROBE into forming an agency to independently cost promises at State election time will occur at the initiative of Albany’s only Upper House Parliamentarian Diane Evers.

In the Legislative Council recently, GreensWA Finance and Treasury spokesperson Ms Evers called for an inquiry into founding a WA parliamentary budget office.

“We can change the system,” she told her Legislative Council colleagues on November 7.

“[A political candidate] could come up with an idea for a new project … two or three days, three weeks or three months before the election, but without working out the cost ramifications of the project and what it will achieve.

“They put it out there and hope people will vote for them and then worry about the problems afterwards.”

Ms Evers said that was why Parliamentarians “go on about back-flipping and who has been the latest to back-flip”.

“A Parliamentary budget office gives not only the government but also the opposition and minor parties, and even potentially candidates, access to the facilities to work out the cost of promises,” she said.

A Federal Parliamentary Budget Office was formed in 2012, after New South Wales introduced one in 2010. Victoria and South Australia also have such an agency.

Caught on the hop when Ms Evers moved that an inquiry be formed, Labor Leader of the House Sue Ellery took her time confirming her party’s position.

“And–I–should–be– able–to–give–you–an– answer–any–minute– now–about–what–the– Government’s–position– will–be,” she annunciated slowly, peering around the House and fingering her mobile phone.

After an interjection provided a delay, Ms Ellery finally confirmed: “So–we–will support the amendment”.

Following suit, Liberal Peter Collier, the Nationals’ Jacqui Boydell, Liberal Democrat Aaron Stonehouse and One Nation MLC for South West Colin Tincknell said their parties would all support the probe.

“I commend Hon Diane Evers for putting for- ward the amendment,” Mr Tincknell said.

“This is exactly what One Nation has been looking for and what we have been talking about.”

Ms Evers’ motion was put, and passed easily.

The inquiry, by the Standing Committee on Estimates and Finan- cial Operations, will be chaired by Liberal Tjorn Sibma, with Labor’s Alanna Clohesy deputising. Ms Evers, Mr Tincknell and Mr Stonehouse are the other members of the committee, slated to report in 12 months’ time.

“If the recommendation comes back supporting the office, it’s very possible we’ll get it in place before the next election,” Ms Evers told The Weekender.

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Coffee shop canned

ALBANY’S chamber of commerce has won a Goliath vs David battle against a coffee van operator who had earned the right to run a tiny kiosk on York Street only to be blocked from doing so after a backflip by three City councillors.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks, his Frederickstown Ward colleague Rebecca Stephens, Kalgan Ward councillors Emma Doughty and Bill Hollingworth, Vancouver Ward Cr Tracy Sleeman and Yakamia Ward Cr Robert Sutton won a 6-5 vote to sink the kiosk.

That was after Crs Stephens, Hollingworth and Sleeman at a committee meeting on November 12 were among 8 councillors to endorse the City-initiated project. At the committee meeting, Anthony Moir, an apology from Tuesday night’s council meeting, was the only councillor to vote against the kiosk.

Barista Chris Saurin had earlier been named as preferred operator, subject to public consultation.

As revealed here, Mr Saurin’s kiosk was to be called ‘Booked’ , reflecting its location beside the

City library and the new Albany visitor centre. It would have opened out to Alison Hartman Gardens (‘Coffee shop booked in’, 30 August).

Earlier on Tuesday night, in a week when the Chamber’s chair resigned (see page 3), Michael Clark, the fourth man to hold the group’s CEO position in less than a year, stepped to a podium in the Council chambers.

Mr Clark said the planned $9000-a-year lease of a 14.25sqm space, coupled with cash the City planned to spend on works, would amount to a $20,000 subsidy to a business directly competing with eight existing retailers.

He urged the Council to vote down the kiosk “for the sake of all existing coffee retailers” on York Street.

During public consultation, only one submission was lodged – by the Chamber. As previously revealed, the submission had asked why the Council would “orchestrate” a coffee shop at the visitor centre “in direct competition to already struggling businesses in York Street” (‘Coffee shop quiz’ , 15 November).

On Tuesday night, David House of the York Street Cafe and owner of Poppies Jacqui Daniel joined Mr Clark in opposing Booked.

In the gallery, Mr Saurin sat silently.

Yesterday he told The Weekender he would seek advice on whether he could appeal the Council decision in the powerful State Administrative Tribunal.

“If any of [the objectors] had bothered to go to the [City-initiated] open viewings [of the kiosk space], they’d have seen it’s the size of a portaloo in there,” he said.

“There’s enough room for a coffee machine and a fridge.”

Mr Saurin has run a coffee van at the Albany Boatshed Markets for the past decade. He was named preferred operator of the kiosk after being the only applicant to express interest in a request-for-proposals process advertised by the City.

“I’ve been operating a lot longer than some of these cafes that are complaining about me,” he said.

“These cafes, they’re all feeling threatened by me; I don’t know why.

“They just need to have a look at their business model to figure out why they’re suffering.”

Mr Saurin said he had spent “lots” of time filling out council forms, and his son had quit a job in preparation to manage Booked.

“It was supposed to be operating in mid-October,” he said.

“And now all this has happened.”

Mr Saurin said he was once a Chamber member, but would “definitely not” join again.

“They’re off my Christmas card list,” he said.

On Tuesday night, Cr Paul Terry declared an interest and did not take part in debate.

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