Junior rugby event hailed as a success

THE Great Southern isn’t renowned for producing star rugby players, but you wouldn’t have guessed it watching the weekend’s Junior 7s rugby tournament.

Coming up against metropolitan and country teams from around the state, Albany Storm’s under 11s side were a cut above the rest as they ended the competition cup winners.

Palmyra were crowned the under 10s cup winners, while Kalamunda took home the under 12s title.

The local rugby community would be toasting another highly successful year hosting the Albany Junior 7s tournament after more than 400 kids from 40 different teams descended upon the port city for the two-day carnival.

RugbyWA Regional Development Manager Dane Lazarus said it was a record turnout.

“It’s growing each year,” he said.

“It has been well-received. There were teams that couldn’t get accommodation in Albany this time of year, so no doubt there would have been even more.

“It will go up to the under 13 age group next year.”

Mr Lazarus said the Great Southern was an untapped gold mine for rugby talent.

“We want to make sure every kid in WA has the opportunity to play rugby and showcase their skills,” he said.

“We’ve been trying to get more kids involved in the rugby club down there in preparation for the tournament.

“I have no doubt the crop of young kids coming through, in 10 year’s time they will form the colts team and grow into a seniors team.

“It will flourish.”

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Kowald overcomes injury to star

SHERIDAN Kowald wasn’t even supposed to be playing in this year’s Albany Netball Association (ANA) grand final, but the Narrikup goal shooter ended up carrying her team to a famous underdog victory.

When the 21-year old tore her ACL playing footy for Mount Barker in March, participating in any kind of sport in 2020 seemed a long way away.

That fateful March day wasn’t the first time Kowald had seriously damaged her knee, either.

Less than three years earlier she had done the same injury playing netball for Lake Grace.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Kowald explained.

“There’s pain for about two minutes, you hear it snap and you can’t put weight on it.

“Then there’s no pain, but there’s no support so you can’t walk on it. You try to get up but you just fall over.”

Injuring her ACL for the second time, Kowald’s thoughts immediately turned to the long, agonising road back to recovery.

“Straight away I was in hysterics,” she said.

“I was a mess for five to six weeks just crying every day. The mental battle is really tough.”

With professional sportspeople typically taking anywhere between 9-12 months to fully recover from a torn ACL, Kowald certainly didn’t think she would be playing competitive netball in 2020.

But as the old saying goes, never write off a champion. And you get the impression the 21-year old relishes a challenge.

Determined to get back fitter and stronger than ever before, Kowald went about doing everything she could to reach full fitness in record time.

“At the six week mark I got back to running – they recommend about double that time,” she said.

“Sometimes I would do a two-hour gym session and go to netball training.”

About five months after the injury, Kowald’s Narrikup coach Lisa O’Farrell noticed the young star was moving pretty smoothly out on the court and asked whether a return date was possible.

At the time, Narrikup had lost four of their first seven games.

“Lisa came up and asked me if I wanted to set a date to play a game,” Kowald said.

“She gave me confidence. She was relying on me to lift the girls.”

Thrilled with Kowald’s progress, her surgeon gave the all clear to return to competitive sport just six months after that dark day in March.

But the 21 year-old’s physiotherapist and parents were more sceptical.

“It’s not that they didn’t support me, they were just worried about what could happen,” she said.

“I had people recommending I never go back to sport. But sport is my whole life.”

The Katanning product did however have the undying support of her Narrikup teammates.

“There were so many signs just pushing for yes, rather than no,” she said.

“The whole team support system was massive. It was a big boost.”

Making a return to the court, albeit under limited game time, Kowald immediately made an impact.

“I think I shot at 85 per cent my first game,” she said.

“It felt like a reward. It was the best feeling.”

After finishing the season in third position behind the likes of Railways and Royals Saints, who had both only lost one game all year, Narrikup looked on paper to be making up the numbers.

But with Kowald now back playing full minutes, an inspired Narrikup outfit dismantled each of their finals opponents.

Narrikup tore Royals apart in a preliminary final before spoiling Railways’ first ANA A1 Grand Final appearance with a commanding 10-point victory.

Kowald was untouchable upfront for Narrikup in the A1 decider, taking home the Lucille Holt trophy as best player of the day.

“It was pure satisfaction,” she said.

“Literally, it was so surreal. I was in the zone.

“As soon as the final whistle went in the grand final, my body was done. I had nothing left in the tank.”

What’s next for the young netball star?

She still has dreams of one day playing either football or netball at a professional level, but is very much taking it one step at a time.

“I’ve just got to perform now,” Kowald said.

“Hopefully this time next year I will be stronger than I’ve ever been.”

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Katanning skatepark rolls out refurbishment

KATANNING artist Shah Jackey made the long trip home last week to complete the colourful revamp of the local skate park.

The vibrant graffiti artworks that now cover the ramps were based on concepts local youngsters submitted as part of a Katanning Youth competition, and fleshed out by Mr Jackey, who now works in Geraldton as a high school art teacher.

Shire of Katanning Community Development Officer Georgia Kowald said the seven-and-a-half-month-long process allowed the younger generations of Katanning to tell their own story.

“The skate park creates a story of its own to people in the skate space, incorporating skate legends and influencers, being Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta, on the big ramp to the robots and transformers on the end ramp,” she said.

“It’s almost becoming the past and future on the ramps. [They also] incorporated the Australian kangaroo, goanna and an eagle to give a sense of place.”

Ms Kowald said the community effort is one to be appreciated by anybody walking by.

“The skate park is one of the first things you see when you come into Katanning,” she said.

“Hopefully people stop and take a look at our artwork and skate park users can enjoy a great colourful space instead of the cement grey it was before.”

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Shower scheme ‘huge success’

THE City of Albany Library has once again teamed up with the Water Corporation to offer residents a chance to swap out their old shower heads for a more water-wise replacement free of charge.

According to Water Corporation, showers make up 22 per cent of total household water use.

By simply switching to water efficient shower-heads, Water Corp says households can save up to 20,000 litres of water each year.

Last time the City signed up to the Shower Head Swap program in 2018, more than 400 shower heads were exchanged for new ones.

Albany Librarian Kate Houderrani said the scheme was proving a huge success again two years on.

“There are still lots of people out there looking to save water,” she said.

“It’s a great partnership for us. We are always looking at ways to work with the community.

“People just need to come in during our opening hours and fill out a form. Any of the old metal ones can be completely recycled.”

The Shower Head Swap program is available now until May.

Water Corp recommends bringing a copy of your recent water bill along to the swap location.

If you rent your property, the owner or landlord must agree to the replacement.

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Breast screening clinic gets permanent place

ALBANY will soon be home to a permanent BreastScreen WA facility, predicted to service more than 3,000 women annually when it opens early next year.

The permanent clinic will replace the mobile facility that has been operating in Albany for more than 25 years.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the decision to introduce a permanent clinic to the town was inspired by a letter sent in by a local woman.

“I received a letter from Mrs Ball some time back earlier this year, saying ‘we’re a growing community, we need to continue to have better health services’ ,” he said.

“In particular Mrs Ball said, ‘we want to see a permanent mammogram clinic here in Albany’.

“So, as a result of that, we had a look and thought sure enough, the demand is there, so let’s look at building this clinic.”

Breast cancer survivor and member of the Albany Breast Cancer Group Veronica Hare said she was grateful to see the introduction of a permanent facility in Albany.

“It’s wonderful, especially for my group. It’s great that we’ve had the caravan here all this time, but there are times when the caravan is not here and of course people then have to travel to Perth or elsewhere to just get their breast checked,” she said.

“I think it’s wonderful that we’re going to have a permanent space now. I never thought it would happen, but it’s amazing.”

The capital works will be funded by the Commonwealth, with recurrent funding to be included in the State Budget.

Mr Cook said he hoped this would encourage members of the community to reach out to their local politicians.

“I think people think that governments aren’t listening, but they are,” he said.

“We listen to this feedback every day, whether it’s through care opinion, patients telling us what they need or if it’s the clinicians themselves.

“We’re inspired and informed by the feedback we get, particularly in a place like Albany, where the locals stand up for each other. It’s great to be able to respond to the needs of the community as they’re identified.”

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Inspired trio create space to network

THREE Albany business-women have joined forces to create a collective space for entrepreneurs to support each other and collaborate from within.

Ideation Co is the brain-child of Click Collective Brand Agency’s Megan King, Natasha Wilson of Concept Tech IT Specialists, and Be Think Do Mindset Coaching’s Emily Smith.

The thought behind Ideation Co, located in a studio upstairs at 280 York Street, is to give like-minded women a place to “work in, network, unwind and be inspired”.

“Ideation Co is paving the way forward for women entrepreneurs of the Great Southern, transforming the way wen work, collaborate, and connect to ensure the greatest community and economic impact,” Ms King said.

“It’s a vibrant, welcoming and Instagrammable space where they can grow a productive and prosperous business, built on the foundation of a powerful community.”

Ms King said the need for a space like Ideation Co was highlighted during the pandemic.

“Post-Covid, there is now a demand for remote working, as well as a lot of people starting their own businesses from home,” she said.

“The world is undergoing huge shifts in the way we work – changes in technology have led to more people working from home on their own businesses as contractors or sole traders.

“In many bigger centres there are hubs popping up where entrepreneurs can come together in one space to work, collaborate, connect and network.

“Albany needs this space to offer the growing population of people in this category.”

Ideation Co is targeted at entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote workers and small business owners.

The space can also be rented out in the evenings and on weekends for events and functions.

Ideation Co will officially launch at 5.30pm on October 29.

Interested people can register for their free ticket online via Eventbrite or follow the links on Instagram @ideationcoalbany

The evening will include nibbles and champagne and offer guests the opportunity to tour the new space for the first time.

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CBH bin storage plans

KOJONUP residents and business-owners are celebrating this week after the immediate proposal of short-term storage bins for CBH was withdrawn after community consultation.

The two open bulkers, which were intended to be constructed near the industrial zone, would have infringed on CBH’s own self-prescribed buffer zone.

CBH General Manager Albany Zone Will Piercey said the construction of the storage facility was due to the overflow of grain in that area.

“The Kojonup site is located within the town centre and generally receives more than its storage capacity at harvest, resulting in the need for CBH to move grain out by truck during harvest to allow growers to continue to deliver at peak times,” he said.

“The construction of short-term emergency storage was intended to reduce the amount of trucks on the road during harvest as we work towards a long-term solution for the area.”

Local resident Nicole Miotti’s house is within the 400 – 500m buffer zone of the proposed storage facility and was told by medical professionals that the potential grain dust from the bulkers could have made her home unliveable.

After helping coordinate the community consult on Monday this week, Ms Miotti said she was pleased with the result.

“I had so much support from all the local businesses and a few mums from the school came as well,” she said.

“It was only about 40 to 50 people in attendance, but it was the right people. I had growers and truck drivers; it was just amazing the support.

“With that buffer zone, they haven’t tried coming that close for years and everything that was listed was probably why they haven’t tried coming so close.”

Business-owner Alan Mort echoed Ms Miotti’s concerns for the proposed location, saying the storage facility would have been well within the buffer zone from his panel beating business.

“It would have had a massive effect on us. There would have been a lot of dust, it’s less than 100m to the front of my workshop,” he said.

“I’ m very pleased with the result. They listened to what everybody had to say, and then they said we’ll withdraw our submission to the Shire.”

Ms Miotti said she was grateful to CBH for working with the community to find a solution that would benefit everyone.

“Once the CBH boys got there and they listened to everybody it was just fantastic so I must pat them on the back for coming,” she said.

“It was a really good outcome, it was the best one we could have hoped for.”

Mr Piercey said CBH would be looking into alternative locations for the storage facility.

“After listening to the community’s concerns about the proposed location, CBH has withdrawn its immediate proposal, and will work with growers and the community to identify an appropriate long-term solution,” he said.

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Resort plans withdrawn

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an apartment resort at Goode Beach have been refused by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) more than two years after the project was endorsed by City of Albany councillors.

The proposal, which would have seen 51 holiday units sprout up on a 7.7ha site between Goode Beach and Lake Vancouver, is now on shaky grounds after proponents Cherry Martin and Rolf Koch withdrew their application late last month.

A Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) spokesperson said the withdrawal followed an extensive mediation process after the applicants opted to refer the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) in 2019.

“At its February meeting, the Statutory Planning Committee resolved not to support the application in order to form a position to take forward through the SAT proceedings,” the spokesperson said.

“Through the SAT process, the Department participated in mediated discussions in May 2020 with the applicant to discuss elements of the proposal.

“The SAT application was subsequently withdrawn by the applicant on September 21, 2020.”

Many Frenchman Bay locals have fiercely opposed the project, with residents strongly voicing their dismay at a City of Albany Council meeting in July 2018.

At that meeting, 10 of 13 councillors voted to endorse the tourist resort and send the project to the WAPC for review.

Long-term Goode Beach resident Warren Flynn said he was shocked Council had given developers the green light despite significant environmental concerns.

“It is staggering that the Council keeps giving developers some hope they can make some money on their real estate gamble,” he said.

On top of the 51 holiday apartments, the proposal included provisions to build a cafe, function centre and pool.

Frenchman Bay Association President Catherine Macdonald said the resort would have been completely unsuitable for the “very sensitive site.”

“The resort would have disturbed fragile sand dunes and endangered the conservation grade wetland,” she said.

“In addition to the wetland, Lot 660 is home to or used by threatened or priority species including the western ringtailed possum, black cockatoos and the extremely rare Albany wetland sundew.”

Despite the setback, developers look determined to get the project back on track.

The DPLH spokesperson said the proponents had submitted a pre-lodgement request for the tourist resort to be considered through a new assessment pathway for ‘significant developments’.

“Should a formal development application be lodged with WAPC at the conclusion of the pre-lodgement process, it would be determined by the WAPC under the new assessment pathway for significant developments upon conclusion of consultation with Local Government, regulatory agencies along with public consultation,” the spokesperson said.

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Claremont suffer triple tragedy on WAFL’s big stage

THREE Claremont sides littered with Great Southern talent couldn’t make the most of their opportunity on the big stage as the Tigers’ colts, reserves and league teams suffered agonising grand final defeats on Sunday in the WAFL.

Not even a dominant performance from Denmark-Walpole product Kalin Lane could power Claremont’s colts side to premiership glory, with Subiaco upsetting the minor premiers by a whopping 79 points.

After leading by 14-points at the main break, Subiaco put Claremont to the sword in the second half as they piled on nine goals to run out 15.12 (102) to 6.7 (43) victors.

Lane almost played a lone hand in the ruck for the Tigers, finishing with 14 disposals, five marks and 32 hit outs.

Albany Sharks talent Kieran Gowdie was Claremont’s only multiple goal kicker with two majors, while Railways defender Jacob Blight (16 disposals) wouldn’t have lost any admirers.

It was a much tighter, lower-scoring contest in Claremont’s do-or-die final against South Fremantle in the league decider as the Bulldogs held on for a memorable three-point win in front of 10,179 fans at Fremantle Oval.

Claremont midfielder Jye Bolton (35 disposals) was awarded the Simpson Medal as best on ground, winning ahead of Bulldogs utility Zach Strom (two goals and 16 disposals).

In terms of Great Southern representatives, Declan Mountford worked hard at the coalface for Claremont to end the grand final with 16 disposals and a mammoth 12 tackles.

Jerramungup talent Tom Baldwin finished with eight possessions, while Royals’ Tyron Smallwood amassed four kicks and five tackles in their side’s 6.10 (46) to 6.7 (43) defeat.

Katanning’s Haiden Schloithe was a colossal presence in the engine room for South Fremantle as the Bulldogs held on in the final moments of a see-sawing contest to seal their first WAFL premiership since 2009.

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Cricket returns as Denmark demoted

FIVE teams will battle it out for premiership glory in the Great Southern’s top cricket competition this season, with Denmark officially dropping out of the 2020/21 Albany Districts Cricket Association (ADCA) A-grade competition.

The ADCA will field two A-grade games per week in a 20-round fixture, with teams taking a bye every five games.

ADCA President Terry Eaton said it was disappointing there wouldn’t be a sixth team, but that Denmark just didn’t have the top-end talent to field a competitive team.

Finishing last year rooted to the bottom of the ladder, Denmark were unable to secure a single win in 2019/20.

At the other end of the stick, Railways were crowned ADCA A-grade champions for the seventh successive season in what must be one of the most dominant runs of any team in WA cricketing history.

The Tigers clinched the premiership in bizarre circumstances after the ADCA was forced to suspend all its grand final play-offs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADCA’s executive committee unanimously decided each side that made it to the grand final first would win the flag.

With the pandemic still looming large over the world, the Western Australian Cricket Association released return to play protocols last month.

Under the protocols, players are not permitted to shine the cricket ball with saliva or sweat and any time during matches and training.

The guidelines also advise players not to share cricket equipment wherever possible and to avoid high fives and hugs after a wicket is taken.

Despite the precautions, Mr Eaton said local clubs were reporting strong numbers at pre-season training.

Apart from having to cancel last year’s grand finals fixtures, Mr Eaton said the Association was in a good position to cope with the challenges of COVID-19.

“It’s pretty well been business as usual, the clubs are reporting a good start,” he said.

“It’s looking very positive. We are ready to rock and roll.”

After a well-received first instalment, the region’s Southern Smash T20 tournament will return in December under an expanded competition.

Two extra franchises are joining this year to take part in a two-day tournament which will be played on December 28 and December 29 during the summer holidays.

Mr Eaton said some big-name Perth players would be announced in the lead up to a draft night in November.

All-rounder Julian Crudeli was last year’s No.1 selection, followed by marquee signings Luke Jury, Zain Ul Hassan and Dan Abel.

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