Calls for 40kph in CBD

ALBANY city councillors have launched a bid to cut the speed limit in and around the Great Southern’s main commercial centre from 50kph to 40 kph.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, Councillor Bill Hollingworth said reducing the current speed limit in Albany’s CBD by 10kph would be worth investigating.

His colleague Paul Terry said a trial could include York Street, the 100m of Albany Highway closest to the city centre, Lockyer Avenue, Aberdeen and Collie streets and “all streets in between”.

“But we can talk about that at a later date,” he added.

Cr Terry said that, if required, he would present a notice of motion at the next council meeting that a report be prepared to probe the “pros and cons” of a 40kph trial.

In other inner-Albany road news, for the second council meeting in a row Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks declared how good the recently controversial resurfacing of Middleton Road (‘Road repairs a crack-up’, 19 April) had turned out.

“The Wylie Crescent and Hare Street rat runs are now closed,” he quipped, alluding to the almost complete, runway-like surface of nearby Middleton Road.

He said the silky smooth tarmac would come up a treat “by the time we put the trees in there and get the finishing touches done”.

Cr Stocks said he’d received “only positive feedback” on the roadworks.

He congratulated chief city engineer Matthew Thomson on a job well done.

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New nets make cricket the ticket

DESPITE the footy, netball and soccer seasons being in full swing at the moment, cricket is the sport of choice for Mount Lockyer Primary students after a gleaming new double cricket net and pitch was installed recently.

The school was the only one in Albany that did not previously have cricket nets, so the rate at which students have traded drop punts and torpedoes for sixes and wrong ‘uns has astounded staff and parents.

P&C Fundraising Coordinator Karen Southall still can’t believe the soaring popularity of the game considering Albany couldn’t be further from summer.

She said the sport has positively influenced student behaviour in both the classroom and the playground, and has encouraged large amounts of girls and boys to give the game a go.

“The uptake of cricket at the school since the new nets has been phenomenal,” she said.

“There’s certainly been an increase in kids’ activity during recess and lunch and we’ve seen a lot more sharing and cooperating in the classroom.

“Sharing in a sport like cricket allows kids who don’t always play together to commingle and it builds their confidence.”

Deputy principal Paul Hockey said the $30,000 project was made possible by a combination of school money, P&C fundraising and a state government grant.

“When you’ve got a school of 570 kids, you need a variety of activities for kids to do,” he said.

“The nets were really an initiative by the P&C, so it just goes to show how much the P&C gives back to the school.”

Under the same State Government school funding project, Flinders Park Primary received a new stage in the assembly hall, Bremer Bay Primary’s school oval received improved drainage and Jerramungup District High installed a new nature playground.

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Goode Beach plans progress

PROPONENTS of a five-star resort at Goode Beach and a residents’ lobby group critical of the project were preparing to make separate closed-door pitches to Albany’s mayor and councillors as The Weekender went to press last night.

City CEO Andrew Sharpe said a meeting between councillors and the Frenchman Bay Association would be closed to the public as it had been arranged at the Association’s request.

“The Frenchman Bay Association wanted an opportunity to present to councillors in a less formal setting to explain how they believe the proposal will impact on them,” he said.

“Given the volume of information they wished to share, a separate information session was considered appropriate.

“For balance, the development proponent has also been invited to present separately to councillors on the proposal and what they have done to address some of the concerns already raised throughout the process.”

Mr Sharpe anticipated a revised structure plan for the resort would be submitted to a meeting of the City’s Development and Infrastructure Services Committee on July 11.

“The public and other community members will be able to share their views in public question time at both the July committee and council meetings,” he assured.

Mr Sharpe said last night’s meetings would not be forums for the resort to be debated, but would give the applicant and Frenchman Bay Association the opportunity to be heard at length.

He said councillors would be allowed to ask questions to ensure they were fully informed before the matter returned to council.

“All councillors have been invited to attend the meeting and representatives of the city’s planning department will also attend to help clarify or explain anything process-related,” he added.

On behalf of the Association on Tuesday night, Goode Beach resident and former city councillor Roland Paver thanked officials for arranging the meeting.

The structure plan was set to be considered by councillors on November 28 ahead of referral to the Western Australian Planning Commission.

But the applicant – Margaret River-based Ahola Planning on behalf of landowner, Perth-based paediatrician Cherry Martin – withdrew the plan.

This was after the Department of Fire and Emergency Services raised concerns over emergency access to the site that sits between Lake Vancouver and the beach.

If the Planning Commission eventually approves the structure plan, detailed development plans will then need to be considered by a State-convened assessment panel before the luxury resort proceeds further.

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‘Councillors earn their keep’

BUNNINGS shoppers harbouring a beef about the productivity of elected officials need to beware they do not complain to the wrong city councillor.

The Weekender does not issue the warning lightly, following a chance encounter between a riled-up ratepayer and a hyper-informed city councillor at the hardware outlet on Albany Highway recently.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, Ray Hammond told his elected colleagues, city staff, three people in the public gallery, two journalists and a mysterious young man taking camera footage that he recently found himself on the wrong end of a tongue lashing.

“I was pulled up in there at Bunnings by someone bagging Council,” Cr Hammond recounted.

He said the ratepayer started haranguing him about purported lack of time spent by some councillors on civic affairs.

Unbeknown to Cr Hammond’s tormentor, the city councillor was primed to deliver a smack-down.

He told the meeting that days before the Bunnings rebuke he had cause to complete a statutory declaration reporting on every piece of council work he had done that took more than 10 minutes.

Cr Hammond’s tally for one month came in at 52 hours and 24 minutes.

“I was able to whack the person around the ears about this and it made me feel really good,” he said.

Sniggers ensued from Cr Hammond’s colleagues and at least one member of Albany’s Fourth Estate.

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Mayor’s unfinished business

FIFTEEN months from the next council election Dennis Wellington says he will nominate for a third term as Albany mayor.

The Weekender can reveal that, aside from Mr Wellington, at least five of six city councillors whose terms expire next year plan to run again.

Mr Wellington said he was still enjoying his role.

“There is a lot of stuff that I haven’t finished yet,” he said.

“It’s a fair summation to say that I’ll put my hand up next year.”

He said that if re-elected he would do everything he could to see the hotel planned for Middleton Beach completed.

“I want better tertiary education in Albany for the research of renewable energy,” he said.

“Using the windmills to power Albany is a goal.

“For a town this size, using renewable energy makes sense.”

Deputy Mayor and Frederickstown Ward councillor Greg Stocks said he would also run again as a councillor and throw his hat in the ring for the council’s 2IC position if elected next October.

Kalgan Ward councillor Bill Hollingworth, Yakamia Ward’s Anthony Moir and Vancouver Ward’s John Shanhun all indicated they would run again for council.

All these councillors ruled out a tilt at the mayoral position.

Breaksea Ward’s Paul Terry would not say whether he would attempt to retain his councillor position.

He also declined to comment on whether he would run for mayor.

West Ward’s Sandie Smith said she would run again for councillor but at this stage did not intend to run for mayor.

“It’s a bit early in the piece to say I’ll run for mayor, but at this time I won’t be,” she said.

Cr Stocks said he would not run for mayor as long as Mr Wellington intended to do so.

“He’s a good mayor and it’s not my intention to run against him,” he said.

Cr Hollingworth said he would support Mr Wellington’s nomination.

“Dennis is doing a terrific job as mayor,” he said.

Cr Moir said Mr Wellington had “good leadership and a great structure of staff behind him”.

Cr Shanhun said Mr Wellington was doing “a great job”.

Former Kalgan Ward councillor Janelle Price, Vancouver Ward councillor Nicolette Mulcahy and Frederickstown Ward councillor Carolyn Dowling, all voted out in the 2017 election, said they would not re-contest in 2019.

Mr Wellington was first elected mayor in 2011 after defeating incumbent Milton Evans, and fended off a challenge in 2015 from city planner Neil Smithson.

Breaksea Ward councillor Ray Hammond, Frederickstown Ward’s Rebecca Stephens, Kalgan Ward’s Emma Doughty, Vancouver Ward’s Tracy Sleeman, West Ward’s Alison Goode, and Yakamia Ward’s Robert Sutton will have their terms expire in 2021.

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All eyes on skate park

THE Shire of Denmark installed a live camera at the Denmark Skate Park last week, providing the opportunity for users to view conditions at the park in real time.

In recent years live streaming public venues via web cams has become common practice for many local governments across the country.

Shire director of corporate and community services Cary Green said the live stream enables users to view the skate park conditions at any time.

“It’s a popular practice,” he said.

“Surf cameras located at various beaches around the state including our Ocean Beach are great for surfers and tourists.”

Mr Green said the cameras will provide comfort for parents and an opportunity for park users to assess the conditions from home or anywhere they can access the internet.

“We acknowledge that the service may raise some concerns,” he said.

“We’ll be guided by community opinion on the issue.

“We’ll welcome any and all feedback on the project.”

To celebrate the new service the Shire will hold an art competition for a design to be used as a backdrop frame to the live cam window on the shire website.

The competition is open to Denmark youth aged 10 to 17 years old with the winner receiving a $100 voucher to Big Drop Surf Shop.

Entries can be submitted from June 25 until July 27.

For more information on the competition or have a look at the Denmark Skate Park live stream head to residents/denmark-skate-park.

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MPs square off over GM compo inquiry

WHETHER farmers of non-genetically modified crops should be compensated for contamination by growers of GM plants is a bone of contention between two politicians whose electoral regions together span the entire Great Southern.

In her submission to a Parliamentary inquiry into ways of compensating farmers for loss caused by GM material, Greens WA MLC for South West Diane Evers recommends that a compensation fund, cashed up by GM seed merchants, be established.

Ms Evers argues it is “imperative that appropriate protection is provided for GM-free growers as soon as possible, so that they can confidently exercise their democratic right to farm as they see fit”.

She asserts that more than 28 countries in the European Union – including Germany and France – have bans on growing GM crops, and many also ban GM imports.

“In South Australia, of course, the Greens secured legislation to extend the moratorium on growing genetically modified crops until September 2025,” she submits.

“However, in the absence of a ban, a package of measures – with a farmer protection fund as a centrepiece – should be developed to ensure that Western Australia can reliably supply GM-free produce to global markets, and has a reputation for being able to do so.”

Ms Evers cites a WA Government report she says acknowledges is it not possible to eliminate the risk of GM contamination.

“The court case involving Kojonup farmers Steve Marsh and Michael Baxter, in which it was decided that [Mr Baxter] growing a genetically modified crop was not liable for economic loss suffered by his neighbour’s loss of organic certification when GM seeds escaped and established on [Mr Marsh’s] farm, demonstrates the need for dispute resolution to avoid expensive legal cases, and for a mechanism that helps to avoid dispute in the first place,” she opines.

Ms Evers recommends that consideration be given to introducing an alternative dispute resolution service for farming communities where GM crops are grown.

But Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (WA) MLC for Agricultural Region Rick Mazza argues that current Commonwealth and State laws are adequate to resolve significant disputes.

“There should be no need to add to it and further complicate regulatory matters for Western Australian farmers,” his submission states.

He notes the Marsh v Baxter case provides the “only reliable factual evidence on economic loss suffered by farmers in Western Australia caused by contamination from GM material”.

“From a legal point of view, Mr Baxter’s lawful use of his own land did not constitute a wrongful interference with Mr Marsh’s use or enjoyment of his land,” he declares.

“Further, Mr Marsh was deemed to have put his land to an abnormally sensitive use and he could not unilaterally enlarge his own rights and impose limitations on his neighbours to a greater extent than would otherwise be the case.”

In another submission, University of Western Australia Professor of Agriculture Kadambot Siddique says there has been “no visible impact from the introduction of GM canola in Western Australia”.

“Growing both types of crops is possible on the same farm, because the two types of canola seed, GM and non-GM, are marketed separately in national and international markets,” he submits.

“Therefore, it is unclear what the parliamentary committee will investigate.”

Professor Siddique advises there is no evidence of loss to non-GM growers in WA.

“In fact, the opposite occurs – non-GM growers are favoured by higher prices for non-GM product that meets the EU standards …,” he states.

“The use of GM technology has been, and will continue to be, very valuable to help feed the world and improve the economy of Western Australia.

“GM canola growers and non-GM canola growers have learned to live together, and will continue to do so as new GM products are approved through the federal regulatory system.”

The inquiry is expected to report in early 2019.

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Busy Harvest calendar

A BIT of every type of cinema is on the agenda next month for Film Harvest Great Southern.

The June calendar will wind up next week with Aurore on June 27, an arthouse comedy about a recently separated 50-year-old who rekindles the spark between herself and the love of her teenage life.

Lost in Paris will play on July 4 and tells the story of a small-town librarian who goes on a wild goose chase to find her aunt, who has mysteriously vanished after writing her niece a letter of distress.

Edie screens on July 11, and this drama stars an elderly lady who escapes her colourless English life for a climbing adventure up Mount Suilven in Scotland.

Brothers’ Nest is on July 18 and has been labelled a ‘dark comedy’.

The film follows two brothers intent on killing their new stepdad, who is about to inherit everything their sick mum has in a new will.

To wrap up July, Two is a Family will play on July 25.

It tells the story of a man whose A-lister life is turned upside down when his infant daughter is given to him by an ex-lover.

After failed attempts to return the baby to his ex, Samuel decides to raise his little girl.

His relationship with his daughter is tested eight years later when the girl’s mother unexpectedly shows up.

All films commence at 6.15pm on their respective Wednesday nights at Orana Cinemas.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the box office, and cost $16 for adults, and $13 for seniors and children.

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Power of imagination

A HEARTWARMING tale of a tiny man with a love for writing will play at the Albany Entertainment Centre next week and director Luke Kerridge said audiences can expect a journey of the imagination, the heart and the full emotional spectrum.

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories follows Bambert, a teeny man portrayed by a puppet, whose only companions are the characters he creates in his stories.

He decides to send his stories out into the world on little balloons, in the hope they will find a home.

He asks the finders of the balloons to return the stories with a stamp, to show where they have landed, but when no stories return, Bambert’s hope fades.

Kerridge said the great gift of the Barking Gecko Theatre show is seeing the world through Bambert’s eyes.

“People who are a little bit different sometimes have the benefit of seeing things other people can’t,” he said.

“In Bambert’s case, I think he has some great insights to offer us about the beauty of moving slowly, the value of inner reflection and the power of imagination over reality.

“Bambert’s stories take you across the globe… some of them are bright and fun, some of them dark and melancholy, but they are all full of hope.

“Audience members have often described the show as an emotional workout!”

Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories was adapted for the stage by Kerridge and Dan Giovannoni from the original story by Reinhardt Jung, and features puppetry combined with real life actors.

Kerridge said he initially found the puppetry element quite challenging.

“I remember our early rehearsals felt so technical; it was constant problem-solving as the team tried to develop the style and perfect the physical score,” he said.

“However, over time this also became the most enjoyable part.

“To watch Bambert come to life in the hands of Tim Watts (our lead puppeteer) was really thrilling.

“I still marvel at how effortless it all seems now, but that really wasn’t the case in the beginning.”

For artistic director Matt Edgerton, Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories was his first show with the theatre company.

“When Luke brought this story to me, I was incredibly excited by his vision for the show,” he said.

“I was the dramaturg on the show, which meant that I worked really closely with Luke and his co-writer Dan Giovannoni as they crafted the script.”

Edgerton said he was very proud of the result.

“It felt like it was a story whose central theme was the transformative power of imagination and art – the idea that even if you’re small, you can accomplish amazing things,” he said.

“These themes still feel absolutely right for Barking Gecko Theatre and what we’re all about.”

Tickets for the June 30 show at the AEC are still available and can be purchased through the box office or online via Ticketek.

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Ongerup OAMs return

HUSBAND-and-wife Order of Australia Medal recipients Barry and Jan Savage have moved back to Albany after more than 40 years living, working and volunteering in the small Great Southern town of Ongerup.

Since the Ongerup and wider Gnowangerup community threw the couple a farewell in March, the couple has been tidying up personal affairs in anticipation of their big move to Bayonet Head.

“We’re in Albany full-time now,” Mr Savage told The Weekender this week.

Last year he received an Order of Australia Medal in recognition of his prolific volunteer work as an ambulance officer, firefighter, and board member of Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre – among a string of other community roles.

Mrs Savage, who for 12 years served as Gnowangerup Shire President, received her OAM in 2005 for services to the shire and community.

In 1975 the couple moved from Albany to Ongerup to run the local tyre shop.

In Ongerup they raised a family and took on the school bus run.

Their recent return to the South Coast does not mean an end to their active community involvement.

“I think it’s important,” Mr Savage said.

“I’m doing a couple of [ambulance] shifts with St John’s, and I joined the local over-55 bike group and go riding every Wednesday.

“Jan’s joined the local book club and is still involved with Justice of the Peace work.”

On top of that, Mr and Mrs Savage are still active with the malleefowl centre, which ensures regular visits back to Ongerup.

“We’re going up this week for a Yongergnow meeting,” Mr Savage said.

Last week, the Yongergnow-Ongerup Community Resource Centre asked locals not to ride motorbikes or drive on tracks near the malleefowls’ enclosure, as a chick had died recently after possibly being frightened by a passing vehicle.

“What happened to it, whether it got spooked and ran into the fence, we’re not sure,” Mr Savage said.

“They’re becoming a little bit of a problem.

“The breeding success rate was a little bit too good.”

This year, Yongergnow malleefowls Maggie and Drei bred like billyo, producing no less than 19 chicks (‘Malleefowl love nest’ , March 30).

“We’re having a bit of trouble giving them all away,” Mr Savage said.

“We’ve got to get EPA approval for where we can put them.”

Asked if having too many chicks to find homes for was in some ways a nice problem to have, Mr Savage said: “It certainly is unique”.

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