Coasting to Sydney

SHOTS of the South Coast made it to one of Sydney’s most prestigious exhibition spaces last week thanks to Perth music and travel photographer Jarrad Seng.

Denmark’s Elephant Rocks, Lake Hillier off the coast of Esperance, The Gap in Albany are some of the locations Seng visited to create The Edge: Margaret River and Beyond.

The images hung on the walls of the Hyatt Regency Sydney for a month, from July 9 to August 2.

While boarding a plane to Brazil, the photographer and ex-Survivor contestant told The Weekender he enjoyed his trips to Southern WA, armed with his Canon 5D and a handful of lenses.

“I travel all over the world in search of nature’s hidden gems,” he said.

“The truth is, there is so much to see in our own backyard that holds up against the world’s best.

“I loved the road trip down to Esperance; there’s so much diversity and rugged beauty in this region.

“I mean, when you think of the region, you might automatically conjure up images of pretty wineries and golden sunsets, and yes, that is all there, but I think the real heart of it is the raw nature.

“Crashing waves against the cliff side at The Gap, the breathtaking Lake Hillier tucked away in the deep south, the raw beauty of Elephant Rocks in Denmark … it really does feel like we live on the edge of the world.”

Seng’s exploration of the South Coastal rugged terrain was not his first tangle with a challenging scenario, having chased sunsets, artists and wildlife across the world to get the perfect snap.

He’s conquered early morning missions in the freezing cold, hunting the Aurora, rooftop heights, five-day Vietnamese cave hikes and a nudie run down Perth’s Hay Street to do what he does best.

“As of this year, photography has taken me to all seven continents, Antarctica being the final piece of the puzzle,” he said.

“It’s amazing to realise that a humble camera in my hand has taken me all around the world, from the plains of the Serengeti to the northern lights of Iceland.”

He said it was the craziness of photography that kept him going.

“Whether it’s backstage at a rock show or in the middle of the Namibian desert, I find myself most creatively inspired amidst the unknown,” he said.

“I mean, it’s often quite scary and anxiety inducing and very stressful, but that’s where the fun begins.”

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A tale of three cities

MAYOR Dennis Wellington and Albany’s 12 City councillors get paid more than their counterparts in the only other two cities in the State’s far south, but council supremo Andrew Sharpe says ratepayers are getting good value for money.

Figures provided by an eagle-eyed ratepayer, and corroborated by The Weekender, show Mr Wellington gets paid $135,910, the maximum allowable under the Local Government Act. Meanwhile, Busselton Mayor Grant Henley receives $120,709.50 and Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan $91,000.

Albany Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks receives the maximum allowable allowance for that position of $22,216, while his counterparts in Busselton and Bunbury get $19,834 and $15,250 respectively. On top of that, Cr Stocks gets paid the maximum meetings allowance of $31,364.
All other Albany councillors receive this allowance, while their counterparts in Busselton and Bunbury are respectively paid $29,613 and $25,000 each.

Each city is a ‘Band 1’ local authority for the purposes of remuneration. Populations are in the same ball-park, with Albany having 37,686 people, Busselton 38,300 and Bunbury 32,244.

At $760, Albany has the lowest weekly household mean income compared to Busselton’s $805 and Bunbury’s $789.

Asked why, given Albany’s lower mean income and the similarities in populations, the City’s elected officials are paid more than in Busselton and Bunbury, Mr Andrew Sharpe said “the salaries and allowances the City of Albany pays its elected members is within the limits prescribed by the Local Government Act for a Band 1 Local Government”.

“Albany’s mayor and elected members work very hard for their community,” he added.

The Weekender then asked Mr Sharpe if, for argument’s sake, it could be assumed the two other cities also observed legislated remuneration limits and had hard-working mayors and councillors, what then would be the reason for the higher pay in Albany.

A City spokesman said Mr Sharpe had nothing further to add.

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Quokka ’round the clock

TREKKING up Bluff Knoll for three hours in the dark in sub-zero temperatures last week was more than worthwhile for Plantagenet photographer Michael Dolphin and his dad Andy when they spotted an impossibly cute quokka sniffing around in the snow just before sunrise.

Mr Dolphin said the pair rose an hour after midnight last Thursday to have breakfast and get themselves organised before clambering into the car and making the 80km drive to the region’s highest ascent.

He said their efforts to keep warm with five layers of clothing were rendered unnecessary halfway up the hiking trail when their hefty backpacks and the mountain’s steep gradient got their temperatures rising to scorching levels.

“We were about halfway up when I stripped down to just my singlet and snow jacket,” he laughed.

“It felt like it was 50 degrees!

“My backpack was just deadweight, I took too much; I only ended up using my 600mm and 24mm lenses and I had three others with me.”

Mr Dolphin said the two men began to see snow approximately halfway up the hiking trail, and felt incredibly relieved that the snow prediction had been accurate.

“It’s the most snow we’ve seen up here,” he said.

“It was a bit thicker, more spread out and a lot lower down than last time.”

After spending 30 minutes admiring the snow and having a look around, Mr Dolphin spotted what he had been searching for at about 6.30am.

“I was pretty excited to see it,” he said of his quokka sighting.

“I was just ecstatic, but I had to wait for the sun to come up to take photos.”

Mr Dolphin and his dad passed the time by making a snowman and getting some signature Bluff Knoll landscape images before settling down on the ground for two hours from about 7am to capture the perfect snow quokka snap.

“There were about 15 people up there so we waited for them to clear out a bit, and then we were just slowly moving around to get the right angle,” he said.

“It was just luck I got the photo [of the quokka] with the icicle…it just came around the corner and was in the perfect spot.

“It made my day, no, my week, getting that quokka pic.

“It was just the cherry on top.”

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Port back in local hands

WESTERN Australia’s original port city has wrested significant control of its waterfront back, with a locally engaged general manager taking the helm for the first time since that position was canned in January last year.

The Weekender can reveal that 10-year veteran at the Port of Esperance Dale Lindkvist was on July 30 appointed interim general manager at the Port of Albany while recruitment is undertaken for the reinstated position.

Southern Ports interim CEO Alan Byers said the position was part of his organisation’s response to the Southern Ports Post-Amalgamation Review.

That review, completed in January, noted that the October 2014 amalgamation of the ports of Albany, Bunbury and Esperance under the Southern Ports banner had seen a “significant loss of connection” with Albany people.

“There is one [Bunbury-based] general manager for Albany and Bunbury ports, which in Albany contributes to the sense that there are no ‘local’ executives,” the review observed.

“A number of long-standing local initiatives in Albany, including publishing advertorials in the local paper and a regular radio segment with the CEO were discontinued.”

For six months from July 2016, when the incumbent port manager retired, to January 2017, the then-chief executive of Southern Ports acted in the Albany general manager position.

Since January 2017, there has been no general manager.

The appointment of Mr Lindkvist, who recently moved to Albany, is in line with a review recommendation that Southern Ports consider reinstating locally-based general managers at each port.

“Southern Ports operations in Albany, Bunbury and Esperance will [now] have a separate, locally-based general manager, all of whom will have a seat on the executive leadership team and will be empowered to make decisions to suit each individual port,” Mr Byers said.

“The creation of a General Manager – Albany role is an important strategic move to drive Southern Ports into the future.

“We are prepared to take the time required to find the right candidate and will not rush the appointment.”

On Monday, Mr Lindkvist gave The Weekender a tour of the port in his Ford Ranger, and said he was working to meet all Albany staff and would strive to reach out to the community.

“I think it’s of foremost importance that we get that transparency from the activities that we’re currently undertaking at the port, and rolling that through to the community,” he added.

In stark contrast to the might of his 4WD, Mr Lindkvist said he looked forward to his wife and two pups, Cavoodle Molly and Moodle Toby, moving from Esperance to Albany soon.

Also new to the port’s leadership team is Julie-Ann Gray who has lived in Albany since 2002 and was appointed to the Board of Directors on July 1.

Aside from the appointment of Ms Gray and Mr Lindkvist, Mr Byers said lots of work had been done to “rebuild” the “connection” with the people of Albany.

As examples, he nominated biannual meetings of the Board in Albany, recommencing a quarterly local newsletter, and helping to deliver the sea dragon mural on the CBH silos.

Southern Ports also recently donated old port timbers for a playground at Bremer Bay, and upgraded the area around Mass Rocks to support the upcoming 150th anniversary celebrations of Western Australia’s first Catholic mass there.

From 1826, Albany was the State’s only deep-water port until Fremantle’s inner harbour was built in 1897.

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Jackson’s big idea to help a mate

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

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

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Dutch fries and fruit juice ban

WORLD-RENOWNED medical communicator Michael Mosley has told a Parliamentary committee that Western Australia should take heed of Amsterdam where “impressive” but “draconian” anti-obesity measures – including banning fruit juice from school and kids from buying fries at McDonald’s – have been implemented.

In an hour of evidence to State Parliament’s Education and Health Standing Committee on June 20, Dr Mosley said Amsterdam was “one of the few places on Earth getting it right”.

He said he was recently in the Dutch capital where obesity in children had been reversed, particularly in poorer communities that had seen a “spectacular” drop.

Dr Mosley said Amsterdam had a “very, very tightly planned strategy” with what some might regard as “quite draconian” measures.

Discussing fruit juice, which he said was widely thought to be good for children but in reality was “terrible”, he recounted how Amsterdam kids are forbidden from taking anything other than water or milk to school.

He explained that full fat milk instead had developed a “terrible” reputation for which there was no evidence.

Dr Mosley said if he were to encourage his children to drink anything it would be full fat milk, as low fat milk was processed more.

He added that, in Amsterdam, children are not allowed to buy fries at McDonald’s outlets near their schools, unless accompanied by their parents.

Flying solo, children are only allowed to buy an apple from the Golden Arches.

Dr Mosley said that in a further “draconian” move, Amsterdam banned McDonald’s and Coca-Cola from sponsoring sports events.

WA Country Health Service figures show that in the Great Southern 31.9 per cent of people aged 16 or over are obese, compared to 26.9 per cent for the state as a whole.

Dr Mosley said he was trying to persuade SBS and the BBC to help him make a documentary on diet and health in Australian Aboriginal communities.

After training in medicine, he embarked on a production career at the BBC.

He was nominated for an Emmy for a 1994 documentary on the Nobel Prize winning work Barry Marshall and Robin Warren produced at the University of Western Australia on gastric ulcers.

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Back-pedal on bike path

THEY had a dream.

That one day a bicycle path would wind all the way from Little Grove virtually to the doorstep of Albany Town Hall.

But that dream, by Albany council engineers and cycling aficionados, now lies in tatters.

When last year The Weekender revealed plans to build a 2.5km, $1.2 million missing link in Albany’s cycle network (‘Smooth ride into town’, November 16), Stage 1 from the top of Carlisle Street was meant to end at Collie Street just behind Town Hall.

Soon after reading that article, Grey Street West residents submitted a petition arguing the route was unsafe because it was a major transit route down to York Street.

The petitioners further argued that too many car parks would be lost along Grey Street West.

Then, at a council meeting on December 19, the City’s elected officials agreed that the 200m section from Parade to Collie Street be indefinitely excluded from the project (‘People over pedal power’, December 28, 2017).

Now, after a review of the bike path design, and two on-site meetings with residents, a recommendation by council engineer David King to the City’s development and infrastructure committee back-pedals further.

Mr King recommends that “at this time” the path only be built from Carlisle Street to Melville Street, a further 200m back from Parade Street.

The committee will consider Mr King’s recommendation on Wednesday night, ahead of deliberations by the full council at a meeting further down the track.

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Busport bumped

WITH the University of Western Australia beating TransWA to the punch by securing Albany’s former train station for its wave energy centre, the intrastate bus operator is planning a new terminus at a vacant block across the street.

A City briefing paper shows a bid from UWA defeated offers by TransWA and the South Coast Natural Resource Management group for the right to lease the train station building.

The paper outlines a plan for TransWA to use a new bus canopy and portable ticketing office it intends to erect on 58 per cent of a grassy, City-owned site on the other side of Proudlove Parade.

TransWA is scheduled to stop pulling its buses up outside the historic building by June next year.

Leasing the council plot would cost TransWA $9600 a year for the next three years, at which point a rent review will ensue.

The City plans to build a car park on the remaining 42 per cent of the plot, as pictured.

Council staff have budgeted $148,940 to build the car park and for design and civil works.

Of that amount, TransWA has agreed in principle to contribute $83,449 for design and civil works on its side of the block.

Financing the ticket office and bus canopy will also be TransWA’s responsibility.

A recommendation to approve the lease agreement and $148,940 budget allocation will be considered by a City committee on July 10, ahead of full council deliberations further down the line.

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Denmark director shakeup

A MAJOR overhaul of the top echelons of Denmark’s shire administration is underway, with the positions of chief engineer and chief planner being rolled into one, and a Community Emergency Services Manager position advertised and about to be filled after the incumbent’s contract expired.

Shire CEO Bill Parker told The Weekender that the contracts of two of his three 2ICs, Director Sustainable Development Annette Harbron and Director Infrastructure and Assets Gilbert Arlandoo, would expire in January 2019.

The contract of Community Emergency Services Manager Marcus Owen expired on Saturday.

Mr Parker said the position filled by Mr Owen had been advertised, with an offer made to a preferred candidate.

He explained that the two director positions currently filled by Ms Harbron and Mr Arlandoo would be rolled into one.

“In this instance, a single director looking after the planning, building and engineering functions will deliver greater consistency, with the revised structure further complementing our overall strategic direction, Denmark 2027,” he said.

“The combined position will focus on the Shire’s integrated planning and reporting framework ensuring that service delivery is aligned with community expectations.

“The position will ensure that the Shire delivers a contemporary approach to asset management and all development functions and will be supported by highly competent and efficient technical officers.”

In many local authorities around the world, the chief engineer and chief planner roles are kept separate so that professional autonomy can be maintained, and a balance between oft-competing priorities of the two professions achieved.

Mr Parker said the combined director position would be advertised in September or October, and Ms Harbron and Mr Arlandoo had been encouraged to apply.

He said the decision to fuse the two director positions was “difficult” but “based on what was best for the organisation”.

“When any contract expires, we always review the role and our overall strategic direction,” he added.

Ms Harbron has held her position since January, 2011, and Mr Arlandoo his since January, 2016.

The third of Mr Parker’s current 2ICs, Cary Green, has been Director of Corporate and Community Services since February, 2017.

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Swing kings rule

A FULL house, a roaring encore and a standing ovation proved the rumour mill right – Evan Ayres and The Swing Kings could be Albany’s next ‘big thing’.

The teenage band, consisting of Ayres on lead vocals and guitar, Bonnie Staude and Mollie Hare on backup vocals, Bryce Taylor on trumpet, Anna Leach on saxophone, Hunter Ewen on trombone and Jeremy Staude on drums, blew their audience away on Saturday night with a knock-out performance of their debut EP and various swing and jazz covers.

Despite the various crowd interjections calling for Ayres’ inner Elvis Presley to surface – which he revealed on-stage at WAAPA’s Radio Active concert last year – the budding superstar kept true to his original work and favoured swing and jazz genres.

‘In Love With You’, ‘Unless It’s With You’ and ‘I’m In Love’ proved a massive success with the audience, with each song receiving a tidal wave of applause and showcasing the multi-faceted talent that Ayres offers.

His crooning voice set hearts of all ages aflutter and brought back the nostalgia of first loves, lost loves and forever loves.

He did not falter throughout the entire performance, and along with his band’s additional fun banter, the EP launch was everything a person could ask for in a swing show.

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