Dogs hit the spot

ALBANY entrepreneur Brad Hopperton has added to the dining landscape of the CBD by opening a food van at Albany Waterfront Marina.

Mr Hopperton said he had been eyeing off the ‘pop-up’ market for some time after opening Crusty Crab Fish and Chips Cafe with his partner, Kerry and working at Hybla Tavern.

He sought something simplistic and decided upon selling hot dogs.

Mr Hopperton’s first day of trading with Dogelicious was January 18.

“It was originally going to be in a sea container but it got a bit complicated with the developers of the block,” he told The Weekender.

“The van was a compromise.

“But, having a pop-up gives you more flexibility than a bricks and mortar store, so we can operate for nine months of the year and then pack up and move.”

Mr Hopperton said the business has a weekend focus and is trading on Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8pm.

He is currently trialling his allotted area at the end of the Due South car park on Toll Place while exploring a few other potential locations.

“The feedback we’ve had so far is that now people know we’re here, they will come back and eat here,” Mr Hopperton said.

“You see people come down here to eat anyway – with their Hungry Jacks – so here’s where it’s at.

“We’re trying to offer something out of the norm.”

Mr Hopperton’s desire for a simple menu stemmed from working for years in the hospitality sector.

“I’ve managed restaurants and pubs before and it gets so complicated.

This is user-friendly,” he said.

In the next week or two, Mr Hopperton said he might add loaded fries to the menu, and potentially offer a ‘gourmet dog’.

He confirmed that he does indeed have EFTPOS facilities.

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Dogoceros rock

MONDAY morning saw everybody’s favourite Albany landmark crowned with a witch’s hat.

Perhaps it was The Weekender’s active imagination, perhaps parallax, but we reckon who ever the wag was that added the orange appendage gave the region’s best-known canine a decidedly rhinoceros-ish air.

Strolling beneath the rock’s nose on Monday afternoon, blissfully unaware of the witch’s hat were Hayley (10), Tracey, and Lauren (9) Williams.

“It’s cool!” Lauren exclaimed when told of the ephemeral artwork.

Tracey said she and the kids had recently moved to Albany from Tenterden.

“We’re just pretending we’re townies, walking into town,” she said.

“The weirdest thing we’ve seen up the top of the rock is, the other week, there was somebody flossing up there.”

‘Oh, yeah!” Lauren recalled.

Unaccustomed to the vernacular employed by Tracey, The Weekender’s chief news writer hit to learn that ‘flossing’ is “a dance in which you move your hips from side to side while simultaneously moving your hands through the air in the opposite direction”.

Lauren said she reckoned the witch’s hat depositor had bolted up the top of the rock from Middleton Road.

Image: Dog Rock sans flossers. Photo: Chris Thomson

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Vollie lauded

ALBANY Junior Cricket Association volunteer Amanda Thompson said she is still getting over the shock of being named the Female Country Volunteer of the Year by the Western Australian Cricket Association.

Every year the WACA recognises the hours of dedication that volunteers put into cricket associations and teams across the state.

AJCA president Jackie Boyce was also named a finalist in the awards.

“To be frank, I’m a bit embarrassed to have won the award,” Ms Thompson said.

“Jackie is an integral part of junior cricket in Albany and I really think that without her we wouldn’t have junior cricket.”

Ms Thompson said she joined the association nearly four years ago after her youngest son Matthew started playing cricket.

“My eldest son (Angus) was playing cricket and my younger son had started up and I decided it was time to give back,” she said.

“So I went along to a committee meeting and the unspoken rule of committees is that if you’re on one you are always given a job to do.”

Ms Thompson said when she started volunteering she didn’t know a single thing about cricket.

“I started off logging in the stats for players under the guidance of Mike Moriarty,” she said.

“I learned a lot and then learned how to score cricket and how to live score so people at home could watch the Country Week matches from Albany.”

Ms Thompson said the AJCA would not be able to operate without the volunteers it has on the sidelines scoring matches, organising registrations and booking fields.

“Jackie and I see this award as a win for Albany junior cricket,” she said.

“It really shows how hard and well our volunteers work together.

“We don’t volunteer for the accolades, we volunteer for the kids.”

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Rex airfare hike

REX plans to raise the price of its $128.91 community fare between Albany and Perth by $10 from March 1 – 16 months earlier than it agreed it would.

The regional airline has approached the City of Albany requesting approval of a new $139 fare, and City governance and risk manager Stuart Jamieson has recommended his political masters approve the new fare.

Mr Jamieson’s recommendation comes after Rex told the City it could not sustain the current fare, set for three years on July 1, 2017.

Mr Jamieson advises that an alternative option would be for councillors to “reject” Rex’s request “noting the City … entered in to a three- year agreement …”.

“The City entered this agreement in good faith and in collaboration both parties agreed to include the requirement to provide a community fare on the Albany route at the set price,” Mr Jamieson continued.

“As part of the current agreement, the City also agreed to fix the Rex Airport fees and charges (with CPI indexation) for the duration of the contract period.”

In 2017/18, Rex transported 29,144 passengers from Perth to Albany, and carried 29,362 people the other way. The 58,506 passengers carried was up on the three financial years prior.

Rex’s planned fare rise will be considered by a City committee on February 12.

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City sends lime pit message

A COMMUNICATIONS strategy has been developed to sell the City of Albany’s response to the contentious approval by a powerful tribunal of a lime pit at Nullaki Peninsula.

A briefing note to City councillors seen by The Weekender says the strategy was developed ahead of a media statement released on January 14 by Acting Mayor Greg Stocks, and promotion of the City’s position on social media.

A letter was also sent to residents around the peninsula and the lime pit’s planned haulage route, people who made a submission on the pit, seven community groups and the Elleker General Store.

The letter, from City CEO Andrew Sharpe, says the City “is extremely surprised and disappointed” the State Administrative Tribunal decided to overturn the Council’s earlier unanimous refusal of the lime pit.

“… especially how an extractive industry was found to be consistent with orderly and proper planning, in particular meeting the objectives and provisions of the Conservation zoning,” the letter, dated January 21, continued.

The letter explains that the City separately progressed a scheme amendment that would have prohibited the lime pit, but the amendment was not endorsed by the Minister for Planning in time and so was given little weight in the Tribunal’s deliberations.

The briefing note, drafted by town planner Alex Bott, says all further correspondence with the public will accord with the communications strategy.

The lime pit approval was hailed by developer Graeme Robertson as a “win-win” for Great Southern farmers and for the environment with a maximum three hectares to be “temporarily” cleared instead of the 21 hectares he had originally planned.

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Two shades of Grey

A CITY of Albany committee has been recommended to endorse concept plans which would see a one-way section of Grey Street East in Albany’s CBD be converted to two-way.

The plans released on Monday suggest the section of Grey Street East between the Premier Hotel and the Aberdeen Street roundabout be changed to allow traffic to enter York Street from the east and west.

The construction work was scheduled and budgeted for the City of Albany’s 2018/2019 financial year as a solution to relieve traffic congestion at “alternate west-east routes such as Peels Place”.

“Travelling west to east through the CBD from Grey Street is simple and the busy York Street can be avoided by use of the current one-way system through Grey Street East to Aberdeen Street,” the planning document reads.

“For the same traveller return journey, the one way system results in a limited number of return options which inevitably results in increased congestion at west-east route such as Peels Place.

“Ultimately, by reinstating the two-way traffic flow, west-east permeability is improved and with it a reduction in congestion.”

The origin of the one-way section of Grey Street is believed to be linked to the design of the Premier Hotel.

As revealed in The Weekender, the hotel is set to undergo a major facelift to include a new alfresco area facing Grey Street.

“Although information is vague, it is understood that the one-way system currently on Grey Street East was implemented to facilitate the extended alfresco area previously occupied by the Premier Hotel,” the planning document states.

“Works need to be carried out in conjunction with the Premier Hotel development to facilitate the new verandah and alfresco dining.

“The allocation in the budget for the Grey Street East works was done in order to meet the timeframes for the much needed building development.”

A site meeting was held on September 4 last year and three members of the public attended.

The main concern raised was the reduction of parking bays, which is expected to be 14.

The City has said it is working with the Premier Hotel developer to secure a lease over the rear portion of the property for parking use.

“This would have the provision of an additional 40 bays once finalised,” the document states.

“The proposed term of this lease is 20 years but subject to negotiation with the developer.”

The Development and Infrastructure Services Committee will meet on February 13 to make its decision ahead of a full council meeting.

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Smooth ride for first day

THE first day back at school went pretty smoothly for Little Grove Primary students Liesel Freebury and Darcy Griffith on Monday, once Darcy found his classroom.

The pre-primary student said he thought he was still in kindergarten and went through the wrong door.

“I thought my friend Hudson was in there but it was the wrong one,” the grinning tot said.

This year marks Darcy’s first full-time year at school, having completed kindy at Little Grove last year.

He is looking forward to playing with blocks and being with his friends.

On the other side of the school, Liesel is entering her final year of primary school and is excited for the future.

She “really likes” school and highly values her education.

“School is quite important to me,” Liesel said.

“I like to learn things because you need to know things to get around.”

Liesel was happy to see her friends again and plans to have lots of fun in her final year before embarking on her high school journey.

She thinks she’ll miss her teachers the most when she leaves, but is looking forward to extracurricular activities such as woodwork when she starts year seven.

Principal Darryn Martin said the 178-student school’s biggest cohort this year is the year six group, with 30 students.

One new teacher has joined the staff and there are seven classes in total.

Mr Martin said everything has been smooth sailing so far.

“One of our focus areas this year is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics),” he said.

“We have our STEM Club on Wednesday afternoons where the kids can learn more about things such as robotics, especially with the technology grant we received.

“We also received a CBH grant for an outdoor classroom/shelter, which we hope will be done by the end of term one.

“Darcy’s mum is an architect so she’s drawing it up, and Liesel’s mum is a landscaper, so she will be helping too.

“We’re a very family-orientated school.”

Term one will wrap up on April 12 for a two-week break before students return on April 29.

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Monumental life

WHEN Albany resident Sheryl Nostrini was ill five years ago her goal to preserve the family history was only in its infancy.

After 18 months of research, a trip or two to Italy and years spent writing, Mrs Nostrini finished her first novel Emilia and the Monument Builder: Remembering the Sacrifice detailing the lives of Emilia and Giovanni Nostrini.

Mrs Nostrini said the book was primarily about the lives of her mother and father-in-law while they were in Italy during World War II and the mark they left on Albany.

“Giovanni, or Jack as he was known in Australia, came from Somma Lombardo outside of Milan,” she said.

“And he built the Mount Clarence Desert Mounted Corps Memorial not long after he was made an Australian citizen.”

Mrs Nostrini said George Hodgson who was subcontracted by Harold Hartman gave Mr Nostrini the task of building the monument.

“The blocks came from Port Said after the 1956 Suez Crisis and were all numbered,” she said.

“Jack had to put them all in the proper order because the blocks were numbered and cut to fit the space they were needed in.

“After they were placed he went through and filled all of the joins by hand.

“There were no fancy bits of machinery back then.”

Sheryl Nostrini’s father-in-law Giovanni Nostrini guiding the blocks into position. Courtesy: Sheryl Nostrini.

The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial was originally constructed in 1932 at Port Said and was irreparably damaged during the Suez Crisis where the first bronze cast statue was destroyed.

Mrs Nostrini said Mr Nostrini had some trouble when receiving the replica statue from Milan.

“When they received the statue it was damaged and no one in Australia could repair it,” she said.

“It had to be sent back to Milan and repaired before it could go on top of the monument.”

Mrs Nostrini said Jack’s life in Italy before moving to Australia was a tumultuous one.

“Jack had an amazing life and that history should be preserved,” she said.

“He was in Montenegro when Italy capitulated to the Allies. He became an enemy of the Nazis and had to escape across the Adriatic Sea.

“He then walked from the south to the north of Italy, through a war zone and survived.

“It’s just an amazing story.”

Mrs Nostrini said the inspiration behind the title of the book lay in the lives of Giovanni and Emilia.

“Both of them sacrificed a lot to give their families a better life in Australia,” she said.

“Emilia had only ever been an hour or two outside of her village before she moved to Australia.

“In coming here they both ensured that their sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and now great great-grand child, do have better lives.”

Mrs Nostrini said she would officially launch at the Albany Italian Club on February 9 from 4pm to 6.30pm.

“Anyone is welcome to come along,” she said.

The book will also be for sale at Paperbark Merchants.

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Division flagged

LESS than 24 hours after the Australia Day weekend, one councillor at a Great Southern shire called the Aboriginal flag “a minority group flag” and another argued that moves to fly it might “drive political leverage by stealth”.

In February last year, The Weekender revealed that Minang man Mark Colbung – who grew up near Mount Barker – had asked Shire of Plantagenet councillors why there was no Aboriginal flag flown outside their chambers, as there is in Albany where he now lives.

“Everywhere [else] you go, there’s an Aboriginal flag flown 24/7,” Mr Colbung told Plantagenet councillors at the time.

“Is there a problem?”

Fast forward 11 months and, at a Plantagenet council meeting on Tuesday afternoon, councillors voted 7-2 to fly the Aboriginal flag outside the chambers.

After Cr Len Handasyde moved that the flag be approved, Cr Brett Bell read from a prepared statement that said differential treatment of Aboriginal people had caused problems in the past.

“I know that this could be a sensitive issue,” he said, adding that differential treatment needed to stop.

He said he supported the Australian flag only outside the chambers because it represented “us all”, as opposed to a “minority group flag”.

He added that most Plantagenet ratepayers would not support the Shire hoisting the Aboriginal flag.

Cr Bell’s statements came one day after the Australia Day weekend when many Aboriginal people around the nation protested colonisation.

Also reading from prepared notes, Cr Jeff Moir said flying “an alternate flag” was “contrary to the values of our democracy”.

“The Australian flag is everybody’s flag and has been since Federation in 1901,” he said.

Cr Moir said that Australia’s first peoples needed to be acknowledged and respected but so too did every other Australian.

He said he suspected the “true motive” of seeking approval to fly the “alternate flag” was “to drive political leverage by stealth”.

“The result will be divisive,” he said.

Former Shire President Ken Clements said he was “neither one way or the other on this” but added he would prefer the Western Australian flag be flown out front rather than the Australian one.

“Technically [the Shire is] a product of the State, not the Federation,” he said.

The last word belonged to Cr Handasyde.

“Yes, we are a nation under one flag,” he summed up.

“And that will take precedence.

“Whilst we look back in the past, we can learn from that and we have to have our eyes firmly on the future.”

Two flag poles to carry the Aboriginal and Plantagenet flags will now be added to existing poles that support the Australian and Western Australian flags.

The Aboriginal, Australian, Western Australian and Plantagenet flags already co-exist inside the council chambers, behind the chair of Shire President Chris Pavlovich.

IMAGE: The Aboriginal flag will join the Australian and Western Australian ones outside the Plantagenet shire offices in Mount Barker. Photo: Chris Thomson

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‘And then there were three’

SOUTHWEST MLC Steve Thomas says a bid by Albany, Denmark and Plantagenet is probably the only one from the Great Southern or Southwest to have been shortlisted in the race to host an $18 million bushfire centre of excellence.

Dr Thomas said he understood Serpentine-Jarrahdale in metropolitan Perth and Pinjarra in the adjoining Peel Region were the only other places left in the running.

“When [Emergency Services] Minister [Fran Logan] is down in Albany next week would be a prime time to announce the successful proposal given it is now almost a year since the centre and Rural Fire Division were announced,” the Liberals’ Emergency Services spokesman said.

“The Minister has had long enough.

“He’s been back at work [after the Christmas break] for nearly a month.”

On April 13, Mr Logan announced the centre would be built – in line with a recommendation of the January 2016 Waroona Bushfire Special Inquiry.

The deadline for proposals was October 24, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services has forwarded a shortlist of contenders to the Government for determination.

Mr Logan told The Weekender the location of the centre was to be con- sidered by Cabinet and therefore confidential.

“I said previously that the announcement about the new centre, which will be a first of its kind, needs to be considered carefully and won’t be announced during the peak of this bushfire season,” he explained.

“This centre is about harnessing the best in bushfire management knowledge and experience, and has the potential to become an international centre of learning.

“I would hope that instead of continually making mischief around this important centre devised by the McGowan Labor Government, and bushfire management, Dr Thomas would get on board to support this record investment in bushfire management rather than continually attempt to detract from it.”

But, with most Cabinet Ministers set to hit Albany next week, Dr Thomas said now would be the best time to make the centre’s location public.

“This is an opportunity for the Minister to be courageous and make the courageous decision to announce the centre will be going into a regional area and not into metropolitan Perth,” he said.

The metropolitan municipality of Serpentine- Jarrahdale sits in the Darling Range electorate won by the Liberals after Labor’s Barry Urban resigned following the fake qualifications fiasco.

Pinjarra is in the Labor electorate of Robyn Clarke.

Albany has long been held by Labor’s Peter Watson, while Denmark and Plantagenet are in Warren-Blackwood held by the Nationals’ Terry Redman.

City of Albany CEO Andrew Sharpe said he had received “no formal response” from the State on whether the Albany/ Denmark/Plantagenet bid had been shortlisted.

“We understand submissions are still being considered via a comprehensive process…,” he added.

The $18 million centre of excellence will see volunteers show other volunteers how to fight bushfires, and help develop new bushfire management principles.

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