Albany stars in series

ALBANY is once again playing centre stage on the silver screen with the commencement of season two filming of ABC children’s adventure series Itch.

Production staff and actors rolled into town yesterday for three weeks of camera action.

Starring Perth-based Samuel Ireland, Itch follows the story of teen Itchingham Lofte who discovers an unknown element.

Season one followed Itch’s journey to keep the element out of the hands of the government and an evil corporation.

Series two will see Itch and his friends tackle a new issue: dead fish are washing up on the shores of town after a boat explosion.

The teens suspect an evil corporation is behind it and seek to uncover the truth themselves.

Komixx Entertainment Australia Managing Director Amanda Morrison said the show had enjoyed fantastic reception worldwide.

“Our US audience, where Itch is currently broadcasting, are loving the action-packed on-screen adventure and unique West Australian landscapes, and we are anticipating our UK launch with the BBC,” she said.

“We will be building on the universal themes of science and environmentalism in series two, which will again be produced entirely out of WA; celebrating the talent of our local industry and showcasing the Great Southern and Peel regions to audiences across the world.”

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Denmark tourism future in dispute

A COMMUNITY group that formed solely for the purpose of creating a modernised visitor centre in Denmark will likely dissolve in the coming weeks after a Shire decision on their proposal “let the industry down”.

Denmark Tourism Incorporation (DTI) formed four months ago after the now-defunct Denmark Visitor Centre shut up shop on July 31.

DTI Operations Manager Beverley Ford said the group asked the Shire of Denmark for a 20-month tenure to launch a new visitor centre, with the goal to create a business model that eventually paid for itself.

However, after an officer recommendation, the Shire was only willing to offer the organisation eight months.

“It was very disappointing. We were concerned there were some misleading points in the wording of the officer recommendation, and we tried to make it clear to the councillors that the whole guts of our proposal was that we wanted to create an attraction in the building and a model of visitor servicing that became self-sustainable,” Ms Ford said.

“That can’t be done in eight months.”

However, Shire of Denmark Acting CEO David Schober said the DTI was asking for much more than 20 months.

“I can categorically say that the proposal [Beverley] provided was a three-year tenure and a three-year option and another three years behind that, so she was asking for nine years in writing to the Shire,” he said.

“[Our offer] wasn’t saying you can only operate for eight months, but it was certainly saying you’ve got it for eight months and then we’ll renegotiate at the March quarter.

“Their proposal was to go for nine years. There was an alternate motion from a councillor that took it from eight months through to 20 months to potentially go through to June 30, 2022 but that was narrowly lost three votes to four.”

Ms Ford said DTI had written to the Shire to reject the offer.

“It is not practical in any way for us to accept it because we would be bound to fail,” she said.

“We have written this morning to the CEO and all the councillors that we would not be accepting the eight months.”

Following the disappointing outcome, Ms Ford said it was more than likely that the DTI would no longer exist in the coming months.

“We will most likely dissolve. We’ve got a few bits of action that we’re going to consider taking, then after that I’ll have to find out what is required to dissolve us.

“We feel gutted.”

Mr Schober said in the meantime a tourism strategy for Denmark would be developed to direct the future direction of the industry in the coming years.

“The theme of the meeting was that the tourism strategy was the most important element, and without a dedicated tourism strategy to guide the future use of both the building and tourism as a whole, the councillors ultimately didn’t want to be locked into something into the longer term without understanding everything from a tourism strategy perspective,” he said.

“It’ll be developed by the Shire, we’ll be seeking an expert consultant to work with the community to develop that and then to provide a draft by about March or April next year.

“That will still go forward to provide Council and the community with the Shire’s intentions around tourism.”

Mr Schober said the future of a physical facility is not set in stone. “If it’s the view of experts that a bricks and mortar visitors centre is what’s required then that’s what will be recommended, but equally if the review and community and industry come up with an alternative, then that’s ultimately how council will be guided,” he said.

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War nurses remembered

THE sacrifices and efforts of Australian nurses during war and peacetime will be remembered at a special ceremony this weekend in Albany.

The Nurses Memorial Service will take place this Sunday, October 25 from 2pm at the RSL Nurses Memorial Garden on Proudlove Parade.

This year is the 83rd year the ceremony has been held in Albany and marks 45 years since the end of the Vietnam War.

Nurses Remembrance Association of Albany Secretary Heather Malacari said the Vietnam War would have particular emphasis in this year’s service.

“A lot of the nurses weren’t allowed to talk about their experiences from this time, so here is the chance for those stories to be told,” she said.

“Our keynote speaker, Sue Lefroy, will be talking about the nurses who were in South Vietnam.”

Ms Malacari said the nurse memorial service recognised all nurses from all time periods, including those working during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the challenges we’ve had this year, especially for our nurses on the frontline, it would be so lovely for our present-day nurses to be recognised,” she said.

RSL Special Functions Chair Michael Tugwell will give the opening address, followed by a guard mount of police rangers, Guides and Scouts.

After the Australian and New Zealand national anthems, Museum of the Great Southern Manager Catherine Salmaggi will give the welcome address.

Reverend Helen Barnard will say the prayer, read from the Bible and give the Benediction, and Julie Bright from the Nurses Remembrance Association of Albany will read the Ode.

The Year 10 Girls Choir from Great Southern Grammar will perform I’ll Never Find Another You, and join with attendees to sing Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art.

The City of Albany Band will play the Last Post and Rouse.

Ms Malacari will read the poem At Your Side He Will Remain, written by Becky Coleman.

Following the proceedings, attendees are welcome to an afternoon tea at the RSL clubrooms under the Stirling Club, on Stirling Terrace.

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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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Lake’s rehabilitation clear to see

KATANNING’S Lake Ewlyamartup has a brighter future following major engineering works to manage its water quality.

At a recent event held at the lake, the working group that initiated improvements around the water body was acknowledged for its decade of commitment to the 100ha lake.

Great Southern Development Commission (GSDC) CEO Bruce Manning told attendees the Commission’s involvement began soon after the Lake Ewlyamartup Working Group called a 130-strong meeting in 2010 to initiate action on the condition of the lake.

Mr Manning said the working group and Katanning Landcare were the key bodies in the long-term rehabilitation of the lake.

“This is a great example of sustained community proactivity addressing long-term issues,” he said.

“Early in the process, following the good work of the working group and Katanning Landcare, we supported planning for engineering and recreation works that informed actions by local landholders and helped to leverage funds for user facilities at the lake.

“Following that ground-work, the State Government provided $3.7 million in funding, which aimed to improve the water quality of Lake Ewlyamartup and Lake Yealering.

“Those recent works around Lake Ewlyamartup have now established a flushing channel, road culvert and bund to help improve the lake’s water quality by removing saline water.

“Along with further improvements for users, the aim is to have a healthier water body that attracts visitors and encourages inland water recreation.”

The Lake Ewlyamartup Working Group was presented with gifts acknowledging its work to improve the lake.

Mr Manning also thanked the Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management, which was the project coordinator for the Living Lakes program.

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