Para sailing pathway

A STATE sailing contest for people with a disability taking place in Albany this weekend could be an important stepping-stone for events like the Paralympics, according to its organiser.

Coordinator Mark Paynter said the Hansa WA Sailing Championships, being held at Princess Royal Sailing Club (PRSC) for the first time, could act as a “pathway” for sailors with a disability eager to compete internationally.

The Hansa 303 and slightly larger Hansa Liberty are the two types of vessels being used at the event and are specifically designed to suit those living with disability.

“Hansa are a class of boat that are sailed internationally, so if we can prepare our sailors for these, they’ve got an opportunity to not just sail down here but in competitions across Australia and the world,” Mr Paynter said.

“These craft are designed for confidence building and have a high level of stability, but still require skill to sail them.

“If sailing were to be re-introduced to the Paralympics, then probably the Hansa 303 would be the boats used.”

The sport has been officially discarded from the Paralympics in Tokyo this year.

Mr Paynter, who also heads PRSC’s decade-old Sailability program, noted sailing provided people with disability a chance to both engage with the sport and the broader community.

“This particular championship brings Sailability and other programs for people with disability into the mainstream, and that’s why it’s important,” Mr Paynter said.

“Through these, people develop the skills they need from qualified instructors.”

Sixteen participants from Perth and Albany are expected to compete this Saturday and Sunday, ranging in age from 12 to 84.

More information about the event and bi-weekly Sailability program can be found at and on the Club’s Facebook page.

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Breaksea icon undergoes restoration

ALBANY’S iconic Breaksea Island lighthouse is currently undergoing a $1.9 million maintenance facelift.

The lighthouse, which inspired Albany author Dianne Wolfer’s book Lighthouse Girl, was identified by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as a priority for refurbishment in 2018.

The Breaksea Island lighthouse, built in 1902, is one of more than 60 heritage listed lighthouses.

It is the same one that was once home to a young Fay Howe, famous for translating soldiers’ messages and passing them on to their families as they departed Albany for World War I.

It was built to replace an earlier pre-fabricated cast-iron lighthouse that was built in 1858.

“Getting our contractors and their materials onto these remote sites is a big part of the logistical challenge of maintaining our lighthouses and our broader aids to the navigation network,” an AMSA spokesperson said.

“It’s a technical and logistical challenge, but both AMSA and our expert contractors are well-equipped to take it on.”

The works include the removal of lead paint internally and externally, repairs to the lantern room and stair corrosion, and external stone work.

AMSA Project Engineer Daniel Atkins said the entire siteworks were expected to be completed within 21 weeks.

“Definitely one of the most challenging parts of this project is the logistics,” he said.

“The majority of our lighthouses are located in logistically challenging places, in harsh marine environments – we had to have 60 loads [of materials] delivered to the site by helicopter.”

Mr Atkins said lighthouses would always be relevant, hence worth maintaining.

“There’s been a lot of technological improvements over time for navigation in vessels, but that still doesn’t outstrip the need for traditional lighthouses,” he said.

“They are an important navigational tool as well as having cultural importance.

“I think everyone is drawn to lighthouses; they hold a special place for many people.”

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Champion of the people

MINISTER for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan has reiterated she will not run for the Seat of Albany following current member Peter Watson’s announcement this week that he would retire from his position at the 2021 state election.

Frequently asked whether she would make a permanent sea change to her Albany abode during various press conferences, Ms MacTiernan told the Weekender it wasn’t for her.

“I absolutely love being in Albany but I think there are other ways for me to continue to fly the flag for regional WA,” she said.

“We are all going to miss Watto and his very special style of advocacy.

“He has been an extraordinary standard bearer for the town.”

By not re-contesting his seat next year, Mr Watson will miss out on the record for longest serving ML A for the Seat of Albany by just 20 days.

He was first elected to the position in 2001, knocking out Liberal politician Kevin Prince who held the seat for eight years.

He was reelected consecutively four times after that.

Mr Watson was appointed Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 2017 after being Acting Speaker from March 2005 to August 2008 and again from November 2008 to January 2013.

The Labor MP said his career highlights included advocating for survivors of sexual abuse at St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning, the development of Albany’s marina, entertainment centre and Anzac Peace Park, delivering a radiation oncology centre for Albany Health Campus and securing $15.2 million for Mt Lockyer Primary School’s major facelift.

“It has been a tremendous honour to have served the people of Albany since 2001,” Mr Watson said.

“I am incredibly proud that I have been able to change so many people’s lives for the better, and to play a part in a significant transformation of Albany over the past 20 years.”

Premier Mark McGowan congratulated Mr Watson for his service.

“Peter is one of WA’s most loved and recognised Members of Parliament and is highly respected, particularly in Albany,” he said.

“He has been truly embedded within the Albany community for the past 20 years and has advocated fiercely for his electorate.

“I thank Peter for his years of service to his electorate and Western Australia and wish him and his family well for the next chapter of his life.”

Mr Watson plans to travel with his partner Dianne and their dog Harry and spend more time with their grandchildren during his retirement.

He said his political successor should be someone who holds the same values as him, has strong ties to the community and would always put the people of Albany first.

“They will need to have a strong work ethic, empathy with people who are doing it tough, and be willing to fight for a cause no matter what the outcome,” he said.

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Safer roads on the horizon

THE second stage of a roadwork project targeting a “high-risk” section of Albany Highway is set to begin later this month.

An 11km stretch of the route running from Kojonup to Balgarup Road will be widened to 11 metres with two metre sealed shoulders.

It will also see safety barriers, pavement markings, audible edge lines and other minor intersection treatments implemented

The $3.85m expansion comes as part of a larger Regional Road Safety Program targeting 60km of road across seven regional areas in the state at risk of single vehicle run-off crashes.

Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said these types of accidents were “one of the biggest causes of fatal and serious injury crashes in regional Western Australia.”

“We’re seeing more and more crashes caused by simple errors of judgements or moments of inattention,” she said.

“Safety treatments like widening the road, installing safety barriers and sealing the shoulders will create a safer environment on those high-risk roads.”

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Rita Saffioti told the Weekender that crash density on the targeted section of Albany Highway was “greater than other sections of the road network”.

“The predominant crash type on Albany Highway, outside the metropolitan area, is a single vehicle run-off road crash,” they said.

The Great Southern had 42 run-off road crashes resulting in at least one fatality between 2014 and 2019.

There were 241 general crashes on Albany Highway between Kojonup-Katanning Road and South Coast Highway near Albany in the five years to December 31, 2018.

Of these, six were fatal and 71 required hospital or medical treatment.

The stage two roadwork between Kojonup and Balgarup Road will build on clearing, earthwork and drainage improvements completed there in May last year.

Construction is expected to wrap up in June.

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100,000 reasons to smile

AN ALBANY shopper is now nearly $100,000 richer thanks to Saturday’s Super66 Division One Draw.

Lotterywest announced on Monday that a ticket sold at Clarks Newsagency on York Street had won $99,134.

Owner of Clarks Newsagency Greg Hopkins said he was delighted to see another win come from his store.

“I’ve been here for around 20 years and, in that time, our store has sold more than 20 Division One prizes,” he said.

“Although we’ve had a few Division One wins over the year, the feeling you get when you discover you have sold another one never gets old.”

Lotterywest spokesperson James Mooney said WA’s good fortune was spreading throughout the state.

“2020 has been very kind to WA players, with eight Division One games sold throughout the early stages of this year,” he said.

“Most of these games were sold north of Perth, so to see a Division One prize from Mandurah and Albany this time is proof a life-changing prize can be sold anywhere.

“On top of our run of winners, it’s also good to know by simply playing Lotterywest games you’re supporting hundreds of community groups.”

Albany has had more than a handful of lotto winners in recent years.

In 2018, a syndicate of 22 friends won $10 million on Oz Lotto and a married couple won $100,000 on a scratchie.

In 2017, a retired couple from the Great Southern won $420,000 on Saturday lotto and an Albany family won $670,000 on Saturday lotto.

In 2016, a workplace syndicate of 16 won $2.1 million on a Saturday Superdraw and a family won $300,000 on a scratchie.

In 2015, a couple from the Great Southern region won $3 million on Powerball, a person won $750,000 on Saturday Lotto and a couple won $100,000 on a scratchie.

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Possum pouches a perfect re-purpose

MORE than 30 pouches for baby possums and sugar gliders were handmade by a group of Albany crafters last week in response to the east coast’s cry out for help in protecting wildlife from the devastating bushfires.

Julie Crowe and Rachel Pontin were two of seven people who participated in a Refashion Session at Green Skills with the aim of helping injured wildlife.

The monthly session gives people the opportunity to reuse discarded materials to create new things, and this time, it was to make pouches for injured possums and sugar gliders.

The group made 33 pouches in two hours and sent the pouches to NSW this week.

“My daughter said she felt compelled to help the wildlife,” Ms Crowe said.

“We did a bit of research and found out that WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) was screaming out for sugar glider and possum pouches.

“We put it to the group, and everyone jumped on board.”

Ms Crowe had learned that during the fires, sugar gliders had begun dropping their babies accidentally over the fires due to disorientation.

The handmade pouches would be used as make-shift pouches for rescued animals.

“It’s empowering for the women because they are learning new skills as well as helping the environment, both by helping the wildlife and keeping materials out of landfill,” Ms Pontin said.

“We have monthly meets for the Refashion Sessions and it’s really the people who come along who decide what we make.

“So if more people want to make pouches, we have the patterns here that they can use.”

The next session will be on February 24, 6-8pm at the back of Green Skills Albany on Graham Street.

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Pipeline proposal a ‘short-term’ solution

A MULTIMILLION-dollar pipeline connecting Denmark to Albany’s water supply should be implemented alongside increased wastewater recycling, a prominent conservationist has said.

Little Grove environmentalist Tony Harrison said the State Government’s proposal to build a $32m water pipeline between the towns was a “short-term” solution to an issue requiring a “smarter” approach.

The plan as it stands would see Denmark connected to the Lower Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme (LGSTWSS), which currently feeds into Albany and Mount Barker, via Chorkerup Tank.

It was first announced last September after Quickup Dam, Denmark’s primary water source, looked to receive its lowest stream flow ever.

“The pipeline is a good idea but it’s a short-term thing that only plans five or 10 years ahead,” Mr Harrison told the Weekender.

“With climate change, less rainfall coming down, and growing populations, we can’t go on just drawing from the underground water.

“Total recycling of all our grey water would reduce the demand from the aquifers. We can’t just keep sucking on it.”

Currently Albany and Mount Barker’s grey water is treated at separate wastewater treatment plants and used to irrigate tree plantations and vineyards.

Mr Harrison helped champion the growing of blue gums in Albany by utilising this recycled water several decades ago, but has since said it is no longer an acceptable practice.

“That was 30 years ago. We’ve got to become a lot smarter with what we’re doing with our water now,” he said.

“I want Water Corporation to have further public consultation in Denmark, Mount Barker and Albany and let the people discuss it because this concerns everyone.”

According to Water Corporation, its current yearly allocation of 5.35 billion litres of water from the Albany Groundwater Area would be enough to supply Albany, Mount Barker and Denmark when it is connected to LGSTWSS.

Representatives from the organisation visited Denmark alongside Water Minister Dave Kelly, Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman and Member for South West Region Sally Talbot last Tuesday to discuss the proposal with more than 200 residents.

Mr Redman said he supported the idea of a pipeline to ensure access to a “secure and reliable” supply of water, but called out the Government for failing “to actively consult” the Denmark community prior to the September announcement.

“It is now up to the Minister for Water to ensure his agencies properly engage with affected landowners and keep the Denmark community abreast of developments,” he said.

Construction on the pipeline is expected to begin in June.

Water Corporation will be holding four walk-in information sessions about the project at Denmark Public Library on February 12, 16, 21 and 25.

The community can also provide feedback by visiting waterwisedenmark

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Police medal for Sergeant Johnson

MT BARKER Police’s Officer-in-Charge was recognised for his commitment to crime reduction and his relationships with Indigenous communities on the Australia Day Honours List.

Sgt David Johnson was awarded an Australian Police Medal on Sunday, one of four others in the state and one of 33 across the country.

He was recognised for his work as a Forensic Investigator, Sergeant and Senior Sergeant in Perth, as well as for his role as OIC in Kellerberrin and Mt Barker.

Sgt Johnson said he was a bit surprised but honoured to receive the award.

“This work is vitally important to me,” he said.

“Especially as an OIC, you need to be immersed in the community and engaging with people.”

One of Sgt Johnson’s current projects in Mt Barker is revitalising the Aboriginal Community Centre.

He has had regular meetings with members of the community to seek their input and to learn what programs they would like the centre to offer.

Sgt Johnson is also bringing back the Mountains and Murals Festival, which debuted last year and was labelled a huge success by residents and visitors.

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Food van launches

IN AN attempt to rectify issues of access to food for people in need, a handful of Albany organisations have funded a portable barbecue trailer to provide breakfast twice a week.

Tracy Sleeman from Albany Regional and Volunteer Service explained that the project had been on the boil for nearly 18 months, while waiting for and seeking funding and resources to be able to offer the service.

Together with Fran Seymour from Albany Red Cross, they visited Bunbury to learn more about how the township operated two food vans, three times per week.

They then received a trailer from the Albany Men’s Resource Centre and Ventroair’s Jason Lockhart refurbished it, with the help of some Albany Community Foundation funding.

“The Homeless Forum group of support services that we met with several times to talk about the food van supported the concept of what we were doing,” Ms Sleeman said.

“We talked to existing services of food relief including Foodbank and their school breakfast program and St Johns and Scots Church about their food kitchens.

“These, and reports on food insecurity from Foodbank, Addressing Homelessness in the Great Southern, and the WA Food Relief Frame- work 2019, told us we were heading in the right direction.”

Pivot Support Services, Barbeques Galore, Albany Signs and Pearson Spraypainters also got on board to get the trailer operational.

Ms Sleeman said the community support she’s received has been overwhelming and highly appreciated, as food insecurity is a hidden problem in Albany she says needs to be addressed.

“We tend to not see issues that don’t affect us directly,” she said.

“It’s not always about not having enough food; sometimes it’s about not having the transport, not knowing how to cook wholesome meals, having family issues where there may be drug abuse or domestic violence which leads to children missing meals because of instability at home … you only have to see that Foodbank Albany is supplying the equivalent of 30,000 meals per month to Albany people to see we have a need for food support.”

The barbecue trailer and Breakfast in the Park program officially launched at Foodbank Albany at 9am today.

To start with, the trailer will offer a bacon and egg burger to people in need on Tuesday mornings from 7-8am on Mokare Road, Spencer Park and on Wednesday mornings from 7-8am at the Old Gaol in town.

People interested in volunteering, hiring the trailer or wanting more information can email [email protected] or call 9841 3588.

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Game tackles dyslexia

A BOARD game designed to help people with dyslexia develop their literacy skills will be launched at Albany Public Library next Thursday.

Kanga Words is the brainchild of Albany retiree Don Titterton, who spent almost a decade developing it with the assistance of more than a dozen others.

The 75-year-old has lived with dyslexia his entire life and said he wanted to create a fun “educational tool” fine-tuned to suit individuals with learning difficulties.

“I was 35 when I first learned to read and write properly,” Mr Titterton said.

“This game is about the repetition. If kids with dyslexia play it once or twice a week, they can benefit greatly.”

Kanga Words somewhat resembles Scrabble in design and tasks players with making various words for points.

Words that contain other words within them, such as the word “phone” containing “hone” and “one”, are allocated additional points.

Mr Titterton, who regularly travels across Australia in his caravan, said the game had now been played by more than 200 people.

“I’ve tried it on strangers, I’ve tried it on rellies and friends and everybody loves playing it,” he said.

“While it’s great for people with dyslexia, it’s also useful for school kids in general and people in nursing homes who might need a mind stimulant.

“My long term goal is to travel around Australia going from library to library and running demos.”

Kanga Words will be showcased at the library from 5.30 – 7pm on February 6. Book by calling 6820 3600 or emailing [email protected]

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