Oncology unit a step closer

THE radiation oncology service that had State funding secured in March this year is a step closer to completion with a site for the new specialised bunker identified in Albany and design planning underway.

Earlier this year the State Government announced that $13.1 million intended for the Albany Wave Energy project would be relocated to help pay for a new radiotherapy oncology unit at the Albany Health Campus.

The new oncology service will provide treatment closer to home for suitable cancer patients in the Great Southern region.

Minister for Health Roger Cook said the McGowan Government had invested the funds in the project to provide the Albany Health Campus with the infrastructure to deliver radiation oncology services.

So far in the project the WA Country Health Service has completed the concept brief, feasibility study and business case, chosen the site for the Linac Suite, appointed a lead consultant and commenced the design and development phase.

The Linac Suite, a specialised bunker, will be located within the Cancer Centre at Albany Health Campus.

The suite will deliver radiation oncology services using high energy x-rays which destroy cancer cells while sparing the surrounding tissue.

Member for Albany Peter Watson said the service would provide patients the opportunity to stay at home with family and friends rather than travel to Perth for treatment.

“With the Great Southern population due to grow by more than seven per cent in the next decade, services like these will be in more demand,” he said.

“With the site for the new Linac Suite in the hospital chosen and the planning well underway, cancer patients in the Great Southern can be assured of receiving this new life saving service as soon as practically possible.”

Construction for the bunker will take around 12 months after planning is completed with the service anticipated to be operational in early 2022.

The estimated demand on radiation oncology services in the Great Southern is anticipated to increase from around 4000 cases in 2016-17 to more than 6000 by 2030-31.

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Carols to change venue

ALBANY’S annual Christmas sing-along event is back this year in a new venue and organisers are excited to get the show on the road for this weekend.

The 67th Apex Carols by Candlelight at Ellen Cove was cancelled last year due to strong winds and threatening weather, so this year will again be the 67th event.

The Carols will be held at Alison Hartman Gardens this year instead of at Ellen Cove as earthworks currently underway at Middleton Beach are taking up most of the space.

Apex Albany’s Brendon Bailey said the December 21 family-friendly event would commence at 7pm and Santa would arrive at approximately 8.15pm.

A sausage sizzle and tea and coffee will be available to people also; Mr Bailey encouraged people to come down around 6.30pm to get a spot on the grass and a bite to eat before the Carols begins.

“The Apex Club feels that this is an important tradition to keep alive as it promotes community involvement and good spirit for the Christmas period,” he said.

“We have a group of local musicians and singers, including soloists Karlie Butler and Emma Davis with Findlay Macnish on the keyboard, who has been supporting the event for more than 20 years.”

Inside Thursday’s copy of the Weekender is the special Carols by Candlelight booklet, containing all the information you need to know about the evening plus the lyrics of the carols that will be sung.

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Boat stay law onboard

THE City of Albany will apply to Governor Kim Beazley to implement a new local law that would allow people to stay in their boats at the Emu Point Boat Pens the City council voted to approve it.

On Tuesday night it was not all-smooth sailing when item CCS200 to approve the final draft of the Jetties, Bridges, Boat Pens and Swimming Enclosures Local Law and release it to public was raised.

Councillors Paul Terry and John Shanhun moved and seconded the motion.

Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks started proceedings by requesting an addendum be made to allow people to stay on their water craft at the pens for no longer than two consecutive days without written consent from the City.

Mayor Dennis Wellington said currently that the health requirements would not allow the City to allow guests to stay at the pens without written consent, as there was no potable water, ablutions or dump point for toilets on board.

“The question is if you want us to spend $100,000 on ablutions or not,” he said.

Cr Stocks said allowing people to stay at the pens for a short period of time would encourage visitors to come to Albany.

“I don’t think we should be creating ruleswhere we haven’t had problems in the past,” he said.

“If people have the facilities on their boat, why can’t they stay?”

Cr Terry said he was against the motion.

“If I was visiting Albany on a yacht, I wouldn’t stay at Emu Point,” he said.

“Most visiting yachts would stay in the town marina.”

Cr Stocks finished the debate by saying if they voted against the motion all they would have is civil disobedience.

“Let’s not create more red tape,” he said.

“Let’s not be the fun police.”

Councillors voted to approve the draft law nine to four with Mayor Dennis Wellington, Cr Terry and Yakamia councillors Chris Thomson and Alison Goode against.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sharpe will submit an application to the Department of Local Government to make an application to Governor Beazley to approve the new law.

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Serial offender jailed

SHEARER Wayde Alan Hambley will spend the next seven months in prison after he was sentenced for driving with a cancelled licence in Albany Magistrates Court last Thursday.

The 49-year-old had his licence disqualified for life on January 15, 2003 but was caught behind the wheel of a Ford Territory station wagon in Cranbrook shortly after 9pm on September 26.

Prosecuting Sergeant Dave Loverock said this was the fourth offence Mr Hambley had committed since the permanent disqualification.

He said the accused recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.12 when he was stopped, exceeding Western Australia’s legal limit of 0.05.

The court was told Mr Hambley was working as a shearer with his partner and stepson at the time the offence was committed.

His defence counsel Liz Hamilton said her client had been drinking and intended to drive the car a short distance from Cranbrook Hotel to their accommodation because he did not want to leave expensive shearing tools in the vehicle.

“The vehicle wasn’t lockable,” she said.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston said Mr Hambley had not learned from a suspended imprisonment order served to him previously.

“When people continue to drive while under suspension, they are wilfully defying the law. People do not significantly appreciate that that’s a jail-able offence,” she said.

“It’s not just a case of you driving while under suspension. You were intoxicated and you chose to drive.

“You thought the safety of the tools in your vehicle was more valuable than the safety of individuals on the road.

“An immediate term of imprisonment is appropriate.”

Mr Hambley was served further disqualifications and fined $1700 for the drink driving offence.

He waved to his mother in the back of the court as he was taken into custody.

“See-ya mum, love you,” he called.

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Share the Christmas spirit at a free lunch

SEVEN months of preparation and countless volunteer hours is what makes the annual Community Christmas Luncheon possible.

The annual event, first brought to Albany in 2005 by Pastor Steve Marshall and his wife Karen, invites people who do not have anyone to share Christmas with to have a free Christmas lunch with other members of the community.

It will again be held at Albany PCYC on Sanford Road and commence at noon on December 25.

“It’s open to everyone,” Mr Marshall said.

“People make new friends and for one day, everyone puts aside their differences and becomes one big family.

“It’s a really fun atmosphere.”

Mr Marshall said several local businesses had contributed donations to the event and offered up the use of their kitchens for volunteers to cook the Christmas lunch in.

More than 400 people attended the luncheon last year.

“I’ve done this for 45 years – in Rockingham before Albany – and I have to say, I think Albany is one of the most generous communities,” he said.

“Lots of people come together for the cause, and that’s significant.”

Mr Marshall said there was still time for people to register to attend the free luncheon.

Simply call Mr Marshall on 0412 850 105 or 9844 4550, Member for Albany Peter Watson’s office on 9841 8799 or register online at christmasluncheon.org

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Tender awarded for artificial surf reef

THE City of Albany has awarded a tender for the detailed design of an artificial surf reef at Middleton Beach to a company with proven experience in artificial reef structures.

Bluecoast Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd specialise in coastal engineering, monitoring and management, modelling and design, and climate change resistance.

Their previous involvement in the feasibility study for the reef project, and the Emu Point to Middleton Beach Coastal Adaptation work in 2017, has given them experience working with Albany’s conditions.

Albany Boardriders Club President Dave Beeck said having an artificial surf reef was finally coming to fruition after nearly 30 years of petitioning local government and members of parliament.

“There is nice, clean swell at Middleton Beach in winter, but no breaks,” he said.

“If you’re a kid that doesn’t have parents that surf, there’s no where to go that’s close by.

“Having a reef that is surfable for beginners will be great.”

Mr Beeck said creating surf at Middleton Beach would not just be positive for the surfers.

“Wherever there is surf break, the property price skyrockets,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sharpe said the Bluecoast team is recognised for their innovative approach to employing cutting-edge technology and research in their work.

“They have proven experience in artificial reef structures and the challenges a project like this presents, having recently completed the successful Palm Beach artificial reef on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“Our major projects team will work closely with Bluecoast on this detailed design phase to get a better picture of what structure design will work and what it will cost to build.”

Regular users of Middleton Beach and key stakeholders will be consulted as part of the detailed design, with a Project Steering and Working Group already established and a community forum planned for early next year.

The City is also partnering with the Wave Energy Research Centre based at Albany’s UWA Campus to peer review the design process and strengthen confidence in the design.

Mr Sharpe said the centre had already made a significant contribution to the work to date.

“The Wave Energy Research Centre has expertise in waves and coastal processes, along with Albany-based research infrastructure that will be invaluable support to the detailed design process,” he said.

The State Government committed $5 million towards the Albany Artificial Surf Reef at the last state election, allowing the detailed design phase to progress.

The detailed design process is expected to be complete in mid-2020 and will allow further funding to be leveraged to build the reef, which is currently estimated to cost $9 million.

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Jingle all the way

A FAMILY in Albany has made it their mission to bring extra smiles and joy to others this festive season.

The Stewart family, comprised of Adrian, Sheila, Keeran, Hayden and Bryson, moved to Albany two years ago after living in Geraldton.

It was in Geraldton that they began the Christmas car tradition, which involved dressing up their Mitsubishi Pajero with tinsel, lights, flags and a sleigh, and blasting Christmas carols and songs out of speakers.

They would drive the streets of town upon request from the public and have now brought that tradition to Albany.

Dozens of people have requested the car take a trip past their house in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We just want to spread some Christmas cheer and bring people together,” Ms Stewart said.

“It warms people’s hearts.”

Mr and Ms Stewart’s son Keeran, pictured, said seeing the smiles on children’s faces was his favourite part of being involved in his family’s tradition.

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Buzz about backyard beekeeping

A NEW local law to allow City of Albany residents to keep bees as a hobby in residential areas will go to public comment after councillors voted in favour of the law on Tuesday night.

Council voted 12 to one earlier this week to make the Animals Local Law and give notice of statewide public notice two years after receiving a petition to allow residents to keep bees in residential areas.

Councillors Chris Thomson and Greg Stocks moved and seconded the motion.

Cr Thomson said making the law would be a significant red tape reduction.

“This is a fantastic motion, particularly about the bees,” he said.

“I think people move to Albany to get back to basics and live a more organic life.”

Debate kicked off after Councillor Paul Terry sought to add that an addition be made to section 8.2 that would require all poultry feed to be stored in vermin proof containers.

Councillor Robbie Sutton was vocal in his opposition to the amendment.

“Who’s going to police this?” he said.

“Are we going to make people who mulch their garden with hay and pea straw keep it in vermin proof containers?

“Talk about creating red tape. This is ridiculous. Local government gone crazy.

“What about people who give their chooks veggie scraps? Will they need to be stored in vermin proof containers?”

Cr Terry said it was common sense to store poultry feed items such as “chook pellets”.

Cr Thomson said “distributing scraps, isn’t storing scraps”.

Cr Sutton was the only member to vote against the motion.

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Drink driving ‘a stupid thing to do’

A YOUNG woman who blew more than five times the legal alcohol limit when she was stopped in Mount Barker earlier this year has been reprimanded in Albany Magistrates Court.

Kelly Marie Anderson returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.261gms per 100ml of blood when police pulled her over in her Hyundai Tucson on Osborne Road on October 3.

Appearing before Magistrate Raelene Johnston shortly before 10am last Thursday, Ms Anderson said she “just didn’t think” and admitted drink driving was “a stupid thing to do”.

“That’s a ridiculously high reading,” Magistrate Johnston said.

“The chances of you causing an accident or causing a death are enhanced when you’re driving in that state.”

Ms Anderson was fined $1525.90, including court costs, and had her licence disqualified for 10 months.

Albany Magistrates Court has dealt with numerous substantial drink-driving offences in the past few months.

In late October, 35-year-old Rick Gregory Millan was fined more than $4000 and lost his licence for at least three years after he crashed his car into a Kalgan paddock while intoxicated.

Mr Millan had had his licence disqualified for drink driving mere hours before the accident.

The month prior, Jeremy Moncrieff and Kelsie Armstrong also received significant fines and disqualifications for recording blood alcohol readings of 0.198 and 0.132 respectively.

In Australia, it is an offence to drive with a reading of 0.05 or higher.

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Waste not want not

AN ALBANY-based fresh produce business has taken a new step towards reducing food waste by introducing freeze-dried products.

Handasyde Strawberries purchased a machine capable of such technique in September and began selling freeze-dried products last week.

Similar to Woolworths’ The Odd Bunch, the procedure aims to prevent perfectly edible food that may simply not look as nice as the regular produce for sale from being thrown away for being “ugly”.

So far, Handasyde Strawberries has successfully put strawberries, lemons, limes, gelato, mushrooms, asparagus and raspberries through the machine.

“We don’t throw anything away,” owner Lyn Handasyde said of her strawberries.

“Anything we don’t use for jam or gelato, we freeze-dry.”

The freeze-dried strawberries have been available for sale for no more than two weeks and people are already queuing up to get their hands on more.

“We had one lady order eight bags and we’ve had people call up and say, ‘are they ready yet?’,” Ms Handasyde laughed.

“There’s certainly growing demand for it.”

The freeze-dried method works by placing the prepared produce into the machine and freezing it, before it is placed into a vacuum chamber which sucks all of the water out of the produce – the water sublimates, converting from ice to vapor.

The end result is a lighter version of the original product with a crunchy, meringue-like texture.

The process extends produce shelf life to up to two years.

Neil and Ms Handasyde revealed that local chefs and restaurants had already shown their interest in showcasing the freeze-dried products on their menus.

The pair are also looking at freeze-drying truffles.

“It’s just amazing what foodies have done with it,” Ms Handasyde said of the freeze-dried strawberries.

“We have our local honey guy who has used the powder form of the strawberries and mixed it in with his creamed honey – it makes pink honey.”

Strawberry wine is also now on the cards.

The freeze-drying machine cost the Handasydes approximately $188,000 but they were given a helping hand from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in the form of a $75,000 grant.

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