Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Parade winners announced... and more photos

THANKS to New Norfolk resident Jackie Jackson, here is another gallery of images from New Norfolk's annual Christmas Parade held on December 13. Organiser Ngaire Glover has kindly provided the NNNews with details of the judging, with New Norfolk Primary School winning 50 Derwent Dollars for providing the best entry in the parade, with its students dressed in a mix of period costume and festive garb. Glenora District High School was second over all, winning 25 Derwent Dollars.

Other awards went to Lawrence Coaches (best decorated vehicle), Lions Club (best service club entry), State Emergency Service (best emergency service organisation), Triffitt family (best bicentennial theme), and the award for the best children's entry was shared by the Salvation Army's Communities for Children program and the Derwent Valley Dance Company.

Congratulations to all involved in this year's parade, which was the 10th since the event was revived in 1999. The parade is presented annually by the New Norfolk Business Alliance.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Leo sheds light on council neglect

MERCURY newspaper columnist Leo Schofield has at last lifted the lid on the neglect of the Willow Court historic site. Writing in his weekly column in yesterday's issue, Schofield drew attention the failure of the Derwent Valley Council to protect and promote the site.

"The owners of the site, Derwent Valley Council, have a program called Valley Vision, but to date little vision is evident," Schofield wrote. He went on to call on the State Government to intervene immediately, declare the site one of national importance, and take over its management and planning.

It certainly could be said that after eight years, the council has had more than enough time to develop the site. Responding to questions at last week's council annual general meeting, Mayor Tony Nicholson continued to blame the Federal Government and the Tasmanian Heritage Council.

Mayor Nicholson told the AGM that the council's plans for Willow Court had been stymied by the loss of Federal funds (which were withdrawn after remaining unspent for several years) and the actions of the Heritage Council (which had blocked the demolition of several historic buildings). When asked how much money had been raised through the sale of a large part of Willow Court several years ago, and why this had not been enough to kick-start the redevelopment process, Mayor Nicholson declined to answer and took the question on notice.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"I have no recollection of that"

THAT old chestnut, the Willow Court Special Committee, reared its head on several occasions at last night's annual general meeting of the Derwent Valley Council. In one instance, Mayor Tony Nicholson was asked why an official list showing councillor representation on various committees indicated he was the sole council representative on the Willow Court committee, when two months ago he had said other councillors were also on the committee. Mayor Nicholson responded by saying he had no recollection of making such a statement.

Another public question during the council AGM revealed that no elected members of the Derwent Valley Council sat on the important Spatial Planning Committee which has managed key initiatives such as the planter pots in Burnett St. It emerged that general manager Stephen Mackey was the council representative on this committee as no councillors had volunteered.

Later last night, in its monthly meeting for December, the council decided that it would have a councillor sitting on the newly appointed New Norfolk Business Alliance Special Committee, and that councillor would also be the chairman, thank you very much.

Vintager day likely to be repeated

VINTAGER day at the Derwent Valley Field and Game Club on December 7 drew about 35 people interested in having a shoot or inspecting various antique firearms on show. Club president Ray Williams is pictured above having a go a firing an 1890 English-made eight-bore shotgun at a clay target. "It is amazing that such an old firearm is still in fine working order and functions as well today as when first made in 1890," Ray told the NNNews.

"This particular sized firearm is not allowed to be used in bird hunting in Australia and this has been the case for around 50 years," Ray said. As can be seen in the photo, these old-style black powder firearms produce large quantities of smoke when fired. Another part of the fun on Vintager day was to dress in old English-style costumes.

As a result of the success of this social day the event is likely to be repeated in May. For more information about the club's activities, contact Ray Williams on 0418 124 171.

Successful students honoured

A LONG list of awards was presented to successful students at New Norfolk High School's annual prizegiving assembly a fortnight ago. Among the many guests was Derwent Valley Mayor Tony Nicholson, who described the event as the best prizegiving ceremony he had ever attended. Several students won multiple awards, including Lisa Clarke who was the most successful graduating student with five prizes, and Sara Lowe who received the NNHS Medal.

Below are the bursaries and Grade 10 awards. Congratulations to all recipients and to the donors who make the awards possible.

Bursaries - Charles and Sylvia Viertel Springboard to Higher Education Bursary: Lisa Clarke
Magra CWA Vocational Bursary: Jeremy Bowerman
Claremont College Bursary: Georgie Foley
Norske Skog Bursaries: Rhys Browning, Katelyn Turner, Nathan Lester and Mikhala Neads

Grade Ten Awards - New Norfolk High School Award (best Grade 1o all-rounder): Rhys Browning
New Norfolk High School Medal (most outstanding student): Sara Lowe
Apex Shield (for citizenship, service and fellowship): Lisa Clark and Louise McNeill
Glengrey House Award (for community service & citizenship): Jaime Zache
David Jefferson Award (for service to the school community): Jade Tatchell
Education Minister's Pride in our School Award: Jade Tatchell
Uniting Church Award (for personal endeavour & commitment to personal growth): Samantha Smith
Senator Carol Brown Award: Tiarne Morse
Claremont Rotary Club Award (for exemplary commitment to the values in education): Lisa Clarke.
New Norfolk Legacy Widows' Award (for a student who has received an apprenticeship or traineeship): Hayley Bannister
New Norfolk Bicentennial Committee Award (for commitment to community activities): Lisa Clarke.
Tim Morris MHA Award (for achievement in science or history & science): Sara Lowe and Lisa Clarke
Philip Lake Award (for achievement in maths): Rhys Browning
Australian Defence Force Long Tan Award (for leadership and teamwork): Jade Tatchell
Michael Graham Memorial Trophy (for boys' sport & sportsmanship): Shai Johnson
Stephen and Tina Rhodes Memorial Award (for girls' sporting values): Casey Bell
David Llewellyn MHA Award (for encouragement): Jeddah Triffitt
St John Ambulance Australia Service Award: Laura Dillon
Derwent Valley Gazette Literary Award (for achievement in communication): Sara Lowe
New Norfolk High School Award (for achievement in the arts/music): Luke Connor
New Norfolk High School Award (for excellence in visual arts): Hayley Bannister
New Norfolk High School Award (for excellence in graphic design): Sara Lowe
New Norfolk High School Award (performing arts): Tanya Taylor

Monday, December 15, 2008

Alliance back in business

COUNCILLORS tonight rejected a recommendation to leave New Norfolk business promotion funds with the Valley Vision group, voting instead for an earlier proposal to return responsibility to the New Norfolk Business Alliance.

When the Business Alliance recently approached the Derwent Valley Council about being declared a "Special Committee" under the Local Government Act, it was discovered that the council had appointed Valley Vision to manage the business promotion funds previously handled by the Alliance. Business Alliance members maintain that this transfer occurred without consultation.

The matter was resolved at tonight's December council meeting, with only Councillor Jim Elliott speaking in favour of the funds staying with Valley Vision. He moved that the council endorse the new recommendation of general manager Stephen Mackey, but the motion lapsed without a seconder.

Cr Judy Bromfield then moved that the council approve the general manager's earlier recommendation to the November meeting, which was that the Business Alliance become a Special Committee managing the funds. Cr Bromfield added a new clause ensuring that the new committee included a councillor as its chairman.

Most councillors spoke in support of Cr Bromfield's move, including Cr Richard Parker who went so far as to say Valley Vision had passed its use-by date. The matter was put to the vote, with only Cr Elliott opposing the new motion.

Speaking after the meeting, Cr Elliott told the NNNews that as the previous convenor of the Business Alliance, he had tried in vain to recruit new committee members before finally suggesting that Valley Vision be asked to step in.

GM admits report fell short

IN a display of leadership, Derwent Valley Council general manager Stephen Mackey tonight apologised for leaving out key information from a report on the future of the New Norfolk Business Alliance.

In an otherwise comprehensive six-page report tabled at last month's council meeting and largely repeated at tonight's December meeting, Mr Mackey had failed to mention that the funds and functions of the Business Alliance had some months ago been handed to economic development organisation Valley Vision.

When the matter was raised during public question time, Mr Mackey said he could only offer his apology for leaving out the information. Perhaps this is the start of a new era of transparency and accountability at the council.

New Norfolk loses Metro but gains Subway

THESE two stories have no connection but it was a great headline opportunity that could not be ignored.

A political storm erupted last week when the
State Government sold its contract for the New Norfolk bus run to a private operator only days after saying negotiations were only at an early stage. Another issue was the fact no-one was aware Metro was only running the service "on contract" rather than as a part of the government's community service obligation.

Metro chief executive officer Tony Sim said there would be no noticeable differences after O'Driscoll Coaches take over on December 27, other than different drivers and new buses.

And the other big news in New Norfolk is the opening of a local outlet of the giant Subway sandwich franchise. The move has been the subject of speculation for more than a year and was generally regarded as "one of those New Norfolk rumours" until the Subway signage went up today on the former Lucki's Takeaway site on the corner of High and Burnett Sts.

This is a prime site in the town and the new business is said to be opening this Wednesday. It is understood the owner has two other Subway franchises in the Hobart area. Good luck to all involved.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Council reports to community

THE Derwent Valley Council's annual general meeting will be held on Monday at 6pm in the New Norfolk Courthouse. There is still time for residents and ratepayers to collect a copy of the annual report and have their say on its contents at the meeting.

Rain fails to drown out the big parade

PERSISTENT light rain failed to dampen the spirits of those involved in in today's New Norfolk Christmas Parade. An appreciative audience clapped and cheered as one of the biggest pageants in recent years made its way around the central business district.

Below is a gallery of photos and
check back soon for a full report.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Community grants awarded

JUST over $5000 has been allocated to local organisations under the the Derwent Valley Council's community grants program for 2008. Reporting to last month's council meeting, deputy general manager Robert McCrossen said the program was designed to help local groups serving the community in the Derwent Valley. "The program will deliver either cash and/or in-kind support depending on the needs of the applicant," Mr McCrossen said. "A sub-committee consisting of Councillors Judy Bromfield, Craig Farrell and Barry Lathey have met to consider and make recommendations on the grant applications received." Totalling $5120, the successful applicants and their projects were:

Maydena Craft Group (Community Craft Group) $500.
Magra Country Women’s Association (Replace window frames in CWA rooms) $720.
New Norfolk District Hospital Auxiliary (Hospital patient support) $400.
Blair Street Kindergarten (Development of a kitchen garden) $500.
Hayes Neighbourhood Watch (Roadside litter collection) $300.
New Norfolk Scout Group (Purchase of tent) $500.
Corumbene Auxiliary (Christmas party for nursing home residents) $250.
Derwent Valley Choir (Purchase of music scores) $200.
Derwent Valley Croquet Club (Purchase of a lawnmower) $500.
Malunna Community Group (Craft and sport games at Molesworth carols) $250.
Maydena Community Association (Rail Track Rider Project) $500.
Bushy Park Swimming Club (Purchase of lane ropes) $500.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Curious and curiouser

A SEEMINGLY routine motion to create a new committee of the Derwent Valley Council had a strange result at last month's council meeting. General manager Stephen Mackey had presented a detailed six-page report which recommended granting Special Committee status to the New Norfolk Business Alliance. The Business Alliance is a body of central business district ratepayers elected to manage the proceeds of a promotional levy collected from the CBD. The group had recently sought to become a "Special Committee" under the Local Government Act in order to give the Business Alliance a legal status which it has previously lacked.

Councillor Jim Elliott was first to speak, and as a former member of the Business Alliance he may have been expected to vote in favour of its request. Instead, he asked that debate on the matter be shifted to a workshop, before going on to say management of the levy funds was "comfortably bedded where it is at Valley Vision." A business owner and Valley Vision board member, Cr Elliott continued: "I don't see why it should be moved to a group that doesn't have good representation." The majority of councillors agreed with Cr Elliott's request to discuss the matter in a workshop, which was held last Thursday behind closed doors in the council social room. Councillors Judy Bromfield and Narelle Molan voted against the manoeuvre.

No councillor asked why the general manager's report had not mentioned that management of the Business Alliance funds was now in the hands of Valley Vision. Similarly, no explanation was given as to how Valley Vision had gained control of the Business Alliance funds. Watch this space.

If you went down to the woods on Saturday...

ABOUT 30 people spent a lovely peaceful day in the Upper Florentine forest last Saturday. This was the second successful information day in recent weeks organised by local enthusiasts to promote awareness of the forest. The day again generated great interest and discussion amongst those who attended, who expressed a wish for more such days to be held on a regular basis.

We are thrilled with the positive responses we have been getting to these community days. We plan to have a series of information days over the summer, with guest speakers educating us on a variety of topics such as the geology of the area, the European and Aboriginal heritage, the flora and fauna of the forest, and looking at potential tourism strategies for the region. The beauty of the forest, together with the encouraging feedback we have from all new visitors, is inspiring us to keep going.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Meet our Olympians

THE council didn't see fit to welcome them home with a civic reception, but you can meet our local Olympians at the New Norfolk Rowing Club's summer regatta this Saturday. The program starts at 9am with a long distance eight race. A barbecue and refreshments will be on offer from 10.30.

The event of the day is the Sharland Sculls - a prestigious 500m race with a long history. Scheduled for an 11.30am start, this event is expected to feature a who's who of Tasmanian rowing Olympians, including Simon Burgess, Anthony Edwards (pictured), Kerry Hore, Scott Brennan and Cameron Wurf. This will provide a great opportunity to meet some of our Beijing Olympians, including local resident Edwards, who has rowed at four Olympic games and is now settled at Molesworth.

The program will conclude with a christening of new boats at 2pm. The New Norfolk Rowing Club is in Rocks Rd.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

State award for autumn festival

NEW Norfolk's annual autumn festival was one of the major winners in the Tasmanian Government's 2008 Community Achievement Awards. Consumer Protection Minister Lisa Singh MHA announced the winners at a function on Saturday night and presented the Events and Tourism Award to the organisers of the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival. "The 2008 Community Achievement Awards acknowledge and reward the valuable contributions individuals, businesses and communities are making throughout Tasmania," Ms Singh said. "It is important that we recognise the tourism operators, towns, environment and sustainability initiatives, individuals and communities that are making a difference." For more information visit www.awardstasmania.com

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let's do the timewarp

IT looks like being a big day at the Derwent Valley Field and Game Club this Sunday when the state's first Vintager Day is held. A unique event for early side-by-side shotguns, it will be a novelty occasion when even black powder shotguns may be used, with overall results judged on the number of targets hit - with extra points for turning out in old English dress.

DVFG president Ray Williams said the mission of the Vintagers - a non-profit incorporated club - was to provide opportunities for the collecting, use and appreciation of side-by-side vintage and classic sporting shotguns and rifles made between 1860 and 1940.

Derwent Valley Field and Game was established in 1973 by members of the New Norfolk community with an interest in the clay-target discipline who established one of the first sporting clay ranges in Tasmania. The licensed range is located on Boyer Rd between New Norfolk and Bridgewater, covering six hectares on the bank of the River Derwent. New members are always welcome. For more information about the club or Vintager Day, phone 0418 124 171.

Nowhere to run to

FIRST-CLASS planning has resulted in roadworks causing traffic delays on both sides of the River Derwent between New Norfolk and Granton/Bridgewater. Newly-installed signs on Boyer Rd warn of 15-minute delays while part of that road is being resurfaced, while across the river the reconstruction of the Lyell Highway has moved on to a new section near the Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania. This leaves the Molesworth Bridle Track, or a circuitous route via Bothwell, as the only way of avoiding roadworks when travelling between New Norfolk and the city. NNNews suggests leaving a bit earlier... good advice for the driver of the grey Mazda 3 who overtook on double white lines at Sorell Creek this morning, and then ran a red light on the Lyell Highway roadworks.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Layton's our Local Hero

TWO Derwent Valley men are among those named as the Tasmanian recipients in the Australian of the Year Awards for 2009. New Norfolk's Layton Hodgetts has been named the Local Hero of the Year and former Glenora man Sam Cawthorn is the Young Tasmanian of the Year. Premier David Bartlett presented all recipients with their awards in Hobart last night. Peter Cundall is the next Tasmanian of the Year and entertainer Ronnie Burns is the Tasmanian Senior of the Year.

From an early age Layton Hodgetts developed a passion for music and after moving to New Norfolk in 1983 he discovered that there was little to do for those not interested in sport. In 1993, Layton started the Derwent Valley Community Band. The following year a cultural exchange saw the band go to Japan and perform as part of Band Expo. The band was soon invited to play at events across Tasmania and then in 1997 to attend the Calgary Stampede in Canada, this time as a marching band, an arena in which they had no prior experience.

Since then the band has toured to Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Scandinavia, and performed at the ceremony to open China's participation for the Olympics and the royal wedding parades for Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik in Denmark. Layton is now a judge for bands throughout the world and was awarded a gold medal for conducting at the 2008 European Championships. He is an inspiration to his community for his determination and passion to create something that they can contribute to and be proud of.

Sam Cawthorn grew up at Glenora with 10 brothers and sisters. At the age of 15 he left home and began mixing with street kids. He was kicked out of school but realised if he wanted to achieve his dreams he would have to turn his life around. Sam worked hard to put his past behind him and went on to pursue his goals of working in the performing arts and as a youth pastor. In 2006 Sam was involved in a head-on collision with a semi-trailer that resulted in his right arm being amputated above the elbow. He was lucky to be alive. As a result of his experiences he decided to help others by establishing the "Be Motivated" program which aims to provide young people with the necessary life skills to achieve the seemingly impossible. Sam invests those around him with confidence and self-belief. He represents the ability to remain positive and enthusiastic about life in the face of adversity.

The National Australia Day Council congratulated all finalists on their achievements and acknowledged the recipients of this year's Tasmanian awards for their outstanding contributions. All Tasmanian award recipients now become national finalists in their categories for the Australian of the Year Awards to be announced in Canberra on January 25, 2009.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How others see us

THE Channel 9/WIN Television program Getaway featured a terrific segment on New Norfolk earlier this year. Presenter Catriona Rowntree mentioned right at the start how Tasmanians were quick to remind her of the town's "colourful past" but in her opinion the town and surrounding district is the next big thing in Australian tourism. She's right, of course. Watch it here.

History takes root

LINKS between New Norfolk and its Pacific Ocean namesake were reinforced today with the presentation of two Norfolk Island Pines by the Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams MHR. Recently returned from a trip to Norfolk Island, Mr Adams decided on a pair of iconic pines as the ideal gift to New Norfolk in its bicentennial year.

"In 1808 some of the residents of Norfolk Island were 'persuaded' to go to Van Diemens Land with offers of land, houses and convicts to help clear land, along with food and clothing from the stores for 12 months," Mr Adams said today. "These people formed the basis of the first white settlement in New Norfolk and we can only imagine what they thought as they entered the valley and saw what was then still uncharted territory."

Mr Adams said New Norfolk had been settled by a mix of convicts and free settlers from Norfolk Island in 1808, when the island penal colony became unsustainable. Governor Lachlan Macquarie named the fledgling settlement "Elizabeth Town" but the name "New Norfolk" was preferred by the settlers who wanted to preserve a link with their former island home.

"That link is still strong, and can be seen through the visitors from Norfolk Island who attended the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival this year and helped to celebrate the bicentennial," Mr Adams said. "It seems very appropriate to be there today and to present these two Norfolk Island Pine saplings to the Derwent Valley Garden Club to look after them while the Bicentennial Committee decides on a permanent place for them. As these trees grow strong in the fertile Derwent Valley soil, they should not only remind us of the historical links to Norfolk Island, but also of the strong future New Norfolk has," Mr Adams said.

Like many New Norfolk residents, Mr Adams has a personal link with Norfolk Island as he is a descendant of the islanders relocated to Tasmania. His ancestors settled near Launceston at Norfolk Plains, now called Longford. The Norfolk Island Pine has long been associated with New Norfolk and features prominently in the logo created for the town's bicentenary.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another award for the Ashbolts

THE award-winning extra-virgin olive oil produced by Derwent Valley farmers Anne and Robert Ashbolt has been honoured at Australia's premier judging show, the 2008 Australian Olives Association Awards, adding to its impressive collection of medals.

Anne Ashbolt attended the presentations in Canberra late last month and was delighted to see Ashbolt's Extra Virgin Olive Oil maintain its perfect track record, having never missed a medal in any show entered in the last six years.

The farm at Plenty has been in the family's hands since 1906 and has been managed by Anne and Robert since 1980. In the late 1990s they decided to switch their focus from sheep and cropping to a high-value, low-impact and sustainable system of farming which has resulted in their award-winning olive oil and acclaimed elderflower concentrate and sparking refreshment, as well as the more recently introduced elderberry syrup. Read more at the Ashbolt website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"You have had your answer"

DERWENT Valley mayor Tony Nicholson has entered into his fourth month of stonewalling on the subject of the council's controversial Willow Court committee, and a third month of delaying access to an historical inventory.

Since August, Councillor Nicholson has been promising to provide an answer to questions about the location of the minutes of the Willow Court Special Committee, where the public may read those minutes, and when the committee's elections are held. Since September he has been "taking on notice" a question about access to an inventory of historical items transferred from the former Royal Derwent Hospital/Willow Court Centre to the Derwent Valley Council.

At tonight's council meeting, Councillor Nicholson responded to another round of public questions on both topics by saying the answers were being prepared and would be provided "in due course". He declined to say how long the preparation process would take and refused to provide a written confirmation of his undertaking.

"You have had your answer," Cr Nicholson said before moving on to other business. The contribution of general manager Stephen Mackey to the formulation of Cr Nicholson's answers is acknowledged.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Money for nothing

THE municipal council which gave away $100 million promised for a new bridge, and lost $500,000 intended for Willow Court, has had a financial windfall from the Federal Government... without even asking for it. In Canberra this week, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced special infrastructure grants of $250 million to local councils around Australia. The Derwent Valley Council will receive $242,000 but must first come up with a suitable project and have it approved.

Forest day enjoyed

ABOUT 40 people, mostly Derwent Valley residents, spent a lovely peaceful day in the Upper Florentine forest on Sunday. The day was organised by local enthusiasts to promote awareness of the forest. Informative talks were given about opportunities the Upper Florentine forest provides for people interested in photography, natural history and tourism ventures. The talks generated great interest and discussion amongst those who attended. People with experience of the forest showed others points of interest and features on a variety of walks. Due to the success of the day people expressed the desire that more such community days be held on a regular basis.

Join the big parade

THE New Norfolk Business Alliance’s annual Christmas Parade will be held on December 13 starting as usual at noon from Circle St. The Derwent Valley Concert Band will once again head the parade with the Derwent Scottish Pipe Band as the "tail-end Charlie". A Derwent Dollars Draw will be conducted as usual, with entry forms in the Derwent Valley Gazette for two weeks prior to the event. The draw will be held outside the Post Office around 1pm.

Event Coordinator Ngaire Glover said this year’s parade will have a bicentennial theme to celebrate the closing of New Norfolk’s 200th birthday year. To this end, family groups are asked to walk in the parade behind a banner containing their family name – in particular families with a long association to the Derwent Valley and surrounds are asked to join in.

Whilst it is expected that there will be the usual fine displays from the fire brigade, SES, ambulance, Norske Skog, Lions Club, Karate Club, dance groups, guides, scouts and cubs, new entries from schools and playgroups as well as individuals are also invited to enter. The Salvation Army’s Communities for Children’s groups have already booked a spot as well as several local businesses and sporting clubs. To book your spot or have any questions answered, contact Ngaire Glover on 0419 337 608 or email ngaireglover@hotmail.com by December 1.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

But wait, there's more

JUST when it seemed there could not be any further reason to delay the re-opening of river traffic at the Bridgewater Bridge, the state Department of Infrastructure has found two more problems.

Trouble with expansion joints and a sinking southern abutment were revealed for the first time in a recent issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette. Until now, prematurely deteriorating suspension cables had been cited as the reason for keeping the lifting span out of operation for the last two years.

Massive counterweights which raise the bridge's lifting span have been locked in place since October 2006 when it was discovered the near-new cables were wearing out. The closed lifting-span means access to the upper reaches of the River Derwent are closed to all but the smallest craft.

Two years on, it has been revealed that repairs will not start until mid-2009 and will not be finished until late 2010. The four-year delay has opposition parties in a state, and caused a government minister to completely forget about earlier funding for an entirely new bridge. Thankfully the ABC was able to remind him.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Short memories

DERWENT Valley mayor Tony Nicholson made a lot of noise about the ongoing saga of the Bridgewater Bridge when he appeared on the ABC-TV current affairs program Stateline last week. Councillor Nicholson blamed the state and federal governments for dillydallying on the subject of repairing or rebuilding the river crossing, but seemed to have forgotten that the council had a hand in it too... agreeing in 2006 to the diversion of a large chunk of the $100 million allocated by the Howard Coalition Government for a new bridge. Where did it go? To a rail rescue package and the "vital" Brighton transport hub.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Praise and prize for Norske Skog safety

PAPERMAKER Norske Skog has received a Minister's Award for Excellence in Workplace Safety in recognition of an outstanding safety record at the Boyer mill.

The award was presented on Friday by Ross Butler MHA, on behalf of Workplace Relations Minister Allison Ritchie. Mr Butler said such awards were presented to workplaces achieving significant milestones in occupational health and safety in Tasmania.

"In the case of Norske Skog, that milestone is a particularly impressive four years without a lost-time injury at Boyer," Mr Butler said. "Norske Skog's achievement shows what is possible and sets a standard of excellence for all Tasmanian companies," he said.

The Boyer Mill is a major Tasmanian employer with 375 workers and up to 90 contractors on-site on any one day. It has been operating since 1941 and produced its 11 millionth tonne of paper in July this year.

Another award for bike track

AN educational bike track at New Norfolk's Tynwald Park has won another award. During this month's Derwent Valley Council meeting, Mayor Tony Nicholson announced that the local facility had been named as the Innovation Award Winner in the Medibank Private Active Tasmania Awards for 2008.

The circuit was created to encourage children and families to develop, enjoy and maintain physical activity. It can be used by children on bikes or scooters, people in wheelchairs, joggers, walkers, and skateboarders. The visually appealing and interactive design of the track - which includes signs, intersections, a roundabout, pedestrian crossing and working traffic lights - allows users to be educated about road safety in a fun and safe environment.

Use of the track is free and available at all hours, to maximise opportunities for physical activity. It is also used for road safety clinics. The track has enhanced the social infrastructure of the community, building on the existing facilities at Tynwald Park.

This is the fourth prize awarded to the bike track this year. Previous recognition has come from the Local Government Association of Tasmania and two awards from the Heart Foundation.

Pride of the Derwent Valley

A GROUP of local volunteers known as the Corumbene Gardeners was selected as a finalist in this year's Pride of Australia Awards. From more than 400 nominations in total, the group was chosen as a finalist in the Mateship category, which was a terrific result.

Named as a finalist in the Bravery section was firefighter Scott Vinen, who grew up in New Norfolk. While neither went on to win the medals on offer, their selection as finalists can be a source of great pride for the local community. Their citations, published in the Mercury newspaper last Monday, read as follows:

Corumbene Gardeners: When the residents of the Corumbene Nursing Home in New Norfolk enjoy their beautiful gardens they give thanks to the dedicated band of volunteers who helped establish the grounds and now lovingly maintain them. The Corumbene Gardeners, as they are known, have also pitched in to raise funds to enhance the home's outdoor facilities.

Scott Vinen: Modest Scott Vinen says he was only doing the job he was highly trained to do. But if it wasn't for the Hobart fireman's instinctive actions in racing into the burning Myer building in Hobart in September last year and finding two disoriented firefighter mates in the thick smoke there could have been a tragic human story to add to the destruction of the city landmark.

Read about the winners here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What the ???

IT'S strange goings-on in High St, New Norfolk, where a section of footpath has been mysteriously fenced off. A fine-looking fence has appeared in recent days, completely enclosing a council garbage bin and a bench seat. The bench had been removed by the time these photos were taken today, but the bin is still behind bars, fenced off from people wanting to Keep Australia Beautiful. No doubt privately-owned, this area was set back from the main thoroughfare and has been the ideal spot for fundraising barbecues, raffles and cake stalls over the decades since the adjoining offices were built as a bank in 1962.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Here's to you Mrs Robinson

AMONG the number of people dressed in period costume at last week's memorial plaque unveiling was local resident Dorothy Robinson. Her brightly coloured umbrella contrasted with her widow's outfit but it wasn't for fending off the rain - it was for protection from the sun as New Norfolk enjoyed a pleasant spring day.

An active local historian - both as a writer and a volunteer at the New Norfolk Historical Information Centre - Mrs Robinson is also well known as a retired local businesswoman and as the first woman elected to the Derwent Valley Council back in the 1950s when it was still the New Norfolk Council.

Well done Dorothy Robinson, and here's to you!

National honour for New Norfolk netballer

CONGRATULATIONS to Year 12 Claremont College student Ashleigh Sullivan who recently learned that she had been selected in the Australian open women's netball team to play in Hawaii in 2009.

Ashleigh, from New Norfolk, represented Tasmania in the Under 21 nationals in Townsville recently, where they won the grand final. In addition to winning that final, Ashleigh found out about her national selection and is the only Tasmanian person included.

Ashleigh says netball has always been a major part of her life and she has played club games with AYC and State League n the Under 19s. Her mother has been a major influence in her sporting career, having also represented Australia.

Currently working hard to complete her Year 12 studies and exams, Ashleigh aims to join the Tasmania Police service.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mayor a member of missing committee

DERWENT Valley mayor Tony Nicholson refused to budge on the subject of the missing-in-action Willow Court committee when pursued on the issue at tonight's council meeting.

Facing a third round of public questions about the Willow Court committee in as many council meetings, Mayor Tony Nicholson admitted he was the council representative on the committee, but still would not say where the records of its meetings were kept, where the public could read those minutes, and when the committee's elections were held.

Instead, the mayor said his questioner had not stated which Willow Court committee was being asked about. Councillor Nicholson said he had represented the council when the committee had dealt with Willow Court's "oval precinct" but other councillors had been on the committee at other times. Responding to a further question - and a sea of bemused faces around the council table - Cr Nicholson identified former mayor Nick Cracknell (who retired in 2007) as the "other councillor".

Despite the mayor's assertions, the council's own records (below) show there is only one Willow Court Special Committee - established in early 2006 to oversee the redevelopment of Willow Court. The council's reluctance to allow public access to the minutes of that committee is in line with its earlier refusals to allow public scrutiny of Derwent Valley Investments - the council-owned company which preceded the Willow Court Special Committee.

The Derwent Valley Council has now owned the Willow Court historic site for about eight years.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nice plaque, shame about the spelling

A NEW memorial to New Norfolk pioneer Denis McCarty was unveiled in a colourful ceremony today. Derwent Valley mayor Tony Nicholson unveiled the new monument to McCarty, who was appointed as New Norfolk's first policeman in 1808 and is regarded as the town's first settler.

The sandstone monument with bronze plaque has been erected at the river end of Ferry St, near to where McCarty had his house and operated the first river crossing. The new memorial is one of a number of commemorations of the bicentenary of New Norfolk but its value as an historical marker is marred by poor spelling and factual errors.

A profile of Denis McCarty can be read here. An earlier monument to him was erected in 1968, marking the 150th anniversary of the start of work on Tasmania's first major road - from Hobart to New Norfolk (now the Lyell Highway). The large monument and plaque to that project is located on the river's edge about half way between New Norfolk and Granton.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Credit union moves to centre of town

THE New Norfolk branch of MyState Financial has moved to a prime two-storey location in High St, directly opposite the post office.

The Tasmanian credit union has completely renovated the former Westpac bank which closed in 1997 and has since served as a video game parlour and as a government office. Built in 1968, the old banking chamber has been given a 21st century makeover and has been transformed into one of the state's most up-to-date finance centres.

The building at 45 High St has been completely renovated inside and out, with its modern facade giving a lift to the important mid-town location after some years of neglect. Benefits to customers and staff of the new branch include the latest technology, a new ATM, parking at the rear of the building and entrances from both High St and Leatham St.

MyState Financial and its predecessors have a substantial history in the town. Manager Janet Biggar has headed the local team since the first branch was established in 1987. Prior to that, various credit unions had operated agencies at New Norfolk. When two of those merged to form Island State Credit Union the new organisation opened a branch at 31 High St, where the small premises of the National Australia Bank had become available after that institution moved to new facilities further down the street.

In 1994 Island State relocated to 5 High St for several months while its old premises were demolished and a new branch erected in its place. Last year saw the amalgamation of the Island State and Connect credit unions to form MyState Financial. The size of the combined entity and its number of members in the Derwent Valley warranted a further expansion, which resulted in the opening of the new branch on October 6.

The planter boxes that ate New Norfolk

THE Derwent Valley Council appears to be standing firm in the face of overwhelming community opposition to the large planter boxes it has installed along the length of Burnett St in New Norfolk.

In the six weeks since the council started work on its latest traffic management program, 10 letters opposing the work have been published in the Derwent Valley Gazette and one in favour of the project.

The Gazette revisited the topic in its latest issue (October 8, 2008), reporting on a local businesswoman's complaints about accidents involving the pink planter boxes, vehicles being forced to cross to the wrong side of the road, and that the boxes had made the remaining thoroughfare to narrow.

The newspaper reported Mayor Tony Nicholson as saying there had been no specific complaints from drivers of heavy vehicles using the street. "People have to accept changes," Councillor Nicholson said.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Here's an idea for Gunns Ltd

THE giant Tasmanian timber company Gunns Ltd recently cancelled its plan to build a $22 million veneer mill at Western Junction in the north of the state. The company said the move was a result of community opposition and the likelihood of long planning delays (Mercury newspaper August 1, 2008). Despite this setback, the company vowed to investigate alternative locations for the development.

Meanwhile, at Boyer, just outside New Norfolk, a real estate firm is still trying to sell a veneer plant Gunns closed a year ago. So here's an idea for Gunns - free of charge. Why not establish their new mill in a timber-friendly place like New Norfolk, where a 20-year-old veneer plant lies idle. Too easy.

Read more here, here, and here

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Test yourself at the Greens' quiz night

THE Derwent Valley branch of the Tasmanian Greens Greens will hold a quiz night at the New Norfolk District Football Clubrooms, Back River Rd, on October 11 (7.30pm for an 8pm start). Entry will be $12 per person ($10 concession) and participants are encouraged to make up a table if possible. Book by calling 6261 1391 or 6263 7300 or email: frjacksn@southcom.com.au

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

News from Ngaire!

SORTING through my late Mum's clothing the other day and having a bit of a chuckle about the very expensive and brand new "do up the front" bras I bought for her earlier this year, I was wondering what to do with them. There were some hardly worn other bras, all in perfectly good condition and I thought perhaps I'd phone Capri and ask them if they had a "recycling" programme. I was listening to ABC Radio the next morning when blow me down if a chap from Bundaberg in Queensland wasn't requesting ladies to send in bras to support a breast cancer project for the McGrath Foundation.

So I got online and read all about it www.citizenswhocare.com.au and that was the answer! The group's effort to break the record of number of bras strung together in 2009 and their plan to then send them off to PNG, Fiji and so on is admirable, so not only did I send Mum's off, I cleaned out my old good (and not so darned good) bras as well and sent them all off to:
PO Box 7084
Bundaberg North QLD 4670

Mind you, I did send a covering letter to say they were welcome to get rid of the "not so good" once they'd broken the record! Why not have a clean-out yourself for this good cause - it's amazing just how many you can stuff in an Australia Post parcel bag. And my Mum would've loved the idea!

* THANKS to Ngaire for sharing her news about this worthwhile event. What can YOU share with the New Norfolk News?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Council committee missing in action

ONE of the Derwent Valley Council's most important committees seems to have gone missing. In response to public questions at the August and September council meetings, general manager Stephen Mackey has been unable to say where the minutes of the Willow Court Special Committee are held, where the public may read them, and when the committee's elections are held.

During public question time at the September meeting, Mr Mackey said he would seek the information from Valley Vision project officer Ian Brown.

The committee oversees the council's efforts to redevelop the Willow Court historic site at New Norfolk. Mr Brown is known to provide occasional briefings to the council, but these are conducted behind closed doors.

Road safety project on the right track

A CHILDREN'S road safety track in New Norfolk has been awarded by the Heart Foundation in recognition of its effectiveness in promoting health and fitness. News of the award was revealed by Mayor Tony Nicholson at last week's Derwent Valley Council meeting.

Simulating real-work traffic conditions, the Tynwald Park bike track was opened in November 2007 and has been a popular feature of the busy recreational area. The facility was developed by the council in conjunction with supporters and sponsors including Norske Skog Boyer, Timber Communities Australia, New Norfolk Lions Club, Tasmanian Community Fund and the Federal Government. The design was developed by local children's road safety advocate Maree Pinnell.

The Derwent Valley Gazette this week reported Heart Foundation Tasmania spokesman Graeme Lynch saying the bicycle track was a wonderful way to encourage children to be active.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"I have nothing further to add"

DERWENT Valley mayor Tony Nicholson has refused to address the mounting evidence that there has been no published statement about the re-appointment of the council's general manager.

"I have nothing further to add," Councillor Nicholson said during public question time at the council meeting held on September 18, in response to a question from the New Norfolk NewsBlogger. With no evidence that any statement had been published or broadcast, the NNNewsBlogger had asked the mayor whether he would like to take the opportunity presented by the council meeting to make an announcement about the general manager's reappointment.

The issue has simmered since February, when the mayor announced the search for a new general manager, telling the Derwent Valley Gazette that this was a legislative requirement. The existing general manager was welcome to apply, Cr Nicholson said at the time. But with no job advertisement being published in the intervening months, the public began to question the process but the council maintained its silence.

The matter exploded at the budget meeting on June 26, when deputy mayor Scott Shaw refused to vote for the council's annual plan because he believed the council was not being open with the public, particularly in relation to the reappointment of the general manager. He was supported by Cr Richard Parker who said it had been two months since the general manager was reappointed and yet there had been no public announcement. The July 2 issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette reported the mayor saying that a statement would be made "soon".

The NNNewsBlogger attended a community forum at Granton in August and asked when the council would announce the appointment of a general manager. Cr Nicholson said he had already made his statement and it had been published in the press. All other councillors present remained silent, with the exception of Cr Jim Elliott, who agreed that he had seen the newspaper article referred to.

In an email to the NNNewsBlogger, Cr Nicholson later said his statement had been made to the ABC, not the print media. Despite this, Cr Elliott maintained that he had seen the item in the Gazette. When clarification on this matter was sought at the September 18 council meeting, Cr Nicholson confirmed that his statement had been made to reporter Charles Waterhouse and broadcast on the ABC. When informed that Mr Waterhouse was a journalist with the Mercury newspaper and not the ABC, the mayor said he may have got the reporter's name wrong. He maintained that he had been called by the ABC, but had not heard the broadcast himself.

The NNNewsBlogger said a search of the ABC news website had not turned up the mayor's statement, and, as the mayor had not heard the broadcast himself, perhaps he would like to make his announcement to the meeting in progress. "I have nothing further to add," Cr Nicholson said.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pats on the back for student enterprise

WOODEN back-scratchers manufactured by New Norfolk High School pupils are one of the two most popular products of a internet-based student enterprise aimed at addressing the state's skills shortage.

Inter-High Enterprises is a school-based business developed by students and teachers at New Norfolk and Rokeby high schools and Campbell Town District High School.

Funded by the Education Department, Inter-High Enterprises manufactures and markets timber products such as pens, jewellery, boxes, clocks, timber tongs and back-scratchers. The most popular items are the timber tongs made by Campbell Town students and the New Norfolk-made back-scratchers.

Through this project, students have the opportunity to experience all aspects of business management, product design and marketing, while honing their skills in design and manufacture.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Traffic plan wins few fans

THE Derwent Valley Council has pushed ahead with its controversial traffic management plan for busy Burnett St, New Norfolk, despite widespread opposition.

Described by the Derwent Valley Gazette as being part of a $750,000 "mainstreet makeover" (August 20, 2008), the project has seen the dividing of the road and the installation of large concrete planter boxes down the middle.

Opponents say the street is not wide enough to cope with the modifications, especially as it is a busy bus and truck route. Complaints to the council have seen the plan modified, with two planter boxes removed from the section of Burnett St between Pioneer Ave and High St. After a two-week hiatus, the remaining boxes were installed on September 2.

Described as "pots" by the council, these square-shaped pink concrete boxes hold ornamental pear trees and have been placed at intervals along the length of Burnett St from George St to the Lyell Highway (Montagu St). The plan calls for "smaller pots" to be installed in adjacent High St and Charles St.

Literacy boost for local schools

STUDENTS at several local schools will benefit from a State Government injection of $32 million aimed at boosting literacy levels across the state. Premier David Bartlett made the announcement while visiting Fairview Primary School on August 13.
"We need to raise the bar on key measures of student literacy and numeracy and also close the gap between our high and low achievers," Mr Bartlett said. "Through this initiative we've allocated $32 million over four years to significantly increase the number of students finishing their primary education with the necessary basic literacy and numeracy skills and for all children to achieve higher literacy levels."
Fairview Primary and New Norfolk Primary are among 26 schools to benefit from additional teachers to work directly with students, additional professional learning for teachers and more specialist staff.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Profile - Olympians Kate Hornsey & Kerry Hore

Click here for Kate's official Australian Olympic Team profile and here for her page on the Mercury newspaper website, where you can also leave her a message.

For Kerry's official profile, click here and for her page at the Mercury, click here.

Profile - Olympian Anthony Edwards

Click here for Anthony's official Australian Olympic Team profile and here for his page on the Mercury newspaper website, where you can also leave him a message.

Molesworth magic

THREE members of the New Norfolk Rowing Club are representing Australia at the Beijing Olympic Games and two of them are from Molesworth. In one swoop, Kate Hornsey and Anthony Edwards have doubled the Derwent Valley’s number of Olympians. The other NNRC member, Kerry Hore, lives at New Town.

Hornsey and family are long-term local residents and she is a former pupil of Molesworth Primary School, where the students will be following her progress with keen interest. Edwards is a three-time Olympian who moved to Molesworth several years ago when he and his wife relocated to Tasmania. Both are fortunate to have family members cheering them on in Beijing.

Our other Olympians are Kathy Foster who played in the Australian basketball team at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, and Dana Faletic who won bronze in the rowing at the Athens Games in 2004.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Big boost for Boyer

THE future looks good for the Norske Skog newsprint mill at Boyer, near New Norfolk, with news of two big government grants contributing to a $50 million upgrade. The mill produced Australia’s first newsprint in 1941 and remains one of the state’s major employers, with about 400 staff.

It was announced this week that Federal funding of nearly $9 million had been granted to Norske Skog (historically known as Australian Newsprint Mills) and a firm called BIS Industrial Logistics) to enable the factory to stop using hardwood timber in the production of paper.

“The $4.66 million grant awarded to Norske Skog Paper Mills (Australia) Ltd and the $4.32 million grant awarded to BIS Industrial Logistics will contribute to upgrading paper manufacturing infrastructure, including a thermo-mechanical pulping plant and wood chipping facility at the Boyer Mill site, and represents a significant long-term investment in the Tasmanian timber industry,” the Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams, said. “This state-of-the-art, fully integrated facility will be supplied 100 per cent from softwood plantation sources in Tasmania, removing any need for hardwood timber from native forest or plantations, he said.

“Importantly, the facility will secure existing employment positions at Boyer while improving its operating efficiency and environmental impact. The facility contributes 36 per cent of all newsprint paper manufactured in Australia and this project will assist maintain this position for many years to come. This contributes a significant benefit to Tasmania’s and Australia’s economy.”

The Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, David Llewellyn, said the funding had been provided under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement to help support a more sustainable and viable forest industry in Tasmania through new equipment and innovative supply chain management.