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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: