Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't eat the bream

A RECENTLY issued brochure contains important information about the safety of fish caught in the River Derwent. The annual Derwent Estuary Report Card warns that heavy metal levels in shellfish are slowly declining but mercury levels in some Derwent-caught fish are above recommended health guidelines.

“Results from a pilot survey of fish caught in the estuary found mercury levels in bream, and estuary trout, are in excess of recommended food safety standards,” Derwent Estuary Program director Christine Coughanowr said when releasing the report card last week.

The current health advice in relation to Derwent-caught fish is available in the recently updated brochure Should I eat Shellfish and Fish from the Derwent? This brochure says:

  • Do not eat any bream from the Derwent
  • Do not eat any shellfish from the Derwent
  • Limit consumption of flathead and other Derwent-caught fish (eg trout and mullet)
  • Pregnant women and young children should limit consumption of flathead or other Derwent-caught fish to no more than ONE meal per week, and avoid eating other fish in the same week.
  • Other adults should limit their consumption of flathead or other Derwent-caught fish to no more than TWO meals per week.
 Download a copy of the brochure here

Boyer's efforts boost river health

A REPORT looking at the health of the Derwent estuary has found the completion of several wastewater treatment projects has led to further water quality improvements. Releasing the annual Derwent Estuary Report Card today, Derwent Estuary Program  director Christine Coughanowr said several projects had significantly reduced the amount of pollution entering the Derwent.

“These include the commissioning of a more advanced wastewater treatment plant at the Boyer paper mill,” Ms Coughanowr said. “Since 2007, the cumulative loads of most discharges entering the Derwent have declined – in particular a marked decline in organic loads from Norske Skog paper mill. In the last year organic loads from the Norske Skog paper mill fell by more than 80% following the upgrade of the treatment plant.”

Improved sewage treatment at Clarence, Hobart and Glenorchy was also a factor in the improved health of the River Derwent, along with a new groundwater recovery system at the zinc works.

Despite this good news, a recent study has found that mercury levels in some Derwent-caught fish are above recommended health guidelines. “Results from a pilot survey of fish caught in the estuary found mercury levels in bream, and estuary trout, are in excess of recommended food safety standards,” Ms Coughanowr said.  “Further studies are under way to confirm the pilot study findings, extend the survey to other areas of the Derwent estuary and investigate how mercury is being passed up the food chain.”

The Derwent Estuary Program is a partnership between the State Government, councils, commercial and industrial enterprises, scientists and community-based groups to restore and promote the Derwent estuary.
For a full copy of the report card, go to www.derwentestuary.org.au

Lachlan woman ordained

LACHLAN resident Ann Whittle was ordained as a priest of the Anglican Church in a ceremony at St David's Cathedral on November 21. The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, John Harrower, ordained two other people as priests and a fourth person as a deacon. Bishop Harrower said the four had a wide variety of life experience, with jobs such as teachers, working in a pharmacy and on a farm, and work with Scripture Union (school chaplaincy support). Some would continue in the workforce alongside their ministry, whilst others were in a full-time church role.

“I’m very pleased to see a steady stream of new leaders being ordained in Tasmania over recent years," Bishop Harrower said. "We are blessed with men and women of wide experience and different gifts, younger and older, who are taking up the challenge of serving their church and local community in these new roles. They will be a valuable part of the local leadership of the Anglican Church in Tasmania."

Boyer still worth big bikkies to state

THE Norske Skog paper mill at Boyer Mill had far reaching impacts on the Tasmanian and Australian economies, state treasurer and Minister for Economic Development, Michael Aird MLC, said recently. He said the mill's annual production represented about 40 per cent of the newsprint and related grades of paper  used in Australia each year.

“Ninety-seven per cent of this production is transported to interstate customers," Mr Aird said. “It is also a major customer of the Tasmanian rail network and Bass Strait shipping. Each year the mill transports more than one million tonnes of finished product and raw materials. The mill’s annual contribution to Tasmania’s gross state product has been estimated at approximately $390 million, and the employment creates more than 900 jobs, this includes 340 direct employees," Mr Aird said.

Mr Aird made the remarks in a press statement congratulating Norske Skog and BIS Industrial Logistics on the successful completion of the $50 million Softwood Conversion Project and Integrated Woodchip Plant. The project was officially opened on November 16 by the Governor, Peter Underwood.

Mr Aird said the Tasmanian Government had recognised the importance of the project to the state and provided a $10 million loan to Norske Skog.  “In addition to this assistance, support was also provided through the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (TCFA) industry assistance program jointly administered by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments," he said. 

“The Softwood Conversion Project converts the Boyer site away from using eucalypt based cold caustic soda (CCS) processing lines to a new plantation softwood based thermo-mechanical pulp plant (TMP). The project involved investment of $27.6 million by Norske Skog and a separate investment of $22.5 million in an Integrated Woodchip Plant which will be owned and operated by BIS Industrial Logistics that is integral to the success of Norske Skog’s Softwood Conversion Project. The wood chipping facility will supply the entire feedstock requirement of Norske Skog’s new processes," he said.

Mr Aird said the State Government was committed to an environmentally sustainable and prosperous forest and forest products industry.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Norfolk and Maydena are tidy towns


TWO Derwent Valley localities are officially "tidy towns". New Norfolk has been named the winner in the 5001-15,000 population category and Maydena was the winner in the under-500 category. Derwent Valley Tidy Towns Committee members Carol Collins and Ian Lacey attended a recent awards presentation held at Oatlands. The Tidy Towns committee received a trophy and $500 which will be put towards further Tidy Towns projects.

Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans today hosted a celebratory afternoon tea, where he presented awards and certificates of appreciation. These went to:

  • Molesworth Environment Centre: for being an outstanding centre giving new meaning to sustainability and environmental understanding.
  • Corumbene Volunteer Gardening Group: in recognition of the creation and maintenance of gardens at Corumbene Nursing Home.
  • Norske Skog Boyer: for its generous and caring involvement in the life of the Derwent Valley community.
  • New Norfolk Historical Information Centre: for its contribution to the preservation of Derwent Valley historical data.
  • Windsor's Corner: in recognition of the great work of many in completing the project.
  • Corumbene Nursing Home for the Aged: for its imaginatively designed facility.
  • Derwent Valley Council: for its development role in the outstanding community asset Tynwald Park.
  • Chris Lester: for his enthusiastic commitment to reviving the Derwent Valley Sports and Recreation Centre.
  • Geoff Williams: for contribution to the Maydena community.
  • Roger and Julie Triffett: for the outstanding presentation of an historic residence garden.

The tidy towns committee also acknowledged the following for their support and contribution on the Tidy Towns judging day: Corumbene Nursing Home, Molesworth Environment Centre, Maydena Online Access Centre, St Matthew's Church, and Derwent Valley Sport and Recreation Centre.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Travel scholarship for local student

ELEANOR Salt from New Norfolk has been selected as the recipient of a full scholarship to spend one year in the country of her choice. The scholarship covers return travel, enrichment activities and medial costs for the full year.
The scholarship is a joint initiative of the well known AFS exchange program and SDA Tasmania. AFS Australia is a volunteer-based, not-for-profit organisation committed to promoting peace and global tolerance through intercultural exchange. 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of AFS sending Australian teenagers abroad on exchange.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Boyer drops native forest from paper mix

LOCAL Greens parliamentarian Tim Morris MHA has congratulated papermaker Norske Skog for its major re-investment in the Boyer newsprint mill which ensures that its paper will now be produced using plantation pine and recycled fibre instead of native forests. Mr Morris said the new machinery at Boyer would also modernise and improve the competitive position of the mill at a time when there had been a reduction in demand for newsprint.

“The Greens welcome the softwood conversion project at Boyer which improves the mills’ competitive position, reduces effluent volume by 25% per tonne of paper, reduces CO2 emissions and also means that there will no longer be any native forest used in newspaper manufacture in Tasmania,” Mr Morris said. “Just as the Greens encouraged the  Boyer mill to end the use of old growth wood over 20 years ago, we have done the same with ending the use of native forest wood since then and are very pleased to see this come to reality today.”

“This does not mean an end to all issues we have with the mill but we thank Norske for their excellent level of communication over the issues of concern to many in our community, and we will continue to engage with them over the issues of chemical use in their plantations, and maximising rail for transport,”  Mr Morris said.


“The Boyer mill provides valuable jobs for Tasmania and the Derwent Valley, and this investment provides extra job security for those workers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.The conversion of the old cold caustic soda pulp mill to thermo-mechanical means that native forests will no longer be needed to make paper at Boyer and will potentially allow Norske Skog to seek Forest Stewardship Council certification in the future,” Mr Morris said.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New era for council

PROPER debate made a long-awaited return to Derwent Valley Council meetings this week. New councillors James Graham and Damian Bester led the way, with most other councillors joining in. Most discussion focussed on a raft of 16 motions-on-notice put forward by Cr Bester, mostly dealing with the provision of information to the public.

The meeting ran from 6.30pm until just short of midnight, with long-serving Cr Judy Bromfield remarking that it was "just like the good old days."

All did not go Cr Bester's way, as two of his motions were defeated and several attempts to amend other motions failed. New mayor Martyn Evans appeared exasperated with Cr Bester at times, particularly as the latter appeared to play to the packed public gallery at times. About 30 people filled the gallery and additional seating had to be brought in. Mayor Evans called a short intermission after several hours of intense discussion, and Cr Bester invited the public to help themselves to a cup of tea and a biscuit.

The public gallery gradually emptied as the meeting wore on and there were only a handful left after 11pm when Mayor Evans closed the meeting and opened a new meeting in closed session. Cr Bester objected to the closed meeting and the fact that the agenda had been withheld until that very moment. He voted against the closed meeting.

New Norfolk News hits 200


THE most recent article on New Norfolk News was the 200th posting since this website started on July 2, 2008. The first article was about New Norfolk's bicentennial. Thank you to everyone who contributes and all those who comment on the articles posted here.
Ed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Council and Feds talking again

NEW Derwent Valley mayor Martyn Evans has wasted no time in re-opening dialogue with the Federal Government on topics of local concern, particularly Willow Court. While the former regime made an aborted effort to take the Federal Government to court over lost grant funds, the new administration appears to have adopted a more friendly approach.

Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry and Lyons MHR Dick Adams met Mayor-elect Evans and several councillors last Friday to discuss plans for a number of New Norfolk icons. The meeting discussed the council’s plans for the development of the Willow Court Barracks to create a vibrant tourism experience, along with beautification of the walking tracks and reserves through the Esplanade area and the future of tourist rail in the Derwent Valley.

“I am delighted to be able to sit down with the mayor and councillors and discuss the future plans for these important venues around New Norfolk,” Senator Sherry said. "There is great potential in the Derwent Valley for tourism and job creation while celebrating the historical significance of the area.”

The party also toured council-owned buildings on the Willow Court site, inspected the “sound shell” being constructed in Tynwald Park and visited the Derwent Valley Railway yard to view progress of the construction of carriage shed. The Tynwald Park improvements have been made possible through the Federal Government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program and railway yard facilities have been supported by a $50,000 grant from the Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

“The Derwent Valley is really starting to move ahead – there is so much potential here to promote the entire Valley, and it’s great to see Council being proactive in their approach,” Mr Adams said.

Mayor-elect Evans said the council was pleased to be able to hold ongoing and direct dialogue with federal ministers and the local Federal Member, Dick Adams. “The council is pleased to be able to work with the Federal Government to progress our plans to enhance the tourism and community prospects for the Valley”, Mayor Evans said. “It is a critical and positive partnership that stands to benefit all Derwent Valley residents,” Councillor Evans said.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ngaire needs your Christmas parade entries, pronto

Hello everyone!
I have just been allocated the task of once again organising the annual Christmas Parade, so sorry about the late notice!
I understand that there was a survey of the business community to ascertain their support for its continuance and seems there was a resounding yes but have no idea why nothing had proceeded - however it's under way now.
I believe several of you may have contacted Roz Chapman as a result of either her calling you or you phoning her following the notice in Wednesday's Gazette and she has passed those names and contacts on to me. However, I would appreciate your confirmation.
If you would like to participate, please either confirm by return email or phone me 0419 337 608.
Face painters/entertainers/other street entertainers please contact me as well.
Plan is as usual to depart from Circle Street at noon on December 12, proceed down High St, around Arthur Square by way of Stephen St/Pioneer Ave/Bathurst St and return back along High St to finish at Circle. The parade will go ahead, rain hail or shine!
NGAIRE GLOVER

Readers ask for election figures

READERS of the New Norfolk News have asked for the final figures in the recent Derwent Valley Council election. These are published below, starting with the final, rechecked and confirmed first preference votes.

  1. Scott Shaw              967 votes (1.19 quotas)
  2. Damian Bester           851 votes (1.05 quotas)
  3. Tony Nicholson          452 votes (0.56 quotas)
  4. Barry Lathey             443 votes (0.55 quotas)
  5. James Graham           406 votes (0.50 quotas) 
  6. Phil Bingley               310 votes (0.38 quotas)
  7. Wayne Shoobridge     273 votes (0.34 quotas)
  8. Raymond Smith         180 votes (0.22 quotas)
  9. Alexander Moores      167 votes (0.21 quotas)
Sitting councillor Scott Shaw and challenger Damian Bester were the first to be declared elected, as both secured in excess of a quota. The following shows the process that followed as the distribution of preferences proceeded and various candidates were excluded.

  1. Shaw Elected 1
  2. Bester Elected 2
  3. Shaw's surplus distributed
  4. Bester's surplus distributed
  5. Moores excluded
  6. Moores' votes distributed
  7. Moores fully excluded, Smith excluded
  8. Smith's votes distributed
  9. Smith fully excluded, Bingley excluded
  10. Bingley's votes distributed
  11. Bingley fully excluded, Shoobridge excluded
  12. Shoobridge's votes distributed
  13. Lathey Elected 3, Shoobridge partially excluded
  14. Shoobridge's votes distributed
  15. Shoobridge fully excluded
  16. Lathey's surplus distributed
  17. Graham Elected 4