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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eagles' winning streak ends

THE New Norfolk Eagles' remarkable run of 33 wins was ended yesterday by a hard-running Dodges Ferry Sharks in the Southern Football League. Click here to read Craig Hoggett's report in today's issue of the Sunday Tasmanian.

Scores - seniors
Dodges Ferry 5.3 5.5 13.11 16.16 (112) d New Norfolk 1.4 8.5 10.7 13.11 (89)
Goals - New Norfolk: M. Thompson 4, M. Smith 2, L. Horne 2, B. Carver 2, R. Martin, P. Ross, N. Ross;
Best - New Norfolk: L. Horne, S. Bonnitcha, B. Carver, M. Thompson, R. Heron, J. Murray.

Dodges Ferry 13.11 (89) d New Norfolk 11.7 (73)
Goals - New Norfolk: C. Ransley 4, B. Lovell, D. Huxley, A. Salter, J. Rainbird, M. Horne, M. Jones, N. Benson; Best - New Norfolk: L. Browning, M. Horne, T. Triffett, B. Lovell, N. Benson, T. Bligh.

New Norfolk 10.12 (72) d Dodges Ferry 4.9 (33)
Goals - New Norfolk: N. Wakefield 3, J. Walsh 2, S. Triffitt 2, D. Huxley, L. Menzie, J. Adams; Best - New Norfolk: J. Adams, R. Tebb, B. Coppleman, N. Lester, D. Walsh, J. Wallner.

Consultant's controversial call

FORMING a new entity to own and develop Willow Court was the controversial recommendation of management consultant Malcolm MacDonald's interim report to the Derwent Valley Council last week. Addressing a public gathering of councillors, committee members and the public last Thursday night, Mr MacDonald said it was not normal for him to delve into the political aspects of his consultancies, but Willow Court was a unique case.

Now two-thirds of the way through his three-month consultancy for the council, Mr MacDonald's proposed business strategy for the Willow Court historic site was based on the premise that owning and developing Willow Court was not "core business" for the council. He suggested:
  • Transferring Willow Court to a new entity at arms-length from the council
  • The entity could be a trust or company limited by guarantee, with a board of management and a project manager
  • The entity would not be the same as the council's former company Derwent Valley Investments
  • The proposal might need ministerial approval
  • The entity would need a skills-based board of five to eight paid members including representatives of the council, Willow Court Special Committee and the community, with expertise in finance, grants, project management and heritage issues
  • That the council's existing Willow Court funds be transferred to the new entity
  • That the proceeds of any sale of the Willow Court oval precinct be transferred to the new entity
  • That the State Government be asked to assist the new entity.
Mr MacDonald said he had held regular meetings council general manager Stephen Mackey and also with the Willow Court and Barracks Special Committee. He believed Willow Court was an asset, not a liability, and it was a worthy asset in the context of the history of this region, the state, nation and the world. "This asset has the potential to do some wonderful things for the prosperity of the Derwent Valley," Mr MacDonald said.

"This plan is what we have been discussing over the last few months," Willow Court Special Committee secretary Wayne Shoobridge said. "You have hit it on the head and it must go this way or we will be in the same place or worse in 10 years," Mr Shoobridge said. He asked that each councillor present give an indication of their thinking on the matter.

Councillor James Graham said government spokesmen had already raised the issue of an entity similar to the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, if not that organisation itself, running Willow Court.

Willow Court committee member Denise Rushworth said people would want to see something being done with Willow Court before any new entity took control, otherwise it risked being tarred with the same brush as earlier failed management structures.

Cr Judy Bromfield said she would need to see Mr MacDonald's completed report before offering any comment on it. But she did venture the opinion that with a Federal Election due, "Dick Adams must get up and get some money for this electorate."

Cr Scott Shaw said he supported Mr MacDonald's proposal. Cr Narelle Molan-Hill said Mr MacDonald's proposals seemed to be a positive step, but she too would like to see the full report before commenting.

Cr Damian Bester said he would not offer a definitive statement on Mr MacDonald's proposals as he had not had time to properly consider them. "This is the first I have heard of these proposals," Cr Bester said. "I have not been involved in the discussions that have been referred to, and I have not seen any minutes of the Willow Court Special Committee."

Committee secretary Wayne Shoobridge took umbrage at Cr Bester's remarks and said minutes of meetings had been provided to the general manager's office. He said the committee was also hearing Mr MacDonald's plan for the first time.

Cr Bester said his comments were a simple statement of fact, not an attack on the committee or the consultant. He reminded the meeting that both the committee and the consultancy had been established at his own suggestion, endorsed by the council. Cr Bromfield said she had not seen any minutes of meetings and she asked Cr Barry Lathey, as council representative on the committee, to look into the problem.

Cr Lathey said it had been his privilege to represent the council on the working party (now formalised as the Willow Court and Barracks Special Committee) and had witnessed the commitment and passion of the members. His question for Mr MacDonald was what might happen to any profits being generated by Willow Court in 20 years time, if the site had been handed to a new entity. Mr MacDonald said he had not considered the question of future profits at this stage, but his initial thoughts were that all profits would be needed for ongoing works at the historic site.

Mayor Martyn Evans thanked Mr MacDonald for his work to date and said he was pleased to be part of it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Budget meeting on Monday night

THE Derwent Valley Council's budget for 2010-2011 will be voted on at a special meeting to be held at the New Norfolk Courthouse on Monday at 6.30pm. Councillors are expected to approve a 4% increase both in the general rate and in the garbage rates and services. The public is invited to attend the meeting.

Consultant provides half-way report on Willow Court

MANAGEMENT consultant Malcolm MacDonald last night briefed the Derwent Valley Council and its Willow Court Special Committee on the interim findings of his review of past plans and the writing of an updated development strategy for the Willow Court historic site. Mr MacDonald was appointed by the council to a three-month contract to:

•    consolidate all plans, reports, studies and documents relating to the Willow Court Barracks Precinct
•    develop a comprehensive business plan for the Barracks Precinct
•    create a step-by-step development strategy to have the Barracks open to visitors as soon as possible; and the ongoing development of the remainder of the precinct (Frescati, Bronte, Carlton and Alonnah Houses)
•    make a recommendation about the future employment requirements of the precinct
•    make a start on the development strategy, once approved by Council, in any time remaining

Mr MacDonald told last night's workshop that he was now approaching the final month of his contract and wished to make sure the council was generally happy with the approach he was taking. He said the nature and history of the project meant he had delved more into the political aspect than would normally be the case.

It was a polished presentation that drew favourable comment from most of the 19 people present, which included most councillors, a large proportion of the Willow Court committee and several members of the public who responded to an advertisement placed in the Derwent Valley Gazette by Cr Damian Bester.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Minister's praise for Ouse health centre

NEW Tasmanian health minister Michelle O'Byrne told State Parliament last Thursday that she had visited the "health service" at Ouse recently and was incredibly impressed with the great work by the staff there. "All of them are now telling me that they are getting a much greater capacity to deal with the community and are offering far more services now than they were able to in the past, because they have been able to tailor their services to the needs of the community rather than a standard service that had been historically maintained," Ms O'Byrne said, in reference to the debate over the conversion of the Ouse District Hospital into a health centre.

Death of New Norfolk businessman

THE New Norfolk business and sporting community has been saddened by the death of well-known businessman Wayne Perkins last weekend. Mr Perkins had been the proprietor of Wigston's Sports since early 1998. Condolences are extended to Mr Perkins' family and friends.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Top price for hotel postcard

A RARE postcard featuring New Norfolk's Star and Garter Hotel has sold for $53 on the internet auction website eBay. Dating to about 1920, the postcard, left, shows the hotel with its first-floor verandah still intact. The rear of the card describes the hotel as being under new management and recently refurbished. It names Mr T.L. Sullivan as the proprietor. It also shows that the hotel's phone number was "New Norfolk 2". The rival Bush Inn Hotel long held the prized "New Norfolk 1". The card was purchased by an anonymous postcard collector.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Local projects in state budget

TREASURER and Member for Derwent Michael Aird MLC handed down his latest State Budget last week, with a handful of specific projects in the Derwent Valley. These include:

  • $2.8 million to complete the Lyell Highway works started in 2006
  • a "Growing Business" pilot project, to be delivered by industry on the West and East Coasts and the Derwent Valley, providing businesses with online diagnostic tools to benchmark their productivity performance

Forward works indicated in the budget include:

  • $1.2 million bridge reinstatement program on Gordon River Rd in 2013 and 2014
  • $4.2 million bridge reinstatement on the Lyell Highway at Bronte (Nive River) from 2013-15

Upgrades for boating facilities

ABOUT $110,000 will be spent by the State Government to upgrade boating facilities in the Derwent Valley and Central Highlands.Infrastructure Minister Lara Giddings, said 18 projects would be funded statewide through the Recreational Boating Fund, including:
  • $50,000 to upgrade the walkway at the Millbrook Rise boat ramp at New Norfolk
  • $60,000 to extend a rock barrier and install a navigation light and walkway on the dam wall at Arthurs Lake
“Getting out on the water – whether it’s fishing, swimming, diving or just cruising about in the beloved family ‘tinny’ – is one of the things that makes it so great to be a Tasmanian," Ms Giddings said.On average, Tasmanians own more boats than other Australians and the number of registered boats and recreational motor boat licences continues to grow strongly each year. “Part of enjoying the whole boating experience is being able to use quality facilities such as ramps and jetties," Ms Giddings said.

“Since 1998, Tasmania has taken a lead by reinvesting funds from recreational boating registrations and licences into improved infrastructure, through the Recreational Boating Fund which is managed by Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST). Nearly $8 million has been invested in recreational boating infrastructure since the Fund commenced."

Ms Giddings said that public consultation was an important part of the Fund’s application process, ensuring that the people using the facilities are getting a say in how their registration fees are spent. “The program includes public submissions for funding, site visits, and public meetings with boating communities around the state. This process ensures that people have the chance to give input on proposed projects in their local area”.

Ms Giddings said that many of the projects funded through MAST received cooperative funding from local government, facility operators, and government agencies such as the Hydro. Boaters who would like a project considered for the next round of funding should go to the MAST website for further information and an application form.

What's so special?

IT does often take an outsider to remind us about some of the things that make our home so special. A recent visitor posted a video clip on YouTube (here) as well as highlighting the following attractions observed in the Derwent Valley:
  • Australia's deepest cave system (Maydena)
  • World's tallest hardwood trees (Maydena)
  • World's tallest flowering plants (Maydena)
  • World's largest producer of osmiridium (early 1900s - Adamsfield)
  • Australia's highest dam (Strathgordon)
  • World's highest commercial abseil (Strathgordon)
  • Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon largest inland freshwater storage in Australia
  • Last confirmed capture of Tasmanian tiger (Maydena)
and that's just for starters!

New Norfolk x-ray idle

THE State Government has been urged to investigate re-opening the radiology department at the New Norfolk District Hospital. Greens Member for Lyons, Tim Morris, said x-ray equipment was still in place at the NNDH and a local radiologist was willing to consider operating the equipment. Mr Morris reminded the government that  when it closed the Ouse Hospital in 2007 there was a commitment made to enhance services at the New Norfolk Hospital.

“Derwent Valley radiology patients are currently forced to travel to and from Hobart for x-ray services which is unacceptable given the presence of a willing radiologist in the area, and the existing x-ray equipment at the NNDH,” Mr Morris said. “If an arrangement cannot be reached with a private operator then the Department should look closely at providing the service itself. “The Greens are calling on Minister O’Byrne to investigate the re-opening of the radiology department at the NNDH.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Council condemns house to demolition

AN application to demolish a century-old house in New Norfolk was approved when it came before the Derwent Valley Council again tonight. Councillors were deadlocked when the matter first came up in April, resulting in an automatic approval, subject to conditions. The owner and demolition applicant, Humana Pty Ltd, lodged an appeal but later deferred the appeal in order to submit a new application. Humana, owned by the Rockefeller family, owns the neighbouring Woolworths supermarket building.

On receipt of the second, identical application, the council engaged a consultant town planner who reached largely the same conclusions as the council planner had done two months ago, most notably that the house at 54 Burnett St was not heritage-listed and there was no legal reason for its preservation.

Councillors Judy Bromfield, Scott Shaw, Barry Lathey and deputy mayor Craig Farrell lamented that the council's hands were tied, particularly as the house was not heritage-listed, but also because they feared an expensive legal process if the application was refused. "I voted against this last time but I have since spoken to the general manager and planner and it seems there is nothing we can do," Cr Farrell said.

Cr Damian Bester said he was "stunned" at what he was hearing around the table. He said he had been opposed to the demolition when it was first proposed, and he remained against the idea now. He was particularly concerned that planning laws did not required the applicant to state why they wanted to demolish the house and whether they proposed to redevelop the site. "I realise this is the law but this will not be the first time the law has been described as an ass," he said. Cr Bester told his fellow councillors there was something they could do, and that was to vote "no".

When put to the vote, Mayor Martyn Evans, deputy mayor Farrell and Councillors Shaw, Molan-Hill and Bromfield voted in favour of the demolition. Cr Bester voted "no" and Cr Lathey abstained. The application was approved subject to conditions, including the preservation of a hedge on Burnett St and a paling fence on George St.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Willow Court to host spring festival

THE Willow Court and Barracks Working Group has announced the date for the inaugural Spring Festival to be centred at Willow Court on the October 16-17.

The theme for the festival will be a celebration of renewal and recovery, not only for Willow Court but New Norfolk and the Derwent Valley. A number of attractions are in the early planning stages and more details will be available when finalised.

The working party appreciated the number of volunteers who registered their interest at the recent open days and will be calling upon them shortly to assist with preparations. Anyone else interested in volunteering can contact Wayne Shoobridge on 0422 996 903 or forward their name and contact details to PO Box 499, New Norfolk 7140.

No local footy last weekend

THE Southern Football League competition took a break last weekend to make way for the annual north v south match between the SFL and NTFL played at Glenorchy's King George V oval.

The southern side was well led by New Norfolk's Brad Carver, despite its eventual loss on the day. Carver kicked two goals for the SFL, while his Eagles team-mate Nathan Ross scored one. Carver and fellow New Norfolk players Leigh Horne and Luke Browning were named in the southern side's best players list.

A good number of local players had been named in the squad for the SFL side, including Leigh Horne, Nathan Ross, Patrick Ross, Tom Cleary, Brett Booth, Josh Clifford, Michael Thompson, Bryan Chaplin and Rick Martin; while Brayden Stone, Jamie Adams, Todd Jarvis, Nathan Coy, Mark Horne, Josh Walsh, Nathan Lester, Ben Lovell, Nick Wakefield and Corey Ransley were in the colts representative squad.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Norfolk - two fabulous centuries (2)

THIS wonderful view of New Norfolk dates from 1829/30 and comes from the State Library of Tasmania's online collection. It was first published in London in 1833 by Smith, Elder & Co.among the illustrations in the book The Journal of a Voyage from Calcutta to Van Diemen's Land.  The image was drawn on stone by John Ommanney from a sketch by Mrs.A.Prinsep.

Council knows nothing of Frescati fire

THE fire which destroyed an outbuilding behind the colonial cottage Frescati had not been reported to the Derwent Valley Council, general manager Stephen Mackey said. The council owns the 1840s villa, which forms part of the Willow Court historic site at New Norfolk. Members of the Friends of Frescati visited the site on Thursday to see what could be done to preserve a significant plant which was badly damaged in the fire earlier that week.

Cafe reopens with new passion

NUMBER 10 is the new name for the popular High St cafe formerly known as Passions. Bright green chairs out front last week signified the eagerly awaited re-opening of the cafe and the return of its original proprietors, Barry and Majella Powell. The coffeeshop was packed on Friday morning when the NNNewsblogger dropped in for a flat white. Number 10 is open until 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another Willow Court fire

FIRE has destroyed a shed that until recently was providing shelter to a homeless person on the Willow Court historic site at New Norfolk. The shed was only metres from the sadly derelict colonial villa known as Frescati.

The news has been broken tonight by the new Willow Court & Royal Derwent blog

The fire is believed to have occurred yesterday, June 8.

Record score for the Eagles

NEW Norfolk had three big wins over Triabunna at the weekend and may have set a new record score in the process. The Eagles' total of 276 points surpasses the 265 scored against Brighton at Boyer Oval on 26 April 26, 2009, which Wikipedia describes as the current record score.

The seniors inflicted a 247-point loss on the Kangaroos and the tally would have been higher, had 36 other scoring shots not been off-centre. Scores were New Norfolk 40.36 (276) to Triabunna 4.5 (29). Best for New Norfolk were B. Booth, B. Carver, R. Belcher, P. Ross, S. Bonnitcha and N. Ross, while the goals were scored by B. Booth 10, R. Belcher 6, S. Bonnitcha 5, N. Ross 5, B. Carver 5, R. Martin 4, T. Cleary 2, L. Joseph, J. Kelly, B. Lovell.

The margin was the same in the reserve match, with the Eagles seconds having their own 247-point win over Triabunna, which managed only one minor score for the day. New Norfolk 36.32 (248) d Triabunna 0.1 (1). Best for New Norfolk were M. Bearman, P. Jelkic, S. Rogers, C. Ransley, R. Tebb and T. Bligh. Goal-scorers were C. Ransley 8, M. Bearman 8, P. Jelkic 5, S. Rogers 3, R. Tebb 2, L. Harris 2, B. Hall 2, R. Garth, T. Bligh, T. Wright, L. Booth, J. Benson and C. Tomlin.

In the first match of the day, the Eagles colts defeated the Triabunna thirds by 109 points, New Norfolk 20.18 (138) to Triabunna 4.5 (29). Best for New Norfolk were D. Huxley, J. Wallner, B. Wakefield, K. Parker and J. Wickham, while the goals were scored by B. Coppleman 6, J. Walsh 3, J. Wallner 3, T. Youd 2, N. Lester 2, N. Coy, N. Wakefield, B. Wakefield and L. Menzie.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New chairman for councillor conduct panel

A NEW chairman and proxy chairman have been appointed to the Derwent Valley Council's code of conduct panel. All councils are required to have such a panel to hear and adjudicate on any complaints relating about elected members. The chairman of the Code of Conduct Panel must:
  • Be a person of good standing in the community and is not or has not been a councillor or employee of that Council within the previous five years;
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the principles of natural justice;
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the operations of local government;
  • Have previous experience chairing boards, tribunals or committees.
General manager Stephen Mackey reported to a special meeting held on May 10 that a selection panel had interviewed two candidates and was of the view that both applicants adequately met each of the selection criteria and had an understanding of the role.

"Based on his experience with corporate boards the selection panel has recommended the appointment of Mr Kenneth Pomlett as chairperson of the Code of Conduct Panel," Mr Mackey said in a written report. "The Panel has recommended that Mr Vivian Cardwell be nominated as a proxy chairperson in the event that the appointed chairperson has a conflict of interest or is unavailable at the time a complaint is made."

Mr Pomlett lives at Plenty where he operates the Swallow's Nest guesthouse. Mr Cardwell lives at Bushy Park and is a former proprietor of the Gretna Store. They replace the late Robert Walker as code of conduct chairman and have been appointed to serve until the next council election in 2011.

Councillor Damian Bester, who is at present the subject of a code of conduct complaint, excused himself from the meeting while this matter was being discussed. Similarly, Cr Bester absented himself from the selection committee's deliberations, despite being appointed to that panel.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Norfolk students shine

FOURTEEN graduates of New Norfolk High School were among the successful students honoured at the recent Claremont College prize night for achievements in 2009. Multiple awards went to Tristram Parr, who was named Dux of the college and was described as an excellent role model for other students. While at Claremont College Tristram was always enthusiastic, hard working and reliable. He plans to study medicine at the University of Tasmania.

Sarah Blackwell - Senator Carol Brown Prize for leadership in sport
Sarah Blackwell - Certificate of Excellence for VET Sport and Recreation
Rhys Browning - ADF Scholarship for leadership and teamwork
Rhys Browning - IRIS Prize for information systems
Rhys Browning - Nyrstar Hobart Scholarship for science
Alex Clark - Certificate of Excellence for media production II
Jessica Cooper - Stefano Lubiana Prize for theatre performance
James Dare - Housing Industry Association Prize for the most improved student in VET construction
James Dare - Certificate of Excellence for Automotive B
Kalinie Gittus - Certificate of Excellence for catering

Sara Lowe - Claremont RSL Jack Kirwin Bursary for computer graphics
Tristram Parr - The Quill Consultancy Prize for computer science
Tristram Parr - Landsdell Glass Prize for Physics
Tristram Parr - Village Pharmacy Prize for Chemistry;
Tristram Parr - Claremont College School Association Scholarship (Dux of College 2009)
Bianca Powell - Certificate of Excellence for VET workplace skills
Peter Shepherd - Production Works Prize for advanced audio design
Blaze Travers - Lisa Singh MHA Prize for social justice

Katelyn Turner - Certificate of Excellence for basketball

Natalie Wigg - Certificateof Excellence for VET nursing

Steven Zache - Senator Catrina Bilyk Prize for conscientious effort

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tim on the buses

THE Tasmanian Greens have called on the State Government to increase investment in bus services for regional areas of Tasmania. Greens infrastructure spokesperson and Lyons MHA Tim Morris MHA said a lot more work and some investment was required to bring the standard of public transport in regional areas up to a level that will attract new and retain existing passengers, and debate is also required about the costs and benefits involved in establishing a transit centre for Hobart.

Mr Morris praised the Derwent Valley-based O’Driscoll service for its commitment to using high quality vehicles, as well as the new attitude that the company has brought to the provision of public transport around the region. “I regard the provision of improved bus transport as one of the key ways in which government can help ensure the viability of regional communities facing the ramifications of climate change and peak oil, so we must ensure that our public transport networks are supported and extended in regional areas around Tasmania,” Mr Morris said.

“Hobart is currently lacking a central transit centre in or near the CBD, and it is high time that a debate was held about the costs and benefits of establishing a new transit centre for central Hobart.The better the bus service, the more passengers it will attract, and investments in more comfortable and efficient vehicles, bike racks, wi-fi, and a single website for all bookings, are certain to attract a whole new generation of commuters to our regional bus networks.”

“If the government wants a good example of how to run a regional service they should look no further than the O’Driscoll service in the Derwent Valley. I was initially critical of the decision by Metro to sell the Derwent Valley service without any local consultation, but I am now totally impressed with the enthusiasm, attitude and service being provided to the Derwent Valley community by O’Driscolls.”

“The future viability of many regional communities will be under threat if the government cannot provide support for a regular, reliable public transport service, and the Greens are calling on this government to prioritise investment into improving and extending bus services in regional areas around Tasmania, now,” said Mr Morris.

O'Driscoll's is understood to have made a submission to the State Government for further improvements to its Derwent Valley service, including buses to Lachlan and Maydena.