Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Willow Court latest

THE Derwent Valley Council's mayor, deputy mayor and general manager yesterday met Premier David Bartlett and Heritage Minister Brian Wightman to discuss future ownership of Willow Court. The council decided earlier this year that it would seek to return the historic site to government ownership. I was one of several councillors who opposed this course of events but we were in the minority.

I am advised that a report on ownership of the site will be presented to state cabinet by July 2011, covering the governance structure which may be like the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority. I am also advised that the council and government are to negotiate a series of priority heritage projects to be funded from the $750,000 allocated to Willow Court some years ago.

It has been reported to councillors that "the outcome of the meeting is that the government are still committed to work with council on the transferring of the site to another entity but they still require more time to allow for a final report to be received by cabinet."

UPDATE: This week's Derwent Valley Gazette reports that Heritage Minister Brian Wightman would not be drawn on the specifics of negotiations conducted with the council. He went only so far as to say he and the premier had met the mayor and "reaffirmed our election commitment to look at the future options for the ownership and management of Willow Court. While no conclusion has yet been reached, I look forward to working with the Derwent Valley Council on this issue in the new year," the Gazette reported Mr Wightman saying.

A statement of agreed outcomes would be a useful addition to future meetings between the council and the government.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Standards panel determination

THE Standards Panel of the Local Government Association of Tasmania has upheld Mr Ian Brown's appeal in relation to his Code of Conduct complaint against me. In a letter received by Registered Post today, the panel imposed the following sanctions upon me:

a) a caution
b) an apology to Mr Brown
c) a requirement to attend training

At this stage of the process, any appeals must be made by application to a court within 28 days of receiving notification of the panel's determination. If no application is received from myself or the complainant, the panel's recommendation will be reported to the mayor for consideration firstly by a closed council meeting and finally by an open council meeting. 

Comments will not be published until this matter is concluded.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November advertisement

BELOW is my latest councillor update, published in last week's issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette. A constituent suggested I publish these more often, but to keep them shorter. I tried!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Positive night at the council

THERE was a strong community focus at tonight's council meeting, with some good decisions made for our the people of our municipality. We took the first steps towards formalising the Friends of Frescati and helping them reach their goal of establishing a community garden; we approved the establishment of a committee to review the "spatial plan" for the New Norfolk central business district; and we endorsed a process for the removal of the pink planter boxes in Burnett St. The meeting finished a little earlier than usual, leaving time to chat with the members of the public who attended tonight's meeting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tidy Towns Committee brings home the prize

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone associated with the Derwent Valley Council's Tidy Towns Committee following their successful campaign which has resulted in New Norfolk being named the winner of the 2010 Tasmanian Tidy Towns Award. The committee wins $2000 and a trophy.

New Norfolk will now represent Tasmania in the judging for the national award. The competition includes Rutherglen (Victoria) and Stanthorpe (Queensland).

Previous winners of the state Tidy Town award are:

2006Swansea - 2007 National Winner
1996Stanley - 1997 National Winner
1989George Town
1988George Town
1984Mole Creek
1983Mole Creek

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Subdivision comments

LAST week's council meeting declined to approve a subdivision at Molesworth, based on concerns about the impact of additional traffic on Molesworth Rd. Here's what I had to say on the matter: "Residents of the Molesworth district have had much to say about this subdivision, and they are in one voice on the subject of the proposed access road. I am not opposed to this subdivision but I agree with the concerns of the locally affected people. In particular I am concerned about the road safety implications of the proposed access off Molesworth Rd. I have visited the site and cannot agree with the finding that this is a suitable access point. I note the photographs showing sightlines from the road's edge and make the observation that few drivers leave their cars to check for oncoming traffic.Sightlines from the driver's seat of my car were not as generous as those in the planner's report. I cannot support the recommendation as it stands, and urge that more consideration be given to the option of accessing the proposed subdivision from the Lyell Highway. If the Lyell Highway cannot cope with an access of this type, we must ask what has been achieved by the State Government's $14 million worth of alleged improvements." 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Advice to Derwent Valley Council

AT Thursday night's council meeting I made the following statement: "I wish to advise the council that I appeared before the Standards Panel of the Local Government Association yesterday, in relation to Mr Ian Brown's appeal against the recent determination of his Code of Conduct complaint made against me. I am advised that a finding may be reached next week."

During the hearing, Mr Brown expressed his concern that it had been incorrectly stated on this blog that he was a resident of Ridson Vale or Clarendon Vale, when in fact he had never lived at either of those places. I apologised for the error and advised that the information had been sourced from Mr Brown's correspondence which listed a Clarendon Vale postal address.

Comments will not be published until this matter is concluded.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Agenda for October meeting

YESTERDAY'S mail brought a very interesting council agenda for the October meeting this Thursday and I imagine there will be more than a few onlookers in the public gallery. You are welcome to join them - the meeting starts at 6.30pm. There is an opportunity for public questions and statements at the start of the meeting. It's advisable to get there early to fill in the simple form and hand it to the deputy general manager.

There are two items of some disappointment. In Motions on Notice, Cr Jim Elliott proposes that the council should cease the advertising of its monthly "workshops". Cr Elliott does not state whether it is his intention to move these workshops back behind closed doors, or simply to stop advertising them. If the idea is simply to save money, that could be achieved by listing the monthly meeting and monthly workshop in the one advertisement. I regret that because I am employed by the newspaper where the council does its advertising, I will not be able to take part in the debate on this topic.

Equally disappointing, and contrary to assurances received in the last fortnight, is that community concerns about the access road for a new subdivision at Molesworth seem not to have been heard. Building an expensive road and bridge to connect with Molesworth Rd makes no sense when the safest and most obvious option is to connect directly with the Lyell Highway. If the highway cannot cope with one additional entry on a reasonably straight stretch at Sorell Creek, what has the State Government achieved with its $14 million worth of "improvements"?

Also on the agenda is a briefing by Home and Community Care co-ordinator Julie Triffett; a proposal to investigate the employment of a regional development officer; community grants for 2010/11; and a closed meeting to discuss a solid waste collection service contract.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Latest advertisement - October

BELOW is my latest councillor update, published in last week's issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shaw claims New Norfolk Classic

BALLARAT cyclist Patrick Shaw, 24, was first across the line this afternoon and claimed victory in the second annual Launceston to New Norfolk Classic. The event was sponsored by the Derwent Valley Council and New Norfolk Business Alliance and Mayor Martyn Evans was on hand to congratulate the winners. A reception was held afterwards at the Junction Motel.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Strategic planning

EACH Thursday night for about a month, your councillors have been meeting to develop a new strategic plan. This is a legal requirement of the Local Government Act, although little legislative guidance is provided on what such plans must contain. What we are working on is actually our council's fourth strategic plan and it is intended to map the road ahead for the next five years.

In principle, our new strategic plan is going to be a "plain English" document. It will be only a few pages in length and it will include realistic, achievable goals. What I am hoping for is a plan that can be easily displayed in poster format, and that these posters will be displayed in the council chamber to provide a constant reminder of the strategy we wish to follow. I would like to see similar posters displayed in public places from time to time. My council colleagues appear to share these thoughts and we are looking forward to presenting a draft for public consultation in the near future.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New president for Maydena association

HAVING missed last month's annual general meeting of the Maydena Community Association, it was good to catch up with some of the local news at the monthly meeting earlier tonight. In particular, congratulations go to Lynne Graham on her election as president of the community association, taking over from Piers Hooper who was elected vice-president. Lynne is continuing in her previous role as secretary in addition to her new responsibility. Tim Parkes remains public officer of the association and Derek Whitwell was re-elected to the treasurer's job. Congratulations one and all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Federal election - how we voted in the Valley

THE Australian Electoral Commission has made available the provisional polling place figures from Saturday's Federal Election. Results from local polling booths follow.

NOYES, Lucas (Secular Party of Australia) 2     
HUTCHINSON, Eric Russell (Liberal) 31    
ADAMS, Dick (Australian Labor Party) 38 
CASSIDY, Karen Frances (Australian Greens) 7
(Informal 9)

NOYES, Lucas 4
ADAMS, Dick 200
CASSIDY, Karen 49
(Informal 18)

NOYES, Lucas 3
ADAMS, Dick 61
CASSIDY, Karen 36
(Informal 6)

NOYES, Lucas 3
ADAMS, Dick 119
CASSIDY, Karen 28
(Informal 7)

NOYES, Lucas 7
ADAMS, Dick 226
CASSIDY, Karen 69
(Informal 15)

NOYES, Lucas 5
ADAMS, Dick 81
CASSIDY, Karen 25
(Informal 11)

NOYES, Lucas 1
ADAMS, Dick 58
CASSIDY, Karen 19
(Informal 5)

NOYES, Lucas 5
ADAMS, Dick 217
CASSIDY, Karen 100
(Informal 19)

NOYES, Lucas 6
ADAMS, Dick 318
CASSIDY, Karen 44
(Informal 43)

NOYES, Lucas 3
ADAMS, Dick 84
CASSIDY, Karen 29
(Informal 15)

NOYES, Lucas 5
ADAMS, Dick 120
CASSIDY, Karen 77
(Informal 14)

NOYES, Lucas 36
ADAMS, Dick 1,059
CASSIDY, Karen 27
(Informal 111)

NOYES, Lucas 24
ADAMS, Dick 866
CASSIDY, Karen 116
(Informal 113)

NOYES, Lucas 7
ADAMS, Dick 92
CASSIDY, Karen 16
(Informal 13)

NOYES, Lucas 4
ADAMS, Dick 96
CASSIDY, Karen 33
(Informal 9)

Friday, August 20, 2010

A post about nothing

AT last night's Derwent Valley Council meeting I asked Mayor Martyn Evans a question without notice on the topic of the Federal Election, seeking to find out what commitments the major parties had made to the Derwent Valley. The answer was short and painfully clear:


The mayor expanded: No GP super-clinic as offered elsewhere. No "fair go" for our southern roads nor an upgrade for the Plenty Valley Link Rd. In fact, nothing at all.

Think about that when you vote tomorrow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boutique brewer wants a fair go

THE operators of New Norfolk micro-brewing business The Two Metre Tall Company have called on local Federal Labor MP Dick Adams to ensure a "fair go" for small beer producers.

In a letter sent today to Mr Adams, other politicians and the media, Ashley and Jane Huntington say brewing businesses are practically untenable due to the way the Federal Government taxes beer.

"Today, whilst there are close to 150 small, independent breweries in operation across the nation, the actual number is in continuous flux with many operations closing as fast as they open largely due to the oppressive taxation conditions applied to brewers – and, in particular, to small brewers - by the Federal Government," Mr and Mrs Huntington said in their letter.

The couple say that while wineries have flourished throughout Tasmania and Australia thanks to favourable tax arrangements, breweries remain encumbered by century-old excise arrangements that require them to pay tax of up to 30% - in advance. "The Federal Government removes, in cash, between 25-30% of the revenue a small brewing business earns on the Monday after the product is dispatched to a customer, which can be up to 120 days before the business actually receives payment for these goods.

"The Federal Government, therefore, is by far the largest liability a small brewery business will have, and it is a liability which requires cash, requires it as soon as the transaction occurs and requires it regardless of the capacity of a business to pay and regardless of whether the business has received the proceeds of the taxable transaction. It is brutal, it is policed and it – like no other liability in business – comes with the threat of criminal sanction for anything other than strict adherence."

The couple said that if their business produced wine, instead of beer, and invested and traded at the same rate it had done so far, they would have been profitable in their second year of operation, would now be in a position to have two full-time staff on the payroll (and a third during this financial year) and they would be paying company tax.

All Lyons and Tasmanian senate candidates are invited to comment on this matter.

Conduct panel decision appealed

I HAVE today been advised that Mr Ian Brown of Clarendon Vale has appealed against the decision of the Derwent Valley Council Code of Conduct Panel in relation to the complaint lodged by him on February 11. The Standards Panel of the Local Government Association advises that it has 90 days to hear and decide on the appeal.

Comments will not be published until this matter is concluded.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Candidate contacts

OUR electorate of Lyons is playing practically no role in the Federal Election, despite there being many issues of concern both locally in the Derwent Valley and throughout the electorate as a whole. Who and where are our candidates? Why are they seeking election? What do they have to say?

As voters it is our right and responsibility to know what our candidates stand for, so here are their contact details as listed on the Australian Electoral Commission website. Note: Mr Noyes has provided additional contact details, while Ms Cassidy provides none.

Lucas Noyes - Secular Party of Australia
Mobile: 0418 654 773
Twitter: @lucasnoyes
Skype: lucas.noyes

Eric Hutchinson - Liberal Party
PO Box 83, Evandale 7212
Mobil:e 0447 777 251

Dick Adams MHR - Australian Labor Party
PO Box 50, Perth 7300
Phone (work): 6398 1115

Karen Cassidy - Australian Greens

Ms Cassidy does not provide any contact details via the AEC, but you can read about her campaign here:

All candidates are welcome to provide profiles for publication here as we enter the last fortnight of the campaign - a reminder that these must be authorised in accordance with the Electoral Act. A reminder also that election comments posted to this blog must include your given name, surname and locality. That's the law folks.

Election promises update

AT the end of the week when Willow Court was the only major Tasmanian convict site NOT to gain World Heritage listing, it's worth checking the state of play in regard to Federal Election commitments made to the preservation and restoration of Willow Court:

  • Labor: minus $750,000 (Promised at the 2007 election & withdrawn last year due to council inaction)
  • Liberal/National: Nil

Monday, August 2, 2010

Five projects recommended for federal funds

I have been advised that the council has submitted the following proposals for consideration under the third round of the Federal Government's Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, which closed last Friday afternoon.
Magra CWA – Upgrade entrance to the New Norfolk Swimming Pool ($15,000)
Molesworth Recreation Ground – Development of children’s playground ($6000)
Dorothy Robinson – Commemorative Wall at Arthur Square ($11,000)
Len Butterworth – Fishing rest at Glenora Road ($20,000)
Martyn Evans – Wetlands and Walking Track upgrade ($37,000)

While I am on record as being concerned about the mayor's procedure for selecting the projects to be submitted for funding, I must thank the mayor for agreeing to my proposal to seek public input, which resulted in 13 suggestions being received, in addition to the mayor's own proposal for the Wetlands and Walking Track. 

The remaining suggestions, and the general manager's comments, were as follows:
Molesworth Community Carers – Upgrade entrance on the corner of Molesworth and Collins Cap Rd (consider budget 2011/2012)
Derwent Valley Field and Game – Access road improvements (consider budget 2011/12)
New Norfolk Golf Club – Kitchen upgrade
Jessica Warren – Burnett St removal of planter boxes and sealing
Jessica Warren – High Street Mall (Burnett to Charles St)
Jessica Warren – Improve public toilets (make central toilet in town)
Jessica Warren – Improve footpaths in Pioneer Avenue (consider budget 2011/12)
Jessica Warren – Make wheelchair access to all shops
Margaret Wilson – Lyell Highway/Glebe Rd junction (consider budget 2011/12)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A local surprise in the Senate list

WELL-known New Norfolk businessman and sportsman Ray Williams has nominated for election to the Senate as a candidate for the Hunters and Shooters Party. While it is not so well known in Tasmania, the party was established in 1992 and has had three members elected to the NSW Legislative Council (one still incumbent).

A long-term resident of New Norfolk, Mr Williams is the co-owner of New Norfolk Mitre 10 Hardware and its associated garden, timber and gun shop businesses. He served for some years on the Derwent Valley Council and is an enthusiastic sporting shooter, fisherman and a past winner of the historic category of Targa Tasmania in his EH Holden.



HUTTON, Paulene
NEAL, Timothy

PARRY, Stephen Shane



MILNE, Christine
WHISH-WILSON, Peter Stuart
ANN, Penelope

CHOI, Jin-oh

GORA, Mishka
WILLIAMS, Margaret Mary

WOODCOCK, Hamish McKinnon


OTTAVI, Dino (Independent)

For more information about Tasmania's senate candidates, including contact details for most, click here

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the Federal Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

One surprise as candidates are named

THE Australian Electoral Commission today released the names of candidates contesting the August 21 Federal Election. There was one surprise amongst the candidates for Lyons, with the Secular Party of Australia endorsing Mr Lucas Noyes to contest the seat held by Dick Adams since 1993.

In the order in which they will be listed on the ballot paper, the candidates for Lyons are:
  • Lucas NOYES, Secular Party of Australia
  • Eric Russell HUTCHINSON, Liberal
  • Dick ADAMS MHR, Australian Labor Party
  • Karen Frances CASSIDY, Australian Greens

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Election watch

NEARLY two weeks into the 2010 Federal Election campaign, no commitments have been made to the preservation and restoration of New Norfolk's historic site of national significance - Willow Court. Here's a handy tally:
  • Labor: minus $750,000 (Promised at the 2007 election & withdrawn last year due to council inaction)
  • Liberal/National: Nil

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another disappointment

DESPITE our council knowing for some weeks that applications for the current regional infrastructure grants close at 5pm this Friday, I was today told there is "no time" for a properly constituted meeting to consider and vote on suggestions received from the public. Instead, this will be done without public scrutiny at a "discussion" hosted by the mayor on Thursday night - and yet another rushed grant application will be put together by 5pm Friday. A similar process led to the new "sound shell" at Tynwald Park having no shell. Sigh. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Conduct panel recommends a reprimand

THE Derwent Valley Council's independent Code of Conduct Panel has recommended that I be reprimanded in the matter of a complaint lodged by Mr Ian Brown of Risdon Vale. Significantly, the panel found "that there was no positive proof of premeditated and deliberate intention to embarrass, discredit or malign Mr Brown" and there was no need for a personal apology.

The panel took the view that I "should have been aware of the possibility of of personal offence and acted in a more caring and sensitive manner". To this end, the panel recommended that I "attain an understanding" of Councillor Code of Conduct obligations as follows:

  1. will act honestly and in accordance with the law, the Code of Conduct and relevant Council policies and administrative procedures;
  2. will show respect and courtesy when dealing with other Councillors, Council employees and the public, and refrain from any form of conduct which may cause any person offence or embarrassment;
  3. will exercise reasonable care and diligence;
  4. will act impartially and in the best interests of the community;
  5. will be responsive to community views and seek to communicate these to the Council.

While I object strongly to the suggestion that I do not already act in accordance with those principles - both as a councillor and in my life generally - it is not my intention to appeal the panel's recommendation of a reprimand.

If no appeal is received from myself or the complainant by August 4 or thereabouts, the panel's recommendation will be considered firstly by a closed council meeting and finally by an open council meeting. 

Comments will not be published until this matter is concluded.
  • Last night's council meeting considered a raft of recommendations on the subject of a review of the Councillor Code of Conduct. As the above complaint remains live at this stage, I thought it best to declare an interest and leave the room. Cr James Graham also declared an interest and left the room. My formal declaration appears below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friends, lend us your ideas

AN unexpected $89,000 has been made available to the Derwent Valley Council on the condition that it meet certain criteria set by the Federal Government. On June 18, then prime minister Kevin Rudd announced that additional funding of $100 million for the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP) would be made available.

This funding will assist councils to build and modernise community facilities including town halls, libraries, community centres, sports grounds and environmental infrastructure and is aimed at strengthening our communities during the economic recovery by supporting local jobs and provide long-term benefits to communities by renewing and upgrading local infrastructure.

Applications for this third round of the RLCIP scheme close at the end of this month. Despite the short timeframe, Mayor Martyn Evans agreed to my request that council seek public suggestions for suitable job-creating projects. Please send your ideas to the general manager at the council chambers, or by posting a comment to this blog or email

The Federal Government small print:  Eligible projects must be additional (or additional stages of current projects), and represent value for money. Additional projects are those which have not been included in the council’s budget for 2010/11, are new or can be brought forward as a result of RLCIP funding. Projects need to be ready to begin construction within six months of signing the funding agreement. Projects which represent value for public money are those which, in the context of the objectives and outcomes of the project, add value by achieving something worthwhile for the community that would not occur without grant assistance.

Councils are responsible for community consultation and the consideration of the community benefit for potential infrastructure projects within their jurisdictions. Councils are encouraged to consider projects that:
  • address the needs of the local indigenous population;
  • address environmental sustainability , and how their RLCIP activities will promote green building technologies, design practices and operations and preparing for climate change impacts; and
  • Involve collaboration with neighbouring councils including joint-projects.
Councils can also sponsor projects on behalf of not-for profit community organisations.

Eligible categories of infrastructure
Funding will be provided to councils for community infrastructure, including new construction and major renovations or refurbishments of assets such as:
  • social and cultural infrastructure (e.g. art spaces, gardens);
  • recreational facilities (e.g. swimming pools, sports stadiums);
  • tourism infrastructure (e.g. walkways, tourism information centres);
  • children, youth and seniors facilities (e.g. playgroup centres, senior citizens’ centres);
  • access facilities (e.g. boat ramps, footbridges); and
  • environmental initiatives (e.g. drain and sewerage upgrades, recycling plants);
Funding can be used for:
  • construction for new or upgraded facilities; and
  • refurbishment and fit out.
Ineligible projects
Projects must provide a clear and direct benefit to the local community. Examples of projects that are ineligible for this reason include those which support council operations (such as an upgrade of council offices), those which make a direct contribution to private businesses (other than those which provide a direct community service, or those which benefit specific individuals (such as the renovation of a caretaker’s residence). Funding will not be approved to bolster funding for existing projects which have exceeded their original budget forecasts. Funding cannot be used for:

  • ongoing costs (e.g. operational costs and maintenance);
  • roads or related infrastructure covered by the Roads to Recovery or Black Spots programs;
  • artworks;
  • information technology and communications hardware and software;
  •  non-fixed infrastructure [e.g. above ground irrigation systems]; or
  • project management costs.
 So, go to it. What would you like to see done with the $89,000 available to our municipality?All ideas I receive by Thursday afternoon will be presented to the council meeting that night.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Code of Conduct update

EARLIER this evening I appeared before the Derwent Valley Council's code of conduct panel, to respond to an allegation that I failed to show due respect to a staff member while attending my first council meeting last November. I dispute the allegation but do not deny any person the right to take action if they feel they have been failed by me in my role as a councillor.

Comments will not be published until this matter is concluded.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Economic renewal group looks to the future

MAYOR Martyn Evans, deputy mayor Craig Farrell and myself attended a board meeting of the Derwent Valley Economic Renewal Group (Valley Vision) earlier this evening, accompanied by general manager Stephen Mackey. After being responsible for Willow Court matters for about 10 years, the group is now looking to return to its roots and re-engage with the community.

Contrary to suggestions that the council had shut down Valley Vision, it has in fact renewed the lease on the Valley Vision office in High St, and maintained its previous funding allocation of $26,000. During tonight's discussions, general manager Stephen Mackey offered to provide clerical support for about six months. I encouraged the DVERG board to use this period to investigate options to source funds to employ new staff to replace those who resigned earlier this year.

Productive discussions were had with board members Sandy Carmichael, Anker Fuglsang, Sharon Hutchison and Tim Last, and Rivers Run tourism representative Roger Zantuck and I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation at the next meeting.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A critic? Not this time

IT was a bit of a surprise to hear myself being described as a critic at last week's workshop on the draft report on Willow Court by management consultant Malcolm MacDonald. I'm still not sure whether the suggestion was that I'm a critic of Mr MacDonald's work, or of the Willow Court and Barracks Special Committee, but I'm neither.

I was equally surprised to hear so many people expressing their support for the notion of handing Willow Court over to an "entity" that doesn't yet exist. I know most of my council colleagues are keen to offload Willow Court, but I didn't realise so many members of the new Willow Court committee felt the same.

My comments shouldn't be interpreted as criticism of Mr MacDonald for making the suggestion, although I do believe it was outside his terms of reference. My reason for suggesting that the council engage a consultant was to provide us with one comprehensive step-by-step plan to enable us to have Willow Court open as a visitor attraction as soon as possible. I did not expect the consultant to delve into ownership issues, but Mr MacDonald says this was essential to his work. I disagree, but it's not a deal breaker and I look forward to seeing the finished report.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Roundabout takes shape

IT'S about 20 years over-due but the long-awaited roundabout at the junction of High and Stephen Sts has started taking shape. A temporary structure was put in place this week, marking out the dimensions that can be expected when the permanent structure is put in place.

Government funding for the roundabout was secured by Valley Vision as part of its High St spacial planning project. The location has been an unofficial turning circle for many generations and there has been talk of a roundabout for several decades.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Council budget night coming up on Monday

COUNCILLORS have been called to a special meeting this Monday night to consider the Derwent Valley Council's budget for 2010-2011. These meetings are usually are dry affair, as all matters have been sorted out in budget sessions over the preceding weeks. The budget process has been an interesting experience and I believe there is room for improvement in the process, but credit is due to council accountant John Bradley for providing councillors with clear and concise details. The meeting will be at 6.30pm in the courthouse and everyone is welcome to attend what should be a relatively quick proceeding.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Willow Court update

A WORKSHOP on progress to date on the consolidation of planning for the Willow Court redevelopment will be held by the Derwent Valley Council and the Willow Court and Barracks Working Party at 6.30pm this Thursday (June 24) in the council social rooms Circle St, New Norfolk. All council workshops are open to the public.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Latest Gazette advertisement

BELOW is my latest report, published as an advertisement in last week's issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette. My thanks to everyone for their comments received.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Declaration of interests

AFTER declaring an interest in any item being discussed at a council meeting, councillors are required to submit a return indicating their reasons. Last month I excused myself from the discussion of three items at two meetings. The first item was the appointment of a chairman for the council's code of conduct panel on May 10. As there is the matter of an unresolved code of conduct complaint against me, I thought it best to remove myself from the appointment of the person who would be investigating the matter.

At the May 20 council meeting I left the room during discussion of the removal of trees on Hobart Rd, as one of the tenderers for the job is also my gardener. Similarly, a closed council meeting later that night involved the lease of offices at 2 High St, where my father is both a former and prospective lessee.

My declarations are posted below.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Does it pay to belong?

LAST week we met as a council to consider the first draft of the budget for the next financial year. Following the recent decision of the Glenorchy City Council to withdraw from the Local Government Association of Tasmania, I was keen to learn the cost of our membership of the association - which turns out to be more than $28,000. On top of that, our council pays just over $18,000 to be part of the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority. Ending the Derwent Valley Council's membership of these bodies may seem extreme, but it would cut 1% from our annual rates bill.

General manager Stephen Mackey advised that the council must give a year's notice if it decides to withdraw from the LGAT. This has been considered before, at the request of Cr Judy Bromfield, but did not proceed. It is time to consider the costs and benefits of remaining in the LGAT. At the same time, the association should consider whether the allowances paid to its office bearers and members are a little generous.

Code of conduct

I WELCOME the recent appointment of a new chairman for the Derwent Valley Council's code of conduct panel. At a Special Meeting held on May 10, the council appointed Plenty resident Ken Pomlett as chairman of the panel, and Bushy Park resident Viv Cardwell as proxy chairman. They replace the late Robert Walker.

I excused myself from that section of the meeting as there is currently an outstanding complaint relating to statements I am alleged to have made at my first council meeting last November. I welcome the appointment and look forward to the complainant having the opportunity to have his concerns addressed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Willow Court handback

HERE'S what I had to say at tonight's council meeting in reference to Cr Elliott's motion to hand back parts of the Willow Court historic site. In the end I was ultimately unsuccessful, being one of only three councillors opposed to the band-back. It was a vigorous debate while still showing due respect to the varying opinions around the table.

Six councillors ultimately supported an amended motion put forward by Cr Bromfield which will see the council enter discussions to negotiate the transfer of the whole of the Willow Court site on terms and conditions that are in the best interest of our community. Councillors Farrell, Lathey and I opposed the motion.

Mr Mayor, councillors already know my position on this. In fact Cr Elliott in his supporting documentation proves what great strides we have made in just the last few months and why we should continue on our current path instead of admitting defeat.

* We have resumed direct authority for the site and its redevelopment
* We have a plan to have the site open to visitors by the end of May
* We have formed the Friends of Willow Court
* We have appointed a consultant for the consolidation of existing plans and the creation of a development strategy.

So my respectful question is: Why stop now?

We can do this ourselves and it will be for the long-term benefit of our community.

My second question is whether those in favour of returning the site to the State Government believe the government will be able to move any faster on this development. The state’s record in the final decades of its ownership does not inspire confidence.

What will happen to the site in the months or perhaps years that may pass before the State Government takes any action?

Cr Elliott suggests in his motion that we transfer the site to a State Government Entity. Which entity would that be? Who will decide? and when will they decide? And what will happen to the site in the meantime?

With due respect to Cr Elliott, his motion is deficient as it does not make clear what he proposes to hand back to the State Government. Does it include the oval and surrounding buildings? If not, why not? Does it include the river flats? Does it include the building the Mayor and Deputy Mayor have promised as an arts centre?

If the does council decide to throw in the towel, it must preserve the integrity of what remains of the site and hand it all back to the State Government, rather than pick and chose what it wants to keep for possible financial gain.

Sadly, the council has already damaged the historical integrity of the site through ill-advised asset sales and, if it is decided to give it all away, the council must return all parts of Willow Court that it still owns.

Perhaps the most important and neglected area is, as always, community consultation. The public was never asked whether it wanted the council to take ownership of Willow Court and Cr Elliott's motion makes no mention of a plan to ask whether the public wants us to give it back.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Statement on proposed sale of the Willow Court oval

AT a closed council meeting held last night, six councillors voted to sell the Willow Court oval. I was not one of them. To their credit, councillors endorsed my motion to make their decision public.
This council does more backflips than an Olympic diving team. First the oval was secretly sold but that decision was overturned. Tenders were then called for, but the council decided not to accept any of them. Now the council intends to decide what it wants to see built on the oval and then ask four of the previous tenderers whether they would like to build it.
As well as being unable to make a decision and stick to it, the council has once again shown its complete lack of a strategic vision for Willow Court.
In recent weeks the council has formed a new advisory committee and engaged a consultant to review and consolidate all previous planning for the Willow Court. These were positive steps, but at the same time we have a motion on the table to return the site to the State Government, and now this decision to sell another chunk before a decision has been made on handing the rest back to the state.
Having already sold off parts of Willow Court without proper consideration, the council seems hell-bent on destroying what remains of the historical integrity of this site. Perhaps it is time for the newly commissioned ministers for Local Government and Heritage to intervene.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bushy Park pool committee's annual meeting

THE Bushy Park War Memorial Swimming Pool committee held its annual general meeting on Wednesday night and it was my pleasure to chair the meeting during the election of office-bearers. Lisa Fraser was elected president, Janice Gittus is the new secretary and Robert McCrossen continues as treasurer. I cannot speak too highly of this committee and all its members. They voluntarily provide an excellent service to their community. This summer saw more than 2000 visitors to the pool. Next summer there will be a campaign to encourage more people to take advantage of the generous savings available by taking out a season pass.

Retiring president Janice Gittus reported on the great progress made at the pool since over the last year. A Federal Government $20,000 grant was received for the complete upgrading of the change-rooms. This included swapping over the male and female rooms; new toilets; an outdoor shower; new roofing; repainted floors; and new footpaths leading to the change-rooms. The pool itself was repainted; a new pump was installed; and a new lawnmower was purchased.

The pool filter was completely overhauled, involving the replacement of two tonnes of sand. The operators of the Maydena swimming pool generously donated $400 worth of new sand for the filter. Mrs Gittus thanked everyone involved in these projects.

This season also saw caretaker/lifeguard Brian Gittus conduct a bronze medallion courses and learn-to-swim lessons. Westerway, Glenora, Maydena and Ouse schools also used the pool this season.

About 40 people attended this year's Anzac Day service at the swimming pool hall. A highlight was the presentation of a framed print of the Menin Gate to hang in the hall, which was gratefully received. Janice Gittus obtained some information about the Menin Gate which will be laminated and hung alongside the picture.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Friends at last

IT was my pleasure to move the motion to appoint the inaugural members of the Friends of Willow Court Special Committee at the April council meeting. I look forward to good things from this committee.

In light of the appointment of the committee and its members, I have relinquished my role in the organising of the open days at Willow Court on May 29 and 30 but have offered my assistance to the acting chairman.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Maydena tourist hub goes bush

THERE was some spirited discussion at tonight's meeting of the Maydena Community Association - most of it surrounding the decision of Forestry Tasmania to close its still-new tourist centre for the next six months. The Maydena Adventure Hub was the lower-cost replacement for the multi-million dollar Maydena Hauler, offering a range of adventure-based activities in the superb natural environment of the upper Derwent Valley.

The community association tonight heard that the Hub had closed on May 1 and would remain shut until November 1. Tickets for the various activities could still be purchased online and experienced to the full in Maydena, but the "Hub" (offering on-site ticket sales, coffee and petrol) is closed until summer. This is despite the facility being promoted on Forestry Tasmania's Going Bush program on Southern Cross Television last weekend.

After a lengthy discussion the association voted to seek further information from Forestry Tasmania about ways the community could help to run the Hub or offer a similar service over the winter months. Congratulations to this self-help community and good luck. To any readers, please head over to the Forestry Tasmania website and make a booking for one or more of the activities on offer this winter.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Anzac reflection

I ENJOYED our local Anzac Day observance yesterday, even while the rain was falling at the end of the service. Once again we had the involvement of many young people, proudly wearing the medals of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. But for the first time, I really looked at the ranks of our veterans and noticed their declining numbers. It really hit home when a son of the late Alf Clark stepped forward to lay a wreath at the foot of our cenotaph. Alf and his great mate (and distant relative of mine) Sappy Bester were Rats of Tobruk and I once had the privilege of interviewing them about their wartime experiences. Sappy passed away several years ago and we lost Alf last year. I missed them yesterday. Lest We Forget.

History under threat

IT was indeed a disappointment to me when I failed to sway several of my colleagues from their support for the demolition of the very old house on the corner of Burnett and George Sts in New Norfolk. It was equally disappointing that more than an hour's discussion at this month's council meeting ended in stalemate and the technical approval of the demolition. Here's what I had to say at the meeting:

"I oppose this recommendation. Too much of our history has been demolished already. With reference to this application, we are not even provided with the reason the owner wishes to demolish the house.

"This report does provide us with some food for thought - in particular the urgent need to review the properties included in Schedule 4 of our planning scheme. But we should also bear in mind that a property's historical significance is not determined by council policy. This needs fuller investigation.

"The planner's report notes that buildings to the west of this house were built between 1880 and 2005, but it seems to have missed a number of Georgian cottages built in the 1840s. We should also remember that the 2005 property was built only after the unfortunate demolition of another Georgian cottage. Burnett St, George St and Blair St is a heritage streetscape area and we must preserve what is left."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Disclosure - code of conduct complaint

I WAS informed by Mayor Martyn Evans last evening that a Code of Conduct complaint has been made about me, with particular reference to my first formal council meeting as a councillor. I have today advised the mayor that I wish to have the matter heard by the council's Code of Conduct Panel.

As this is a quasi-legal process, comments on the matter will not be published until it has concluded.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Congratulations Rodney and Severine

HEARTY congratulations to local couple Rodney Dunn and Severine Demanet on having their Lachlan business the Agrarian Kitchen named at the very top of the “100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences” list, compiled by Australian Traveller magazine. The couple opened their business in the old Lachlan schoolhouse in January 2009. Check them out at

Monday, March 22, 2010

How we voted in the Derwent Valley

THE Tasmanian Electoral Commission has made available the provisional polling place figures from Saturday's State Election. Results from local polling booths follow.

GRAHAM Jackie 0
PRIOR Sharon 3

GRAY Leigh 3

BUTLER Heather 6
POLLEY Michael 7
SULLIVAN Brendan 3
WHITE Rebecca 11

CASSIDY Karen 11
GRAHAM Jackie 3
PRIOR Sharon 4

GRAY Leigh 30

BUTLER Heather 6
POLLEY Michael 29
SULLIVAN Brendan 5
WHITE Rebecca 36
WRIGHT Nick 18

GRAHAM Jackie 3
PRIOR Sharon 2

GRAY Leigh 7

BUTLER Heather 4
POLLEY Michael 11
SULLIVAN Brendan 1
WHITE Rebecca 7
WRIGHT Nick 15

GRAHAM Jackie 1
PRIOR Sharon 3

GRAY Leigh 17

BUTLER Heather 12
POLLEY Michael 32
SULLIVAN Brendan 9
WHITE Rebecca 20
WRIGHT Nick 10

GRAHAM Jackie 9
PRIOR Sharon 2

GRAY Leigh 20

BUTLER Heather 10
POLLEY Michael 29
SULLIVAN Brendan 10
WHITE Rebecca 62
WRIGHT Nick 25

GRAHAM Jackie 2
PRIOR Sharon 0

GRAY Leigh 9

BUTLER Heather 3
POLLEY Michael 16
SULLIVAN Brendan 5
WHITE Rebecca 10

GRAHAM Jackie 2
PRIOR Sharon 1

GRAY Leigh 8

BUTLER Heather 3
POLLEY Michael 14
SULLIVAN Brendan 2
WHITE Rebecca 5

GRAHAM Jackie 6
MORRIS Tim 105
PRIOR Sharon 8

GRAY Leigh 8

BUTLER Heather 15
POLLEY Michael 18
SULLIVAN Brendan 8
WHITE Rebecca 47
WRIGHT Nick 16

GRAHAM Jackie 4
PRIOR Sharon 1

GRAY Leigh 22

BUTLER Heather 20
POLLEY Michael 45
SULLIVAN Brendan 9
WHITE Rebecca 56
WRIGHT Nick 29

GRAHAM Jackie 0
PRIOR Sharon 3

GRAY Leigh 4

BUTLER Heather 6
POLLEY Michael 9
SULLIVAN Brendan 9
WHITE Rebecca 6

GRAHAM Jackie 4
PRIOR Sharon 5

GRAY Leigh 6

BUTLER Heather 8
POLLEY Michael 26
SULLIVAN Brendan 11
WHITE Rebecca 27

New Norfolk
CASSIDY Karen 27
GRAHAM Jackie 29
MORRIS Tim 263
PRIOR Sharon 19

GRAY Leigh 55
HIDDING Rene 160
HOWLETT Jane 123

BUTLER Heather 87
POLLEY Michael 176
SULLIVAN Brendan 41
WHITE Rebecca 299
WRIGHT Nick 76

New Norfolk North
CASSIDY Karen 11
GRAHAM Jackie 7
MORRIS Tim 119
PRIOR Sharon 6

GRAY Leigh 31
HIDDING Rene 118

BUTLER Heather 41
POLLEY Michael 142
SULLIVAN Brendan 42
WHITE Rebecca 228
WRIGHT Nick 121

GRAHAM Jackie 2
PRIOR Sharon 2

GRAY Leigh 23

BUTLER Heather 2
POLLEY Michael 22
SULLIVAN Brendan 3
WHITE Rebecca 17

GRAHAM Jackie 1
PRIOR Sharon 4

GRAY Leigh 8

BUTLER Heather 5
POLLEY Michael 5
SULLIVAN Brendan 3
WHITE Rebecca 15
WRIGHT Nick 11

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Willow Court statement

I have conflicting feelings about the latest twist in the Willow Court story. 
I have always said Willow Court should not have been sold by the government in the first place. It should have been been declared a National Park like Port Arthur and appropriately developed for visitors.

That said, I'm not in favour of the council handing back Willow Court at this time. In the months since my election to council we have taken the necessary steps to have Willow Court open to visitors by the end of May. We are reviewing and updating 10 years' worth of planning. We have established the Friends of Willow Court to introduce community participation. 

If anything, the government's record of caring for the site is just as bad as the council's. The first local attempts to turn Willow Court into a museum date back to the 1960s but nothing came of it and the barracks in particular continued to deteriorate while under various government ownership.

I have led the criticism of the council's handling of the site in the past, but we are finally making progress and the majority of councillors have endorsed this new thrust. I fear that returning the site to the state will only further delay the preservation and redevelopment of Willow Court and surrounds.

What I find particularly galling is that Mayor Martyn Evans has allowed one councillor's position on Willow Court to override lawful council decisions. It seems all of our plans have been thrown to the wind following a short meeting with the premier, which I was unable to attend. I am most disappointed at this turn of events and appalled that I had to learn about it at a public meeting without being briefed by the mayor beforehand.

Ten years ago this council took ownership of Willow Court without asking if that was what the community wanted. Now after wasting about $2 million with no discernable result, it is proposed to give the site away without asking if that is what the community wants. I really expected better from this mayor.

This situation also brings into question how the council can in good faith interview potential purchasers of the oval precinct tomorrow, when on Sunday we may no longer own the site.

Councillor Damian Bester

(this statement was issued to the Derwent Valley Gazette earlier today)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Willow Court shock

AFTER 10 years in council hands, the Willow Court historic site would be resumed by a re-elected Labor State Government, Lyons Labor MHA David Llewellyn told tonight's election forum at New Norfolk. The shock announcement follows discussions between the council and Premier David Bartlett earlier today. Mr Llewellyn said the government had decided to allow the Derwent Valley Council to keep the disputed $750,000 grant originally intended for Willow Court works, and this could be used for any purpose the council sees fit. Liberal MHA Rene Hidding said his party would work to assist the council develop Willow Court if elected this weekend.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published. 

Candidates' forum tonight

A REMINDER that the Lyons Candidates' Election Forum is on this evening at the New Norfolk District Football Club at 7.30pm. All welcome.

Lyons Labor candidate Nick Wright

LISTENING to hundreds of people since I started campaigning in the Derwent Valley in April 2009, I share the growing optimism that there are better times ahead. The Derwent Valley's natural beauty, history, proximity to the wilderness, agriculture and strong sense of community could combine to make the Derwent Valley a model of what can be achieved around regional Tasmania.

The rejuvenation of the Council at last year's local government elections was an important turning point: the election of a new, energetic, capable, experienced and straight talking Labor member in southern Lyons would be another step forward in supporting the Valley's potential.

Should I be elected, my focus for the Derwent Valley would be upon:
  • supporting opportunities for investment and economic development, by working with the Council and potential investors to maximise the support available from State Government, navigating planning and environmental approvals and standing up to green busy bodies who stand in the way of most of the projects proposed in regional Tasmania;
  • helping the Derwent Valley gets a fairer share of support services for disadvantaged people.  Having spent time in both communities, it is really striking that there are nowhere near the number and range of support services in New Norfolk that are provided to Bridgewater and Gagebrook - but it is also obvious that in some areas, the level of disadvantage is very similar;
  • working with the local bus operator and the Tasmanian Bus Association to build on and sustain the improvement in the region's public bus services.
I need a big vote from the Valley to secure the privilege of a seat in Parliament - so make sure you make the Wright choice on election day!

Nick Wright

* All Lyons candidates have been invited to provide a statement for publication, detailing their commitments for the Derwent Valley. Mr Wright is the first to do so.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Premier visits at last

PREMIER David Bartlett met several members of the Derwent Valley Council this morning, but work commitments prevented my attendance. I have not yet heard what commitments he made for the Derwent Valley and there have been no public statements on the matter. After leaving New Norfolk, Mr Bartlett travelled to Bridgewater where he promised to build a $3 million 25m pool if his government is re-elected this weekend.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is it something we said?

DERWENT Valley Councillors lost another opportunity to lobby Premier David Bartlett when both he and Opposition Leader Will Hodgman opted out of today's general meeting of the Local Government Association. Held at the Brighton Civic Centre at Bridgewater, the gathering of councils was expecting to be addressed by Mr Hodgman at 10.15am and Mr Bartlett at 2.30pm. Instead, they heard from Rene Hidding and David Llewellyn. The only leader to keep his appointment was Nick McKim, despite having his party's election campaign launch today as well.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Early opening for school refurbishment

WORK has not yet finished, but the refurbished New Norfolk Primary School was officially opened today, with Lyons Labor MHA David Llewellyn standing in for Premier and Education Minister David Bartlett. “To all intents and purposes, New Norfolk Primary School will present as a new school when all building work is complete,” Mr Llewellyn said.

State Government funding of $2.59 million covered the cost of a new classroom block on top of the existing Prep classroom, as well as the refurbishment of the majority of classrooms. Work started a year ago and a strong working relationship between the school, supervising architect and the builders had enabled the uninterrupted education of the school's growing student body. “This is no mean feat considering the potential for disruption presented by more than 12 months of major works on a school site," Mr Llewellyn said.

An additional $2 million in Federal Government "Education Revolution" funding had extended the project to include refurbishing the multi-purpose hall, library and other classrooms, as well as a $125,000 upgrade of playgrounds and the replacement of boundary fences.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Still no word on premier's no-show

A MEETING of Derwent Valley Councillors was told last night that Premier David Bartlett's New Norfolk visit was confirmed only 15 minutes prior to last Sunday's non-appearance at the New Norfolk District Football Club. Mayor Martyn Evans said the visit had been confirmed by the office of Derwent MLC and state treasurer Michael Aird. No word had been received to explain why the premier had not turned up.

Mayor Evans said he was still hopeful of meeting Mr Bartlett prior to next fortnight's State Election, in order to impress upon the premier the many pressing needs of the Derwent Valley.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Election forum advertisement

Monday, March 8, 2010

Premier was a no-show

MYSTERY surrounds the non-appearance of Premier David Bartlett at a function with Derwent Valley Councillors yesterday morning. On Friday evening, deputy mayor Craig Farrell emailed all councillors on behalf of the mayor and requested their attendance at the New Norfolk District Football Clubrooms on Sunday morning (yesterday) where Mr Bartlett would make a funding announcement for the Derwent Valley.

I was unable to attend, due to illness, but advised the mayor that I would look forward to hearing of Mr Bartlett's election commitments and if necessary "to eat humble pie" following my outburst at last week's council workshop where I said the State Government would not talk to the council while we continued to stonewall on the issue of unspent grant funding for Willow Court.

On Sunday morning, Mayor Evans, Deputy Mayor Farrell, Councillors Bromfield, Elliott and Lathey, and general manager Stephen Mackey attended the football clubrooms. Representing the State Government were David Llewellyn MHA, and an advisor - but no premier.

After a bit of a chat, Mr Llewllyn made his announcement of $50,000 funding for the Boyer Oval lights and that was that. This was welcome news - but it's hardly anything like the $27 million promised by David Bartlett to the West Coast municipality.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Labor promises night-time footy at New Norfolk

A RE-ELECTED Labor State Government would fund the completion of lights at New Norfolk's Boyer Oval, Lyons MHA David Llewellyn said today. "Last year Sport and Recreation provided funding of $47,400, and now we are committing to provide further funding to complete the project," Mr Llewellyn said.

"A Labor government will provide another $50,000 to light up the four new light towers. The lights will improve the playing and training situation for footballers and cricketers, and for Derwent Valley schools," Mr Llewellyn said.

"New Norfolk Football Club and Derwent Valley cricket teams will be able to play games at night under the new lights. When Brighton Football Club started Saturday night games in 2009, using game-standard lighting, the crowds were terrific. It's a great opportunity for people to enjoy each other's company and encourage community sport at the same time.

"About 3000 come to sporting competitions in the Derwent Valley - this will provide better facilities for all of them," he said. Mr Llewellyn said the overall project has been supported by a great deal of in-kind support from the community, local businesses and the Derwent Valley Council.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Meet the candidates at New Norfolk

AS advertised in this week's issue of the Derwent Valley Gazette, a state election forum featuring candidates for Lyons will be held at the New Norfolk District Football Clubrooms at 7.30pm on March 15. I hope to see you there.

Lyons candidates named

SIXTEEN candidates from the three major parties will contest the five available seats in Lyons in this month's State Election. In the order in which they were named by the Tasmanian Electoral Commission today, the candidates are:

Division of Lyons
Enrolment 72,346
CASSIDY, Karen - Tasmanian Greens Party Manager - Waverley     
GRAHAM, Jackie - Health Educator - Dodges Ferry     
MORRIS, Tim - Member of Parliament - New Norfolk     
PRIOR, Sharon - Team Leader - Forcett     
STEVENS, Karl - Manager, Small Business, Councillor - Beaconsfield     

LIBERAL PARTY             
GRAY, Leigh R - Customs Broker - Brighton     
HIDDING, Rene - Member of Parliament - Youngtown     
HOWLETT, Jane - Business Development Manager - Battery Point
PLAYSTED, James  - Consultant - Sandy Bay     
SHELTON, Mark - Mayor (Meander Valley Council) / Teacher - Bracknell     

BUTLER, Heather - Member of Parliament - St Helens     
LLEWELLYN, David - Member of Parliament - Howrah     
POLLEY, Michael - Member of Parliament - Longford     
SULLIVAN, Brendan - Key Account Manager - Port Sorell     
WHITE, Rebecca - Electorate Officer - Orielton     
WRIGHT, Nick - Public Servant - West Hobart     

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oval deadline extended

THE council last night voted unanimously to extend the deadline for tenders for the Willow Court oval precinct for a further two weeks. This was following requests from representatives of two national corporations interested in the site. I look forward to the opening of the tenders a fortnight from today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Council's election wish-list

THE following list of election priorities appeared in the Mercury last week and is worth publishing here, now that the State Election has been called for March 20. This time around, I believe candidates who ignore the Derwent Valley will do so at their own peril.

2010 State Election wish-list

- Expanded bus services.
- 24-hour police station.
- Rail line upgrades.
- Plenty Valley Link Rd upgrade as tourist route.
- Additional overtaking lanes for Lyell Highway.
- Roof over the New Norfolk pool.
- Upgrade of grandstand at Boyer Oval.
- Funding for toilet facility at new boat ramp in New Norfolk.

Please note: By law, online comments relating to the State Election must include the given name, surname and locality of the writer. Anonymous comments cannot be published.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Burnett St - the way forward, part two

ON Tuesday evening last week, several councillors and the general manager conducted an informal inspection of various street beautification works at Bridgewater, New Town and Kingston. The party included Mr Mackey, Mayor Evans, Deputy Mayor Farrell, and Councillors Lathey, Graham and myself. We were particularly impressed by recent works in the area near Channel Court at Kingston - in particular the attractive planting of trees at the edge of the footpath. A photo appears below and I would be interested in any feedback on this look as a solution for the Burnett St problem.

Bushy Park on show

YESTERDAY was an enjoyable outing spent in the company of my St John Ambulance colleague Wendy in the first aid room at the Bushy Park Show. There was an excellent country show put on by the Bushy Park Show Society and I congratulate them on their initiative. I understand that the day was profitable despite a low attendance no doubt caused by unfavourable weather in Hobart. Despite this setback it was a wonderful day in the country, punctuated by only occasional calls for medical attention from Wendy and myself. Well done to everyone involved.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Business community gets together

I'M just home from a very convivial Derwent Valley Chamber of Commerce function at the recently reopened bistro at the Star and Garter Hotel. About 30 people attended for dinner and to hear Mario Cortes speak briefly about his passion for the town and valley. Mario is the enthusiastic owner of the former administration building at Willow Court and has made this fine art deco building his home. Mario kept his remarks to a minimum as there were quite a few other diners in the room - including a friendly bunch celebrating a birthday. Congratulations to chamber members Faye Windsor and Janet Biggar for organising this successful function. I believe another is planned. Service and meals at the Star were excellent. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to work

AFTER a couple of weeks' leave it was back to work last week - with a few council obligations thrown in as well. On Monday night (February 1) I attended my first meeting of the Maydena Community Association. The council was well served on this committee by Cr Judy Bromfield for many years and it was my pleasure to be elected to take her place when she decided not to re-nominate. The Maydena body is a great example of dedicated people serving a self-help community. The association manages most of the local facilities, such as the community hall, swimming pool, tennis courts etc - and it was responsible for the development of the town's latest tourist attraction... the Railtrack Rider. Well done to this committee. I look forward to serving it as the council representative.

On Wednesday night I worked late to catch up on some paperwork, missing the monthly Chamber of Commerce meeting in the process. I had thought the monthly meeting was being rolled into the special dinner function being held this week... but I was wrong. Sorry team!

Thursday night started with the monthly meeting of the Bushy Park Swimming Pool Special Committee. This is a great team of people and we had an enjoyable discussion in the shade area alongside the pool. How was the serenity? Marvellous. The outdoor environment got me to thinking about some projects I may be able to help the pool crowd with. More on that later.

An early end to the pool committee meeting enabled me to get back to New Norfolk for this month's council workshop. The first hour had seen presentations from Cheryl Rainbird on the great success of the Derwent Valley Community House, followed by Emma Wilson and her idea for a sustainability centre at Willow Court. Emma was wrapping up her talk as I arrived, but I had been fortunate enough to hear her ideas while at Maydena a few weeks back, where her parents run a local accommodation venture.

Check back later for a rundown of the rest of the workshop meeting. We covered a lot of ground - and tomorrow night we will cover even more ground when we head off to Bridgewater, Glenorchy and Kingston to look at several different roadwork projects.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Valley Vision - the facts

REGULAR readers of this blog will recall that an unknown number of anonymous posters used this site to vent their anger over recent changes at Valley Vision - in particular the decision of the two council-funded staff members to resign and take up jobs with the State Government. I felt it was important that any interested person be able to decide for themselves the council's role, and my own, in these recent events. To this end, a tabled a written report to the January council meeting, which was unanimously approved and entered into the record by all councillors at that meeting. The text of that report follows.


The purpose of this report is to advise councillors of the recommendations of a committee meeting held to discuss the Council’s future relationship with Valley Vision.

As requested, a committee consisting of Mayor Martyn Evans, Deputy Mayor Craig Farrell and Councillors Judy Bromfield, Scott Shaw and Damian Bester convened in the general manager’s office on January 7, 2010, to review Council’s relationship with Valley Vision.

The committee recommended:

•    That Council continue the lease of 2 High St for a further term to be negotiated.
•    That existing sub-leases at 2 High St be honoured.
•    That Council offer meaningful employment to the two Valley Vision staff until the conclusion of their contracts later in 2010.
•    That Council continue to fund Valley Vision to the same extent as at present (approx $26,000pa).
•    That Valley Vision staff funded by Council be relocated to the council offices.
•    That Council services such as Planning be relocated to 2 High St.
•    The Valley Vision consider rebadging itself as Valley 2020 or similar.
•    That any future EDO/CDO should be the responsibility of Council, reporting to Council.
•    That Council consider options for the effective sourcing of grant funding.

It was resolved that the general manager communicate the committee’s recommendations to the Valley Vision staff as soon as possible, to prevent any misapprehensions or misunderstandings.

Subsequently, councillors were advised on the afternoon of January 8, 2010, that the two Valley Vision staff had tendered their resignations, effective January 15.

The mayor issued a media release to the Derwent Valley Gazette, thanking the Valley Vision staff and wishing them well for the future

After tabling this report, I point out that no councillor at the committee meeting had expressed the view that Valley Vision should continue to operate in the manner in which it has done to date.

And, to quote a wise but fictitious man: "That's all I have to say about that." [Gump, F. 1994]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Burnett Street - the way forward

THOSE planter boxes in Burnett St, New Norfolk, have been the talk of the town (and beyond) for nearly 18 months now. Other than one anonymous comment on this blog, I have not heard one person express their satisfaction with the Burnett St makeover. This is not an invitation for a flurry of anonymous posts supporting the planter boxes. If you do support them and want the street left as it is, I'll gladly report this to the next council meeting as your elected representative - provided you email your remarks to me at, including your actual name and address for verification on the Electoral Roll. Anonymous posts to my blog will not be considered.

The following is the text of my written report to last week's council meeting:


The purpose of this report is to obtain approval from Council for an investigation into the feasibility of relocating and replacing the Burnett Street planter boxes during the forthcoming Burnett St resurfacing works.

In late August and early September 2008, Council implemented the Burnett Street component of the “Main Street Makeover Project” managed by Valley Vision. This saw the construction of cement plinths at intervals along the length of the street and the subsequent installation of large square planter boxes, into which were planted ornamental pear trees.

The intent of the project was to beautify the street by a continuation of the existing tree-lined The Avenue. Unforeseen issues with the project have turned an apparently large section of the community against the planter boxes.

These issues have included:
•    Reduced sight-lines for turning/entering vehicles
•    Traffic hazards
•    Damage to vehicles and the boxes themselves
•    Graffiti
•    Pedestrian safety due to the height of the boxes
•    Patches in the road where planter boxes have been removed
•    Damage to the roadway due to traffic being shifted onto the side surfaces which had been constructed for parking (not heavy traffic)
•    Twice-daily watering required due to the boxes having a solid foundation.

The planter boxes were a major issue during the recent council election campaign, with frequent calls for their removal.  The main issue of concern appears to have been the placement of the boxes (and their large stature) into the middle of the road rather than at the edges of the carriageway.

I suggest the following for councillors’ consideration:
That the appropriate council staff investigate:
•    the incorporating of the relocation and replacement of the planter boxes into the forthcoming resurfacing of Burnett St.
•    the removal and storage of the planter boxes for re-use.
•    The replanting of the trees into circular pots (such as an up-ended concrete pipe of suitable diameter).
•    The installation of the circular pots in the ground if it can be shown this will not result in future root-damage to the road surface.
•    The installation of the circular pots at the edge of the road, straddling the footpath and the carriageway.
•    The cost of the above proposals.
•    The total number of trees available for planting/replanting.
•    The impact of this proposal on the grant funds originally received for the project.

There merit in the original proposal to beautify the streetscape in Burnett Street and there is much to be gained from modifying the work already done, rather than disposing of it altogether or maintaining its current unpopular configuration.

If you would like to read what other councillors had to say about this idea, head over to the New Norfolk News.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Willow Court - the future

I SINCERELY thank my council colleagues for their support of three motions I put forward at this week's monthly meeting. I'll report on each of those motions in the next few days, and will start with Willow Court.

Now three months into my four-year term on council, I brought forward this suggestion after spending quite some time trying to adapt an earlier Willow Court grant application in order to make it suitable for a now-closed Federal funding scheme. Unfortunately, many of the documents required for a such a grant were simply not available to us as a council. This included a Business Plan for Willow Court, which is an essential component of almost any grant application.

As council staff are already fully engaged in their daily duties, I proposed that the Council engage someone for three months to consolidate the existing plans, update them where necessary, and to fill the gaps by developing the plans which are lacking. I respect that some will disagree with this type of expenditure, perhaps in the vicinity of $20,000, but I cannot see any alternative, and it is our stated intention to move ahead with Willow Court without delay.

The following is the text of my report to the council meeting.

Willow Court Project Management Consolidation
The purpose of this report is to obtain approval from Council for the engagement of a consultant or contractor on a three-month term to consolidate all plans, reports and documents relating to the Willow Court Barracks Precinct; to develop a business plan for the Barracks Precinct; and to create a development strategy for the precinct.

The recent resignation of the council’s economic development staff at Valley Vision has created a need for the temporary employment of a consultant or contractor to consolidate the many studies, plans and reports relating to the Willow Court site.

In particular, a comprehensive Business Plan is required. This document would improve Council’s chances of obtaining suitable grant funds for the development of the historic site.

The essential duties would include:
•    consolidating all plans, reports, studies and documents relating to the Willow Court Barracks Precinct
•    developing a comprehensive business plan for the Barracks Precinct
•    creating 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)
•    making a recommendation about the future employment requirements of the precinct
•    making a start on the development strategy, once approved by Council, in any time remaining

A comprehensive Business Plan and Development Strategy are essential components of any future grant application or request for government or corporate support. An updated Development Strategy will also provide Council with the necessary directions to undertake a step-by-step development of the site in the event major funding is not immediately forthcoming.

Applicants for the position should have:
•    A passion for the site
•    A proven track record
•    Excellent time-management skills
•    An ability to quickly but thoroughly review and prioritise existing plans and reports etc
•    A demonstrated ability to produce Business Plans and Development Strategies
•    A commitment to the Derwent Valley

The three-month contract could be funded from the Royal Derwent Hospital (Willow Court) Reserve Fund.

So, that was my report. Again, I thank my fellow councillors for offering their unanimous support. I look forward to seeing the position filled as soon as possible.

If you would like to read what other councillors had to say about this idea, head over to the New Norfolk News.