Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fair go Leo

COLUMNIST Leo Schofield's latest missive on the topic of Willow Court indicates that he is considerably out of touch with progress on that site. While Mr Schofield's earliest remarks about Willow Court quite rightly focused on the council's neglect of the historic site, he last year took aim at the people of New Norfolk and that is when the lost the support of many who had appreciated the light he was shining on the urgent need for action on Willow Court.

His attack on New Norfolk and its people continued in yesterday's issue of the Mercury newspaper's Saturday Magazine. This latest contribution highlights the need for Mr Schofield to better acquaint himself with the progress being made at Willow Court as he appears to be writing from an outdated and ill-informed perspective. Much of what he called for in Saturday's column has already been done.

The council took far too long to take effective action on the preservation and development of Willow Court and it was this decade of neglect that prompted me to seek election in 2009. Progress was not as rapid as I would have hoped in my first year or two on council, but great strides have been made in the last 18 months - and this year in particular.

It's my understanding that Mr Schofield has been invited to visit Willow Court on more than one occasion since he first wrote on the topic in 2008, but has not responded. I encourage the mayor to extend that offer again. Should Mr Schofield accept the offer, he will discover:
  • The Willow Court Conservation Special Committee making progress on the implementation of the MacDonald Report
  • Electricity supply installed and street lights operating
  • The start on the restoration of the Bronte building
  • The Frescati Community Garden
  • The multi-million dollar conversion of the "oval buildings" into apartments
  • Continued progress in the privately-owned sector of the site
Mr Schofield is entitled to continue to express his opinion but his readers will be better served by a factual account that does not unfairly and unnecessarily malign all residents of New Norfolk. His opinion should not be construed to be that of the newspaper itself. I am employed by the Mercury and I believe its opinion of the town is more accurately reflected by its selection of the stunning photo, left, as part of its latest marketing campaign.

So fair go, Leo. Why not put your passion to good use and offer your services to the Willow Court Conservation Special Committee rather than take potshots from the sidelines? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Council elections off until 2014

Local Government election arrangements

With the enactment on 20 June 2013 of the Local Government Amendment (Elections) Act 2013 and the making of the Local Government (Number of Councillors) Order 2013, the Local Government (Casual Vacancies) Order 2013, and the Local Government (Elections) Order 2013, the Tasmanian Electoral Commission can now provide the following advice concerning local government elections.

Ordinary elections for all 29 councils have been deferred until 2014, when all councillors and aldermen, and mayors and deputy mayors, will be elected for a 4 year term ending in 2018. The terms of office of councillors elected in both 2009 and 2011 will end in 2014.

The 2014 elections will be conducted by post and voting will remain voluntary. The timetable for the 2014 ordinary elections will be as follows:
• Publication of notice of election ......................................... Saturday 13 September 2014
• Electoral rolls close ................................................... 6 pm Thursday 18 September 2014
• Nominations close ................................................ 12 noon Monday 29 September 2014
• Announcement of nominations ............................. 12 noon Tuesday 30 September 2014
• Polling period .......................................... Tuesday 14 – 10 am Tuesday 28 October 2014
• Counting and announcement of results ......................... from Tuesday 28 October 2014

There has been a reduction in the number of councillors or aldermen to be elected to 6 councils in 2014. The reductions are as follows:
Council Current number Future number
Central Coast 12 9
Devonport City 12 9
Glamorgan – Spring Bay 9 8
Glenorchy City 12 10
Kingborough 12 10
Tasman 9 7

For the remaining 23 councils, vacancies occurring between now and 13 March 2014 will be filled by recount or by-election, as appropriate. For the 6 councils listed above, councillor or alderman vacancies will only be filled if the number of remaining councillors or aldermen has fallen below the future number.

Accordingly, the TEC will soon commence action to fill an existing vacancy on West Coast Council by recount, and will take no action to fill a vacancy on Tasman Council.

Vacancies occurring after 13 March 2014 will generally not be filled in any event.

A councillor or alderman who becomes a Member of the Tasmanian Parliament may now only hold both offices for 12 months. A Member of the Tasmanian Parliament who becomes a councillor or alderman may only hold both offices for 30 days.

The TEC expects that counting ballot papers will be a significantly more complex process under the new arrangements and is exploring options for fully computerised counting for larger councils.

ENDS — 12 noon Monday 24 June 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Council budget released



2013 – 2014 Rates Set for Derwent Valley
20th June 2013

Derwent Valley Council is pleased to announce that it has kept rate increases to a minimum again this year.

“Council voted to accept the draft budget presented to them with rate increases for the 2013–2014 year set to be 3.5%,” Mayor Martyn Evans said.

Derwent Valley Council was one of the first in Tasmania to introduce public budget submissions to its budgetary process.

“This gives members of the public the opportunity to submit projects to be funded in the budget, these may be community or infrastructure projects, and can be things that Council would sometimes overlook in day to day business.

Some of the projects funded this year include:
  • Derwent Valley Regional Arts inaugural art competition major prize,
  • Installation of guard rails on Backriver Road, in the vicinity of Fairview Primary to increase safety for both motorists and pedestrians.
  • Construction of a properly formed car park at the Molesworth Community Hall.  This was done as a joint venture between the Molesworth Hall Committee and Derwent Valley Council.  During recent bushfires the Hall was initially used as a community assembly point and emergency vehicles used the parking area, and
  • Financial support for the Tiger Trail Festival, an initiative of the Mt Field Tourism Group and community in the area.

Spending on capital works will continue this year with major items including:
  • Continuation of essential works including kerb and channel, stormwater works and sealing between Blackhills Road and Backriver Road,
  • Re-sealing of a portion of the Glenora Road,
  • Continuation of drainage replacement and upgrades across the municipal area, including Maydena, Molesworth and Third Avenue, and;
  • Erosion prevention along the Esplanade.

“Council is mindful of the financial pressures that household budgets face, and works to keep a balance between keeping rate increases to a minimum while still providing essential services to residents,” Martyn Evans said.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Willow Court latest



June 2013


“Progress continues to be made on restoration works at Willow Court” Chairman of the Derwent Valley Councils Willow Court Conservation Special Committee David Llewellyn said today.

“Expressions of interest for work on the Barracks, Bronte and landscaping surroundings were received by the Committee at its June 13th meeting and I’m very pleased to say that a high number of quality submissions were received”.

The installation of new underground electricity now completed to the site has resulted in new lighting down the length of the avenue and the start of works to repair the broken windows in Bronte is progressing.

Providing lights and electricity to the site and basic repair works are a few of the many current activities overseen by the Committee. 

David Llewellyn emphasised that the Committee is actively pursuing the use of local contractors for many aspects of the work, and has already used a number of local contractors. 

“We expect to award contracts shortly to prepare the necessary planning and heritage documentation to undertake the major restoration and redevelopment works at The Barracks and Bronte, including full landscaping of the heritage precinct”, Mr Llewellyn said.

Willow Court is a nationally recognised heritage precinct, of great importance to the region and nation.  The most historic of the many buildings that make up the site is The Barracks, built around 1830.  The Barracks was built as Tasmania’s first hospital for invalid convicts but soon was exclusively used as a ‘lunatic asylum’.

“The joint funding between local, State and Federal government for the heritage precinct project is an important collaboration”, David Llewellyn said. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Planning scheme consultation

EXPERT advice on the new Derwent Valley Planning Scheme will be available at two information sessions this week. Once approved, this new document will replace the New Norfolk Planning Scheme of 1993. The new planning scheme is intended to be consistent with those of all other councils in southern Tasmania. 

All 12 southern Tasmanian councils have approved their draft planning schemes for release for public consultation until July 12. Following the consultation period, the councils will review all comments received and then prepare final drafts for formal submission to the Minister for Planning. The draft Derwent Valley Planning Scheme and those of the 11 other southern councils can be viewed online at

Comments on the new schemes can be lodged electronically via the website, or in writing to the relevant council. The Derwent Valley Council will hold two drop-in sessions with planning officer Martin McCance on Tuesday and Friday this week, from 3-7pm in the council social rooms, Circle St.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Join us at Lachlan

THIS month's meeting of the Derwent Valley Council will be held at the Lachlan Community Hall this Thursday. A community forum will be held at 6.30pm, providing an informal opportunity for residents and ratepayers to ask questions or raise matters of concern. The council meeting will follow at 7pm. The agenda can be downloaded here.

The council meeting roster for the rest of the year is as follows:

  • 20 June 2013 - Lachlan 7pm (community forum at 6.30pm)
  • 18 July 2013 - New Norfolk 6.30pm
  • 15 August 2013 - New Norfolk 6.30pm
  • 19 September 2013 - New Norfolk 6.30pm
  • 17 October 2013 - Molesworth 7pm (community forum at 6.30pm)
  • 21 November 2013 - New Norfolk 6.30pm
  • 19 December 2013 New Norfolk 6.30pm