Friday, June 30, 2017

Letters to the Editor

March 30, 2017

EDITOR: I wish to express my opposition to the proposed site for the outdoor stage in the Marie Bashir Park.

I am most definitely in favour of a stage but certainly not the site where it is going to be built. 

I was at a meeting where Anthony and Karl French first proposed this idea and the site suggested was near the Visitor Information Centre.

This was as a result of several participants in an event who had to have medical treatment after being in the sun on the Oval for a prolonged period.  Hence the idea of a stage for the enhancement of performances and shade for performers /participants in events.

All at the meeting agreed for the French’s to put the idea to Council.

I am or have been involved in most events in the Marie Bashir Park and the most used area for all these is in the south east corner of the park.  This is the best place, with plenty of shade, two easily accessed toilet blocks, power outlets and the place if something is on in the park, everyone knows that!  

I can’t see the problem with any future development of the Visitor Information Centre either as there is plenty of room for expansion.
I also agree with the excellent concept of the blinds/moveable backdrop to make the stage two-sided.  Please reconsider the decision – we don’t want a white elephant. - Bev Hughes.

March 28, 2017

EDITOR: Firstly Karl and I wish to make it clear; we have not been involved in any further negotiations other than the group meeting with the other stakeholders and Narrandera Shire Council staff.
  
Some people have come to the conclusion that we have had further input, after the article in last week’s paper, however no further discussions have been had.  

We have never before nor will we in the future, go behind the other stakeholders back.

After the announcement that the Council had decided to build the stage in the south west corner of the town park, I approached the Rockin’ On East representative Alan Law and the Lions Club representative Bill Howitt, as these two groups and ourselves had the biggest input into what we would like to see in a community stage and its location.

After speaking to Alan and Bill, we were all on the same page that after the last consultative meeting we were to be invited back for further input into this project. 

For various reasons at this first meeting we couldn’t come to an agreement as to the preferred site however one thing was agreed on, that we were all in 100 per cent agreement that the south west corner was definitely out of the question.   

After speaking with Alan and Bill last Thursday, a compromise was reached of using an alternative site. The suggestion is to use the open plan of the Shire’s stage design but locate it on the oval fence line, on the south eastern side of the park, basically putting it in the middle of where all three groups wanted it situated. 

This would service events inside the oval and events on the outside of the oval like Lions Carols by Candlelight and Rockin’ on East events.

This plan would require roller blinds or a movable backdrop to accommodate whichever side the stage the event was being presented on thus, giving us two stages, for the price of one.   

We now need community support to get the Councillors  to rescind the decision to site the stage in the south west corner as laid out in the May 2009 – December 2009 Master plan.  

I would like to point out now that there have been three major deviations to this Master Plan.   

One being the toilet block being near the playground, the Master Plan shows a barbecue not a toilet block in this area. The Aboriginal Memorial within the Master Plan was to be removed and replaced with turf and commonsense has prevailed here and Narrandera’s proud Aboriginal heritage has been recognised with a new memorial. 

At no stage within the Master Plan is there any mention of the Narrandera Park having its name changed in honour of Dame Marie Bashir.  

So using the argument that this idea would deviate from the masterplan is inherently flawed as Council have already deviated from it on several major design factors and are using it as easy smokescreen to closing off opposing ideas. 

We now need to get the community to get behind us once more and push councillors individually, in the street by phone, mail etc to fix this before it is too late.  

People power got the stage to this point so let’s take it to the next level and get it built in a position where it will be most serviceable for all.

We only have a small window of opportunity to make this happen, please don’t hesitate remember it’s your rate money that may be wasted on a stage built in the wrong location and may end up as nothing more than a white elephant.  

Please support the revised location.

Anthony and Karl French.


March 28, 2017

EDITOR: I just want to clarify a letter to the Editor that appeared in the Narrandera Argus last Thursday March 23 under ‘Letters to the  Editor: Police speech well rehearsed’ signed by myself Jenny Clarke.

In actual fact this was said by myself at last Tuesday’s Council meeting.

The Mayor and I had a little difference of opinion at the said meeting when he congratulated the police for a well presented meeting at short notice.

The meeting was held at the airport and residents in and around Paynters Siding were invited with approximately 40 concerned people in attendance.

I do hope in the future the Council in conjunction with police can hold further meetings within the whole Shire with the view to getting Neighbourhood Watch areas up and going.

Jenny Clarke.

NOTE: Mayor Neville Kschenka said in his mayoral report to Council last Tuesday that he had attended a special Police Briefing arranged by concerned community members following some recent break and enters/ thefts in the area. The purpose of this briefing was to bring together community members for discussion regarding policing matters within Narrandera Shire. The Mayor extended his  congratulations to local police on preparing a great presentation at short notice, and said that one outcome from the meeting was to investigate the formation of a Neighbour Watch Committee for the Shire.

August 18, 2016

EDITOR: My husband and I have been at Morundah caretaking a property for Fred and Julie Smith for seven weeks and our time is up.

We would like to thank the community of Narrandera for their hospitality.

Every business we walked into we were greeted with a smile.

We have never stayed in a community where the whole community is so friendly.

Some of the businesses were Ainsworth Hairdressers, butcher, Subway, Mulhall pharmacy, both the hardware stores, fruit & veg barn, bakery, Sturt pub (good value meals), many visits to Coles and Liquorland, toy shop and the three op shops. Hope I didn't miss anyone.

Strangers would even nod as we walked along the street.

We visited the fisheries and Trish was so knowledgeable in this field.

We learnt so much in a short time.

We also visited the Altina wildlife park and what an experience that was to get so close to these exotic animals.

We toured around the surrounding communities within about a 100 km radius.

Lastly we would like to thank Margaret from the Morundah pub (excellent meals too).  She made us feel like a local with our weekly visits.

The local farmers of Morundah also made us feel welcome.

We will be back and thank-you once again,

Glen and Norelle Chisholm. 

May 23, 2016

EDITOR: The Narrandera Shire Council has put the people of this shire in an extremely difficult and distressing position ( our family included) because if they had known about the water in the graves they would then at least had the information before deciding where to bury their loved ones and purchasing plots beside their child, wives, husbands and partners in this area of the lawn cemetery.

These people who have purchased plots in this area should be given their money back if requested, not to be buried in some plot in the future that is available at the time of their death ( as decided by council ).

These people are being forced to be buried somewhere that was not chosen by themselves, but by the hierarchv of the council who most likely will be buried out of our shire.

Some of these individuals who make these decisions do not even own a home in our town so they can just up and leave when it suits them.

Council should hang their heads in shame for covering up this information for so many years and this is unforgiveable in my opinion, and now that they have been exposed for withholding this information, it appears that they are still NOTgoing to fix this problem properly.

Is this because they do not have anyone in their employ that has the knowledge to fix this problem? If this is the case than employ someone who does,because surelymoney cannot be the problem as council has thrown money around on other projects such as the Arts Centre (which is still ongoing) not to mention the dreadful waste of our ratepayers money on the main street parking trial just to name a few.

Does council think that if they ignore the problem for long enough it will just go away? Ithink not!

Come on Narrandera stand up and fight for your deceased loved ones, I really thought that the Mayor in her position would lead the charge on this, but I guess I was wrong again!

Roll on next council election!

Lillian Salucci, sister of Trevor  Dolan who does not rest in peace whilst laying in water!


EDITOR: I am writing to you in regards to the Red Hill Industrial Estate. Over time I have complained many times about different issues regarding this industrial area.

 I am asking the Narrandera Council once again to do something about all the issues that are a problem out there.

The entrance to this industrial site is a disgrace and beautification works need to be carried out to make it attractive to potential businesses who are looking to start up or to relocate.

There is an inadequate turning lane for the large trucks at the entrance to the estate off Barellan Road, which is a severe accident waiting to happen, especially in the foggy weather.

This has been reported to the Traffic Committee but no action was taken. God only knows we need every business we can get for jobs for our younger generation and to get our town growing again so our kids will have a future in their home town.

There are no street lights and the storm water pipes are filling up with sand and the dam is imploding in on itself and filling the pipes full of sand as well. This dam which was built to catch storm water runoff was built out of sand but with no liner.

 Can anyone tell me why no liner was used when it was built out of sand? If there is heavy rain flooding will become a problem once again.

Feral animals are eating the trees that were planted by school children in 40 degree plus heat and nothing is being done about this either. Noxious weeds are rampant along with long grass and illegally dumped rubbish. It could be mistaken for the entrance to a tip !

This will cost the Council / ratepayers a lot of money to have these pipes cleaned out when all it needed was a regular maintenance program to clean out the entrance to the  pipes.

Council is just not doing their job and appears to just not care about what happens out there, but expect the businesses to put their hands in their pockets to pay for Council’s infrastructure.

Council needs to get their act together or we will never be fit to stand alone. Look forward to hearing Council’s excuses!

Lynn McGilvray.

May 5, 2016

EDITOR: With the local shire elections due later this year we feel this would be a good time to put an idea forward that has been mentioned in the past but for various reasons has never come to fruition - this project being our own community stage, a project which would have benefits for all the community.

We would like to start by proposing the site, looking at our town park.  We feel, along with others we have spoken to, an ideal location would be the space directly behind the tourist information centre facing into the main oval.  It is a large enough space that has little to any use at the present (14m x 9m).  It has a close proximity to not only the toilets, it is reasonably level, close to power and water keeping the cost down which are all bonuses when looking at a project like this.

The stage itself should be 1 to 1.2 metres high from the ground and 14m x7m floor plan, made with brick foundation a concrete floor and a steel skillion steel roof with colour bond fascia on steel or brick supports with three cement sheet panels across the back to screen the toilet block off.  

This will allow entrance to the stage with two metre wide double sided ramp at the back for access as well. The panels could be painted with local history, things to see and do around Narrandera or continue on the Aboriginal murals already around the centre.

It should be pre-wired to allow for easy installation of a temporary PA system for events and extra lighting when being used for various forms of entertainment. It should have one or two lights permanently fitted for safety at night and flood lights to be used to light the oval when people are leaving a night event.

Having an elevated stage gives people attending an event more of a chance of seeing performers, using the oval for the audience allows a less restricted view without trees, barbecues etc that tend to be in the way at things like Carols by Candlelight.

The fence already in place will hopefully slow young children by restricting access to the highway and the storm water drain close to where most events are held, now giving parents a little bit more piece of mind.

The even floor would benefit everyone using the stage from musicians to performers.  Another safety feature would be there would be less people gathered around the only car gateway when cars are trying to move through this area during the Miss Pin Up Narrandera competition held during the hot rod event, and after watching these young ladies last Easter I’m sure they would appreciate not having to balance on a temporary walkway. Plus having somewhere in the shade to assemble before taking the stage.

We see this venue not only having benefits for the big events like the hot rod run, the Australia Day Ceremony, John O’Brien and Carols in the Park, but also smaller groups and organisations. 

Also with possibility of adding removable park benches to allow people who wish to sit in the shade and watch the cricket will be able to.  It would also be a nice place for travellers to have a cuppa on a rainy day plus once in place I’m sure many other uses will be found. 

This stage would be versatile and accessible for many groups within our community and would be used many times through the year for all sorts of things.

The next big question is how to fund such a project - well of course grants can be looked at to help the build but as stated having a north/south skillion roof it can be fitted with solar panels with battery back to supply power for the Information Centre and Tiger Moth Memorial, both very important parts of our town.  The savings in energy cost would help offset the cost of the stage virtually making it self-funding.

 We now hope having put this idea out there our community of Narrandera will get behind it and help it go to the next  step, planning/costing and building this asset for the town showing others the faith and love we have for our town.

Anthony and Karl French.

 

 

April 26, 2016

EDITOR: In response to remarks being made on community radio I will use any format I choose to voice my opinion over something that concerns me, especially the situation in regards to our cemetery and water in graves.

 Our cemetery is and should be of great concern to us all as it will be our last resting place for most of us.

All Council needs to do is fix the problem and stop passing the buck onto previous councils. A problem has been bought to the attention of this council so just fix the issue with the water.

 I believe some of the present councillors were on previous councils and more than likely knew about the water issue so why did they not do anything about it back then. Those in glass houses should not throw stones!

It looks like all we are going to get is a band-aid solution from council to the water problem eg change to fertilisation and watering of our lawn cemetery.

In  this day of technology surely Council can come up with something better than that. It looks like Council does not have a solution to the problem , so will it be put in into the “ too hard basket “ for the next elected council to fix?

Can Council guarantee the people of this shire that no bacteria will leech into our main water table, because according to Council we now have a “ perched table, and a fair catchment area “.

Why would there be a catchment area because the burial plots are filled back in. So where or what is causing all this water to accumulate, it can only mean there is seepage of water coming into our cemetery and is heading downstream to our river.

Did the geologist take “core samples “ in different sections of the cemetery or did he just do a survey by taking a walk and rely on  information provided by Council?

There is also a lot of salinity noted in the cemetery, so what will Council do about this problem?

Lynn McGilvray


April 22, 2016

Editor: Not only would I like to congratulate Narelle Payne on her eloquent and poignant letter to editor dated 19th April 2016 but also add my support to the matters she raised.

The current floundering in relation to the re-tender of the Lake Talbot lease, in my opinion, has nothing to do with how the pool is operated. As anyone who attends the complex knows, the current management goes over and above what they are required to in the operation, care, appearance and maintenance of the complex.

The only stalling point in the re- tender is therefore money!

All I hear when talking about any council matters these days is the now

famous catch cry "Fit for the Future funding." The only thing we seem to be doing is making cuts. If Fit for the Future means cutting funding to almost every council amenity then count me out.

If we don't continue to provide a well maintained complex with high quality services and convenient hours of operation, we will not continue to draw the tourist and local support that we currently enjoy and thus we won’t have a future to be fit for!

If anyone has a pool in their back yard they will know the direct costs to run the pool specifically electricity, chlorine and insurance are not going down. They continue to edge upward every year.

So why should we expect  the cost of running our town pool to be any different. If anything we need to look at putting more funds into the complex to fix already faulty amenities and upgrade/ replace others, along with painting the pool again.

I can only hope that the council staff involved in the re-tender process can see that we need to make our swimming complex fit for the future by providing adequate funds to enable the day to day maintenance and capital improvements to be carried out.

Who is the best informed on these costs than the current lessee? So I would suggest that this would be a great place to start...listen to what the current lessee is saying and negotiate wisely.

The current lessee has been tried in the position and has been found to be successful and more than competent in running the complex as a successful business for the town of Narrandera for more than ten years. Why would council want to jeopardise our town's most valuable tourist attraction over an indicative figure of CPI?

Simon Lee,

President,

Narrandera Amateur Swimming and Lifesaving Club.


April 19, 2016

EDITOR: What do the following have in common? Eiffel Tower / Paris, Buckingham Palace / London, Statue of Liberty / New York, Taj Mahal / Agra, Lake Talbot / Narrandera.

The obvious answer is site recognition and tourism. While the scales may vary, the underlying premises are the same. Create, manage and promote to high standards that which is unique and the people will come. Lake Talbot is already, and should remain, a destination!

Make no mistake, Lake Talbot is synonymous with Narrandera and is a tourist destination of quality and the envy of many in the region and state. Having said this, it astounds me that the tendering process for the lease to operate Lake Talbot Swimming Pool has become somewhat farcical.

Having read and noted Item 4.2 of Council’s Ordinary Meeting of 15th March 2016 ( “Tender T 15 / 16-6 Lease to operate Lake Talbot Swimming Pool ), the following points need to be made.

Of the evaluation criteria, 6o% of the weighting involves:

i)                    Experience of operation.

ii)                  Technical and management skills- education

iii)                Technical skills – customer service.

The remaining 40 % of evaluation weighting involves:

i)                    The tender price.

Why then in the Item Papers is such short Council response devoted to the 60% of criteria involving the management and their skills?

The Council states that the tenderer (Eskapol Logistics Pty Ltd) “demonstrated their ability to manage, operate and maintain an aquatic centre”. Other positive comments included, “ the company focused on providing a facility that is well maintained and operated, ensuring a high level of customer service and enhancing Lake Talbot complex standing as a major tourist attraction in the region.”

The positive comments continued by describing the “Chief Executive Officer’s  strong working relationship built up with Council and community groups…” Also, the report acknowledged that the tenderer “provided a safe swimming pool operations manual which … covered all aspects of safe operating and policies with regard to operating a pool facility.”  The tenderer also “meets all the necessary qualifications to operate the Lake Talbot Swimming Complex”.

Doesn’t it seem that the tenderer has obviously met the 60% of evaluation criteria associated with Experience / Management skills and Customer Services? 

The 40% of criteria involving price is given greater focus, but fails to address many underlying circumstances. Council response focused on the projected CPI increases, arguing  that the tender exceeded these. Did any executive officer or councillor ever seek reasons as to why this was the case?

In Item 4:2, under “Relevance to Community Strategic Plan and Other Strategies /Master Plans / Studies”, it states that the Narrandera Shire Community Strategic Plan Action should be, “to recognise and celebrate the local business  and encourage business operators to strive for excellence.”

 Perhaps the tenderer’s price reflected their desire to also fulfil this part of the Strategic Plan. – i.e  to strive for excellence!

Though not stated in the report, being a current private pool owner and an ex- State Government employee (teacher), I would suggest that compliance and regulations have probably increased and tightened in the name of water safety , public supervision and duty of care.

With this being an ageing and very large complex  (the pool is 300% larger than average council pools) , the maintenance of the extensive gardens and lawns would need to have appropriate in-built contingencies.

The report makes much of the forecast CPI and that the tender exceeds these, yet recently Health Insurance has increased by 5-9%. 

Currently it seems that the Council wants the tender price to decrease at a time when compliances and requirements are increasing and becoming more complex. (eg  OH&S, Water Quality requirements, food safety compliance, and public / swimmer safety). In reality, the nine cost liabilities incurred by the lessee and listed on page 35 of Item 4.2 are greater than the CPI.

At the Council meeting, which was open to the public, this Item 4.2 took only a couple of minutes with no discussion or questions. Supporters were dumbfounded at the speed of this Item’s passage. Did any councillor ask what an evaluation  criteria score of “310”actually means? What was it marked out of, 400?, 1000?...if this is not known, then the score is meaningless!

Did councillors consider that the CPI is an “indicator” not a “definite”, and as such may have been given too great an importance, especially when no questions were asked regarding reasons for increases in costs, and perhaps the vision of the tenderer.

 Did councillors question why those who had been described as “highly experienced and having continuously strived to build strong working relationships with Council and community groups through their involvement in the lease…”were not more actively considered?

It would seem that the lessee has all the liability and risk, but while Council calls for “negotiation”, it must be remembered that OH&S, Safety and Contract terms are NOT negotiable.

It should also be noted that while the recommendation that was passed stated that “negotiation was to be entered into for the tenderer to understand the constraints Council is under, due to Fit for the Future Improvement Plan”, I urge that the Council fully understand the costs and compliance constraints of the tenderer.

The recommendation also talks of a “desired” outcome of any negotiation be an annual contract increase less than the tender. “Desired” does not mean assured”.

Ultimately, it must be remembered that Lake Talbot Swimming Pool is a major tourist attraction that has been well managed, maintained and developed by the current lessees. This is not baseless opinion – check out responses on TripAdvisor, read letters of accolade in the Narrandera Argus, check social media, note the regional schools (from Griffith to Wagga and many in between!) and the many notable figures including ABC presenter Michael Rowland,  MP Katrina Hodgkinson, SBS reporter  Stan Grant who is a regular, Daryl McGuire, Tim Fischer, Urumqi dignitaries, who have all accessed Lake Talbot and sung its praise.

Remember that 60% of Council Evaluation Criteria is on the “staff and human element.” Those with management skills, local knowledge, community  connections and community pride and loyalty will serve us best.

 I’ve previously stated that those who make decisions often move on and we are left with the consequences ( parking in the centre of East Street for example).

Do not let the 40% price criteria drive this decision. Previous Council opted for cheaper options from those with no community connection. The lessees of the late 1990’s- mid 2000’s almost destroyed the beauty and reputation of Lake Talbot.

In the end, you get what you pay for, and the current lessees are PROVEN value for money

Lake Talbot Swimming Pool and Narrandera are inextricably linked ….. site recognition and tourism. Money can’t buy that!.

Narelle Payne,

Ratepayer, concerned citizen.


EDITOR: I feel there should be a positive opinion in regard to the proposed redevelopment of the service station at Gillenbah.

When this development takes place it will probably require a staff of 12-15 to operate. This would inject $800,000 to $1million in wages into our economy per annum, plus ongoing supply of groceries, meat, milk, green groceries which I would imagine would come from local businesses; local tradesmen to build and supply ongoing services from electricians, plumbers and other trades that are needed to keep these establishments operating.

Once again we see that our poor koala is being used to possibly stop this development from taking place. The area of trees is about 150 metres by 20 metres, hardly enough to have any effect on the koalas’ habitat.

Also, if ever we have a flood level that reaches the area I can’t see that the service station would have any effect on the flow of water.

In regard to the property to the north of the old service station it was there well before this development was proposed and was always going to be redeveloped.

It’s sad to see two sitting councillors and one past councillor against this development. So much for supporting new business to our Shire.

Lindsay Hughes. 


April 7, 2016

EDITOR: Murrumbidgee Local Health District has a zero tolerance to abusive behaviour to staff who are working to care for people when they are sick.

Specifically, behaviour such as physical and verbal abuse is completely unacceptable in our health facilities.

A recent survey of all staff across MLHD revealed that in the last 12 months more than a third of the staff had been verbally abused by either visitors or patients.

This is a very alarming statics and while it is not necessarily reflective of all sites, it is important to get the message out that bullying and harassment of staff will not be tolerated.

It is understandable that hospitals can be stressful places for both patients and visitors but we urge the community to be mindful that our staff are not the appropriate people on whom to take out your stress.

If patients or visitors have a genuine concern about some aspect of their care, a complaint should be directed to the manager of the facility or to the MLHD Complaints telephone line of 1800 011 824.

All concerns raised are treated in confidence, investigated thoroughly and feedback is provided on outcomes and actions taken to prevent recurrence and improved patient care.

Gayle Murphy,

Chair,

Narrandera Local Health Advisory Committee.


March 17, 2016


EDITOR: Over the weekend I had the pleasure of competing in my first Riverina Rush multi sport event.

The weekend was such a thrill and your town and townspeople so welcoming that I intend it to be the first of many.

It was a tribute to the organisers and your facilities that so many visitors to your town  that I spoke with made the same observations. The common themes were:

The first class organisation and running of the events

The fantastic spirit amongst those competing and importantly t
he foresight that came to being when your magnificent swimming pool complex was built.

I compete regularly in Masters Swimming NSW competitions and travel throughout NSW and Australia at least 20 times a year.

Without doubt your swimming pool is almost without peer in NSW Country towns. It impressed me so much that I sought out your local lifeguard Troy Lee and had a lengthy chat with him.

I also chatted with a number of the regular pool users.  They ALL mentioned to me and reiterated the enormous contribution that Troy has made over the years to the day to day operations of the pool and it's maintenance.

I left your town hoping that his contribution is valued by the Shire's decision makers, the Councillors. It is apparent that to maintain its status as one of the town's icons and major tourist drawcards  (Google your town's name and see what bobs up...it will be the pool and the tourist park) that some funding needs to be provided to repair some of the pool's infrastructure. 

I'd suggest the councillors chat with Troy about this, if they haven't already, as he has some very sensible ideas about what needs to be done, with an inconsiderable outlay.

I'm hoping to return to your town for many years to come and see that your pool maintains its position as a major local and tourist facility.  It would be a tragedy if your forbears’ foresight wasn't recognised by adequately respecting such a gem that you all have in your hands.

Best wishes, 

Paul Bailey Narrabeen NSW.

February 22, 2016.

EDITOR:  Having just finished work after 41 years because of hip and back complaints I really don’t understand why we don’t need a heated pool and I think if we do get one it won’t become a white elephant.

I currently travel to Wagga every three weeks in the winter to swim for two hours at a time just to walk straight and I often run into ratepayers that use the heated pool in Wagga as well.

As we are well aware we have a huge ageing population in Narrandera that are going to utilise the heated pool.

If we have too many white elephants who approved of them?

Come on, let’s get together and get a heated pool built so everyone can use it.

We already have a great swimming pool here thanks to Troy and Dycinta.

I think maybe Narrandera Council should not only look at building a heated pool but also look at a wheelchair access to our great facilities at Lake Talbot pool so it benefits the whole town.

Ian ‘Bulldog’ Matthew.


EDITOR: The community and its councilors must come up with a long term solution to manage buildings under ownership that are being delinquent and negligent in their ownership responsibilities.

A walk from either end of East street will soon identify buildings that are deteriorating and becoming an unattractive eyesore to our township, the majority of these buildings are owned by absentee landlords that don’t carry the personal pride that our residents carry for the appearance of our main commercial precinct.

Narrandera Council has an obligation to make good and secure buildings that expose citizens to risk and have the potential to cause vermin and pest plague styled problems to the community. They do this at the ratepayers expense with the intent of recouping the capital costs via invoicing the landlords.

Narrandera Shire Council CEO Mrs Judy Charlton has excellent knowledge of a LGA authority to intervene when such a problem develops, unfortunately the powers granted to LGA limits them only to request, direct, instruct via Order to the owner to ameliorate unsightly conditions of the land and

structures but with no powers to actually enforce the orders.

Therefore for NSC to be compliant with its responsibilities it must use ratepayers’ capital to correct the problems.

The question must be asked when using ratepayers capital is it best used to secure a building at the cheapest cost or better use of ratepayers capital is to secure a building in a manner that compliments the heritage aesthetics of our East Street CBD?

Either way ratepayers are paying until financial  compensation from the landlord is received which maybe a considerable period of time.

Without council leadership and extensive community engagement and support for change to the local building and occupation rules and laws imagine what East Street will look like in the next 20 years.

Doing nothing is not an option for Narrandera.

David Farley.       


December 7, 2015

EDITOR: Although I understand the article published in the Argus on Tuesday December 1 issue came from Narrandera Shire Council business papers, and is technically correct, it does not explain the intricacies involved in funding a Festival under Council auspices. (The management of the JOB Festival is a 355 committee.)

I’m afraid there is a high probability that the last paragraphs in this article will create a misleading impression in the minds of those not aware of the details involved in running a three day Festival. The last paragraph of the article indicates we will run the next Festival at a loss of $11,500 and by implication that this comes out of ratepayers’ pockets because the Council has budgeted that we will run at this loss.

I acknowledge that in the worst case scenario that while there could be a loss up to the budget figure, it is highly unlikely. For example, last financial year when the estimated budget loss was $15,000, in reality, after taking into account sponsorship, fund raising and ticket sales the actual loss was $223. From my perspective that is a wonderful outcome and I would expect a similar result next Festival, rather than a loss of $11,000.

The budget figure provides the working capital that is needed to fund the expenses involved before the sponsorship and ticket sales revenue is received. The finances of the JOB Festival indicate that we pay for hire of Council equipment, toilet cleaning, garbage collections and Visitor Information Centre administration hours. Just some of the unseen expenses involved.

The Festival itself brings untold economic value to the town as well as putting and keeping Narrandera on the cultural map. And as our recently published figures show it is not a drain on the Council budget itself.

 Judging by the support we receive, I’m sure most people in town appreciate the value of this Festival and I look forward to another financially successful Festival in March 2016.

Barbara Bryon

Chairperson

JOBFOC

 


November 18, 2015

"Absolutely, Positively Narrandera!"

EDITOR: This letter is written in response to a town meeting Monday evening at the Plaza Theatre in regard to local council amalgamation.

For the past 13 years I have called Narrandera home. In that time some changes occurred including a community radio station, upgrades to Narrandera Park and improvements to Lake Talbot Swimming Complex (just to name a few).

 I often hear positive comments from people passing through about the great facilities and beautiful landscape here. We are the heart of the Riverina.

Narrandera is on the crossroads of two major highways making us a prime location for business. A chicken farm is coming, the hazelnut farm is thriving and the creative arts sector is beginning to boom.

Tourism and employment are on the increase, with people passing through investing money into our local economy. Locals such as Fiona Caldarevic and The CAD factory have introduced unique events such as drive-in theatre and video projection on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. Numerous other projects are on the horizon.

 Our Wiradjuri elder Michael Lyons (Uncle Mick) has an amazing talent both making and playing the didgeridoo, and I am sure that I read he has had success in the sale of his wares in the Northern Territory. He is putting us on the map and showcasing some of the talent and uniqueness of our town.

At Monday night's meeting, a motion was passed that we should 'stand alone' as our own local council who are fit for the future. Council is making their submission today (Tuesday)  as I write this letter. We have to think outside the box and continue creating opportunities in the future. Whether this means smarter ways of farming, new crops (like the hazelnut venture), or providing incentive for potential industry and tourism, we must act.

I encourage local residents with passion and vision for Narrandera to speak up and pressure our local members and state government (our votes count).

Finally, I would love to know what the Wiradjuri people, the Traditional Custodians of this land, think about the fact that State Government is suggesting we amalgamate and lose our local council as it currently stands. Were you even consulted as to your perspectives on the matter?

State Government: "HANDS OFF OUR TOWN!"

Angela Dyson




October 20, 2015

EDITOR: My grandfather James Augustus Breheny was once the captain of the Matong Football team.

He died at a very young age and is buried in the Narrandera cemetery.

My father Keith Alfred Breheny was born in Narrandera and the Breheny family lived in the Matong and Leeton area and had a close (and sometimes notorious) connection with the local community.

I am very keen to gather as much family history information as possible for a major reunion being held in March next year.

Does anyone in Narrandera or Matong have any memories, photos, anecdotes or any details of the BREHENY family who lived in the area last century?

I rented a house in Matong for several years in the late 90’s and I recall one lovely chap who produced a poem about ‘Matong Paddy and Grong Grong Mick’ and pinned it up in the Matong Farmers Home Hotel.

It was about my Great Uncle Patrick (Paddy) Breheny and described a pugilistic event held around the streets of Matong back in the 1920’s or 30’s or so.

Some Matong folk also recalled a farm paddock somewhere near the town that is still called ‘Breheny’s Paddock’.

A lady from Narrandera gave me a copy of a photo of my grandfather in his Matong footy gear with two other players one of which was her son.

My postal address is PO Box 322 Swansea, Tasmania and my email address is keithbreheny@activ8.net.au and I would be most sincerely grateful if anyone can help me.

Keith Breheny Jnr.



July 27, 2015


EDITOR: Proactive and forward reaching councillors’ decision to take to the Narrandera Shire constituents via referendum a vote on reducing the number of councillors from nine to seven (front page story Narrandera Argus Thursday July 23)  is a constructive move in the right direction.

Nine councillors are forward thinking, but how we can encourage the voting and interested citizens of Narrandera to engage in futuristic deliberations and views on Narrandera’s future?

What are the issues that should or could be discussed in a local forum of interested citizens? One might be the skills set required by our potential candidates for the next round of councillors elections in 2016.

We know that the current councillors have recommended to the State government that the NSC has elected to ‘Go it Alone” and meet the challenges of the Fit for the Future as set out by the State government.

In accepting this challenge there is a job to do, a job that will require a broad range of skills to govern and oversee the business model of council over the next term.

How can we as a community identify and encourage those with the experienced skills and enthusiasm for our community to allow themselves to be endorsed as suitable candidate for the 2016 council elections?

Another field of discussion could be focused on how other citizens of Local Government Areas are approaching participation with council in planning and plotting a future for their communities.

Many communities are now forming Foundation or Committee structured models to work on and effect both commercial and philanthropic opportunities that are out of the reach or out of the guidelines of the Regional council acts, limiting councillors leverage of opportunity for the community.  

A Community Foundation is an independent philanthropic organisation working in a specific geographic area which, over time, builds up a collection of endowed funds from many donors or applies for grants from government.

 It provides services to the community and its donors, makes grants and undertakes community leadership and partnership activities to address a wide variety of needs and opportunities in its community.

A community foundation is a vehicle for local and external donors who wish to contribute their cash, trusts, bequests or real property to create permanent endowments that will benefit the community in perpetuity.

Using the investment earnings on each endowed fund, a community foundation makes and builds capacity within the community to address local needs and opportunities.

Their task is to build substantial, permanent funds from which grants are made to local charitable and community organisations. These funds function much like permanent community savings accounts, where the community -personified in the Board and its decision-making bodies - has the say over how to distribute the earned interest.

Two interesting fields of discussion,  what is the skills base required by our new councillors to effect the challenges of a new term and what are progressive communities using as community models to meet the needs and challenges of the future

As John F Kennedy was quoted: “Ask not what your country do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

Equally applies to Narrandera’s future, we are fortunate and responsible enough to have these conversations between us.

David Farley.


July 22, 2015


EDITOR: Mr Francis, Australian Tin Resources (ATR) believes we have jumped the gun in voicing our concerns regarding his mega-tip proposal.

However given that their website states ATR have been engaged in community consultation since
March 2015, we felt that our meeting on June 17 was hardly premature.

 Funnily enough, despite ATRs website stating this, no one in the community knew ATR were consulting with the community, nor did ATR bother to inform the site's adjoining landholders of the proposal until the day after our community meeting.

It is also unusual that one of the adjoining landholders had to inform Mr Francis as to who ATRs other neighbours were.  So given their community consultation to date has been somewhat lacking we felt it important to provide the community with the facts.
The community has limited opportunities to become involved in the planning approval process and ATR have stated on their website that they plan to have the Environmental Impact Statement available for comment by February 2016.
Therefore, it is prudent that information about the proposal be provided as soon as possible so that the community has a chance to undertake their own research in the limited time available. As such, we will continue to provide information to the community because it is the community who will have to live with this decision,  not ATR as they have already made it quite clear to Coolamon Shire council, that they will sell the approval and walk away.
In reference to the last landfill application which was submitted 20 years ago, ATR have stated that the Commissioner believed there were no issues with noise and odour. It should be pointed out to Mr Francis that there has been some serious advances in understanding the impacts developments can have on the environment since then.

 Odour, noise and risks to agriculture were such a concern for the Woodlawn landfill proposal at Tarago that the company was instructed by NSW Planning to purchase the 7000 acre farm 'Pylara' which surrounded the site to create a buffer zone in order to ensure that the landfills impacts were retained on site. 

 Now, despite this huge buffer zone, odour has been a constant problem for the surrounding community of Tarago, with people 15km from the site being impacted. Woodlawn landfill is operated by Veolia, an international company specialising in waste management.  Now despite this specialised knowledge of landfilling, Veolia have tried unsuccessfully for 11 years to stop odour impacting its surrounding residents.

This is further evidenced by EPAs media release issued on Friday stating that they have fined Woodlawn landfill $8000 for impacting residents with odour. These residents were approximately 6.5km downslope of the Woodlawn site.

ATR somehow believes that landfilling 14 million m3 of rubbish on top of a hill  (not in the open cut voids), within 100m of neighbouring crops, within 1 km of nearby farming residents and only 3.5km from the town of Ardlethan, that there will be no risk to agriculture and no issues with odour, dust, noise and litter.

 How Mr Francis plans to achieve this should be nothing short of a miracle. Or perhaps he doesn’t need to worry, given he plans to sell the approval and doesn’t actually have to achieve any of this.

Tarago residents have felt the full brunt of negative impacts that the Woodlawn landfill has provided. They put up with trains blocking the crossing for 10-20 minutes at a time on a regular basis, they put up with odour on a regular basis and they put up with huge truck numbers ruining their roads and seriously increasing the risk of accidents.

 In return, they have approximately four locals employed, whilst the rest are from out of town. In terms of monetary gain, Tarago has received a mere 10-15c per tonne for every tonne of Sydney rubbish received at the Woodlawn site, which equates to approximately $38500/yr.
So as you can see from our perspective, a sit back and wait approach is unacceptable, given we are faced with a development that has the ability to seriously impact the Riverina for 65 years and beyond.

We need to ensure that we manage this beautiful productive area with the utmost care. Importing Sydney’s rubbish into the middle of the Riverina to supposedly fix a site that ATR is required by law to rehabilitate is risking our agriculture, our amenity, our image and our children’s legacy and what for...... 15c per tonne and a few jobs.

 ‘Don’t Rubbish the Riverina Inc’

Stop Sydney Garbage Trashing Australia’s Foodbowl for 65 years.



July 20, 2015

EDITOR: Narrandera should have their own public forum because every town is different with their own drug issues. We are not Wagga or Tumut we are Narrandera and as such the problem should be addressed in an open forum where residents of this shire can put their views to council on the drug problem in our town.

Lyn McGilvray

________________________________________________________

A Narrandera resident’s views on not only this town's drug issues but all over the state.

1) bring back the truancy officers to the schools

2) stricter rules within schools re social media devices

3) FOLLOW UP any information eg ice being sold in high school toilets

4) Give Police the POWER to enter and search on information they have received.

5) Uniform legal course of action.

6) Rehabilitation....putting someone in hospital for a week is as useful as sticking your finger in the dyke wall.

7) Parents need to be advised regardless of age of user so they can have some responsible input into situation.

8) Stop talking and ACT.

I lived across the road from a drug dealer and the people that were coming and going at all hours of the night and day. Sometimes they would verbally abuse us neighbours because we were out in our yards.

One little old lady (96) who has always sat out on her verandah for the

morning sun was too scared to do so whilst he was in the rental premises. It then took the owner close to three months to evict him because apparently the minority have all the rights.

The syringes and rubbish he left in house he walked away from was unbelievable. The damage was horrific.

The police need to be given the POWER to act. 

We need to get a dog squad to come in on a regular basis and hit both pubs at once as well as walk the streets. Police that are not associated with any person from this area.

I had a son who lived away and was an ice addict and I am fully aware of the grief and sorrow they cause as well as other conflicts.

______________________________________________________________


EDITOR:
I refer to an article ‘Lake Coolah back on the map’ Narrandera Argus July 14 2015. Specifically to the very disconcerting comments made by NSWIC chairman Richard Stott “they (NSWIC) were pushing for a new dam East of Wagga that would be able to tap into Snowy Mountain Hydro.”

He said “that there was no water to fill a dam if it was built at Lake Coolah. We can build more dams that will remain empty. What do you fill them with” (?) 

I find Mr Stott’s first comment hypocritical. He cites the new dam east of Wagga and then asks what we would fill Lake Coolah with. I suggest the same thing you would fill the new east Wagga dam with… water??? it’s the same river isn’t it?  

Secondly, at a meeting held last month, June 2, in Leeton with Lake Coolah proponents (three local government  councils) and NSW Office of Water the new dam east of Wagga concept was challenged on two points; lack of willing landholder sellers and a lack of forthcoming evidence of the concept’s existence, it therefore fell due to lack of support. There were also NSWIC members present.   

Thirdly, if Mr Stott attended the Barmah meeting July 8, along with  1000 other people he would have heard  RAMROC chairman Terry Hogan state “530,000 Gigalitres (530,000,000,000ML) of rain falls in the Murray Darling Basin each year. Human extraction for towns, stock and domestic and irrigation is 2% or 10,600GL. The MDBA Plan seeks to take 2750GL +450GL from the human extractive use.”

Lastly, Mr Stott also  said “the problem with Lake Coolah is feasibility and that was something that the Councils of this area need to look into.” Having attended Lake Coolah meetings representing Griffith City Council for the last two years I can confidently inform your readers; “Councils of this area are looking into the feasibility of Lake Coolah, seeking funding to do just that. We (Councils) have already identified four uses for Lake Coolah- Irrigation water storage, flood mitigation, recreational use and tourism. There is also a sole ‘willing seller’ landholder.”

Irrigation Water Storage needs to be understood as an operational temporary water storage best explained as an over winter catchment of runoff from the tributaries downstream of Burrinjuck Dam which would normally flow down the Murrumbidgee River.

 These flows would add to irrigators available water allocations and be readily available in early Spring for crop planting. It is envisaged water from Lake Coolah would be used first before Summer hits therefore shrinking the evaporation footprint down to and agreed amount of water storage for recreational use. (50,000ML)  

Flood Mitigation:  A previous article ‘Lake Coolah” Narrandera Argus 2012 identified flood mitigation benefits of a Lake Coolah water storage diverting Mirrool Creek flows at Ardlethan along Dry Pan Creek. This would take pressure off the EMR at Yenda. Its estimated 20 per cent of Mirrool Creek catchment is upstream of Ardlethan. This flow is not part of the MDB Plan but new regulations look like including floods into MDBA calculations in the future.

Recreation and Tourism: The benefits to the local economy of a Lake Coolah water storage for  recreation and tourism are more than a broadening of the local economy by introduction of tourism dollars but also the wholesome physical and mental health benefits of camping, swimming, fishing and water sports.   

Mr Stott’s  comments are most disconcerting because they appear ‘out of touch’ and do not represent the obvious need for more water for this valley.

The three Councils Narrandera, Leeton and Griffith in a joint letter have taken the unprecedented step of writing to Mr Stott as chairman of NSWIC asking him to explain the reasons for his organisation’s contrarian view to that of MIA Irrigators’ obvious need for more water in this area and by extension the community at large. We earnestly wait for his reply with ‘bated breath’.

Cr Paul Rossetto,

Griffith.


June 22, 2015

EDITOR: Please allow me space in your paper to note and support the commonsense of Councillor Morris in objecting to the inclusion of shared access in the centre block as adopted by Council in the new Business Centre Master Plan. 

As he stated the idea is ‘ridiculous’ and not practical. I would add the idea is dangerous!

Narrandera has an aging population and myself included, we do not merit or indeed deserve, the added stress as we go about our activities in the town centre.

Narrandera is a small rural town enjoyed by the community for its ease of living and support of each other.  Please let us keep it that way.

As reported, apologies were received from four councillors who were unable to attend the meeting when the Master Plan was adopted. 

Should not a decision involving the spending of hundreds of thousands dollars, maybe millions,on an important project be debated and voted on by a full complement of Councillors?

Gwen Nielsen.



June 4, 2015

EDITOR: In response to the John O’Brien Festival story in the Narrandera Argus 26/05/2015 (Success at cost effective price).

Firstly congratulations to the JOB committee for a job well done, a lot of hard work goes on behind the scene of having an event like this, as we well know.

Just to clarify a statement that was made in the article in the Narrandera Argus  that  sponsorship for the festival was slightly less fromthe  previous year, pinning the blame on the Rockin’ on East Festival seeking sponsorship at same time.

Rockin’ on East did not start seeking sponsorship until January; our fist sponsor was not received until  February 15 2015.

By that time you would think all sponsors would be on board as the JOB festival is in March, I feel due to quiet times.

Rockin’ on East is being used a scapegoat. In January I personally walked East Street talking to business houses on their thoughts on the Rockin’ on East Festival, sponsorship packages and was overwhelmed with feedback.

But what we all need to realise is, and based on personal experience working in retail, I see firsthand the amount of charities, community events, fundraisers and the list goes on that walk in to local business houses looking for sponsorship.

Narrandera is a very caring supporting town that will go out of their way to help support the local community when in need. But in return they do need the local support to be able to keep supporting our local community.

Allen Law,

Chairman,

 Rockin’ on East Committee .


May 25, 2015

EDITOR:  “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a classic and powerful novel studied across the world by high school students .One of its important themes is:  you never really understand someone until you are able to stand in their shoes and see the world from their perspective.

And so it is for those within our community who are “disabled”. Regardless of the nature of their disability, they have to navigate various situations and difficulties with the restrictions and challenges of their disability.

Australia is at the forefront of addressing issues associated with being disabled. Most public places have ramps, elevators / escalators, specifically designated toilets, and access points for services that are wheelchair friendly. Also, parking areas have allotted parking spaces for the disabled.

From personal experience, all of these considerations for the disabled are most helpful and welcome. It must also be noted that most members of the general public are also very considerate and assist with opening heavy doors or offering to carry heavy objects.

Unfortunately there are some citizens who are either inconsiderate or selfish towards the needs of the disabled. This is particularly frustrating with regards to parking spaces reserved for the disabled.

To be able to park in these spaces a car must display a current permit and be transporting the disabled permit holder. These permits are obtained through the RMS, and require a doctor’s authority supporting the patient’s need, and their ability to drive safely.

This has to be doctor- endorsed every year. So, these permits are not handed out like candy at a children’s picnic. They are vital for those who wish to continue an independent life with personal dignity.

 Also, for those who illegally park in these spaces without a current permit displayed, there is provision for a fine of over $500 and the loss of one demerit point.

As a member of the Local Health Advisory Committee (LHAC) I brought to the committee’s attention the fact that people were using designated disabled parking without permits and many disabled community members were being disadvantaged. This was particularly obvious in the Coles’ carpark, and outside Mulhall and Close Pharmacy.

With LHAC authority, I contacted Coles Customer Service and had a lengthy conversation, explaining all of the details. Coles’ response was polite, supportive and encouraging.

As a result, Coles has responded speedily and new, very obvious  “Disabled Parking” signs have been attached to the cyclone fencing to inform customers. I am a great believer that complaining and moaning alone achieves very little and that if we speak up and explain, improvements often occur.

On behalf of LHAC, and all disabled community members, thanks and appreciation goes to Coles , Joanne Smith, Shirley Mead and the wonderful and helpful staff at the Narrandera Coles store – they are always ready to lend a helping hand.

And for those who do not realise the importance of the facilities provided for the disabled, cast a thought to the theme:

“You never really understand someone until you are able to stand in their shoes and see the world from their perspective.”

Narelle Payne,

 LHAC Committee Member.

 


May 11, 2015

EDITOR: I believe I have to comment on the Narrandera Council spending approximately $76000 on mapping the bed of Lake Talbot. I cannot see how mapping the bed is going to stop weed growth.

It would seem to me the only way to reduce weed growth is to spend the money is to return to the previous flow system which worked well. All mapping is going to do is for skiers to ski in progressively stagnant water.

Warwick Heckendorf.



EDITOR:
I would like to clear up a point in my letter to the Narrandera Argus May 5 2015. I am requesting the Council to retain all existing trees until their replacements are growing strongly and casting a decent shade as it is too hard in our climate to grow "uniform trees".

On the subject of "memorial avenues", an article in a magazine (Country Style April 2015) points out that Australia has more memorials and more memorial avenues than any other country, with Victoria leading the way. A particularly fine example is located at Bacchus Marsh.

On the highway between Sydney and Canberra a series of rest stops honours Australia's VC winners in a very practical way.

Many avenues have a tree planted to honour each man who died, as a living symbol of hope for the future. Ballarat has an avenue of more than 22 kilometres with 3371 trees, one for every man who enlisted there in World War 1.

In WW1 Australia lost more than 60,000 men out of a population of about 4.9 million and 416,809 men enlisted. Most families would have lost a relative or a friend, so it is not surprising that Australia has so many memorials.

Returning to our own memorial avenue, because it was originally of plane trees, we should be committed to replacing missing trees with plane trees. However the cedar trees in quite large numbers are doing well but as they are not nearly as long lived as well-cared-for plane trees, they should be replaced with plane trees as they die. Let us not rush in and clear fell the existing trees, thus exchanging a patchy but reasonably attractive avenue for a desert.

Trees are very hard to start, so let us not do anything rash. Let us replace dead trees in honour of our fallen in past wars.

Betty Bradney.



May 06, 2015

EDITOR : How proud the community of Narrandera must be of those who donated memorabilia and   those who gave their time to decorate  shop windows for the Anzac Centenary Commemoration.

 It was really a sight to behold as one walked up East Street and heard favourable comments  from travellers on  the window displays.    

Of the  Sunshine concert, what can be said? Congratulations to all who were involved in this wonderful production.

We have some great talent in this little Riverina town.  The Diggers would be proud of you all.

Iris Schofield.



April 13, 2015

Editor:What is our town's greatest asset (apart from its people)? Position at the junction of two highways and on the Murrumbidgee River. Aren't we lucky that no one can mess with that?

Our second greatest asset has to be our trees; we promote Narrandera as a town of shady trees, but it is more like a town of dead and dying trees and they are simply suffering from thirst. At least the dead ones around Hankinson Park are regularly removed.

Mr Hankinson would turn in his grave if he could see the state of his memorial avenue. For this 100th anniversary of ANZAC, lots of events and memorial services are being organised, but the lasting memorial, the plane trees of Victoria Avenue, are in a sorry state.

The position of driver for the tanker to water the town trees was made redundant a number of years ago to save money so that Narrandera Council can now waste it on such frivolities as gazanias for the Gillenbah Traffic Island and a Master Plan for East Street.

The proposal to remove the existing trees in East St is the part of the plan that shocks me the most and it is to be done so that "it will look uniform"!

Why does an avenue have to "look uniform"? This is something that is not only boring but very hard to achieve as some trees fail to thrive, some die and some meet with accidents, so an avenue seldom "looks uniform", just a mixed row of the same species.

Why not have a mixed avenue with Chinese Pistachios and Chinese Elms interspersed with the existing Claret Ashes and Flowering Ashes? There would be the advantage of contrast of foliage and shape and the autumn display would be spectacular, ranging from gold to red to deep maroon.

Instead of spending a huge amount of money on the main street that already looks all right why not spend a little on our town and save our trees?

Betty Bradney.



March 26, 2015

Editor: I mentioned to a group of friends that the Council planned to plant the Gillenbah traffic islands with gazanias and at a cost of somewhere between $20,000 and $50,000.

 I wish that I'd had a video camera to record their expressions.

Here are some of their sarcastic remarks:

"But they're an environmental weed!"

"Why not plant some khaki weed and spiny emex to go with the gazanias?"

"How about some Patterson's Curse for colour contrast?"

"Someone should just throw out a couple of handfuls of gazania seed to plant the traffic islands and several surrounding acres, all for free!"

Someone had seen a similar roundabout somewhere in Victoria using lots of stones, small bottlebrushes ('Little John') and native grassesand he said that it looked fantastic.

We could do so much better.

You can’t get lower maintenance than pebbles, rocks and Round-Up.

Betty Bradney.


March 23, 2015

EDITOR:  I had occasion yesterday, March 17 , to refuel my car at the local Coles Express outlet where I paid 117.9 cents per litre for E10 unleaded petrol.

This morning, when driving past the same outlet, I noticed that the price for the same fuel was now 129.9 cent per litre, an increase of 12 cents per litre overnight.

On page 45 of yesterday's Daily Telegraph was an article headlined "Market closes lower after sharp fall in oil and commodity prices".

I am now, therefore, in somewhat of a dilemma trying to reconcile the indisputable fact that the hierarchy within the ranks of Coles Express have seen the necessity of increasing the cost of fuel, a commodity, at their outlets, against the other indisputable fact that there has been a "sharp fall" in the price of crude oil.

Perhaps someone at Coles Express Head Office can solve this problem for me with a statement of economic facts and figures that substantiate the commercial necessity for this increase.

While I wait for that answer I will just have to regretfully believe that I am witness to another instance of the public being treated as fools.

The colloquial word, I believe, is "mugs".

G B Spencer.


March 18, 2015

EDITOR: It’s too late to help the 500 poor pigs who suffered and died because the Pig Improvement Company, a Grong Grong piggery, failed to monitor its cooling system and follow emergency procedures, but we can all help save other smart, social pigs just by choosing mock meats and

other vegan options.

Pigs feel pain, joy, and love just as much as people do. When they aren’t confined to filthy factory farms, pigs like to play, explore, and sleep nose to nose.

Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers' voices and mother pigs "sing" to their young while nursing. 

But in most piggeries, female pigs are kept in crates that are so small they can’t turn around or comfortably lie down. They’re constantly impregnated and their babies are taken away from them soon after they’re born.

The piglets' teeth and ears are cut, their tails are chopped off, and

male piglets have their testicles ripped out - all without painkillers. 

If piggeries truly cared about animal welfare, they wouldn’t be engaging in such horrific practices.

In this instance, had it been 500 cats or dogs who died from a lack of ventilation, authorities surely would have imposed severe penalties for cruelty and neglect. Pigs deserve just the same compassion and justice.

Des Bellamy

Special Projects Coordinator

PETA Australia

desmondb@peta.org.au. 


What a weekend!

Congratulations to the John O'Brien Festival organisers, volunteers and supporters. As we chat amongst ourselves remember the success and glowing terms our country town has been described in by weekend visitors.

If you chatted to someone from ‘away' you did us proud as visitors commented on the friendliness, helpfulness and beauty of our town and area. The Sydney contingent loved it and spent money here.

From the cultural to the sporting fun was had – if you attended any of the events you saw volunteers racing around to help keep all the events rolling. If you think you could help, remember it is fun volunteering especially if you love a chat! You can help even if you don't know anything about poetry, art, triathlon, catering or street planning.

Events don't happen in a week or a month, so relax and have a break because the organisation starts again before long for next year.

To those who organised, helped or attended the festival Thumbs Up as this was one of the best!

Joy Norrie.

EDITOR: On March 28 we have a State Election. I am rather annoyed that the Labor Party are going on about the Coalition leasing off the poles and wires.

They very conveniently forget what they did to the Murrumbidgee County

Council. That cost Narrandera at least 19 jobs and MCC ratepayers close to 15 million dollars which they put into consolidated revenue.

I do believe that poles and wires are going to be greatly challenged by new solar and battery technology.

To further add to this hypocrisy they then proceeded to sell back to the

Narrandera Council the MCC building which the Council had donated to the MCC.

NSW was one of the lowest performing states under Labor and now NSW has

been, under the Coalition, the top performing State in Australia

That is why in my opinion  Narrandera voters should support National Party candidate Katrina Hodginson.

Warwick Heckendorf.


March 2, 2015

EDITOR:I have just completed  restoring an historic racing open wheeler car which used to be raced by the late Les Trim of Narrandera.

Les Trim had two menswear stores, one in Cootamundra and one in Narrandera .

I am now trying to trace the movements of the car as to who helped build it and where it raced.

Les was a big man who always wore white overalls for racing. All of the other competitors had 500cc motor bike engines but Les because of his size and weight was given special dispensation to run a 955cc engine.

There was a bloke named Keith Berryman who could catch Les at the end of the straight, then throw his car into a slide and catch up to Les. Other races included Don Christie, Oscar Cornford and Ken Watson.

Les later graduated to an A-type Jaguar and a matic.

The Middleton twins used to race black motor bikes.

I’m looking for past history of the blokes who used to race against ‘Trimmy’and would welcome any info at all.

When I took the car to Cootamundra on Australia Day it generated a considerable amount of interest as many of the older generation still remembered the car.

I would appreciate any form of return communication and am happy to return the call.

Keith Smith,

Malega,

Milvale 2594.

 Phone 63 847311.



February 23, 2015

EDITOR: Grong Grong Public School (est 1883) is to be sold by this State’s Coalition government.

It was closed under the direct supervision of our local National MP Adrian Piccoli, who is also the Minister for Education.

While we watch as new homes are built in and around Grong Grong, old farm houses brought back into occupation, and young professionals with families return to re-invest in family farms, reshaping the century old business model of family farms by mixing professional life throughout the year with the ‘peak loads’ of farm cropping cycles, the Department of Education deems the area to be in decline and the school is to be sold.

 A very final solution for a short term problem.

Very little is to be gained by the sale of the school – perhaps $100K for the land and buildings and of course a shiny, new Federally-funded transportable library to add to the assets register.

 In the meantime future babies in outlying areas such as Cowabbie and Berembed can expect to spend up to 1.5 hours a day on buses into already crowded town schools.

While this sale is acutely painful for members of the Grong Grong community, it is more widely an issue for all supporters of public education in Narrandera, and any expectations or plans for the growth of the Shire.

 In towns of similar demographic, such as Temora and Junee, families have the choice of as many as four public primary schools within reach of the townships.

Narrandera and Grong Grong families now and for all time will have no choice.

Gemma Meier,

Grong grong.



December 11, 2014

SAVE OUR TREES

EDITOR: The Narrandera Council's current scheme for a median strip / garden down the centre of the narrow and crowded main street is as wild as their centre parking trial earlier in the year.

 I have not heard one person speak in favour of the median strip. All agreed that if the median strip was designed to stop people doing U-turns, then a double white line would suffice. To beautify the street more trees in keeping with our 'town of trees' image is all the town needs.

Aren't the flowering ash trees in the main street looking wonderful? A bouquet to the Council with Mayor John Beattie who chose them. More of them would be lovely.

The parking problems could be solved by banning parking in the main street for all people who work there. Doesn't the "Live well Narrandera" promotion apply to them? Why can't they park a block or two away and WALK? (Note: I'm not suggesting anything as drastic as walking to work!) This would free up a lot of parking.

Why not use some of that $709,000 ('Healthy Finance Report', Narrandera Argus December 4, 2014) to employ someone to water all the dry trees, instead of planting more gardens to the detriment of the trees already planted. It would be a cost effective way of promoting our town of shady trees.

Betty Bradney.

_______________________________

December
09, 2014

EDITOR: Re TELOCA (TEnder Loving Care) HOUSE

It is ethically wrong of Narrandera Shire Council staff or Councillors to consider that Teloca House can be sold without community consultations.

I make the following points :

The community raised the funds to build the asset with various groups financing fittings and furniture. Yes, Council assisted with providing the land but one of the land parcels is listed as in trust.

The facility when built was entrusted by us to Council as our local corporate authority. Councils were established to maintain and provide common needs for communities.

It worked well until the time that the Board was dissolved by Council. A new Advisory Committee was soon after dissolved after an assessment group was brought in by a former General Manager. Council afterwards then integrated its finances into Council claiming it as a financial asset.

If it is not now financially viable show us if the claims for high care patients have been submitted over the last few years and the costs/expenses of the administrative slice of funds that Council takes for oversighting Teloca.

Are you intending to sell our asset or lease back and what covenants can be applied to assure its future here?

If you say other providers have the skillset, then please appreciate the skills are here, proven by the fact it has been continuously accredited. Consider please it is not the ability or knowledge we lack but it may be a passion and will within Council.

If sold where will the revenue from the sale be used? What is the purpose? It is the current financial fashion to sell up, but a private group will likely start maximising profits and sending the income out of the town, including contract work. By contrast Councillors keep stating they want to build the Shire!

What will happen to the money from such a sale? Where will it be spent ? If we are merged, what then will keep the money within Narrandera?

The RMS (RTA) do a better job of highway consultation. Do Councillors really feel the pulse of the community or are they encircled within an invisible fence by their finance staff and advisors.

With the exception of the Mayor, Councillors are not often seen at functions. Too often I have heard Councillors say they were elected to represent the people. However, this is a significant proposal and the people need to be consulted.

Apart from a few media articles, the community as stakeholder has not been engaged. Consult the people please, give correct facts, give options and answer questions truthfully.

We should also be entitled to see the details you were confidentially provided. It is acceptable of course that names be blacked out.

Cannot Councillors see the holes in the recommendations to sell Teloca? Why have that confidential meeting. It is stated in the Ageing in Place ‘PROVIDORS OF RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE GUIDE’ there are a range of strategies that may be employed to provide adequate care whilst remaining economically viable.

What is preventing Council from doing a survey of residents, consulting people and holding a public meeting at a suitable time. We need community interaction. Please be inclusive of us.

Bob Manning

Narrandera Shire resident.

___________________________

November 06, 2014

EDITOR :  Economy of scale seems to be one of the main reasons for amalgamation of local councils.

But does economy of scale always work and is bigger always better? It appears to me that costs go up, not down.

For example, Riverina Water services the Wagga area and has approximately 30,000 connections.

The annual sewer service fee for a residence in Wagga is $434.

Narrandera Council services Narrandera town and has approximately 1800 connections. The annual service fee for a residence in Narrandera is $434.

 Infrastructure NSW recommends that the 105 non-metropolitan water utilities become 30 water authorities.

Over the next 30 years there is a capital program of nearly $11b for regional NSW. We have to insure that this money is spent where needed, and not wasted.  

 I ask if forced amalgamations are constitutional and whether a  cost -benefit analysis been done to support the Government’s push on amalgamation. If so, where is it?

What is happening to democracy in Australia, when the Government can dictate to local councils that they amalgamate or they will no longer support them with cheap loans, or grants (our taxes) irrespective of the council’s viability?    

What has happened to transparency on such an important change to, not only our government representation, local economy and employment but to our environment, culture and identity?

 The Federal Government has taken $288million worth of funding away from local councils by freezing indexation of local government financial assistance grants.

 These are our tax dollars and should be used for the needs of our communities.

If, after amalgamation on this scale, then what?

 Maybe we will be a county council extending from Albury to Griffith.  I wonder if this is the thin edge of the wedge to get rid of local councils altogether.       

If amalgamation is the answer to supposed cash-strapped governments, and if amalgamation works so well, why then have, eight Queensland councils which amalgamated in 2008, now de- amalgamated?  

Think about what is happening to our local council before it is history.

Annette Wheaton,

Narrandera.


October 14, 2014

EDITOR: Re the front page story in the Narrandera Argus Merger Talks Begin.  Will the citizens of Narrandera be given choice?

Authoritarianism State rule or Democracy, I sense that Narrandera is wearing the consequences of not having a convincible and marketable Future Plan and its future is going to be subject to an authoritarian “Top Down” command structure from our State governor and bureaucrats, with a potential new local government structure that will strip Narrandera of community identity, commerce, jobs and a future.

Mr McConnell states that our state government intends to make it difficult for those councils that don’t meet their criteria, he also states our state government will entice (bribe) with financial favouritism for merger.   

Reading the Narrandera Argus headline of October 8 there was no mention of some important words.  There is no mention of consultation, no mention of community, no mention of social culture , no mention of alternative strategies.

Most importantly there was no mention of what Narrandera Shire is doing with an immediate plan to meet immediate challenges or plans for our longer term future to meet the dictated criteria.

We the Narrandera citizens, the owners of residential land and homes,  commercial land properties and operating business and more importantly our identity, lifestyle and history will need and require consultation before any agreed outcome on our future governance is to be determined.

I would encourage all Narrandera citizens to study the various websites that offer information on the NSW governments Fit for the Future review of local governments. Please remember when reading these documents they are drafted by skilled people who do not live in our communities, they are drafted with a mind set to economics not community or lifestyles.

I would also encourage the citizens to enquire and learn of the outcomes of other recent regional shire mergers. You will quickly discover that there are winners and losers, the loses come in jobs, commerce, identity, reduced services and rates rises, the loser is generally the minority shire in the merger.  

Most importantly our Narrandera councillors and our Narrandera council executives must open up a conversation and discussion with its citizens, as it’s we the people they represent and it’s we the people who pay the rates and taxes to generate the salaries.

We must ensure that what is being negotiated is in our best interest, whatever is agreed is legally documented to allow recourse for non or under performance of obligations under Australian law, and those that are strategising  and negotiating our future and going to be prepared to live in the community outcomes they agree upon.

Narrandera will only get one chance at determining  our destiny, I would encourage all citizens to have impatient, curious and vigilant minds, don’t cower away from conversation and debate, it’s our future that is being plotted by others that needs us the people of Narrandera Shire in the conversation and negotiation.

David Farley

Website by Cuttlefish Design © 2011.