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Archive for October, 2018

INFORMATION NEEDED: Black Hill landowner Mark Hosking says Ballarat City Council is not fulfilling its obligations towards its “legacy landfill”. A disgruntled resident says Ballarat City Council has failed to fulfill its obligations towards its Black Hill “legacy landfill”.
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Mark Hoskingwants updatedmapping of the former Chisholm Street tip to monitor gases, leachates, chemicals and land subsidence.

He says the council has also failed to carry out the recommendations of a2014auditor-general’s report into managing landfills.

It statesthe four councils studied–including Ballarat –had not “met their responsibilities for managing legacy risks at their closed landfills”.

Mr Hosking, who has been locked in a four year battle with the council over buried rubbish on his Duggan Street property, said areview of all Ballarat’soperational and former tips was meant to be carried out by the end of last year, which hasn’t yet been done.

However, the council’s general manager city services Terry Demeosaid they wereworking with the EPA to follow the auditor-general’s report recommendations into closed landfills.

Mr Demeo also said rehabilitation responsibilities and aftercare costs of closed landfills were budgeted and provided for in the council’s long-term financial plan.

But Mr Demeo also said there had been no new maps created of the landfill’s boundaries, despite rubbish being found on adjoining properties.In 2012, work on a proposed Black Hillresidential development was scuttled because landfill was found outside the former tip’s boundaries and on the site.The council settled with the developer and bought the land.

Mark Hoskingwants updatedmapping of the former Chisholm Street tip to monitor gases, leachates, chemicals and land subsidence.

He says the council has also failed to carry out the recommendations of a2014auditor-general’s report into managing landfills.

It statesthe four councils studied–including Ballarat –had not “met their responsibilities for managing legacy risks at their closed landfills”.

Mr Hosking, who has been locked in a four year battle with the council over buried rubbish on his Duggan Street property, said areview of all Ballarat’soperational and former tips was meant to be carried out by the end of last year, which hasn’t yet been done.

However, the council’s general manager city services Terry Demeosaid they wereworking with the EPA to follow the auditor-general’s report recommendations into closed landfills.

Mr Demeo also said rehabilitation responsibilities and aftercare costs of closed landfills were budgeted and provided for in the council’s long-term financial plan.

But Mr Demeo also said there had been no new maps created of the landfill’s boundaries, despite rubbish being found on adjoining properties.In 2012, work on a proposed Black Hillresidential development was scuttled because landfill was found outside the former tip’s boundaries and on the site.The council settled with the developer and bought the land.

Mr Hosking said it was ridiculous new maps hadn’t been created when the rubbish was discovered after excavation works were ordered by the Supreme Court of Victoria in June2012.

In August 2014, then council chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said they would address the auditor-general’sreportrecommendations by a single review of the management of all operational and former waste facilities “based on all available information”.

“From this review a comprehensive management plan will be developed which will include a prioritised list of actions for each site,” Mr Schinck said.

Mr Hosking said FOI requests on thisreview and management planput into the council had not been met in the 45 day time limit, which would have been May 24.

“It’s about responsibility, accountability and respect,” Mr Hosking said.“Why aren’t they proud of what they’ve done in regards to looking after the people of Ballarat and, specifically, Black Hill.”

But Mr Demeo said the councilaims to respond to FOI requests within the prescribed times.

“Individual FOI requests are not discussed”.

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LOOKING GOOD: Project director, Todd Henderson, left, and site supervisor, Jim Power inspect progress as crews install the Kerang gas project’s trunk line along Tate Drive.
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RESIDENTS will know in the coming weeks whether their property will be serviced by Kerang’s reticulated natural gas network.

Brookfield Energy Australia’s project reached another significant milestone last week, with works beginning to install the pipework that will link properties to the town’s gas storage facility.

Crews are on track to complete the Tate Drive section of the main line this week, which will extend 2.2 kilometres from the storage plant to the edge of the central business area at Boundary Street.

Using a combination of drilling and trenches, up to 120 metres of pipe is being laid a day, with attention turning to the Boundary Street section of the main line in the coming days.

The main line – set to be completed by the end of the month – will be able to pipe reticulated natural gas throughout the town at a rate of no greater than500 kilopascals.

Once the trunk line is complete, work will begin to install secondary lines that will pipe the gas to streets that are on the network.

“We are still finalising any potential changes to the final network design. This will be done within the next three to four weeks and will be released thereafter,” project manager, Todd Henderson said.

“Connections should start in the August/September period and the network will be completed in January 2017.”

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Waiting: Westmar farmer Phillip Coggan with employee Jason Spendelove during planting at Enarra last Thursday. Since then Enarra has recieved 23 to 32mm.
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If Phillip Coggan could have pre-ordered some planting rain, he would have asked for the 30mm that fell across his Westmar property on Saturday night.

“We got 23 to 32mm across the place,” he said.“You really couldn’t get much better.”

The Coggan family had already planted 80 per cent of their winter crop which will include about 9300ha of chickpeas, 800ha of barley and 3200ha of wheat.

Whenvisited last Thursday, the Coggans had two of their three planters going around the clock as they attempted to make use of about 60mm of rain that had fallen earlier in the month.

Mr Coggan, who works in partnership with wife Cindy and parents John and Lyn,was particularly pleased with the performance of his new 80-foot Groundbreaker. The planter was towedbehind a John Deere 9560RT tractor and Simplicity Air Seeder with dual liquid cart controlled by John Deere GreenStar rate controllers.

The HatTrick chickpeas were planted with 30l/ha of both inoculant and liquid fertiliser – injected during planting.

With chickpea pricesstill nudging record levels, Mr Coggan said he couldn’t resist the urge to plant back into last year’s chickpea country.

“It’s what the agronomists tell you not to do,” he said.“But we are generally drier than the Downs here so I’m not overly concerned.”

Last year, the Coggan’schickpea crop averaged between 1.8t/ha and 2.2t/ha and the family have alreadyforward sold about 400 tonnes of the 2016 crop.

The Coggan family also operate a 3000 head beef feedlot and prime lamb operation on Enarra.

All of the wheat and barley harvested will be retained for the feedlot and extra grain is also bought in on demand.

Mr Coggan said the feedlot had been at capacity until about three months ago when the family decided to reduce numbers as cattle supply tightened. More P79

Westmar graingrower Phillip Coggan with employee Jason Spendelove during planting at Enarra last Thursday.

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IT’S TIME: Standing on the former Leitchville train station platform, Geoff Behrens said his “time had come around again” to be the Lions president.ONE of Leitchville’s proudest residents says it’s time for him to again lead a group of serving citizens.
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Geoff Behrens was recently installed as the Lions Club of Leitchville president for the first time in more than a decade.

The 76-year-old succeeded Peter White, who served three successive terms.

“I’m not new to the caper… it must be my turn again,” Mr Behrens said.

“It’s a fun group to be involved with and through my previous office-bearer roles with the Leitchville Progress Association, the community all works in unison.

“I enjoy working in the community. My wife says to me, ‘stop doing the shire’s work’.”

Mr Behrens beautifies the town by mowing the grass along Cohuna-Leitchville Road and maintaining the popular recreational vehicle rest stop.

“We need more manpower in Lions to transform the disused train station back to its former glory,” he said.

The station’s concrete stumps have recently been replaced, with the walls soon to be repainted.

The Leitchville railway station, which has been transformed into the Lions clubroom, is the only remaining station still standing on the Elmore to Cohuna railway line. It was closed in 1981. “What I do want to see happen as president is the community having one voice when it comes to submitting applications for grants and funding, so that we can apply for a project or initiative that will benefit the majority of residents,” Mr Behrens said.

He said membership continues to decline due an ageing population and the increasing number of other opportunities available to residents.

“We often have joint dinner meetings with Gunbower when the District Governor visits, but we want to keep our own entity as much as possible,” he said.

Mr Behrens is a former fourth generation dairy farmer, but left the industry about 20 years ago due to economic pressures.

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Jeff Byrne came to Australia in 1995 with a backpack, a love of Caribbean rum and, bizarrely, a loveof surfing.
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Bizarrely because in his homeland of Canada – he’s from Halifax, Nova Scotia – temperatures canregularly plummet to between minus10 and minus 30 Celsius. Average snowfall is morethan 150cm a year. Surfing season is short to say theleast and not for the faint hearted.

“Head to toe wetsuits,” he explains. Thick ones at that.

Wines weren’t exactly new to him, but they came a distant third behind his much loved rum and a cold beer.But life’s full of strange twists, especially for a 22-year-old on a gap year.

In the back of a Gold Coast maxi taxi he bumped into a girl called Bridgette. Andhis life changed.

Fast forward 21 years and they’re married with three children –Caitlyn 13, Lauren 10 and Bree 6 –and he’s one of the Hunter Valley’s bright young winemakers, in charge of not one, but three labels … AudreyWilkinson, Poole’s Rock and Cockfighter’s Ghost.

He doesn’t get much chance to surf these days, and a few years back he finally called a halt to hisother sporting passion, ice hockey.

“For seven years I played for the Newcastle North Stars,” he explained.

So is it the world’s most violent sport?“Possibly,” he says with a big grin, reflecting perhaps on the madness of youth.

These days the Canadian accent is punctuated by the occasional word of true blue drawl – you can’t miss it.And chances are it’s only going to get worse because he has no intentions of going anywhere.The Hunter is in his heart.

“We moved here for Bridgette’s work, andI was lucky to get a cellar door job at Tower Estate,” he said. “I enjoyed that and sometimes I would get to help out in the winery when theywere short – I loved that even more.”

The rest is history.

“There’s a real mateship in the Hunter wine community which I love being a part of,” he says.

Part of the reason, no doubt, is that Byrne is a hard bloke to dislike. The big smileis never far away.

Certainly under his guiding hand Audrey Wilkinson is going from strength to strength. It has the highest ranking of five redstars in the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion – the bible for wineries. Cockfighter’s Ghostis on thesecond highest tier – five black stars.

NO REGRETS: Jeff Byrne’s path to winemaking was hardly orthodox, but he hasn’t looked back since arriving in the Hunter.

If you don’t knowhis wines, they’re impressive all right. He has a real touch with semillon and chardonnay in particular, picking up a swag of trophies.And besides that, the Audrey Wilkinson cellar door is one of the Hunter’s most spectacular with stunning views.

A dazzling semillon and a dazzling view. What are you waiting for?

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