Electric car charger at Morisset

LAKE Macquarie City Council is likely to be the only customer using the taxpayer-funded new $80,000 fuel station being trialled at Morisset’s Auston Oval.
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Locals raised both queries and eyebrows over the installation which appeared unannounced, without any signage, next to the oval’s changing rooms in December last year.

Lakes Mail inquiries revealed the installation to be one of six French-made, 120-amp express-charging facilities installed between Newcastle and Sydney to fuel electric cars at a fast rate.

That rate is 30 minutes for 80 per cent full, giving a typical range of about 70 kilometres.

There are also 46 standard rate (15-amp) facilities scattered throughout the Ausgrid network for electric car users. They are, however, 12 times slower, needing eight hours to charge the car’s batteries – a task normally done at home or work.

An Ausgrid spokesman explained the project is all part of the federal government’s $100 million Smart Grid, Smart City electric vehicle trial.

And the council has a $48,000 all-electric Mitsubishi iMiev on loan from Ausgrid.

It’s one of 20 identical cars leased for use in the electricity provider’s trial which includes fleet and personal users.

“Lake Macquarie City Council’s trial electric car has clocked up more than 7000 kilometres in more than 430 trips,” the Ausgrid spokesperson said.

“The longest trip was 79 kilometres and in one year it charged up 2661kWh of power – about the same as a hot water system. Electric cars perform well on short journeys so they are well suited to the types of local trips made by council.

“The public can use the charging station providing they have an electric car and the appropriate charge card.”

A council spokesperson said LMCC had been operating the vehicle as part of the trial since 2010 and agreed it is unlikely to use the Morisset fuelling point.

“Council’s electric vehicle is mostly charged at the charge point at council’s customer service centre,” they said.

Council’s community development officer Tony Ellitt is a regular user of the electric car and praised its merits.

“It’s great for the type of local driving I have to do from day to day as part of my job,” Mr Ellitt said.

“It drives really well and most people can’t tell the difference. I would recommend it to anyone.”

PLUGGED IN: Lake Macquarie City Council’s senior sustainable living officer, James Giblin, about to charge the council’s electric car at the Ausgrid charging bay at Morisset on Monday. Picture: David Stewart

Trial setting a pace for smart cars

THE Australian government’s $100 million Smart Grid, Smart City trial provides a testing ground for new energy supply technologies, gathering information about the benefits and costs of different smart grid technologies across the country.

It aims to create more efficient, intelligent electricity supply and prepare for more cars plugging into the grid in the future.

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Writing workshops start at Toronto

DIRECTOR of Newcastle Writer Group and Hunter Writers Centre, Karen Crofts, will host a series of five writing workshops at Toronto Library, starting this Saturday.
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They will continue fortnightly until June 29.

The workshops will include practical writing exercises backed by advice on how to improve writing skills.

Library section manager, Joanne Smith, said the course is suitable for writers of all levels.

“Participants will learn the value of the first draft as well as how to start and maintain momentum while writing,” Ms Smith said.

“This valuable course is well suited to budding authors, local writers, students, poets and those wanting to record their life or travel stories.”

Bookings are essential on 4959 2077.

WRITE ON: The workshops begin at Toronto this Saturday.

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Son takes up late father’s battle with authorities

A LOCAL man has taken up his late father’s fight with authorities.
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When William Radimey, 85, passed away last December, it did not end the row with Lake Macquarie City Council and Hunter Water.

Kerry Radimey, 67, has vowed to pursue both organisations with a vigour that his frail father could not muster.

Mr Radimey said that though the council continued to allow “a dangerous jungle” to exist on Fassifern Street, Blackalls Park, it had sent his father a notice ordering that he prune tree branches which hung over the fence line on the property’s Faucett Street boundary.

“It cost my father a couple of hundred bucks to pay someone to do that work, and yet look at this,” Mr Radimey said, as he gestured towards trees growing on the street which hang over the fence into his father’s property.

“This is hypocrisy to the max,” he said.

Fassifern Street is designated a no-through-road, as the end of the street near Mr Radimey’s home is dense with foliage.

“This is like the Kokoda Track,” Mr Radimey said.

“Why isn’t the council maintaining this?”

He said the area was a fire hazard, and the steep slope through long grass made it dangerous for people walking through to Faucett Street.

Mr Radimey is also outraged the council charged his father $1800 for kerb and guttering along the Faucett Street boundary.

“But there is no access point to my father’s property from Faucett Street – it beggars belief,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr Radimey is challenging Hunter Water to do more to address an odour problem emanating from a sewerage-pump unit near the property.

The council’s response

A SPOKESPERSON for Lake Macquarie City Council said it requested that trees from Mr Radimey’s propertybe pruned because they were causing an obstruction for pedestrians.

Trees on public land, such as the road reserve in Fassifern Street, are pruned or removed only if a council arborist considers them a high level of risk.

“Council will prune its trees near Mr Radimey’s property if a resident reports concern about them and an arborist assesses them as presenting high risks,” the spokesperson said.

On the issue of charges, the council said it had charged Mr Radimey in accordance with the terms of its kerb and guttering, and footpath paving policy, and the the Roads Act of 1993.

That policy says, in part: “The contributions charged for kerb and guttering and footpath paving adjacent to corner lots will be a maximum of half of the total road frontages.”

The fact that there is no vehicular access to the property from Faucett Street has no bearing on the charge.

HYPOCRISY ALLEGED: Kerry Radimey says the Fassifern Street reserve on the other side of his late father’s fence is akin to the Kokoda Track. Picture: David Stewart

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Move to have Morisset join Wyong Shire

MORISSET would become part of Wyong Shire under a local government boundary shift being considered by the Local Government Review Panel.
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And the proposed merger of Wyong and Gosford councils into one Central Coast Regional Council is also again on the agenda.

The ideas have been pitched in the panel’s Future Directions discussion paper.

Wyong mayor Doug Eaton has been a longtime advocate of a Central Coast Regional Council.

“The main thing is that councils should reflect the real community boundaries and be structured in a way that makes them self sufficient, sustainable and accountable to their community,” Cr Eaton said.

“I believe a regional council will have a significantly greater strategic capacity that means, for instance, it can deliver on major regional projects without as much reliance on other levels of government.”

Cr Eaton also saw some merit in the proposed boundary change with Lake Macquarie City Council.

“To some extent, the suggestion to expand our boundary north appears sensible and I have long advocated Wyee should be in Wyong Shire as it relates to the Central Coast more than Newcastle or Lake Macquarie,” he said.

SHIFT: A proposed boundary shift would see Morisset become part of Wyong Shire. Picture: David Stewart

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Dobell Arts Festival on this weekend

THE 37th annual Dobell Arts and Crafts Festival will be unveiled tomorrow night at Rathmines, with a diverse array of artworks and fun activities planned for the weekend.
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Wangi Wangi Lions Club hosts the event at Rathmines Community Hall, in Stilling Street.

Keith Stewart, of Wangi Wangi Lions, said tomorrow night’s function would start at 7.30.

It is known as Early Birds’ Night, and is for patrons who want to be among the first to view this year’s exhibits, and to possibly pick up a bargain because all works on show are for sale.

Entry costs $5 for adults, and children are admitted for free.

‘‘This is a great opportunity to see and maybe buy works by some of our great local artists,’’ Mr Stewart said.

‘‘With Mother’s Day just around the corner, why not take the chance to find a unique present for her?’’

The festival is held in honour of the late Australian artist Sir William Dobell, a former Wangi Wangi resident.

The event continues from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. There will be a line-dancing display on Saturday, and children’s activities, including free face painting and kite making, on Sunday.

For further information, visit the Wangi Lions Club website.

WIN IT: Local artist Bruce Naylor’s Wangi Point is the main raffle prize at this weekend’s Dobell Arts and Crafts Festival. Picture: David Stewart

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Catalina bought for Rathmines musuem

LIKE a wartime fighter plane coming out of the sun, the news that a historic Catalina aircraft had been bought in Puerto Rico specifically for display in Rathmines came out of the blue.
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Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust registrar Penny Furner delivered the news on Anzac Day.

“We are just a small group and nobody else knew we were buying a disused Catalina though we had been looking for seven years,” Ms Furner said.

“We always wanted a static display Catalina but until about a month ago it was just a wish. It has happened very fast.”

Several groups, including Lake Macquarie City Council, the Catalina Flying Memorial, Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club and Ms Furner’s Rathmines group are signatories to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create a Catalina museum, including a hangar and an operational aircraft, on the famous wartime airbase at Rathmines.

“I was an RAAF brat and my father was a CO at the base and that’s basically the reason for my interest in the project,” Ms Furner said.

Funds generated by the annual Catalina Festival have already helped the Richmond-based Catalina Flying Memorial acquire a Catalina in Portugal and fly it to Australia.

But the new Catalina, a rare PBY-5A and a model that operated from Rathmines, will not displace the operational aircraft.

“The new static aircraft will complement it,” Ms Furner said.

“Our MoU was to provide a hanger at Rathmines so the Flying Memorial’s operational aircraft could be based here but clearly it would not be practical to have the public tramping through it every day whereas our static display aircraft will be perfect for just that, though it will mean we will need a slightly bigger hangar.”

Ms Furner said it will cost about $40,000 to ship the aircraft.

“We have the aircraft and we have the funding to bring it home which we expect to achieve later in the year,” she said.

“But now we need to really get cracking on funding and completing the hangar.”

PLANE TO SEE: This disused Catalina in Puerto Rico has been bought for an upcoming museum static display in Rathmines.

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Vandals hit park: Arsonists destroy Bellevue play equipment overnight

More than $60,000 damage to Mudgee’s Bellevue Estate Playground will keep it out of action for several weeks after fire destroyed the site yesterday.
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Arsonists set fire to the playground’s Pirate Ship, destroying the structure along with nearby slide, stairs, cargo net, and the ground-level wooden boundary.

Mid-Western Regional Council and local residents were quick to voice their frustration across social media yesterday as news broke via pictures on several Facebook sites.

Council was beyond disappointed and said acts such as this made it hard to provide quality facilities and services for the community.

On first look at the damage, council’s business manager resources and recreation, Julian Geddes, described the scene as “devastating”.

“Council puts a lot of effort in to maintain parks and playgrounds for the region at about $80,000 per annum and to see vandalism ruin all that makes it disappointing,” he said.

“The playground is closed for the immediate future and we have reported the incident to police.”

The arson is likely to be an insurance claim but there will be added costs to ratepayers. Council will now have to allocate staff to fix the site which may be a timely and expensive process.

“All of the equipment will have to be replaced as it’s clearly not repairable,” Mr Geddes said.

“It’s a shame, because this is a growth area of town and it will be an inconvenience to surrounding families who use the park.”

The playground is about three to four years old and it’s not the first time it has experienced vandalism.

“We were about to repair the shade sails at this playground. They too were destroyed by vandals,” Mr Geddes said.

“This is one of the only facilities of its kind up this end of town. It was pretty popular as it was unique and attracted plenty of children.”

Visitors to the Mudgee Local Area Command’s Facebook page described the incident as “horrible and pointless”.

Anybody who has information about the fire is encouraged to contact Mudgee Police at the station on 6372 8599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

BURNT OFF: Mid-Western Regional Council business manager resources and recreation, Julian Geddes, was devastated to see Bellevue Park destroyed by vandals on Tuesday morning. PHOTO by DARREN SNYDER

Julian Geddes examines the damage at Bellevue Park. PHOTO by DARREN SNYDER

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ALP turn up pressure over cuts to pump out subsidies

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has called on the O’Farrell Government to drop plans to scrap a subsidy that will shift sewage pump costs from the State Government to Blue Mountains residents and ratepayers.
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Seventy-two Blue Mountains homes not on the sewer system currently enjoy the subsidy which sees them pay about $600 a year for pump out costs. This will rise to $4900 after the State Government told Blue Mountains City Council in March it will start to wind back the program from July 1 and it will be phased out completely by 2016.

Previously Blue Mountains City Council staff undertook the activity, but it was funded by the State Government.

“The O’Farrell Government has gone mad with its cost-cutting,” Mr Robertson said during a visit to the Blue Mountains last Friday.

“This decision was made without any consultation and is a total surprise to families in the Blue Mountains. We are appealing to the O’Farrell Government to reconsider its plan and restore the Blue Mountains septic pump out scheme,”he said.

Labor spokeswoman for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle said “the community is very concerned and struggling families will find it almost impossible to find an extra $4000 a year”.

Labor Councillor Mick Fell said the subsidy cut was “a blatant attempt to shift the cost for sewerage treatment in some of the most sensitive areas to a handful of individual households and to council”.

“Individual households are unlikely to be able to afford the extra thousands of dollars per year that this move would cost them and any cost shifting to council would severely impact on our ability to provide a range of services,” he said.

But Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage said the subsidy was “only ever intended as a temporary measure” and Sydney Water would continue to “work with customers and Blue Mountains City Council to try to minimise the impact of the price increases as much as possible”.

Mrs Sage said the subsidy program “was designed to protect the environment and public health in the period before reticulated sewerage became more widely available”.

“Fourteen thousand properties in the Blue Mountains have now been sewered at a cost of $300 million,” she said.

“The subsidy that the small number of remaining customers receive for their septic pump out service will be phased out over three years. This provides time for customers to consider their options and during this time Sydney water will continue to update them and investigate ways to minimise the impacts of this change. Sydney Water has also met with Blue Mountains City Council regarding this matter.

“I would ask the leader of the opposition if he would then be in favour of applying a subsidy to all the many other areas of NSW where there is a pump out service?”

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson with Blue Mountains Labor spokeswoman Trish Doyle and (back) Upper House MP Helen Westwood, Labor water spokesman Walt Secord and Ward 3 Clr Mick Fell.

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LETTER: Objectionable cartoon

Dear editor,
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I count myself as a fairly tolerantindividual and my line of work has taught me that treating everyone I meet withfairness is the way to go. However I find myself unable to contain my disgustat the Zanetti cartoon in Friday’s Yass Tribune.

I believe any journalist or commentatorwho tries to link the Anzac story to modern life is treading in a minefieldstrewn with the debris of some very serious miscalculations.

Linking Anzacs to border security is avery long stretch, in my opinion, as they fought in a place very far from homeand the strategic purpose of that conflict had little relevance to our ownnational borders.

At best the cartoon makes a veryquestionable statement about the arrival of asylum seekers by portraying anethnically stereotyped individual sneaking off a boat. Are you implying byincluding this cartoon, as Tony Abbott did with his ill-fated sign in WA thisweek, that asylum seekers are actually illegal?

The current LNP federal opposition hasnot been corrected in the mainstream press regarding this misrepresentation andit seems your newspaper is not going to do it either.

We have been treated to editorialopinion in recent times about balanced reporting and I suppose this cartoon isrepresentative of one side of an argument but I believe you also have aresponsibility to present the truth and this effort fails miserably.

However people may view the arrival ofpeople from other countries who are seeking a better life in a prosperouscountry, international law protects the rights of them to do so and does notregard them as criminals. In law they are within their rights to come hereregardless of what individuals here may think.

Perhaps Zanetti should have placed hissubjects in an airport where vastly more people enter the country and simplyfail to leave, compared to those making the perilous journey by boat. But thatwould not work nearly as well as it bypasses popular misconceptions.

To link this sad untruth to the Anzaclegend just compounds the damage.

Phillip Armour is upset and disgusted about the Zanetti cartoon in last Friday’s Tribune.

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