Cancel Sweden trip
The postponement of the Mariestad Hydrogen energy trip is a welcome step taken by the Warrnambool City Council and shows restraint in these unprecedented times.
It is disappointing to see that this trip is still proposed to go ahead with no case for indicating benefits to the local economy in the foreseeable future.
The job of the council in government is to focus on the essentials roads, rates, and rubbish. The state government is solely responsible for energy in Victoria.
The Council has an extremely tight budget, and they have decided to hit ratepayers with another 2% increase to keep up with their running costs.
The message from the budget is merely WE CAN NOT AFFORD A TRIP TO MARIESTAD. Sending our local government leaders overseas on junkets does not deliver value to the Warrnambool Ratepayers, we need every dollar that we can to be spent locally.
Warrnambool has been offered $5,000 to offset some of the visit costs, but this will not finance the entire trip. (we are still waiting to see costs.) We cannot afford to be taking any extra out of our already stretched budget for these luxuries at this time.
If Warrnambool City Council wishes to be involved, they should be lobbying the state government for funding to Deakin University and leaving the research trips to the scientists qualified in that field, not wasting rate-payer monies.
Over the past 2 months, many of us have been working from home very successfully using video conferencing to communicate with our colleagues, family, and friends.
If our local leaders want to be involved in this project, do it from their offices on Liebig Street, not on the other side of the world.
We are going to feel the effects of this recession for years to come and if Council thinks that residents are going to accept this junket, they are completely out of touch with the expectations of the community.
Ben Blain, Vice President, Warrnambool Ratepayers Association
Update policy now
For some time I have been attempting to correspond with the Warrnambool City Council about its whistleblower policy. It is publicly available on its website so I was able to see that it was seriously out of date.
It had been published in 2013, to be reviewed in 2016 but had never been reviewed. As a result it no longer met current legal requirements which had been changed extensively in this policy area. I received no response from the council, not a word, not even an acknowledgement that someone had read my correspondence. So, after several attempts, I sought the assistance of our local member, Roma Britnell.
Ms Britnell was eventually able to provide me with the information that the matter was in hand, informing me that a new policy was being written, and would come to a council meeting for ratification in the near future. That is great news, but why did it take an enquiry by Ms Britnell to get an answer to my question?
This policy is a matter of public importance. This shouldn't have taken this long and this much effort to gain an answer to a fair, and important, question.
This is an example, not only of council's lack of care for its professional staff, but also its continuing inability to engage with the people it purports to represent.
Jim Burke, Warrnambool
Resort concerns at cape
While I was very grateful to the Warrnambool Standard for showing a photo of a few of the many against the resort development at Cape Bridgewater (16/5/20), I was also surprised by the contradictions of the interviewees within.
While trying to convey the benign visual impact of the development, two of the three interviewees supporting the resort described it as 'low level', while simultaneously calling it 'a massive resort' and finally, by way of compromise, an 'underground high class development'.
So what are the facts?
Eight buildings are proposed to face east - all glass fronted, with two of these to be three and four levels high.
From north to south these buildings will run along the front of the Cape, just above the Great South West walk, for a distance longer than the MCG.
This being the case, how can it possibly be that we are only going to ever see - and I quote -'a bit of it'?
Contrary to most of the opinions aired in this article, I can also guarantee more locals are against this development than for it.
And we are not against progress: we want tourists and employment as much as anyone else does.
We are simply asking that eight buildings aren't permitted to be built on one of the most significant coastal land masses in Victoria, and that any tourist development is appropriately designed to blend into the surrounds, not stand at three and four levels high, on top of it.
Sandy Fairthorne, Cape Bridgewater
Locals including landholders in the Panmure and Framlingham area were mortified to learn there is a large-scale basalt (bluestone) quarry proposed for a site close to the Hopkins River.
The Save the Hopkins River - Stop the Quarry group has formed in response to the threats to people and environment, including wildlife in the Framlingham bush, Hopkins River and Craigieburn Creek.
Quarrying blasting would impact on species including the endangered species Southern Brown Bandicoot and Blackfish and others such as Yarra Pygmy Perch, Platypus and Short Finned Eel (Kooyang).Cultural heritage values would also be impacted from quarrying activities. Other impacts include to bore water supplies for stock and domestic use.
Local springs enhance the water quality of the Hopkins River and excessive water extraction or pollution would be detrimental. Quarry blasting may damage nearby houses, one close to the blast zone and 150m from the quarry site entry.
Extra truck traffic on the road is a big issue with several truck accidents lately, two within a thirty-day period involving gravel trucks.
The adjacent road is also a busy school bus route. Quarry dust may contain crystalline silica that can become carcinogenic when inhaled. It may also settle on dams, streams and tank hill reservoir (Warrnambool's water supply).
Excessive noise and dust is bad for the health and well-being of animals and people, including livestock.We ask how could Moyne Shire and associated authorities approve a basalt quarry that may lead to so much damage?
Geoff Rollinson, group chairperson, Purnim
Harbour upgrade needed
It's great to see the government investing $19million in the south-west, Premier Dan Andrews said the funded projects were selected because they were shovel ready.
In May 2019 the Victorian government said it was working with Warrnambool City Council to upgrade the Warrnambool harbour, giving recreational fishers and boaters in south-west Victoria the facilities they deserve. $420,000 in funding was made available to start planning and design work to upgrade the boat launching facility at Warrnambool's Lady Bay. The funding was for the Warrnambool City Council to prepare the business case, detailed design, planning and approvals for an upgraded boat ramp.
In September 2019 Warrnambool City Council awarded the tender to AW Maritime for $381,742.90 including GST.
Now some eight months later we appear to be no further advanced? In March 2019 the Warrnambool boat ramp was named as Victoria's worst in an RACV boat ramp survey.
Have we just missed another golden opportunity to obtain funding for this much-needed project? As our city recovers from the effects brought around by the COVID-19 crisis the income from the fishing industry (if we had a safer harbour) would be an enormous boost to our economy. Warrnambool City Council how long do we have to wait?
Joan Kelson, Warrnambool
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