Community art ire

The Gazette conducted an online poll asking the question what would you prefer, the art installation, 24/7 police presence or both.

A whopping 78 per cent of respondents said they wanted 24/7 police presence in the town, 17 per cent wanted both the art and a full-time police presence and just over five per cent wanted the art installation.

Facebook comments made were unambiguous.

From Sally Burns: “What a total waste of money in an economic crisis – pathetic… We have a wonderful high school surely they could do something fabulous.’’

Tammy Fenton: “And we can’t even get any money for a grandstand for the footy oval.’’

David Hepburn: “We need police presence and regular police patrol at night. “Too late when they have to come from Bridgewater. I would like to invite them to come and look at the road outside my house that happens of a night.’’

Vicki Ackerly: “Really , what a silly idea . We need more police and a 24/7 police presence , this town is growing and has more issues every week that need addressing, not some pretty little art work sitting on the front lawn . Who on earth suggested this waste of taxpayers’ money’’

Raelyn Williams: “Omg what a waste of money, police not artworks.’’

Michelle A Burdon: “Why don’t they give the local graffiti artists some paint and say go for it! 42 grand is ridiculous and will most likely be graffitied anyway.’’

Greg Wheatley: “Going by the article it will be free standing on the grassed area, so it will probably be vandalised or stolen. It’s just ridiculous.’’

And this, from Nick Rayner: “Is this even a valid question? Firstly, it’s obvious what the majority would prefer, that’s a no brainer. Secondly, capital works and operational budgeting I’m pretty sure don’t come from the same bucket. So I’m not really sure what the survey is attempting to prove? The obvious? From my understanding State Government building projects policy states two per cent of pre-tender estimates must be allocated to art. (For projects over $250k and art capped at $80k). So I guess that’s where the $42k comes in.’’

Both the Government and Opposition support the public art program, but they differ on policing hours at New Norfolk.

New Norfolk does not have a police presence based in the area 24/7.

Derwent Labor MLC Craig Farrell said last week he supported the public art program.

“The public art program is good. It’s about one per cent of the total cost (of the building) and having been on the Public Works Committee I have seen the positive impact art has had on public buildings,’’ Mr Farrell said.

“The real issue is not the addition of art but the non-addition of police officers.’’

A Government spokesperson said the Bridgewater Division covered the New Norfolk area and provided 24-hour policing.

Council ramps up bridge objections

AS the deadline for the final design of the new Bridgewater Bridge draws closer there are concerns the Derwent Valley is not going to benefit from the new infrastructure.

Derwent Valley Mayor Ben Shaw said he looked forward to the start of the new Bridgewater Bridge project as soon as early next year.

“However the initial concept design worries our community and council as it depicts some convoluted connectors,’’ Mr Shaw said.

“We would like those addressed before any projects are awarded.”

The concerns centre around the on and off ramps to the bridge, both from the Lyell Highway and from Boyer Road. When entering or exiting the new bridge from the Lyell Highway, commuters will be required to loop through Granton on Main Road and a new off-ramp where Black Snake Road is currently.

The loop to join or exit the bridge will add about one to 1.5km further than the current Lyell Highway to Bridgewater Bridge junction.

From Boyer Road, entering the bridge will require commuters to enter from Old Main Road.

“We have recently expressed our concerns in writing, and I’ve met State Growth Minister Michael Fergusson to discuss the on and off ramps and connections from the Brooker to Lyell Highways,’’ he said.

Mr Shaw suggested a shorter diversion from the bridge directly to the Lyell Highway, similar to the Glenorchy off-ramp on the Tasman Bridge in Hobart.

“We want to make sure that our community is not worse off than before the new bridge has its plans finalised.”

A contract for the construction will be awarded later this year, with a detailed design for the construction to be completed shortly afterwards.

Construction is expected to begin in 2022 with an aim to have vehicles over the bridge in late 2024.

Meanwhile a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works chaired by Hobart MLC Rob Valentine is calling for submissions on the proposed new Bridgewater Bridge.

The committee will be conducting public hearings into the project and is seeking written submissions from interested parties.

Submissions need to be submitted by August 9 and a public hearing will be held on August 19. For more information call the committee’s secretary on 6212 2248.

Markets underpin shopfront move

NEW Norfolk’s newest store opened its doors last Thursday, their shop the next step after their great successes at the markets.

Run by Brody and Stephanie Wiggins, Wiggos TCG and Collectibles and SW Candles in the Valley are the newest business in town, and the owners are looking to build on their popularity at the New Norfolk markets.

“Basically, we started in the middle of Covid with Pokemon and Candles and then we’ve grown from there,” Ms Wiggins said.

“The markets worked really well for us, but we’ve always wanted to get into a store, and when the opportunity came we jumped on it.”

The store stocks a number of kids’ toys, playsets and trading cards, as well as a huge variety of scented candles, things that, Ms Wiggins said, were typically hard to find last minute in the Valley.

“The plan is to have the toy store and to open up a play area too – there’s not much like this in New Norfolk.”

Brady also touched on the ambitions they shared in growing their store, in particular, building their store as the go-to place for Pokemon tournaments in the state.

“Statewide competitions are what we’d like to host, it’ll be fun and nerve-wracking at the same time.”

For now, the plan is to grow their store into a place where locals and kids want to come and hang out, with a lounge and TV area on the cards.

“In the short term, to be able to bring this stuff to New Norfolk and also give kids a place to come in the afternoon, to play games,” Ms Wiggins said.

Business looking up

THE Waterfalls Cafe and Gallery at Mt Field has had a steady trend of repeat local visitors despite Covid disruption to tourism in the Valley in the last 18 months.

Owner Rachel Powers said visitation numbers had been growing every winter.

“This year I would say we are sitting on par, which is encouraging as we don’t have an international market,” she said.

“School holidays have been good but we’ve been noticing a strong local market, friends and relatives coming down from mainland or from within the state.

“Tasmanians seem to be proudly showing off our backyard.”

Typically the cafe was at its busiest in the summer months or directly after a notable snowfall.

Ms Powers noted the visitor numbers were becoming far more consistent across the year.

Ms Powers said she believed Tasmanians had become far more proud of their state over the past 18 months.

“Whether that had been brought about by the lack of interstate travel or the fantastic response to Covid, people are spending their time discovering their home state.

“Seeing more locals up here is a positive outcome, but we aren’t back to normal.

“My heart goes out to accommodation and tour operators, they are still the hardest hit and I really hope when the borders reopen things will begin to pick up – back to what they were before.

(Picture: Waterfalls Cafe & Gallery Facebook)

Pressure on for Valley rates hike

DERWENT Valley Council rates are almost certainly going to be increased when councillors hold a special budget meeting next Thursday.

Having not raised rates last financial year due to Covid-19, the council will be under financial pressure to increase ratepayer fees to fund its capital works plan for the next year.

Last month, Mayor Ben Shaw said the council was continuing to look at projects which needed funding as a priority.

“I can’t comment or preempt rate increase or percentages as that will be a decision of council but I know we are committed to making sure we have ratepayers ability to pay at front of mind,’’ Mr Shaw said.

“But as a growing community our needs for infrastructure, roads, parks and community facilities to be the best they can be will continue to grow, therefore we need to be financially responsible and meet those growing demands.’’

Most other councils in Tasmania have announced increases, with most being about 2.5 per cent.

The dilemma of balancing rate increases, funding essential demands and ratepayer ability to pay can be helped by the increasing ratepayer base.

With the Valley growing in population and housing construction booming, the number of rateable properties is on the rise. Meanwhile, the council has agreed to slash the cost of food licence fees for the new financial year.

All 110 registered food businesses in the municipality were reviewed against the new Food Business Risk-Classification system, with the new fee schedule set to be introduced in the coming weeks.

“Council continues to look at ways it can support the community in an economically sensible manner and with the increasing costs put on businesses to manage Covid-19 health requirements, these reductions will go toward helping food businesses keep costs down,’’ Mr Shaw said.

Reading habit grows with egg

DURING the school holidays, the Paint the Valley REaD egg has made its way back to where it started its journey.

After almost four months of zigzagging across New Norfolk and the Derwent Valley, the Paint the Valley REaD egg is now back at ptunarra, where it had its first story read to it by MLC Craig Farrell in March.

Abigail Kirk with the egg in March
(above) Abigail with the egg now

“Children, parents, teachers and carers have been doing a great job of reading, playing, talking and singing to the egg,” said Katie Beamish, centre leader at ptunarra.

“This has allowed the egg to grow tremendously since it was found.”

“Just as the egg is growing, as the Derwent Valley community read, play talk and sing to it, evidence tells us this is what happens to little children’s brains, giving them the best possible start to life.”

The initiative has helped more than 500,000 birth-to-five year old across Australia and has been shown to improve literacy and communication outcomes.

As for the day-residents of ptunarra during the school holidays, guesses were flying as to what could hatch from the ever-growing egg.

A bunny hatching in a thousand years was the guess from Eli, while Jonah and Bryce stayed equally ambitious, their predictions of a shark or dragon could certainly bring an exciting climax to the eggs journey.

As the egg continues to grow, so does the excitement within the community, with a predicted egg hatching date of August 23 being whispered around the egg carers.

Anyone who is interested in the initiative can get in contact with ptunarra Child and Family Centre on 62617222.

Art before more cops

THE State Government will spend $42,000 on an original artwork to be installed outside the new New Norfolk police station, which is under construction.

Meanwhile, New Norfolk does not have a 24/7 police presence and there is no funding for additional officers based at the station.

Tenders have been called for a 3D artwork to be placed at the front of the new building on a grassed area which will be a gathering point for the community and visitors to the station.

The tender says the “prominent nature of the site, outside the walls of the station, provides an opportunity to portray the relationship between the Tasmania Police and the community’’.

“Tasmania Police has played an important role in the history of the Derwent Valley since colonial settlement, with a number of smaller police stations in outlying communities, and a main station based in New Norfolk.

“To better meet the needs of the community, a new police station is now being constructed in New Norfolk.

“The prominent nature of the site will mean that the artwork will become part of the streetscape and identity of New Norfolk.’’

“The site faces the Council Chambers building at the western end of High Street, which is fronted by a war memorial sculpture.

Potentially this provides an opportunity to create a visual conversation between the two works of public art, running alongside the town square.

“The artwork should be very low maintenance and should have a lifespan of at least 15 years.”

“Consideration must be given to the fact that the artwork will be in the public domain and may, therefore, be subject to climatic conditions, vandalism and wear and tear.’’

The Government and Opposition support the public art program, but they differ on policing hours at New Norfolk. Derwent Labor MLC Craig Farrell said he supported the public art program.

“The public art program is good. It’s about one per cent of the total cost (of the building) and having been on the Public Works Committee I have seen the positive impact art has had on public buildings,’’ Mr Farrell said.

“The real issue is not the addition of art but the non-addition of police officers.’’

A Government spokesperson said the Bridgewater Division covered the New Norfolk area and provided 24- hour policing.

“When New Norfolk members conclude duty or require additional resources, they are supported by police from Bridgewater Station, which operates 24/7 and has six sergeants and 33 constables.”

The art program started in 1979, and to date the scheme has delivered more than 1000 commissions.

Construction of the new $5 million New Norfolk Police Station on Bathurst Street started last year and is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Valley rallies for Ryan

THE New Norfolk football community has reached out in support of Cygnet footballer Ryan Wiggins who faces the fight of his life after an off-field accident.

The New Norfolk District Football Club supported the Southern Football League’s decision to postpone last weekend’s games.“

The football community in Tassie has always looked after its own people,’’ a spokesperson for the NNFC said.

“Over the weekend one of Cygnet Football clubs players suffered a horrible accident.

“If you can help out please click the link below. Wishing you all the best Ryan.”

’’The link is to a go fund-me page, which has already reached $163,000.

Wiggins is now at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne for surgery after he broke his spine.

He was initially taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital and placed in ICU, later flown to Melbourne.

A family tribute said: “On Saturday (July 3) Ryan Wig-gins suffered a devastating near fatal accident which has left him with a serious spinal injury.’’

“He is in a critical condition fighting for his life at the Roy-al Hobart Hospital.

“Early diagnoses suggests he may end up paralyzed.

“Ryan had a seven-hour surgery on Sunday (July 4) and another scheduled today (06/07) in the hope that this may stabilise him, so he can be airlifted to the Austin Hospital in Melbourne today.

“Once at the Austin hospital a full diagnosis can be made and they will provide emergency care follow his traumatic spinal injury and also spinal rehabilitation.

“Never one to sit still, this change in life will hit Ryan and those around him particlarly hard. “As a very active person, if not working as a builder or renovating his and his fiancé Micheala’s home, you’d find Ryan training, playing foot-ball, catching up with mates, planning a wedding or walking his fur babies.

“Ryan is the kind of bloke that would give you the shirt off his back, if he thought it would help you.

“He was always ready to lend a hand if needed and never asked for a thing in return.

“This has truly been heart-breaking for Ryan and his fiancee Micheala and his beautiful family.“

The cost for surgeries, on-going rehab, flights, accommodation in Melbourne and finally getting him set up back home (once this is over), will no doubt be a huge financial burden.

“Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Love Sadkowski and Wiggins families.’’

The outpouring of love prompted the SFL to post-pone last weekend’s games.

“Ryan is a fantastic, enthusiastic young man and a talented footballer.

Ryan is a much-loved and respected member of the Cygnet Foot-ball Club and the SFL, rep-resenting the competition against the NWFL in May, this year.

“The SFL has determined that as a sign of respect to Ryan, his family, the Cygnet Football Club and Ryan’s many friends in the football community that this week-end’s Round 13 matches for seniors, reserves and colts along with the Women’s Division 2 Round 10 fixtures will be postponed.

“The games will be re-scheduled to be played over the weekend of the 30th of July 30 – August 1.

The schedule of these updated fix-tures will be developed in the coming days.

“The SFL encourages all members of the football family to support the Wiggins fam-ily, the Cygnet Football Club and the Lauderdale Football Club at this difficult time.’’

To support Wiggins, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-ryan-on-the-road-to-recovery

It’s Bec to the rescue

LYONS Labor MP Rebecca White is back in the party’s driver’s seat after leadership aspirant and brief leader Franklin MP David O’Byrne crashed and burned after just two weeks in the job.

Last Wednesday at a Parliamentary Labor Party meeting, Ms White was elected unopposed as Leader.

Ms White has led the ALP to two election defeats, stood down after the May 1 poll but is now again the leader, as the Gazette reported last week, “it is almost certain former Leader Rebecca White will be convinced she is the only logical candidate to salvage the party’s fortunes’’.

In what was the shortest time in history, Mr O’Byrne tended his resignation after a sexual harassment complaint was levelled against him and which he admitted.

He conceded he had harassed a former junior col-league a decade ago.

An investigation into the complaint is being conducted by the Party.

Ms White is on maternity leave until August, but is expected to announce a reshuffle soon.

Mr O’Byrne will sit on the backbench and will not take on any portfolios.

Braddon Labor MP Anita Dow is acting leader while Ms White is on leave, following the birth of her second child just last month.

Clark independent MP Kristie Johnson has called on Mr O’Byrne to quit Parliament altogether, something he appears not to be prepared to do.

Greens Franklin MP Rosalie Woodruff accused Mr O’Byrne of not being genuine in his remorse for the harassment as he first threatened legal action against the ABC when a reporter approached him with the com-plaint.

When the harassment com-plaint was publicised Mr O’Byrne admitted he had let down his wife and family.

“I acknowledge that my behaviour did not meet the standards I would expect of my-self,’’ he said.

“At the time of the reported events I genuinely believed the kiss and text exchanges to be consensual.

“However, I now under-stand that this was not the case.

This matter has caused me to reflect deeply on the nature of consent and I have come to appreciate why the person concerned says our interaction was not consensual.

“I have written to her to offer my unreserved apology for the unwanted contact and texts.’’

The complainant said after she rejected Mr O’Byrne’s advances his behaviour changed.“

“He was rude or short with me, treated me differently to the others in a negative and sometimes nasty way, rather than the favourable tone that had been used.”

Esplanade upgrade child’s play

AFTER being closed for a few months for renovations, New Norfolk’s Esplanade playground has reopened and been given the thumbs up by kids.

While it was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Ben Shaw and Liberal Senator Claire Chandler last week, the real seal of approval came from the O’Conner family on Sunday.

Joseph 5, Xavier 4, and two-year-old Viviane O’Connor of Lenah Valley dropped in to inspect the playground after a short holiday at Maydena.

Fascinated by the water feature, it was unanimous it was the best part of the playground.

“The water goes down this and under the bridge, we want to make a river,’’ said Joseph.

Senator Chandler said the Esplanade revitalisation project had breathed new life into the area along the River Derwent.

“New barbecue facilities, shelters and outdoor furniture will be put to good use by family and community groups planning a day out on the river, especially in the warmer months ahead,’’ Senator Chandler said.

“The installation of fitness equipment and an all-abilities children’s playground means people young and old can keep active and stay healthy.”

Mr Shaw said the delivery of the project would provide ongoing benefits to New Norfolk and broader Derwent Valley residents.

“We thank the federal government for their continued financial contributions and support in revitalising what really is the jewel in our crown the banks of the Derwent River,” Mr Shaw said.

“This funding has enabled us to provide a fun, safe and inclusive space for all residents and visitors to enjoy now and into the future.”

Additional project works included the upgrade of existing pathways, additional lighting, landscaping, replacement of street furniture, and the extension and upgrade of the car park. The makeover cost $500,000.