shoalhaven city council - 2ST

$3 million to finish harbour boardwalk

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After almost 30 years, the Ulladulla Harbour Boardwalk will be completed.

Shoalhaven City Council has received a $3 million State Government grant to finish the timber elevated walkway around to the fishing co-op and sea pool.

Councillor Patricia White says the project has been a long time coming and she's thrilled the final stage will be built within 18 months to two years.

"This will be a major connection, from the main street, past all the coffee shops and all the way down to the fisherman's co-op and to the pool," she said.

"A lot of residents in Milton-Ulladulla would have thought the project would never be completed, but we're moving forward as council to actually complete this.

"It will be a wonderful walkway that everybody can walk along and also look at the wonderful Ulladulla Harbour and the boats."

It's hoped the project will be tied in with the future development of a large parcel of land above he boardwalk in Wason Street that is currently on the market.

Photo Katrina Condie.

 

5000 butts collected near hospital

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A Cigarette Butt blitz near Shoalhaven Hospital, has resulted in council ranger, the Riverwatch community group and Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation (ISJO) picking up around 5000 butts which may have otherwise ended up in the nearby river.

As part of the blitz, Shoalhaven City Council has installed four cigarette butt litter bins and pathway decals in Shoalhaven Street and Scenic Drive at Nowra.

Mayor Amanda Findley has congratulated those involved in the clean-up and says butts contribute to soil and water pollution and also wreak havoc on the marine environment.

“Being little and lightweight, cigarette butts are easily carried into our waterways. Littered butts leach toxins as they decompose, contributing to soil and water pollution and impacting on wildlife.," Cr Findley said.

"Cigarette filters, which are primarily made of plastic, also wreak havoc on the marine environment."

This is one of the final steps of a project rolled out over the past few months which has seen Shoalhaven City Council complete ‘Cigarette Butt Litter Checks’ to obtain necessary data to secure funding for the litter receptacles and pathway decals. 

Following liaison with a representative from NSW Health, Rangers plan to have two of the four receptacles relocated to better capture surrounding foot traffic and promote usage. 

The cigarette butt litter campaign and clean ups will continue over summer. 

"You should also look out for Council Rangers ‘pop-up’ education stalls that will be out and about this summer," Cr Findley added.

Amanda Findley returned as Shoalhaven Mayor

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Amanda Findley has been returned as Shoalhaven Mayor.

The result of the December 4 council election was finally announced today, although it will be another two days before the full make-up of councillors is confirmed.

However Greens supporters still claimed they had made history, predicting seven members from the progressive or left-wing side of politics will be elected - six of the 12 councillors along with the mayor.

Cr Findley said she was relieved the results were finally settled, and it was time to get back to work.

 "The tree policy is a big thing - there's been a lot of trees cut down in the Shoalhaven over the years and if we're going to tackle climate change we have to not only look after our trees but also drive down our carbon, so one of the things we talked about was trying to get a second solar farm up and running," Cr Findley said.

"Everyone knows that I've been campaigning really, really hard for affordable housing, and to continue that journey with the state government to make sure that's delivered."

She said she was looking forward to a big shift in balance at council.

"For the first time ever the majority of people on Shoalhaven City Council would consider themselves to be on the progressive side of politics and not on the conservative side of politics, with four Greens and three Labor Party members," Cr Findley said.

"It's a very slim majority, but it's a major none the less, and we did make a commitment to have a bit of an alliance during this term of council to try and get some really positive stuff done.

"It doesn't mean we will all vote the same way all the time, but what it does mean is that there are things we are aligned on that we can work to make it better for the community."

The election has been welcomed by Shoalhaven City Council CEO, Stephen Dunshea.

“Mayor Findley has served the community through bushfire, flood, and a pandemic and I know she can be relied upon to lead the Council well in its engagement with the Shoalhaven community,” Mr Dunshea said.  

“I look forward to working with Shoalhaven Mayor, Amanda Findley over this term of council as we continue to serve our community to deliver important projects and services now and into the future.”   

Cr Findley was elected to council in September 2008, re-elected in September 2012 and elected mayor in September 2016. 

The first ordinary meeting for the new council will be held on Tuesday, January 25, in the council chambers and can be live-streamed throughCouncil’s website

Image: Glenn Ellard

Annual Children's Remembrance Service

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Parents whose children have died, no matter at what age or how long ago,  have been invited to attend a Children’s Remembrance Service at the Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens and Lawn Cemetery Chapel in Worrigee.  

Shoalhaven City Council’s Bereavement Services Manager Pamela Green said that everyone is welcome to attend.  

“The Children's Remembrance Service offers the opportunity for parents, family and friends who have experienced the loss of a child, to share a time of reflection. For more than 20 years, we have held this Service to provide a time and space for those in our community who have experienced such a profound loss,” Ms Green said. 

A local Celebrant will lead a time of reflection in a shared space with the lighting of named candles, the Message Tree, and a light supper at Reflections Café afterward.  

Shoalhaven City Council will hold the Children’s Remembrance Service on Wednesday,  December 8 from 6.30 pm. 

To RSVP, phone 02 4429 5788 by 5 pm Monday, December 6, 2021.

Image: Shoalhaven City Council   

Annual Children's Remembrance Service

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Parents whose children have died, no matter at what age or how long ago, their families and friends will attend a Children's Remembrance Service at the Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens and Lawn Cemetery Chapel in Worrigee tonight.  

A local Celebrant will lead a time of reflection in a shared space with the lighting of named candles, the Message Tree, and a light supper at Reflections Café afterwards.  

Shoalhaven City Council’s Bereavement Services Manager Pamela Green said that "Everyone is welcome to attend the service which begins at 6.30pm.  

“The Children's Remembrance Service offers the opportunity for parents, family and friends who have experienced the loss of a child, to share a time of reflection. For more than 20 years, we have held this Service to provide a time and space for those in our community who have experienced such a profound loss,” Ms. Green said.  

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

Anti-lockdown protesters target Shoalhaven Council Offices

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Anti-lockdown protestors have targeted Shoalhaven City Council offices at Nowra and Ulladulla.

At Graham Street in Nowra, a handful of people protested.

Police reportedly dispersed the crowd quickly.

Police also attended another unauthorised gathering at Deering Street Ulladulla, where an estimated 25 people turned up.

It was part of a state-wide orchestrated protest movement.

Police responded to 13 protests in the Southern region.

Across NSW 136 people have been arrested.

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley said she understands the frustration people feel about the NSW Government regional lockdown, but it's not local government locking down the state.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward criticised the protestors.

He said they could very well spread to the COVID-19 virus locking down regional NSW even longer.

Image : Supplied 

 

 

 

 

 

Art hits the streets of Nowra and Bomaderry

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While COVID restrictions have kept many people from visiting art galleries, a Nowra project has taken art out into the open and back to the people in an unexpected way.

An art walk has been created featuring the work of internationally renowned photographer Tamara Dean of Cambewarra, which has been turned into 13 large sticker decals and placed on footpaths and buildings along the walk between the Bomaderry Train Station and Nowra's Jellybean Park.

Shoalhaven Council's arts and culture manager Bronwyn Coulston said the images transformed the walk into a beautiful and unconventional gallery.

"They're a really exquisite series of photographs that encourage us to think about our relationship with nature, and encourage us to think about the natural environment that exists under and around all of these built forms that these photographs are stuck on," Ms Coulston said.

She said many people had used the lockdown to better explore areas close to them, and Ms Dean was no exception.

"Tamara has spent a lot of time re-exploring her relationship to the environment around her - to her home, to the Shoalhaven and the South Coast,  and these photos that are in the art walk are part of that exploration," Ms Coulston said.

 

Ms Dean notes that the photos reflect on the "opportunities to turn our focus closer to home and connect with the more immediate environment and to the beauty in our local area".

The photographs capture simple, personal interactions with nature and the environment, and encourage viewers to reflect on the natural landscape covered by footpaths and buildings.   

The art walk is a temporary art installation funded by the State Government, through its Streets as Shared Spaces Program. 

 

The images are expected to be in place for about six months.

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

Award for Conjola bushfire film

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The locally produced bushfire documentary, We Are Conjola, has been given an honourable mention the New York International Film Awards overnight, and has also made official selection in the Venice Film Awards.

Filmmaker Ash Brennan, who lost his home at Conjola Park 12 months ago, says he is thrilled with the response and the world-wide recognition the film is gaining.

"We didn’t win top prize, but this is still great news for our film. It’s an award for everyone in Conjola, our production team and all who supported us to enjoy," he said.

He says gaining fantastic feedback from the Conjola local community is more important to him than any award.

The film premiered at Warrawong's Gala Cinema on Boxing Day and will play at Ulladulla, Nowra, Huskission and Sussex Inlet cinemas from January 21 onwards.

Ulladulla's Arcadia Cinema will open its second cinema after the January 29 premier sold out in cinema one.  

Bookings are essential for this screening and tickets are available from the Arcadia website: https://www.arcadiatwin.com.au/

The Husky and Sussex cinemas will show the film from January 21-27, with Ash hosting a Q&A at Huskisson on opening night.

He'll also host a Q&A session at the Nowra Cinema on opening night, January 25.

Better lighting for Shoalhaven grounds

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New lighting will soon be installed at the Ulladulla Sporting Complex, Lyrebird Park in Nowra and Frogs Holla in Milton. 

The new sportsfield floodlights use 50 per cent less power than traditional floodlight fittings and will help to increase the safety and playability of sportsfields, especially during night-time training and will also benefit locations that host multi-day events which boost the local economy. 

Mayor Amanda Findley says the installation of energy saving LED lights reduces ‘light spill’ outside of fields, provides cost savings and reduces our energy consumption which is a great outcome for council and the community.

Nowra Showground will also see a fourth light tower installed to the main arena thanks to a grant of $76,361 from the NSW Government.  

“The recent improvements to Nowra Showground ensure the venue is a real drawcard for significant agricultural, sporting and community events," Cr Findley said.

The work follows recent installations that were undertaken including; Kangaroo Valley Basketball Court, Vic Zealand Oval at Shoalhaven Heads, six new 22-metre high light towers at Berry Showground and four new light towers, floodlights and electrical boards for the sportsfield at Nowra Showground.  

Brazen thieves target wire at sports fields

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Shoalhaven City Council is asking residents to notify NSW Police of any suspicious activity at sportsfields in the region following wire being stolen from floodlights at four facilities.

Access to the sportsgrounds will be restricted until the lights can be repaired.

At Huskisson Sportsground, the protective steel cover had been removed wiring stolen, wire cables were removed from the pits and poles at St Georges Basin Soccer Fields (pictured) and several hundred metres of underground cabling was removed from The Wool Lane Sportsfield.

The Crookhaven Rugby League Field at Culburra Beach also had all of its underground cables removed, along with cables removed from the plastic conduit on all light towers.

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley says council has advised a number of sports user groups that they will be unable to use the sportsfields until the grounds can be declared operational again.

“We take theft seriously and we are asking local communities to assist us by reporting any suspicious activity via phone or online to Crime Stoppers," she added.

Anyone with information should contact Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000

Photo Shoalhaven City Council

Bypass timeline to arm council and community

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An historic timeline, showing the previous correspondence and investigations surrounding the Nowra Bypass, will be compiled by Shoalhaven City Council.

Councillor Bob Proudfoot believes council can formulate a strong case to present to the State Government for funding.

He told last night's council meeting that, compared to the recently announced $1.8 billion Coffs Harbour bypass, Nowra is in a "far worse situation".

"In Nowra, we've got nine sets of traffic lights and eight roundabouts from Bomaderry to South Nowra, so there's 17 impediments," he said.

"The Princes Highway, compared to the Pacific Highway, as you go through through Nowra, is in a far worse situation.

"I think we can mount a very strong case.

"And if we're armed with more information, if we have the chronology, we know what's been occurring in the past and we're brought up to speed with that, then it can only give us a much, much better chance of pulling this one off."

He said councillors and the community would benefit from a timeline of information.

Councillors agreed to support Cr Proudfoot's Notice of Motion.

Photo Transport NSW

Call for comment on Hitchcocks Lane Berry rezoning

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Shoalhaven City Council is seeking community feedback on a proposal to rezone land south of Hitchcocks Lane in Berry to permit new housing development.

The land is on the western side of the Princes Highway, south of Hitchcocks Lane, adjacent to the Huntingdale Park residential estate. The proposal is now open for public comment with submissions accepted until 8 January 2021.

The Planning Proposal seeks to rezone approximately 11 hectares of rural land to the R2 Low Density Residential zone. The land is identified as a potential residential growth area in the Shoalhaven Growth Management Strategy (GMS) 2014.

The proposed changes to the local environmental plan (LEP) would allow subdivision of the land into up to approximately 150 new housing lots ranging in size from 700 m2 to 350 m2. Allowing for a limited amount of smaller lots is intended to encourage smaller homes to provide more housing choices and opportunities for the local community.

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley said, “Berry is a very popular place to visit and to move to, and state and local strategic plans identify this land as a potential location for housing growth. We also know the local community wants to protect the character qualities that make Berry such an attractive place.”

The proposed R2 Low Density Residential zone allows for mostly detached single houses. Providing a mix of lots sizes encourages housing variety, including two, three and four-bedroom homes to cater for a wide range of household needs and aspirations.

Council is also seeking feedback on a draft development control plan (DCP) that will support the proposed LEP changes and promote high quality design outcomes. The draft DCP focuses on promoting development that is compatible with Berry’s local character while also protecting the distinctive landscape views of the area.

The draft planning controls include the provision of landscape screening on the southern and eastern edges of the land, while also increasing landscaping opportunities within the future subdivision.

“The proposals are at a point where the Berry community can have their say on them before they are finalised and enable more detailed future residential subdivision applications.  Any feedback received will be considered by Council as part of the finalisation of the Planning Proposal and DCP,” said Clr Findley.

The proposal is open for comment via Council’s website getinvolved.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/projects/hitchcocks-lane.

Photo supplied.

Call for govt to follow Shoalhaven's lead on renewable energy

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Federal Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips has told Parliament that Shoalhaven is leading the way when it comes to renewable energy innovation and she is calling for the Morrison Government to "step up and do the same".

She said Shoalhaven City Council's Reclaimed Water Management System will be up and running in about 12 months, with South Coast dairy farmers leading the way on energy in Australia.

"In March I've spent a lot of time talking with organisations about energy. I learnt so much, and I was so proud of what I saw," she said.

"I met with Phil from Innovate Energy at farmer Tim's farm-  one of the farms involved in Australia's first biogas waste energy plant, near Nowra.

"I've spoken about our cow poo energy project before, but I'm just so excited about it that I can't stop talking about it.

"Local farmers have been pushing to do this for years, and now it's becoming a reality.

"I got a first-hand run-through from Phil and Tim.

"There's another plant on its way, at Kangaroo Valley."

Mrs Phillips says Repower Shoalhaven's solar farm project, partnered with Flow Power, is looking to be up and running by the end of the year.

"Local businesses are excited to be involved, and it won't be long before the Shoalhaven solar farm becomes a real staple in our local energy market," she said.

"I also met with the South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance in Moruya to talk about how they are helping the Far South Coast community become more energy resilient.

"They are focusing on strengthening the grid locally and, in only five days, they managed to secure 860 signatures in support of a feasibility study into microgrids across the Eurobodalla.

"This is remarkable, and it just goes to show that local people want to see us looking to our energy future and formulating a plan now that will help us build that future that will have all those mutual benefits for communities—job creation, lower power bills and addressing climate change."

Mrs Phillips says we are "facing one of the greatest challenges of our time, and the Morrison government is wasting precious time with its inaction".

"We need a clear and coherent energy plan, and we need it now," she added.

"We are getting closer and closer to a real energy crisis.

"We know some of the ways we can address that crisis but, without guidance and support from the government, industry will continue to be backed against a wall.

"Moving towards a renewable energy future also holds a wealth of opportunity.

"What frustrates me more than anything with this government's failure on energy is the opportunity for job creation that we are wasting.

"These industries won't pop up overnight. We won't suddenly become 100 per cent reliable on renewables tomorrow.

"What we are talking about is a transition, and transitions take time.

"They take careful planning—making sure we help those who are moving out of old industries at the same time that we are helping people move into new ones."

Photo Repower Shoalhaven

Candidate claims West Nowra is being neglected

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Shoalhaven council candidate Serena Copley is calling for a clean-up of Depot Farm at West Nowra, describing it as a "substandard open space for local families".

The Ward One hopeful says Shoalhaven City Council needs to clean up the property, which makes up a section of Ben’s Walk along Nowra Creek, and provide the advertised “picnic facilities” which she claims are currently non-existent.

“Depot Farm has been neglected for years and is more like the West Nowra tip than the picnic area it is advertised as,” Ms Copley said.

She says council has “neglected its basic responsibilities in providing services to the West Nowra community”.

“When I visited Depot Farm, I was horrified to find an abandoned car and a sum total of zero facilities for families to enjoy West Nowra’s only open space,” she said.

“It is time Shoalhaven City Council got back to basics and deliver the facilities West Nowra residents expect and deserve.

““Depot Farm should be a destination for residents and visitors to the Shoalhaven.

“Instead, it has become a dumping ground, more resembling a tip than the pristine open space it should be.”

West Nowra resident and candidate on Ms Copley’s Ward One ticket Francoise Sikora said West Nowra had been overlooked for years and it was time council “invested in one of the region’s fastest-growing communities”.

““New houses are popping up every day, yet local families are forced to push their prams on the road because we have no footpaths,” Ms Sikora said.

““Even our local Depot Farm picnic area doesn’t have a table, a barbeque or even a single seat for locals to enjoy this beautiful space in the Shoalhaven.

“Depot Farm is part of Ben’s Walk, one of the most advertised natural attractions in the Shoalhaven, but currently, it is an eyesore and embarrassment.”

However Mayor Amanda Findley says, while she admits the area is overgrown and needs to be mown, she adds it’s “a low priority recreational area for council”.

Ms Copely’s Ward One team includes herself, a vocational education trainer from North Nowra, Fred Campbell OAM a veteran and veteran advocate from Bangalee, Leonard White a lawyer and environmental volunteer from North Nowra and Francoise Sikora a former Small Business owner and community volunteer from West Nowra.

 “We are united in delivering the services that a council should deliver for their community; roads, footpaths, community infrastructure and a thriving environment and economy across the city to benefit all ratepayers and residents of the Shoalhaven,” Ms Copley said.

Photo Serena Copely

Celebrating four decades of day care in Shoalhaven

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Shoalhaven Family Day Care is celebrating 40 years of service to local families.

The service began operations as Nowra Family Day Care on 1 September 1980 and Shoalhaven mayor Mayor Amanda Findley says she is proud of the legacy that Shoalhaven Family Day Care has built in the region.  

“How our children are nurtured, developed and cared for helps shape our region, and I give my respect and gratitude to the many wonderful staff and educators who have, and continue to, care for Shoalhaven children over the past four decades," she said.  

Currently there are 30 registered educators, and the Coordination Unit are keen to expand the number of educators to meet the demand for childcare.

Educators enjoy the flexibility of family day care where they can set up their own hours and days, in their own home, creating environments that work for them.

The key benefit of Family Day Care is the intimacy – the small group numbers allow educators to build solid relationships with the children and families and enable educators to have quality interactions with the children. 

Cr Findley says our educators have a passion for working with children and are qualified with minimum Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. Educators also benefit from ongoing professional development resulting in excellent outcomes for the children in their care. 

“There have been several inspiring and dedicated Nominated Supervisors over the 40 years, including Bev Wells, Jenny Gould, Sheila McMillian, Liz Daly, Winifred Sadlier, Helen Waterhouse, Cathy Ryman, Patrice Keegan and the current Nominated Supervisor Darlene Musgrove," Cr Findley added.

“There have also been several wonderful, dedicated Child Development Coordinators, who have shared their professional knowledge, skills, practical experience and early childhood expertise to the Educators and local families of the Shoalhaven.  

“Just as importantly, the service couldn’t function without the support and dedication of the admin staff, who are the lynchpin that keeps the service running smoothly."

The service initially operated out of a small cottage on council land adjacent to the main administration building in Bridge Road Nowra, before moving to a second cottage located next door to the original cottage, both of which have now been demolished.  

Nowra Family Day Care merged with its sister scheme, Ulladulla Family Day Care, in November 2006 and became Shoalhaven Family Day Care, supporting the Nowra and Ulladulla townships and outlying villages of both the Northern and Southern Shoalhaven.  

2006 also saw the coordination unit move to a purpose-built building in East Nowra, equipped with a range of facilities including a large office space, playroom, toy library and meeting room. Many local community groups have used and continue to use the building over the past 14 years. 

“The childcare sector has seen so much change over the years, and is a major element of the social and economic structure in Australia today, by allowing parents to continue to participate in the workforce and by caring for, teaching and preparing children for school and life.," Cr Findley said.

“Congratulations to all involved with Shoalhaven Family Day Care over the past 40 years, in an industry that has seen so much change.

"Your commitment, adaptability and flexibility which has not been more apparent than in 2020, is to be commended.

Photo Shoalhaven City Council

Charity foundation would support the arts

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Arts groups in the region will be the big winners if the newly created Shoalhaven Arts Foundation gets the green light.

Seed funding of up to $150,000 is being sought from Shoalhaven Council to set up the independent charity organisation.

Councillor John Wells says the Shoalhaven Arts Board has been looking to create a foundation for at least a decade to support arts groups and projects in the region.

He said the foundation would aim to attract donations and spondors to support a range of projects and events, as well as individual artists.

"What the foundation sets out to do is provide an independent fundraising body to support the arts," Cr Wells said.

"Council has invested heavily in the arts over the last decade with investment in our regional gallery and other events.

"However, to really kick the arts along, and to optimise the role of arts in our community, we really need private investment.

"The foundation will seek donations and determine where the funding goes, whether it's a new gallery, aquisition of artwork or support of theatre, sculptural or visual arts."

Cr Wells hopes council will include the seed funding in its next budget so the proposal can move forward.

Photo Shoalhaven City Council.

 

 

 

Comerong Island Ferry "High and Dry"

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Shoalhaven City Council will commence refurbishment works to refurbish the Comerong Island Ferry and replace the concrete approach ramps on either side of Berry's Canal from today.  

The work, which is expected to take 3-4 months, will include renewal and repair work to the vessel including hull repairs, ramp overhaul, renewal of deck fittings, and landing and moorings. 

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said the refurbishment works are necessary to maintain the long-term safety and viability of the service.

“Council is regularly required to service the Ferry to maintain its Certificate of Survey in order to operate the vessel. This out of water survey is required to be completed every five years," she said.

On this occasion, work will also be undertaken to replace the concrete approach ramps on either side of Berry’s Canal.” 

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 “Council is completing both major projects at the same time to limit the disruption to residents, as both works prevent the operation of the ferry service.”

“Over the past few months Council staff have worked closely with residents to ensure they have been kept informed of the project and can prepare for the ferry closure period,” Clr Findley said.   

The normal ferry service will be out of commission whilst the works are being undertaken.

A pedestrian ferry service will be provided for residents of Comerong Island during the refurbishment of the 'Cormorant' Ferry and reconstruction of the approach ramps. 

Members of the public will be unable to access Comerong Island during the ferry service closure. 

Images: Peter Andrea

 

 

 

Conjola community desperate for help

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The Conjola Community Association is pleading with Shoalhaven City Council to take immediate action to open the lake.

Rain this week caused low level flooding and residents woke up surrounded by floodwater.

It prompted this Facebook post from the Association: "  Please we need your help now. Fast track and implement the recommendations for a CMP and immediately commence strategic procedures to open and maintain an opening to restore some normality to both the physical and economic status of Lake Conjola."

The council has responded with a statement saying they are pushing as hard as possible to get the necessary permission to carry out the work.

Photos from Conjola Community Association Facebook page

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Council struggling to keep up mowing schedule

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Like most of us, Shoalhaven City council has had to step up its lawn mowing routine due to the high rainfall and hot weather causing prolific growth.

In response to complaints about long grass on council assets over the summer, Mayor Amanda Findley is asking for patience as crews work hard to maintain public land.

She says the mowing program can be delayed due to wet weather, when grounds and machinery can be damaged, and the schedule is also adjusted on days of total fire ban as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of fire. 

Mowing to ensure a clear line of sight along roads and access to essential assets and services is a priority.

“Council crews work hard to keep our public areas looking great and are committed to the mowing program, however recent conditions have led to a burst in grass growth, and crews are working hard to combat this additional pressure on the schedule," Cr Findley said.

“Mowing to ensure line of sight along roads and access to essential assets and services is prioritised by the crew, which may mean that only a section of grass is mown during periods of significant growth. Once able, crews will return and complete the job at a later time. 

“We appreciate the community’s patience as crew work to maintain our grassed areas.” Cr Findley added.

Photo Shoalhaven City Council.

 

Councillor Liza Butler new Shoalhaven deputy Mayor

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Shoalhaven City Councillor Liza Butler has been elected Deputy Mayor of Shoalhaven at Council’s first Ordinary meeting on Tuesday, 25 January 2022.   

Shoalhaven Mayor, Amanda Findley said, “Councillor Liza Butler is a successful businesswoman who created two highly successful businesses on the South Coast.”    

“Prior to being in business, Councillor Butler worked for the NSW and Federal Governments at the Department of Ageing Disability and Homecare and the Department of Human Services.   

 “Councillor Butler has also worked with remote Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory and the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet.”  

 “I congratulate Councillor Butler on her appointment as Deputy Mayor and look forward to working closely with her.” Mayor Findley said.  

Councillor Butler will serve out her role of Deputy Mayor until September 2022. 

In the absence of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor may exercise any function of the Mayor, at the request of the Mayor or if the Mayor is prevented from exercising the function or if there is a casual vacancy in the office of the Mayor.   

Images: Shoalhaven Council

Dealing with rubbish delights little Leo during visit to Nowra depot

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Little Leo Seeland is one of those children who just loves the rubbish trucks.

Mum Jessica said as soon as Leo heard the garbage trucks in streets near their South Nowra home he ran outside to wait for them.

The truck drivers have come to know him well , and have shared a number of gifts with the four-year-old.

"He's been given - I think he's got two shirts now, and he's got a hat, he got a garbage truck toy," Jessica said.

And last week they took it a step further, giving Leo a chance behind the wheel as the dual-control truck drove around the Suez depot in South Nowra.

A delighted Leo even had a chance to pick up some rubbish bins set up at the depot.

Leo is the latest in a line of children, often with special needs, given tours of the Suez facilities.

Nowra garbage truck drivers Wayne Jones and Charlie Schusser have spent years delighting the youngsters who love watching the rubbish being collected.

Calling themselves The Garbo and The Mechanic, they've given out toy trucks, shirts, hats and have even given children turns behind the extra steering wheel in the truck.

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Mr Jones said challenges the children might face in the outside world did not impact on their time in the garbage trucks as, "In the cabin we're all the same."

Suez regional manager Daniel Jeffcott said the pair were a credit to the company.

"They're handing out T-shirts and toys to kids to get them engaged in the dirty side of the waste and recycling processes," he said.

"Kids love it, and it's really good to have that community engagement with our drivers."

While the two truck drivers have been handing out toys and gifts to children, it is not all one way.

Leo was born with a rare metabolic disorder which makes it difficult to use his body fat stores for energy, which means any minor illness can put him into a metabolic crisis and result in him becoming severely unwell.

As a result he has had many hospital admissions during his four years.

Earlier this year Leo chosen to be one of the faces of the Jeans for Genes campaign for the Children's Medical Research Institute, and made sure he shared a poster with his garbage truck drivers.

Images: Glenn Ellard

 

 

Disaster recovery assistance is available for Shoalhaven residents affected by May’s severe storms.

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Disaster recovery assistance is available for Shoalhaven residents affected by May’s severe storms.

Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan said the DRFA will assist with damaged properties and help councils with the costs of road and infrastructure repairs and clean-up, and recovery efforts in affected communities. 

“None of us will soon forget the severe winds and heavy rain that lashed the region, washing out roads and causing widespread damage to properties,” Senator Molan said. 

“Importantly, a range of practical assistance measures are now available to support the affected communities with their recovery," he said.

Senator Molan said, "The Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements were ready to help after severe winds and heavy rain lashed the region, washing out roads and causing widespread damage to properties."

He said, "It will help for people whose homes or belongings have been damaged, freight subsidies for primary producers and support for councils to assist with costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged public assets."

New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said communities experienced significant disruption due to heavy rainfall over several days, including damage and closure of major roads.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on13 77 88.

To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au 

Further information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the NSW emergency information and response website at www.nsw.gov.au/resilience-nsw

Image: supplied

 

 

 

Double win for engineering excellence

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Shoalhaven City Council has won two awards in the 2021 Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Excellence Awards. 

The awards recognise the most outstanding public works engineering projects and professionals. Council has won the Environmental Enhancement Project or Initiative Including Recovery, Recycling and Reusing Award for Shoalhaven Water’s Reclaimed Water Management Scheme (REMS). 

Council has also won the prestigious Minister for Local Government’s Award for Innovation in Local Government Engineering for the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre after the project was entered into the 1C Projects greater than $5 million category. 

Shoalhaven City Council CEO Stephen Dunshea is pleased with the recent accolades.  

"These awards highlight the innovation, skill and dedication demonstrated by Council staff who have gone above and beyond in the provision of infrastructure and services for our community. 

“The importance of great infrastructure in the health, wealth and happiness of our community cannot be overestimated,” Mr Dunshea said. 

“Shoalhaven Water developed the REMS scheme to reduce potable water consumption, minimise the impacts of a rapidly expanding population and drought, and to protect our unique and valuable environment,” said Mr Dunshea. 

“The REMS enables collection and storage of treated effluent or reclaimed water for use on agricultural land and local sports grounds via a dedicated transfer and distribution system.  

“To date Shoalhaven Water has successfully implemented two stages of the scheme. The Stage 1B has effectively doubled the reclaimed water supply managed by the scheme to 13 million litres per day,” Mr Dunshea said. 

Stage 1A collects reclaimed water from St Georges Basin, Huskisson/Vincentia, Culburra, and Callala Wastewater Treatment Plants (WwTPs). Stage 1B Works entailed major upgrades to the Bomaderry and Nowra WwTPs and construction of associated reclaimed water transfer main beneath the Shoalhaven River.  

Mr Dunshea is also delighted with the Minister for Local Government’s Award for Innovation in Local Government Engineering for the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre at Bomaderry. 

“Constructed in October 2019 at a cost of $16.4 million, the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre is the only one of its kind outside the Sydney metropolitan area. It is fitting for the Centre to be acknowledged for its innovative design that is already benefiting our community,” Mr Dunshea said. 

The Centre has the capacity to cater for large-scale sporting and other events, with show court and grandstand seating for 600 people, along with three further multi-purpose courts, meeting rooms, offices, fitness facilities, change room facilities, commercial café and creche with a building area spanning 5,703 m2. 

The facility is part of the Shoalhaven Community and Recreational Precinct (SCaRP). The facility’s location within SCaRP is the first stage in the implementation of this impressive community investment by Council. When SCaRP is fully developed the SISC will provide co-joined and operational facilities that may be utilised individually or in unison with other facilities within the sporting precinct. More information is available on Council's Get Involved webpage.

PHOTO: From left Director City Services Paul Keech, Works and Services Manager Trevor Dando and Buildings Project Manager Gary George receive Council's IPWEA Excellence Awards.

Electric car fleet for Shoalhaven Council

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Shoalhaven City Council will today introduce its new fleet of electric vehicles.

Mayor AMANDA FINDLEY says three Hyundai Kona Electric cars are to be trialled." And the trial is to work out if there are cost benefits to council to having electric vehicles in the fleet. And that's in relation to the savings on fuel, to fuel up the electric car and of course then savings on the maintenance of the car."

The cars offer a range of 440 kilometres and can be charged using a household power point, although they cost alot more than the petrol-driven models, retailing at around 60-thousand dollars each.

Photo: Hyundai website

Endeavour ordered to stop cutting Shoalhaven trees

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Shoalhaven Council has ordered Endeavour Energy to stop removing trees.

The council has a management agreement allowing the electricity provider to remove trees considered high risk to power lines.

However it was brought to the council's attention that tree removals currently being undertaken by Endeavour are outside the scope of the agreement and they've been ordered to stop.

The council has requested Endeavour Energy now provide a comprehensive list of proposed tree removals prior to any further work.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/photos/chainsaw-saw-sawdust-wood-branch-945411/

Everything you need to know ahead of council election day in the Shoalhaven, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama

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With a re-emergence of COVID-19 cases across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven this week, the NSW Electoral Commission has a range of COVID safety measures in place for tomorrow's local government elections.

Cameron Whalan from the NSW Electoral Commission said there's a number of requirements voters must follow.

"That includes mandatory mask wearing, bringing your own pen from home or using one of the single use pens provided.

"Physical distancing when you're in polling places and lines to get in there as well and also checking in and out upon arrival and departure," he said.

Whalan said pre-polling will continue across Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama today.

"It's not too late to pre-poll.

"This morning you can look your address up (HERE).

"You'll find all of your closest pre-polling places but you can also plan ahead for the day following, for election day and find your closest polling locations too," he said.

Fines will apply for those who fail to vote.

Whalan said there are options if you can't physically get to a polling place.

"If you're outside of your local government area or council ward you might be eligible for i-Vote which is online or telephone voting but I would say that if you're unable to make it you will be issued with a failure to vote fine which is $55 but you will also have recourse, so you'll be given the chance to provide sufficient reason," Whalan said.

Image: NSW Electoral Commission

Final farewell for Carmel Krogh

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Shoalhaven City Council is marking an end of an era with Shoalhaven Water Director Carmel Krogh checking dam levels for the last time on Friday.

Carmel has spent the past twelve years with Shoalhaven City Council and Mayor Amanda Findley believes she has left a legacy on the organisation and has had a positive impact on many of our residents.

Her major projects included REMs and the Porters Creek Dam that provides drinking water for the Southern Shoalhaven.

Mayor Findley says Carmel has ensured that a total of 86 trainees have graduated through Shoalhaven Water with 70% of these trainees continuing on to full time employment.

Photo: Mayor Findley and Carmen Krogh

Source: Shoalhaven City Council

Fines to be issued for those who don't vote

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Shoalhaven residents face fines if they don't vote in the local government elections on Saturday December 4.

Enrolled voters in the Shoalhaven and Kiama can pre-poll, do a postal vote or hit the ballot box on election day.

Voting is compulsory for Australian residents aged 18 and over.

Cameron Whalan from the NSW Electoral Commission said fines apply for those who fail to vote.

"Penalties start at $55 but the best course of action is of course to avoid that entirely by just making sure that you've got a vote in by 6pm Saturday December 4," Whalan said.

Image: NSW Electoral Commission

Four mayoral candidates an "experiment" for Watson's Independents

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The Shoalhaven Independents will run four mayoral candidates in the hope of getting one team member over line at the council elections in September.

Team leader, veteran councillor and former mayor Greg Watson, will throw his hat into the ring again, along with team mates Mitchell Pakes, Mark Kitchener and former Team Gash member Patricia White.

Cr Watson says preferences will be tightly held within the team.

He says putting up four candidates, instead of the usual one per team, is a "bit of an experiment", and admits there is the risk of fragmenting the vote and none of his team getting in, particularly with Crs Kitchener and White both standing in Ward Three.

Cr Watson said, at the last election “the community weren’t given a choice”.

“This time we’re giving people a choice, you decide who you’d like to support from the Independents.

“We offer a complete spectrum of experience, youthful endeavour and female.

“It will be the luck of the draw, but I hope one of us is successful.”

Former Team Gash members Patricia White and John Wells have teamed up with the Independents, while Cr Watson says Independents Bob Proudfoot and Andrew Guile will not be standing again.

Free family fun on Friday nights in the Shoalhaven

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Friday nights will be free family movie nights throughout summer.

Shoalhaven City Council is partnering with Optus to host a free Open Air Cinema Roadshow across the Shoalhaven over coming months.

It starts December 10 and continues through to April next year to coincide with 2022 Youth Week and Seniors Festival.  

Shoalhaven City Council Director City Lifestyles Jane Lewis said the free events were a great chance for families and friends to connect over the summertime.

"After what has been a particularly challenging year for many families within our community to navigate, I’m pleased to announce that Shoalhaven City Council in partnership with Optus is hosting a free family-friendly Open Air Cinema Roadshow," Ms Lewis said.  

"Our Open Air Cinema Roadshow is planned across the Shoalhaven including events in the north, central and south of the city so everyone can join in the fun.

"These events will no doubt prove popular, and I encourage the community to register early to attend," Ms Lewis said.  

"Council is proud to provide opportunities, such as the Open Air Cinema Roadshow, for the community to re-connect and have fun with one another after a challenging couple of years. These types of events help to foster a connected and inclusive community."

Movies will be family-friendly (G or PG-rated), with full details to be provided on the roadshow website.

The roadshow schedule is as follows:  

Friday 10 December 2021:  Bomaderry Sporting Oval - Bolong Road, Bomaderry

Friday 14 January 2022: St George Basin Sports Ground - 160 The Wool Road, St Georges Basin

Friday 21 January 2022: Ulladulla Civic Centre - Princes Hwy, Ulladulla

Friday 28 January 2022: Boongaree Playing Fields 151, North Street Berry

Friday 11 February 2022: Lyrebird Park Jervis Street, Nowra

Friday 11 March 2022: Thompson Street Reserve, Sporting Complex 29 Thompson Street, Sussex Inlet

Friday 1 April 2022: Harry Sawkins Park - Auditorium Graham Street, Nowra

The community will be encouraged to arrive at 6.00 pm m, for a movie start time of 6.30 pm. COVID safe measures will be in place.

Registrations are essential and are now open through Eventbrite  https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/shoalhaven-open-air-cinema-roadshow-32969579779

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

Gardeners transform Berry park

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Shoalhaven City Council is continuing its roll-out of new and revamped parks, opening Berry’s George Street Park today.

Constructed on land that had been left vacant from the Berry Bypass, the park has undergone an impressive transformation thanks to the vision and work of Berry & District Garden Club members. 

Mayor Amanda Findley is impressed with the community spirit demonstrated by members who have built and will continue to maintain George Street Park. 

"This park certainly is a labour of love and is a true reflection of the Club’s motto 'Friendship through Gardening'," she said.

"I can see that many, many volunteer hours have been devoted to planning and planting the lawns, garden beds, trees, sculptures, paths and seating.

“Berry Garden Club members hand-watered the trees and shrubs throughout the heat and fires last summer and built most of the key garden features themselves.

"It is wonderful that they have made an ongoing commitment to weed and care for the garden plantings and trees at their monthly working bees.

“This is a fantastic asset for the Berry community and visitors and is a testament to the resilient spirit of the Berry community,” Cr Findley said. 

Award-winning local sculptor Michael Purdy, with assistance from local resident Bob Croker, has created two amazing sculptures that make a statement about nature's ability to triumph when threatened by urban development.   

A Red Cedar sapling is establishing itself strongly between the cleaved sandstone of the first sculpture. The second sculpture features a rescued red cedar branch symbolically banded by sunlight penetrating the rainforest. Leaning towards the first sculpture, it acts as the guardian tree of the sapling and of all the other young trees in the park. 

Sited between the two sculptures is a soaring curved timber pergola designed by Berry & District Club President, architect Stephen Buzacott.   

George Street Park can be accessed from the southern end of Albert Street or the western end of George Street, Berry. 

Photo: Shoalhaven City Council.

Go yellow for Recycling Week

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Residents are being encouraged to renew their commitment to recycling to help ensure the Shoalhaven region is doing all it can to minimise waste and maximise recycling by understanding what can and can’t be recycled.

This National Recycling Week, 9-15 November, is a good time for us all as consumers, to think about the choices we make when purchasing goods, says Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley .

“Recycling is an important part of sustainable living. By recycling, you are ensuring valuable resources do not go to landfill and you are also reducing energy from producing new materials from scratch," she said.

“Try to choose metal and glass packaging over plastic, as metal and glass can be recycled indefinitely.

Mayor Findley recently toured the West Nowra Waste Depot and was impressed with the passion and innovation behind the current and impending waste management practices in place at Shoalhaven’s recycling and waste depots. 

“The Shoalhaven kerbside recycling trucks collect a staggering 12,000 tonnes of recyclable materials from 55,000 households annually.

“Over 30,000 tonnes of recyclable material is collected from our Recycling and Waste Depots annually. These include items that can’t go in the yellow bin, such as electronic waste, batteries, gas bottles and scrap steel.

“The team are working to set up a glass recycling plant at West Nowra, which will be operational soon and will supply glass sand for the Nowra Bridge construction project.

“It is pretty special to be able to see recycled material generated from the Shoalhaven being used to construct major projects here in our neighbourhood.

“I encourage all Shoalhaven residents and visitors to learn what can and cannot be recycled at our Waste Depots to ensure we minimise our landfill footprint and increase the life of recyclable materials.

“Recently, you would have received a Yellow Bin Guide in the mail, which helps you to make the right decision on what goes in the yellow bin, what goes in the red bin and what can go to local REDcycle collection points and our Waste Depots," Cr Findley said.

Shoalhaven City Council also have a number of informative videos featuring Waste Warrior Wombat, which take you through what can and can’t be recycled from around the home.

See the Waste and Recycling YouTube playlist HERE

Photo Shoalhaven City Council

Greens get ready for tilt at Shoalhaven Council

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A presidential-style launch on Saturday signalled the start of the Greens campaign to win positions on Shoalhaven Council, spearheaded by  incumbent Mayor Amanda Findley and her efforts to be re-elected.

There was music, energy, a bit of hype and plenty of support at the launch, with every sentence she uttered being greeted with rapturous applause.

But some of the loudest applause was reserved for when Cr Findley took aim at rival mayoral candidates Greg Watson and others from the Shoalhaven Independent Group.

"It is time to kick Greg Watson to the kerb, and it is also time to get rid of the Shoalhaven Independents full stop," she said.

"Their bad policy, their bad decision making, and their constant wearing down of the Shoalhaven has to stop."

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Cr Findley labelled the Shoalhaven Independents as "yesterday's people with yesterday's thoughts".

"We live in a gorgeous place, we don't want it to be ruined by these fools that have no idea of the gem they have sitting before them," she said.

"We don't want their 1950s attitudes destroying what we need to leave for our children."

But the launch was more focused on objectives for the next council term, despite it lasting only two years and nine months.

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"Going forward, what do we want to do?" Cr Findley said.

"We want more renewables in this area, we want disability access for people who have different abilities to us, we want to have something for our kids - recreational buildings, sports parks, playgrounds, skateparks - they need that, and we need it because we're a disadvantaged area in so many ways, we need to keep our kids engaged and out of the drug houses that exist in this area.

"We also need to continue to plant some trees," she said.

"Trees are falling everywhere across the Shoalhaven because the chainsaw mob at the Shoalhaven Independents have created a policy where you can take trees away without even asking, and that is almost criminal; in fact I'm calling it criminal, and we need to change that right now."

While Cr Findley had plenty to say during he launch, there was also much said about her by NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge who praised her energy, commitment, compassion and integrity shown during a difficult time for the Shoalhaven that included the Black Sur bushfires, floods and the pandemic.

Images: Glenn Ellard

Harmony Week celebrating our cultural diversity

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Shoalhaven City Council is encouraging the community to come together and celebrate its cultural diversity during Harmony Week on 15-21 March 2021.   

This year the theme for Harmony Week is “Everyone Belongs”.  

Vincentia Pharmacist Ali Nazim was born in Baghdad and raised in Istanbul.

He arrived in Australia with his family when he started high school and says it was a very daunting time for a teenager.

"We lived a very comfortable life in Iraq but had to leave because of the bombs continuously raining down upon us," Ali said.

"In Turkey we experienced extreme poverty living on day old bread that was thrown away by the bakers."

Upon his arrival in Australia, Ali says he gained tremendous community support.

"I had no English and used to think chicken was pronounced kitchen!" he said.

"However, the amount of support we received here was extraordinary.

"The school system and ESOL program really works."

Ali is very modest but from arriving here with no English he achieved an ATAR in the high 90s

"When I celebrated my first Harmony Day at school, I wore a galabya (a traditional Arabic robe). At my last Harmony Day at school I wore shorts and an Akubra."

Ali says coming to Australia was the best thing his family could have done.

"It is a land of opportunity where hopes and dreams are realised," he added.

"I know that here my daughter can be whoever she wants to be, unconstrained by the rules of my home country."

Ali is the owner of Choice Pharmacy in the HomeCo. shopping centre in Vincentia.

"I came to Vincentia in 2015 – I opened the pharmacy on a Monday, was married the following Saturday and in 2018 we had a lovely daughter. It did take two years before we could get away on honeymoon."

Ali says his pharmacy is a very happy and welcoming place and is a true melting pot, with staff members from Italy, Ireland and Germany.

Council has joined the Shoalhaven Harmony Week Planning Committee, along with five local organisations to promote the national week, encouraging the community to take part in a list of challenges, such as decorating a mailbox with orange-coloured decorations at home or for business owners to decorate a store-front shop.  

Mayor Amanda Findley is inviting the community to celebrate their own and others cultural heritage, by coming together during the national week.  

“Harmony Week is an opportunity for all communities to join together to celebrate the many cultures that make up our local community," she said.

"It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone,” Cr Findley said. 

“The Shoalhaven has a long history of embracing people from many cultures and recognising the richness of diversity it brings to the region.

“This year we are encouraging the community to hold an event or activity as part of Harmony Week, and to take part in the Shoalhaven Harmony Day competition.  

"I’m looking forward to seeing shop fronts, doors and letterboxes decorated with Harmony-themed, orange-coloured decorations as well as videos and photos of events posted on social media." 

A promotional stall will be held in Jelly Bean Park on Thursday March 18 between 11:30am and 2:30pm.  

Photo and interview courtesy Shoalhaven Harmony Week 2021 and SCC.

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Heavy rainfall causes landslips and minor flooding across the Shoalhaven

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Emergency crews are on the scene of a reported landslide on the Princes Highway.

There is also a report of a fallen tree which is blocking the Highway north of Mollymook at Corks Lane.

RMs crews are on the scene attempting got clear the slide and remove the tree.

Live Traffic NSW advised there are heavy traffic conditions and motorists should  allow extra travel time and exercise caution.

A NSW Police spokesperson said police units are at the scene undertaking traffic control.

Across the Shoalhaven,  SES crews are responding to more than 28 outstanding calls for assistance after heavy overnight rainfall, which has caused minor flash flooding.

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Ulladulla SES commander Tracey Provest said "There has been as much as 230 mm of rainfall recorded Porters Creek Dam in the past 24 hours.

"There has also been 180mm of rain also in the Manyana region which is causing minor landslips," she said.

Commander Provest said "There are a significant number of jobs at the moment where people are requiring sandbags."

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She said "SES Facebook pages at Ulladulla, St Georges Basin and Nowra  are continually updated to keep residents informed."

Commander Provest said "Numerous roads across the Shoalhaven are experiencing minor flooding, including Bawley Point Road which is close to being closed."

Commander Provest has urged motorists not to drive through floodwaters and said " Remember, if it's flooded, forget it."

Shoalhaven City Council has made the new disaster dashboard available on its website. 

The Disaster Dashboard provides information on fire and flood incidents, SES NSW advice, road conditions and power outages.

Images: Shoahaven City Council & Ulladulla SES   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Live Traffic NSW 

Holiday homes could solve housing shortage

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The owners of vacant properties are being urged to consider placing them on the rental market to support Shoalhaven families struggling to find accommodation.

As we near the anniversary of the Black Summer Fires, Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley says many families that lost their homes are still looking for secure housing solutions. 

She says support services are reporting a critical shortage of rental accommodation in the region.

"We've got over 300 displaced families after bushfires and vacancy rates in the Shoalhaven are the lowest they've ever been," she said.

"People have got holiday homes sitting vacant for 9 or 10 months of the year and they're getting very little use at the moment.

"With the amount of housing pressure the Shoalhaven is experiencing, we could really do with those homes being made available."

She is urging holiday home owners to contact local real estate agent who have waiting lists and are being inundated with requests for rental properties.

 

Huge step for new Shoalhaven suburb

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The Moss Vale Road North Urban land release has taken a huge step forward, with the proposal for a new suburb, catering for up to 3400 homes, to be submitted to the NSW Department of Planning before the end of the year.

The as yet un-named suburb is expected to provide a mix of homes, including low, medium and high density housing, shops, offices and retail outlets, as well as sporting fields, parks and green corridors.

Shoalhaven City Councillor John Wells expects the state government to provide a Gateway determination early in 2021, after which he hopes people will start to suggest “innovative and insightful” names for the new suburb which will be about the size of Bomaderry.

“We’re aiming for a high quality project, with a mix of homes options, including affordable and accessible housing options,” Cr Wells said.

Cr Wells said road works would soon commence, with roundabout on Moss Vale Road to service both the proposed northern and southern land release areas.

NSW Government funding has been secured for the design and construction of the roundabout, with completion expected in the second half of 2021.

Photo: Shoalhaven City Council

Huskisson Woollamia Community Voice Zooms with candidates tonight

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The Huskisson Woollamia Community Voice group is reminding residents of a meet the candidates Zoom opportunity tonight.

Ward 2 Shoalhaven Council Green's candidates Evan Christen and Jo Warren will answer questions about their plans and policies in the lead-up to the December four local government elections.

to join Zoom meeting go to:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85112838239?pwd=c2VscXl2aWJrZ2pibVdRa1poc2JCdz09
Meeting ID: 851 1283 8239
Passcode: 500337

A meet the Labor Candidates Zoom night is happening on the 22nd of November.

Image: Flickr

Hyams hopes for masterplan relief

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Hyams Beach residents are hoping a village masterplan will help alleviate overcrowding in the popular tourist hot spot.

Over summer, visitors have been turned away once a 300-car limit is reached, but that hasn’t stopped determined beach-goers from parking illegally and dangerously along Booderee Road and walking into the village.

Hyams Beach Village Association president Lois Sparkes says some visitors continue to ignore no parking signs that have been erected by Shoalhaven City Council, while others are confronting council-employed traffic controllers.

“This holiday season from Christmas to Australia Day has been continually busy, even on weekdays and it’s been compounded by covid restrictions that have limited international and interstate travel,” she said.

“At times the Booderee National Park has been closed to visitors, so people then flock to places like Hyams Beach.”

Ms Sparkes says traffic control has helped over the past three years, and moving the stop-point to Booderee Avenue instead of Naval College Road this year has also assisted traffic flow.

“The traffic controllers have been incredibly diplomatic and patient even though they have endured some very annoyed and very abusive people.”

However, she says there are still a number of issues that need to be addressed.

“Google Maps sends everyone to the south end of the beach, so we have loads of cars in one place looking for parking spots and trying to do U-turns – it’s very dangerous.

“We still have concerns around traffic flows in the village, which are actually quite dangerous, coupled with improved pedestrian safety particularly along Cyrus Street from Hyam Road through to Chinamans Beach

“We are also extremely concerned about the large number of illegal campers who camp on the beach and light fires on the beach. We’ve seen an increase in campervans this year - and many return offenders.”

Ms Sparkes said an incident, where a driver left a car in a residential driveway without the hand brake on,could have been disastrous.

“The car rolled down the driveway through a privacy screen and, fortunately, there were no children in the yard and no one in house as there could have been injuries incurred,” she added.

Members of the association are working closely with Shoalhaven City Council on the draft Masterplan which Ms Sparkes hopes will be progressed in the next few months.

She says members are also calling for council re-visit the use of digital technology to manage parking in the village.

“This has been proposed in the past, but not pursued.”

The other issue facing the community in busy times is rubbish.

“We have been absolutely trashed,” she concluded.

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Photos Shoalhaven Tourism and supplied.

Jo Gash to retire after 31 years in politics

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After 31 years in politics, Shoalhaven City Councillor and former Federal Member for Gilmore Joanna Gash has announced she will not stand at the upcoming September council elections.

Cr Gash has served nine years on council, six of those as mayor, and 17 years as the federal member.

Prior to that she was a Wingecarribee Shire Councillor after working for Bowral Council and as a regional tourism manager in Sydney.

Last week, Cr Gash walked out of a council meeting for the first time in her career.

She says the bullying and personal attacks at Shoalhaven City Council are one of the reasons she has decided to walk away from public life at the age of 77.

“I did a walk out which I never done before, ever in my 31 years,” she said.

“Councillors need to work together - we can all work together - and stop the personal attacks.”

Cr Gash says the behaviour of some councillors was the final straw, coupled with returning health issues, that cemented her decision.

“I had planned to run, but I thought no it’s time to leave and let somebody else have a go.

“I turn 77 this year and I think it’s time that somebody else took my place.

“And I’m hoping that some other councillors will take the same view and give somebody else a go.”

Cr Gash says she would like to see some fresh faces in council.

“We’ve been there a long time, we’ve done our commitments, things have changed and we need to encourage other people to have a go,” she added.

Following yesterday’s March4Justice rallies held around the country, including at Nowra, Cr Gash says she held her own in various political arenas and says she didn’t experience bullying or harassment of any kind during her career.

“In fact, my mentors were both men and they helped me in my career and my future,” she said.

“In life you have those men, who are not as good as they should be, and certainly in politics it happens anywhere.”

She said if men tried to intimidate her, she just put them in their place and said it was not acceptable.

“It’s certainly not acceptable.

“I can’t stand bullies and I don’t like being intimidated.

“These sorts of things that are happening in our council at the moment and shouldn’t be.

“That’s one of the reasons that I decided I’d had enough.

“I feel sorry for the young girls who haven’t had much life experience and are going into politics, or to work in politics, it’s a whole different world. It’s a whole different ball game.”

But Cr Gash is encouraging women of all ages to have a go and throw their hat into the political ring.

“I’d say find and good mentor and go for it. I really mean that,” she added.

“Politics needs young people, but you can’t just expect to walk into politics.

“You have to earn it and you have to have some life experiences and business knowledge, and you can gain those.”

She says she would “really be delighted to help people have a go” if they were considering running for council.

“Women undersell themselves, they don’t think they can do the job,” Cr Gash said.

“Actually, they can probably do the job equally - if not better - than men, because women can do so many things at once.”

Cr Gash says she has many highlights from her career, but the project that stands out as Member for Gilmore was getting Main Road 92 built, providing a link from the Shoalhaven to Canberra.

She said spending three months with the United Nations as a federal member and witnessing the first election in Iraq were also stand out moments.

“One of the best things I ever achieved was when I used to go door knocking, a man told me to P-off because he didn’t want to talk to me but, to cut a long story short, we managed to get him some new teeth.

“One day on a village he came around with flowers. I had changed his whole life and, to me, it was one of the best things I ever did.”

As the Shoalhaven Mayor, Cr Gash said she achieved a lot working as a team and she was disappointed and “very sad” when members of Team Gash moved over to Cr Greg Watson’s Shoalhaven Independents team.

“That was one of things that really hurt, to see some of my team go with Greg Watson’s team, but things happen in politics.

“I think they wanted to be in the spotlight to get things done and joined the Independents, but I have to say I was extremely hurt by that.”

Cr Gash says, with six months remaining in her role, she hopes to “change the behaviours at council” for the next generation.

Once she retires, she hopes to spend more time with her family, including six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, she is also now required to travel to Sydney every three months for check-ups.

Photo Joanna Gash

Kangaroo Valley Showground plan of management under review

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Shoalhaven City Council is reviewing the Plan of Management for the Kangaroo Valley Showground and is inviting the community to provide feedback.

The Plan of Management will provide direction for the use of the Showground lands.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, Amanda Findley encouraged community members to provide their input as part of the review.   

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Kangaroo Valley Community to have their say on the management of the land now and into the future.” Clr Findley said.  

The community can provide their feedback through an online survey until 5pm Thursday 3 June 2021.  

For more information visit Council’s Kangaroo Valley Showground Plan of Management Get Involved page.

Image:  Shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au

Kids rate Berry's Boongaree Nature Playpark after its official opening

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The Boongaree Nature Play Park has officially opened and hundreds of families have already experienced its attractions.

The six-point-four million dollar playground was previously known as the Berry District Park and is a result of a collaboration between Berry Rotary, Shoalhaven Council with funding from Federal and State Governments.

The Nature Play Park includes a dual, accessible flying fox, sensory play area, swings, slides climbing nets and exercise equipment. 

As well as family picnic and BBQ spaces, amenities with lift and change facilities and many more elements that create an exciting and inclusive play space for the community and visitors to enjoy.

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It builds on the existing successes of the area and facilitates future opportunities to meet the broader community’s needs and economic benefit from visitors for the Berry Township. 

Berry Rotary believes the Nature Play Park provides a unique opportunity to reinvigorate the northern edge of the township of Berry following the introduction of the Berry bypass road. 

Berry Rotary Club's Grahame Sweeney says the park had hundreds of vistors when it opened on Saturday the 22nd of January, with numbers increasing the following day.

He said, "It was a tremendous day."

Mr. Sweeney said, " It's certainly attracting young families to Berry to go down to the Rotary Nature Playpark."

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One of the first to experience the sensory play park facilities was 12-year-old Summer who said, " I loved the Berry Adventure Playground.

"I like all the pieces of equipment and it's a really good place to see friends and meet new friends." she said.

Summer said "All the equipment was well spaced and varied."

Summer's sister Daisy celebrated her tenth birthday by visiting the playpark with her family.

Daisy said, " I liked all the equipment and also liked the hamster wheels, the bike tracks, the flying fox and the slides."

"I would like to go back tomorrow morning," she said.

Future works include a new skate park and pump track, a dog park and improvements to the sporting facilities, including additional formal car parking for visitors in accordance with the Boongaree Master Plan.

Images: Shoalhaven City Council & the Sarges family & Carl Hubbers

Lifesavers watch over eight beaches during holidays

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Professional beach patrols will be in place at Shoalhaven beaches during the April NSW school holiday period from tomorrow until Sunday April 18. 

Shoalhaven City Council’s Director City Lifestyles Jane Lewis is reminding holiday makers and locals to swim between the red and yellow flags at patrolled beaches as the swimming season draws to a close.

“Our region boasts more than 100 stunning beaches, but if you plan to swim, we recommend choosing a beach that is patrolled," she said.

Patrols will be in place at Shoalhaven Heads, Crookhaven Heads, Warrain, Cudmirrah/Berrara, Narrawallee, North and South Mollymook beaches and Tilbury Cove.

“To make your next trip to the beach safer, make sure you read the safety signs, ask a lifeguard for safety advice and swim with a friend,” Ms Lewis said. 

A beach wheelchair service is also available during beach patrol season.   

“Make sure you book ahead, there are ten beach wheelchairs available for adults and children free of charge, at seven beaches across the Shoalhaven,” she added. 

To book a beach wheelchair.

Photo Shoalhaven City Council

 

Locals needed for homelessness taskforce

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Shoalhaven City Council wants to hear from locals who want to join the Homelessness Taskforce.

The committee was set up in October last year to help those doing it tough.

Interested people need the following qualities:

* Passionate about the issue of homelessness and/or have lived experience of homelessness whilst       living in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area.
* Interested in being an advocate for people experiencing homelessness in the community.
* Motivated to drive change through local government and would like to learn more about its role in     the community.
* Available to attend quarterly meetings.
* Reachable by phone, email or postal address in order to be notified of meetings and updates.

Applications close on January 20.

To apply click here

Image: Shoalhaven City Council 

Lower opening triggers bring relief for Lake Conjola residents

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There's relief for people living around Lake Conjola as Shoalhaven Council has been given a licence to mechanically open the lake's entrance in periods of emergency at lower the previous trigger requirements.

Council's City Development director Phil Costello said the licence would allow council to mechanically open the entrance when severe weather impacted on the Lake Conjola community.

The licence covers the next five years and is great news for council and the community which has been arguing for changes to the lake openings for several years, according to council's Mr Costello.

He said council applied for the lower trigger levels in response to community consultation.

"This is great news for council and the community who have advocated for trigger levels to be lowered for many years”, Mr Costello said.  

Lake Conjola is currently open to the sea and has been since February 2020. However, the entrance was impacted by significant sand build-up due to the recent East Coast Low weather event.   

Council has undertaken extensive community consultation in relation to the Lake Conjola Coastal Management Program which is currently in the process of being formulated.

The issue of lake entrance management is a consideration in the formulation of this program, which is also collecting scientific information to inform the forecasting of requirements and to alter the licence in the future, if required. 

To stay up to date on Lake Conjola - Coastal Management Program subscribe to Council's Get Involved page.    

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

Making your pool and spa summer safe

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Pool owners are being reminded the make sure their backyard pool or spa is safe for the upcoming summer season.

Shoalhaven City Council has launched a public awareness campaign to promote the many ways the community can make their pool or spa safe, including meeting mandatory compliance requirements. 

Any pool capable of being filled with water greater than 300mm in depth must have permanent child-resistant fencing. However, children should still be actively supervised during use of the swimming pool it should be emptied immediately after use.

NSW Law requires that child-resistant barriers are required for permanent pools (including swim spas) and portable pools.  Spas pools are required to be secured with a lockable lid or alternatively a compliant swimming pool barrier.  

Things you can do to make your pool a safe pool:   

  • Gain a safety compliance certificate  
  • Teach your children to swim  
  • Watch children in the pool & remain an arm’s reach  
  • Always watch your child when using flotation devices  
  • Ensure child-resistant barriers are installed correctly  
  • Maintain, repair or replace a faulty safety latch  
  • Remove climbable objects from around the fence  
  • Never prop open the pool gate  
  • Stay up to date with first aid skills 
  • Display a resuscitation CPR chart on your pool fence.   

For more information on Council's website on Swimming Pools & Spas or call Council on 1300 293 111.

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor tackling Tassie climate trek

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Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley is walking the talk this week as she takes part in the Climate Council’s Tassie Trek.

Cr Findley is taking part in the ten-day walk through Tasmania’s Tarkine Wilderness region with climate change expert Professor Will Steffen.

The trek aims to raise $70,000 for the Climate Council’s extreme weather work and support activities of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action for another 12 months.

A member of the Greens and climate activist, Cr Findley says she is pleased that Shoalhaven is part of the Councils City Power Partnership, the largest council network talking climate change.

Photo Amanda Findley Facebook

Motion calls for council to uphold values

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Shoalhaven City Councillor Nina Digiglio wants council to become a safer workplace and is calling for all elected councillors to uphold council’s core values of respect, collaboration, adaptability and integrity.

Cr Digiglio was a guest speaker at last week’s March4Justic rally in Nowra where she spoke about the challenges faced by current representatives at all level of government, and the importance of welcoming new, younger councillors who need to feel safe as they begin their political careers.

Tomorrow night, she will raise a Notice of Motion, calling for council to take a formal approach to reducing bullying in the chamber.

“This motion is not designed to blame or shame, but is a real opportunity to change the culture for the better,” she said.

“I believe we have an opportunity to be true leaders at leading the charge for change for the women at council, those from CALD Backgrounds, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and those with disabilities.

“These voices have been missing from the conversations in Local Government for far too long.”

Cr Digiglio says she would like to see council embrace the new “Our Watch” Prevention Handbook, supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, aimed at reducing violence against women, workplace bullying and horizontal violence in the workplace.

She says the tool kit provides a strategy that “embraces all community diverse views, that will likely produce better community outcomes by their inclusion in the decision-making processes”.

“Our performance and approach to cooperation in the council chamber spills over into the community, impacting the quality of our work in the community we serve, and can damage the way that the community perceives us," she said.

"As leaders, and as the people who lead on the direction of this organisation, it is our responsibility to demonstrate best practice through our words and our deeds.

“There is considerable literature documenting the physical and mental health consequences that may arise due to a failure to act on the issues raised here as they pertain to our workplaces.

“Numerous councils are already addressing these issues and making changes.

“We have an opportunity now to be true leaders by reflecting an equitable, respectful, non discriminatory and harmonious culture in attending to our duties, to assist and promote safe workplaces thereby representing what we may rightfully aspire to see in the diverse community we represent.”

Photo Katrina Condie

National trainee award for Cassie

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Shoalhaven City Council trainee Cassandra O’Carroll was announced runner-up in the School Based Apprentice Trainee of the Year category of the Australian Training Awards on Friday night.

Cassie, 18, has been hosted by Shoalhaven City Council’s Environmental Services Section for on-the-job training since June 2019, while completing a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management School-Based Traineeship. 

She recently also won the SBAT of the Year in the Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT Group Training Awards and took out the same category in the NSW Training Awards.  

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley says Cassie is an outstanding trainee who is focussed, organised and not afraid to ask questions and shows a level of maturity well beyond her years. 

“Cassie’s passion for protecting the environment, capacity to learn quickly and sense of humour have made her a welcome and very helpful addition to the Environmental Services Section," Cr Findley said.

“Shoalhaven City Council is proud of everything Cassie has achieved during her traineeship and her supervisors say she is incredibly deserving of each accolade."

Cassie recommends a school-based traineeship in local government as a great way to gain hands-on experience in an area of interest and to gain insight into how Councils work.  

“It has been very rewarding and learning the technology has been invaluable.," she said.

"I’ve gained skills that will translate into future settings, it is surprising the range of environmental services councils are involved in.  

“Although I’ve spent a lot of time with the threatened species team I’ve rotated between biosecurity, environmental health, natural resources (including bushcare) and flood plains as well as sewage management facilities. 

“I am a pretty ambitious person and have a lot of projects in the pipeline.

"One of them is building a small insect farm as the global insect population has declined by 90 per cent over the last 50 years.

"It will be a small one but hopefully great for birds, the fires earlier this year wiped out the understorey and food supply for many bird species.” 

In June Cassie won SBAT at the Illawarra and South East NSW Training Awards; and vocational education and training (VET) Student of the Year, as well as the Overall VET Student of the Year for the 2020 Shoalhaven Schools Excellence in VET Awards.

She was also named SBAT of the Year in the 2020 HVTC Excellence Awards, announced earlier this year. 

In 2021 Cassie will be studying at the University of Wollongong after receiving early entry into the Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours) (Dean's Scholar). 

Photo Shoalhaven City Council

New addition to Milton's 'big tree' park

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The glorious 190-year-old fig tree has always been the feature of Milton’s Mick Ryan Park, but now visitors can also test their climbing skills on a brand new playground.

The $130,000 playground was officially opened by Mayor Amanda Findley today, with some local children helping to cut the ribbon.

The equipment sits alongside the historic tree, manicured gardens, a toddler bike track and barbecue area which is popular with local families.

“In the modern play space we have here, there’s still that hark to nature - we’ve got a wonderful climbing tree, we’ve got a wonderful garden where the kids can play hide-and-seek, and then they can come back to this modern creation and play here,” Cr Findley said.

“It’s a stunning location and a must-do rest stop on the Princes Highway at Milton.”

Cr Findley said her children loved the park growing up, and she hopes the children of today and future generations will also enjoy the facility overlooking Milton farmland and beyond to the Budawang Ranges and Didthul.

“Parks are where memories are made, where we get cuts on our chins and scars for life.

“Parks are for making friends, building resilience and having a mighty fine time.”

After cutting the ribbon, Cr Findley - complete with her Christmas-y reindeer antlers - joined the kids on the playground and even tested out the tunnel slide, much to the delight of onlookers.

Children can now enjoy a basket swing, spinner, climbing cube and see saw as well as climbing wall, tunnel slide and climbing webs.

The new playground also has a shade sail which means both the playground and the tree can be enjoyed in the warmer months of the year. 

Council purchased Mick Ryan Park in the 1960s from dairy farmer Mick Ryan in order to preserve the fig tree and ensure a parcel of grassed land would be kept for future generations to enjoy.

"It is great to see nearly six decades on, residents and visitors have a wonderful precinct for families to spend the day or even a weekend,” Cr Findley said. 

The park is one of a series of playgrounds throughout the Shoalhaven that have been upgraded and opened in time for Christmas.

“The Shoalhaven’s locations for their parks are exquisite beyond belief,” Cr Findley said.

“And we have three more in the planning.”

Cr Findley said she will look into giving the amenities block a face-lift – perhaps a mural and a fresh coat of paint, as well as installing a water fountain in the park.

Photos Katrina Condie

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New Councillor wants forensic financial audit of Kiama Council

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A newly elected Kiama councillor won't be supporting any incumbent councillor for the role of Mayor or Deputy Mayor in today's vote.

Mark Croxford said Kiama Council is at serious risk of ministerial suspension and the appointment of an administrator because of financial issues under the previous leadership.

"These matters were hidden from the public during the last Council election.

"This was an outrageous cover-up and our local residents have every right to know the true financial sustainability of our Council," Croxford said.

He said he will be asking his fellow councillors to elect a fresh leadership team with no baggage.

"Should any re-elected councillors nominate for either leadership role I will not be voting for them, and if necessary abstain from any vote involving them at this time.

"If by my abstaining from the mayoral vote the vote is tied at four all it would require a name to drawn by ballot, e.g.out of a hat, as prescribed under the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (NSW) Schedule 7, Section 11," he said.

"Once a new Mayor and deputy are elected, regardless of what position I have within the Chamber, I will move for an extraordinary meeting of council to be scheduled at the first available opportunity to:

a) Move a Notice of Motion instructing Council's CEO to initiate an external forensic audit of council's finances covering the sixty-three (63) month period of the previous council, to determine why Kiama Council is potentially vulnerable to ministerial suspension and any recommendations arising, with the findings of the forensic audit to be made available to the public once considered by Council, and

b) As part of this motion, I will seek council's support to instruct the Council's CEO to prepare a report for councillors consideration to approve new terms of reference of the recently appointed Finance Advisory Committee to enable the committee to:

* Review Council's Long Term Financial Plan and strategies that deliver financial objectives to Council

* Develop and review action plans aimed at delivering financial performance

* Review service levels ensuring sustainable resourcing

* Review and monitor Council's financial performance

* Review and investigate opportunities proposed by Council officers or other committee members," Croxford said.

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In 2016 Kiama Council avoided council amalgamation with Shoalhaven City through a grassroots campaign which resulted in more than 95 per cent of 8,400 people voting to reject amalgamation at a cost of $120,000 to ratepayers.

Later in 2016 the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal deemed the Kiama Council was Fit For The Future after previously determining in October 2015 that Kiama had failed to meet four of the seven Long Term Financial Plan benchmarks it had set for councils.

"Since 2016 something has gone seriously wrong with the financial management of Kiama Council and we need to get to the bottom of it and chart of course for correction before the matter is taken out of Council's control and handed over to a NSW Government appointed administrator," Croxford said.

Images: Mark Croxford Facebook and Google Maps

No public access while ferry works are carried out

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The Comerong Island Ferry will be refurbished and the concrete landings on either side of Berry's Canal replaced.

The works are expected to take up to four months to complete and Shoalhaven City Council is in the process of finalising the tender and contract process.

There will be no public access to the island during the construction period and a temporary ‘pedestrian service’ will be provided to residents, their guests and contractors.

A courtesy transit service will also be provided on the eastern (island) shore to enable access, and a temporary car park will be designated on the western (mainland) shore. 

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley says the works are necessary to maintain the long-term safety and viability of the service.

“Council is required to conduct out-of-water maintenance and inspections of the Comerong Island Ferry every five years to maintain its Certificate of Survey, which allows council to provide the service,” she said.

“As both the vessel refurbishment works and ramp reconstruction works prevent the operation of the ferry service, they will be scheduled to take place at the same time, to limit the disruption to residents.

“Council will do everything it can to lessen the impact on residents who will be affected by the temporary disruption to service.

"We do apologise for the inconvenience and thank the local community for their co-operation and understanding,” Cr Findley said.

Once the timing for the works has been confirmed, Council will notify residents.

Nowra Bypass plans gain momentum

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The push to build a new Nowra Bypass seems to be gaining momentum, with Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips and now Kiama MP Gareth Ward both launching petitions in an effort to get work started.

Mrs Philips raised the bypass in Federal Parliament earlier this week, and on Wednesday morning Mr Ward announced he was also launching an online petition as part of his Back the Bypass campaign.

And Shoalhaven Council candidate Paul Ell pledged to raise the bypass at the first council meeting if elected.

Mrs Phillips told Parliament she had a petition on her website calling on the State and Federal Governments to get on with pre-planning for the Bypass.

"Unless the government looks to the future and gets on with the preplanning for the Nowra bypass it will be another 30 years," she said.

"Don't we owe it to our children, their children and everyone in the Nowra-Bomaderry area, and along the New South Wales South Coast, to ensure that people have safe passage through and into Nowra—that the town of Nowra can flourish, helping businesses, workers and jobs?"

Mr Ward said securing a commitment for the Nowra Bypass was his next major focus.

“My message to all levels of government is simple - don’t pass the buck, back the bypass,” he said.

"Since becoming your local MP, I have secured record funds for the region's roads.

"Never would I ever have thought we would secure the Gerringong Upgrade, the Berry Bypass, the Albion Park Rail Bypass, the South Nowra Upgrade, the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade, the Shoalhaven River Replacement Bridge and the Jervis Bay Road interchange.

"This represents more than $2 billion in State Government investment," Mr Ward said.

"I am proud of these achievements that have made a huge difference. But there is one project that now needs a focus.

"Nowra is a huge traffic bottleneck, in part due to poor management of developing the local road network by Shoalhaven City Council.  Doing nothing will mean things get worse."

Mr Ward said he would launch an on-line petition to give the community an avenue to support the call following his statements in Parliament in support of a Nowra Bypass.

And Shoalhaven City Council candidate Paul Ell pledged to move a Notice of Motion committing a future council to being part of a back the bypass campaign, should he be elected on the weekend.

“Whilst I acknowledge this isn’t a council issue, a Nowra Bypass would make a significant difference for the Shoalhaven community and I want to work with Gareth Ward and our local community to back the bypass,” Mr Ell said.

"This is all about people's lives.

"We want to return the roads, return the highway back to the community, and also create jobs at the same time, so there's no greater priority for me, there should be no greater priority for any level of government than getting the Nowra Bypass done," he said.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Nowra in the fast lane to foodie festivities

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Shoalhaven Council candidates Serena Copley and Paul Ell have launched a plan to help turn Nowra into a foodie destination by activating laneways in the town's CBD.

They said areas like Egans Lane and Emporium Lane were perfect for on-street dining and entertainment, as Nowra had many interesting laneways - some with fantastic views of incredible artworks.

“Too many of Nowra’s laneways are underutilised, however they provide an exciting opportunity for local residents and visitors to enjoy the offerings of our local businesses,” Ms Copley said.

“Across the world, so many cities and towns utilise laneways for evening, on-street dining, providing locals with an opportunity to enjoy a meal and a drink outside in a different environment.”

“So whether it’s for dinner or just a drink after work, we want to see our streets full or people supporting local businesses and enjoying a nightlife Nowra has not seen before,” Ms Copley said.

They argued it was time to provide businesses with the opportunity to fill laneways with tables ahead of summer and a busy tourist season.

"In the post COVID lockdown period plainly we need to do things differently, we need a different approach when it come to supporting business, and this is an example of how we can revitalise and activate spaces - whether it's in Nowra, Ulladulla, right across the city," Mr Ell said.

“To ensure the long term viability of Nowra CBD businesses, we need to transform Nowra into a destination worth getting off the beaten track for. so to speak.

"We believe this initiative will help put Nowra on the map as a foodie destination with local artists and entertainers also central to our vision of transforming the CBD in to an exciting and revitalised space," he said.

The idea appealed to chef Jack Katon, who with sister Samatha is setting up the Greenhouse Eatery in Nowra's Morrison Arcade, and is eyeing off the potential to use outdoor areas to extend the dining footprint.

He is even looking at possible uses of the Jellybean Park area as a potential location for live music and outdoor dining.

"Me and my sister were saying that exact thing - I'd love to be able to set up some nice tables out here on a Friday or Saturday night and do some alfresco dining outdoors," he said.

"You've got a cafe here, you've got a cafe there, you've got a restaurant that could be going in there, we've got all the restaurants down there, I don't see why we couldn't be doing some kind of food festival, set things up and have a few people from the local areas come down, set up your stalls, sell this, sell that."

Mr Katon said he knew one person in the local area growing artisan mushrooms, and there were many others were producing amazing food and products.

"Why can't we get people coming down here, set that up on Friday or Saturday night or the same as the Berry Market, something similar to that?" he said.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Nowra Showground gets upgrade funding

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The NSW Government will provide $16,534 for upgrades at the Nowra Showground under its COVID-19 showground stimulus program.

Member for the South Coast Shelley Hancock said "The latest money brings the total funding for the region under the program to more than $700,000."

She said "During bushfires and floods showgrounds many also serve as emergency centres for residents, animals, firefighters and other support services, so we want them in good shape."

The Nowra Showground dollars will go towards drainage and landscaping improvements.

Image: supplied 

 

Nowra's Homeless Hub in danger of losing its home

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Nowra's Homeless Hub is in danger of joining the ranks of the homeless that it helps every day.

The Supported Accommodation and Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra (SAHSSI) has been running the drop-in service out of a house on the edge of Nowra's CBD for the past 20 years, but the service was told this week the tenancy will end on January 26.

SAHSSI's Shoalhaven services manager Lesley Labka said there was no way the service could afford commercial rents elsewhere under its current funding structure, but she said the organisation would be doing all it could to find another home.

However, Ms Labka stressed it would not be easy, as there were a number of factors to consider.

"Trying to find something that's affordable, that's available within the timeframe, and that's within an area that's accessible to our homeless community is going to be our three challenges," she said.

Ms Labka said the organisation would look at options to co-locate with other services, operating from a private residence or low-cost commercial property - in fact any and all options would be considered.

Real estate agencies have been contacted, as have staff within Shoalhaven Council.

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Ms Labka said the service was seeing about 20 people a day, and the community could lose out if the service is forced to close.

"Many of the clients who use our service do so because they are in temporary accommodation and they need assistance to maintain he temporary accommodation and look for properties - that service would not be available," she said.

"It's a walk-in centre where people can have a shower, wash their clothes - that would not be available.

"It's a walk-in centre where people can use computers, access phones, set up what can sometime be quite complicated online application forms and processes - that would not be available.

"We have trauma-informed, educated and experienced case managers on site to assist people in crisis - that would not be available.

"So the community would lose all of those services."

Ms Labka had no criticism of the landlord who had asked for the property back to carry out renovations.

"We've been very fortunate, our landlord has given us a very reasonable rent, but that's not going to be the case going forward," she said.

Images: Glenn Ellard

Palm Beach upgrade underway

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Sanctuary Point’s Palm Beach upgrade is underway, with the first sod on the project turned today (Thursday).

The popular picnic and boating area will be transformed into a tourism precinct with upgrades to Ray Brooks Reserve, including a two-metre-wide accessible concrete path linking the amenities building, carpark and playground; new accessible barbecues and picnic shelters, plus carpark improvements including accessible parking spaces.

A gravel path will also connect the reserve to the Basin Walking Trail which will continue along the foreshore.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock, who joined community advocates Dennis and Kate Williams and Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley for the sod turning, said the project was part of a $5.3 million NSW Government funding commitment to Shoalhaven City Council and was the first of seven sustainable tourism infrastructure projects to be undertaken by council over the next three years.

Future works include upgrades to facilities at Hyams Beach, an extension of the Murramarang Coastal Walk, upgrades to the Basin Walk track and the construction of paths and boardwalks at Bherwerre Wetland.

Photo supplied.

 

Rates and rent cuts to go before Shoalhaven Council

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The issue of rate relief for Shoalhaven home owners and businesses will be raised again at tonight's council meeting.

The last meeting supported a motion to reduce rates by 25 percent for the next financial year, to help in the recovery from both the bushfires and the COVID-19 shutdown.

However Mayor AMANDA FINDLEY has lodged a rescission motion warning of critical financial recoil for the council and its operations if it goes ahead.

The council CEO has also warned such a move is illegal under the Local Government Act.

Meantime a motion to offer rent relief for those in council-owned properties impacted by the coronavirus is also on tonight's agenda.

Photo: news stock

Reworked Nowra historic site opened

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Shoalhaven City Council has revamped the former Nowra Sailing Club site, with new picnic seating, interpretative signage and flood markers.

The Council funded project included the demolition of the former Nowra Sailing Club building.

The historic building survived two World Wars and many floods and was utilised by Nowra Sailing Club from 1964 until it was destroyed by fire. The pylons that supported the original building for more than 100 years remain as they are heritage listed.

You'll find it on the southern side of the Shoalhaven River near the Nowra Bridge.

Photo: Supplied

Roll up your sleeves and get rid of graffiti

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We're all being asked to roll up our sleeves and help remove graffiti from buildings across the Shoalhaven.  

The aim of Graffiti Removal Day on Sunday March 28 is to highlight the problem of graffiti and encourage people to remove and prevent graffiti in their community.   

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley is calling for Shoalhaven residents to ‘Love where they live’ by volunteering their time on the day at a clean-up site.  

“Graffiti vandalism can be a costly, antisocial, and often unsightly nuisance for the community," she said.

“Council is committed to presenting the Shoalhaven in a positive manner to both visitors and residents, in particular by swiftly removing graffiti from our public assets.  

“Graffiti can cause people to feel unsafe and may be offensive to members of the community, creating the impression that nobody cares about the area. 

“Evidence shows that the quick removal of graffiti helps to deter future vandalism events. Graffiti vandals like to admire their tags and this quick action removes the satisfaction of seeing their mark,” Cr Findley said. 

Residents can volunteer or nominate a site for Graffiti Removal Day on their website (https://graffitiremovalday.org.au). Anyone over the age of 12 with the ability to clean off graffiti can volunteer to participate. 

Council’s Graffiti Removal Coordinator works to remove graffiti from Council assets on a daily basis

Council also offers advice and support for residents and business owners when removing graffiti from private property. 

Graffiti vandalism is a crime. If you see something suspicious, report it to police. If you have information about graffiti vandalism, phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The NSW Graffiti Hotline is also available for assistance on 1800 707 125 (Monday to Friday). 

Shoalhaven a world leader in recycling

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The Shoalhaven is using world-leading technology to process and recycle waste that was once destined for landfill.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley was at the West Nowra waste and recycling depot yesterday to look specifically at the Microfactorie that will turn waste products into green ceramics that can be used for kitchen benches, tabletops, tiles and furnishings.

It is the brainchild of Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the University of NSW, which developed the Microfactorie technology.

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She offered enthusiastic support for all the work being done ion the Shoalhaven, describing it as "world leading".

"It's an absolute model, as the Minister refers to it," Professor Sahajwalla told the gathering.

"It's an opportunity to really feel proud of the fact that we're at the cutting edge of the global frontier when it comes to recycling, remanufacturing, and showing we can make products like green ceramics - all those difficult materials like waste textiles that then can be used as part of green ceramics is really something that we're leading the world in this place."

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Ms Ley was clearly impressed by the scope of recycling work being carried out.

“The Microfactorie will be the first local government facility of its kind in Australia to recycle waste like mattresses and glass into green ceramics in the Shoalhaven and Illawarra,” she said.

“The green ceramics produced here will be used as kitchen benches, tabletops, tiles, furnishings and other applications in council construction projects around the region.

“Shoalhaven City Council has bolstered its reputation as an early adopter of innovative and scalable waste solutions in its decision to partner with the University of NSW Sustainable Materials Research and Technology Centre," Ms Ley said.

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“This innovative project will use science-based waste solutions to manage local waste and the learnings from the Microfactorie will be shared with other local councils around Australia through the Government’s National Environmental Science Program’s Waste Hub.”

 While the visit was focused on the Microfactorie, Ms Ley was shown the range of other recycling programs and innovations happening at the depot.

There's waste glass being turned into sand for roads and concrete, polystyrene being turned into materials used in paving or building,  and 42 tonnes of plastics a year being turned into products including filament for 3D printing.

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Council's waste coordinator Peter Windley said most things could be recycled.

"We've got quite a few projects happening at the moment and they all involve resource recovery and re-use of what would traditionally be called waste items," he said.

"We have the Bioelektra project which is looking to recycle everything that goes into the kerbside red bin, we're also building materials recovery facility which recovers all the waste products put into the yellow bin, we're building the Microfactorie out the back here, and we're just finishing off the final touches of our glass plant," Mr Windley said.

Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan praised the scope of work Shoalhaven City Council was undertaking.

“This innovative project is not just good for the environment, it will be good for local jobs, and it will be good for the local economy,” Senator Molan said.

Images: Glenn Ellard

Shoalhaven back in the swim with council pools to reopen

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Shoalhaven City Council staff are preparing to reopen outdoor pools following the most recent announcement from the NSW State Government.

Nowra Aquatic Park and Ulladulla outdoor pool are planning to re-open and return to their normal opening hours in time for the long weekend.

This will allow residents to take advantage of the easing of restrictions and warmer weather.

In addition, Bomaderry outdoor pool, which is currently undergoing some maintenance, will be opened shortly after.

All sea pools remain open; however, all indoor pools and gyms remain closed until further notice in accordance with the Public Health Order.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said "The Council’s decision to reopen outdoor pools in time for the long weekend allowed staff time to prepare".

"I encourage everyone to read information on the COVID measures in place before your visit our facilities and follow Council’s website for more updates”, Clr Findley said.

For more information visit Council’s Swim Sport and Fitness website.

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

 

Shoalhaven City Council a climate challenge finalist

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Shoalhaven City Council has been named among the finalists in the third annual national climate awards.

The awards recognise the work of local governments in helping to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.

CITIES POWER PARTNERSHIP describes them as local champions who are stepping up to the climate challenge in the face of ongoing Federal climate inaction.

Shoalhaven City Council is one of three finalists in the Energy Efficiency Achievement section - described as ' a ray of light still shines bright in the Shoalhaven.'

The winners will be announced next week.

Image: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/search/light%20bulb/

Shoalhaven City Council closes its doors

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Shoalhaven City Council will be closing all in-person customer services to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Shoalhaven, following the Federal Government’s announcement until further notice. 

Council continues to deliver essential services such as waste and recycling collections, as well as the cleaning of public amenities. Plans will be in place to manage this situation as it changes, as per advice from NSW Heatlh. 

The second stage of closures will take effect from close of business Wednesday, March 25. 

These services include:  


Swim, Sport and Fitness Facilities – all pools (including sea and Village pools) and gyms.  

Shoalhaven Libraries - a number of changes in service will enable customers to still access library services, some of these include Click and Collect, Phone Service and Home Library Service. 

Nowra and Ulladulla Customer Service – all customer service interactions will be taken online and over the phone only.  

Nowra and Ulladulla Visitor Information Services – All customer service interactions will be taken online and over the phone only.  

Waste Services Buyback Centres are closed and the Green & Bulky Waste Collection Service has ceased, all depots remain open.   

Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre 

Shoalhaven Regional Gallery & Arts Centre 

All community halls 

These closures are to ensure the safety of staff and customers in line with the Federal Government’s announcement.   

Residents are being encouraged to utilise Council’s online and phone services, which allows them to report a missed bin collection (1800 441 341), lodge and track Development Applications, pay bills online (rates – water), view property details, download dog attack witness report, register your pet, report illegal tree removal to Rangers (4429 3433), Application for Certificate of Compliance for Swimming Pools, current and upcoming road works or read an E-Book with further options available, see Shoalhaven Libraries Website and Social Media. 

Closures came into effect from 5 o'clock yesterday ( Wednesday ) afternoon. 

For more information on coronavirus, including updates, alerts and resources, please visit the NSW Health website. Alternatively, you can call the Coronavirus Health Information Line (1800 020 080) for information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Photo: nsw.gov.au

Shoalhaven City Council closes some services

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Shoalhaven City Council’s stage one plan in response to the Federal and State Government’s latest advice on COVID-19 will see the following facilities closed from midday today:   

Indoor Sports Facilities  

Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre   

Bay & Basin Leisure Centre 

Bomaderry Aquatic Centre Indoor Pool 

Sussex Inlet Aquatic Centre  

Ulladulla Leisure Centre Indoor Pool and Gym   

Outdoor pool facilities that remain open at this time include Nowra Aquatic Park, Bomaderry Outdoor Pool, Ulladulla Outdoor Pool and, all village pools and sea pools.  

Entertainment Facilities  

The Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre is now closed to the public. The Encore Café is still open for take away orders only.   

The Visitor Information Centre- Nowra 

The Visitor Information Centre at Nowra is now closed to the public, but enquires can still be made via phone on 44210778, with visitor information also available online.   

The Ulladulla Civic Centre will be restricting the use of their meeting rooms. The Recovery Centre will continue to be open to the public as it is deemed an essential gathering. The Recovery Centre will adhere to all social distancing measures implemented by the Federal Health Department within an enclosed space where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies are now restricted. The Ulladulla Civic Centre’s The Café is still operating but is restricted to providing a takeaway service only. 

Shoalhaven Regional Gallery & Arts Centre 

The Shoalhaven Regional Gallery & Arts Centre Gallery will remain closed as scheduled for the installation of the environmental / climate control system until 7 June 2020. Further to this the Gallery will be restricting the use of their meeting rooms, a further review will occur as the situation changes.  

Community Halls  

Council’s Community Halls will temporarily be unavailable for hire, as Council adheres to the Federal Health Department’s regulations. This includes buildings at showgrounds, community sporting facility building,  public halls, community centres and School of Arts.  Council has decided to close all Community Halls, due to uncertainty about private events adhering to current health regulations regarding social distancing. The health and well-being of our customers is always at the forefront of our mind, and we want to ensure their safety.  

Where can I find more information?  

You can also find information on COVID-19 on the below links:  

For further information, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on  

1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   

Image and info source: Shoalhaven City Council 

Shoalhaven City Council launch 'Get Ready' webinars

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In light of the previous fire season, Shoalhaven City Council has launched virtual city-wide meetings open to all residents and ratepayers.

The 'Recovery into Readiness' Community meetings are being held to prepare, educate and protect the Shoalhaven for the next emergency/fire season.

Held on Wednesday, 26th August 2020, these webinars will address matters relevant and important to the community and are hosted by a panel made up of emergency management experts, including members from the RFS, NSW Police and Shoalhaven City Council.

There are three time slots across the day, aiming to maximise participation and all residents and ratepayers are encouraged to submit their questions via the Bushfire Recovery webpage prior to each session.

To access the Recovery into Readiness Community meetings, please click the links below:

1pm – Webinar (Teams Event): https://bit.ly/3l8lk5k
4pm – Webinar (Teams Event): https://bit.ly/3iTiJdn
7pm - Facebook community live stream: https://bit.ly/31dQaBq

For more information, contact Shoalhaven City Council.

IMAGE CREDIT: Shoalhaven City Council

Shoalhaven City Council wins award

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SHOALHAVEN City Council has taken out a national climate gong for energy efficiency at the prestigious Cities Power Partnership Awards last night.

The Cities Power Partnership Awards recognise the work of climate heroes in local governments across the country who are transforming Australia’s energy landscape.

Shoalhaven took top honours for its ‘A ray of light still shines bright in the Shoalhaven’ project that includes a range of clean energy initiatives with a focus on energy efficiency.

Shoalhaven City Council’s Mayor Amanda Findley said she was delighted to hear the announcement.  

“I’m thrilled Council has been recognised for its adoption of a series of sustainable energy efficiency and renewable energy projects aimed at achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” Clr Findley said.  

“Some of the recent projects included trialing three fully electric vehicles in its fleet, installation of over 400 kW of solar panels across 10 sites, commencing a revolving energy fund, replacing 4,200 street lights with energy saving LEDs and supporting Repower Shoalhaven’s community energy solar farm.

“It goes to show that even regional Councils can play a big role in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and embracing clean energy to help generations to come.”  

Photo supplied

Shoalhaven Council investigates vandal attack on trees

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Shoalhaven Council is investigating ongoing tree and vegetation vandalism at Collingwood Beach.

Council’s Director of City Development, Phil Costello, said tree and vegetation vandalism had a significant impact on the local environment and went against community values.

And it showed people did not understand the important role vegetation played on the coast, he said.

“Vegetation growing on dune systems protects nearby infrastructure from erosion and provides crucial habitat for many endemic animal species," Mr Costello said.

Coastal dunes provide very important protection against coastal hazards such as wind erosion, excessive wave action and tidal overruns during storm events."

Mr Costello said that “any assistance from members of the public would be greatly appreciated and rewards are on offer where the information provided may lead to the identification of the individuals responsible”. 

Council is encouraging residents to take an active approach in understanding the need for coastal areas to remain in a natural vegetated condition and assist us to protect not only the natural environment, but in the longer-term people’s homes and properties. 

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

Shoalhaven Council prioritises clean-up efforts following east coast low storm

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Shoalhaven City Council is reassuring the community that clean-up works are a priority following the impact of the east coast low across the Shoalhaven region.

Council staff will focus on clearing trees and debris on roads over the next couple of days so that they can be opened as soon as possible.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said the impact of the east coast low storm has been significant and predicted a long clean-up ahead for those who have been impacted.

“The storm has impacted many towns right across the Shoalhaven. I wish to thank the community for their patience and understanding as Council staff start the massive task of assessing damage and triaging information received from the emergency services and the public”, Clr Findley said.

“We appreciate that this can be a frustrating time for the community. Council staff are working as quickly as possible to reinstate access for individuals to their homes and properties and are busy clearing fallen trees”, Clr Findley said.  

“In particular I would like to recognise the tireless work of Council and SES staff, many who worked late into the night in pretty awful conditions”, Clr Findley said.

Council wishes to remind motorists to adhere to closed road signage to allow Council staff to complete urgent clean-up work across the Shoalhaven.    

To keep up to date with road closures caused by the storm or to report a problem,  visit Council’s Website.

Image: Supplied

Shoalhaven Council seeks your opinion about doggy do and what doggies do

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Shoalhaven City Council would like to hear about your experiences with dogs in our public spaces and is encouraging everyone to provide feedback before Monday 26 July 2021.  All feedback received will help inform the Council’s review of the Access for Dogs Policy and associated Dog Off-Leash Guide.

Shoalhaven City wants to hear from all users of public areas to gain a better understanding of how people currently share these spaces, including our natural areas with dogs, and ideas of how this could be improved in the future. Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley is encouraging everyone to take the survey. “Council is seeking feedback from everyone. People who live here all the time, people who live here some of the time, and people who visit our beautiful region” Clr Findley said. 

“We want to hear people’s experiences and thoughts on what they believe encourages positive shared use of space with our pets. You can submit your feedback through our online form, or pop by one of our drop-in sessions and speak with Council Staff directly” Clr Findley said.  

“I encourage everyone to not only complete the survey but also pass it on to your family and friends who spend time in the Shoalhaven, no matter where they live. We want to ensure public spaces in the Shoalhaven a positive and friendly place for both pet owners and those who prefer to walk alone alike.” Clr Findley noted.  

The community has until midnight on Monday 26 July 2021 to provide their feedback on the current Access for Dogs Policy and associated Dog Off-Leash Guide through the Online Survey. Individuals can also attend Community Drop-In Sessions where they will have the opportunity to speak with Council staff regarding any questions they may have on the Policy or the review progress. 

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 To complete the survey, and for more information visit Council’s Get Involved Page for the Access Areas for Dogs Policy Review.  

Council’s current Access Areas for Dogs Policy and associated Dog Off-Leash Guide can be viewed on Council’s website. 

Community Drop-In Sessions will be held at the following locations: 

Plantation Point

Where: Plantation Point Reserve (near toilet block) 

When: Friday 16 July 

Time: 7:00am-10:00am 

 Mollymook 

Where: Mollymook Beach (intersection of Donlan Rd south with Mitchell Parade) 

When: Friday 16 July 

Time: 1:30pm-4:30pm 

Ulladulla

Where: Ulladulla Civic Centre (grassed area outside Centre) 

When: Saturday 24 July 

Time: 10:00am-1:00pm 

Images: Peter Andrea

Shoalhaven council taping off no-go zones

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Shoalhaven City Council is taping off specific areas as it ramps up efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Public playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor gyms have all been closed and the council is asking us to avoid taped off areas with council staff  placing signage and barriers where needed at relevant locations over the coming days. 

 The council says it also reinforces Government advice that non-household public gatherings of over two people outdoors are not permitted and urging anyone who spots people not obeying the rules to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

A full list of closed park facilities in the Shoalhaven can be found here, with further details of parks and playgrounds in the area at; https://shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/Discover-Shoalhaven/Parks-playgrounds  

Residents are encouraged to view current Council service updates on Council’s website.

To date the following Council closures are now in place:  

·        Waste Depots-Kioloa, Lake Conjola, Bendalong, Sussex Inlet, Callala, Berry and Kangaroo Valley. 

·        Shoalhaven Swim, Sport and Fitness facilities – pools and gyms.  

·        Shoalhaven Libraries – services still available online. 

·        Nowra and Ulladulla Customer Service 

·        The Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre - café open for takeaway only.  

·        Nowra and Ulladulla Visitor Information Centre 

·        The Ulladulla Civic Centre 

·        Shoalhaven Regional Gallery and Arts Centre 

·        Community Buildings 

·        Camping Grounds 

·        Public Skate Parks, Playgrounds and Outdoor Gyms. 

For more information on COVID-19, including updates, alerts and resources, please visit the NSW Health website. Alternatively, you can call the Coronavirus Health Information Line (1800 020 080) for information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Photo supplied

Shoalhaven councillors push for better pay deal

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Shoalhaven councillors will get a pay rise from next month.. but believe they're being short-changed.

Councillor fees are determined by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal and this year will rise by 2.5 percent to $19,790 for each councillor and an additional $43,170 for the Mayor.

However  the councillors believe Shoalhaven's category of Regional Rural is not realistic and this month's meeting agreed to put forward a submission to move into a  higher category.

They say Regional Rural councils typically have a minimum population of 20-thousand  while Shoalhaven's is around 104-thousand, significantly increasing the scope and responsibility of the councillors.

Photo source: Shoalhaven Council web page

Shoalhaven goes solar to power wastewater treatment

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Shoalhaven Council has installed 445 more solar panels to slash its carbon emissions and cut running costs of wastewater treatment plants at Nowra, Bomaderry and Culburra.

The solar systems are expected to generate around 250,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 200 tonnes per year.  

Shoalhaven Water’s Executive Manager, Robert Horner, said council’s most recent solar panel installation at Nowra Wastewater Treatment Plant demonstrated council’s commitment to investing in sustainable energy solutions that would help it achieve a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.  

"The solar PV systems supply cost-effective renewable electricity during the daytime to offset some of the plant’s grid electricity needs," he said.

"The solar systems are installed ‘behind-the-meter’, which also avoids costly electricity network charges as the power is generated onsite.

"By mid-2022, council is on track to have solar PV installed at 11 of our 13 wastewater treatment plants, along with renewable energy generation at three of our water treatment plants," Mr Horner said. 

Council has adopted a corporate net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, with interim emissions reduction targets of 25 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030.  

The electricity needed to operate council's corporate and community facilities accounts for almost half its total carbon emissions.

To reduce these emissions, council is investigating a long-term renewable power purchase agreement to secure its future electricity needs, reach its sustainability targets and achieve cost savings.  

Local renewable energy generation from solar farms, biogas and landfill gas plants might also contribute to council’s future energy needs, as they offer economic, social and environmental outcomes to the region. 

Image: Shoalhaven City Council

Shoalhaven green waste fees back on

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Shoalhaven City Council's cancelled free green waste tipping from today, to discourage non-essential visits to waste management facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council is asking residents not to visit waste depots to dispose of non-essential waste i.e. waste that can be stored for a long time without creating a health hazard, including green waste. 

Council’s essential kerbside bin collection for domestic waste will continue.  

Council’s waste facilities in Nowra and Ulladulla have experienced a spike in green waste customers over the past two weekends despite the Government’s explicit non-essential travel restrictions to counter the risk of coronavirus spread. 

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Council is taking seriously the Federal and State Government's directive for Australians to stay home unless it is necessary to go outside. 

The changes to waste management services aim to protect staff and the community by minimising customer interactions as much as possible. 

As well as charging for green waste, Council has stopped the bulky and green waste collection service and closed the Buy Back Centres and small waste depots until further notice. This includes depots at: Bendalong, Berry, Callala, Conjola, Kangaroo Valley, Kioloa and Sussex Inlet. 

Photos: Google maps and Shoalhaven Council

Shoalhaven in the running for prestigious award

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Shoalhaven City Council's renewable energy efforts have earned them a finals spot  in the 2019 Cities Power Partnership Awards.

The council's 'Charging Ahead with Renewables' project was selected from a competitive field of entries from across the nation achieving a place in the final nine entries. 

The project includes council's increasing use of solar power and its Electric Vehicle Charging Station policy.

Mayor Amanda Findley said “It is a fantastic achievement for the Shoalhaven to be announced as a national finalist for this prestigious award, it further cements that Council is heading down the right path with its sustainable energy projects and policies.” 

The winners will be announced at the Cities Power Partnership's national awards night on Thursday August 29 in Sydney.

Photo source: Shoalhaven City Council

Shoalhaven mayoral candidate accused of breaking the law

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Unvaccinated Shoalhaven Mayoral candidate Nina Digiglio has been accused of breaking the law by ignoring QR codes and health restrictions when walking onto the site of a public forum at Bomaderry on Saturday morning.

The community consultative group Bomaderry Pride held the forum to allow residents to question Ward One candidates for the December 4 election.

Secretary Terry Barratt said he wrote to all candidates before the forum to say only people who were fully vaccinated would be allowed onto the gathering's site at Waratah Park.

This message was reiterated as people started to arrive for the forum.

People were told anyone unvaccinated could still take part, but due to government health regulations would have to stand on the adjacent footpath.

However Cr Digiglio ignored the requirements and regulations to walk onto the site, bypassing the QR registration areas.

"She didn't sign on, and anyway she couldn't sign on, it would have been a lie if she'd signed on and said she had been vaccinated," Mr Barratt said.

"As far as I'm concerned she was in breach of the rules."

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After walking onto the site Cr Digiglio stood near the microphone for a while, before addressing the crowd.

It came as anti vaxxers hijacked the community meeting, making up a large section of about 40 people who attended and disrupting proceedings with a stream of accusations, anger and aggression.

Mr Barratt said he was forced to shut down the meeting early because of the behaviour of people attending.

Most of the items that were due to be discussed as pertinent to the Bomaderry community could not be raised with the four ward one candidates who attended - two from the Green and one each from Labor and the Shoalhaven independents.

Images: Glenn Ellard

Shoalhaven open for dine and discover vouchers

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Shoalhaven is one of the leading regions in the uptake of the NSW Government’s Dine and Discover vouchers, with 17.9 per cent of business registrations in regional NSW coming from the Shoalhaven.

As part of a major economic stimulus package to support dining, arts and tourism businesses in NSW, residents aged 18 years and older can apply for four $25 vouchers worth $100 in total, to spend in participating businesses.

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley is encouraged by the response from local businesses.

“Council’s Economic Development staff have been actively working with Service NSW to communicate the opportunity to businesses. Recent figures confirm that at least 50 percent of eligible businesses have successfully registered to date,” Cr Findley said.

“Although our region has enjoyed a surge in tourism over the summer months and on weekends, this scheme encourages mid-week dining and activities which will give our local economy an added boost.

“It isn’t too late for local businesses to apply, registration for the scheme is still open,."

The vouchers are in two categories:

  • Two $25 vouchers to be used for eating in at restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and clubs from Monday to Thursday, excluding public holidays.
  • Two $25 vouchers to be used for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues, available 7 days a week, excluding public holidays.

To check if vouchers are available for your address; http://bit.ly/2Nm9msK

Find out more about the initiative and how your business can participate here: http://bit.ly/3cJfC8a

Shoalhaven ratepayers to get $300 each

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Shoalhaven ratepayers will soon be given the opportunity to put 300 of their ratepayer dollars back in their pocket.

Council has been looking at ways to help the city through the COVID-19 crisis.

An earlier decision to reduce rates next year by 25-percent had to be rejected because it was found to be illegal.

Instead at this week's extraordinary meeting of council there was narrow agreement to give ratepayers the option to take a one-off 300-dollar payment.

One of those in favour was councillor BOB PROUDFOOT.. 

"..and we've captured the mood of let's get out there and help our people".

" It's not throwing away money that can never be recouped again, it's not throwing away something that we cannot afford."

"It's giving people a simple option where when a person receives a letter from the council they can opt in or opt out." Councillor Proudfoot said.

It's estimated if everyone takes up the offer it will cost the council around  $17-million dollars.

Photo: Shoalhaven Council

Shoalhaven recognised for its action on Climate Change

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Shoalhaven City Council was among those who were recognised for their work at the Cities Power Partnership Awards overnight in Sydney.

The awards highlight and acknowledge the work of LOCAL GOVERNMENTS in tackling climate change.

Shoalhaven won a 'highly commended' for its 'Charging Ahead with Renewables' project, which is spear-heading Shoalhaven's push away from fossil fuels.

Photo supplied

Shoalhaven's furry friends benefit from community generosity

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The spirit of giving has been extended to our furry friends, with the Shoalhaven animal shelter receiving a swag of gifts in the lead up to Christmas.

Manager Jodie Parnell said some had even made it easier for people to adopt animals.

"Amanda from All Natural Homemade Dog Treats donated $200 towards every single dog and reduced their adoption fees," she said.

"We've also had a young girl who saved her money from working two jobs to adopt one of our cats, and while she was here she paid nearly all of the adoption fee for Miles (one of the shelter's dogs)."

She said the shelters donations also covered everything the animals could possibly need.

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"We had some lovely boxes from some lovely people yesterday who through their work have been saving their cans and bottles, and what they've made from that they've donated towards gifts for the shelter animals," Ms Parnell said.

People had given everything from food and toys to leads and coats.

"We're so lucky, we've got such a wonderful community," Ms Parnell said.

While Shoalhaven Council supplied good quality food for all the shelter's animals, Ms Parnell said donations helped free up her budget enough to take extra care of the animals' medical or other needs, making them more comfortable while in the shelter and more adoptable.

Images: Shoalhaven Animal Shelter, Glenn Ellard

Sky's the limit for Shoalhaven Community Solar Farm

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Five years of planning and work is about to come to fruition with the Shoalhaven Community Solar Farm at Nowra Hill soon to be switched on.

Boasting nearly 8000 solar panels, the three-megawatt system is the brainchild of Repower Shoalhaven working in conjunction with Shoalhaven Council which provided land and plenty of expertise.

Walter Moore from Repower Shoalhaven said the project needed money, and the local community was quick to come to the party.

"We did some community fundraising, we had a target of $500,000, we achieved that in just a couple of days and we not have 23 shareholders," Mr Moore said.

In fact the appeal for public funding was so successful it was over-subscribed, he said.

Repower also went looking for government grants, which Mr Moore thought would be available for the as the first solar farm on the NSW South Coast, only to find there were none available for projects producing renewable energy.

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Instead the local group partnered with commercial organisation Flow Power, which helped develop the solar farm earlier than expected, and is now going to market to try and sell the power it will soon be producing.

"We couldn't have done it without Flow Power," Mr Moore said.

Sydney City Council was quick to sign up, agreeing to take 30 per cent of the power the solar farm generates as party of its commitment to being carbon neutral and running on 100 per cent renewable energy.

While the City of Sydney's commitment underpinned the project, other business customers are also being sought.

"So we are looking for middle to large size businesses, because we're working through Flow Power which is our partner, so we're trying to engage with different businesses and we've got a couple that are interested," Mr Moore said.

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This farm will produce enough electricity to power about 2500 homes, and while the focus of the first farm is on business customers, Mr Moore said that could change with future projects.

"In the future I think we'll look at projects that involved houses directly," he said.

"I think the next site will probably be at North Nowra, at the old tip site there off Illaroo Road.

"We looked at that originally but there were issues with ownership of the land at the time that needed to be resolved, and that has been now, so we'll probably do a similar project there," Mr Moore said.

Repower is also looking at whether it can get funding for a storage battery at the Nowra Hill facility, to make it easier to supply electricity when its customers want power.

Mr Moore said the group is also looking at the potential for installations at retirement homes because "The cheapest way to get electricity is to generate your own."

Images: Glenn Ellard

Spend it here in the Shoalhaven

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Shoalhaven City Council is calling on the community to boost Shoalhaven businesses by exploring their own backyard and shopping local.  

Council is also encouraging residents use their NSW Dine and Discover vouchers locally, go to the movies, book a whale watching experience or enjoy one of our many wineries with wide open spaces for dining and exploring with the family.  

Mayor Amanda Findley said everyone could help play a part to keep local businesses afloat and community spirit alive during these uncertain times.   

She said if everyone did a little, it would add up to a lot, towards keeping people in jobs and your favourite places open. 

She encouraged everyone to Spend Here This Year in the Shoalhaven by shopping locally, having a staycation, and using your Dine and Discover vouchers for COVID-safe adventures and foodie experiences.  

image: supplied

Sports centre recognised as community hub

 

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The $16.4 million Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre at Bomaderry has received a Highly Commended Award at the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) NSW Crown Group Awards for Excellence in Social & Community Infrastructure 2020.   

The award recognises the innovative design and positive impact the centre has had on the community, in terms of infrastructure and place making.  

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley was thrilled to learn of the result. 

“Despite being a relatively new facility for the Shoalhaven, as restrictions have eased the centre has fast become a hub for the local community, encouraging and supporting a healthier, more active and connected lifestyle for residents and visitors," she said.

“This award is a great acknowledgement for all involved in its planning, design, construction and management and also demonstrates to the community the exceptional standard of community facility that we now have here in the Shoalhaven. 

“With the relaxation of restrictions, we look forward to the centre becoming a major drawcard for the Shoalhaven, attracting major sporting events and economic activity to the region, which will flow on to our communities."

The Centre has the capacity to cater for large-scale sporting and other events, with show court and grandstand seating, along with three further multi-purpose courts, meeting rooms, offices, fitness facilities, change room facilities, café and creche area. The precinct building area spans 5,703 m2.  

Constructed in October 2019, the Shoalhaven Indoor Sports Centre is the only one of its kind outside the Sydney metropolitan area. 

The centre was also named a finalist in the NSW Regional Development Award of Excellence category.  

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State-of-the-art library plan for Sanctuary Point

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Concept plans for the new state-of-the-art Sanctuary Point Library will soon go on public exhibition.

Plans include a roof-top garden terrace, art installation spaces, a children's area, meeting rooms and expansive library space.

Shoalhaven Councillor Patricia White expects the community to be impressed with both the design and the inclusions in the two-storey facility proposed for the corner of Paradise Beach Road and Kerry Street.

She says residents can expect the new library to be completed and open by the end of 2023.

"The plans are absolutely spectacular," Cr White said.

"I can’t believe we are going to have a library at Sanctuary Point of this credibility."

Cr White said the architects have done a "fantastic job" completing the plans in just 12 months.

"Normally these projects would take four or five years to get to this stage to put on public exhibition," she explained.

"I encourage people to have a look at the plans and to make submissions whether they like it, or if they see anywhere for improvement. "

The library project has been on council's book for a long time, with the existing library located in a small blue building on land owned by the nearby school.

Cr White says, despite its size, it’s the best used library in the city.

She said the design incorporates something for everyone, from study spaces and meeting rooms, to function areas.

"What is being delivered, I think everybody will want one because it’s so good and so suitable for the area.

"It’s really been designed around the library, but brings so much more - it’s really stunning."

While Cr White could not confirm the cost of the project, she said council has "the budget for it" in the 2020/21, 22/23 budget and price would be confirmed once the project goes out to tender.

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Images Shoalhaven City Council.

Students take on Shoalhaven City Council

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As expected a move by Shoalhaven Council to reverse a decision to support a student strike on Climate Change generated strong debate at last night's council meeting.

Some councillors wanted to rescind an earlier motion that indicated support for the strike.. fearing it would show the council was in favour of breaking the law.

However their efforts were strongly challenged by some of the students themselves.. helping to defeat the motion..

Ulladulla High School Captain TAKESA FRANK told the council " Whether or not you agree with our actions, doesn't change our actions. Whether you agree with our decisions doesn't change the fact that the cause we are arguing for exists."

Another student from Ulladulla High LACHLAN CONGRAM said " Students have a voice on this topic. If you are sitting in a corner focusing on one day that we took off school instead of supporting us.. please re-think" 

And Ulladulla High's JADE MUDGE summed it up " We are not asking for you to listen to statistics and facts but listen to reason. It's just common sense." 

Photo source: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/blog

System crashes and anti-vaxxers at Nowra pre-poll

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The anti-vaccination crowd that hijacked Saturday's meet the ward one candidates meeting in Bomaderry also gate crashed the pre-poll voting at Nowra's Wesley Centre on Monday morning.

Cr John Wells was there at the time and said they pushed the anti-vaccination message.

"There was another party here, and that was Cr Digiglio's group, whatever their name is, and I understand that they were handing out some anti-vax brochures of some description that apparently was reported at the time, so I don't know where that's going to go," he said.

The group's decision to hand out brochures flew in the face of COVID regulations that prevented candidates handing out how to vote information to people approaching the polling station.

Several candidates feared the lack of how to vote cards might cause an increase in informal votes - particularly in the wards were people had the option of voting either above or below the line.

"I think there will be a few more informal votes because people don't have that default piece of paper in their hands when they're actually standing in a booth, and some people may misunderstand it - instead of just pitting one above the line they might go and also number below the line," said candidate Serena Copley.

Mayoral candidate Paul Green had similar concerns.

"People are coming up to me and saying, 'Paul Green, where's your how to vote?' and of course we don't have one and that's really harder for the older generation that have had generations of get my how to vote, work it out,  and go and vote," he said.

"So it's been really, I think, difficult for the older generation."

However Greens candidates had laminated how to vote information and invited people to photograph information to take into the polling station.

"The way we're doing things now is a good example of how we're going to do things in the future - no paper, able to just take a photo and go in from there," said candidate Bradley Stanton.

"I think this is a great idea and something that should go past COVID."

There was additional turmoil hitting the first day of pre-poll voting due to the Elections NSW computer systems crashing.

People wanting to check candidate details ahead of attending a pre-polling place to cast a vote were left facing a screen saying the site was undergoing maintenance, while there were also delays for people casting votes.

Pre-poll voting continues until December 3.

Image: Glenn Ellard

The Christmas spirit takes over Nowra's CBD

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Junction Court in Nowra's central business district has been turned into a Christmas wonderland with decorations, twinkling trees and more.

It's the Shine Bright Christmas Wonderland, which has been launched on Thursday night by the Nowra CBD Revitalisation Committee to help draw people out after a difficult year.

Children and families used the launch and decorations to grab some great festive photographs with giant presents, sitting on a sleigh or even of the lap of the man of the hour, Santa Claus.

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Thursday's launch also featured plenty of music and movement, adding an energy and vitality to the area.

Business operator and committee member Annie Aldous said the promotion was aimed at reminding people about all the good things Nowra had to offer.

She said the decorations were amazing.

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"We're just blessed to have it here," Mrs Aldous said.

"The revitalisation committee has been working very hard to get the Christmas festivities to happen after such a tough year for all the retailers."

She said the decorations and the atmosphere they created "helps bring the heart back into the CBD, because it's been a really rough year in that sense, and if we can get the shoppers back in the area because they can see how great it is and how happy it is, then it'll come back," Mrs Aldous said.

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"It's all about shopping locally and shopping in the Nowra CBD, and we're trying to get as much of the young people and families back into the CBD after the virus made people hesitant to come into town, so we're hoping it will bring the people back."

Images: Glenn Ellard

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Three children rescued from Swan Lake channel torrent after illegal opening

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Shoalhaven City Council has revealed the lives of three children were put at risk when they were rescued from fast flowing water after the Swan Lake entrance was allegedly illegally opened.

The artificial opening at Swan Lake was carried out by members of the public on 12 January 2022.

Shoalhaven City Council Manager of Environment Services, Dr Michael Roberts said NSW Police had advised council of three rescues involving children, who had been put at peril by the fast flowing water.

NSW Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries were alerted and will be enacting their compliance functions.

Council Rangers have also been in the area carrying out investigations as the artificial opening of the lake is an illegal activity as these works were not carried out in relation to the water trigger levels and Entrance Management Policy (EMP).

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The intervention works created a 20-30-metre-wide channel, which poses a public safety risk.

People need to be made aware of the danger this has created.

The channel, when opened by natural means or by Council,  is located to the south adjoining the rock platform.

This does not typically create a channel like the one that has formed from the recent artificial intervention.

Pending rainfall and tidal behaviour, it is expected that the sand bar will re-establish in four to eight weeks and return Swan Lake back to its natural form.

The entrance cannot be closed using any further artificial intervention.

In the meantime, signs have been posted by Council to alert the public to the swimming hazard. 

Shoalhaven City Council Manager of Environment Services, Dr Michael Roberts said, “This channel, between Swan Lake and the ocean, has resulted in the lake artificially opening at too low a water level and in unsuitable conditions.

"This may lead to significant adverse environmental impacts on Swan Lake, such as low oxygen levels, associated fish kills as well as a significant swimming hazard," he said.

 “It is an offence to open coastal lakes, or lagoons, using machinery or by hand, without a licence and could result in penalties of up to $220,000 per offence.” Dr. Roberts said. 

Council operates an Entrance Management Policy for Swan Lake, and other coastal lakes in the Shoalhaven region, with licenses from various State Government Agencies.   

This Policy allows Council to mechanically open Swan Lake to the ocean with an excavator to prevent flooding of low-lying properties surrounding the lake when the water level rises, typically following a large rainfall event, to a specific trigger level.  

Images: Dr Michael Roberts & NSW Environment

 

 

Transport told to start again on Milton Ulladulla Bypass plans

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Transport planners are being sent back to the drawing board after community representatives rejected all Transport for NSW plans for the Milton-Ulladulla bypass southern connection.

And the option of the bypass going west of the Burrill Lake waterway is firmly back on the agenda, despite it being rejected by Transport officials.

The community had been pushing for the bypass to go west of the lake and reconnect with the Princes Highway further south, while Transport wanted the bypass to reconnect via Canberra Crescent, resulting in dozens of Burrill Lake homes being demolished.

The stalemate resulted in many community representatives to a co-design committee quitting, saying Transport was not interested in listening to the community's ideas or perspectives.

South Coast MP Shelley Hancock has responded by saying the process will have to be rebooted.

"We have to go back and start this again," she said.

"Clearly the co-design committee feel that they haven't been consulted or they weren't listened to, and that's really dreadful.

"This is something that's going to affect their homes, their lives, their properties and their highway, so we've got to get it right and we've got to start again."

That included ensuring the western route was properly considered and assessed, Mrs Hancock said.

 

"We're going to have to, otherwise it'll be an imposed route by the RMS, and I don't think that will go down to well with the community in the south because they don't like things imposed on them," she said.

"They've mounted an enormous campaign - I went to one of the rallies, it was enormous - and if they all feel that their representatives on the co-design committee have walked out because they haven't been consulted with or listened to, then it's very disappointing and we have to start the process again."

Mrs Hancock said she and Bega MP Andrew Constance would discuss the issue with Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole 

 

"It's about starting again, perhaps in a better way, in a more meaningful way, in a way that the community consider they've been included in," she said.

And with Milton and Ulladulla already struggling with traffic congestion weeks before the start of the school holidays, "We've got to make a very firm decision on this and do it quickly," Mrs Hancock said.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Tributes as Shelley Hancock announces plans to quit politics

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Tributes are being paid to South Coast MP Shelley Hancock following her decision on the weekend to stand down as Local Government Minister, ahead of quitting Parliament at the next election in March 2023.

By then she will have served 20 years in State Parliament, which followed 17 years on Shoalhaven City Council 

Local Government NSW President Darriea Turley said Mrs Hancock's experiences was shown in her "deep understanding of the role councils play as the closest level of government to the community".

Cr Turley said Mrs Hancock played a key role in supporting and reforming the local government sector over the past three years.

“Minister Hancock’s capacity and commitment to working collaboratively with the sector was particularly critical in helping to support our communities through the immense challenges of recent times, and she was a key driver behind significant funding support for councils and their communities," Cr Turley said.

She said Mrs Hancock had been particularly active in breaking down the barriers to women serving in all government levels.

"When she became Local Government Minister she continued to break down many of the barriers that can deter women from public life, including long-overdue superannuation for councillors, in line with the rest of the state’s workforce, and access to childcare to enable attendance at council meetings," Cr Turley said.

"She has been tireless in her campaign to increase the number of women in elected roles, even seizing the opportunity of her resignation to call for a better gender balance in Premier Dominic Perrottet’s new cabinet."

In her announcement on the weekend Mrs Hancock said, "Now is the opportunity for the Premier to deliver a new team to take to the March 2023 State Election and it is important that women are central to the new Cabinet.

"It is often difficult being the only woman in the room, or one of a handful, therefore it is essential that women make up a larger part of the Cabinet to provide our views and perspectives - we do after all make up more than 50 per cent of the population."

Mrs Hancock also spoke of her "challenging family circumstances" impacting on her ability to commit the time and energy needed to continue serving as a minister.

"Also, a significant challenge for me has been the departure of Gladys Berejiklian," Mrs Hancock said.

"Gladys’ resignation is a loss for New South Wales and a personal loss for me, and something that I have found difficult to move past."

Ms Berejiklian's replacement, Premier Dominic Perrottet, paid tribute to Mrs Hancock's work and achievements.

“Mrs Hancock has been a strong leader in the NSW parliament, serving as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly prior to being appointed the Minister for Local Government, where she provided valuable service ensuring the continuation of the critical role of local councils during the pandemic and that local government elections proceeded this year," Mr Perrottet said.

However a far more personal tribute came from Kiama MP Gareth Ward.

"Next to my own mum, Shelley Hancock is the most incredible and extraordinary woman I know," Mr Ward said.

"She is one of the very few people who I have met on my journey in politics who I love, respect and admire."

On the same day as Mrs Hancock announced her plans to leave State Parliament at the next election, Arts Minister and former Shoalhaven-based MLC Don Harwin said he would also be vacating the Ministry and stepping down from Parliament at the next election.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Two COVID-19 cases confirmed in the Shoalhaven

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The Shoalhaven has recorded its first two cases of COVID-19.

Deputy NSW Premier John Barliaro said there were two Shoalhaven cases among the Illawarra's figures during this morning's COVID-19 update.

Dr Marianne Gayle from NSW Health again urged people in Bomaderry to come forward for testing after COVID virus fragments were found in the sewage.

Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District said the two cases are residents of Shoalhaven LGA.

It said case investigations are ongoing.

South Coast MP Shelley Hancock confirmed both cases were from the Nowra area.

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley said the local cases were inevitable but still shocking.

She said the Shoalhaven Council Emergency management committee had convened to discuss today's announcement.

Image: Supplied 

Ulladulla's New Year's Eve fireworks cancelled

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Ulladulla's New Year's Eve fireworks have been cancelled due to an administrative backlog.

The Ulladulla Milton Lions Club hosts the event each year, and president Margaret Clarke said Crown Lands approval was needed for the event to proceed.

But a paperwork backlog caused by COVID shutdowns meant  Crown Lands could not process  the application in time.

"We had everything ready and raring to go, and when we tried to get the last licence, or the main licence, we were told we'd have to wait at least eight to 10 weeks, and this was like six weeks before and it wasn't achievable," Ms Clarke said.

The club and Shoalhaven Council tried to find alternatives, but Ms Clarke said none of the options could work out.

"Everyone in the community tried for us but unfortunately we just couldn't get it," she said.

"Everyone pulled together in the council and the community and all sorts of places, but it just wasn't achievable."

Ms Clarke said the club should probably have started the application process earlier, but members didn't realise how extensive and complicated the paperwork was.

In previous years that paperwork was handled by member Allan McDonald, but he unfortunately passed away earlier in the year.

Ms Clarke said the club was disappointed it would not be able to help the community celebrate the end of what had been a difficult year.

"It's sad but these things happen and we've just go to wait until next year, but hey, I've got everything for next year ready now," she said.

Image: rovenimages.com / Pexels

Vandals hit Vincentia playground

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An act of vandalism overnight has resulted in the closure of the Liberty Swing at Plantation Point Reserve in Vincentia.

The fence surrounding the swing was damaged and bottles were smashed a strewn around the barbecue area.

Shoalhaven City Council's Director City Lifestyles, Jane Lewis, is disappointed that the vandalism will impact families visiting Plantation Point over Easter and the school holidays. 

“The Liberty Swing fence at Plantation Point is a relatively new asset constructed at the end of 2020 thanks to a donation by Veolia Mulwaree Trust," she said.

"It is frustrating that council's efforts to provide great facilities to benefit our community can be damaged so readily by a destructive minority.

“We are determined to identify the culprits and are asking residents to assist us in protecting our community assets by reporting any suspicious activity at public facilities to NSW Police."

Liberty Swings are an Australian invention that enable people using wheelchairs to experience the fun and enjoyment of swinging.

"Inclusive play spaces are vital to help people of all ages and abilities to develop a wider sense of community," Ms Lewis said.

"The improvements at Plantation Point are designed to create a real community space, providing an environment facilitating safe play whilst developing further social skills."

As well as upgrades to the playground, current works include a new amenities building with provisions for persons with a disability and accessible beach access from the Reserve to Barfleur Beach.

Thie act of vandalism follows five incidents of wire theft from sportsfields in the Shoalhaven.

Crime stoppers can be reached on 1800 333 000 or online at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

Photo SCC

Waste glass constructing Shoalhaven roads

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Shoalhaven City Council in partnership with Fulton Hogan is ensuring the region's discarded glass has a second life.  

Fulton Hogan has recently received full approval to utilise recycled glass sand produced from waste glass at Council's  West Nowra Waste facility. 

Fulton Hogan will use the glass sand in its asphalt mixes for constructing roads across the Shoalhaven.  

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said the new waste facility at West Nowra can create a premium glass sand mixture that is suitable for Fulton Hogan projects.  

“Our West Nowra Waste Facility has the ability to produce a quality recycled glass sand which can be incorporated into asphalt mixes, not only in the local region but also for all of Fulton Hogan’s future projects.” Clr Findley said.  

Fulton Hogan has agreed to use Shoalhaven recycled glass in any mix that may be remaining in the current supply and lay contract with Council, as well as all remaining asphalt on the  Nowra Bridge Project for Transport for NSW. 

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“Using this process, it is estimated that we can save annually almost two-and-a-half million glass bottles from landfill in the Shoalhaven on council roads, together with more than Five million glass bottles being reused on the Nowra Bridge Project,” Clr Findley said.  

The amount of glass in mixes can be up to five percent in wearing course mixes, and fifteen percent in lower course mixes. 

Images: Supplied 

West Nowra waste pioneer wins state's top award

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The woman behind the microfactorie turning waste materials into green ceramics at the West Nowra Waste and Recycling Centre, Professor Veena Sahajwalla, has been named 2022 NSW Australian of the Year.

The founding director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the University of New South Wales was one of four nominees for the honour, but was named the winner last night at Luna Park.

The materials scientist, engineer and inventor was recognised for the way she collaborates with leading universities and institutions, along with industry and community groups, to turn recycling science into solutions with real-world environmental and economic benefits.

 

And the microfactorie at West Nowra that turns waste glass and old mattresses into green ceramics is just one of the innovations she has developed.

 

Veena is best known for her invention of polymer injection technology, known as green steel.

She leads two national research and industrial transformation hubs, the ARC Microrecycling Research Hub and the National Environmental Science Program Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub.

Veena is also a judge on ABC TV’s The New Inventors and has appeared on Q+AThe DrumWar on Waste and Australian Story.

She’s been instrumental in raising the profile of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) in Australia, enhancing public understanding of its importance.

She will join other state winners in Canberra  during January when the national award winners are announced.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Your chance to have a say on the Shoalhaven's future

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Shoalhaven Council is reaching out to community members to find out what improvements they want to see  by 2032.

Council wants to know what people love about the Shoalhaven, and what its key challenges are as it prepares the Community Strategic Plan Review.  

The plan is a long-term strategy that captures the community's vision and identifies the community's main priorities and aspirations for the future.  

Some people might recall answering similar questions regarding the future of the Shoalhaven in 2017, when council carried out an extensive engagement process that involved over 1,600 community members and resulted in the development of the Shoalhaven 2027 Community Strategic Plan that is now under review. 

However city performance director Kevin Veogt said the plan had to be reviewed at the start of each council term, and a new term would begin straight after the December 4 election.

“Whilst the current plan isn’t too far off the mark, it’s a worthwhile exercise to revisit it to ensure it’s still relevant and captures the aspirations of the whole community," Mr Voegt said.

“The plan is our guide that tells us what we are striving to achieve, the strategies we will use to get there, and an annual review process will keep us on track and ensure  we have reached our goals.”

“I encourage anyone with an interest in our city’s future to take a moment to contribute to the review by filling out the online survey, answering the questions we pose on Facebook, or getting their kids to imagine their future through the drawing exercise,” Mr Voegt said.   

You can find out more and also provide input via council’s Community Strategic Plan Review Get Involved webpage. 

Image: Shoalhaven City Council