shoalhavennews - 2ST

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

Another two COVID-19 venues of concern listed in the Shoalhaven

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NSW Health has named another two Coronavirus venues of concern in the Shoalhaven.

PETstock South Nowra at 2/142 Princes Highway is listed.

If you were at this venue on Wednesday, September 15 2021 between 9 am and 9.35 am then you should get tested immediately.

NSW Health advises you should self-isolate until you get a negative result.

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Australia Post at Shop 20, 73 Meroo Street Bomaderry has also been listed as a Coronavirus venue of concern.

If you were at this location on Monday, September 20 2021 between 1 pm and 1.30 pm you should get tested immediately.

NSW Health advises you should also self-isolate until you get a negative result.

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Visit the NSW Health website for other venues of concern notifications and further advice on COVID-19 precautions and testing sites.

Images: NSW Health

 

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

COVID fears lift alert status at Shoalhaven hospitals

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The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has escalated the COVID-19 transmission risk to Red as case numbers continue to grow across the region.

"The decision is in response to the evolving situation across NSW and the increasing levels of community transmission," the LHD said.

There's been 97 new COVID cases in the Illawarra Shoalhaven this week.

The move effects visitation at all of the district's hospitals with visitors only allowed for certain circumstances.

The LHD said one partner / support person may support mothers during labour and birth.

"The same partner / support person may visit after birth in the post-natal ward for unrestricted periods between 8am-8pm," the LHD said.

Effective immediately, one parent of a child admitted under Paedatrics services is allow to visit while for end-of-life patients, visitors are only limited to the extent necessary to minimise risk.

"All of the allowed visitors must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask at all times," the LHD said.

Staff will continue to use Personal Protective Equipment as set out in the Red Alert protocol while there is no change to the current operations for elective surgery, inpatient and outpatient services, cancer screening services, mental health and other clinical services.

Image: Peter Andrea

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

 

 

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

Expect delays on Princes Highway

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Motorists can expect reduced speed limits on the Princes Highway between Jervis Bay Road and Sussex Inlet Road over the next few months.

Workers will be carrying out surveys beside the highway from tomorrow (Thursday) until late August as part of design work for upgrading the highway.

The work means traffic control measures including a reduced speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour will be in place intermittently and on only small sections of the highway at a time, with crews aiming to avoid working during peak travel times where possible.

image: supplied

Fishermans Paradise man airlifted to Sydney in serious condition

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Paramedics responded to reports of a large log hitting a male on Alma Avenue, Fishermans Paradise south of Jervis Bay yesterday.

Two road crews along with a specialist medical team including a critical care doctor and critical care paramedic via helicopter were dispatched to the scene.

“It was essential that we activated the helicopter quickly as early reports suggested the male was seriously injured,” said NSW Ambulance Inspector Faye Stockman

“The log appeared to be six metres in length and definitely had the potential to cause life-threatening injuries.”

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Paramedics treated the man for back, hip and leg injuries and he was airlifted to St George Hospital in a serious condition.

“We know that sometimes freak accidents do occur, it is important that everyone continues to remain vigilant while working,” Inspector Stockman said.

Images: supplied

Former world champion Burridge to guide young girl surfers

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As a pioneer in the world of women's surfing, former World Champion Pam Burridge has inspired many young women to take to the waves and water.

And as part of the Her Wave Get her Onboard program, Burridge aims to help more promising young female surfers take the next step into surfing competitions.

Her Mollymook Beach surf school is one of 20 across the state chosen to take part in the program, and Burridge said each one would have a slightly different focus.

"My one is to get recreational surfers into a little bit of competing, so they get some goal setting and that rewarding feeling of really focusing on improving your surfing - not that we're trying to train up world champions or anything, we're just trying to transition to the idea of competing at a recreational level," she said.

And the lessons learnt will have a wider benefit.

"In competition surfing, wave selection and positioning and time management and what you do on those waves are so important, so it's the whole idea of how that looks and so it helps you in your peak position and your wave selection in your every day surfing as well - or it can," Burridge said.

The program was built on the back of stage one of the Roxy and Her Wave “Get Her Onboard” campaign earlier this year, which resulted in 1100 women joining the Roxy and Her Wave community, which included being offered discounted learn to surf lessons through their local participating surf school.

All recipients are female-specific, diverse in design, delivered and driven by passionate nominated leaders within a local Surf School or Boardrider Club.

"We would like to thank all applicants for the time and effort invested in submitting an application under the grants program," said Surfing NSW Programs Manager Claire Ellem.
 
At its essence, Her Wave aims to empower all females through surfing.

It is committed to supporting gender equity, making surfing more inclusive and accessible to all women and girls of all ages and abilities in NSW and works to build a more joyful experience for everyone.
 
A key objective of Her Wave is to grow and nurture female participation in the sport as a collective.

Image: Hannah Jessup, Surfing NSW

 

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

Industrial action at Bomaderry High School

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Bomaderry High School teachers have started industrial action over the state of the school’s buildings, describing them as old, leaking and dilapidated.

NSW Teachers Federation members at the school held a stop work meeting this week, and are talking about further industrial action unless the State Government comes to the party with urgent repairs.

Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra says Bomaderry High is in urgent need of a major upgrade, with leaking buildings recently disrupting exams because of damage to the hall.

He says teachers at Bomaderry are fed up with the continuous cycle of water damage at the school because of leaking buildings, which are impacting on teaching and learning programs.

Representations by the Federation, teachers and the P and C have been ignored, according to Mr Rajendra.

He says the ball was now in the State Government’s court.

“Numerous representations by the Federation, teachers and the P and C, have been ignored and no detailed plan or timeline has been developed to address this serious problem,” he says.

“The HSC trial exam is fast approaching and there is concern that students won’t be able to sit these important tests under proper exam conditions because the school hall is out of action. This is unfair to students, unfair to their parents and unfair to teaching staff.

“It is simply not good enough for the Education Department to continually bring in contractors to patch up old buildings which clearly require major refurbishment and modernisation.”

Mr Rajendra says the Bomaderry school community deserves a permanent solution to the problem and teachers have voted to take further action unless a building plan is developed.

Innoclub offers bright futures for Nowra veterans

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Two new programs for veterans are being launched in Nowra on the night of Friday, June 4.

Innoclub is Australia's first club-based accelerator and incubator designed for defence force veterans, and at the Worrigee Sports Club is unveiling a six-day business ideas and development course to help veterans make the most of their knowledge.

Australia’s first veteran transition education program is also being launched on the night, with Innoclub co-founder Chris North explaining both programs are free and targeted at younger veterans.

“These programs are targeted at people aged under about 45, who have been in service and have been involved and they’ve transitioned but then they don’t have any connection to their community, and they seem to have lost their tribe,” Mr North said.

He added veterans leaving the Defence Force often had great ideas about businesses they would like to set up.

And Innoclub is there to help them, Mr North explaining his organisation had helped many veterans use their skills and experience to establish businesses.

“We’ve worked with model ship building, we’ve worked with a veteran beer company, we’ve worked with a mental health group,” he said.

Some of those business operators are coming to the Worrigee Sports Club at 6.30pm on Friday night as Innoclub meets with veterans to discuss the support it can offer people who want to turn their ideas into businesses, or simply utilise their skills in new employment.

InnoClub was launched in 2020 and is the start of a modern veteran’s business and innovation training hub.

Members have access to resources, ongoing mentorship and support, and seed funding via club grants and incubation services for new businesses.

This is a milestone for the club industry, where suddenly there is a real and tangible way to support the modern-day veterans.

“And it’s all free for veterans who have done a course with us,” Mr North said.

For more information chick on www.innoclub.com.au.

Image: supplied

Kiama mother and daughter reveal the pain and uncertainty of NF

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Kiama mother and daughter Julia and Jessica Szulerowski say they are living with ticking time bombs hidden away in their bodies.

It is neurofibromatosis, better known as NF – a genetic condition causing tumours to grow on nerves, with potential impacts including blindness, deafness, learning problems, lumps under the skin and life-threatening brain tumours.

34-year-old Jessica had a tumour on her brain stem removed when she was just 16, while mum Julia has had a tumour removed from her adrenal gland, and cysts taken from her skull and base of her spine.

While neither has had any major medical problems for a while, Julia said things could change without warning.

“Jess and I could be perfectly healthy, in fact we’ve had 14 great years since moving back from the States, but we never know what tomorrow’s going to bring,” she said.

“One day we’re fine, walking around, the next day we’re laying in bed unable to get up, we just don’t know what NF will do.”

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But neither have let the condition slow them down.

When Jessica had the tumour removed from her brain stem at age 16 she missed only two days of school, and some days went straight from radiation treatment to rehearsals of a play she was doing.

She has gone on to complete studies in English literature, media and cultural studies at Wollongong University.

And mum Julia has run many marathons and is now local coordinator of Cupid’s Undie Run on Valentine’s day, raising money for NF research.

But that doesn’t mean life has been easy.

“Living with NF is tough because society does reject you,” Julia said.

“I had a little boy in the supermarket come up to me once and say ‘You’ve got lumps all over for face’, and my only response was, ‘Well, yes I do’, then I left without my groceries.”

Jessica said she was also bullied in high school because of her condition.

The Children’s Tumour Foundation is raising awareness of NF throughout May.

Images: Glenn Ellard

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

Milton youngster faces her second battle with leukaemia

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Little Kyesha-Lee Minuti has already proven her fighting abilities.

And the four-year-old from Milton is going to need all of them as she faces a second battle with leukaemia.

Mum Terri Lang said Kyesha-Lee was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of just 22 months, starting a two-year process of chemotherapy and treatment before she was finally given a clean bill of health.

But a blood test just three months later showed the leukaemia had returned, prompting a return to the Sydney Children's Hospital for more treatment.

It will culminate in coming weeks transplant of bone marrow coming from her five-year-old brother Dylan.

"On the 1st of December she gets admitted for the chemo and the transplant, and then she's going to be in isolation of hospital for two or three months," Ms Lang said.

"She's had three months of chemo now, and then she'll have another really hard week from the 1st to the 8th of chemo to wipe her system totally for the bone marrow to go on the 8th, which her big brother is the donor which is really good.

"It's sort of mixed emotions - it's really good that he's going to be a donor, but there's going to be two of my babies in hospital at the same time having operations. It's going to be a hard day."

Ms Lang will be joining Kyesha-Lee in isolation following the bone marrow transplant, taking all necessary precautions "to keep her safe".

"We've got to get through the next few months of her having no immune system," she said.

"It's going to be a hard road but I've got to do what I've got to do as a mum and get her better."

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Ms Lang said watching the youngest of her six children battling through not only the illness but also the debilitating impacts of treatment had been tough.

But she is no stranger to difficult times, having already gone through more emotional pain than many people could imagine.

"I've been through hell and back already," she said.

It peaked when Ms Lang lost her second child, son Kyle, to pneumococcal meningitis when he was just eight weeks old back in 2004.

It took just days for Kyle to go from being a healthy, normal baby to needing on life support machines.

"He was healthy and we thought he had just stomach issues, then all of a sudden it was pneumococcal meningitis," she said.

"They did the scans and it'd attacked his brain stem so they practically told me he was going to be a vegetable or we needed to turn the machines off, so I had to make that horrible choice, but I had to do what was best for him not best for me.

"As much as I wanted to keep him here and be a mother, it just wasn't the right situation - even the doctor said it's cruel."

Ms Lang said making the decision to turn off the life support was "so hard".

"It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life," she said.

However she has a community rallying around her to help ensure a better outcome with this health battle as Kyesha-Lee fights to overcome leukaemia.

Friends and family members are organising a fundraising raffle to help with the costs of Ms Lang staying in Sydney with Kyesha-Lee while the rest of her family is in the Shoalhaven, and there is also a Go Fund Me page set up called Kyesha-Lee's Journey with Leukaemia.

Images: Terri Lang

 

 

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 doctor warns Covid-19 vaccine could be wasted because of AstraZeneca fear

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A Nowra medical surgery has a fridge with 1000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses which risk being out of date and will have to be thrown out because everyone wants the Pfizer vaccination.

Dr. Lee Simes from the Junction Street Family Practice said a recent Covid-19 vaccination clinic offering AstraZeneca in Nowra attracted just four patients, and he blames, "Fear caused by misinformation and a lack of decision making by medical authorities and our governments."

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He said, "Scare-mongering is causing unnecessary Covid-19 related deaths, while AstraZeneca is readily available.

"We can't get enough of the Pfizer vaccine, and Australia produces enough AstraZeneca to see us out of the crisis," he said.

Dr. Simes said, "The Pfizer vaccine should be used for people under 18, everyone else should get the AstraZeneca vaccination."

Image: Supplied 

 

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 man's lucky escape as fire engulfs camper trailer

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A Nowra man had a lucky escape when his camper trailer was engulfed by flames at the Nowra Showground this morning.

John Goodsell had just been shopping when he pulled up at a spot at the showground.

But when he lit his gas stove the fire erupted, possibly through spilled chemicals or petrol, and within seconds engulfed the trailer.

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He said his immediate reaction was to put water on the flames, but that just made the situation worse.

"It was stupid, you can't put water on a petrol fire," he said later.

The fire sent a thick plume of black smoke into the air as several small explosions were heard from inside the flames.

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Mr Goodsell feared they might have come from three gas cylinders stored in the trailer along with all his possessions, but the cylinders were later found intact once fire fighters extinguished the flames.

However the fire spread to the back of the car towing the trailer, where a plastic container of petrol was stored.

The fire left the trailer as just a shell, and severely damaged the car.

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Mr Goodsell was not injured in the incident, but was checked over by ambulance officers.

Despite the loss Mr Goodsell was counting his blessings.

He said as he was driving into the showgrounds this morning he was thinking how well his life was turning out.

However he said the fire gave him a chance to make a fresh start, and he was looking forward to possibly getting a pop-top caravan to continue his travels.

Images: Glenn Ellard

 

Nowra students rise to the challenge of reusing clothes and protecting dignity

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Nowra Public School students have shown they can think outside the box, and their creative minds have earned them a place in the state finals of the Game Changer Challenge.

The school's Eco Minions team was challenged to transform discarded items into something useful, and came up with the idea of turning used clothes into feeding bibs for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Team member Blake Holbrow said using recycled clothes helped people retain their dignity.

"It was for the disabled and the elderly, just to cover them up because the business name that we came up with was covered apparel, and we used old clothing to create these bibs so that if they spill food or drink it wouldn't ruin their clothes and they wouldn't have to walk around with food all over them," he said.

"We got an old button-up shirt, and we decided to cut the back out of it so you could slip your two arms through the arm holes, then we had a velcro collar around the back so you could just stick it on, sticks it off  - so if you were sitting in front of them it just looked like they were wearing that button-up shirt."

After the students made a prototype and had Blake model it, the idea was enough to have the team of five students crowned champions of the Regional South area virtual heat.

Now the students will tackle a sustainability challenge in December in the Game Changer ultimate final.

Teacher Bec Christensen said she was proud of the students and their efforts to reach the final eight out of the 396 entries submitted.

"They're amazing," she said.

"I'm super proud of them, it's massive for them and it's a nice thing for our local school and local area to be recognised across the state."

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said The Game Changer Challenge encouraged students to develop critical and reflective thinking skills while collaborating in a team. 

“This challenge is all about design thinking and future-focused skills that will push students to become creative problem solvers,” Ms Mitchell said.   

“Students will learn empathy while understanding how to find solutions for problems that can help change the world in big and small ways.” 

Image: Nowra Public School

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

Pilot likely suffered medical event before Ulladulla crash

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An Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation has found the pilot of a fire-bombing helicopter who died after crashing his chopper near Ulladulla in August 2018 likely suffered a major medical event.

Allan Tull was flying a Kawasaki Heavy Industries BK117 helicopter when it diverted off course contrary to the established flight pattern of the Woodburn fire.

The bucket and longline then became caught in trees at the edge of a clearing, causing the helicopter to collide with terrain before coming to rest inverted.

Mr Tull died and the helicopter was destroyed.

The investigation was told none of the ground or airborne crews heard any radio transmissions from the helicopter immediately before the accident.

In the minutes prior to the accident, Mr Tull responded normally to a NSW Rural Fire Service Air Attack co-ordinator conducting an ‘operations normal’ radio call and did not report any difficulties at that time.

During the investigation, ATSB Transport Safety Investigators did not identify any pre-existing defects with the helicopter that may have contributed to the accident.

“The pilot’s post-mortem identified a focus of acute inflammatory change in the heart muscle, a condition known as lymphocytic myocarditis,” said the Director Transport Safety, Stuart Macleod.

“This condition is capable of causing sudden impairment or complete incapacitation. The pilot is unlikely to have known they suffered from this condition.

“There are no risk factors for the development of this condition and it cannot be detected by medical screening.”

The pilot’s post-mortem identified coronary heart disease which is also capable of causing sudden impairment and incapacitation.

However, despite the pilot suffering from these two heart-related conditions, there was insufficient evidence to determine if they contributed to the accident.

“Pilots are reminded that some medical conditions may be undetectable by the normal aviation medical screening process and should remain vigilant for any medical symptoms which may be the precursor to a more serious medical event,” Macleod said.

Due to the inverted nature of the accident and resulting vertical compression of the fuselage, the accident was not considered survivable.

However, evidence from the first responders showed the upper torso restraint was worn incorrectly at the time of the accident.

Image: supplied

Review brings hopes for better flows in Shoalhaven River

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The Shoalhaven has been through severe water restrictions in recent years, but that could be about to change following a review of water sharing plans covering the rivers that supply drinking water in Sydney.

That review has called for the State Government to take a fresh look at the way water is transferred from Tallowa Dam, or provided for environmental flows in the Shoalhaven River. 

The recommendation has been welcomed by Independent MP and South Coast resident Justin Field, who says the water sharing rules in the Shoalhaven River are clearly wrong as the river has been starved of environmental flows while billions of litres have been transferred to Sydney.

He says the loss of environmental flows has long-term impacts on water quality in the river and particularly on the oyster industry that relies on fresh flushes in the Shoalhaven estuary. 

“We don’t want to have a similar situation in the next drought, so I’m calling on the government to bring forward this review and I would like to see both parties commit to completing it within the next term of government," Mr Field says.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Secret Santa brightens Christmas for many in Ulladulla

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Ulladulla has its own Secret Santa Claus, who this week spent $2000 paying off Ulladulla Toyworld laybys for people who are struggling.

Store owner Alison Murray said she knew nothing about the man other than he said he realised life was short and he needed to give back after going through the bushfires.

The money paid off 15 layby orders, along with a few bikes set aside for people who hadn't managed to make any payments.

"They were a layby, but they hadn't paid anything on them, so we paid that off for them," Ms Murray said.

"He just wanted us to select randomly, he didn't care who it went on to he said to just select randomly, which is what we did.

"The other option that we had was a few of the people who we knew were doing it a little bit harder, we tried to make sure that those people got the benefits."

 She said the man's generosity prompted tears among staff when the donation was made, and from the people arriving at the store to find their laybys had been paid for.

"The people that he's done it for have obviously cried and it was just lovely, and in the environment that we're in at the moment it just makes you feel that there's some nice people out there," Ms Murray said.

"It makes you feel a lot better about the world."

And many of the beneficiaries had pledged to continue the generosity and pay it forward.

Little is known about the man responsible for the incredible gesture of generosity

"He wouldn't let me take his name, he wasn't keen to do anything like that," Ms Murray said.

"I'd say he was probably a grandfather, going by the age of the gentleman."

Image: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

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 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 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 Mayor crowned National Climate Change Ambassador of the Year

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Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley took out top honours for her work on the climate change frontline at the national Cities Power Partnership Awards.

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

Mayor Findley was this year’s Climate Ambassador award winner in recognition of her leadership driving climate action and keeping climate on the national agenda in the wake of the Black Summer bushfires.

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Robert Horner, Shoalhaven Water Executive Manager said "Mayor Amanda Findley has been a strong advocate for a number of sustainable energy projects led by Shoalhaven City Council, the local community, and businesses."

Mr Horner said “She has been instrumental in guiding Shoalhaven Council’s sustainable energy and climate change policy initiatives, such as driving a fully electric vehicle and establishing a Revolving Energy Fund.

"Mayor Findley is also an active participant in the Recovery into Resilience bushfire recovery project meetings to fit out 19 community village halls as Local Information Hubs with secondary power sources, solar PV, battery and satellite communications during natural disasters,” he said.

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The Director of the Cities Power Partnership Dr Portia Odell, congratulated Mayor Findley on her award, noting that the Shoalhaven Mayor shone in a competitive field of entrants

 “It is hard to imagine a more committed, consistent, and passionate climate ambassador than Mayor Findley. She was an early champion of climate change, and has continued to make tremendous inroads elevating climate change as a priority on a local, national and global scale,” Dr Odell said.

Images: Cities Power Partnership

 

 

 

 

 

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'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

South Coast Dairy sold, but brand will live on

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The South Coast Dairy processing plant in Berry is closing down due to financial problems, with 15 part-time and casual employees made redundant on Friday.

However the South Coast Dairy name will survive, despite the company being sold to Australasian Dairies.

An announcement from the Berry Rural Cooperative Society board said milk would continue to be sourced from the South Coast, supporting the local community and farmers, while the range of products would be maintained and even expanded.

Australian Dairies marketing manager Colette Murrells confirmed milk from the South Coast would continue to be collected and processed in the same way, just in Sydney.

“We’re not looking to change anything,” she said.

“We’ve secured all the milk that’s already in the South Coast area, and we’re just going to be transporting it an hour and a half up the road, processing the milk here on Sydney, and then transporting it back down to the community and everyone else in the South Coast region.”

Ms Murrells said Australasian Dairies hoped to build the South Coast brand.

“We’re looking to expand the range, so obviously getting more people to enjoy the South Coast Dairy brand and range of products, but we’re looking at introducing a whole range of different products over time with things like yoghurts,” she said.

“The reason we bought the brand is that we love it ourselves, so we want to keep that heritage moving.”

Image: supplied

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

Staff threatened at knifepoint during armed holdup at St Georges Basin

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Police have arrested a suspect after an alleged armed holdup in the Shoalhaven.

Officers attended the IGA supermarket in Island Point Road, St Georges Basin on Friday night at about 6 pm after reports a man had threatened staff with a knife before running from the scene with an amount of cash.

The man was chased by several witnesses to the backyard of a house in St Georges Road.

The Dog Squad arrested a 19-year-old man at the scene, and he is assisting police with inquiries.

Detective from South Coast Police District have commenced an investigation.

Image: Peter Andrea

 

 

Study reveals the high human toll of bushfires

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While the affect on homes and properties is well known, the Black Summer bushfires also had a huge impact on the people who fought the flames, according to a new Edith Cowan University study.

About 65,000 first responders tackled the fire - and about 50,000 of those were volunteers.

And the study showed all of the volunteer first responders said the experience had affected their wellbeing.

In the year after the fires nearly half experienced post-traumatic stress symptoms, 11 per cent were diagnosed with PTSD, and more than 5 per cent said they had made suicide plans as they struggled to come to grips with the horrific conditions they faced and the traumatic events they saw unfold.

Yet less than half of them had received any form of mental health assistance.

Fortem Australia Managing Director John Bale said more needed to be done to support first responders, especially the volunteers.

"Thousands of Australians – people who willingly volunteer their time to serve their communities – are still trying to deal with the trauma they experienced after they answered a call-out that summer." he said.

"This is unacceptable. We cannot continue to turn away from the calls for help that the research and the lived experiences of first responders continue to highlight.

"Importantly, we can’t always expect that those who are struggling can put their hands up and ask for help. Illnesses such as PTSD and depression make it very challenging to reach out," Mr Bale said.

"As we head into another summer, we must acknowledge that our volunteers are still dealing with the impacts of previous fire seasons. They are struggling, and they need us.

"We need to reach in."

* Anyone struggling to deal with their feelings about the Black Summer bushfires, or any other issue in their life, is urged to contact Lifeline on 131114.

Image: 2ST News

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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The latest on the flooding 10/08/2020

Carol Maher

Credit: Carol Maher - Facebook

Last updated: 4pm

FLOODING/EVACUATION NOTICES:

Major flood warning has been downgraded to MODERATE for the Shoalhaven River at Nowra and Terara. Both have peaked and are falling with moderate flooding.

Full details: https://bit.ly/2Chc6Ca

Minor flood warning for the St Georges Basin  at Island Point and Sussex Inlet. The basin at Island Point Road peaked to near 1.31 metres around 07 am Monday, with minor flooding. The Sussex Inlet peaked at 1.09 metres around midnight Sunday, and is currently at 0.96 metres but steady, with minor flooding. A 2nd flood peak is expected. Sussex Inlet is expected to peak near 1.10 metres around midday Monday on the high tide, with minor flooding.

Floodwaters in Shoalhaven Heads may impact low lying properties on the coastal side of River Road and Hay Avenue, Holiday Haven Caravan Park, Mountain View Resort, Tall Timbers Caravan Park and Coastal Palms.

An evacuation order is now in place for parts of Terara, East Nowra, Worrigee, Sussex Inlet and North Nowra.

  • Residents in Terara village including: Terara Road, South Street, Bryant Street, Southern Road, West Berry Street, Holme Street, Forsyth Street, Fox Street, Nobbler Lanes, Comerong Island Road and Millbank Road.
  • Dryden Close, East Nowra
  • Plunket St (Eastern End), East Nowra
  • Nowra Golf Club, North Nowra
  • Shoalhaven Ski Park, North Nowra
  • Shoalhaven Zoo, North Nowra
  • Nowra Sailing Club, Nowra
  • Bennett Pl (Northern End), Worrigee
  • Grady’s Riverside Retreat
  • Banksia Street, Sussex Inlet
  • Cater Crescent, Sussex Inlet
  • Elmoos Avenue, Sussex Inlet
  • Fairview Avenue, Sussex Inlet
  • Jacobs Street, Sussex Inlet
  • Poole Avenue, Sussex Inlet
  • River Road, Sussex Inlet
  • Wunda Avenue, Sussex Inlet

Where to go: Those people relocating should attend family and friends in the first instance. If you can’t go to family or friends, please attend your closest Police Station where you can register for emergency accommodation.

Flooding has eased on the Moruya River.

The NSW SES has issued an 'All Clear' at 11:00 am on 10th August. It is now safe to return to the following areas:

  • Campbell Street
  • Church Street
  • East of Murray Street towards the Princes Highway
  • Ford Street
  • Shore Street
  • Queen Street

ROAD CLOSURES:

Many roads in the Shoalhaven are flood affected with conditions changing rapidly. This list may not be definitive, so exercise caution on our roads and avoid travel if possible as conditions can change quickly. Also check out https://www.livetraffic.com/ and https://bit.ly/3isesNI

  • Albatross Road, Nowra
  • Back Forest Road, Back Forest
  • Beach Road, near Campbell's Run, Berry
  • Berry Street, Nowra
  • Bolong Road, Bomaderry
  • Boundary Road, Broughton Vale
  • Braidwood Road and Turpentine Road
  • Brooman Road and River Road, Brooman
  • Bryant Street, Terara
  • Carisbrook Road, Morton
  • Cater Crescent, Sussex Inlet
  • Cedarvale Lane, bridge damage, Jaspers Brush
  • Clyde Ridge Road, near Carisbrook Road near Upside Down Bridge/Low-Level Bridge, Mogood
  • Comerong Island Road,  Numbaa
  • Coolangatta Road, Berry
  • Edwards Avenue, Bomaderry
  • Fairview Crescent, Sussex Inlet
  • Flinders Road, South Nowra
  • Forest Road, near intersection to Princes Hwy, Nowra Hill
  • Forsyth Street, Terara
  • Fox Street, Terara
  • Grady's Riverside Retreat, Burrier Road, Burrier
  • Hay Avenue, Shoalhaven Heads
  • Hockeys Lane, near Illaroo Road, Cambewarra
  • Holmes Street, Terara
  • The Illawarra Highway is closed in both directions between Princes Highway and Tongarra Road due to flooding. Motorists are advised to use diversions and exercise caution.
  • Jamberoo Mountain Road is closed in both directions between Barren Grounds Road and Misty Lane due to a landslip. The road will remain closed until further notice.
  • Jerry Bailey Road, Shoalhaven Heads
  • Martinvale Lane, Jaspers Brush near causeway
  • Meroo Road, Meroo Meadow
  • Millbank Road, Terara
  • Nobblers Lane, Terara
  • Quinns Lane, South Nowra
  • South Street, Terara
  • Southern Road, Terara
  • Tarawara  Street, Bomaderry
  • Terara Road, Terara
  • The Park Drive, between Larmer Avenue and Boronia Street, Sanctuary Point
  • The River Road - Shallow Crossing
  • Wandean Road, Wandandian
  • West Berry Street, Terara
  • Woodhill Mountain Road, Broughton Vale is partly closed when heading to Berry
  • Woollamia Road, closed between Pritchard Avenue and Fairfax Road, Woollamia
  • Wunda Ave, Sussex Inlet
  • Yalwal Road, Yalwal approx 500metres west of dam.

WATER OVER ROAD/HAZARDS:

  • Adelaide Street, Greenwell Point
  • Balmoral Road, Burrill Lake
  • Bangalow Street, Narawallee
  • Banksia Street, Sussex Inlet
  • Bennett Place, Worrigee
  • Burrier Road, Barringella
  • Callala Bay Road, Callala Bay
  • Comerong Island Road, Numbaa
  • Corner of Kangaroo Valley Road and Glenmurray Road/Moss Vale Road, Kangaroo Valley
  • Currarong Road, Currarong
  • Dowling Street, Falls Creek
  • Dryden Close, Nowra
  • Ellmoos Avenue, Sussex Inlet
  • Fitzroy Falls to Barrengarry, Moss Vale Road and Nowra Road. Fallen trees and rock slide.
  • Fraser Avenue, Greenwell Point
  • Grange Road, Tomerong
  • Greens Road, Greenwell Point
  • Haiser Road, Greenwell Point
  • Halstead Place, Meroo Meadow
  • Hillcrest Avenue, South Nowra
  • Jacks Corner Road, Kangaroo Valley
  • Jacob's Drive, Sussex Inlet
  • Lake Conjola Entrance Road at Milham Street intersection
  • Matron Porter Drive, Milton
  • Mitchell Parade, Mollymook at Blackwater Bridge
  • Naval College Road, Worrowing Heights
  • Neilson Lane, Sussex Inlet
  • Old Princes Highway, East Lynne
  • Plunkett Street, Nowra
  • Poole Avenue, Sussex Inlet
  • Prince Edward Avenue, Culburra Beach
  • Queen Street, Berry
  • Railway Street, Bomaderry
  • River Road, Shoalhaven Heads
  • Rock Hill Road, North Nowra
  • Springbank Road, near Mayfield Road, Mayfield
  • The Springs Road, Sussex Inlet
  • The Wool Road, Sanctuary Point
  • Tourist Road, Beaumont between Moss Vale Road and the Lookout
  • Wharf Road, Nowra

SCHOOL CLOSURES:

Terara Public School - NON OPERATIONAL

All schools below are operational, however possible staff and class changes. 

  • North Nowra Public School
  • St Michael's Catholic Primary School
  • Nowra High School
  • Shoalhaven Heads Public School
  • Nowra East Public School
  • Nowra Public School
  • Nowra Hill Public School
  • Nowra Anglican College

POWER OUTAGES:

Endeavour Energy are expecting to restore power today to most of the remaining 2000 customers affected by last night's damaging winds and rain. There could be more lengthy delays in areas cut off by flooding on the Shoalhaven & Kangaroo Rivers. For the latest info: https://www.endeavourenergy.com.au/

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Don’t Drive into Floodwater
Don’t Walk into Floodwater
Don’t Ride into Floodwater
Never Swim in Floodwaters.

Unpredictable currents and submerged hazards are very dangerous. The water may also be contaminated with sewage or chemicals. This contamination may continue for some time and affect recreational waters.

For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW SES on 132 500.
For evacuation assistance contact your closest Police Station.
For life-threatening emergencies call Triple Zero (000).

Issued by Shoalhaven City Council.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council

NSW SES Kiama Unit

NSW SES Kiama Unit 1

NSW SES St Georges Basin Unit

NSW SES Ulladulla Unit

Shoalhaven Zoo

SES NSW 1

Photo Credits:

Goulburn Maulwaree Council - Facebook

NSW SES Kiama Unit - Facebook

NSW SES St Georges Basin Unit - Facebook

NSW SES Ulladulla Unit - Facebook

Shoalhaven Zoo

SES NSW

The Men's Table comes to Kangaroo Valley

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Men in Kangaroo Valley will tonight have a chance to meet and talk openly and honestly, connecting with others without fear of being judged.

That's the aim of the Men's Table, which is coming to the Valley with an introductory meeting, called an entree, at the Friendly Inn tonight.

Regional host for the men's table in NSW, and Berry table member, Michael Collins, said the entree meeting will focus on the organisation's guiding principles, called the fundamentals.

"The fundamentals are meeting principles on how to have geed conversations, and also to deal with tricky stuff as well when men gather, so that we can actually share what's really going on for ourselves - the highs and lows of what's going on in our lives," he said.

Mr Collins said that was a different experience for some men, but it was all about having conversations with more substance, and establishing deeper connections, than men often have.

"The superficial conversations that we have with a lot of our mates can actually be the conversations that  we really want to have - not going past sharing our feelings, sharing the highs, the good stuff and the bad stuff, maybe even being vulnerable about what's going on in our lives and just being listened to," he said.

Being listened to and being heard was a key component of the meetings, Mr Collins said.

"We have a rule about not fixing each other - one of the favourite rules, I think 98 per cent of men quote that as their favourite rule," he said.

"Guys tend to want to turn up and if you've got a problem it's like 'You're just having a whinge,' and then some guy will come up with a story about how he's going to fix you because guys just tend to do that stuff.

"But that's not really what helps good listening, and it's not necessarily what men need.

"They don't want to be fixed by someone else, they possibly just want to turn up and get the stuff that's in their head, out of their head and onto the table."

Anyone interested in attending tonight's meeting in Kangaroo Valley, or future meetings of Men's Tables in other areas, can contact Mr Collins on 0450 612 358.

Third person arrested over Sanctuary Point murder

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A third man has been charged over the murder of Sanctuary Point man David McArthur.

Emergency services were called to a caravan park in Ethel Street, Sanctuary Point, about 8pm on July 25 following reports of a stabbing.

They found 49-year-old Mr McArthur on the floor of his cabin near the doorway, suffering a single stab wound to his chest.

Officers attempted CPR, but Mr McArthur could not be revived and died at the scene.

After detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad took charge of the investigation under Strike Force Frawley, two men were charged over their alleged involvement in the murder and remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, a 42-year-old man was arrested in Nowra about 7.30am Tuesday.

He was taken to Nowra Police Station and charged with concealing a serious indictable offence.

Police allege the man attended the caravan park with two other men on the night of the alleged murder, and subsequently failed to assist investigators looking into the 49-year-old man’s death.

The Nowra man has been refused bail to appear at Nowra Local Court today.

Image: NSW Police

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 

Work begins on Nowra Veterans Wellness Centre

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Nowra's strong military connection is being recognised through the town getting one of Australia's first permanent Veterans Wellbeing Centres.

After a temporary centre was established in Nowra last year, the first sod was turned yesterday on a new permanent building in Wallace Street.

Construction work will start next week, with the $5 million centre expected to be completed by the middle of the year.

Veterans Affairs Minister Andrew Gee said the centre would be a hub and "an ecosystem of services" for veterans and defence personnel and their families.

"It will provide, for example, health and wellbeing support for veterans, so there will be health services available here, there'll be support for veterans with Veterans Affairs issues such as veterans claims, there'll be opportunities to socialise here there'll be a coffee shop, a meeting space so veterans and their families can meet."

Mr Gee says the new centre would also focus on helping to deal with the social and mental health issues so prevalent in the veteran community.

"It's part of the solution in terms of providing the best possible care our country can give our veterans and their families - it's all part of that," he said.

"If you look at the history of the Australian armed services - veteran care and welfare is something that the country has tried to get on top of, but I don't think we've ever really got there, but we are on the road.

"There's much greater awareness now of veterans issue and the importance of veterans care and welfare, and I think these centres are all part of that," Mr Gee said.

He described the sod turning as "a momentous day for the defence and veteran community here in Nowra and the surrounding region”.

“RSL LifeCare, with the support of RSL NSW, has been doing a great job running the Nowra Wellbeing Centre out of their temporary premises and has already made a real difference in the lives of current ADF members, ex-service personnel, and their families," Mr Gee said.

“This new, permanent home will take those services to the next level. It will be a place of healing and connection, and a hub for accessing health, education and employment support.

“The facility has been carefully designed with a mix of communal, recreational and clinical spaces to meet the needs of veterans and their families."

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Senator for New South Wales and former Major General in the Royal Australian Army, Jim Molan said the new centre was a much needed addition to the region.

“The Nowra Wellbeing Centre will provide critical services to more than 7,000 local veterans and their families in the Shoalhaven and neighbouring local government areas, as well as personnel from nearby HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell,” Senator Molan said.

“Being in the military is tough, and life after the military can be difficult to navigate.

"Having local support networks and a place where you can come together with others who are in a similar position is just so important," he said.

RSL LifeCare Board Member and Navy veteran Trevor Robertson said the centre was the result of significant planning and consultation with local ex-service organisations and the veteran community to deliver a one-stop shop that was veteran-centric and community driven.

“The Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre will provide critical services to over 7,000 veterans and their families in the Shoalhaven and neighbouring local government areas, including education, health and ADF transition support and it will be an essential resource for the community for generations to come,” Mr Robertson said.

NSW RSL President Ray James said the league had seen an increased need for support services this year and he expected that continue with the pressure of COVID-19 restrictions, the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, and the ADF’s withdrawal from the conflict in Afghanistan last year.

“I take this opportunity to reassure veterans and their families across the Shoalhaven that local support and services are available to them at the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre," he said.

Images: 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