Shire councillors get inquiry report

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

A DRAFT report on a long-running WA Government inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay has been sent to all councillors for comment before the findings are released in State Parliament.

The draft excludes any formal recommendations or matters the State Solicitor’s Office may seek to prosecute.

New Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst received the 44-page draft on July 21 and released it to all councillors and senior staff for a workshop discussion immediately prior to last month’s council meeting.

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Traditional ceremonies launch new cultural display

 

Traditional dancers perform at a new Noongar cultural display at Redbank Pool ‒ a significant meeting place for local Aboriginal families 200 years ago.

A NEW interpretive display showing how traditional Aboriginal people used a permanent waterhole near Toodyay as an important cultural site for food and family gatherings was officially launched at Redbank Pool earlier this month.

The Noongar Kaartdijin Aboriginal Corporation (NKAC) project celebrates how local Noongar families, especially Ballardong and Yued members, congregated at Redbank Pool 200 years ago.

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Fire brigade captain elected to council

TOODYAY Central Bush Fire Brigade Captain Mick McKeown (left) has been elected to the Toodyay Shire Council.

He fills a three-month vacancy on the nine-member council after the resignation of former shire president Bill Manning, who moved to Tasmania last April.

Cr McKeown received 662 votes in last month’s postal ballot of all Toodyay voters, Keith Boase 355 and April Ashley 270.

The election was conducted by the WA Electoral Commission which reported a voter turn-out of about 26 per cent.

This is significantly less than the 45 per cent turn-out last October when four new councillors were elected to the council and two others retained their seats.

Cr McKeown was elected to serve out the remainder of former Cr Manning’s term, which expires in October next year.

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‘Collusion’ claim over Church subdivision

ALLEGATIONS of secrecy and collusion have been raised over plans to demolish part of a heritage-listed Appian Way walkway in Toodyay’s historic Catholic Church Precinct (left).

Complaints of alleged planning irregularities and lack of public consultation have prompted intervention by WA Local Government and Heritage Minister David Templeman.

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$7m more for Toodyay Road

TOODYAY Road (pictured left after serious traffic accident in February) will be further upgraded with another $5.6 million in Federal funds.

Two sections will be widened and a new passing lane completed by early next year.

Toodyay Shire President Rosemary Madacsi thanked the Federal Government for its contribution to the project.

“The Toodyay Road upgrade project has been in development for about five years and it is fantastic to see some substantial funding allocated to continue addressing one of the most dangerous roads in the Wheatbelt,” she said.

“The $7 million allocated, of which $5.6 million is from the Federal Government, will enable the construction of 2.5km of Toodyay Road from Jingaling Brook heading east towards Toodyay.

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More money to cut bushfire risk

THE SHIRE of Toodyay has been awarded a $462,600 State grant to help further reduce the risk of bushfire.

A total of 62 risk-mitigation activities will be carried out in the shire.

Tenders closed on August 4 and work is due to start next month on shire-managed Crown land, including road verges.

It follows State-funded fire mitigation work worth $1.1 million on 115 treatments last financial year.

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Sport centre debt cripples shire budget

Shire of Toodyay’s new $14 million recreation precinct – many ratepayers wanted only a pool. 

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY ratepayers face years of rising costs and economic hardship caused by a 2017 council decision to build a new $14 million recreation centre and pool without the means to pay for it.

The shire’s new 2020-21 budget shows that this financial year’s operating costs will exceed regular income by $2.6 million despite drastic new cost-cutting measures.

The biggest cost burden will be repaying a $4.5 million loan and operating costs for the new recreation centre which the former council approved soon after the 2017 election despite public calls for just a $1 million pool.

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Election candidates say they want change

TOODYAY will get a new face on council this month as the result of an election to replace former Cr Bill Manning who resigned in April to live in Tasmania.

Three newcomers have nominated for the vacancy, which will be decided by a postal ballot of all Toodyay voters starting on Thursday July 2.

The poll will close at 6pm on Friday July 31 and the winner is expected to be announced by the WA Electoral Commission in Toodyay later that evening.

The three new candidates all claim to be unaligned to Toodyay’s current eight councillors who have been split 4:4 on key decisions, including the shire presidency.

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