Former Shire CEO, council slammed in inquiry report

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

FORMER Toodyay shire CEO Stan Scott (left) has been slammed for costly financial mismanagement, conflict of interest and unethical conduct in an official report tabled in State Parliament today.

More than half of the report’s 25 adverse findings after a 20-month State Government inquiry are that Mr Scott failed to manage shire finances and resources, breached local government regulations and breached the shire code of conduct with condescending and offensive behaviour.

The report also said previous councils – including under former shire president Brian Rayner (above right) who still sits on the council – had failed under local government law to conduct its relationship with Mr Scott as an employer towards an employee.

The report details Mr Scott’s role in four botched court cases that cost ratepayers more than $670,000 in legal fees, much of it to a firm that employed Mr Scott’s son.

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Heated pool to operate all year

Surprise announcement as lifeguards sought for planned November 1 start to town’s first summer swim season

Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst addresses a community meeting at Toodyay’s new recreation centre to announce that the town’s new swimming pool will be heated and open all year. 

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY’S long-awaited public swimming pool will be heated in winter to enable it to stay open all year under surprise new plans announced this month by recently appointed venue manager Clublinks.

The company says it aims for swimmers to start using the pool on or before Sunday November 1 if construction finishes in time.

Lighting towers from China have been installed and site work is largely complete.

However, the company has issued a “priority” call for people to apply for jobs as lifeguards to enable the pool to open on a full schedule seven days a week as planned.

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Minister gets final report on Toodyay inquiry findings

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

A REPORT on a long-running State Government inquiry into the Shire of Toodyay has been finalised and sent to WA Local Government Minister David Templeman for action.

The Minister is expected to table the inquiry’s findings in State Parliament on one of nine scheduled sitting days left this year, starting on Tuesday October 13 and ending November 19 before parliament rises for its summer recess.

An 11-month probe last year by three State Government investigators from Perth examined the operations and affairs of shire administrators and councillors over a seven-year period to December 2018.

The shire was headed during that period by former CEO Stan Scott (above, left) who resigned last April after taking two months extended sick leave at short notice just hours before the start of the council’s February meeting.

Three remaining councillors who served during the seven-year inquiry period are former shire president Brian Rayner (above, right), former shire deputy president Therese Chitty and Cr Paula Greenway.

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State Governor pardons Moondyne Joe

 

Notorious local bushranger Moondyne Joe (Greg Warburton) begs for clemency and receives a Royal Pardon after ambushing WA Governor Kim Beazley near Toodyay Railway Station during a low-key Vice-Regal visit this month to promote Avon Valley regional tourism.

WA Governor Kim Beazley made an unannounced visit to Toodyay this month as part of a low-key Vice-Regal tour of the Avon Valley to promote regional tourism.

Mr Beazley, who earned the nickname “Bomber” for his love of all things military while Labor federal defence minister from 1984 to 1990, also visited Beverley, York, Northam and Chittering.

Toodyay was his last stop, and he joined a small entourage of local civic representatives and Vice-Regal staff on the town’s historic Convict Depot walk from the Visitor Centre to Newcastle Gaol Museum.

On a return trip via the Duke Street railway footbridge he called at the Christmas shop, Uniquely Toodyay and bakery.

Toodyay was the last stop of the tour and when asked what the Governor thought of our town, a local civic leader said “he loved it”.

 

Unusually dry soil index points to high-risk fire season

By Rob Koch
Community Emergency Services Manager (left)

A DRY winter means that parts of our shire are now already as dry as last summer as we approach what is expected to be a high-risk fire season.

Low rainfall and the onset of warmer weather means conditions will continue to become even drier at a faster rate than is normal at this time of the year.

This assessment is measured by a ‘soil dryness index’ which correlates to the flammability of vegetation.

Less moisture in the ground means the vegetation above will burn faster and more intensely.

That’s why it is essential for everyone in the shire to comply with the prohibited burning period that will apply from Sunday November 1, and current burning restrictions which began at the start of this month.

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New pool nearly ready

LOCAL swimming instructor Colleen Sheehan (pictured) can’t wait to jump into Toodyay’s new 25m pool which is planned to open at the end of November.

The long-awaited aquatic centre includes a big wading pool for young families to cool off under shade in hot summer months and a kiosk for drinks and snacks.

The eight-lane pool is a part of a new $14 million sport and recreation complex now largely complete after 13 months’ construction next to the town’s school.

Contractors are putting finishing touches to the project while awaiting delivery of new lighting towers being shipped from China.

(Read on for more pictures)

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New tourism video reaches 20,000 people

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

A NEW local business campaign to attract more Perth tourists to Toodyay has reached more than 20,000 people on Facebook and attracted 100 ‘shares’ in just a single week.

The Toodyay Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s latest campaign features a new 40-second promotional video (above) similar to last year’s successful Four Seasons series.

The new video is part-funded by a $5000 State Government grant to help local businesses recover from WA’s Covid-19 lockdown which forced local cafes, restaurants, hotels and other accommodation providers to shut in April and May this year.

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Heritage walkway saved – but questions remain

June Herald flashback: John Clarke (left) and Mick McKeown (elected Toodyay Shire Councillor in July) in the Garden of Peace with the disputed heritage-listed walkway behind – both have been at least temporarily saved from partial demolition.

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY’S heritage-listed Catholic Precinct walkway has been saved from partial demolition – at least for the present.

Shire councillors voted 7-0 last month to reject a Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth application to demolish a two-metre section in the middle of the walkway.

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