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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Former shire president loses council bunfight over voting rights

By Michael Snclair-Jones

FOUR new Toodyay councillors have blocked a bid by former shire president Brian Rayner (left) to represent the council as a voting delegate at this month’s annual local government conference in Perth.

Cr Rayner said he should represent the shire at the conference instead of new Deputy President Beth Ruthven.

He said Cr Ruthven could still attend the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) annual general meeting at Perth’s five-star Crown Hotel on Friday September 25 – but not as a voting delegate.

Cr Rayner, who nobody voted for in 2017 because he was the only candidate to stand in the shire’s now-abolished North Ward, said he was a WALGA voting delegate when shire president last year and in 2018.

WALGA is WA’s peak local government representative body with 138 members.

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Weekenders, hobby farmers blamed for sheep killings

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

NUNILE farmer Des Driessen (left) is fed up with stray dogs killing his sheep.

He blames local hobby farmers who he says let their city pets roam onto his property at night and warns that he is laying poison baits to protect his flock.

“The owners come with their grandkids and pets on weekends and none of their dogs are properly trained,” Mr Driessen said.

“This has been going on for years.

“The owners don’t work the land for a living.

“Some keep their dogs tied up all day while they work elsewhere and when they return home at night, they untie their dogs to give them a run.

“The dogs get excited and run onto my property to attack my sheep.

“Others are allowed to roam loose at night when their owners visit on weekends.

“You can’t blame the dogs because it’s their natural instinct to chase and kill prey.

“It’s the owners’ fault.

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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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