Covid-19 rates reprieve ahead of fresh election, inquiry, new CEO

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

LOCAL property owners will not have to pay higher rates next month as the Toodyay Shire Council makes emergency cuts to its 2020-21 budget and braces for a series of major changes in coming months.

The shire has axed four staff positions – including Manager of Community Development – to save a total of $600,000 a year from next month.

It coincides with the expected arrival of new Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst a day before a scheduled June 23 ordinary council meeting, news that the result of a long-running WA Government inquiry into the shire is a step closer to being tabled in State Parliament and another shire election due next month.

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100-year-old trees uprooted at heritage site

Heavy earthmoving equipment uproots a 100-year-old tree at Toodyay’s heritage-listed Catholic Precinct which has been subdivided and rezoned for commercial development. Parishioners fear historic former convent and school buildings will be next to go.

By Mick McKeown, Friends of the Toodyay Catholic Precinct

THE TOODYAY Catholic Precinct is one of three historic precincts in the town of Toodyay. The other two are the Gaol Group and the Stirling Terrace Main Street Precinct.

These three places are described in shire policy as having “special qualities which are highly valued by the community and it is important to retain and enhance these qualities as the town develops through time”.

The subdivision works in the Toodyay Catholic Precinct have just commenced with the clearing of several majestic old trees at the rear of the area.

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Caution urged as crowds return

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

WHEATBELT health officials and Toodyay police are cautioning people not to become complacent about observing social distancing rules and to keep washing their hands regularly as the State Government moves to ease Covid-19 restrictions in WA.

Permitted gatherings will increase from 20 to 100 people from Saturday June 6 but the illness can still be spread by people without symptoms who may be unaware they are infected.

Federal health officials said people need “to stay home if they have any cold or flu symptoms – no matter how mild – and get tested for Covid-19”.

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North Street saga continues

A RECORDING error at last month’s Toodyay Shire Council meeting resulted in the reversal of a 4-3 decision to turn a muddy track (left) in West Toodyay into a gravel road.

Viewers who left before the end of the 4½-hour live-streamed meeting missed seeing the decision reversed after Cr Ben Bell challenged it on a point of order.

He said an absolute majority vote of at least five members of the normally nine-member council was needed for the motion to pass because it called for the shire to spend extra money not included in 2019-20 shire budget.

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All-woman team takes over

Historic vote as 5-4 majority elects new shire president & deputy, and appoints new female CEO

      

New Toodyay Shire President Rosemary Madacsi is sworn in by Cr Brian Rayner JP, with former president Bill Manning watching (rear right) and Crs Paula Greenway (back to camera), Ben Bell and Therese Chitty.

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY has its first female shire president and will get its first woman CEO after two historic 5-4 votes by a new majority of councillors elected last October.

The council also voted 6-3 to elect a new female deputy president in a clean sweep for women in the shire’s top leadership roles.

Veteran Cr Rosemary Madacsi – who was elected deputy president last year after winning a postal ballot of all Toodyay voters – is the new shire president.

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Driveway vigils salute fallen

Toodyay RSL

By Heather Brennan

ON ANZAC Day we honoured those “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.

“Lest we forget”.

This year’s Anzac Day could only be described as one of the most-moving commemorations we have participated in.

Anzac Day should never go unmarked, therefore our sub-branch sought a safe and fitting way to undertake our commemoration.

This gave rise to an early morning service undertaken by Toodyay RSL President Peter Brennan,who laid the first wreath  (left), flags were raised at an eerily vacant and solemn Anzac Memorial Park, the ode was recited and the Last Post and Rouse played.

 

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Whole shire pegged as Julimar find sends shares skyrocketing

By Ieva Tomsons and Michael Sinclair-Jones

TOODYAY townsite and most of the shire has been blanket pegged for nickel after “spectacular” results from test drilling on a Julimar cattle farm (marked with red dot on map, left) 30km west of the town.

Chalice Gold Mines shares skyrocketed 700 per cent last month amid claims that Julimar could become a major new nickel province of significant strategic importance for Australia.

The Julimar find includes high-grade nickel, cobalt and copper which Chalice said were “very important” in batteries for Tesla and other electric cars, and palladium which is used to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells and control vehicle pollution – all highly valuable metals on world markets.

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Farmers pray for opening rains

By Frank Panizza Toodyay Agricultural Alliance

WAITING for rain – this appears to be the theme around the agricultural areas throughout our shire and most of the Wheatbelt.

Light rainfall was received by farmers and residents alike in April but the amount fell short of the monthly average.

Official records for Toodyay reveal that April rainfall on average is just over 25mm.

Most areas within the shire recorded 10mm or less.

 

Looking like a Martian lander at sunset, this local air seeder (above)

was used last month to plant a Nunile crop. Photo Frank Panizza.

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Toodyay in lockdown

TOODYAY is in emergency lockdown as local doctors, police, the Shire of Toodyay, schools, churches and shops take drastic action to help stop the deadly Covid-19 virus spreading through the Wheatbelt.

All local churches and hotels have shut, liquor store sales are restricted, school attendance is now voluntary, many shops are shut and travel to Perth is banned except for approved purposes such as work or health.

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