From left: Shelagh and Don Garratt, and Karen and Luigi Jacomelli use the re-opened Duke Street footbridge that links two parts of Toodyay separated by the busy east-west railway line.
TOODYAY’S Duke Street footbridge has re-opened a year after it was closed amid threats to demolish it over safety concerns.Read more
Weathered timber decking has been replaced and approach ramps repaired for safer pedestrian and wheelchair access.
Ownership of the bridge was transferred last month from the State Public Transport Authority (PTA) – which contributed more than $145,000 to the upgrade – to the Shire of Toodyay, which budgeted $56,000 for its share of the work.
The PTA says it hopes plans for a new controlled rail crossing at Toodyay station will be completed next February.
A workman (right) installs a new shire video security camera near the Victoria Hotel.
A NEW video security upgrade costing more than $300,000 is expected to become operational in Toodyay this month.
New monitors at Toodyay Police Station will enable 24-hour surveillance of the town’s approach roads, public spaces and main business and shopping areas.
A new network of 41 cameras owned and operated by the Shire of Toodyay will more than double the capacity of the old network, which has been dismantled.Read more
The upgrade will address the concerns of local business owners who complained in August that none of the old shire-owned cameras were working because a central computer server had not been repaired or replaced after breaking down several weeks earlier.
A shire spokesperson said the upgrade included installation of new five-metre ‘break back’ poles (enabling mounted equipment to be lowered to the ground).
The old camera and wireless links were being replaced with newly designed ‘end-to-end’ wireless links between each device and a central controller.
The system was being tested earlier this month before being handed over to the shire.
The shire had secured a $300,000 grant to fund the project, which was a partnership between the shire, local police, Telstra and local community organisation Safer Toodyay (formerly Toodyay Community Safety and Crime Prevention Association).
TOODYAY’S local bakery had its best result ever, scoring four gold and three silver medals at last month’s Great Aussie Pie Competition in Sydney.
Pastry chef Jodi Johnston’s cinnamon swirl crust on her apple pie made it stand out from the crowd.
Toodyay baker Jason Marion said he was extremely proud of his team, which uses local produce wherever possible.
Their award-winning pastries, cakes and bread helped attract visitors to Toodyay and boost trade for other Avon Valley small businesses, he said.
Toodyay Bakery’s first-year apprentice Olivia Jarquin (left) and pastry chef Jodi Johnston bake a fresh batch of their national award-winning apple pies.
The Toodyay Lions celebrate their thrilling two-point Mortlock League footy grand final win after trailing Goomalling for most of last month’s epic showdown. Toodyay lost three times to Goomalling earlier this year, including a heavy semi-final defeat two weeks previously, and lost big man Ben Jenkins to injury after the first term. Photo: Chelsea Phelps.
Race 2 jump at the start of the 1100m Vernice Handicap. Photo: Clive Millett.
Plead The Fifth ridden by Ryan Hill wins the Toodyay Cup.
In the packed undercroft – Where’s Wally?
In the VIP enclosure (from left): Toodyay Shire Deputy President Therese Chitty, WA Nationals Party MP Jacqui Boydell, WA Nationals MP Martin Aldridge’s Electorate Officer Lisa Logan and WA Nationals Leader and Toodyay Race Club Patron Mia Davies.
Cup-winning owners Ed Hogarth (left), John Rigby and Ivy Hogarth from Perth-based Goldlight Nominees Syndicate.
This year’s Vino Art Exhibition opened at Toodyay’s Coorinja Winery with a feast of colour and a superb selection of local works for sale. The three-day show attracted several Perth buyers.
– and that’s only in the last four years
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
THE SHIRE of Toodyay says it has spent a total of $699,481 of ratepayers’ money on lawyers in the last four financial years.
The figure was revealed by Shire President Brian Rayner (left) at last month’s council meeting in answer to a written question on notice from Cr Ben Bell.
President Rayner said the money was spent on nine different law firms.
The sum forms part of a larger amount dating back to 2013 when the shire spent $571,000 on a single law firm in a failed bid to sue two former civic leaders for $151,000 – and got back only $60,000 in return.Read more
The shire spent at least $5380 on legal fees in November 2018 when it prosecuted an English tourist who parked facing the wrong way in Stirling Terrace (legal in the UK) to obtain a $60 fine – but failed to recoup costs.
The shire lost a further $36,500 in legal fees last October when it prosecuted a Dumbarton resident for an alleged dog attack on sheep only to have a magistrate call the shire’s case “absolutely shocking” and “duplicitous” and warn she would order an acquittal if the shire didn’t withdraw its court action.
The day after last month’s Tuesday evening council meeting, The Herald sent President Rayner five written questions:
- Who authorised the expenditure of $699,481 over that period?
- Did the council approve the spending of the money before it was spent?
- How much of the $699,481 was recouped?
- Why did the shire use nine different law firms?
- Do you have any other comment about this expenditure?
A response was sought by 5pm on the Friday to meet September Herald production deadlines.
President Rayner responded at 3.23pm on the Saturday.
“In relation to legal expenses your question includes the legal expenses that you have reported on frequently over the last four years and you have substantial information available already on those expenses,” President Rayner said.
“So in relation to the balance of the legal expenses which approximate $45,000 per year this includes planning advice and SAT (State Administrative Tribunal) representation, advice on implications of the South West Native Title Settlement on shire lands, preparation of legal documents, and routine enforcement and prosecution matters.
“This can include matters like dog attacks and ignoring total fire bans.
“In another example the shire was obliged under the Local Government Act to take enforcement action in SAT for non-compliance by a councillor with Standards Panel Orders.
“Council does not become involved in engaging lawyers except when council is contemplating civil action or needs specific legal advice.
“Enforcement of State laws, local laws and planning instruments is an administrative matter, and enforcement and prosecution is not and should not be a political decision.
“The CEO (Stan Scott) has delegation to engage lawyers appropriate to the task at hand.
“For example there is a single law firm providing advice to several local governments on the same matter so it is much cheaper to share those legal expenses.”
President Rayner failed to respond to a repeated Herald request to reveal how much of the $699,481 spent on lawyers was recouped.
The shire also spent a further $11,900 this year on a private investigator to examine a Shire Code of Conduct complaint against President Rayner and Mr Scott.
This matter is now under internal Freedom of Information review and potential appeal.
Tasting in full swing at last month’s Coorinja Winery centenary celebrations.
Visitors enjoy lunch in the sun at last month’s historic Coorinja Winery centenary celebrations
Wooden barrels of wine age in Corinja Winery’s historic cellar, the first built in regional Western Australia.
A VIOLENT car-jacking in Stirling Terrace in which a woman was serious injured last month has exposed a complete breakdown in the town’s street video security network operated by the Shire of Toodyay.
None of the shire’s 19 video security street cameras mounted at key locations around town have worked for months.
A shire camera (left) outside the Toodyay Library facing last month’s car-jacking (see this month’s Police Beat column) was out of action when the crime occurred, and there was no shire video to provide evidence for police and insurers.
The shire decided several weeks ago not to replace faulty equipment at its Fiennes Street office but kept quiet about it to fool people into thinking that the cameras still worked.Read more
Last month’s car-jack video failure followed an incident last October when a local schoolgirl went missing in Duidgee Park in an area monitored by a faulty shire camera.
The camera – which frequently jammed in one position for long periods or pointed at roofs and trees – only by accident flicked past a vehicle licence plate that enabled police to locate the unharmed girl in Perth.
The shire wrote in its March Toodyay Community Newsletter that it had obtained a $300,000 Federal Government grant to upgrade the town’s video security network.
The money was announced by local Federal MP and Liberal Attorney-General Christian Porter eight weeks before Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government was re-elected in a tightly fought campaign.
“No one should have to fear for their safety,”Mr Porter said in his announcement.
The shire’s March newsletter said contracts had been signed and the project “would commence in the near future”.
All shire CCTV cameras – except those with licence plate recognition – would be replaced, and an additional three new cameras installed on new poles.
“The system will run on a new dedicated server with the police station receiving a new monitor,” the shire said.
However, when the shire was asked to provide video footage of last month’s car-jacking, it was revealed that none of the shire’s cameras were working and had all been out of action for “a few months”.
Further inquiries revealed that local police no longer had access to any street camera vision and had dismantled their equipment until a new shire monitor is installed.
It is understood that a computer server at the shire’s administration centre in Fiennes Street failed several weeks ago.
The shire decided not to spend money on replacing the faulty equipment and chose instead to wait until its new $300,000 system is installed.
It said the presence of street cameras deterred crime, regardless of whether they worked or not.
Shire President Brian Rayner was asked the following Herald questions last month:
- How long has this camera (at the car-jacking) been out of action?
- When will it be repaired?
- How many other shire video security cameras are not working?
- How long have they been out of action?
- When will they be repaired?
- How has this been allowed to happen?
- Who is responsible for this?
- What message do you have to allay local businesses and community concerns about public safety in our streets and parks when there is substantial evidence that shire video security cameras have not worked properly since at least 2014?
“As you know the Shire of Toodyay was successful in obtaining a $300,000 grant to upgrade its CCTV infrastructure.
“This work is underway at present and we expect the work to be largely complete by the end of September.
“The project will upgrade CCTV infrastructure in public and community spaces throughout the Town Centre.
“The project will see the replacement of 17 old external CCTV cameras, installation of 22 new CCTV cameras for a total network of 41 cameras, more than double the old network.
“It will also include new five-metre‘break back’ poles in various key locations around the community.
“All old CCTV and wireless links will be decommissioned, with a newly designed ‘end-to-end’ wireless link being supplied and installed between each device and CCTV head end.
“This project is being delivered as a partnership between Toodyay Police, Safer Toodyay, the Shire of Toodyay and Telstra.
“During the course of the installation some CCTV infrastructure may not be working.
“I do not intend to comment on which cameras or when.
“CCTV performs a role in detecting and preventing crime.
“I have no intention of undermining the deterrence by commenting on which cameras may or may not be out of action and at what time during the implementation process.”