OUR COMMUNITY owes a huge debt to the handful of local volunteer firefighters who readily risk their lives at a moment’s notice to keep us all safe.
Their courage is underscored by the deaths of 34 people, including at least three volunteer firefighters, in bushfires that have ravaged the eastern states this summer.
Local firefighter John Hansen says Toodyay “dodged a bullet” last month when a big bushfire threatened to destroy dozens of homes south of the town.
The Shire of Toodyay’s new $1 million State grant to help reduce bushfire risk (story Page 7) should help ease the danger.
But it doesn’t rule out a lack of common sense by people who persist in using dangerous tools on hot, windy days.Read more
Local police are urging everyone to get free mobile phone alerts for hot works and harvest bans (see Police Beat).
Another way to reduce risk may be to place signs on public roads to warn against tossing cigarette butts from car windows.
Regardless of whether you believe in climate change or not, our weather appears to be getting drier and hotter, and we must all learn to adapt to survive.
SOME Toodyay shire councillors seem yet to accept the result of last year’s elections.
They held majority sway on the previous council and ignored ratepayers’ concerns on hot-button issues such as rate increases.
Some behave now as if the election didn’t happen and they’re still in charge.
It wouldn’t matter if everyone in the chamber was elected the same way because democracy enshrines an equal voice for all.
But unlike the six councillors elected last October, the other three have never faced a proper ballot involving all voters.
And the one who seems to be leading the opposition to change wasn’t elected by anyone at all.
Add to that rumours of persistent sniping behind the scenes and resistance from the top level of administration and you have a recipe for ongoing rancour and division.
We’ve had enough of that in recent years and most people are sick of it.
President Bill Manning set a high standard last year when he resigned from the council to recontest his seat despite having another two years to serve under an old ward system that excluded most voters.
Others who sat tight in self-righteous justification now lack the moral authority to say or do anything credible until they too face all electors for the first time.
Voters spoke clearly last October that they wanted change.
It’s time those who have never contested a full election pulled their heads in and let the new council get on with it.