Shire rates set to rise 5pc

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

A FIVE per cent rate rise this year is being advertised by the Shire of Toodyay.

It aims to raise an extra $330,000 after last year’s shire rates were frozen to compensate for Covid-19 lockdowns and job losses.

The shire says the proposed rate rise represents an increase of between $82 and $391 in median rates.

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Thrills and spills on raging Avon River

By Daniel Yong

SPECTATORS were treated to a weekend of thrills and spills when last month’s record-breaking Avon Descent river race through Toodyay saw a new category of speedboats soar through the air and several powerboats and kayaks capsize in the raging torrent.

At least 150 people braved the early Saturday morning cold, mist and mud last month to see the first speedboats leap across roaring white water at Extracts Weir.

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Ex-MP threatened with police eviction from shire auction

LOCAL resident and former State MP Larry Graham was threatened with police eviction from the CWA Hall last month prior to the controversial auction of a shire-owned property next to his Duke Street home.

Mr Graham, former chair of the now-defunct Toodyay Progress Association, had claimed in July that the proposed sale was “unlawful” and should be “cancelled” for being originally advertised incorrectly.

Larry Graham (seated left in red) watches auctioneer Tony Maddox invite bids for a shire-owned property which sold for $75,000 next to Mr Graham’s Duke Street home.

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Julimar miner plans 72 state forest drill sites

CHALICE Mining says it will take another three to five years to decide whether to start large-scale mining in Julimar State Forest.

The company is seeking State Government approval to start “low-impact” exploratory drilling in the forest after getting promising test results on nearby farms it has acquired – now totalling about 2100ha (5200 acres) – and from aerial surveys.

The applications sought “72 small drill sites”.

Drill cores from Chalice-owned Julimar farmland showing bronze-coloured sulphide mineralisation in the darker host rock.

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Shire gets nod in State-funded review

By Michael Sinclair-Jones

A STATE-FUNDED review of the Shire of Toodyay has largely endorsed the council’s response to 23 adverse findings against the former council and previous shire CEO over the previous seven years.

The findings were tabled in State Parliament last October after a year-long inquiry.

Last month’s independent consultant review said a new council elected in 2019 was “on the whole, functioning properly and proper decision-making is taking place”.

It said current councillors had a “sound and productive working relationship” with new Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst (right), who had “performed above expectations”.

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Thrills and spills expected as heavy rain swells river

Fast-flowing floodwaters submerge Toodyay’s Cobbler Pool campsite where hundreds of competitors, support crew and spectators were due to sleep overnight on Saturday August 14 for this year’s annual Avon Descent river race from Northam to Perth. Organisers say they have contingency plans to shift campers to higher ground and are expecting record race times after weeks of heavy rain.

By Daniel Yong

HUNDREDS of competitors have entered this month’s Avon Descent river race through Toodyay as recent heavy rains and rising water levels promise an action-packed weekend on August 14-15.

The event includes an annual International Food Fair and Family Fun Day in Toodyay on Saturday August 14.

Rising water levels flooded the Cobbler Pool overnight camp site at the start of this month and threatened to submerge local bridges.

Toodyay officially recorded 154.2mm of rain in July (see Page 29) but some nearby rural properties reported totals of more than 300mm, making it one of the wettest months in decades.

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Hundreds of older locals get AstraZenica jabs

MORE than 730 people have received the AstraZenica Covid-19 vaccine in Toodyay since a statewide rollout for mostly older residents started locally in March.

Doses of the Pfizer vaccine for younger residents are yet to be available locally.

A total of 205 mostly older Toodyay residents have received their second dose of AstraZenica at Toodyay’s Alma Beard Medical Centre and are now fully vaccinated.

Toodyay resident Dennis Toop (right) was the first local person to receive an AstraZenica jab at the medical centre last March.

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Winter pool heating put on back burner

PLANS to heat Toodyay’s new public swimming pool (pictured left last August with swim teacher Colleen Sheehan) to enable it to stay open in winter have been delayed due to cost.

Venue manager Clublinks told a public meeting of about 50 people last year that it would pay an estimated $150,000 to $200,000 to install pool heating as part of a two-year contract with Shire of Toodyay.

Clublinks State Manager Matt Day told The Herald later that it might cost less than $10,000 year to keep the 25m pool heated to about 27C after heating was installed,

However, Shire CEO Suzie Hazlehurst said last month that the actual cost of installing pool heating was found to be nearly double the initial estimate.

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Historic Church buildings sold to local buyers

Toodyay’s former Sy Aloysius Catholic boys’ boarding school (above) and ‘The Ship’ (obscured right). Both properties are heritage listed.

AN HISTORIC building in Toodyay’s heritage-listed Catholic Precinct has been sold for an undisclosed sum and another is under formal offer, both to local buyers.

Toodyay real estate agent John Butler said last month’s sale of the former St Aloysius boys’ boarding school was a “done deal”, pending settlement.

A different buyer had lodged a formal offer to buy another two-storey building next to it known as The Ship.

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Council ‘culture and dynamics’ face further scrutiny

THE ‘culture and dynamics’ of the Toodyay Shire Council’ will be reviewed in a further State-funded investigation after a damning report on a year-long inquiry was tabled in the WA Parliament last year.

The recommended review will examine the council’s performance and behaviour from 1 November 2019 to February this year.

It will seek anonymous responses from councillors and staff “ensuring they can speak and/or submit information freely”.

The review will be jointly headed by former City of Perth Commissioner Andrew Hammond (left).

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