Cockatoo Coal has open doors for its Hume project

THE new faces of Cockatoo Coal’s Hume project said they will have an “open door” policy and haven’t been “hiding” from the community as opponents to the project have claimed.
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Project manager Mike Cunnion and newly appointed community liaison officer Julie Gander sat down with the News last week to clear the air on their plans for a possible longwall mine at Sutton Forest.

One of the first things Mr Cunnion ? who managed the Medway mine for eight years ? said was the company hadn’t even established if the coal deposits on the 115 million ton lease were worth mining and what type of mine would be used.

“The first preconception that everyone seems to be raising is that we are going to longwall mine,” he said.

“I don’t know where that came from. There has been no publication by Cockatoo Coal that is going to be the method of mining adopted,” he said.

“An awful lot of work needs to be done before we even contemplate what type of mining is going to take place.”

The Southern Highlands Coal Action Group’s [SHCAG] Peter Martin said he was told by POSCO, the Korean steel giant bank rolling the project, that the most “economically efficient” method of mining would be used. He said this clearly indicated longwall mining because it was more capital intensive.

Ms Gander, who lives outside Goulburn at Towrang, hasn’t worked specifically as a community liaison before and has a tough road ahead with SHCAG’s concerted campaign to turn the community against the miners.

“We’ve heard it, ‘lock the gate you’re not coming in’. We are disappointed by that,” she said.

“We are hoping there are enough people out there willing to talk to us.

“They are the ones we prefer to talk to.”

She said she would meet the SHCAG.

“We’d love them to come and talk to us. Obviously they have fears and concerns and we want to talk to them about it,” she said.

“Every project I have ever worked on has had an element of the community who say ‘we don’t want you, go away’ and we’ve always had to work with them and worked through the issue so they are comfortable with us being there.”

But she ruled out any public meetings, preferring to meet one-on-one with landowners in the exploration lease area.

Mr Cunnion, who lives in Moss Vale, said they are looking at less than 100 bore holes and they had to do more studies because the last exploration was done almost 30 years ago.

He said landowners would be handsomely rewarded for co-operating.

“If possible we will go beyond and above the guidelines,” he said.

If a mine goes ahead Mr Cunnion said local labour would be sourced.

“During any construction phase we would look at 400 people being employed.

“One of the big things Cockatoo has said and I am here to make sure is that we push that argument to look at local employment,” he said.

Ms Gander said they cared just as much about the Highlands’ environment as anyone else.

“We are people. We’re not an amorphous blog of a company. We’re people who also care about our home. This is our home,” she said.

The pair moved into their Moss Vale office at Clarence House last week and said a website was coming.

Call 4868 2500 or email [email protected]南京夜网.au to contact them.

Medway mine meet:?Wednesday’s News

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Corey wins talent quest

Corey Legge, the winner of the Bega High School Talent Quest and also the winner of the solo act intermediate section.COREY Legge, Year Nine, was the overall winner of the Bega High School Talent Quest held at the end of last term.
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He also was the first place winner in the solo act intermediate section.

Jacinta Galli and Zac Clark were the students’ choice winner and the first place junior.

First place in the senior section went to Overdrive, Ben Lister and Tom Llewelyn.

Second place senior was Glow Fire Dance, with Gareth Law (Year 10), Andrew Law (Year 12) and Aidan Bateman on drums

The first place intermediate was The Black Dots, Aidan Bateman, Zac Clark and Nell Cantrill (Year 10) and second place, Sol Thomas (Year 10).

The second place intermediate band was Ich Bin nicht Deutsch with Thomas Gibbs, Simon Weber, Daniel Hodges, Gareth Law and Albi McKnight-Mullen (Year 10)

The second place junior was Emma Caddey with Corey Legge (Year 8) and the third place junior, Cheyanne Chapman (Year 7).

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Children have messages for PM Howard

IN ANTICIPATION of Prime Minister John Howard’s visit to Bega a couple of weeks ago, teacher Rachel Alves and her Class 4 children at the Mumbulla School prepared a letter for the PM.
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“Dear Mr Howard, Do you have grandchildren?” the letter asked.

“I wonder what their wish for the future would be.

“I asked my class and these are the wishes they came up with. I am proud that they are so selfless in what they hope for.

“At our school we teach the tenets of ‘Goodness, Beauty and Truth’.

“As a teacher of primary age students it is sometimes difficult to hold much hope that these children will inherit the future they deserve.

“So, I ask that you take a moment to reflect on how the wishes the children have expressed might be fulfilled.

“What future can we offer these and all young people?”

The children had illustrated their wishes which included “peace”, “save the whales”, “We want a clean world” and “stop logging”.

The pupils and Ms Alves were outside the Bega RSL Club waiting for the Prime Minister to arrive for a morning tea.

However, when they were unable to give the message to Mr Howard, the pupils entrusted it to the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, who promised to pass them on.

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Chamber re-elects Robert Hayson

The new executive of the Bega Chamber of Commerce (front from left) Michelle Delle Vergin, president Robert Hayson, Jenny Spinks, Andy Willis, vice president Anna Glover and (back) Margaret Taylor, trTHE Bega Chamber of Commerce and Industry had another productive and successful year in 2006-07, president Robert Hayson told the annual general meeting at Pepperberry cafe on Tuesday evening.
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The chamber had continued to represent the business community’s interests in regards to planning of the central business district and for new development, he said.

A development committee had been formed to ensure that the interests of members were considered in development plans for the town and members were kept informed.

A highlight of the year had been the handing over of tourist information to Bega Cheese on July 1 last year.

Bega Valley Shire Council had since recommended that other tourist information centres in the shire be run on the same model as the one agreed to by the Bega chamber and Bega Cheese, Mr Hayson said.

He said the chamber had continued to lobby throughout the year for the Bega bypass and improvements to the Princes Highway and had made the bypass a priority for 2007-08.

A campaign for Federal funding for a Diploma of Education at the University of Wollongong’s Bega campus had been successful with 30 places funded from 2008.

The Operation New Hospital committee, established under the auspices of the chamber, had continued to work with the Greater Southern Area Health Service during the year on planning for a new health facility for the shire that the State Government had promised within five years.

The chamber sponsored a scholarship for a Commerce student at the University of Wollongong’s Bega campus and a prize for an Aboriginal artist through the Bega Valley Regional Gallery.

Members also assisted with the Australia Day celebrations that were held at Tathra this year to honour the Year of the Lifesaver.

Mr Hayson said the Bega Business Awards had been changed from an annual to a monthly event, culminating with a major function for monthly winners last Saturday night.

The change was made to encourage businesses to look at their presentation and customer service at all times during the year and had proven popular with businesses and customers, he said.

The chamber’s other big promotion, Wish Upon a Star, was another success story with thousands of people turning up for the final draw in Littleton Gardens a few nights before Christmas.

Mr Hayson thanked his committee, Anna Glover, Margaret Taylor, Donna Lovelock, Michelle Delle Vergin, Jenny Spinks, Geoffrey Morrissey, Beth Hart, Chris Dwyer and Chris Maxted for their efforts during the year, his business partner, Chris Murphy and the chamber’s two paid staff, Janelle Sturt and Heather Thompson.

He also thanked Shannon Whitford who maintained the chamber’s website, www.begachamber南京夜网.au throughout the year.

Mr Hayson made special mention of the businesses who sponsored chamber promotions and events during the year, particularly Bega Cheese for its continued support for the Christmas promotion, and Bega Travelworld, Radio 2EC-Power FM, WIN Television, the St George Bank and Woolworths for their support of the business awards.

During the election of officers, Mr Hayson was re-elected unopposed as president.

Other office bearers are Anna Glover (vice president), Beth Hart (secretary), Donna Lovelock (treasurer), Geoff Morrissey, Margaret Taylor, Jenny Spinks, Andy Willis, Chris Dwyer, Michelle Delle Vergin and Chris Maxted (committee).

Ms Glover moved a special vote of thanks to Mr Hayson saying it would not be half, even quarter, the chamber it was without his efforts and those of his staff and his family.

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Hewson on shire flood risks

THE recent experiences with the floods in Queensland should have all councils around Australia re-considering their “flood policies”, their preparedness, and including the impact on their planning approval processes.
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The extreme experience of, say, Toowoomba, and its flash flooding, should make the point.

Toowoomba sits atop the escarpment. Some years ago I was involved in a debate there against the expectation that they would soon run out of water.

Residents of that famous inland “Garden City” were being encouraged to vote in a referendum on a sewerage recycling plant to guarantee adequate water supply.

How prepared are we in the Highlands? It could never happen here?

I have also witnessed several, let’s call them, “planning anomalies” over the years, when it comes to the “flood risks” on certain significant property developments.

To cite one example, I am told that the approval process for the Highlands Market Place in Mittagong recognised the risk of flooding in the basement car park.

If that is so, how come the adjoining “bulky goods” development was allowed to be built at that potential flood level, and not at the height of the ground floor of the Market Place?

This and others need to be reviewed by the new council management.

I am also told that, in somewhat technical terms, councils are reviewing their “flood definitions”, seeking to draw an appropriate distinction between “flood levels” and “depth of flow”.

This is an area requiring the urgent and transparent attention of our council and its management.

Police shootings

IN recent days we have seen yet another example, in Canberra this time, where the police have shot dead somebody who was threatening them with a knife.

Without wanting to downplay, in any sense, the severity of the risks involved to the police, or to focus on the detail of any one incident, I would suggest that two questions should be asked.

First, why do the police always seem, at least in the cases we hear about, to shoot to kill, rather than to shoot them in the leg or arm, to wound rather than to kill?

Second, why is it acceptable that when such incidents do occur that the “inquiries” are conducted by the police themselves, rather than by a truly independent and publicly transparent and accountable body?

O’Farrell landslide

THIS week’s poll suggests that Barry O’Farrell and his team will win the coming State election in a landslide, leaving the ALP with just 13 seats, from the 50 they now hold.

If so, O’Farrell will virtually have a blank cheque, virtually able to do whatever he likes to “fix” the widespread problems in NSW, especially as he is providing so little policy detail as to just what he would do.

In our democratic system, such a blank cheque is generally not a good idea, but if he is to have one, how do we ensure that we get a good piece of it for the Highlands?

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Global warming? – where?

AT A time when climate change, and global warming in particular, are at the forefront of debate, residents of the Bega Valley have shivered through the past week.
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After the somewhat mild conditions that prevailed for the first half of winter, Jack Frost arrived with a vengeance this week.

Paddocks and backyards across the shire were turned white as the mercury plummeted to below zero on four consecutive mornings – it was the first time in more than three years that this has occurred in Bega.

On Sunday it was -1.3, Monday -2.7, Tuesday -3.3 and Wednesday -0.6 and while on each occasion the maximum temperature reached the mid-teens, a chilly south westerly breeze straight off the snow ensured that beanies and thick coats were been the order of the day for many.

The cool conditions are expected to continue over the coming days, with forecasts of significant snowfalls down to as far as 800 metres and cold winds across the State’s south east.

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Mac Cott – Out of Context

Wingecarribee Shire Council – Ivory Towers.A WINNER on so many fronts these days, Dept’y Dawg Larry “my word’s final” Whipper had a minor dummy spit and found urgent business away from the table during last week’s mostly friendly love-in in the Star Chamber at Ivory Towers (I.T.).
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Lazza left us for a few moments while David “truth is” Stranger read the list of six successful community representatives chosen from 12 community-minded folk for the Demographic and Housing Study reference panel.

Keen followers of events at the Towers (I.T.) will recall this study was foreshadowed after State Planning refused to take Chelsea Gardens and Coomungie out of the strategic plan for future housing expansion, a move hotly opposed by Lazza and now-Mayor Kay Haitch (K.H.) at the time.

Word is that Lazza wanted a veto on one of the chosen ones in favour of his choice, the affable Alan Hunt (a near-neighbour of the disputed land, I believe) who got a guernsey on the reserve bench anyway.

While Alan, as with the likeable Nick Dyer (who seemed to be the number six elected, according to the Stranger reading), has some experience in matters legal and business, plus land and housing development issues, that same experience was seemingly used to rule out Barry Anstee, Ian Scandrett, Terry Oakes-Ash and inevitably, the Ringer, Nick Campbell-Jones.

While neither Lazza nor Kay Haitch were able to attend this week’s vital Information Session on forming up the 2011-12 Budget, having more urgent business elsewhere, the word around the table was that Lazza was seeking support for a rescission motion to set the appointments aside and tapped most of the seven who did go to the meeting.

Don’t know if K.H. would support him on this, but Gentleman Jim Clark usually tracks square with our hero and thus, in elected order as read, Elizabeth Meredith (of Bowral Matters), Ron Wade, Peter Graham, Laurel Cheetham, Max Powditch and Nick Dyer may still have to wait yet another meeting to learn their fate.

They may yet learn the difficulties of serving community interests and working with a group of councillors so sharply divided on local political issues.

INITIALLY, one should explain my use of his initials to dignify Our Mayor, whom everybody knows anyway.

Our Mayor, as is his right, has complained to Editor Mark Bransdon about my references to him and the blue pencil (I had one once) came out on my last two pieces, excising some words.

So, in an effort not to re-offend with my irreverent remarks, correctly described by Mark as “light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek” , I believe few could be offended by their own initials.

I thought of employing the old phonetic alphabet of my (brief) military career, thus “King How” or more latterly “Kilo Hotel”, but both could have been misinterpreted.

So, unless the pencil strikes again, let’s use “Kay Haitch”, eh?

LAND that could come under scrutiny in any study of future areas for rezoning for housing purposes must be the freeway-locked precinct known as West Yerrinbool.

Sold to hopeful buyers a decade or two back with proper (rateable) title but no building rights by a well-known local land agent (who, incidentally, has never been on council), the land is unserviced, has inadequate access and deemed a bushfire risk.

But quite a few owners have built there, some admittedly a little haphazard in their approach and civic responsibility, but all proud of their castle.

It would be a brave council indeed that sought rezoning to aid the 40-odd owners who have been agitating and lately financed a planning study for building rights there.

The land, like those 22-foot blocks at Hill Top, given away with a suit of clothes by an enterprising early 20thC city tailor, may take two lifetimes to gain building approval.

A shortcut towards recognition would be a $3-mill-plus bridge plus an annual rate bill of about six grand, according to one estimate we heard yesterday.

The structures may be illegal and non-complying, but it would be an equally brave mayor and council who ordered the bulldozers in under intense media scrutiny.

SIMMERING also are massive legal bills that will have to be faced by the present incumbents and right now the WSC costs in the legal loss to Norlex over water extraction at Bundanoon is being talked about in hushed tones at six-figure sums.

On Council Code of Conduct matters alone, a bill of about $100,000 is being mooted by some, as the meter ticks over at $300 an hour for such investigations.

What has not been fully recognised is that all volunteer committee members are bound by the Code and on the Cunningham Park tree-poisoning issue alone, $20,000 has been mentioned, since an allegation has been made that the perpetrators acted on the council’s behalf and GM Jason Gordon has an internal investigation under way.

It was interesting that Big Jim Mauger’s intense scrutiny of the past no doubt occasioned his very responsible query as to the state of WSC’s public liability insurance and the extent of general insurance cover for flood damage where, by negligence, it failed to act diligently in providing accurate information with a development application.

Big Jim (B.J.) is assisting the GM with a separate line of inquiry, also relating to his intense study of historical events in the life of this and the past council.

As an example, he inquired about the 2007 Howe Report into management, was it still extant and how much did it cost.

GM Jason told him some aspects had been taken into account in the recent restructure and, as with the insurance questions, they will be taken on notice and replied to in detail.

You’ll hear a lot more about B.J. “real soon now”, so stay tuned.

STILL THE ONE! My crazy Queensland cousin thinks people might find 2011 is, she says, “a freaky year.”

She writes that this year we will experience four unusual dates:

* 1/1/11,

* 11/1/11, which have passed, followed by

* 1/11/11 and

* 11/11/11 ….

Now take the last two digits of the year you were born plus the age you will

be this year and it WILL BE EQUAL TO 111…..

Go ahead, be the One!

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Cold snap prompts a hypothermia warning

GREATER Southern Area Health Service has issued a warning about hypothermia in light of the current cold snap.
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“It is important that people recognise the signs and symptoms of hypothermia, particularly the elderly who can be most vulnerable to this condition,” the clinical nurse consultant in emergency services for GSAHS, Anne Hawkins, said.

“Elderly people who live by themselves can be susceptible to hypothermia in these current cold conditions – particularly at night when the temperature drops further.

“People in this situation should ensure they keep warm during the winter months.

“Relatives, neighbours, friends and carers should be aware of the possibility of hypothermia and check on them at regular intervals,” Ms Hawkins said.

Hypothermia can be triggered when heat loss occurs at a rate greater than the ability of the body to generate heat (aided by shivering).

However, starvation can make hypothermia more likely because shivering depends on the presence of glycogen.

Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy.

The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.

Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well.

This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.

Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 4°C) if a person becomes chilled from rain, perspiration, or submersion in cold water.

It can also induce arrhythmias or cause heartbeat disturbances during re-warming which is a common cause of death due to severe hypothermia.

Victims of hypothermia are often elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; people who remain outdoors for long periods-the homeless, bushwalkers etc and people who misuse alcohol or use illicit drugs.

The warning signs of hypothermia are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness and, in infants, bright red, cold skin and very low energy.

If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature and if it is below 35° C, the situation is an emergency – get medical attention immediately.

If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:

* Get the victim into a warm room or shelter.

* If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it.

* Warm the centre of the body first – chest, neck, head, and groin – using an electric blanket, if available, or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.

* Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.

* After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.

* Get medical attention as soon as possible.

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Open day for country club ends long journey

GIBRALTAR Country Club is having an open day on Sunday, February 27.GIBRALTAR Country Club is having an open day on Sunday, February 27.
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A club spokeswoman said the open say was an opportunity for members and guests to experience the recent upgrades to the golf course and pro-shop.

It also was a chance to take a tour of Bowral’s newest resort and conference centre, the Gibraltar Hotel Bowral.

There will be 18 holes of golf with a shot gun start followed by a prize presentation and barbecue hosted by Harvey’s Bar at the Gibraltar Hotel.

Two new life members will also be announced on the day.

The Pro Shop’s Jacqui Bent said it should be a good day.

“Our members have been so patient during the recent hotel development and we want to acknowledge that over 18 holes, a steak and a beer or two,” she said.

Managing director John Uliana, who fielded criticism in the beginning for cutting a deal with Winge?carribee Council over rates, said it had been a long journey.

“After six long, tiring and tricky years we are finally in a position to celebrate the new look Gibraltar Country Club,” he said.

“We’re also looking forward to celebrating the official opening of our new restaurant, Harvey’s Bar and the Day Spa, in the coming months,” he said.

To book your spot please phone the Gibraltar Country Club on 4861 1946 or email [email protected]南京夜网.au by Monday, February 21.

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Behind the news

THE Public Libraries country conference being held in Merimbula this week has adopted “Public Libraries a Cultural Pearl” as its theme. A Tathra reader suggests that a bumper sticker he saw a few years ago, stating “Librarians Are Novel Lovers” would have made a much more interesting slogan.
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THE recent cold snap has had an interesting impact on the fashion stakes around town. Normally clothes-conscious workers are abandoning fashion for warmth when they choose their outfits on these chilly mornings promoting some curious combinations.

A BEGA reader has asked us to give praise where it is due after an ambulance was called to his workplace this week when a worker collapsed. “They were very quick to arrive and most efficient when they did,” he said. “Too often we tend to take the emergency services for granted but they do a great job.”

WITH the decision to continue the Bega Business Awards as a monthly, rather than annual, event the Bega Chamber of Commerce and Industry is asking its members to take up the challenge to provide excellent service to customers all year round, not just when there are prizes to be won.

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