Opinion

The Say

by Cagerattler

Isn’t it great to see the Recreation Ground Camping area getting used how we hoped it would.  It has to be good for the local businesses too.

The other night I was over there walking my dogs and got talking to one of the campers. He reckoned that he’d been travelling for many years and we were one of the most accommodating, friendly and best places he’d come across. The best part for me though was that most of our secret is word of mouth because campers talk to other campers. Isn’t that fantastic?

That’s the good news.  Now, Council… What about looking at establishing areas designated for backpacking campers too? Some do this anyway but the original idea was to have a sheltered area set aside to let the ‘tenters’ have a nice spot to pitch the ol’ tepee or wigwam… That’d be awesome and continue the good work already done, first by the original steering group and later by Council.  Establishing something that we can be really proud of.  This leads me to an associated issue…

The Streetscape – has it been thrown into the too-hard basket, deferred, cancelled or something in between? What’s the problem? If it’s good enough to find the money for a proposed new hospital site for St Helens (which I do think is needed but could be several years away) why not start work in St Marys, Fingal and other places? Funds were supposed to be set aside when the Council  initially agreed to improve infrastructure, quite a few years ago now. Quite frankly, Mayor and Council, it’s about time that at the very least a bit of good forward  action or plan could be made known to us all.

I wonder if the sticking point is the parking issue? MAKE A DECISION EITHER WAY ON THAT…and the rest of us will get used to the end result and accept it. It’s that simple.

It’s about time for someone to say or do something, otherwise five years down the track we’ll still be talking about it…It can be done. Look at the Recreation Ground utilisation as a great example…IT DOES WORK.

What do you think? Rod McGiveron

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I have lived in St Marys for the past 14 years and have always walked up Richardsons Road past the recently drained dam.  I understand the dam was drained because of one complaint to TasWater that the water was gushing down the creek.  I have never seen the creek gushing! I rang TasWater, then the Council, and was told that a platypus put a hole in the structure. It’s concrete! Maybe I am wrong but I find this ridiculous. The Council told me they won’t reconsider refilling the dam till they know the structure is sound.

So are we indefinitely left with this dangerous smelly eyesore? And of course no one considered the poor animals and birdlife that drink and live at the dam.

Kate Almond, St Marys

The Say

By Cagerattler

This is not Schapelle Corby persecution, this is about the power of the media and this coverage is a good example of  how much power mainstream media has.

A couple of weeks ago, once again, like with so many other “ big news stories” the TV, radio and print media spent huge chunks of time and money inundating us with this story.  If Corby had been convicted in Australia, not a foreign country, we probably wouldn’t have heard too much about it and it may well have been consigned to an indiscriminate little spot on page 7 or something.

However, and ONLY because it would increase sales  and in turn  advertising, the story was made into a big deal, not least during the trial…and the carry-on with the  sentencing… and so on.

Sound familiar?

Remember the Lindy Chamberlain trial by media in the early 1980s,  until she was finally acquitted  many years later? Countless magazines jumped on the sensationalism of the case, as did  several TV shows, film  and mainstream news.

Anyone who thinks ‘the public needs to know’ dictates the nature/veracity of popular media content is quite frankly naïve in the extreme. Time after time this goes on.

At   election time media portrays politicians as they want to or need to (as the case may be)…and sometimes it’s more  important to depict how they say things and not so much what they actually say. Who cares what dress or pantsuit Julia Gillard wore, but the bloody media made her appearance seem important for some reason or other.

Back to the Corby case. Over the past nine years, regular media leaking of her depression and other personal matters has occurred, to keep the case simmering in the back of our minds; fanning the flame would keep it alive for the parole which would undoubtedly happen.

In Australia Schapelle would not have been considered  newsworthy.  The elements of the case (Indonesia, alleged corrupt authorities, an aussie in strife overseas and other contributing factors) enhanced with the power of the media and its need of financial success, made a criminal (convicted  by an international court) some sort of hero or cult figure.

Whether she did or did not commit the crime is almost incidental. Our perceptions can be manipulated by media, and rather than just reporting the actual facts they think they need to embellish…and probably make a mini series, TV special, cover magazine articles etc. It’s reprehensible and readers/viewers are treated to superficial/incorrect content rather than  information, valid opinion and real news.

Personally I’d love to ask a media CEO  ‘if the Corby case had happened here, would you have given a toss?’

What do you think? Rod McGiveron

The Say

by Cagerattler

It doesn’t seem too long since the last Valley Voice of  2013 but suddenly here we go again.  Like I do every year, can I just remind those who read the Voice that Cagerattler is a chance to touch on many and varied subjects. I never claim to ALWAYS do tons of research on a subject but the main object in the past decade or so is to get people talking about mostly local, but occasionally wider range subjects.

If you disagree with what I write  and you see it totally differently  then please write a reply – that’s the whole idea. I make a point of not personally attacking anyone by mentioning actions, decisions or impending decisions that affect us all. Also the opinions of this column are not necessarily those of the Valley Voice.

A few weeks ago a stupid, selfish person or persons  decided to break into the Woodcraft Guild/Men’s Shed and take much of their hard earned, integral tools and equipment and didn’t even leave a tiny amount of petty cash for day to day incidentals behind – as small an amount as it was.

Continue reading

Members would like to express our sincere gratitude to Diana Foster who, by her own volition and with no  solicitation from any of our members, wrote to the Examiner with a story of the Guild’s theft which has led to the many donations and well wishes from all corners of the state.

A thank you to Veronica Jupp from St Helens Books Café, Rita and Ian Summers,  Surf Coast Realty, Mad Mudd, River and Willow, Peter and Bev Rubenach,  the Wildlife Carers from St Marys,  the Valley Voice and to all the people who have donated anonymously.

A    special thank you to police officer John Chandler whose professionalism has been exemplary and who has kept us continually informed, and to  the Break O’Day Council.

We apologise if we have left anyone out – it would not be intentional.

Finally, many thanks to all who have bought one of our raffle tickets from trusty ticket seller Lorraine Gill.

Wendy Brennan

Secretary

BreakO’Day Woodcraft Guild

The Say

By Cagerattler.

Last week I was walking around town and was disturbed to see how overgrown the parks and general public areas were, and wondered what any visitors would have thought as they passed through or stopped for a spell. At one time I was a greenkeeper and know that this is the peak growth period of the year, but it’s also leading into the busy season and our Council has to be ready for this.

In contrast it seemed that the coastal areas were not to any great extent as overgrown in the public areas, as evident  earlier in the week.

On a slightly similar theme we talked at work about who is responsible for nature strips. Two or three different opinions came forth, all with valid points, but after issues recently dealing with workplace safety and occupational health and safety matters a whole can of worms appears i.e. legally, if whilst in the process of mowing your (Council owned) nature strip you injure  person/s, property of even yourself. As one of my workmates said, he found it difficult to understand why you wouldn’t want your strip to look its best and this was one of the few places that council maintains these areas…fair point indeed and as a couple of others said that if an indemnity existed to protect the householder, ratepayer or renter they’d have no issues mowing sometimes largish areas adjacent to their house. Is this the case though?…Is there an indemnity for such work and if not can our council seek to address that? For the record I generally run the mower over the small bit outside my property but given recent pedantic rules and regulations (bordering on insanely ridiculousl over the top rules on less serious risks) it made me wonder more about mowing and the real risks involved with that in a public area.

On the main point though, regarding the parks, Town Hall area and roadside verges not associated with properties, I hope the BODC will try to be a lot more vigilant than of late with this very basic and fundamental service that our rates must surely partially finance. Thankfully in the past few days some of this work is being addressed prior to Christmas…that’s good.

Finally, as this is the last Valley Voice for the year, I’d like to thank Wendy Dawson, our hard working editor,  in her first year in the job for being so amazing to deal with. She’s been great.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas/New Year break, not least Wendy and her fabulous crew, and all things being equal, see you in 2014…

What do you think? Rod McGiveron.

The Say

By Cagerattler…

As we approach Christmas,  the warmer weather and holiday makers I  never cease to be amazed by the inconsiderate acts of some people out there. I do a lot of walking in the bush and all too often I come across  evidence of those who choose to dump their trash in the bush, even farm animal carcasses. Why can’t these idiots be caught and prosecuted? What about the native wildlife that can injure themselves, get caught up or eat remains that’ll make them sick? Then there’s others who visit our area and see the trash scattered in the bush or rest areas; that must make them think twice about us. A couple of years ago there were only a few places, mainly on Mt Nicholas that I found such rubbish, but now I’ve come across all sorts of stuff in at least four other places…If you are one of these people too lazy or cheap to use a skip bin or visit the tip, please stop – it’s no good for anyone.

Now the good news. I was fortunate to spend a few minutes last weekend with Heather at the Mad=Mudd, a new business in town in the old clothing store premises. What an interesting and enthusiastic lady she is and the variety of high quality crafts was incredible, all hand made and sometimes using materials that would otherwise not be  considered of great value, such as crushed glass. The other exciting thing is that Heather and Steve will be running classes later on to share some of these skills and will feature a kids’ corner for our talented local kids. Let’s hope the new  business flourishes. Heather also mentioned that it was important to cater for local clientèle as much as tourists so go and have a look – you won’t be disappointed.

Finally to the respondent to my comments two issues back. I hope your questions were answered in the most recent Valley Voice on the Streetscape issue. Whilst I don’t agree with all your response I can see some good points you make and appreciate your time to write in and express your views..That’s great, and thanks.

What do you think?  Rod McGiveron.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

I was very pleased to see nearly 40 people come to  St Marys Town hall on 10th November for the screening of  “Mary Meets Mohammad”. It was a great opportunity for people to become more educated on the asylum seeker issue occurring in Australia at the moment.  Did you know Australia is the only western nation that has mandatory indefinite detention for asylum seekers arriving by boat?  Did you know Australia receives only 0.3% of the world’s refugees?  Did you know that it costs $450,000 a year to detain someone on Nauru or Manus Island, but only about $30,000 a year if they were  allowed to live in the  community while being processed?

Many thanks to Melanie Norton and her wonderful team from the Salvation Army (Don and Stuart) for providing the electronic equipment for the screening, and thanks to the lovely ladies (I believe it was Michelle, Brittany and Wendy) who helped set up the chairs.  Also, thanks to the Break O’Day Council for providing a fee waiver for the hire of the hall.  Several people have suggested a local group should be formed that could find ways to encourage asylum seekers to come to our area – anyone interested?

Remember, it is not illegal to seek asylum, even if arriving by boat.

Hannah Rubenach, St Marys.

The Say

By Cagerattler…

I try to look at things half full not half empty but I think two things need to be prioritised in the beautiful valley we live in. Both are   related to local government – Streetscape and Camping Grounds (not forgetting Fingal). GET ON WITH IT!

It’s annoying when things stall, even if only  temporarily, but after all the work done by a dedicated crew of  locals and  Councillors it seems that it’ll be a while yet before much more happens on the Streetscape in particular…Is it all to do with the row over parallel/angle parking or sufficient funding?  Time is ticking people…We have major investment happening in the valley over the next few years through mining and tourism, and we need this to be reflected in the continual upgrading of the towns most concerned, Fingal and St Marys, not down the coast somewhere.  I’d love a representative from Council to come out and say that the projects  involved in Streetscape are still well and truly going to happen and that Fingal will not be forgotten either…let’s hear it!

With the Camping Area improvements at the Recreation Ground over recent years the Council should take a lot of credit, well deserved for what we all knew was going to be a winner. There’s still an awful lot to consider and do over there, and these issues can’t be left forever; small steps can lead to huge leaps.  Surely the same applies to  Streetscape? Recently the Campervan people revisited and were catered for  fantastically by the St Marys Sports Centre, which was great for their profile.  It was a terrific weekend all round…this is how it can be done and now it’s time for Council to look at the ‘big picture’ for our valley towns and market and accommodate for needs accordingly.  After all isn’t that what  they’re supposed to be doing anyway…?

What do you think? Rod McGiveron.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor.

I have read and re-read Cagerattler’s article in the Valley Voice (Nov.7th) regarding the proposed streetscape plans for St. Marys, and his sentiments seem to be at odds with those of the majority of St. Marys’ residents and shopkeepers in particular. I was under the impression that very few, if anyone, actually desired the plan to go ahead mainly because of the drastic loss of car parking spaces that would be involved. So is Cagerattler backing this proposal or have I misunderstood him? Certainly the ‘steps’ between pavement and roadway at the front of the shops could do with modification to improve safety, but to my mind the rest of the proposal is totally unnecessary and would have been a waste of money – our money.

Also, it would be refreshing to be able to read something akin to Cagerattler’s previous topics, without referring once again to the Elections.   It is bad enough now having to hear all the hype regarding the forthcoming State elections, without back-tracking to the Federal result whether it is to our liking or not.

Sorry Cagerattler, but that is what I think.

Toni Brewster, Chain of Lagoons.