No toilets, staff at $39m Shellharbour Junction

Shellharbour Junction train station will open on Saturday. Picture: ROBERT PEETFrom Shellharbour, Dunmore, Flinders, Shell Cove to Shellharbour JunctionHow station got a name change to Dunmore – ShellharbourMore than 130 years of history will come to an end on Friday when the last train will stop at the Dunmore (Shellharbour) railway station.
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From Saturday trains will stop 400 metres up the line at the new Shellharbour Junction railway station – which in three years has created plenty of history of its own.

The new $39 million station will have 29 CCTV cameras and modern lighting, lifts, 105 parking spaces, active transport links and a new bus route.

However the new station won’t have any staff and for the short term at least it won’t have any toilets.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said ‘‘as has always been the case, stations across the network in lower patronage areas such as Shellharbour Junction and Dunmore are not permanently staffed’’.

‘‘Of course as population and patronage increases, we will continue to review customer needs at the station,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘The new station will include a toilet as part of finishing touches being added to the new facility in coming months.’’

Rail users across the network should be aware that the majority of the South Coast Line timetable will remain unchanged, however on four services each day, there will be minor adjustments of between one to four minutes to departure times at some stations.

‘‘NSW TrainLink staff will be at both Dunmore and Shellharbour Junction over the next week to assist customers with the transition,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘Posters will also go up at Dunmore Station to make sure customers know they can now use the new Shellharbour Junction station.’’

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian will visit on Friday to unveil a plaque for the new station that was initially to be named Flinders under the former Labor Government, before Shell Cove was proposed by the Liberal Government.

Eventually both names were ruled out by the Geographical Names Board as the station is officially located in Dunmore

After 18 months of passionate debate over the name, Shellharbour Junction was proposed by Transport for NSW and put out for community consultation by the GNB.

However the consultation process was labelled ‘‘a sham’’ after Shellharbour Junction signs appeared on the platforms prior to a GNB meeting to discuss submissions on the name.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward said his focus was on delivering a station first proposed by the Labor Government in 2001.

He said the new station ‘‘will absolutely have toilets’’.

Mr Ward said the new station benefits from improved disability access, something that is a major problem at the old Dunmore station.

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson said the State Government was refusing to publicly release submissions lodged by the community with the Geographical Names Board in regards to the naming of the Shellharbour Junction station.

Ms Watson said the Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet told Parliament that the thirty four community submissions will remain secret and not be publicly released.

“Most people in the Shellharbour community still think Shellharbour Junctionis a stupid name, but it won’t change,’’ Ms Watson said.

“Why won’t the Government just release the submissions so people can see what other name options were actually proposed.

“I simply don’t understand the reason for all the secrecy unless the submissions clearly indicate that the Government’s preference was rejected by the community,’’ she said.

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Reclaiming the reserve

Rob Burdett and John Walter from Malmsbury District Landcare are pictured alongside the fence the group recently constructed following extensive weed removal. Photo: Sandy ScheltemaMalmsbury District landcarers are set to receive funding to enable them to proceed with the second stage of their vision to enhance the beauty of the Malmsbury Viaduct.
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Their successful application for a $20,000 Victorian Landcare grant will enable them to continue with their extensive weed removal program and develop plans for future stages including native revegetation, a walking path and interpretive signage.

“Malmsbury District Landcare is reclaiming the channel reserve for the community,” said group member, John Walter. “Before we completed stage 1, this area was inaccessible to the public. When the project is completed you will be able to get to the historic sites which were previously choked with weeds, and apart from providing a wonderful view of the viaduct, it will showcase the indigenous plants of the district’s volcanic soils which are now almost impossible to see anywhere else locally.”

Mr Walter received last year’s Hepburn Shire Citizen of the Year award for his community work.

“I originally joined landcare to get to know local people as we had purchased land locally and planned to move here. The group’s spray trailer was also a big attraction as we had a significant gorse problem. We all want to be part of a strong community, but strong communities do not happen automatically. You have to work for that to happen. I’m passionate about our local flora and am happy

to share my knowledge of local flora with the community. It is not much value to anyone if the knowledge is just stuck in my head and my books.”

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On notice

Macedon Grammar School was this week issued a Show Cause notice to prove its viability.
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School regulatory body, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA), issued the notice after concerns were raised regarding the school’s governance, financial health and enrolment levels.

VRQA director, Lynn Glover, said that following a review into the operations of the school, the VRQA requested information to demonstrate its ability to operate and meet the requirements of its registration.

“The school has until December 15 to respond to the Show Cause notice. It’s important to note that no decisions have been made,” Ms Glover said.

Senior officers from the VRQA met the chairman of the school board, Dr Alan Rose, on Wednesday.

Dr Rose told theGuardianthe board was working on a plan of action.

Macedon Grammar currently has an enrolment of about 150 students.

The VRQA has also requested the school open a trust account to protect prepaid fees and staff entitlements.

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Pool victory

Jubilant Ararat Olympic Swimming Pool Committee members Kylie Milne, Rhonda Holz, Carmel Beer, Ambrose Cashin, Maddy Vernon and Sandy Laidlaw celebrate Ararat Rural City Council’s decision to support the redevelopment of the Ararat Olympic Swimming Pool after three years of campaigning. Picture: PETER PICKERINGIT HAS taken three arduous years of campaigning, however the Ararat Olympic Swimming Pool Committee has taken a giant step forward in its battle to refurbish the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool.
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Ararat Rural City Council has thrown its support behind the project agreeing to work alongside the Pool Committee to reopen the historic pool.

All seven councillors voted unanimously in favour of a lengthy motion to support the Pool Committee, moved by Cr Gary Hull at its ordinary meeting on Tuesday night.

In front of an expectant public gallery, Cr Hull moved that Council undertake and manage the entire pool refurbishment project, in accordance with Council’s policies, practices and legislative obligations.

Councillors also agreed to form a Project Control Group, including representatives from the Pool Committee and Council officers, to manage the process.

Council restated its commitment to provide $450,000 funding, based on the understanding the $350,000 balance will be provided by the party elected to govern the state on November 29 and that all remaining funds are able to be provided by the Pool Committee.

Cr Hull said Council will look to lease the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool to the Pool Committee for a period of three years at the completion of the refurbishment.

As part of the motion he moved that Council develop a funding agreement, where by Council would fund no more than $80,000 per annum for an initial three years to assist the Pool Committee to operate the pool.

“This funding agreement will be compiled by Council’s legal counsel to ensure that all provisions of the Local Government Act 1989 and Council’s procurement policy are complied with,” he said.

“This document should be designed so that it only disburses funds for legitimate running and maintenance costs, upon receipt of audited and documented costs incurred, at the end of the summer pool season, and these funds are limited to lifeguard costs, chemicals, electricity, water, rubbish removal and other minor maintenance, and these funds are not be be disbursed for management fees or salaries.”

Cr Hull said against a wave of opposition and uncertainty the Pool Committee had stood firm in its resolve to see the historic pool saved.

“I’d just like to congratulate the Pool Committee and the Council for their hard work and persistence on this project, the Committee has done a lot of work in the last 12 months, especially when they’ve been told that they couldn’t get the lease up and ready,” he said.

“It is also very good to see both sides of politics support this very worthwhile venture and I look forward to the start of the project.”

State Labor and the Coalition have each pledged $350,000 to build a new multi-purpose kiosk with change rooms.

The Coalition went a step further and has also promised $340,000 in funding to go towards enhancing the broader precinct.

In rising to support Cr Hull’s motion, Cr Gwenda Allgood said Tuesday night’s outcome was as a result of a very long and involved process.

“They’ve (Pool Committee) been very determined and very forthright with what they’ve wanted and the Council officers have been able to come up with a solution that should make everybody happy,” she said.

“I just look forward to the day it starts because while we promote Active Ararat and we talk about trying to keep young people out there and doing things we certainly are suffering a lot of criticism at the moment with the hot weather and no where for the children to go.

“I think it’s a great solution and I wish everybody all the best, its taken some time to get to this point but sometimes it take a little time to get it right.”

Council’s decision marks a stunning turn around in fortunes for the beleaguered pool. Council voted to enact its closure and demolish the site in September 2013 but rescinded the motion after community outcry.

Ararat Olympic Pool Committee’s Ambrose Cashin said Tuesday night’s decision wouldn’t have come about had it not been for the efforts of the Ararat community.

“This is a sensational outcome, a great outcome for the community of Ararat and surrounds,” he said.

“It just shows that if people persist great things can be achieved. The community of Ararat been stalwart in its support for this project.

“This would not have been possible without the outstanding contributions pledged by trades people, contractors and businesses across the Ararat region.”

Mr Cashin said the Pool Committee will continue to work hard to ensure the facility is modernised and remains viable for at least the next 50 years.

“The committee and community are willing and keen to work together to ensure this project is an outstanding success,” he said.

“Now it is time to formalise and implement a plan for it to be reopened by this time next year. If we all work in the spirit of cooperation, I can see no reason why this can’t be achieved.

“We look forward to working with council to get this facility reopened for the 2015/16 summer.”

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Labor pledges $3.7 million for Ararat Town Hall transformation

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Labor candidate for Ripon Daniel McGlone, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and Ararat Rural City Mayor Cr Paul Hooper discuss the much needed Ararat Town Hall upgrade. Picture: PETER PICKERING

OPPOSITION Leader Daniel Andrews has promised to transform Ararat’s historic town hall with a pledge of $3.7 million funding for the Ararat Arts Precinct Development.

Mr Andrews joined Labor Candidate for Ripon, Daniel McGlone, outside the building which houses the Regional Art Gallery and Performing Arts Centre, to make the election commitment last Thursday.

Ararat Rural City Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper said the redevelopment has been on the books for a long time.

“This is a project that has been around for a long time, the genesis for it dates back to when I was first elected to council in the late 1990s,” he said.

“You could reasonably say this is well overdue, take the ol’ girl now, when you have a good look around at the moment she is looking pretty tired.”

The scope of the Ararat Arts Precinct Redevelopment is as expansive as it is expensive.

It includes increasing the size of the Art Gallery by at least 30 percent and construction of new toilets, both at the rear of, and inside the Performing Arts Centre itself.

There will be one main entrance for both the gallery and arts centre, and more storage and loading space for performance material behind the scenes.

There will also be a cafeteria erected on the High Street corner, new bar facility and supper room and improved disabled access.

Council’s services’ manager, planning and development Neil Manning said he was pleased to finally see money committed to the long awaited redevelopment of the Town Hall.

“The last upgrade was 1978, this redevelopment proposes to set us up again for another 20 or 30 years,” he said.

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Mr Manning said Ararat Rural City Council would appreciate Coalition support for the project and will seek further funding no matter who is elected on November 29.

“We would be very pleased to have the Coalition come on board and guarantee that the money is there either way after November 29,” he said.

“Regardless of the outcome we’ll be seeking further funding in 2015 to make the project a reality.”

Mr Andrews said he was committing to the investment to ensure more people visit Ararat, enjoy the fantastic location and all it has to offer.

“It’s about jobs, about tourism, bringing people to this community and the economic opportunities it provides for families right across this city but also the district and region as well,” he said.

“I’m so proud to say that a Labor government would invest $3.7 million to upgrade and redevelop the Ararat Town Hall, bringing the best exhibitions, the best shows and the biggest number of visitors to this fantastic community to come and spend their money and spend their night.

“This will provide people with the ability to enjoy the best food, the best wine, the best experiences – that’s what this redevelopment is all about.”

Mr Andrews heaped praise on Labor candidate for Ripon, Daniel McGlone and the Ararat Rural City Council.

“This is a project the council has done a great job in working up, Labor candidate Daniel McGlone has also done a great job in making sure I understood just how important this project was,” he said.

“These are the sorts of announcements we see in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong, well it’s about time we saw them in Ararat and Labor will ensure this $3.7 million grows job opportunities for Ararat families so they have a strong future.

“Our regional cities deserve modern cultural precincts to draw in visitors from across Victoria and make the local economy more diverse.”

Mr Andrews said Ripon voters were now faced with a pretty clear decision in eight days’ time.

“They can pick a government that’s done nothing for them for four long years and is now promising everything and more, or pick Labor which will make sensible, moderate, practical promises that are grounded in common sense.

“We may well be out promised in this campaign, but we will not be outworked.

“Daniel’s (McGlone) doing a fantastic job and we will continue to live up to our fundamental obligation and that’s to give everybody in Ripon and everyone in Victoria a choice on November 29.”

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