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MY OLD mate and sometime sparring partner Fernando Aguerre, founder of the Reef footwear company with his brother Santiago, has done a lot of good during his long reign as president of the International Surfing Association.
Although I’ve been a critic of his concentration of world title events in Central and South America, and his FIFA-like tactics in the long march to the Olympics, there is no doubt that this energetic, fun-loving Peruvian has his heart in the right place, and with Japan’s Olympic committee last week giving the nod to surfing for Tokyo 2020, it looks like he might go down in history as the man who turned our little pastime into an Olympic sport, for better or for worse. But nothing Fernando has done, or will do, at the ISA will surpass his championing of adaptive (or disabled, if you want to be politically incorrect) surfing.
Last week, thanks to Fernando’s hard work and the financial support of Bob Hurley (another champion in my book) the inaugural ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships were held at La Jolla Shores, below the Scripps Institute in North County, San Diego.
Surfers from 18 countries competed in four disciplines – prone, assist, stand and upright – with Byron Bay’s one-legged phenom, 52-year-old Mark “Mono” Stewart taking the gold in the standing event. Paraplegic Jesse Billauer took out the assist division.
Mono said: “It’s a dream come true. I think every day I’ve had a tear in my eye seeing people who are so dedicated and love the ocean as much as I do. I’ve been waiting 35 years for this event, but I now know that the sky is the limit with adaptive surfing. The future is in the hands of all the young people we’ve seen here this week. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
I haven’t seen Mono surf, but our Noosa Festival of Surfing media director Tommy Leitch interviewed him recently and reports that he is an inspirational character who will take on any wave, including some double-overhead, inside-out barrels during a recent Mentawais trip. His ambition is to create a high performance centre for disabled athletes in the Byron region. Following on from the inspirational visit of Brazil’s blind surfer Derek Rabelo to this year’s festival, we are hoping to have Mono as a special guest next March.
I have seen Jesse Billauer surf, in a demo with Kelly Slater at the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles a few years back, and he blew my mind. I’ve also had the privilege of sharing a few sessions in the Maldives with shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton. Beth surfs better with one arm than most of us do with two, and she was so adept during that trip that she and Layne Beachley conducted coaching classes for young Muslim girls who enjoyed their first surfs fully-clothed from head to toe. I’ll never forget watching Beth push a young girl onto a wave with her good arm, then launch herself onto the same wave so that she could be right beside her at the other end, since the girl couldn’t swim.
The Noosa Heads Surf Club has its fantastic Seahorse program, and the surf festival has long been a supporter of the Sunshine Coast branch of the Disabled Surfers Association, but the World Adaptive Championships have taken this to a whole new level. Good on you, Fernando, and good on you, all 69 competitors.
Everyone’s a winner, baby
I suppose you could call Tony Wellington a quiet achiever. Having worked with him on the National Surfing Reserve committee over the past 18 months, I’ve developed a great respect for the way the councillor (and surfer, and great photographer) goes about his business. He is mostly serious, dedicated, methodical and conscientious, but he does have a devilish sense of humour and a fun side too. I had a beer with him at the Sheraton’s River Bar just a few hours after he’d declared his run for mayor on social media, which was a fairly uncharacteristic thing for him to do (using social media, that is, not having a beer) and he confessed as much with a chuckle. Later that evening at a Tourism Noosa function, I also had a chat with Councillors Frank Pardon, Frank Wilkie and Sandy Bolton, all of whom seem very likely to run for mayor next year too. It’s an embarrassment of riches, really, because all of them are doing a splendid job for Noosa, despite what you read from half a dozen bored people on the letters page. I’m not going to declare my hand until I hear their policies, but it’s good to know we can’t lose, no matter who gets up.
What a grand final, by golly, by jingo
I reckon that was the best NFL grand final I’ve ever seen, from Barnesy and Mossy trading licks to the tear in Johnathon Thurston’s eye. I confess I was a bit tired and emotional by the final whistle, but it had been a big day!
A few hours earlier I enjoyed a great lunch at Sails on a perfect day with TV mates Brian Walsh (top dog at Foxtel) and Lorraine Willison, and the conversation inevitably turned to our mutual friend Mike Gibson, whose memorial service Walshy had attended a couple of days before. In fact Walshy brought me a copy of the tribute program, shaped as a wrap-around cover of Gibbo’s beloved Daily Telegraph, which was where we first met a hell of a long time ago.
Later on, I worked with the revered sportswriter and cricket legend Ian Chappell in the early days on Nine’s Wide World of Sports. In fact we did a book together on the 50 greatest sportsmen and women of the television age. Gibbo never quite forgave me for leaving Rocket Rod Laver out.
During the years I was at Playboy magazine Gibbo, Chappelli, my assistant editor Neil Jameson and I used to get together (often at the Mosman Rower’s) to decide on Australia’s best beers of the year. It always took a long time to decide, and Gibbo would be running at 10 or 12 by gollies and by jingos to the sentence by the end.
Always a man for the underdog, he would have loved to see the Cowboys get up, by golly.
IT’S the season for cleaning, and Cardinia Shire Council is assisting residents doing their spring cleanouts with a number of upcoming free waste collections.
Hard and green waste will be collected from households throughout the coming weeks, as well as a drumMuster and e-waste drop off.
Cardinia Shire Mayor Leticia Wilmot said it was a good opportunity for residents to offload household items they no longer needed.
“It’s time for the annual spring clean and these collections are a responsible way of getting rid of those unwanted items around the house,” she said.
“We encourage residents to take advantage of these waste services and dispose of their bulky waste in a responsible way. The additional bundled green waste collection is also an easy and convenient way for residents to clear their property of fire fuel before the bushfire season hits.”
The collections are scheduled as follows:
– Hard and green waste collection – begins Monday 26 October and runs for five weeks
– E-waste collection – runs from 9am-1pm on Saturday 10 October at Council Depot, Purton Road, Pakenham, or 9am-noon on Saturday 28 November at Gemco Players Community Theatre, Kilvington Drive, Emerald
– DrumMUSTER collection – runs from 9am-1pm on Saturday 10 October at Council Depot, Purton Road, Pakenham.
Residents may request to have an extra three cubic metres of bundled green waste collected for $60 by booking through council’s Customer Services team on 1300 787 624.
STAYING true to its Wurundjeri namesake ‘the meeting place’ Kambrya College in Berwick was visited by Victoria’s education top dog, James Merlino.
Buzzing with daily documentary making, camera crews and new academic programs, Deputy Premier and Education Minister Mr Merlino took a walk around the successful college on Monday 5 October.
After hitting what college principal Michael Muscat called “rock bottom” in 2008 the college turned things around in six years. “We were one of the lowest performing schools in Victoria and now we’re consistently in the top 20 highest performing schools,” Mr Muscat said.
Chosen for its drastic improvements by CJZ Productions the school has been filmed daily since term one for a series on education set to be shown on ABC.
Mr Muscat said CJZ Productions had researched hundreds of schools around Australia before settling on Kambrya.
“According to what they say they were looking for an average suburban high school that was doing some above average work,” Mr Muscat said.
Mr Merlino will now star in one of the days filming after touring the grounds and chatting to staff and students.
Praising the school for its diverse and successful student body Mr Merlino said the college is outward looking.
“Kambrya College is a great example of how Victorian children are being supported to reach their full potential, no matter what their background,” he said.
Mr Merlino was also enlightened on the colleges ‘Darrabi Year 9 Pathways Program’ designed to re-engage students back into the mainstream Year 10 course.
Parliamentary Secretary to Mr Merlino and Narre Warren South MP Judith Couacaud Graley said Mr Muscat and his team had transformed the school.
“Their students continue to excel and achieve and I was delighted that the minister joined with me to see first-hand what this remarkable school is doing within our community,” Ms Couacaud Graley.
VICTORIAN PREMIER CRICKET – ROUND 1 REVIEW
DANDENONG should take the field every public holiday if Friday’s effort against Kingston-Hawthorn is anything to go by.
The Panthers (0/115) mauled the Hawks (114) in all facets of a 10-wicket thumping as Victorian Premier Cricket commenced with a rare Friday season-opener on the Grand Final Eve day-off.
James Miller (21) and the skipper Ryan Ninan (37) had the makings of a strong partnership in the middle order, but once West Gippsland seamer Adam McMaster (2/21) steamed through Miller, the wheels started to fall off the Hawks’ innings.
Sharing the wickets, James Wilcock (3/36) and spinner Pete Sweeney (3/16) dispatched the lower order to rattle off 7/62 in an impressive period after drinks.
The skipper Donnell (61 not out) and long-time opening partner Brett Forsyth (49 not out) destroyed anything the Hawks could muster.
Donnell took to Javed Khan (0/19 off three overs) and Tom Collett (0/27 off three overs) to force Kingston-Hawthorn to frantically switch up its bowlers.
It didn’t work as Donnell smashed his first half-century of the season.
Forsyth was not to be outdone by the skipper, as he proved exceptional with some inventive strokes – including a “Dilscoop” over his head for four – and two front-foot, cross-bat sixes with the match-winner leaving him one short of a well-deserved 50.
It only took the opening tandem 14.5 overs to dispatch the visitors without so much as a second innings drinks break as the clock stopped ticking at 1.54pm in one of the earliest finishes in club one-day history.
“It was pretty handy – we thought it was going to be a tough one first up … but the game was looking in the balance when they were only a couple down,” Donnell said.
“To fight back and take six or seven for 30 in the middle there really set things up.
“(The pitch) was alright – bit on the slower side, which it always is this time of year, but just wanted to take advantage of the short boundary and the wind, so luckily got a couple away which was good.”
Donnell praised his bowlers for clipping the Hawks’ wings as 114 is a chase any Premier batsman would take in a heartbeat.
“The batsmen have the easy job out there always and it’s not too bad chasing a low target,” Donnell said. “It’s the bowlers that have to take all the credit there – they’ve put in a great pre-season there and the rewards start to come and hopefully we can take it from here.”
Donnell admitted the side is in need of a front-line spinner but was pleased with the left-arm efforts of Sweeney as the side utilised its part-timers well.
“That’s one obvious thing we’ve tried to fix,” Donnell said. “We’ve tried to get a spinner and haven’t been able to get a hold of anyone, but Pete did a great job today – he’s a really good bowler and knows what he can do and is a little bit underrated I think, even within the club.
“We’ve still got Tanner (Stanton) to bowl a few leggies too and that’s filling in a little bit – we need a frontline spinner that would top us off nicely, especially in the two-dayers to bowl a chunk of the overs.”
Dandenong hopes to get former Victorian representative Darren Pattinson into the line-up soon to add another point of power to the first XI.
The Panthers head out to Toorak Park to battle Prahran in round two action.
THE ELECTORAL make-up of the Yarra Ranges Council may stay largely the same following a Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) review, but residents still have time to have their say.
The VEC released its preliminary report into its review of the Yarra Ranges Council’s electoral make-up on Wednesday, 30 September, putting forward three options for the council’s future.
The review, which takes place after three elections, will assess the amount of councillors and wards in the municipality, to determine what changes, if any, should be made for next year’s council election to achieve fair voter representation.
The VEC’s “preferred option” in the report is to maintain the current nine councillor, nine ward system in the Yarra Ranges, with modified boundaries to even out voter numbers.
This option, Option A, moves the Lyster Ward boundary to Ferny Creek, brings the border of Walling and Streeton Wards to Canterbury Road and moves part of the boundary between Chandler and Billanook Wards to Olinda Creek – 4491 voters will be moved to different wards under this option.
However, this preferred option comes despite half of the public submissions in the first stage of the review recommending a change to three large wards for the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges and urban area of the council, with three councillors elected from each ward.
This option was slated as an alternative, Option B, in the report.
The VEC stated in the report that its preference in the review was for “minimal change if there are no special circumstances to warrant major changes”.
It said that the nine councillor, nine ward system gives the “positive features” of councillors with specific knowledge of their ward, with an easier to understand voting system.
Option B, however, would result in less splitting of municipalities by ward boundaries, and would “arguably” improve “fair and equitable representation” by having three councillors to represent a range of interests in larger wards.
Option C offers a slight adaption to Option B, with nine councillors elected from one four-councillor ward, one three-councillor ward and one two-councillor ward.
With this option, four councillors would be selected from a central ward that takes in urban areas around Chirnside Park and stretches through Mount Evelyn, Seville, Silvan and Wandin North, while two councillors would be elected from the Yarra Valley and three would be elected from the Dandenong Ranges.
The report can be viewed by visiting www.vec.vic.gov.au, and public submissions can be made up until 5pm on Wednesday, 28 October.
Submissions can be made online, by emailing email@example.com, by post to Victorian Electoral Commission, Level 11, 530 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000, or by faxing to 03 9629 8632, and must include a full name, address and contact phone number.
A public hearing will be held at 7pm on Thursday, 5 November at the Yarra Ranges Council offices at 15 Anderson Street, Lilydale – submitters can indicate on their form if they wish to speak at this meeting.
The Yarra Ranges Council was contacted for comment, but was not able to comment by deadline.
EMERALD and District Co-operative Society has taken a bold move towards a renewable future with the installation of 115 solar panels on their rooftop.
Co-op chief executive officer, Len O’Donnell, said the solar panels would make a big difference to the co-op’s power consumption as well as to the town of Emerald.
“We thought as a co-op we are one of the major businesses in the district and if new take this step forward it gives other commercial businesses the opportunity to be able to contact us and discuss it with them as we progress forward,” he said.
The co-op’s board of directors has been working closely with Cardinia Shire Council Environment Officer Brett Munckton to have the project operational.
“There is a lot of opportunity with business now – with large roof spaces and large electricity demand there can be really good reductions,” he said.
The switch to solar power and other power saving measures such as the instillation of new lights at the co-op is backed by Cardinia Shire Council’s Aspirational Energy Transition Plan.
“As part of reducing community emissions we want to support and assist the community and do things such as install solar panels and other renewable energy systems,” Mr Munckton said.
Co-op board member and Project Manager for this venture, Iain Johnson, said there was much planning involved but the reduction in emissions and power consumption would be great for business.
“We did a feasibility study of overall power usage,” he said.
“We decided to install 30kw panels, 115 in total, designed with micro inverters.”
“It will be much more cost effective for us and they will have paid for themselves over seven years.”
Mr O’Donnell and Mr Munckton are enthusiastic to see the initiative taken on by other businesses in the area.
“We are always happy to pass on what we have learned through this process and assist others to get on board,” Mr O’Donnell said.
“Council are keen to see the promotion of these kinds of initiatives and share information discuss the opportunity with business and provide them with information,” Mr Munckton said.
“We are always exploring and looking at new initiatives and ways we can help to support the community.”
WODONGA businesses were left up to 40 per cent out of pocket on Friday’s inaugural AFL Grand Final Public Holiday, according to the Wodonga Chamber of Commerce.
“We had a little straw poll and the anecdotal evidence shows most business were 30 to 40 per cent down on the day,” Wodonga Chamber of Commerce business manager Bernie Squire said.
“That’s not necessarily in terms of business, but in terms of the whole running costs of the day.”
Many businesses reported Friday morning started off busy, but business declined quickly in the afternoon.
Mr Squire said the new public holiday had not been well received by Border communities right along the Murray, and had put many employers under pressure.
“Many worked with skeleton staff.
“Some still had to pay full-time workers for the day off, and casuals missed out on a day’s pay.”
It wasn’t all bad news for retailers, though.
A handful of business gained new customers who had travelled across the Border to support the Wodonga shops on the public holiday.
Wodonga’s next public holiday will be the Wodonga Gold Cup holiday on 27 November, in lieu of Melbourne Cup Day.
Mr Squire said the race day holiday was typically better received by employers than Friday’s public holiday, as it had a local emphasis and had simply replaced a holiday that was already on the Victorian calendar rather than introduced as a new one.
NON-commercial camping in the Southern Downs is in the process of a shake-up with two consecutive council general meetings deferring a final decision on an overflow policy.
The Southern Downs Regional Council resolved at the August meeting to adopt a low-cost commercial stance to camping in the Southern Downs.
A change has been on the cards for the Southern Downs in response to the findings of the Regional Camping Stakeholder Group (RCSG) who have been in place since July last year.
The RCSG was formed to investigate, develop and recommend a plan on how the Southern Downs would deal with issues around RV friendly status and non-commercial camping. With non-commercial camping on the rise, there is an increasing need to balance the playing field with commercial parks.
As part of their new proposed changes, the council will maintain the free camping options of Leyburn, Dalveen and Allora that are already in place in addition to improving the signage in these areas with information on caravan parks in the Southern Downs. This would involve working with commercial providers to assist with the content and cost.
There will be new signage for RV parking in central Stanthorpe, namely Rogers and Creek streets.
Also, pending approval, commercial caravan parks will be given an option to apply for low-cost, low-infrastructure camping options within their existing parks. This will also require a 24-month development approval with the potential of waived fees.
The overflow policy has been the contentious issue which has been at the centre of two failed attempts to come to a resolution in council.
An ‘overflow area’ is a designated area, approved by council, used for camping when the commercial parks are full.
These areas are particularly important for large events like the Warwick Rodeo and Stanthorpe’s Apple and Grape festival.
The finer details of the overflow policy are yet to be agreed on by the council. They were close to a decision, however the approaching Warwick Rodeo meant any change would need more time to be implemented.
The main issues that the council was looking at were getting the right balance between temporary overflow sites and commercial parks and who would be responsible for booking and maintaining the overflow areas.
Councillor Neil Meiklejohn is a part of the camping group.
“The parks had a strong view on whether (the overflow policy) should be activated,” he said.
Councillor Vic Pennisi said he would not be supporting the policy.
“I won’t support council providing camping grounds,” he said.
“If Visitor Information Centres are interested, they need to tell us.”
Council CEO David Keenan warned the council: “Remember enforcement, it will be very hard to enforce”.
In the end, mayor Peter Blundell posed a question to his councillors.
“What’s our next move?”
It was followed by complete silence.
The overflow policy has been deferred for discussion at a future meeting.