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Wednesday, 15 August


Does wild nature create activists? Mountain Journal

The primary purpose of this website is to celebrate the mountains of south eastern Australia and Tasmania. This includes getting out and enjoying them walking, skiing, riding, climbing, paddling, or simply just taking it easy. I have a deep belief that getting people out into wild nature makes them more likely to feel engaged in protecting wild ecosystems.

There has been some interesting conversations of late about whether this assumption is actually correct.

With the Trump administration walking away from climate action and seeking to open up large sections of protected areas to mining and fossil fuel development, there has been solid and sustained opposition to these plans from the outdoor industry. Trumps extremist approach has mobilised people and individuals, possibly in an unprecedented way.

There has recently been a number of interesting pieces addressing the question of whether the outdoor community and industry are doing enough. The Colorado based  High Country News recently published an essay by Ethan Linck, Your Stoke Wont Save Us, which questioned whether outdoor recreationists and the outdoor industry were effective advocates for conservation.

In response, Louis Geltman wrote a counter piece titled Actually I think stoke will save us, which was also published in High Country News. The sub heading of the story sums up his perspective nicely: Passion for place matters, and outdoor recreationists are taking action every day.

He says:

Meaningful conservation is driven by action not sentiment; not vaguely defined environmental concern Its organizing to deliver political pressure and make change that make the difference, and by that measure, outdoor recreationists and the outdoor industry are delivering. And stoke genuine enthusiasm derived from visceral experience is the fuel thats driving action.



McKnights stand out at the family club South Gippsland Sentinel-Times

STONY Creek, like many others in the country, proudly boasts that it is a family club.
Its is fortunate to have had so many families that have done so much to keep it ticking along in good times and bad.
One family though, stands out, and it was fitting that on Saturday the grandstand was named to honour the contribution of the
McKnight clan.
Club president Mark Le Page led the ceremony held between the reserves and seniors football matches and the B and A Grade netball games.
He said the McKnight family has provided the club with 80 years of continuous service.
Unofficially theyve played a combined 1500 games of netball and football for the club, but I think it would be probably closer to 2000.
Add the in-laws, Cindy Winkler and Brad Hutchinson, and were up around 2500.
Six members of the family are life members of the club soon therell be a seventh when Ryan McKnights name is added after he played his 300th game earlier this season.
There are two league life members, two league best and fairest award winners, eight club best and fairests the list goes on.
Theyve all served on the committee and done an enormous amount of work behind the scenes.
The McKnight name is synonymous with this club and its only fitting that they should have this honour, Mark said.

The post McKnights stand out at the family club appeared first on South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.


Some Gippsland Good News Gippsland News & Views Peter Gardner

Despite the tardiness shown by the National Party and our elected members to renewable energy the good news is the region of Gippsland is progressing rapidly with the adoption of solar energy. By exactly how much we are progressing is not known and may not be for some time. There are at least 2 solar farms on the drawing board at Wonthaggi and Maffra, with the former scheduled to come on line next year. As well there are solar bulk buy schemes operating across Gippsland shires the organisation and application of which will extend well into next year.

But it is the behind the meter installations which are making the biggest difference at the moment. The East Gippsland shire has been progressively installing solar panels on their libraries and other buildings. It is unfortunate that due to a Heritage ruling the main library in Bairnsdale is not part of that plan. Hopefully this will be resolved in the near future.

Publicity in the social media by leading Gippsland panel installers Gippsland Solar indicates that the behind the metre installation of solar PV is booming. They have just announced that 1.3 megawatts will be installed on 8 Hospitals and health centres across Gippsland. As well they recently installed 100 kilowatts on Dwyers Toyota in west Bairnsdale. It is behind the meter installations of this sort that are the big unknown and there can be little doubt that as business energy bills climb solar will become increasingly attractive. Solar production is a good match with daytime business.

Unfortunately wind has lagged well behind solar. The Star of the South offshore wind project is currently waiting for various approvals but on its own could offset the loss of one of the valley generators. The project plans at least in part to make use of the valley infrastructure. It seems that the wind projects in parts of western Victoria are being constrained by the carrying capacity of the mains power lines. Those in the valley are underutilised and this remains one of its advantages yet to be exploited. Why for instance couldnt the Hazlewood Pondage be turned into a floating solar farm along the lines advocated by engineer Chris Barfoot?

The solar revolution is happening now, and will happen quickly, regardless of op...

Tuesday, 14 August


Incoming (again) Mountain Journal

The snow looks great for the next few days. Lower avalanche risk (remember to check the Mountain Sports Collective website before heading out) and a good freshen up is expected, so the weekend should be awesome.

The Mountainwatch 7 day forecast is for 54 cm at Perisher, 46cm at Hotham and 45 cm at Mt Stirling. Yes, forecasts at 7 days are very unreliable and the expected snowfall tends to trail off as you get closer to the actual day. But it does look healthy. Stay safe and enjoy.


Keefers the air apparent South Gippsland Sentinel-Times

Australian skating legend Tas Pappas tried out some new jumps last week at the Megaranch. N043318

Keefer gets some good air during a training session last week. N033318

HES ONLY 11, but Nyoras Keefer Wilson has been selected to represent Australia and compete against the worlds best big air skaters at the X Games in Sydney in October. This isnt a junior team either. Hes in the Aussie Big Air team of three wholl all be training together at Keefers place at Nyora in the weeks leading up. Thats because Keefers dad Peter built the Megaramp in the backyard of their Megaranch property. N013318

APART from the mind-blowing moment 11-year-old Keefer Wilson from Nyora found out he was going to compete for Australia at the X Games, hes kept a cool head about it all.
Hes not phased at all about taking on his heroes from the United States in Sydney in October with Australias Big Air team.
I dont expect to win. Ill just chill and have fun. It will be my first games so Im not going to kill myself!
The moment he received the invitation to compete was recorded on a smartphone. Yep, he did lose it for a bit, but it would have been weird if he didnt.
Hell be by far the youngest competitor at the games, but hes training harder than most can, due to the fact that he has a Megaramp in his backyard.
Thats right, his dad Peter, a professional golfer, built...


Arrest turmoil News The Star

AN INTERNAL police investigation is underway into the arrest of a man in Wonthaggi that left the man and police with injuries.
Police have been accused by a witness in other media reports of using excessive force during the arrest of the man, who became aggressive after an epileptic seizure.
The Star has been told the man was placed in an induced coma at Wonthaggi Hospital due to a medical condition before being airlifted to St Vincents Hospital in Melbourne.
The police unit responsible for investigating police, the Professional Standards Command, is now overseeing an investigation into how police conducted the arrest.
The Star has been told the Wonthaggi man experienced a seizure in Graham Street, Wonthaggi at 3.25pm on Monday, August 6 and became aggressive towards a motorist and punched the vehicles window.
He was then reportedly aggressive towards police who attempted to subdue him with capsicum spray, which did little to calm him. More police became involved and police eventually brought the man to the ground. He sustained a head injury during the arrest and the hands of police were bitten during the ordeal.
The man was taken to Wonthaggi Hospital by ambulance and later flown to St Vincents. He was discharged on Tuesday, August 7.
The Star has been told the man is known to police.
Police Media issued this statement, Police in Wonthaggi were called to a collision between a car and pedestrian on August 6 in Graham Street. On arrival they found a male acting aggressively, pounding on the car windscreen.
Police attempted to subdue the male and capsicum spray was deployed. The male was later conveyed to Wonthaggi Hospital. Professional Standards Command will oversee the investigation.
Bass Coast Shire Council deputy mayor Cr Brett Tessari became involved after initially thinking someone had been hit by a car. He described the incident as tragic.
I ran to see if he needed help, and there were four or five other people around as well, he said.
As it turned out, the man was having an epileptic seizure. I dialled triple zero.
His mother was there and said her son could become quite aggressive when he came out of these episodes. When he came to, he was agitated and disoriented. He got to his feet and became quite angry. He started punching cars, yelling and walking up the street.
The problem was it was pick up time from the schools. There were a lot of school children around walking home and some of them did become quite distressed.
The police arrived and had to detain him. They wrestled him to the ground, but I didnt see anymore. Thats as far as I followed the incident because I went back to work. I didnt find out until later that he was severely injured.
It was an unfortunate situation and I dont know if there was any other way the police couldve handled it; I wasnt there to see.


Council eyes future of Coal Creek News The Star

THE vexed question of what to do with Coal Creek Community Park and Museum at Korumburra returned to the council chamber last Wednesday.
South Gippsland Shire councillors took part in a workshop to discuss ideas for the future direction of the park, which people tend to either adore or believe costs council too much money, mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt said.
Council will spend $412,994 on Coal Creek during 2018-19, towards keeping the park operating.
The park is a replica village of life in South Gippsland from the 1870s to 1920s, and is run by council staff and volunteers, used by community groups and houses a significant collection of artefacts.
In recent years, Coal Creek, through park coordinator Rowena Ashley, has held successful and unique events that have drawn visitors from across South Gippsland and beyond. The most recent such event, a heritage craft day on August 5, was well attended and featured rides on the steam train, Count Strzelecki.
Councillors are expected to receive a report about possible opportunities for Coal Creek from council officers at a future meeting.
Cr Brunt said while the current events and activities at the park were supported, she hinted at the prospect of change at the park.
When you stay stagnant, these places, they lose their appeal, she said.
Cr Brunt said the council officers report would put some options on the table.
Should we be doing more events or less events, or should we be looking at whether we back it up with more money or put in less money, she said.
The prospect of a school camp in the lower section of the park has been discussed for many years, but has not progressed further.
That is something Cr Don Hill would like to change.
It is possible to develop a school camp in conjunction with private industry and raise a sizable sum for ratepayers without cutting services, he said.
I believe there is support to investigate this proposal.
Cr Brunt said while Coal Creek was a service council provided, it was not a money making feature and volunteers, who run such attractions as a general store at the park, were stretched.
Its deciding what Coal Creek is, whether it is a park or a museum, she said.
A lot of our community uses it and it is a pleasant place. Its kept in such a pristine condition.
We have to get it known more as a community asset right across the shire and encourage people from across the shire to use it.
But with things like swimming pools, it does cost money.
As for the amount of funding council gives to Coal Creek, the mayor said, Weve pulled it back as far as we can without impacting the safety of the facility and keeping with occupational health and safety standards.


Virtual reality helps fight fires News The Star

VIRTUAL reality screens and equipment was set up at the Leongatha Fire Station on Sunday, to give volunteers the opportunity to try out the new training technology.
The equipment gave volunteers the opportunity to experience what it is like to combat fires in a range of scenarios, particularly beneficial to smaller, isolated brigades.
CFA computer simulation specialist Aaron Stockton said the virtual reality training tools gave volunteers an opportunity to experience training scenarios that werent easily replicated in a live environment.
Using virtual reality, we are able to replicate a scenario and put the volunteers into it and then use that as a discussion point, he said.
It really immerses the user in the scenario, which can be a more effective way of learning.
Mr Stockton said the technology allowed volunteers to be put in situations that cant be replicated in a live environment easily.
The other benefit is the training tools are portable. We can bring them to brigades, which you cant do with a live environment, he said.
Training officer from Yanakie CFA Mark Wrigley said having access to new technology like virtual reality could be a way to encourage more people to join the organisation.
South Gippsland Group of Brigades group officer Walter Aich said the virtual reality scenarios gave a level of realism to training.
He said the virtual reality training provided a safe way for volunteers to get a feel of what would normally be a more dangerous situation.
It is certainly a good way to introduce people to training, he said.
Mr Aich said the upcoming fire season could be impacted by relatively low levels of soil moisture.
He said East Gippsland fire restrictions could come in as early as September 1.
While the grass looks green, there is a very serious soil moisture deficit, particularly in forested areas and the northern slopes are likely to dry out quickly, he said.
Having said that, the last two seasons have been ordinary and we managed to get away without too many serious incidents.

Great tool: CFA operations manager Mick Harris and South Gippsland Group of Brigades group officer Walter Aich tried out the virtual reality training system, Flaim, at the Leongatha CFA Station on Sunday.

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