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THE Bass Coast Shire Council put the spotlight firmly on Australia Day celebrations locally when they named their top citizens for 2018 ahead of the big day next Friday week, January 26.
And the one to emerge from the six finalists presented at an awards night in the Old Wonthaggi Post Office on Wednesday night, January 17 this week was Wonthaggi Baptist Church Pastor Brendan Smith.
In accepting the award, Mr Smith was humble, paying tribute instead to the other five finalists saying that Bass Coast was all the richer for their volunteer contributions and those of the other members of the local population who volunteered their time regularly.
Volunteerism was a consistent theme throughout the presentation night, hosted by Bass Coast Mayor Cr Pam Rothfield who said Bass Coast citizens were punching above their weight when it came to volunteering, with 22% of Bass Coasters volunteering against a national average of 19%.
Other worthy nominees for the Citizen of the Year award were Editor of the Bass Valley News Roger Clark, Winter Festival organiser John Curran, Lions Club volunteer Sam De Pasquale, Wonthaggi Anglican Church weekly meal organiser Wendy McBurnie and San Remo Op Shop President Marj Powell.
But ultimately it was Brendan Smith who received the shires highest individual honour.
In four short years locally, his credits include the renovation and expansion of the church buildings which are available to the public, mentoring 75 people and involvement in a wide range of local events including free family fun days for the Wonthaggi community, The Dollar Club to support families in crisis situations, the Gravity family social club, encouraging visiting nursing homes, food hampers for the disadvantaged, youth programs, support for the annual Carols by Candlelight in Wonthaggi and more.
He serves on the Wonthaggi Primary School Council. among other things.
A meeting in Fish Creek last week to support the development of the Hoddle Mountain Trail attracted more than 20 locals, with another 15 sending their apologies. Many of the 
The post Locals support development of the Hoddle Mountain Trail appeared first on Foster Community Online.
WITH the generous support of joint venturers, Esso/BHP Billiton, South Gippsland Hospital has been able to purchase a new Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machine for use in the Urgent 
The post Patients breathe easier thanks to Esso/BHP Billiton appeared first on Foster Community Online.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) lobbies hard for renewable subsidies and estimates global clean energy investment at $333 billion. This excludes hydro-electricity other than Politically Correct small hydro. Some 85 per cent of expenditure is in wind or solar with the rest including biomass, electric vehicles and waste-to-energy.
In a press release of 16 January, BNEF includes the following graphic of Australian renewable investment trends.
To recap, in Australia electricity from subsidised renewable energy and wind is the cheapest of those sources costs three times as much as energy from coal. It is viable only because the government requires increasing proportions of energy it designates as renewable to be incorporated in our supply and therefore in our bills.
This results in a subsidy, which at present is $85 per MWh for wind and large scale solar, and $40 for rooftop solar. Those sums are on top of the market price all energy receives. That market price used to be around $40 per MWh but, as a result of closures caused by subsidised wind forcing increased costs on coal and gas generators, it is now around $90 per MWh; research conducted by the Minerals Council puts new build for coal at under $50 per MWh, costs that are consistent with those estimated for the thousand plus coal generators being built, mainly in Asia.
The upshot is a double whammy we replace low cost highly reliable electricity with supplies that are three times as expensive and which are highly unreliable and we call that progress!! The $9 billion of subsidy-induced malinvestment in renewables last year alone would have been sufficient to finance over 4,000 MW of new coal plant more than double the capacity of the now closed Hazelwood station, even if it is in fashionable but high cost low emissions plant. That would have returned prices to their 2015 level, half those now prevailing, and given us the reliability that is now a wistful nostalgia.
This is another great guide to north east Victoria. Like the Walk and Trails guide, the Bright and Surrounds cycle guide provides a fantastic introduction to all types of riding in the area from Myrtleford to Mt Beauty and Falls Creek to Dinner Plain.
It includes easy, family friendly riding, road riding options and the many shared trails (including the popular Rail Trails) plus details on Mountain bike riding. It is produced by the Alpine Shire. You can get free copies in local tourist information centres or download it as a pdf here.
Basically demand response is the act of responding to fluctuations in energy demand in relation to the supply of power over brief periods of time. Currently this is almost exclusively either related to disruption in the conventional power system where supply drops for some reason or there are extremely hot summer afternoons where power consumption soars when we all turn on our air-cons. The conventional power source is unable to supply this extra electricity causing or threatening black-outs in some areas. By paying a sufficient number of consumers to stop consuming power, supply and demand can be balanced and grid operations maintained without disruptions.
An example of this was recently carried out with our power supplier Powershop called Curb Your Power and this is how it worked. Firstly we accepted an invitation from them to participate in their demand response program. They then contacted us by text about one hour previous to requiring us to reduce our energy consumption by at least one third between the hours of 3.30 to 5.30pm. Before 3.30pm I wandered around our unit turning off all the unnecessary power consumers including the major one the air con but left 2 ceiling fans running as it was quite warm. Other power consuming actions such as cooking and clothes washing were deferred. A few days later the retailer rewarded us, and all other participants, with $10 on our account and conducted a survey to find out how we responded.
It later transpired that there was a power outage in the Lindenow area stretching across to places north of Bairnsdale in this case over 1000 customers were blacked out although the cause of this is not known. However we were experiencing hot weather and both our fans and air con were in operation when the request to reduce power consumption was received.
The demand response (sometimes called negawatts) process is simple. Sign up to a demand response program with your retailer and supply contact details to them. Then reduce your power consumption by a significant amount at the time and for the duration they request. Assuming this was successful your account will later be credited.
Almost certainly this was a trial run for our retailer as well. The next step is a refinement of smart meters (plus some computer software?) to calculate exactly how much power was reduced so that participants can...
By Craig Edmonds of Jims Bait and Tackle, San Remo
FOR the last two years on every Sunday I have sat down and
written a fishing report, and then on a Monday I send it out to
100s of people via email and to the newspapers.
And except for a handful of customers, I dont really know who reads it, and it still surprises me, at this time of the year especially, that so many visitors come down from all regions of Melbourne and engage in a conversation with me in response to my report that they have somehow managed to get their hands on.
If you are coming down at any time, even if you do your tackle shopping somewhere else, please call in and say hi and we will help you out with the latest reports.
We try to make our reports more than just a list of points. They are stories about your experiences, with lots of pictures, and we thank everyone for all the comments we have had over the last few weeks regarding the way the reports are written.
We often get asked about whether they are genuine, because we dont mention names, but I can assure you the reports we do are all based on what we are told over the counter with most asking us not to mention names, which we respect.
However, while we try not to push too many agendas there is the odd occasion that I will write about something that creates a bit of conversation, and this week is one of those weeks.
A couple of weeks ago there was a very large blue marlin caught in Exmouth, in Western Australia, which is a record capture for that state.
This capture caused a lot of conversation from both sides of the fence with some of the social media conversation becoming heated at times.
Over this Christmas holiday period I dont remember ever having in the past so many people telling me about all the fish that are being caught that are either too big or too small.
Many of the conversations that are put up against catches, big or small, are of an ethical or moral, call it what you want, type of argument which is not a problem, but it is just that we have a thing called the law t...
PARAMEDICS were busy across South Gippsland last week, with the Air Ambulance called to numerous incidents.
A man was flown by air ambulance to The Alfred Hospital from Mirboo North in a serious condition with a leg injury, on Thursday.
A young woman was taken by Air Ambulance to The Alfred Hospital in a serious condition after collapsing at a home in Cape Paterson, on Thursday.
The same day, a man in his seventies was taken by Air Ambulance to The Alfred Hospital after suffering serious arm and leg injuries after a quad bike rollover in Ryanston, north of Wonthaggi.
Last Thursday at Venus Bays beach five, a man managed to make his way to sand bar and did not receive emergency care.
Paramedics were called to the beach after receiving reports of a man being swept out to sea.
THE members of the new Great Southern Rail Trail Committee of Management met last week to discuss their plans for the regions iconic tourism attraction.
New chairman Ken Myors of Korumburra said the committee would continue to ensure the trail meets the regions recreation and economic needs.
The amount of people who go in and out of these towns would not be there if it was not for the rail trail, he said.
Little maintenance has been undertake on the trail over the past eight months following the retirement of the previous committee, largely due to age. Now the new committee is preparing to prune trees and undertake other tasks.
Mr Myors said the committee aims to re-engage the expertise of the volunteers of the Friends of the Great Southern Rail Trail.
Other new committee members are secretary Jack Pearce of Fish Creek, treasurer Laurie Martin of Leongatha, Stephen Sully of Leongatha, Greg Goss of Leongatha, Danny Drummond of Leongaths South and Kee Chian of Leongatha.
The committee meets in Meeting Room Two, Leongatha Memorial Hall Complex, Michael Place, Leongatha, on the first Monday of the month at 6pm. More members are welcome.
To find out more, phone Mr Myors on 0419 388 860 or Mr Pearce on 0429 997 882, or see the website www.gsrt.com.au
FISHERIES and police officers issued five infringement notices to boaters during an operation at Welshpool recently.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) conducted an operation targeting those fishing recreationally in South Gippsland.
The joint operation with Victoria Police ran over two days and temporary road blocks were put in place at Welshpool on January 10 and December 15, 2017.
Recreational fishers who had been fishing around Port Welshpool were checked to ensure they held recreational fishing licenses, were using the correct equipment and following the legal fishing limits.
As part of the VFAs role in promoting responsible fishing, fisheries officers in Victoria are also appointed as transport safety officers and may inspect vessels and operators to ensure they are complying with marine safety regulations to ensure fishing is carried out safely.
Overall, fisheries compliance was good, with five infringements issued for marine safety non-compliance relating to personal flotation devices and flares.
Senior fisheries officer Joel Sedgwick said the aim of the operation was to make contact with as many fishers as possible and promote public awareness of fisheries regulations.
It was great to see that the vast majority of fishers were doing the right thing and that no fisheries offences were detected, he said.
Fisheries officers will be out and about all summer at various times of the day and night, in uniform and plain clothes to ensure fishing is carried out in accordance with the rules.
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing is urged to call the 24-hour reporting line 13FISH (133474), anytime.
SOUTH Gippsland shoppers backed local businesses over Christmas after being lured to the regions towns by new initiatives from business and tourism associations.
From traditional promotional posters to modern social media, commercial associations worked hard to entice festive shoppers.
Korumburra Business Association president Noelene Cosson said businesses encouraged people to spend locally by putting up posters in shop windows, which resulted in a great start to the holiday season.
Overall, there was a positive feel throughout Korumburra. It was great to see so many people in the street, she said.
Association secretary Shirley Arestia said although there may not have been any increase in trade, the Korumburra Christmas party laid down the foundation for trade to improve in the coming years.
People came out for the activities and music, and some stopped for a coffee or to do a bit of their Christmas shopping, she said.
There were a lot of numbers and the town was busy in the lead up to Christmas. However, the feedback has been that it didnt pick up over the New Year period.
We have a lot of new people coming into the town who havent yet discovered what we have to offer. They are still in the habit of ordering online or travelling to bigger department stores.
Its just a matter of building up our encouragement for local support and helping everyone get a feel for whats here to adjust the ways people do their Christmas shopping.
Ms Arestia said there was a lot of positive feedback about the festive vibe in Korumburra, with residents and visitors enjoying the towns Christmas decorations.
The Inverloch Tourism Association turned to social media to help promote local businesses over the holiday period.
Association president Dom Brusamarello said members had been encouraged to post promotions through social networking sites, and they had received positive comments and results.
We are grateful to the community for supporting our traders and the shop local movement, he said.
As for the summer trade, Mr Brusamarello said it seemed similar to previous years, but it was too soon to tell.
If the weather in the next couple of weeks is conducive for the beach, we will see an increase in trade. If it rains, people are more likely to travel, he said.
What we are seeing this year is more people using their holiday homes. The community had noticed a rise in local tourists.
Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association president Dee Connell said there had been a definite increase in Christmas and New Year trade.
More people are passing through the town and theres a lot more traffic. Weve all seen more people stopping and showing interest in our local businesses, she said.
The association has not run any new initiatives, allowing members to focus on their business during the busy period.
KORUMBURRA residents have turned on their taps only for brown water to flow, over summer.
South Gippsland Water has attributed the discoloured water to the presence of the naturally occurring mineral manganese.
Over the past month, changes to pressure and flows within the Korumburra system have caused sediments to be stirred up and enter the flow to customers taps.
The manganese sediments tend to give the water a yellow through to brown or dirty appearance.
South Gippsland Water is acting to remove the discoloured water.
Manganese is not toxic when consumed at the concentrations typically present in tap water, however, South Gippsland Water advises people not to drink water that is badly coloured.
South Gippsland Water managing director Philippe du Plessis said manganese was present in all systems.
However, normally manganese sediments settle to the bottom of the pipe reticulation network where they dont cause problems for customers, he said.
The best way to clear manganese from the system is to flush it out.
South Gippsland Water began flushing last Wednesday to release the coloured water and sediments from the system.
Customers can also assist by running the garden tap for 15 minutes if they experience manganese. The cost of doing so will be approximately 50 cents.
These summer conditions have presented a range of challenges for water treatment in Korumburra, Mr du Plessis said.
Please be assured the water is safe to drink, and South Gippsland Water field officers are working hard to ensure maximum possible removal of manganese at the treatment plant and cleaning or flushing of the system around the township.
This naturally occurring mineral will continue to occur while the system is sourced from local catchment areas.
Customers who experience coloured tap can call South Gippsland Water on 1300 851 636 to report the issue.
THE State Government is being urged to ensure Leongatha receives adequate funding for its future infrastructure requirements.
The call comes in the wake of a prediction the towns population is expected to grow to 7476 people by 2031 a massive rise of 30 per cent on the most recent population count in 2016.
By 2031, Leongatha is expected to have 3343 homes, up from the 2560 homes that existed in 2016.
The predicted population growth in the 2016 Census will drive demand for improved infrastructure and facilities in the town, and broader community.
Gippsland South MLA Danny OBrien called on the State Government to give Leongatha the attention it deserves.
There are plenty of local projects the Labor Government could get on with to help stimulate the local economy including the Leongathas Bair Street upgrade, he said.
There is frustration in South Gippsland at the millions being spent in the Latrobe Valley while the rest of Gippsland gets very little.
We appreciate that Latrobe Valley is going through a significant and protracted transition period, but the government needs to be aware there are other parts of Gippsland that are also doing it tough and ensure its attention is on places like South Gippsland as well.
From The Nationals perspective, we are finalising our policies for the 2018 election now and will be putting forward a strong plan to revitalise our country towns and rural areas.
South Gippsland Shire Councils planning manager Paul Stampton is not surprised by the predicted growth of Leongatha the shires main commercial and residential centre.
Leongatha is a very attractive town and regional centre identified, with Korumburra, as the places where large population growth should occur, in the Gippsland Regional Growth Strategy adopted by the State Government, he said.
It is usual, and sensible planning for population growth to be encouraged in larger centres with diverse infrastructure such as hospitals, ambulances, schools, roads and businesses.
Mr Stampton said council is preparing for the growth by identifying growth areas and land for development, with well over 100ha of prospective land earmarked for housing.
Of course it is up to landowners and developers to actively pursue the development of their own land, he said.
Council has identified large areas to the west and south for the next stages of town development that are currently in a number of different ownerships.
Mr Stampton said council plans covering community infrastructure plan for the towns future.
Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt said council was helping to drive the town into the future through its Leongatha Revitalisation Project.
This encompasses the improvement of the Anderson Street entrance to town, and the current projects of the redevelopment of the railway site and Bair Street.
The railway site is the subject...
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