Yass Valley Council has endorsed as its preferred option the design and construction of a new water treatment plant – with an estimated project cost of $31.9 million – at the May Ordinary Council meeting.
Council staff have worked closely with HunterH2O, Department Planning, Industry & Environment – Water and NSW Health to address the issues and concerns in relation to the existing water treatment plant.
The preferred option was chosen from four shortlisted options as it addresses the colour, odour and hardness of the water quality and minimises the risk to the town water supply during construction of the upgrade.
“We wanted to ensure that the option that was chosen is one that is going to be effective for many years to come and will also allow for the incorporation of future alternate technologies,” Mayor Rowena Abbey said.
“Now that we have decided on the best option, Council will continue to work with HunterH20 and stakeholders to complete a detailed design and business case which is a requirement by the State Government,” Mayor Abbey said.
The detailed design is due for completion late 2020. Council will prepare a submission to the State Government to fully fund the construction project.
On Friday 29th May, Yass High School welcomed some very special guests, Stuart Meadley and Simon O’Toole from DXC Technology, and they came armed with 30 reconditioned laptops to help support Aboriginal and Indigenous students.
Stuart and Simon were joined by Aunty Lillian, Brad Bell from Onerwal Local Aboriginal Lands Council, Bob Buffington from Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Rhianna Connors-Johnston, and Thaddeus Connors from Willyama Services, Ryan Cassidy from Commonwealth Bank and Simon O’Toole and Stuart Meadley from DXC Technology.
“The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Indigenous Business Banking team, DXC Technology, and 100% Aboriginal-owned, local and Supply Nation-certified Indigenous technology company, Willyama Services, are providing much-needed technology equipment to rural and regional communities,” Stuart said.
The Bureau of Meteorology released its 2020 Winter Outlook, with most of the country showing an increased likelihood of wetter than average conditions in the coming three months.
The Bureau’s Manager of Long-range Forecasts, Dr Andrew Watkins, said there were only a few areas across the country that weren’t looking at a wetter than average winter.
“Most areas of mainland Australia are showing a better than 70 per cent chance of having a wetter than average winter,” Dr Watkins said.
“The only exceptions are the coastal fringes of NSW and eastern Victoria, parts of Tasmania and areas of southwest WA where the outlook isn’t pushing towards wetter or drier than average conditions.”
“Parts of northern Australia are also showing no strong push towards wetter than average conditions, but this is typically the dry season anyway.”
Dr Watkins said the outlook was being largely driven by warmer than average ocean temperatures off north west WA, as well as warm ocean temperatures in the western Pacific.
“Ocean temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean are currently warmer than normal, and our models are predicting they will warm further throughout the winter months.
“When warm sea surface temperatures occur closer to Australia, weather patterns shift towards us too, favouring more cloud and rainfall across the country.
“We last saw this happen in 2016, when a strong negative Indian Ocean Dipole formed to the west of Australia. This was the last time we saw tropical moisture from the northern Indian Ocean deliver good winter rainfall to large parts of Australia.
“We aren’t guaranteed the same results as 2016, but the warmer ocean temperatures surrounding the continent will push us in the direction of better than average rainfall.
“As always, it’s important people use the outlooks in conjunction with all of the Bureau’s other tools to make decisions, including the seven-day forecast which will provide details on potential rainfall for the immediate days ahead.”
Daytime temperatures throughout the winter months are expected to be cooler than average for much of the southern half of the country, but warmer than average along the eastern seaboard and most of northern Australia.
Overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer than average across the entire country.
“When we look at the expected temperatures, they really fall in line with the expected rainfall conditions.
“Areas with a higher chance of above average rainfall are also looking at increased chances of cooler than average days because they are more likely to have cloud cover and more evaporative cooling in the coming months.
“Conversely, it means our nights are more likely to be warmer than average, because that cloud cover will prevent heat from escaping during the evenings.”
(Part of $304 million Multipurpose Service (MPS) program)
NEW EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT NEARING COMPLETION
The new Emergency Department at Yass Hospital is nearing completion and will deliver the Southern NSW Local Health District (LHD) greater capacity to manage the potential operational impacts of COVID-19.
IMPORTANT REMINDER TO COMMUNITY MEMBERS Yass Emergency Department remains open and it is business as usual for community members needing to access medical care.
YASS ARTS & HERITAGE PROGRAM UNDERWAY
The Yass Hospital Arts and Heritage Project User Group (PUG) meeting was held in March 2020, with all participants having clear aspirations to ensure the arts integration at the hospital reflects the rich heritage in Yass.
An arts plan is now being developed and this will look to incorporate the following components:
A heritage graphic at the main entrance
Rotational displays in key circulation areas
Existing artwork, many of which have been donated by community members, are to be reframed and redistributed in areas such as palliative care rooms, waiting areas, and hallways. The plan is focused on ensuring arts and heritage are at the heart of the Yass Hospital.
NSW coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, cafes, hotels, pubs, galleries, holidays, and beauty services have lifted today as social-distancing measures around the state are eased significantly.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian hopes relaxing the guidelines will help kick-start NSW’s economic recovery from the virus, which has left more than 200,000 people out of work in her state.
Pubs, cafes, clubs and restaurants can have 50 customers inside their venues at once, but only if patrons have 4 square metres of space each. Alcohol can be purchased without food, but all customers have to be seated while in the venue. Most venues (not just clubs) will require you to sign in so that, in the event of a covid-19 outbreak, they can contact you.
Restaurants can not take bookings of more than 10 people. Some larger venues, like the Yass Soldiers Club, will be able to accommodate more than 50 people, as long as they are seated in separate dining areas.
Beauty and nail salons can open for business, but with strict measures in place. Customers must adhere to social-distancing requirements, which means one person per 4 square metres, and no more than 10 clients in a shop at any one time. Tattoo studios in NSW will stay shut.
Non-essential travel is permitted in NSW from today, meaning people can book a holiday in Sydney or in regional areas.
Cultural institutions such as museums and galleries will be able to reopen today, but with strict caps on the number of people allowed in at any one time. Visitors to art galleries and museums will need to purchase online tickets before their arrival, and no groups or tours will take place for now.
Churches, mosques and synagogues will be able to have 50 people at services, provided they are large enough to adhere to the 4-square-metre rule. Twenty people will be able to attend weddings, while 50 people will be able to go to funerals.
Some things aren’t changing — for instance, people will still not be able to invite more than five people to their homes, and gatherings of more than 10 people in public open spaces are banned as authorities try to mitigate the threat of a second wave of coronavirus infections.
We’ll be updating this during the day as more Yass Valley businesses update their reopening plans.
Applications for Yass Valley Council’s 2020/2021 Local Heritage Grants Program are now open with $19,000 in funding available for heritage conservation projects.
Local Heritage Grants aim to contribute to the preservation of structures of historical value and to foster positive attitudes towards heritage and conservation.
In 2019, six groups received Heritage Grants across the Yass Valley. St Columba’s Church in Bookham used the funding to undertake important restoration work, including the replacement of the church roof.
“I am very grateful to Yass Valley Council and the Heritage team for appreciating the charm and character of St Columba’s Church, Bookham. On two occasions the Council has made it possible for preservation work to be carried out on the Church,” said Marguerite Julian.
“The crowning glory is a shining new roof replacing the old iron rusted one. It really has made a huge difference with many travellers stopping and admiring this historic building constructed in 1910 and the community feeling a sense of pride in Bookham. I think these grants are a fantastic opportunity for the community to upgrade treasured buildings for future generations.
Mayor Rowena Abbey said the Local Heritage Grants Program is a way for Council to provide financial assistance to enable maintenance projects to structures of significant historical value to ensure their conservation for future generations.
“Council’s financial support is needed more than ever as COVID-19 has presented many challenges and prevented many groups from fundraising in their usual ways,” Cr Abbey added.
Applications for the Local Heritage Grants Program close at 5pm on Friday, 3 July 2020.
At its recent meeting, Council received a progress update on the options for the Yass Water Treatment Plant Upgrade Project. Council endorsed as its preferred option the design and construction of a new water treatment plant option with the estimated project cost of $31.9 million, as it addresses the colour, odour, and hardness water quality issues and minimises the risk to the town water supply during construction of the upgrade works.
In addition, Council noted that a new water treatment plant would allow for the incorporation of alternate technologies and capacity and seeks early advice from the consultants of the potential for incorporating these technologies into the detailed design options.
Council will be pursuing additional funding to implement the preferred option for the Water Treatment Plant.
Yass Valley Council has received $3.6 million in funding from the NSW Government to undertake the realignment and replacement of a low level crossing with a concrete bridge structure on Shingle Hill Way.
The successful grant of $3,600,053 from the NSW Fixing Country Roads Grant Program will allow Council to upgrade the sub-standard section of a significant east-west link across the region. Council will provide $400,000 from the Development Contributions Reserve to complete the project.
Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said Fixing Country Roads was introduced by the NSW Government from the Restart NSW Fund as a targeted program to help local councils tackle freight connectivity issues.
“I am delighted that the NSW Government could provide funding to Yass Valley Council for Shingle Hill Way and I congratulate Council on working closely with the local community, industry and the NSW Government to secure this funding,” Ms Tuckerman said.
Shingle Hill Way is a significant connector road between the Gundaroo/Sutton Road and the Federal Highway. Currently, the road has a 10 tonne load limit, which will be removed once the project is completed.
“During heavy rain, Shingle Hill Way is closed due to flooding of the low level bridge located at the crossing point of the Yass River. An application was submitted to the NSW Fixing Country Roads Program to allow these works to realign the approaches to the Yass River crossing and construct a new dual lane concrete bridge at an adjacent location,” said Interim Director Infrastructure & Assets Steven Beasley.
Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey said the current restrictions impact transport links through the Council area resulting in major traffic diversions and transport costs to road users.
“The reconstruction of this section of Shingle Hill Way will significantly improve east-west transport routes, including freight and tourism, increase flood immunity and remove a significant impediment to freight movements across the Council area,” Mayor Abbey said.
“Council is grateful to the State Government for the funding, which will allow the vital project to proceed.”
The new concrete bridge will have an approximate span of 45 metres. Preliminary works are already underway including a survey, geotechnical investigation and a review of environmental factors. The project is due for completion by mid to late 2022.
The dates in connection with the by-election will be fixed as follows: Date of polling Saturday, 4 July 2020 Return of writ On or before Saturday, 5 September 2020
Dr Fiona Kotvojs will become the Liberal Party’s candidate. The beef farmer from Dignams Creek on the NSW South Coast beat out local councilor Mark Schweikert by a comfortable margin. Dr Kotvojs was narrowly defeated at the 2019 Federal Election by Mike Kelly.
Kristy McBain, Mayor of Bega Valley Shire, nominated for Labor preselection on 1 May 2020. On 4 May, McBain was preselected as Labor’s candidate, against Yass Valley branch president Michael Pilbrow.
Liberal Democrats candidate
Dean McCrae is a chef and Southern Districts party branch coordinator. Mr McCrae contested the seats of Goulburn and Lyne at the 2019 state and federal elections, respectively.
Science Party candidate
James Jansson is a software developer and epidemiologist. He was a candidate for the seat of Kingsford Smith at the 2019 federal election.
The Nationals candidate
Trevor Hicks, former Deputy Mayor of Queanbeyan–Palerang.
Joy Angel. Office manager. Contested an ACT Senate seat at the 2019 federal election.
The Greens candidate
Cathy Griff, a long-term resident of the rural hamlet of Tanja on the Far South Coast and Bega Shire Councillor, is the green’s chosen candidate for the upcoming Eden-Monaro by-election.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party
Matthew Stadtmiller will run for the party.
Christian Democrats candidate
Narelle Storey. Carer, founder of not-for-profit platform ReStore Australia. Contested Werriwa at the 2019 federal election.
Karen Porter is a small business owner and member of unregistered New Liberals party.
Riccardo Bosi. Small business owner, member of unregistered Australia One party. Contested NSW Senate seat for Australian Conservatives at the 2019 federal election.
Andrew Thaler has withdrawn his candidacy. In a statement to The Yass Courier Mr Thaler said “the increasing threat and risk to me personally and to my Family means it is just not worth it.”
We’ll be updating this page as more information is known about the candidates, and will soon the approaching each about their thoughts and policies that will affect the Yass Valley region of the electorate.