Noise annoys during late night Woolies construction

CIMECO, the designer and builder of Margaret River’s Woolworths shopping complex, has apologised for breaching construction permit conditions and annoying residents with after-hours lights and noise on Friday, August 10.
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Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council received four complaints after the second major concrete pour on site ran five hours over a 7pm curfew.

Council environmental health staff are investigating the complaints and whether Cimeco may have exceeded permissible noise levels.

Acting manager in environmental health, Paul Hudson, said the council had asked the Department of Environment and Conservation’s noise branch and local police to help with the investigation.

“It has not yet been confirmed if the assigned noise levels were exceeded (that) Friday evening as noise monitoring was not being undertaken on that particular night. In addition, no shire noise authorised officers or police directly observed the noise … in order to make a subjective assessment of the reasonableness of the noise being emitted,” Mr Hudson said.

“However, due to the number and consistence of the complaints, the shire believes there is reasonable likelihood that the acceptable noise levels were exceeded and the light overspill may have been of additional nuisance value to surrounding residents.”

He said council officers had contacted Cimeco about the complaints and scheduled a meeting with company executives and site supervisor Murray Morgan.

“After this meeting it will be decided if there is reasonable likelihood that the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 was breached and, if so, consider if enforcement action is appropriate,” Mr Hudson said.

“The management of noisy activities and compliance with the (noise regulations) for the rest of the build will also be discussed at the meeting.

“If the construction company wishes to do noisy construction work out of hours in the future they are required to submit a noise management plan to the satisfaction of the Shire chief executive officer.”

Cimeco has a permit allowing construction work 7am-7pm Monday-Saturday.

Mr Hudson said if it wanted to work outside those hours it needed to submit a noise management plan, at least seven days before work starts, which details why work has to be done out of hours, types of activity which could be noisy, noise level predictions, noise and vibration control measures and monitoring, and complaint response.

It also has to advise surrounding residents at least 24 hours before, he said.

Glenys Buchholz of Vintages Accommodation, just up Willmott Ave from the construction site, was one of the people who complained to council.

“They (Cimeco) showed a total disrespect for other people in the area. They had floodlighting and generators running until midnight,” Mrs Buchholz said.

“They didn’t warn anyone they were going to do that and they didn’t apply for a permit like they should have.

“We were full and we had people asking us when the noise was going to stop.”

Mrs Buchholz said she tried to phone Mr Morgan but was unable to get through initially.

“When he did answer, he just said ‘the job had to be done’,” she said.

Cimeco’s Bunbury branch manager Warren Sizer said he had already apologised to Mrs Buchholz and was “deeply apologetic” to anyone else affected by the noise or lights.

He said batching of concrete for the pour was “a little slower than we would have liked” and a cold evening temperature slowed the concrete setting.

“We have a permit that allows us to work 7-7 six days and that’s what we intend doing in future,” Mr Sizer said.

He said after some early problems with ground works at the site, construction was now expected to remain on track.

The shopping complex is due to be completed by Easter next year, he said.

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Assange should face the music

Julian Assange.Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is not well served by some of his supporters.
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When he appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been holed up for the past two months to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about allegations of sexual assault, he wisely said nothing about those claims – but some of his friends did.

George Galloway, the British member of parliament who founded the Respect Party, shares Mr Assange’s suspicion that the whole affair was a “set-up” to get him to Sweden, from which he would be extradited to the United States to face trial for “espionage” for placing a quarter-million US diplomatic cables on the internet.

That was what Mr Assange talked about on the balcony last Sunday – but Mr Galloway could not resist the opportunity to talk about sex.

Mr Galloway never misses a chance to put himself in the public eye, so he released a podcast on Monday saying that Mr Assange was only guilty of “bad sexual etiquette”. Thanks, George. The last thing Mr Assange needed was for public attention to be distracted from his claim that the US was plotting to seize and jail him, and diverted instead to the details of the alleged sexual assaults.

Some of those details are indeed peculiar. Each of the two Swedish women said she had consensual sex with Mr Assange, but was asleep or “half-asleep” when he initiated sex again.

The real issue in both cases was apparently his failure to use a condom on the second occasion, but neither woman claimed rape. Indeed, one of them threw a party in Mr Assange’s honour the following evening, and asked him to stay in her room again afterwards.

Worried about the condom issue, they subsequently asked him to take an STD test, and went to the police when he refused. The Swedish police issued an arrest warrant for him on August 20, 2010, but one of Stockholm’s chief prosecutors, Eva Finne, cancelled it the following day, saying: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”

Ten days passed before her decision was overturned by another chief prosecutor, who issued a European arrest warrant for Mr Assange (who was in London by then) demanding that he be sent to Sweden for questioning. The British police arrested him in February, 2011, and he spent the next 16 months on bail, fighting extradition. When his last appeal was denied in June, he jumped bail and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy.

But why doesn’t he just answer the Swedish police’s questions? They haven’t even charged him with anything at this point. His answer is that he’d be happy to talk to them in London, but that if he goes to Sweden the United States will lay charges against him (it hasn’t done so yet) and demand his extradition. Even if he is never charged with rape or some lesser offence by Sweden, he would then face decades in an American jail.

So is there really an American plot to whisk Mr Assange away and lock him up for good?

The remarkable absence of a US indictment and a subsequent demand for extradition after all this time suggests Washington knows there would be no point. So there probably isn’t a US plot to grab Mr Assange.

There probably wasn’t a rape either, but that’s for the Swedish courts to decide. Mr Assange should just allow them to get on with it.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

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Surely Bulli Hospital could take some load

In a recent letter to the Mercury, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Board’s chairman, Clinical Professor Denis King, and its chief executive, Susan Browbank, attempted to ease the fears of northern suburbs residents by declaring that Bulli Hospital would not close.
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The letter, written after a day of action and a sustained campaign from the Save Bulli ED support group, declared the health district was seeking funding for a redevelopment of the hospital to include an expanded aged-care service and a new palliative-care service.

It wasn’t the answer residents wanted.

Health authorities have said the number of patients visiting Bulli’s emergency department is too low to sustain full-time medical staffing and diagnostic capability.

That may be so, but surely at a time when Wollongong’s emergency department is bursting at the seams, an enhanced Bulli department could be made sustainable by taking some of the caseload off Wollongong’s already stressed staff.

We understand that Wollongong is and must remain the major trauma centre, but there are many cases that could easily be handled at Bulli without patients having to sit and wait for many hours.

To her credit, the health district’s director of southern operations, planning and performance, Michelle Noort, has agreed to include the Bulli lobby in deliberations that will help shape the future of the emergency department.

It will now be up to the lobby to convince the health district that it has a legitimate case for an expanded service.

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Richard Tognetti’s surfing score

ACO artistic director Richard Tognetti combined his love of music and surfing in creating the score for Storm Surfers 3D. Picture: EDWARD SLOANEThe sound of surf is music to Richard Tognetti’s ears.
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Most would recognise Tognetti as the Wollongong-bred violinist, conductor, composer and Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) artistic director, but inside the artistic genius also lies a passionate surfer.

‘‘Surfing is incomparable to anything else on the planet,’’ Tognetti says.

The latest project in which Tognetti combines his passions for music and surfing is the Storm Surfers 3D movie, for which he and Michael Yezerski composed the music score.

It’s not the first time Tognetti, who is recognised as a National Living Treasure, has been involved in writing music linked to surfing.

The 2008 film Musica Surfica was Tognetti’s first exploration of the connection between the ocean, surfing and music, and it won awards in the United States, Brazil, South Africa and France.

Then there is The Glide, in which ocean photography and footage by Jon Frank is matched with the ACO’s live performance.

The ocean theme emerges again in The Reef, for which a group of surfers, musicians, and a camera crew travelled the rugged surf coast of Western Australia creating music and shooting footage for a multimedia concert.

But back to Storm Surfers 3D, which started screening across Australia earlier this month.

Two-time world surfing champion Tom Carroll and big wave pioneer Ross Clarke-Jones, with the help of a surf-forecasting guru who tracks giant oceanic storms, journey the seas to hunt down and ride the biggest and most dangerous waves in Australia.

Shipsterns Bluff, off Tasmania, and Turtle Dove Shoal, off Western Australia, are some of the locations that are featured in this spectacular documentary.

Tognetti says the soundtrack of electric violin, drawing on elements of rock music, was used to match the intensity of the surfing.

‘‘What we were trying to get out was the drama and the vast, overwhelming landscape of the open ocean swell,’’ Tognetti says.

‘‘Most surf films are close-ups of surfers doing tricks on well-known waves whereas with this you’re getting into the psychology of surfing.

‘‘It’s about the search [for waves] and then when everything falls into place – the elation. It’s the elation and the deflation, the search and the horror [Carroll survived two ‘‘hideous wipe-outs].’’

Tognetti, whose credits include the soundtrack to Master and Commander, developed his passion for surfing in Wollongong and he lists his favourite spots as Windang Island and Sandon Point.

‘‘The northern point breaks of Wollongong are the best,’’ he says.

Surfing, for Tognetti, is about the connection with the environment, as well as the challenge of taking on the conditions.

‘‘For me, it’s like an investigation, I’ve always had to pick up rocks and see what’s underneath.’’

Storm Surfers 3D screens at Greater Union Wollongong today and Greater Union Shellharbour tomorrow.

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It’s a movement: Permablitz the Gong

Rebecca Mayhew, Sheryl Wiffen, Kristy Newton, and Jacqui Besgrove in a permaculture garden. Picture: DAVE TEASEFirst there was Backyard Blitz and now there’s Permablitz.
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Without the need for prime-time TV coverage, a group of Wollongong people have banded together to form Permablitz the Gong, a volunteer movement spreading across the country after the first group was formed in Melbourne in 2006.

Permablitz the Gong was born on May 6 this year, coinciding with National Permaculture Day.

A Permablitz is a sustainable garden makeover in which a group of people create or add to gardens and nature strips, turning lawns into highly nutritious, edible landscapes and showing permaculture in action.

Participants are also finding Permablitz gatherings an excellent way to socialise with like-minded gardeners.

A group of participants recently returned to the West Wollongong home of Sheryl Wiffen to see how her backyard had grown since a Permablitz makeover three months ago.

Permablitz the Gong’s Jacqui Besgrove, Kristy Newton, Rebecca Mayhew and Wiffen look out across the nutritious backyard which includes bananas, paw-paws, tangillos, mangoes, a vegetable patch, a chook house and compost heap.

Wiffen explains she has always dreamed of having a “food forest” after being inspired while travelling overseas four years ago. “I just started planting fruit trees, but it’s isolating if you’re a gardener and the rest of the family isn’t.”

A group of about 30 people, including the four women, turned the garden around in just one day. Weeds were removed, no-dig veggie patches were established, and a chicken house, frog pond and compost bays were built.

“The day was a showcase of social permaculture at its best with everyone sharing skills related to permaculture and sustainable living and building community networks,” Besgrove says.

Permablitzes are free and open to everyone regardless of skill level and people can come and help for an hour or the day.

Newton enjoyed the benefits of a Permablitz at her garden earlier this month, saying the family now made much better use of the space.

“Growing food makes you really aware of growing things in season,” Newton says.

The social benefits were also obvious. “There were people in my street I’d never met before who came and helped,” she says.

Besgrove adds that Permablitz helped spread the word to eat locally and nutritiously. Members also buy their seedlings from the Friday Crown St mall markets and bring plants and cuttings to each others’ gardens.

Permablitzes are held every three months, with the next makeover in Mangerton in November. To attend, or for information about Permablitz the Gong email [email protected]南京夜网

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Dragons won’t decide captain until next season

Dragons captain Ben Hornby announces his retirement from rugby league last week. Picture: DAVE TEASESt George Illawarra will reserve judgment on who captains the club next year until veterans Ben Hornby and Dean Young are given their final farewells on Sunday.
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Second-rower Ben Creagh, who is poised to take on more seniority in Hornby and Young’s absence, believes it would be inappropriate if players bought into growing speculation on the issue.

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‘‘It’s not something I’ve really thought about or discussed out of respect for Benny Hornby,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve still got one game to go. He’s the captain and he still will be until we go back to training in October for pre-season.

‘‘The senior players will have a chat to Pricey and we’ll decide how we go forward from there. Otherwise, Benny Hornby’s the captain now and that’s how we’re going to keep it.’’

The Dragons hope to send out two of their most loyal servants with a win against 16th-placed Parramatta.

The same can be said for the Eels, with club stalwarts Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt also calling time on their decorated stints in the top grade.

The Dragons teetered on finals contention throughout the back half of the season but ultimately relinquished their bid during a round-24 scrap with North Queensland, which they lost.

The side bounced back from a severe bout of gastroenteritis to beat the Warriors comprehensively last weekend, and centre Matt Cooper hoped he could play a part in helping them finish on a strong note against Parramatta.

‘‘I haven’t had the best year and have had some bad luck with injuries,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘It’s been a bit frustrating. I want to get involved as much as I can and send them off as winners.

‘‘I’m feeling fit and hopefully we can put in a good performance this week and go into pre-season a bit earlier and work on things we struggled with this year.’’

Five-eighth Jamie Soward said the side was more determined than ever to bounce back, urging Dragons fans to support them.

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Illawarra Hawks lose Waratah crown

A 39-point eruption from captain Dan Jackson wasn’t enough to carry the Illawarra Hawks to victory in Saturday night’s elimination playoff against Sydney at the Snakepit.
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Despite leading at every change, the Hawks came unstuck in crunch time, going down 87-84 and bowing out of the championship race.

Illawarra finished fourth during the regular season and were confident of defending their Waratah Basketball League crown.

They followed the script for three quarters but couldn’t find enough scorers down the stretch.

‘‘It’s disappointing. If you’ve got the title, you always want to defend it,’’ Jackson said.

‘‘We thought we could win it from fourth spot again, but it just wasn’t our year. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough guys play as well as we could …’’

The Hawks had beaten the Comets by 10 in the final week of the season but Sydney got their revenge on Saturday.

Tom Dawson was the standout for the visitors with 18 points and a whopping 20 rebounds, while Blake Borgia had 23 points and and seven rebounds.

Aside from Jackson, guard Tyson Demos (15 points) was the only other Illawarra player in double figures, though he made just six of 23 field goals.

Zac Delaney tallied seven points, 12 assists and four steals, while Luke Dowson chipped in eight points.

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Hawks sign electrifying new import

If his flashy nickname is anything to go by, the Wollongong Hawks might have hit the jackpot with newly signed import Adris Deleon.
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Known on the New York playgrounds as ‘2Hard2Guard’, Deleon yesterday became the 11th and final player signed by the Hawks for the 2012-13 NBL season.

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Deleon debuted in Australia last season, averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game for the Gold Coast Blaze.

But the Blaze folded last month, allowing the Hawks to swoop on the electrifying 180cm guard.

One of the NBL’s best players last season, Deleon is represented by the same agent that looks after former Hawks import and 2011 NBL MVP Gary Ervin.

He earned his conspicuous nickname on the New York City street circuit after several show-stealing performances against NBA-calibre players.

‘‘Deleon is a proven player in the NBL,’’ Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said. ‘‘We’re looking forward to him joining us in Wollongong soon and settling in with the group.

‘‘We looked at our group and what we needed to go with this season and we know what we’re getting with Deleon and what he can bring to the NBL. We feel our fans are going to enjoy his style of play and the charisma he brings on court.’’

Born in the Dominican Republic, Deleon moved with his family to New York at the age of nine.

He attended Eastern Washington University and has had professional playing stints in Spain and the Dominican Republic.

Deleon will arrive in Wollongong early next month and should be cleared to play in the NBL pre-season tournament in Melbourne in mid-September.

‘‘I love playing in Australia,’’ Deleon said.

‘‘The NBL is a great competition and I’m glad to be coming back and playing in Wollongong.

‘‘The Hawks are a great team already. I loved playing against them last year, but now to be joining these guys this season, I’m really looking forward to that …

‘‘Wollongong is a great spot, the fans are loud and I’m looking forward to playing in front of them this season.’’

Meanwhile, the Hawks improved their pre-season record to 3-0 with a 74-67 win over the Sydney Kings last Friday at Terrigal.

Oscar Forman tallied a team-high 21 points and Rhys Martin added 19. Larry Davidson had 13 points and five rebounds.

Tickets for the Hawks’ 2012-13 season-opener at home against the Kings are on sale from Thursday.

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Wests Illawarramayturn down promotion

District League champions Wests Illawarra have ruled out a switch to the Illawarra Premier League – even before a ball has been kicked in the promotion play-off.
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Wests president Paul Boscaro told the Mercury yesterday the rejuvenated outfit didn’t yet have the financial muscle to compete with some of the IPL’s cashed-up clubs.

It leaves Woonona as the only second-tier side in line to replace the already-relegated Picton, but Sharks officials also remained coy on whether they would seek promotion to the IPL.

Wests completed a remarkable turnaround, winning the Peoplecare District League title this season despite being on the brink of collapse two years ago.

Boscaro, while acknowledging the region’s top competition remained firmly on his club’s long-term agenda, said next year’s potential promotion had come too soon.

‘‘Financially we can’t afford it as we really need to get more sponsors on board,’’ Boscaro said. ‘‘For next year it is [100 per cent no].

‘‘We took it on as a three-to five-year plan – three years to see how we go to keep the club going and within five years I’d love to be in Premier League.

‘‘As the years go on if we can get a bit more help with running the club we’ll definitely be looking at premier league.’’

Wests and Woonona will meet in the first leg of the promotion play-off at Memorial Park on Friday night. The return fixture will be played the following Tuesday.

Woonona president Frank Shaw said his club would await the result of the two legs before consulting further with their playing group.

‘‘We’re going out to win it if we can and then we’ll make a decision,’’ Shaw said.

‘‘Realistically if we win it, there are some for and there are some against [promotion]. We’ll just sit down with the coaches and the rest of the committee once we’ve spoken to more players.’’

The Sharks have already had to clear space in the trophy cabinet after their first, reserve and youth grade sides cruised to their respective league titles.

Thirroul won both the reserve and youth grade titles in the Peoplecare District League.

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Stingrays captain leads from the front

Captain Michelle Carney sparked a second-half scoring blitz to lead the Illawarra Stingrays to an emphatic 4-1 defeat of Sydney University in Sunday’s qualifying semi-final.
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The teams were level 0-0 when Carney broke the deadlock five minutes after half-time.

Sydney replied soon after with a lucky equaliser from Jenna Kingsley but the Stingrays immediately launched another attack that ended with Caitlin Cooper being chopped down in the penalty box.

Midfielder Ann Mayo stepped up and calmly banged in the spot-kick for a 2-1 lead.

Mayo was in the right place at the right time minutes later to score her second, while the irrepressible Carney completed the scoring with a 90th-minute goal.

‘‘Our first-half performance was equally as good as the second. We just couldn’t hit the back of the net in the first half,’’ Illawarra coach Steve Marsh said.

‘‘We created three absolute clear goal-scoring opportunities, but whether it was nerves or not we fluffed the finishes.

‘‘The first-half performance set us up. We put them under a lot of pressure very early in the game and that put them on the back foot. From there the girls basically dominated the game.

‘‘It was a great team performance. That’s the key. If you’ve got 11 players firing all at the same time, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.’’

Marsh made special mention of the inspirational Carney.

‘‘Michelle Carney’s been outstanding for several weeks but hasn’t really been able to find the back of the net, but she clinically took the first chance she got in the second half,’’ Marsh said.

‘‘She was absolutely superb. It’s hard to understand why she’s still not playing international football when she puts in performances like that.

‘‘She’s the complete club and team player for me, a captain without fear or favour.’’

Illawarra missed out on a fourth straight minor premiership but their hunger for a fourth consecutive grand final triumph hasn’t waned.

The Stingrays advanced to Sunday’s major semi-final against Macarthur and are optimistic.

‘‘We beat them comprehensively in the first round and they turned it around and beat us comprehensively in the second round,’’ Marsh said.

‘‘We can both play an exciting brand of football and both play an open game. I expect that to be exactly the same on Sunday.

‘‘Both teams still get another bite of the cherry, but for me, we’re not interested in coming second.’’

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