George Bass Surfboat Marathon – man in hospital after day one

The crew from Wanda Surf Club near Cronulla, finished first in the Masters Men. Photo: Les Herstik
The crew from Wanda Surf Club near Cronulla, finished second in the Masters Men. Photo: Les Herstik

The first day of the George Bass Surf Boat Marathon took a twist at the Moruya finish line, one that points to the challenges of the great race.

The 66-year-old sweep of the Pambula Men’s Masters crew had a heart attack and was revived on the beach.

“Volunteers on patrol with Mourya Surf Club responded quickly and a doctor rowing for Mollymook all stepped up to look after the man before paramedics arrived,” Andrew Edmunds, Race Director says.

“He has since been flown to hospital and all those involved have been involved in a debriefing session, our people are the most important thing about the Bass.”

Jacqui Keogh from Pambula SLSC, the only woman competing in the surf ski marathon. Photo: Les Herstik
Jacqui Keogh from Pambula SLSC, the only woman competing in the surf ski marathon. Photo: Les Herstik

The medical emergency came on the back of what had been a successful day on the water, crews tackling the 31 kilometres of coastline between the Batemans Bay Bridge and Mourya Beach at South Head.

“NSW Maritime and Water Police gave competitors a gold star for safety,” Andrew says.

“Yes this is a race and everyone is keen to win, but safety comes first.”

Tony Ireland is one of thirteen entries in the Surf Ski Marathon, Tony is paddling as one of two duel surf ski entries and was among the first to hit the Moruya sand with his mate Brendan Cowled.

“It was quite challenging, especially the last bit from Broulee to home, it felt like we were pushing against the current the whole way,” Tony says.

The southerly winds at the start weren’t a problem for Tony and Brendan, who stuck close to the coast and enjoyed some helpful currents in close.

Single ski results:

First – John Pattinson
Second – Paul Buttle
Third – Nick Kirby
Fourth – Simon Steinhouse
Fifth – Warrick Ward
Sixth – Stephen Bunney
Seventh – Gavin Granger
Eighth – Craig Vipond
Ninth – Dave Schofield
Tenth –  Nathan Vipond
Eleventh – Jacqui Keough *Only women, go Jacqui!

Double ski results:

First –  Nick Ziviani and Joe Hasley
Second –  Brendan Cowled and Tony Island.

Today's office… The start of the George Bass Marathon in Batemans Bay.

Posted by Rebecca Henshaw on Saturday, 30 December 2017

 

There were big smiles from family, friends, and supporters when the surfboats started to pull in two to three hours after they started on the Clyde River.

Michelle from the Broulee Bluebottles is competing in her seventh Bass and was beaming despite being greeted by her crew’s namesake at the finish line.

“The feeling after is great and why I keep doing it, about 20 minutes into this morning I didn’t think so, but now it’s great, I love it,” Michelle says.

Masters Women results:

First – Pambula
Second – Broulee Bluebottles
Third – Darwin NT
Fourth – Torquay Vic
Fifth – Avalon Beach

Open Women results:

First – North Cronulla
Second – Broulee
Third – Broulee/Canberra Capitals
Fourth – Moruya

Open Men results:

First – Bulli
Second – Long Reef
Third – Coogee
Fourth – Mollymook
Fifth – Pambula

Masters Men results:

First – North Cronulla
Second – Wanda
Third – Tathra
Fourth – Narooma
Fifth – Wollongong City
Sixth – Broulee Capitals
Seventh – Pambula
Eighth – Bulli
Ninth – Grange SA
Tenth  – Noosa Qld
Eleventh – Warriewood

Four in four out, a crew change for Tathra SLSC. Photo: Les Herstik
Four in four out, a crew change for Tathra SLSC. Photo: Les Herstik

Headed into New Year’s Eve all crews seemed keen for an early night at their Moruya High School campground, day two starts back at Moruya Beach at 9am for the 18km run to Coila Beach at Tuross. The first competitors are expected to arrive between one and two hours later.

You can stay in touch with the field via the George Bass Live Tracker.

For more photos from day one head to the George Bass Facebook page.

Video above from Livefire – IT, Digital Media, Social Media Marketing

*Ian Campbell is traveling as a guest of the George Bass Surf Boat Marathon.

George Bass Surfboat Marathon ready to go – TOMORROW!

Coogee on the run south from Batemans Bay in 2016. Photo: GB Facebook
Coogee on the run south from Batemans Bay in 2015. Photo: GB Facebook

Rowers and ski paddlers ready to start their conquest of the mighty George Bass Surfboat Marathon are settling into their Moruya High campground ready for a start on the last day of 2017.

This one of a kind event starts at the Batemans Bay Bridge tomorrow (Dec 31) morning. For the seven days that follow crews and competitors from around Australia will make their way to the finish line in Eden 188km away.

After the Clyde River start, day 1 will see competitors sweep past Malau Bay, Tomakin, and Broulee finishing in front of Moruya Surf Club at South Head.

The surf ski paddlers will be the first to go at 9:30 followed by the first of the surf boats at 9:45.

The men’s surf boat record over the 31km’s is 2:20:44 set by Batemans Bay in 2008, the women’s record stands at 2:34:04 (Torquay 2012), while Tim Jacobs run in 2008 is still the benchmark for the surf skis – 2:15:20.

Gathering at Tomakin this afternoon for their first pre-race briefing, crews and paddlers looked fresh and ready to go after months of training.

Gary Pettigrove is sweeping for the Broulee Capitals Open Women, a Canberra based crew that rows under the banner of Broulee Surf Club.

“We’ve been training five mornings a week since May, a 5:30 start on Lake Burley Griffin, and every fortnight we’ve been coming down to have a row on the coast,'” Gary explains.

This will be Gary’s eighth Bass, for some of his rowers it will be their first.

“At the end, you’ve got a memory that lasts a lifetime, it’s a grueling event – seven days, 190k’s, busting your gut the whole way,” Gary says.

“We are a competitive group, but we are here to have fun, that’s the main thing.”

Gary Pettigrove from the Broulee Capitals. Photo: Ian Cambell
Gary Pettigrove from the Broulee Capitals. Photo: Ian Cambell

Fitzy is a member of Warriewood Surf Club on Sydney’s Northern Beaches these days but his connections with the other side of our continent has pulled together a masters crew that includes three rowers from Western Australia.

“I used to sweep at City of Perth back in the eighties,” Fitzy says.

“Garbo here was in my crew back in the eighties, he found out that we were doing the Bass and said – I want to have a crack at that.”

“Then he rang up and said I’ve got two mates that want to do it as well,” Fitzy says, and a trans-Australian team rowing under the Warriewood name was born.

Only one member of the Warriewood crew have taken part before, but all have a surf boat background. They range in age between 60 and 65 years and know what they are in for.

“We don’t have sliding seats in our boat, so our arses are in trouble,” Garbo laughs.

Given the distances they have traveled when Warriewood put their oars in the water at Batemans Bay tomorrow it will be the first time they have rowed together as a complete unit.

Crews have come from around Australia to take part, all competitive but with a sense of fun. Photo: Ian Campbell
Crews have come from around Australia to take part, all competitive but with a sense of fun. Photo: Ian Campbell

This will be the twentieth running of the great race, only two clubs have competed in every event – Moruya and Tathra. Tathra is represented this year in the men’s masters, Moruya in the open women’s.

Open Men, crews entered:

Bulli NSW, Coogee NSW, Long Reef NSW, Mollymook NSW, Pambula NSW.

Reigning champions are Bulli who are vying for their third straight overall win.

Open Women, crews entered:

Broulee Blue Bottles NSW, Broulee Canberra Capitals ACT/NSW, Moruya NSW, North Cronulla NSW, Torquay Victoria.

This will be a competitive race, North Cronulla are expected to do well. The three local crews are also up against one of the top teams from Victoria.

Masters Men, crews entered:

Broulee Canberra Capitals ACT/NSW, Bulli NSW, Grange SA, Narooma NSW, Noosa QLD, North Cronulla NSW, Pambula NSW, Tathra NSW, Wanda NSW, Warriewood NSW, Wollongong City NSW.

Narooma will be vying for their third straight overall win but will face stiff competition. With 11 crews entered from across the country it will be a close race.

Masters Women, crews entered:

Darwin NT, Pambula NSW, Broulee NSW, Avalon Beach NSW.

The women give their all and race with a commitment and dedication that is their own, this race is one to watch.

Surf Ski Marathon:

Gavin Granger, Pambula SLSC, NSW
Nathan Vipond, Maroochydore SLSC, QLD
Paul Buttel, Wanda SLSC, NSW
Stephen Bunney, Bermagui SLSC, NSW
John Pattison, Austinmer SLSC, NSW
Jacqui Keogh, Pambula SLSC, NSW
David Schofield, Shoalhaven Heads SLSC, NSW
Nicholas Kirby, North Cronulla SLSC, NSW
Craig Vipond, Maroochydore SLSC QLD
Warwick Ward, Wollongong City SLSC, NSW
Simon Stenhouse, Moruya SLSC, NSW
Dean Gardiner, City of Perth SLSC, WA
Nick Ziviani and Joseph Hasley, Narooma SLSC, NSW
Brendan Cowled and Tony Ireland, Mollymook SLSC, NSW

This year’s ski marathon is one of the largest in recent years and includes double ski competitors which will add to the spectacle.

Competitors will have a southeasterly breeze in their face tomorrow morning at 15 to 20 knots, swinging northeasterly in the afternoon. Seas will be running on a 1 to 2 metre swell under cloudy skies, a top temp of 23 degrees is forecast.

The outgoing tide will be a challenge at the start line, with referee Tony Haven keen to make sure everyone stays behind the line until the hooter sounds. Tony asking crews at this afternoon’s briefing to give each other plenty of room in the run south to avoid a “Wild Oats XI” type penalty.

Family, friends, and fans can follow the race via the George Bass Surfboat Marathon tracker.

*Ian Campbell is traveling with the George Bass Surf Boat Marathon as a guest.

Paul, forced to walk home from hospital at 2am, told it won’t happen again

Step 4 - chest pains at Glebe Lagoon. Photo: Ian Campbell.
Paul had to stop after chest pains returned near Glebe Lagoon in Bega. Photo: Ian Campbell.

A Bega man who was told to walk home from South East Regional Hospital (SERH) at 2am says his confidence in the local health service has improved.

Paul’s outrageous story drew a strong response from the About Regional community when it was first published in late November.

He had already made an official complaint about his shoddy treatment but was yet to receive an explanation or apology. In the days that followed the publication of Paul’s story, he was invited to a meeting with new hospital chief, Wendy Hubbard.

“She apologised for what had happened and told me new systems were in place to stop it happening again,” Paul says.

Paul is not his real name. In sharing his story Paul didn’t want to embarrass friends and clients that work at the new facility and asked to remain anonymous. He did however want to see change and a better standard of care for the community that has been his home for 20 years.

It seems he has achieved that.

It opens Friday, December 15, the Carers and Relatives Accommodation at South East Regional Hospital in Bega. Photo: Ian Campbell
It opens Friday, December 15, the Carers and Relatives Accommodation at South East Regional Hospital in Bega. Photo: Ian Campbell

Paul’s story starts with chest pains after dinner one Sunday evening in early September, after a day of feeling funny he and his partner called for an ambulance.

After five hours in care, Paul was told he hadn’t had a heart attack but was suffering from angina. By that stage, the hospital clock was saying 1:30 am and with a diagnosis in hand, Paul was advised to see his GP as soon as possible.

“They [then] gave me a blanket and said I’d have to walk home,” Paul explains.

Paul arrived at the hospital with his partner five hours earlier via ambulance, they had no car, no way of getting home.

“We have lots of friends, but it was two o’clock in the morning, we didn’t want to impose on people,” he says.

No other option was offered – no bed, no ride home, just a blanket to guard against the early spring chill.

“I did say – I can’t walk home with angina,” Paul says.

During the four-kilometre walk home, Paul had to stop on the path at Glebe Lagoon when the chest pains returned.

Thankfully he made it home and was able to see his doctor on the Wednesday.

South East Regional Hospital
South East Regional Hospital. Photo: SNSWLHD

When I initially published Paul’s story the Health Service pointed to the lack of a taxi service in Bega as being the issue.

“The problem is not that the hospital doesn’t provide transport, but rather that there is only one taxi in Bega and they won’t provide service after hours,” the NSW Health Transport Travel Support Group said.

While accepting that transport is an issue across South East NSW, the community reaction to Paul’s story and the heartless government response has prompted a rethink from the Health Service, with many people reporting similar tales of being stranded by a system that seemed to not care or understand life in a country setting.

In a subsequent statement to About Regional, a spokesperson for Southern NSW Local Health District confirmed that in the future patients will be offered an overnight stay in the hospital to help manage transport issues.

“To avoid similar incidents arising in the future Emergency Department (ED) staff will be able to raise potential patient transport issues with the After Hours Nurse Manager,” a Health spokesperson said.

“[Staff] will talk to the patient and consider any options, including an offer to stay overnight.”

Furthermore, the spokesperson said, “On December 15 the SERH on-site Carers and Relatives Accommodation will be opened, which will provide a further option for people in a similar situation.”

Paul says he feels vindicated and trusts that this won’t happen again.

“I appreciated the apology Wendy offered and I got a sense she is working to make things better,” Paul says.

“It seems there was a lack of understanding by agency and locum staff on duty the night I arrived.”

Under new District Cheif Executive, Andrew Newton further operational and cultural changes have been flagged inline with the review initiated by the NSW Health Minister.

Confidence in the sparkling new facility and some of its staff has been shattered on the back of a raft of issues since the hospitals opening in early 2016.

A few finishing touches before Friday's grand opening of the Careers and Relatives Accommodation. Photo: Ian Campbell
A few finishing touches before Friday’s grand opening of the Careers and Relatives Accommodation. Photo: Ian Campbell

The Carers Accommodation that opens on Friday is perhaps an opportunity to reinvigorate people’s trust.

Like so many things, the construction of this building has been driven by community fundraising coordinated by Bega Valley service clubs but embraced by people and organistaions around South East NSW, as well as State and Federal Governments and big business.

An 18-bed facility for carers is the full vision, six motel style rooms with their own ensuite will open on Friday representing stages one and two.

The community is invited to look through the new building between 2 and 5pm.

Paul is not surprised that the community has stepped up the way it has around his story or how it has rallied around the need to build carers and relative accommodation for a hospital that services communities from Batemans Bay to Jindabyne to Mallacoota.

He hangs on to the blanket he was given on that cold September night as a reminder that systems and bureaucracy are meant to serve people.

*About Regional content happens because of the financial contributions of members, thank you to Snowy Monaro Regional Council, Geoff Berry, Tania Ward, Jill Howell and Max Wilson, Ingrid Mitchell and Deb Nave, Therese and Denis Wheatley, Bronnie Taylor, Fiona Firth, and Scott Halfpenny.

Bombala kids shape design of all abilities playground

A vision for Bombala's new all abilities playground by students at St Joseph's. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council
A vision for Bombala’s new all abilities playground by students at St Joseph’s. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council

Buddy benches and reflection ponds are just a couple of the bright ideas Bombala students have come up with as part of their studies into playground design.

Students from St Joseph’s Primary School have just presented a range of thoughtful and captivating 3D playground models, paving the way for future playground construction in Bombala.

Following months of hard work, their final playground designs have been pitched to staff from Snowy Monaro Regional Council – Major Projects Manager Linda Nicholson, and Recreation and Property Technical Officer Jane Kanowski, as well as family and friends.

“All the students should be very proud of their efforts,” Linda says.

The students designed and built a playground space that incorporated elements of physical, social, mental, and spiritual well-being for people of all ages and abilities – community gardens, slides, handball courts, picnic areas, and bright, colourful equipment, were all part of their vision.

“The designs are very exciting, it was a pleasure working alongside the students – a great community partnership,” Linda says.

Dylan and Alexander Bruce make their pitch to classmates, Council, and family and friends. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council.
Dylan and Alexander Bruce make their pitch to classmates, Council, and family and friends. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council.

A number of valuable skills were picked up along the way, including team work, communication, public speaking, engineering, and building.

A terrific example of project-based learning.

Council staff presented students with a certificate of achievement for their outstanding efforts.

The students will continue their involvement throughout the design and construction of an all-abilities playground in Bombala during 2018.

Lifeguards on Tathra Beach this February need your financial support

Tony McCabe & Kiama Thatcher from the Australian Lifeguard Service patrolling Tathra Beach in 2016. Photo Sarah Chenhall, Sapphire Coast Tourism.
Tony McCabe & Kiama Thatcher from the Australian Lifeguard Service patrolling Tathra Beach in 2016. Photo Sarah Chenhall, Sapphire Coast Tourism.

For the last 3 summers, businesses in Tathra and Bega have worked together to fund a beach safety program that has kept the famous red and yellow flags flying on Tathra Beach during February.

Our golden strip of sand has been the only beach south of Ulladulla with a 7-day-a-week lifeguard service during the final month of summer.

To build on the reputation Tathra has with grey nomads and young families at this magic time of year, the Tathra and District Business Chamber is once again seeking financial support from local businesses and organisations to keep the flags flying in 2018.

“February is a big month in Tathra, many young families and retirees are attracted to our beautiful beach after the busy school holiday period,” Chamber Vice President, Rob White says.

“The feedback from holidaymakers is always terrific, it’s clear that people come to Tathra during February because they know our beach is patrolled, this extends our summer and gives Tathra a point of difference,” Rob says.

Locals know that February is the best time of year on our beaches, daily temperatures are similar to January, but the water is warmer and the winds lighter.

Lifeguards employed by Bega Valley Shire Council keep watch over beach goers Monday to Friday during the summer school holidays, complimenting the outstanding volunteer effort each weekend from Tathra Surf Life Saving Club.

“But once school goes back after Australia Day the Council service stops, leaving visitors to our town and members of our community at risk,” Rob says.

“Council considered working with us to extend their service into February to take the pressure off the community fundraising effort, but we have been told they don’t have the budget.”

The Chamber is now hoping to raise the $13,000 needed to keep professional life guards on Tathra Beach, Monday to Friday from January 29 until February 23.

Secretary of the Chamber, Carmen Risby says the results speak for themselves.

“The extended beach patrols on Tathra Beach during February last year meant that lifeguards were on hand to perform 14 rescues,” Carman says.

“Our stats show that lifeguards kept watch over approximately 6200 people on Tathra Beach during weekdays last February.”

Businesses who take part will receive significant media exposure, and generate tremendous goodwill within the local community.

Thank you to the businesses who have already made a commitment – Tathra Big4, Tathra Beachside, Tathra & District Business Chamber, Tathra Beach House, Tathra Beach Bowling Club, Bendigo Bank, and Tathra Hotel. More are needed to keep the flags flying.

Please contact Rob White at Tathra Beach House Apartments for further information on becoming a business or organisation sponsor – rob@tathrabeachhouse.com.au or phone 6499 9900.

 

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About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom – what a great day in Bermagui!

The first About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom landed in Bermagui this week, based out of Julie Rutherford Real Estate we uncovered some of the untold stories of this town.

Kelly Eastwood from River Cottage Australia dropped in to share her plans for a deli and cooking school…

The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom is in #Bermagui upstairs at the harbour at Julie Rutherford Real Estate.This time chatting to Kelly Eastwood about her new deli and cooking school.Drop by with your story between now and 2pm.CheersIan

Posted by About Regional on Tuesday, 5 December 2017

 

Longtime Bermagui fisherman Allan Broadhurst talked about his life on the ocean…

Can't come to #Bermagui and not talk to a real fisherman! Here's one – Allan Broadhurst.The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom at Julie Rutherford Real Estate.Drop by with your story before 2pm.Thanks for tuning in.Ian

Posted by About Regional on Tuesday, 5 December 2017

 

The team at Marine Rescue Bermagui reinforced my longheld view that “the hills around here” hide some interesting people…

The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom moves to Marine Rescue Bermagui, chatting to Alec and Richard.What's your story? Drop by Julie Rutherford Real Estate before 2!Thanks for tuning in.Ian

Posted by About Regional on Tuesday, 5 December 2017

 

And then there’s Bruce Frost, a life of volunteering, beekeeping and managing MS, one of the region’s great men…

The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom is at Julie Rutherford Real Estate, upstairs at #Bermagui Harbour until 2ish. Drop by and share your story.Chatting to Bruce Frost right now talking volunteering, beekeeping, life with MS, and who knows!Thanks for tuning in.Ian

Posted by About Regional on Tuesday, 5 December 2017

 

What a great day! The About Regional Pop-Up Newsroom will happen again in 2018, somewhere in South East NSW.

Cheers

Ian

Peter Pan gets a Eurobodalla twist with Red Door Theatre @ Moruya

Narooma's Linda Heald, the storyteller behind, Peter Pan - The Eurobodalla Chapter. Photo: Ian Campbell
Narooma’s Linda Heald, the storyteller behind, Peter Pan – The Eurobodalla Chapter. Photo: Ian Campbell

A Eurobodalla chapter is about to be added to a story that has enthralled the world for decades.

Peter Pan is the creation of Scottish writer James Matthew Barrie and first appeared in Barrie’s 1902 novel The Little White Bird. Narooma writer and director Linda Heald has put a local twist on the story, her chapter opens at St Mary’s Performing Arts Centre in Moruya on Friday night (December 8).

Walt Disney’s 1953 animated film is perhaps the first image that comes to your mind. Peter Pan, the boy who can fly and who never grows up, leader of The Lost Boys, a lifelong childhood in Neverland mixing with pixies, mermaids, and pirates.

Linda remembers it fondly, “As a young child I would sit beside my cousin at the piano and she would sing the songs,” she says.

With Moruya’s Red Door Theatre Company only new to the stage, Linda was looking for the amateur company’s next challenge and one that allowed people with a range of experiences to have a go.

“I couldn’t find anything that was perfect, so I thought let’s write it,” Linda says.

“I started thinking – pirates in Moruya, and if you are thinking pirates then you’ve got to have Peter Pan, and you’ve got to have Hook, and then you need to have Tinkerbell.

“But we’ve taken a slightly different approach to those characters and given them a twist.

“There are a lot of accountant jokes – there’s mess and there’s music – it’s a fast-moving panto,” she explains.

With that Linda lets slip that Tinkerbell is “Stinkerbell” in her production – “And there are lots of jokes.”

Some of those involved in Red Door Theatre's production of Peter Pan - The Eurobodalla Chapter. Photo: Facebook
Some of those involved in Red Door Theatre’s production of Peter Pan – The Eurobodalla Chapter. Photo: Facebook

The Peter Pan story now belongs to The Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, J.M.Barrie gifted the rights in 1929, which have been a significant source of funds for the Hospital’s Children’s Charity.

Barrie asked that the hospital never reveal the actual income received, which the hospital has always respected.

Knowing this Linda checked with Great Ormond Street before proceeding with her one of a kind local chapter, and got the all clear.

This will be Red Door’s second production, the pantomime “Babes in the Woods” earlier this year got things started with seven people on stage, the cast swells to 17 this weekend for Peter Pan – with a four-piece band!

“We’ve got a whole load of new people and some amazing talent,” Linda says.

“We are there to entertain and to bring the community together.”

Audiences on Friday and Saturday can expect lots of local references and some well-placed topical gags but above all, as with any amateur theatre production its the strength and spirit of the community that created it that shines through.

“I love seeing it when people [cast and crew] arrive on day one and they’re hesitant and unsure of themselves, and then you look at them on stage in the production and they have just blossomed – that’s the best thing,” Linda says.

“And it’s just a fun night out!”

What are you waiting for?

*About Regional content happens because of the support of members, thank you to Sprout Eden – Cafe and Local Produce,  Bronnie, Taylor, Tabitha Bilaniwskyj-Zarins, Nastasia Campanella and Thomas Oriti, Jeanette Westmore, Oh’Allmhurain Films, Claire Blewett and Neroli Dickson, Kate Liston-Mills, Fay Deveril, Shane O’Leary, Fiona Cullen, Nancy Blindell and Jo Riley-Fitzer.

Bega Valley Meals on Wheels takes part in international celebration

Volunteers Pancho Horne, Sue Ranyard, Orna Marks, Jeanette McCann, Sue Middleton and Julie Hennessey. Photo: Supplied
Volunteers Pancho Horne, Sue Ranyard, Orna Marks, Jeanette McCann, Sue Middleton and Julie Hennessey. Photo: Supplied

The significant contribution volunteers make to Bega Valley Meals on Wheels will be celebrated this
Tuesday, December 5 – International Volunteers Day.

The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, and gives organisations like Bega Valley Meals on Wheels an opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution volunteers make to the life and economy of the local area.

David Atkins, Manager, Bega Valley Meals on Wheels says, “Tuesday’s celebration in Bega will be part of a worldwide network of events all geared towards saluting and thanking volunteers.”

“There is also an opportunity for people who might be interested in volunteering to find out more about it.”

Bega Valley Meals on Wheels relies on around 150 volunteer hours each week, with 200 extraordinary people from across the shire covering a range of roles.

“These people are the lifeblood of our organisation and are the reason we are able to provide an affordable, caring service to people in need across our community,” Mr Atkins says.

“Meals on Wheels is famous for food, but that knock on the door means so much more to the people opening the door and the people making the delivery.”

Volunteers Howard and Mei Hill of Eden and Len and Anne Slater of Wolumla. Photo: Supplied.
Volunteers Howard and Mei Hill of Eden and Len and Anne Slater of Wolumla. Photo: Supplied.

For over 60 years, Meals on Wheels has built a sense of community and resilience through the simple act of a delivered meal.

Better health and nutrition is the obvious benefit, but Bega Valley Meals on Meals volunteers also check on safety and well-being. A greater sense of social cohesiveness flows, reducing isolation and supporting independence and choice.

“While acknowledging the work of our current volunteers, we need new people to step forward and help,” Mr Atkins says.

“The commitment is manageable, shared, and flexible and comes with ongoing support and training, but most of all it comes with a huge sense of pride.”

The community is invited to join the celebration of International Volunteers Day at Toussaint’s Café, at the Bega Valley Meals on Wheels Centre on Bega Street, Bega. A BBQ lunch will be served from 12pm, on Tuesday December 5, everyone is welcome.

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“Pack the Pool” floats 50 metre option for Batemans Bay

The option adopted by Eurobodalla Shire Council at their August 29 meeting. Photo
The option adopted by Eurobodalla Shire Council for the Mackay Park, Bay Pool, Old Bowlo site. Photo: ESC

Batemans Bay locals have laid claim to the town’s 50-metre swimming pool.

The future of the aging facility on the Princes Highway south of the Batemans Bay bridge has been a sore point since late August when Eurobodalla Shire Council adopted a draft concept plan for a new 25-metre, year-round, enclosed aquatic centre.

Aside from a 25-metre, eight-lane pool with ramp access, the full vision for the proposed aquatic centre includes a separate 10m warm-water therapy pool and spa, a freeform indoor leisure pool, that includes learn-to-swim and toddler areas, water-play splash pad, waterslides, gym, group fitness and wellness area.

The pool plan is coupled with a new 500 seat performance and cultural space taking in the current pool site, part of bigger plans that take in the old Batemans Bay Bowling Club site and Mackay Park next door.

Both facilities would boast shared amenities, including a foyer, café, visitor information service and associated retail space, administration offices, as well as plant and support services.

Council is looking to take advantage of a ‘pot of gold’ on offer from the NSW and Australian Governments to turn the $46 million vision into a reality.

Around 120 people turned out over the weekend for the “Pack the Pool’ event, disappointed the draft concept plan adopted by Council doesn’t include a new or refurbished 50-metre pool.

https://www.facebook.com/fightforthe50/videos/168035247122884/

 

One of the organisers, Maureen Searson believes the decision is backward.

“We’ve already got the 50-metres which is catering to an existing group of swimmers,” Ms Searson says.

“It comes down to this idea of community, and bringing the community together, it makes no sense that Council would not build something for the whole community.”

According to the business case developed by planning consultants Otium, a 50-metre pool will cost approximately $6 million more to build and up to $300,000 a year more to operate – in comparison to a 25-metre facility.

Otium pointed to a “limited local market for a 50-metre pool” and suggested stronger demand for a recreation and program/therapy pool space, given the shire’s older and aging population and appeal to the family tourist market.

Ms Searson disagrees suggesting that an indoor 50-metre facility will be a drawcard for visiting representative squads and rebuild a competitive swimming club in the town.

“Families are traveling to Ulladulla for training at the moment because Council has allowed the Bay pool to deteriorate,” Ms Searson suggests.

At the Council meeting of August 29, Mayor Liz Innes rounded out a discussion on the length of the pool by saying, “Ultimately, we will only build what we can afford to maintain.”

To date, Council has ruled out a rate increase to cover the project.

The idea of an indoor, year-round, heated pool has been the long-held dream of the Batemans Bay Indoor Aquatic Centre Committee. Carolyn Harding is one of those who have been selling raffle tickets for the last 20 years raising funds, “The committee would like to see a 50-metre pool included in the new facility, however, if it is not affordable we will accept a 25-metre pool as long as the rest of the plan is retained,” she says.

“Rather than miss out [on the government funding] and be disadvantaged by that, we are happy to see the 25-metre pool funded along with everything else,” Ms Harding says.

As President of the Aquatic Centre Committee, Ms Harding attended “Pack the Pool” on Saturday.

“I think there are a lot of people who are not fully informed as to what the indoor aquatic centre is all about,” she says.

A closer look at the concept plan for a new aquatic centre at Batemans Bay. Photo: ESC
A closer look at the concept plan for a new aquatic centre at Batemans Bay. Photo: ESC

Earlier this month, Cr Innes called for unity around the idea.

“Arguing over detail and process at this point is only detracting from our goal, which is to achieve government funding to build the facility.”

“First we need to show the NSW and Australian Governments that we have a concept that is excellent and affordable. And we do,” she said.

“Let’s get the facility funded, then we can really start to drill down into the details.”

Simply getting a draft proposal in front of the NSW Government for consideration in this round of the Regional Cultural Fund and the Regional Sports and Infrastructure Fund seems to have been a driver, with speculation that the fund is already oversubscribed and might not advance to a second round.

Council’s across NSW are pitching the dreams of their various communities to Macquarie Street for funding, and everyone wanted to make sure they were there in the first round.

One of the NSW Government’s key selection criteria in considering applications is affordability and viability, a 25-metre pool seems to tick that box in the Eurobodalla’s case.

When asked about the possibility of a 50-metre pool, the State Member for Bega, Andrew Constance told Fairfax there would be no issues with altering the design if affordable.

“Ultimately, running costs will have to be evaluated against other interests in the shire,” he said.

Council says a 50-metre pool was presented as an option, however, “Given the additional construction and operational cost of a 50-metre pool, it is likely that the warm-water program pool or the learn-to-swim area would need to be sacrificed if a 50-metre pool was included,” Council’s website says.

“To include a 50-metre pool would have also weakened our business case, undermining the strength of our grant application and the likelihood of securing the NSW Government grant funds,” Council says.

Around 120 people turned out for Pack the Pool on Saturday. Photo: Facebook
Around 120 people turned out for Pack the Pool on Saturday. Photo: Facebook

Maureen Searson’s group, “Fight for Batemans Bay’s 50m Pool” doesn’t accept that a 50-metre pool is still an option given that Council has already adopted the 25-metre option.

The group is hoping to address Council tomorrow (November 28) suggesting that the figures Council is using to argue for a 25-metre pool are wrong.

“One of our supporters, Jeff de Jager has raised questions about the audited financial statements that suggest the total maintenance costs for all three of council’s swimming pools was $229,000 for the year,” Ms Searson says.

“The report also says the gross replacement cost for three pools is $5,134,000.

“We are keen for Council to explain how it is then that a new 50-metre pool would cost an extra $6 million in building costs compared to a 25-metre pool and an extra $300,000 for maintenance annually,” Ms Searson says. *See response that followed from Council below.

News about the dollars flowing from the Cultural Fund could come this week at the Artstate conference in Lismore, shortlisted applicants will be asked to provide further project details in early 2018.

Council’s application for additional funding from the Federal Government’s “Building Better Regions Fund” is being finalised now for submission before December 9.

*About Regional content is funded by members, thank you to 2pi Software, Tathra Beach House Apartments, Kelly Murray, Gabrielle Powell, Tim Holt, Robyn Amair, Wendy and Pete Gorton, Shan Watts, and Doug Reckord.

The Zen Warrior Princess lives on in friends and family and a 1992 Pulsar

Brogo's Olivia Forge, ready to take to the road with Kelsey Clark in their 92 Pulsar. Photo: Ian Campbell
Brogo’s Olivia Forge, ready to take to the road with Kelsey Clark in their 92 Pulsar. Photo: Ian Campbell

A group of friends from the Bega Valley have just set out on an outback rally adventure with the memory of another looming large over their odyssey.

“Originally I’d signed up with my friend and colleague from Local Land Services Liz Clark,” Brogo’s local Olivia Forge says.

“Not long after we’d signed up for the rally she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and ended up having six or seven months of treatment.

Liz Clark in the environment she loved and cared for. Photo: Facebook
Liz Clark in the environment she loved and cared for. Photo: Facebook

“She was always working towards this rally, this was the thing that was keeping her going, but the myeloma was just too aggressive and she died in August,” Olivia says.

“One of Liz’s last requests was that I continue on the rally but take her daughter Kelsey instead.”

The Mystery Box Challenge is for cars that are at least 25 years old cars. Every day of this 5-day trek is a mystery, with the 150 teams taking part only given the route to their daily destination with breakfast.

The map will take Oliva and Kelsey in a loop that starts and finishes in Dubbo in western New South Wales – the k’s and camping spots in between are unknown.

“We have a very fine 1992 Nissan Pulsar, no air conditioning, no power steering,” Olivia says.

Each of the 150 teams has raised a minimum of $3,000 for the Cancer Council to take part, Olivia and Kelsey have so far doubled that. Their tally currently sits at $6,236 but is growing every day as people hear their story.

Today (November 25) is day one, with the ladies from “Team Zen Warrior Princess” given directions that cover the 495km from Dubbo to Tipla.

“While Liz was going through her treatment we all ended up calling her the Zen Warrior Princess,” Olivia says.

“Sometimes she was feeling relaxed and Zen about the whole thing and other times she felt like a real warrior, like she was going to kick cancers arse, and other times she felt like a princess and was in floods of tears.”

The Zen Warrior Princess painted on the roof of the car, painted by local vet Cassie McDonald. Photo: Ian Campbell
The Zen Warrior Princess painted on the roof of the car, painted by local vet Cassie McDonald. Photo: Ian Campbell

The pair’s Pulsar has also been transformed into a homage to Liz and painted with all the things she loved – native plants, native orchids, dogs, and owls, with the roof emblazoned with a caricature of their warrior spirit.

Local vet, Cassie McDonald helped paint the car, “She is the most amazing artist,” Olivia says.

“And the car belonged to a Bega local, he loved it but he was going to the United States, he wants to buy it back when he gets home, I am not sure he’s going to be able to once we’ve finished with it.”

Team Zen Warrior Princess is grateful for the sponsorship of local businesses – Inspirations Paint provided all the paint for the car, Specialised Automotive fitted a bash plate, fixed the radiator and gave the car a safety check, and Beaurepaires chipped in with new tyres.

“It’s been fantastic,” Olivia smiles.

Traveling alongside the Pulsar across the 2,500km of the rally is a red Toyota Celica with Brogo’s Sue-Anne Nicol and her daughter Darcie at the wheel.

“I did the Mystery Box Challenge last year with Sue-Anne and it was amazing,” Olivia says.

“It’s like a huge family, everyone is so supportive, a lot of people are doing the rally because they’ve lost someone or because they’ve had cancer themselves.”

Sue-Anne and Darcie are known as “Seriously? Seriously!” and have so far raised $7,069.

“And you are expected to break down because the cars are crap,” Olivia smirks.

“So there are people along the way to help get you back on the road and keep going.”

Aside from the physical, geographical, and mechanical challenges ahead, the trip will be an emotional one for Olivia and Kelsey as they remember their friend and mum who died just a handful of months ago.

“Having this project has been really good for me, I just hope what we are doing gives some relief to the grief Liz’s family feels,” Olivia says.

You can follow the progress of both local cars over the coming week and donate via the Zen Warrior Princess Facebook page.

Kelsey, Darcie, Olivia, and Sue-Anne ready to tackle day 1 of the Mystery Box Challenge. Photo: Facebook
Kelsey, Darcie, Olivia, and Sue-Anne ready to tackle day 1 of the Mystery Box Challenge. Photo: Facebook

*About Regional content is supported by the contributions of members, including Kiah Wilderness Tours, Sprout Cafe and Local Produce Eden, Kym Mogridge, Danielle Humphries, Pam Murray, Alexandra Mayers, Jo Saccomani, Rosemary Lord, Amanda Stroud, and Olwen Morris. Thank you!