Funtavia Announces Ship-Load Of Performers

Awarded ‘Best New Venue’ at the 2016 Fringe World Awards, the Funtavia ship is set to dock back into Geraldton’s West End, Marine Terrace on Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 of February 2017. 

It is with absolute excitement that on Thursday night Funtavia organisers launched their 2017 program and sponsors list as part of CGG Christmas on the Terrace activities. From its inception in 2016 the program has doubled to feature more international, national and local artists. 

“We are proud that Funtavia has been able to bring a taste of Fringe World to Geraldton and the way in which the community embraced the 2016 pilot festival whole-heartedly.” 

Funtavia is part of Fringe World Festival, the third largest Fringe Festival in the world. 

Funtavia 2017 will feature more than 30 performances over three evenings of jam packed entertainment and fun nestled right in the heart of the west end Marine Terrace.  

 “Februarys program expect to see rappers, graffiti artists, rambling parents, comedians, improvisors, games of thrones fans, musicians and entertainers alike. No show will be the same, but we guarantee that each one will be insanely entertaining.” said Creative Producer Julian Canny  

Open each afternoon from 5.30pm will also be the Baba Marda pop-up bar, food stalls and entertainment in the Funtavia Hub, West End – this area is free for all to moseyon in and enjoy. 

Jodi Reilly, Event Producer says“ Funtavia aims to further boost Geraldton’s reputation as a colourful, lively and enviable place to live. This year we are working with tourism and hospitality partners to bundle up attractive packages that encourage visitors to stay a little longer and see what we love about our fabulous city.” 

Funtavia will host a first for regional WA, four locally produced original shows will feature as part of the program. The four shows are The Hungry Games, Smell like Meme Spirit, An Incompetent Life and Regional Produce.  Funtavia offers an incredible opportunity for our local artists and producers, not only to perform but to also become involved with the international arts sector and make connections with people across the industry. Many of these productions will be touring Perth for future performances. 

“We are extremely excited that we are able to deliver something that is really unique to Geraldton and invests directly into our local performers, while offering world class entertainment, and this is all made possible thanks to our generous event sponsors.” Ms Reilly said. 

Excluding opening night all tickets are $18 and will be available until sold out (so get it early). Tickets can be purchased online through our website www.funtavia.com

Head over to the website to keep up to date with information and to download the full event program. 

Sponsorship prospectuses are available from the Funtavia Crew at Event Nation – 08 9964 6088, funtavia@eventnation.com.au or our event website www.funtavia.com

Program copy: click HERE.

Red Hot Deals Sale at Batavia Furniture and Bedding

Come into Batavia Furniture and Bedding this week for their three days only RED HOT DEALS SALE!

There will be 15% to 50% off lounges, sofas, dining, TV units, beds and mattresses – there will be MASSIVE savings storewide. In fact the prices are even too hot to print!

This sale is for 3 days only – Thursday 8th December until 3pm Saturday 10th December, so make sure you get down to the Homemaker Centre and get your Christmas shopping sorted.

 

Record student numbers and donations as student scholarships open for 2017

2016 Scholarship recipients and Hollomby Foundation donors.

2016 Scholarship recipients and Hollomby Foundation donors.

Student numbers continue to grow at GUC with more than 300 students expected to be studying in 2017.  With the record number of students, the Hollomby Foundation, thanks to its generous donors, will offer $70,000 worth of scholarships to assist students to study in the Mid West next year.

“Scholarships are already oversubscribed so with more students, the ability to offer more support through scholarships is most welcome. The Hollomby Foundation scholarships address a definite need and help reduce the financial barriers to study that some people face,” stated GUC Director, Natalie Nelmes.

Hollomby Foundation scholarships assist not only the region’s local talent to be able to study locally but also recognise their academic commitment, community participation, future aspirations and of course, financial need.

“Scholarships can help students to cover the cost of books (sometimes as much as $500 a semester), the home internet connections vital to keeping up with their study or a lap top to study with.  For some students, they are also required to travel from towns within a 2 hour radius of Geraldton and that fuel expense mounts up,” explained Ms Nelmes.

The Hollomby Foundation is named after the late Joe Hollomby, affectionately known as the ‘shortbread man’, who raised over $1million for charities and local organisations as well as people in need, baking and selling shortbread and apple pies.  The Hollomby Foundation was established for the advancement of tertiary education in our region and supports Mid West students to fulfil their educational dreams.

2017 Hollomby Foundation Scholarships have been made possible by the following generous donors;

Deepdale Bursary, St John of God Health Care Geraldton, RSM Geraldton, The Horwood Family, Greenough River Solar Farm, Mid West Development Commission, City of Greater Geraldton, Shire of Irwin, Shire of Northampton, Ian Blayney MLA, Darren West MLC, Paul Brown MP, Bendigo Bank, Bundiyarra Community Aboriginal Corporation, Rotary Club of Batavia Coast and MidWest Art Management.

For a list of scholarships and application details click here; http://www.guc.edu.au/students/scholarships-3/

Applications are open until 5pm Wednesday 8 March 2017.

Applications for Accounting, Business, Education (Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary), Environmental Science, Psychological Science, andSocial Work close 20 February. Applications for Graduate Diploma of Education and Engineering close 6 February. Nursing and STEPS applications have closed for Term 1 2017. For further information please contact the GUC on 9920 4400, email brendanp@guc.edu.au or visit www.guc.edu.au/courses/

Intersection resurfacing works in Rangeway

The City of Greater Geraldton wishes to advise it will be resurfacing the road at the T-intersection of Diosma Street and Betula Street in Rangeway with asphalt works scheduled to begin on Thursday 8 December 2016 for a period of approximately 1 day. 

The anticipated hours of work will be between 7.00am and 6.00pm.

Traffic management will be in place and members of the community are requested to exercise caution and obey all warning signs and directions from authorised City personnel and contractors.

The City has allocated $523,127 for the resurfacing of 17 intersections in the 2016/17 Budget.

The City apologises for any inconvenience these works may cause.

If you have any queries please contact the City on 08 9956 6600 or email council@cgg.wa.gov.au

A chat with our Mayor after one year in the job

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It's now been over 12 months since the people of Geraldton elected Shane Van Styn to the position of Mayor.

I had a chat with Mr Van Styn about the past year, the state of the union, as it were, and how he's finding the role of Mayor.

"One surprising thing for me has been the high regard that people hold for the office of the Mayor. It's extremely difficult to turn down attending an event or an opening."

"A casual thing that's changed is now having to get better dressed to go to Bunnings. Everyone likes to stop and have a chat about what's important to them in their city. Bunnings has gone from a 10 minute walk-in-walk-out to an hour or two job. Same as the supermarket. It's a small thing, but it's something that impacts you nearly every day."

So you shop online now?

"No! Shop local, buy local!" Shane bellowed cheerfully.

I was curious about the Mayor's background, and how he came to live in Geraldton and become Mayor. And I found the story rather surprising.

Shane is from the suburb of Gosnells in Perth's south east. He had just finished uni, and was heading north, past Geraldton, to visit some friends when his car broke down in Geraldton.

"I couldn't afford the tow truck at the time," said Shane. "So I swapped them for my car. I was forced to stay the night in Geraldton."

"In my last exam there was a guy from Geraldton, Christopher Quelch. And for some reason I wrote his phone number down on a pencil case. I had decided I was moving to Albany. I was moving to the country and had chosen Albany. And for whatever reason I took that pencil case with me (on the trip up north). So I had a phone number to ring. So he did a ring around for me. 'He's a good bloke, big fella, plays footy, does security, is an accountant, looking to move to the country.'"

"A couple of footy teams approached me and offered to sign me up. I got offered a job doing security work, and I got offered an accounting position in town. By the morning the real estate agent had come around to show me houses."

"I met some security guards that I knew, and got an accountant job in the now Town Towers."

So you have great memories of that place then?

"I remember very well getting stuck in the lift. It was the thing to do in Town Towers,"  Shane recalled, smiling.

"I was also there the day the toy store caught on fire. I came downstairs and they were surprised to see I was still there. They had forgotten to evacuate everyone upstairs."

Whoops.

"I said 'That's alright.'"

"As part of that trip to Geraldton, and this is why I'm so passionate about the verge pick up skip bins, I fitted out most of my utensils, furniture and appliances in my house by landing in Geraldton during the time of verge pickup. I went and scavenged. Got a chair, got a bed, toaster, vacuum, wok."

So you started at the bottom.

"On the bones of my ...."

"I originally said to Mum 'I'll be back in a year'. About a year after that I decided I'd hang around for a while. I don't think I ever made a conscious decision I'm staying here for good, it's just the way it's evolved. I certainly have no desire to leave, at all."

"Geraldton chose me, not the other way around."

From that humble beginning, albeit with an accounting degree in his pocket, Mr Van Styn became involved in a number of companies over the years, including Yamaji Mining and Civil, Westwood Accountants, Camel Bar, a night club, and has had roles in the community including president of the basketball association, Councillor, and of course now Mayor.

And for those paying attention, you'd know Mr Van Styn has tried entering state and federal politics also, as a candidate for the National Party.

Had politics always been an aspiration for Van Styn? In short, yes.

"Even as a young kid my Gran would tell me I should always be a politician the way I would debate issues. Her Father was a Labor upper house member in the Western Australian parliament."

So she had exposed you to the political world?

"Yeah. But she couldn't stand it. Ha."

But she still suggested you should be a politician?

"I don't think she was meaning it all positively," Shane says, smiling.

I laughed at the thought of an old lady sarcastically telling an argumentative little Shane he should be a politician, meant as a gentle criticism, but becoming a prophesy.

"Even in primary school and in early high school I used to go and visit the local member and have a chat."

Shane also spoke of being involved with 'guild tickets' at Curtin Uni, student clubs, and other activities that would lay the foundation for aspirations in the political world.

Once Shane was settled in Geraldton, he became one of the regular letter writers into the paper.

"So you had people like me vs Olly Wrenstead, Jack Simpson, Jim Du Boulay... they were some of the regular letter writer inners, and I became one of them. I started going to council meetings and challenging the status quo, as a member of the public."

Shane reflected on how he was similar to the folk who regularly appear now at Council meetings, challenging himself and Council.

"John Sewell, who was on council at the time, one day said to me 'Look Shane, you're showing up here all the time, giving us a hassle. Put your money where your mouth is, put up or shut up.' I can't remember the exact phrase, but something like that. 'A couple of us aren't standing, there's a couple of spots.' And I thought 'He's right there. He's extremely right. If you think you can do a better job, then stand.'"

"So I did."

Thus Shane Van Styn became a councillor.

So how did Shane Van Styn end up with the National Party and running for state and federal parliament?

"So I was sitting there in my offices at Yamaji Mining and Civil and Grant Woodhams came and knocked on the door, with my mate Gerry Gould from Geraldton Hydraulics. They asked to have a word, and said 'Would you mind running for the National Party in the upcoming state election?' They put forward their case. I thought about it. Brendan Grylls rang me. Few other people rang us. At the time I rang Ian Blayney to say "I'm actually thinking about this."

Previously Shane had been a member of the Liberal party. He says he had tried to engage them, but hadn't had any success getting to a conference or making it into the inner circle. "But the National Party was the exact opposite," says Shane. "They couldn't do enough for you. They invited me to all their conferences, gave me a chance to meet people and speak. So that was that. Had a run, obviously didn't make it. Then the Federal election came up. They said 'Would you run against Barry Haase? Shane, your posters are still up. You've just run an election. We've got no money. Haase is going to win. We just want a name on the ticket.'"

"Just a name on a ticket. Political parties do it all the time. They just want a name on the ticket, it helps them get electoral funding."

Shane said it was also close to the upcoming local government elections, thus he was able to quit his position at council without triggering a by-election.

I can remember at ABC on a Friday, Glenn asking me, 'Shane, really what would it take for you to win?' And I said 'Barry Haase would have to retire.'"

"Then Saturday morning, phone rang about 7:30 in the morning, it was Barnaby Joyce, and he says 'Shane, Barnaby! Have you heard Barry Haase has retired?' I went 'What?' I thought he was joking. But then why would Barnaby be ringing me at 7:30 in the morning? But if he's ringing my personal phone it's serious. Then Alex McKinnon from the Guardian rang, and then it was on."

"It was quite late in the election cycle, so at that point I was the only profile candidate announced in Durack."

There was a big swing toward the National Party at that election, but Van Styn would ultimately come up short, after Labor gave their preferences to the Liberals instead of the Nats.

Shane was pragmatic in reflecting on the two losses. "In terms of losing, I came second. If Palmer United hadn't spent so much money I would have won. If Labor hadn't given their preferences to Liberal, I would have won. But not with the State election. Ian Blayney won that fair and square."

Is Ian Blayney going to win the next State Election?

"The next state election is going to be incredibly tight. I honestly can't pick it. But I acknowledge that it will be harder for Paul (Brown, Nationals) to win it than it would be for Ian to lose it."

Shane was pretty dismissive of Labor's chances of winning however. "When you look at the last election, Liberal and Nationals primary vote was 70%. Labor can't win. Unless the National party decides to do a preference deal with Labor, and Labor getting ahead of the Nats. That's the only way I see Labor being with any reasonable prospect of winning."

Following the Federal election, Van Styn put his hat back in the ring for Councillor with the City of Greater Geraldton. This was the year 'City of Greater Geraldton Ratepayers Demand Change' endorsed a number of candidates, Shane being one of them.

"Not officially," said Shane, when questioned about the endorsement. "But I was one of three people that voted against it (the massive rate increase of 2012 that birthed CGG Ratepayers Demand Change). 

The other two councillors to vote against that now infamous rate hike were Jerry Clune and Bob Ramage.

Are you proud now that you voted against that 27% rate rise?

"It was more than just voting against 27% rate rise per se. The principle of what we were arguing about, particularly me and Bob, was the need for expenditure restraint. If we were running an incredibly lean and mean operation, skin and bones, it could be put forward that we needed a 27% rate rise to build infrastructure that everybody wants; if rates were at record lows (compared) to everybody else, you could make the argument. So it wasn't the 27% rate rise per se. The context of us having a woefully bloated administration, and THEN a 27% rate rise, was way too much. So we had two arguments. We thought we were too big and bloated ALREADY, even without the 27% rate rise. The two combined was utter madness. And rate payers... well, unfortunately Bob Ramage got chucked out in the election. That was the election where I was the only one that was returned."

Becoming Mayor

From talking to you, you seem to have a lot of regard for Mr Carpenter, (the former Mayor), even though you disagree on several things. How did you feel running against him?

"I used to discuss this occasionally with Neil (McIlwaine, Deputy Mayor at CGG). At the time I wasn't comfortable running against Ian. I have a lot of regard and respect for Ian. That being said, there were some significant disagreements... the size of the city operation, and the rate rise for one... and look, that was by and large all we ever really disagreed on."

"It wasn't an easy decision, but then I saw Rob Jefferies nominate, and start to get traction, you know, a bit of utilisation of social media and the like. Rob was also one of the former CEO's of the city, and we're still paying off those investments from back then. The administration grew under that as well, the financial structure deficits that we have... Everyone was telling me they want change, someone new. We saw Shane Hill stand. Again, he'd been elected as a Labor member, wasn't new, and Gavin Hirschhausen, who at the time I had no knowledge of. So as time went on people told me 'You should run, you should run.' In the end it wasn't easy. I chatted to Neil McIlwain about it, I asked if he was going to run, he elected not to, so, after enough people asking me to run, and that was a big part of it, I elected to run for Mayor."

Would you have run if Neil had run?

"Can't answer that. I don't know."

Shane spoke highly of Neil McIlwaine, the deputy Mayor. Neil is someone a lot of the Councillors go to for advice, and everyone holds in high regard.

So you won the Mayorship. There would have been a lot of sad faces as the person who was their boss for the last eight years was suddenly gone.

"I think there was a lot of sad faces in there, I think it's fair to say that we're fairly different characters. So there was probably an element of 'What have we got ourselves into?' when I came here, and I actually take great comfort that people would tell me that to my face. And not in any way derogatorily... I mean, I'm a pretty open guy and people seem to feel pretty comfortable telling me what they think, one way or the other."

"So I think the most important thing you can do after winning an election is winning over the naysayers, those who didn't vote for you... and look, we went straight to work into what ratepayers wanted. Within weeks we got rid of tip fees. That was the number one thing people spoke to me about."

Shane talked about what he wants as far as the City's fiscal position goes.

"I want to be breaking even as quickly as we can. I want to see the city in surplus, and currently our long term financial plan has that set for four years time. I think that quite comfortably we can beat that."

Does that fiscal conservatism come from your time in business or is that a philosophy you held prior to that?

"The initial part of my fiscal conservatism is probably that I grew up in a low income household. So we didn't have much, but yet we had plenty. Never went hungry, got to go on a holiday once a year. Lived in a small house, in the wrong suburb, in the wrong part of town, yet we had a great upbringing. So you learn to appreciate what you've got."

Shane reflected on how his upbringing trained him to live within his financial means, and how that translates into his role in local government.

"I think too often local government, because it's not your money, you don't apply the same level of rigour in the decision making process. So I treat every ratepayer dollar as if it was a dollar I paid, and if I didn't spend it, it's a dollar I don't have to pay."

Your differentiation when you were running for Mayor was 'We're the city, we shouldn't try to be everything. We shouldn't be trying to put a man on the moon, we're just the city of Geraldton.'

Do you feel like you've been able to execute some of that?

"That's a great analogy, because that's exactly how it was. Getting back to basics. Get back to the business of being government. We were putting a man on the moon, trying to do this and that... they're great aspirations to have, but how do you intend on attracting record tourist levels if your own residents don't think it's a nice place to go for a walk on the weekend?"

"If you can't keep the residents entertained from time to time, how do you intend on attracting people from other regions to come and spend time here? So you've got to get your house in order. The 'roads, rates and rubbish' argument for local government, and there's a couple of other r's these days; recreation, we're responsible for entertaining everyone these days, and of course regulation. We bust you for smoking and lock up your dog."

"The election result was so strong that it sent a message that this is actually what the community wanted."

"When you have a ward system, there's actually only one person who gets voted on by the whole of the city, and that's the Mayor."

"So, I reluctantly use the word 'mandate', Ken (Diehm, CGG CEO) hates me using that word, but if there was any mandate to be drawn it's just to get back to basics. People are tired of rate rises, for what they saw as frivolous things, stuff that we shouldn't be involved in, so I've been able to bring other councillors along, and collectively we've been able to achieve that."

Van Styn put the emphasis on collectively, as though to remind everyone he's not railroading changes through, but decisions are being made by the whole of council.

Let's talk about tourism.

"Tourism is incredibly important. We spent a little bit of money on the dump point at Francis St Jetty, and see how rampant that got overnight, RV's and caravans are everywhere."

"Now we've had to put Rangers down there so it's not full of people camping."

"Just that little investment showed us how fruitful it can be. A cruise ship was here today. Those little investments we've made with some shelters and some shade around the place is bringing them ashore. It's been phenomenal. What it will do is it will drive us to improve accommodation, Town Towers and the like."

"Tourism is also about your family members that might live in Perth coming to visit. Tourism is about people who might be 4 or 5 hundred kilometres away, might be in the Wheatbelt, coming here. We associate tourism with inbound foreign tourists, and that's good, but the overwhelming majority, over 80% of our tourists, are actually from Perth."

"So focusing on tourism will mean more cafes, more accommodation. One of the things about being a tourist town is you actually create more stuff for locals. As you beautify your town to attract tourists... you actually have a beautiful town to live in. Win-win."

Shane spoke a little of the branding issues we still have in Geraldton. "We don't know if we're the Batavia Coast, Coral Coast, Turquoise Coast, Sun City, Geraldton, Geraldton-Greenough, Greater Geraldton, Geraldton-Greenough-Mullewa, who knows? Golden Outback, Mid West, Mid West with two words, Midwest as one word. We can't even agree how to spell Midwest! This is how diabolical it is."

It's definately two words.

"One word," argued Shane, which only served to prove his point.

"As we've tried to work out how we're going to handle the branding we've engaged consultants, looked at reports, looked at migration reports, looked at visitor perception surveys, put some science behind it, how we're perceived in the market, and benchmark that against other places we either want to be like or consider ourselves on par with. It's all great to say 'We don't know what we call ourselves,' or 'we can't find crayfish,' or 'It's great because we've got some wind and sand.' Let's actually put some data behind it. Then you look at what that tells you and you relay that to the businesses and say 'How would you fix these issues?' They come up with the ideas, and only then do we start. And I see radical change coming in that space as we get tourists together under the banner of Progress Mid West, a soon-to-be-in-existence economic development unit, a stand alone enterprise that's not a lobbying or representative group per se, it's an economic development agency outside of council so it can move at the speed of business rather than the speed of government."

And tourism will be in its portfolio.

"We've spent a lot of time singing kumbaya at council, it's time to get down to implementation."

What else has happened in the Mayor's first year?

One Night Stand

One Night Stand was a massive coup for Geraldton. Thousands of visitors descended on our city for Triple J's annual massive regional concert event, the One Night Stand. 15,000 people were at the event. Apart from being a fantastic night out with performances from Boy and Bear, Urthboy, Alison Wonderland, Bernard Fanning, and locals Alex the Kid... plenty of money was raised for local charities and community groups.

"That came from the Mayor talking to a bloke on Facebook! Through my Mayor page."

Geraldton was originally nominated by a local resident who then reached out to the Mayor. "Never met the guy. Brad Gundlach. He contacted me through my Mayor page. So I'm the first Mayor on Facebook. And we communicated that way. And we got in touch with Triple J that way, and then had Ken and our city team get together and they went and put together the proposal and got it across the line. So that was social media working for good."

"We had to move fast. Decisions had to be made. Budgets had to be "interpreted". And you had to keep it all secret. But we got it done."

Shane spoke of the economic benefits in the community too. "Within an hour of the announcement from Triple J about One Night Stand, every hotel room was booked. The economic benefits of all of that were huge. Little Athletics had about 400 campsites. I think they raised about 40 or 50 thousand dollars for the night. Probably more money than they'd raised in three or four years. Towns football club made $6000 selling cans of drink. $20,000 for headspace. And it flows through (the local economy) massively."

Sport

"We've had the Wildcats playing a pre season game. And we're pitching for an AFL preseason game early next year."

Shane also mentioned the Stand Up Paddle Boarding event, Open Water Swimming Challenge, BMX state rounds, and polocrosse.

Improving people's opinion of Geraldton

"The best form of marketing is not TV ads. It's about getting them here and them taking a look around. 'Cause everyone's sort of been here once. 'I drove through once. Yeah I pulled in there for fuel and it was crap.' You know? You've got to get people here. And the way to get people here is to run events that drag people here. So attracting people with large concerts, large sporting events... all these events that bring people up and they see it. And that is how you boost tourism. You get the word on the street. 'Yeah I've been there for myself. I've seen it. I've tasted the food. I've walked down the street. I've been to the foreshore. I've been to the memorial. I've looked at the wildflowers.' That is how you improve the state's perception of the city. What Geraldton people need to do is lift their positive outlook of the City. Part of that is getting back to basics. And providing the footpaths and the trees, parks, and all the stuff that they need. Including putting playground equipment back."

Shane started recalling a conversation he had. "'GO AND FIND THE BUDGET AND PUT THE PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT BACK!'"

He was referring to the large number of parks that had their play equipment removed without being replaced, prior to him being Mayor.

"I think it's fair to say we're a lot more engaged with the community now than we have been. I think we're held in a lot higher regard. We've listened to the community and become community led, which is how we should be."

Mayor Van Styn flanked by CGG CEO Ken Diehm.  

Mayor Van Styn flanked by CGG CEO Ken Diehm.  

Council and the future

What's your relationship like with the other councillors?

"Really good, I get along with all the councillors."

Even the Mullewa ones? There was bit of a thing earlier in the year.

"Look, Mullewa councillors are passionate about their community. I think when councillors are in disagreement with each other are often at their best."

If you were to ask anyone on the street what ward they're in they couldn't tell you. Except the Mullewa people. Do you support the Ward System broadly, or would you support changing that?

"I think we have too many councillors."

Why?

"Because we could save the city some money. If we halved the number of councillors we'd probably save a quarter million a year. But that's an issue for council to debate, the public to comment on. Part of that is 'Do we have wards, do we not have wards, do we have more wards, less wards?' I know that when people used to contact me they'd look up the phone number on the website and then they'd go to the ward that was relevant and go 'You're my ward councillor, etc.' Happens all the time. I think there's an appetite to review whether the ward system should happen or not."

"The complication is Mullewa. Under the current implementation, Mullewa ward councillors exist at the discretion of the Minister. It expires in 2019. Because wards are supposed to be 'one vote - one value'. But they get two councilllors for 500 electors. Tarcoola has two councillors for 5800 electors. It's not even close to 'one vote - one value'. So in 2019, applying the principles as it stands in the local government act, there will be no more Mullewa Councillors. So let's start getting our heads around what that looks like, what's going to happen."

"And this is why I want to have these conversations. As council we should be talking about what we're going to be doing next year, in two years, in five years. And not sitting there having round tables, you know, about old mate's driveway or old mate's shed. I mean issues will come up. But what we should be doing as council is working on policies or local laws that prevent these things from happening ever again. How do we set a policy strategy, how do we set a direction that will guide us into the future, so that whenever there's a lime sand mine again, it's dealt with here? We don't have to keep having public unrest, marches, petitions. Generally petitions and marches only ever happen when you haven't set your policy framework correct."

Do you think in the future in will make sense for Chapman Valley to join the City of Greater Geraldton?

Shane paused and chuckled. There's a bit of history over this now delicate topic.

"There are no plans at the moment..." Shane began to respond in a predictable, politically sensitive manner.

"I don't think there's an appetite for Geraldton residents to consume any of Chapman Valley, and vice versa."

I pressed him a little more.

But as a business man, on paper, do you think it make sense?

"On paper as a business man I would suggest west of the Moresby Ranges, particularly places like Park Falls and the like, would be better suited to being in Geraldton. I mean they're essentially an urban suburb. They live and work in Geraldton. They consume the City of Geraldton's resources. Is the rural part of Chapman Valley suitable for being in the City of Greater Geraldton? ... You'd view how successful the integration of Mullewa was with Geraldton. On paper there'd be an argument. But you'd need to look at what financial impact it had on the Shire if you took out the residential rate payers; would it make them unsustainable? So look, there's got to be discussions in that space going forward, but there's no timeframe at the moment. My focus at the moment is financial sustainability of our own city. Let's get our own house in order first, before we can even entertain the idea of taking on more."

What do you say to local businesses out there that are doing it tough?

"It's not a Geraldton thing. This is what happens too often, be it crime, economic downturn. Too many of the overly public social media types think we just live in this little silo, and the problems that we face in Geraldton are unique to us, and no one else has this."

"Nothing could be further from the truth. If you go to other towns, cities, around the state, they all claim to have the worst ice problem. They'll claim to have the worst crime. They'll have their own Facebook group that reckons it's hell on earth. Every suburb. Every town, has those."

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"So what I tell business people is... My job as Mayor is to try and be positive, a confident message and a confident vision, for our city... to never talk the place down. And I wouldn't talk it down because I love the place. Hence I'm the Mayor. But the way I talk about things is in practical examples. If Woolworths is building a Supermarket in Wandina, they don't invest that sort of money unless their demographers and their economists who do this nation wide, the best people in the land, say 'this is a good place to do it.'"

"And what is the key factor to determine where a good place is? Population growth. That's what they're looking for."

"You've got Aldi and Dan Murphy's trying to come to Geraldton... I know they're multi nationals, and I know it's about buying local. I get that, I do. But what you need to do is look at these enterprises using significant resources doing demographic studies before they decide to invest, and they're looking at coming here. The development approvals at the City are at I think the second highest on record for the last financial year. That's not building applications, that's dollar value. These are big numbers, these are big times. This year we're going to see Beresford Foreshore, Olive Street, Town Towers..."

In conclusion

So a year has now passed with Shane Van Styn in the chair. There are policy changes evident at the City of Greater Geraldton, which City staff and Geraldton residents have mixed feelings about. It will certainly be interesting to see how the next few years play out, and if CGG can balance the books while improving tourism and providing the services we all want.

Shane Van Styn sees the big outcome of his first year as Mayor as the delivery of the Growth Plan for the City of Greater Geraldton.

But we've all seen plans before. The next challenge will be executing said plan.

Watch this space.

Mid West innovators to connect at Investor Showcase

The best of the Mid West’s entrepreneurial and business community will have the opportunity to link with private investors from a range of different enterprises and markets as part of the Greater Geraldton Investor Showcase.

Forming part of the Greater Geraldton Growth Plan, the event kicks off on Friday 9 December and is a collaboration between the City of Greater Geraldton, Mid West Development Commission, US Embassy Canberra and US Consulate Perth.

With the aim to connect Mid West enterprises with private investors, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to hear from, and pitch ideas to renowned national and global innovation leaders about their entrepreneurship and journey. 

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the event will be highly influential in launching new and exciting ventures in the Mid West.

“The Investor Showcase is just the first step in our journey to bringing more wealth to our region,” he said.

“This event presents a great opportunity for those who are looking to start or create a new venture in the Mid West and this aims to give them support.

“We want to continue to support new developments and to become an investment-ready region, and this is one of the ways we are facilitating that.”

Geraldton is the first regional centre in Australia to host an Investor Showcase and it will be attended by leading multi-national professionals and investors including Bill Tai- Venture capitalist & co-founder of the West Tech Fest and MaiTai Global, Larry Lopez –Chairman of the OzAPP Awards advisory committee and partner at Australian Venture Consultants, Amanda Price - Head of high growth ventures at KPMG, Ben Cooper - Innovation partner at Tricky Jigsaw and Brendan Yell - APAC Startups Lead at IBM. 

Mayor Van Styn said the Greater Geraldton Growth Plan would play a very influential role in the future on the region.   

“As part of the Growth Plan, our goal is to have a globally recognised, resilient regional economy and the Showcase perfectly aligns with attracting investments and innovation to the Mid West,” he said. 

“It is important for us that the Growth Plan isn’t a document that sits of the shelf, this is a plan that is in action.” 

The event has been in the works for more than three months with coaching and programs that identifies, filters and refines pitches of investment opportunities being presented to the investment group.

More than twenty local ventures have been through intensive preparation through the Groundswell, Catalyst and Youngpreneur programs.

The Showcase and Groundswell program extend the reach and impact of West Tech Fest, a celebrated innovation festival that is held in Perth each December.  For the first time, Western Australia’s most innovative region, the Mid West, will be hosting participants, keynote speakers, investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from the West Tech Fest to share their knowledge with Mid West entrepreneurs.

Project Director Jason McFarlane said the event was one-of-a-kind.

“The Showcase will be an opportunity for Mid West entrepreneurs to expand their knowledge, collaborate and hopefully build lasting relationships with extremely influential and like-minded people from all over the globe,” he said.

“The event presents an unprecedented opportunity for Geraldton and the Mid West as a whole to position itself a centre for regional innovation.” 

For more information on the event head to http://farlane.com.au/greater-geraldton-investment-showcase/

Get your car ready for the Christmas Holidays with Novus and Tint-a-Car

Are you going away for Christmas or the school holidays? Then make sure your car is safe and protected by visiting Novus Autoglass and Tint-a-Car Geraldton. 

If you have a stone chip or crack in your windscreen you should get it repaired before you go away, because having to replace the whole windscreen while on holidays would definitely cut into your holiday time and budget. Novus Autoglass can repair most forms of windscreen damage in a little as 20-30 minutes, so you can be on your way to a fun and enjoyable Christmas.

With Christmas and the upcoming school holidays being in the hot summer, why not help protect your car by getting the guys at Tint-a-Car Geraldton to tint the windows of your car. Not only will it help protect your car but will also help keep the inside of your car cooler. With a range of tints available, Tint-a-Car can help you chose the best option for you.

Novus Autoglass and Tint-a-Car Geraldton also have gift vouchers available.

Scotty and the team at Novus Autoglass and Tint-a-Car Geraldton want to wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas, and make sure you are careful on the roads this festive season.

Come in and see them before you go at 13-17 Sanford St, Geraldton or call to make an appointment on 9965 5555.


 

JACKASS is coming to Geraldton

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JACKASS is coming TO GERALDTON!

Update:  

Due to massive demand for JACKASS tickets, the QPT website is struggling to keep up. You can ring them in the morning (99566649) and book, or head into council building on Cathedral Ave (Civic Centre) or QPT or the Library and get your tickets.

Get ready Geraldton because 4 of the JACKASS cast are heading to QPT for an epic show!

 

March 10 2017 will see Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuna, Chris ‘Party Boy’ Pontius, Preston Lacy & Dave England present the ‘Filthy Seppo Tour’!

This is the first and only time that four cast members can be seen on stage at QPT and fans are going crazy!

This live comedy show will embody all things Jackass. Get ready for a crazy mix of stand-up, stunts, stories, insults, observations and so much more!

Get your tix at a special Christmas discounted price through the month of December at www.queensparktheatre.com.au the Civic Centre, Geraldton Regional Library & Geraldton Visitor Centre.

City declared RV Friendly Town

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn on location at the Francis Street carpark where free 24hr free overnight parking is available for campervans and self-contained RVs.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn on location at the Francis Street carpark where free 24hr free overnight parking is available for campervans and self-contained RVs.

A five-year long Council aspiration for the City to become more RV friendly has been fulfilled with Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia officially declaring Geraldton an RV Friendly TownTM. 

To qualify for the program, the City had to meet the needs of RV travellers which include easy access to general shopping areas, provision of low cost overnight parking for self-contained vehicles, access to potable water and a free RV dumping point. 

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said joining the network of 270 RV Friendly Towns across Australia with RV Friendly status will deliver direct benefits to the local community. 

“By joining the network, the City of Greater Geraldton will be promoted to RV travellers across Australia through the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) magazine, website and social media,” he said. 

“With the self-contained RV tourism market estimated to be worth more than $2.5 billion annually, Geraldton is now well positioned to access this lucrative market. 

“We already know that if we can capture just those visitors who currently bypass our City we can realistically increase overnight stays by 50% which would result in an estimated $9.5 million annual boost to our local economy.” 

According to CMCA Chairman Garry Lee, the CMCA RV Friendly TownTM network makes a significant contribution to the RV tourism market in Australia. 

“The number of registered RVs in Australia is expected to grow to more than 700,000 vehicles by 2020 as more baby boomers enter the market and regional Australia, which includes the City of Greater Geraldton, will benefit from this extraordinary growth,” he said. 

“Through a combination of social media and word of mouth RV tourists will quickly let their fellow travellers know what a great place Geraldton is to visit and experience what it is that makes this City region unique.” 

In an effort to further increase RV tourism in the area, the City will also be initiating a pilot project that utilises smart phone technology to notify holiday makers of the availability of overnight parking bays at the Francis Street carpark. 

“In the coming months the City will be trialling a mobile phone app called RV Parking Solution which informs passing traffic as to the number of RV parking bays in the Francis Street carpark, number of bays available, when bays will become available and the facilities available for use on site,” said Mayor Van Styn. 

For more information on visiting Geraldton go to the visitor centre website www.visitgeraldton.com.au

Nature playground planned for Wandina

Wandina Primary School Principal Di Miller and City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn are joined by year three and year five students on the proposed site of a nature playground located on both school land and City owned land in Derna Park.

Wandina Primary School Principal Di Miller and City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn are joined by year three and year five students on the proposed site of a nature playground located on both school land and City owned land in Derna Park.

Getting back to nature will be easier than ever before for Wandina children with the signing of an agreement between the Wandina Primary School and the City to construct and maintain a nature playground in the heart of the suburb. 

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the school had contacted the City earlier in the year about jointly building a playground. 

“In July the Wandina Primary School approached the City with a proposal to construct a nature playground jointly on school land and City owned land located in Derna Park,” he said. 

“The proposal presented a unique opportunity for the Wandina Primary School and the City to pool funds and build a playground facility which would be used during school hours by students and after hours by the community.” 

Wandina Primary School Principal Di Miller said the idea to jointly build the playground came from the school’s strong focus on the local community. 

“The idea to jointly build the playground came from recognising the importance of involving the local community in the school and wanting to offer more activities to the young families in the area,” Ms Miller said. 

“With Derna Park located next door, approaching the City to jointly build a nature playground which would enable Wandina children of all ages to experience play in a natural environment was the obvious thing to do.” 

According to Mayor Van Styn the timing of the nature playground proposal couldn’t have been better with the City planning to construct a toilet block in the popular park this financial year. 

“Derna Park is classified as a District Park in the City’s hierarchy of parks which entitles it to playground equipment and a toilet block,” he said. 

“Although Derna Park is already popular with the local community, the addition of a nature playground and toilet block will result the Park becoming a top location for families from across Geraldton to visit and enjoy.” 

With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Wandina Primary School regarding the construction and maintenance of the playground, a Royalties for Regions application to fund the construction of the playground will be able to proceed to the next stage.

Local contractor awarded Beresford Foreshore Protection project

Geraldton based civil contractor Central Earthmoving has been awarded the contract to construct coastal protection works along the Beresford Foreshore, one of the City’s largest Capital Work projects to date.

Stretching two kilometres in length, the first phase of the Beresford Foreshore Coastal Protection and Enhancement Project involves the construction of a 100m breakwater extension to the detached breakwater, a 45m extension to the existing groyne and three shore based rock revetment structures to mitigate the effects of erosion.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said Council was very pleased to award the coastal protection works to a highly experienced local contractor which will also help stimulate the local economy.

“Central Earthmoving has more than 30 years’ experience delivering civil construction, land development and land care projects throughout regional WA and were able to demonstrate they have the specialist skills and experience required to build the coastal protection structures,” he said.

“This year the City will be investing a record $78 million in building and renewing infrastructure focusing on projects that will transform our economy whilst preserving and maintaining our lifestyle.

“The Beresford Foreshore Protection and Enhancement Project not only protects $55 million of state and local government infrastructure at risk due to coastal erosion, it’s construction will also inject millions of dollars back into the local economy,” said Mayor Van Styn.

The Beresford Coastal Protection works which extend from Marina Beach, also known as Midalia’s Beach, in the south to Trigg Street in the north are scheduled to begin in January 2017.

The second phase of the project which includes coastal enhancement works to replace amenities already lost to erosion include landscaping, barbeques, picnic settings, benches, bicycle racks, showers, playground equipment, lighting, drinking fountains, shade structures and a toilet block will begin once the protection works are completed.

The $23.1 million project is jointly funded with Royalties for Regions contributing $17.28 million, Mid West Ports Authority $4 million with the City contributing $1.85.

Waterwise Rewards Program

Water Corporation has launched a Waterwise Garden Rewards to help the community save water in the garden. Through this program customers can purchase a selected product at Bunnings stores - then Water Corporation will pay for one or two more depending on each offer. 

Products available include selected mulch, soil improver or soil wetting agent from WA brands Richgro and Baileys. 

Offers available through the program are selected: 

  • Mulch: Buy four bags and Water Corporation will pay for one more; or buy eight bags and Water Corporation will pay for two more
  • Soil improver: Buy eight bags and Water Corporation will pay for two more
  • Soil wetting agent: Buy one bottle/bag and Water Corporation will pay for one more 

To receive your reward, visit https://www.watercorporation.com.au/gardenrewards and register to download an e-voucher.  

There is a limit of one voucher per household, and customers must choose one of the four offers available. Vouchers can be printed or displayed on a smart phone screen.

ArtDrive celebrates success

People’s Choice winner for the Mullewa category Julie Freeman and Greenough category winners Glenyce Miller and Joy Graham.

People’s Choice winner for the Mullewa category Julie Freeman and Greenough category winners Glenyce Miller and Joy Graham.

In its inaugural year the City of Greater Geraldton’s ArtDrive project attracted thousands of visitors to the Midwest region to take in a series of one-of-a-kind art installations.

Launched in June this year, a call out went to all local artists, community groups and organisations to create pieces of work which were displayed in various locations to create a self-drive rural art tour.

The event saw 22 art works along Brand Highway, Greenough, through to Walkaway, Ellendale Pool, Mullewa and Tenindewa from August to the end of October.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the response from the community regarding the project was fantastic.

“We had people from all over coming through Geraldton and taking the ArtDrive and it was amazing to see so many cars through the Midwest region,” he said.

“We chose to run the project at that time as it is wildflower season and it makes for an absolutely stunning drive and this year was no exception.

“I was absolutely blown away with the high calibre of artwork that was made for the project and we look forward to bringing it back bigger and better next year.”

Artists were asked to create works based on the themes of farminglife, wildflowers or aboriginal cultureA panel of judges then chose winners in a Greenough and Mullewa category and the public voted on people’s choice winners. The winners were as follows:

  • Mullewa winner: Julie Freeman – Benevolence
  • Mullewa runner up: Roxanne Grant – Tenindewa Standing
  • Greenough winner: Rachel Weaver, Jane Greenlees & Andrew Mills – Recycling the Season
  • Greenough runner up: The Leaning Tree Community School – From Seed to Tree, a Journey of Growth
     
  • People’s Choice Awards:

o   Mullewa: Julie Freeman – Benevolence
o   Greenough: Joy Graham & Glenyce Miller – Flock Art Jamboree

Mayor Van Styn congratulated all the artists who were involved in the project.

“Our aim was to create something unique and that’s exactly what it was,” he said.

“It brought people to our region and it made them stay that little bit longer and explore our beautiful wildflower country.

“Well done to all those who create stunning pieces of art which truly represented our region and enhanced the drive out in the Midwest.”

Julie Freeman’s piece Benevolence.

Julie Freeman’s piece Benevolence.

Council endorses Mountain Bike Master Plan

Geraldton Mountain Bike Club President Paul Spackman and City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn at the existing mountain bike trail in Chapman River Regional Park which could be formalised as part of the City’s Mountain Bike Master Plan.

Geraldton Mountain Bike Club President Paul Spackman and City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn at the existing mountain bike trail in Chapman River Regional Park which could be formalised as part of the City’s Mountain Bike Master Plan.

The formalisation of the existing mountain bike trail through the Chapman River Regional Park is one step closer with Council recently endorsing the Chapman River Regional Park Mountain Bike Master Plan. 

The Master Plan includes making improvements to the well-established mountain bike trail loop and the closure and rehabilitation of spur tracks which are causing erosion and vegetation management issues. 

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the Mountain Bike Master Plan is the next step in the ongoing management of the popular Park. 

“Over the past 23 years the City has developed a number of plans and strategies regarding the environmental management and recreational use of the Chapman River Regional Park,” he said. 

“These plans ensure this important community asset is shared and enjoyed by all recreational users which also includes mountain bike riders.” 

The City’s Mountain Bike Master Plan also aligns with the Western Australia Mountain Bike Strategy which advocates for sustainable mountain bike trails across the state, many of which are located in areas of environmental significance. 

“The inclusion of mountain bike trails in significant environmental areas is common place practice such as 40kms of fully signed trails in the Kalamunda National Park and State Forrest located in the Perth Hills and a 9km network of trails in the Bramley National Park in the Margaret River area,” said Mayor Van Styn. 

Before detailed designs of the various master plan elements will be undertaken an environmental impact statement will be developed and key stakeholders further engaged. 

“To ensure trail formalisation is environmentally sustainable and will preserve and enhance the current environmental, cultural and heritage values of the Park the City will be meeting with all key stakeholders including Chapman River Friends and Traditional Owners of the land to reach consensus on the implementation of the Mountain Bike Master Plan,” Mayor Van Styn addded. 

“The City will also enter into a partnership agreement with the Geraldton Mountain Bike Group who not only assisted with the development of the Master Plan, they will also have a role in the implementation of the plan and upkeep of mountain bike trail facilities.”

Crash NWCH closed both directions

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Major crash on NWCH near White Peak Rd. EXTREME CAUTION.

Highway closed both directions.

The following detours are in place:

Light vehicles should detour via Nanson Howatharra Road and Chapman Valley Road

RAV 4 Network and below should detour via Nanson Howatharra Road, Murphy Yetna Road, Moonyoonooka Yuna Road and Geraldton Mount Magnet Road

Other operators should refer to the relevant RAV Network and consider alternative routes to avoid the area

 

Emergency services on site

Exercise extreme caution

Mid West-Gascoyne Traffic Officers are seeking witnesses to a fatal crash that occurred north of Geraldton early this morning, Sunday 4 December 2016.

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Just after 3:30am, Police received a report of a head-on crash at the intersection of North West Coastal Highway and White Peak Road between a road-train truck and a tow truck.

Officers from Police, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and St Johns Ambulance attended the scene. 

The driver of the tow truck tragically died as a result of his injuries, the male driver of the road-train has been conveyed to Geraldton Regional Hospital with minor injuries.

Anyone who saw the crash, or the vehicles prior to the crash is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au

$11m2 Vinyl @All Decor

All Decor are having a great special on Vinyl – just $11m2 (supply only)

Whether you only want to cover one room or a whole house All Decor has you covered.

Come in today to see their classic range of vinyl sheets available at this amazing low price – but be quick, vinyl at this price won’t last forever!

All Decor now has 12 months interest available. Go to their website www.alldecor.com.au for more details.

Vinyl
Vinyl

 

Blockout Sale at Harvey Norman Furniture

ome into Harvey Norman this Saturday 3rd December for their one day only Blockout Sale!

There will be massive savings storewide. In fact the prices are even too hot to print! So make sure you get down to 38 Chapman Rd on Saturday and get your Christmas Shopping sorted.

There will also be 5 Years Interest Free available, with no deposit and no interest until December 2021, with monthly payments. Minimum finance amount is $1500 and terms and conditions apply.