Final piece of jigsaw sells

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

Final piece of jigsaw sells AUCTION: The Municipal building on the corner of Hunter and Market Streets will go under the hammer on Thursday. It is expected to sell for in the vicinity of $2.5 million.
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AUCTION: The Municipal building on the corner of Hunter and Market Streets will go under the hammer on Thursday. It is expected to sell for in the vicinity of $2.5 million.

152 Hunter Street, left, is one of two buildings that will not be included in the redevelopment of Hunter Street mall by Iris Capital.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

This building on Greenway Street, Wickham has sold for $550,000. It houses Dark Horse Espresso.

TweetFacebookHALF A MILLION FOR DARK HORSEA building housing one of Wickham’s most popular coffee haunts has changed hands for $555,000.

The strata unit on Greenway Street is currently split into two tenancies, with the Dark Horse Espresso cafe in the front tenancy and the rear owner-occupied by a hairdressing salon.

Another hairdressing firm has purchased the building and plans to occupy the salon once the lease-back term of the current owners ends. The cafe will stay on in the front tenancy.

“This completes a run of four properties in a row we have sold in this Greenway Street complex,” said agent Jason Morris of Raine and Horne Commercial.

“We believe it’sbeen popular for its funky village-type feel and proximity to the CBD and the harbour.”

Greenway Street, Wickham

Poljak stuck in holding pattern

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Newcastle Jets midfielder Mateo Poljak. Picture: Getty Images
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JETS midfielder Mateo Poljak has lived in Australia for five years. He met and married wife, Katarina, here. His six-month-old daughter, Mia, is an Aussie. Newcastle has become home.

But the 27-year-old Croatian national is faced with the prospect of moving his young family overseas to continue his career.

Poljak applied for Australian citizenship in October. He was listed as a “priority process”. Seven months on, he is still waiting.

Until naturalised, Poljak is classed as a visa player in the A-League. Each club is permitted five visa players.If the status quo remains, it appears unlikely that the veteran of116 A-Leaguegames will be re-signed at the Jets.His chances of picking up a contract elsewhere are limited.

“I am obviously anxious about that,” Poljak said.“Something like that (citizenship) would give me a lot of options. It opens doors.Being a priority process, you would think it would be done by now. It can take up to one year.It is not going to happen in time for next season.”

Poljak’smost recent contact with the immigration department was on Friday. It took 14 calls to get though and he was 65thin the queue.

“Everything is out of my control,” he said.

“There is not one more piece of paper, piece of evidence, that I can provide to the department of immigration to speed up the process.I am already a priority process. I am literally on hold.”

Poljak is one of 10 players off contract at the Jets, whose fate will be determined by the new coach.

Ernie Merrick is the front-runner for the position which will be finalised after owner Martin Lee conducts a final round of interviews in China on Tuesday.

“At the moment I do not have a clear picture on where I will be or where we will be,” he said.“We have a great bunch of boys here and the spirit is very strong.Having a six-month-old daughter, the best thing and easiest thing for us would be to stay.”

An industrious midfielder,Poljak joined Western Sydney for their inaugural campaign in 2012-13. He played 66 games for Wanderers, helping steer themto the minor premiership in year one and the Asian Champions League in 2014.

He signed withNewcastle for the 2015-16 season, was installed vice captain and startedall bar one game. However, this season he has not been an automatic selection.

Turning 28 next month, theDinamo Zagreb productbelieves he can still make an impact in the A-League.

​“I feelbeing here for five years, I know the league and I know my teammates and I know the other teams as well,” he said.“From the start of a career as a professional, you know you are going to be faced with a lot of challenges. There are so many people out there ready to take your spot. Me being a foreigner or not. I don’t think that will decide my future.”

If unsuccessful in securing an A-League contract, he will switch focus to overseas.

“If I have to try somewhere else, then get back,I would rather do that than play locally (semi professional),” he said. “I have come so far from my country, from my family, for one purpose –to play football.I am a fighter. I am sure something will come up.”

Shock at speedy coal mine approval

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

Shock at speedy coal mine approval Protests: Wollar residents stage a protest outside a NSW Planning Assessment Commission hearing considering expansion of Wilpinjong coal mine.
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Arrest: Wollar Progress Association spokesperson Bev Smiles is arrested early in April after a protest outside Wilpinjong mine.

Haul: A train ready to carry coal from Wilpinjong coal mine between Denman and Mudgee to service Bayswater and Liddell power stations.

Purchase: The Barigan Valley which is largely owned by Peabody Energy to provide offsets for its Wilpinjong coal mine.

TweetFacebook Shock speedy approval of Wilpinjong coal mine expansion NSW Planning Assessment Commission takes one week to approve mine expansionTHE NSW Planning Assessment Commission has approved expansion of Wilpinjong coal mine until 2033 only one week after receiving 284 objections to the proposal.

The commission rejected Wollar residents’ submissions that the expansion would spell the end of their village and agreed with a Department of Planning assessment that the “decline of Wollar was inevitable even without mining”.

The decision on Wednesday was only a week after the end of public submissions, and two weeks after Wollar Progress Association spokesperson Bev Smiles and two others werearrested and charged after a protest outside the mine between Denman and Mudgee.

The commission approved a new open cut pit at the Peabody Energy mine, expansion of existing pits, extension of mine operations from 2026 to 2033, an increase in annual coal production to 13 million tonnes, and further realignment of Ulan-Wollar Road.

The commission found the project was in the public interest because it would provide “significant benefits to the locality, region and state”, and failing to approve the expansion would have led to a decrease in mine operations and impact on jobs from 2017.

Approval would mean 625 on-site jobs during peak production, the commission said.

“The commission finds that the project would, subject to the mitigation measures proposed by (Peabody) and conditions recommended by the department, have acceptable impacts and that proposed conditions of consent represent an appropriate reflection on contemporary and best practice management for an open cut coal mine,” the commission said.

Objections on the basis of water, air quality, noise, blasting, biodiversity, social and Aboriginal heritage impacts were adequately assessed and addressed by the department and Peabody, it said.

Wollar residents were shocked by the decision only a week after the end of the public submission period when 284 objections were received.

“The commission’s decision to approve this mine after the barest possible timeframe for consideration is frankly devastating. They have completely ignored the key issues raised on the negative social impacts,” Ms Smiles said.

“Not only have they signed the death warrant for Wollar and its surrounding community, but they have failed to give acquisition rights to affected property owners that rely on the village. They will strand us beside this mine that has ruined our lives and leave us with nothing. There is no social justice in this decision.”

Ms Smiles said the commission had failed to give acquisition rights to the remaining members of Wollar community who argued they had “stranded assets” because of the extent of Peabody’s property acquisitions in the area, and because people would not want to buy into an area so close to coal mines.

Lock the Gate Alliance Hunter regional coordinator Steve Phillips said, “We are reeling from the speed and callousness of this process and appealing to the State government to overhaul the planning process and give the public back some basic rights and protections.

“The Hunter region cannot cope with more damage, ruined villages, lost heritage and abused public trust. We will be ramping up our efforts to appeal to Planning Minister Anthony Roberts to restore balance in the Hunter and give the region a future.”

Good life grows

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

FRUITFUL: Digging the permaculture vibe at Purple Pear Farm.Years ago when I first heard about an innovative permaculture property starting in suburban Maitland, near Rutherford, I was a bit baffled. In my mind it was zoned only grey roofs and project homes, not the place for a green oasis spilling over with organic edibles. And yet it’s in part this juxtaposition that makes Purple Pear Farm and Education Centre truly pioneering.
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Owners Kate Beveridge and Mark Brown moved to the area from Dungog a decade ago. At the time, they were market gardening in Dungog, and helped establish a community garden. The move was prompted by a desire to be closer to the clientele for their organic produce.

“We decided that we should come to Maitland and grow the food where it’s being eaten,” Mark says.

Mark and Kate bought a 14 acre property 10 years ago, with the dream of it becoming not just a small-scale organic farm, but a showpiece and education centre for biodynamics, permaculture and sustainable living.Their story brings to mind the British comedy The Good Life, where Barbara and Tom give up corporate life to try their hand at subsistence farming on their quarter acre plot. Like Tom and Barbara, Kate and Mark’s life revolves around food. Feeding the immediate household is one thing, but making a living by selling it in this era is another.Purple Pear provides about 25 subscribers with a weekly organic vegetable box under a Community Supported Agriculture system, whereby the families commit to sourcing their fresh food from the farm so that the farmers can plan how much to plant each season with the assurance of it having a market.

It’s the in-between seasons – like now – that can get a bit tricky, Mark says. The farm is still picking eggplant and capsicum from summer, as well as snake beans, Asian greens, kale and shallots. The brassicas are all in, ready for winter. However, rather than relying on annual crops, Mark is keen to try new ideas such as perennial crops.Mark is also looking to add nutritious weeds to the basket.

“Purslane carried us through the heat wave. We put recipes in the boxes and explained the nutritional benefits and how to prepare them,” he says.

The farm has diversified its income through education such as permaculture design, compost making and courses in food preservation, sour dough bread, cheese and yoghurt making. Kate’s passion for working with kids has led to sustainable living programs for schoolsand the new mums and bubs tours, whichgive children a chance to feed and cuddle guinea pigs, ponies, cows, ducks, pigs and chickens.

To celebrate International Permaculture day, Permaculture Hunter is welcoming people tojoin them on a field trip to Purple Pear on May 14.For more information see the Permaculture Hunter Facebook group.

For more information see the Permaculture Hunter Facebook group.

Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches. Contact her at [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

Lake council clashes over GM exit date

Wednesday, 13. March 2019

CONCERNED: Liberal Councillor Jason Pauling believes Brian Bell’s decision to take extended leave before retiring will cost ratepayers too much. LAKEMacquarie’s outgoing general manager Brian Bell has issued a stern warning to Lake Macquarie councillors trying to force him toquit before he’s ready, telling them it is “not for council to determine” when he’ll leave.
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After 11 years in the top job, Mr Bell announced last week that he will retire from local government.

Mr Bell plans to leave the job in Junebefore taking a period of “extended leave”, during which an acting general manager will be appointed.

But Liberal councillors Jason Pauling and Kevin Baker have instead sought to force Mr Bell out earlier, saying it “doesn’t serve ourratepayers” for Mr Bell to continue to collect his salary after bowing out.

Angry that the full terms of Mr Bell’s retirement–including his final employment date and the cost of his decision to take leave –are not being made public, at Monday’s meeting Cr Pauling demanded to know“when the general managerwill retire and finalise his employment with this council”.

“He’s given more than four weeks written notice and then intends to take an extended period of leave that appears to not serve our ratepayers in any capacity other than frustrate the recruitment process and allow him to dictate and appoint the acting general manager into the future,” he said.

Prior to the meeting Cr Pauling sought to lodge a number of notice of motions calling for Mr Bell to leavea “mutually agreed”four weeks after Monday’s council meeting.

However the motions were blocked by Mr Bell, who sent a memo to councillors on Monday afternoon before the meeting saying he’d refused them on the basis they were “unlawful” because, he said, they were “ultra vires”, or, beyond the council’s power.

Instead, Cr Pauling sought to lodge the motions again in the chamber, arguing they were “valid”, but was blocked by Labor mayor KayFraserwho said his comments about Mr Bell were “petty” and “disgraceful”.

“An agreement is not required between the council and the general manager before retiring, as is standard practice in most professions,” she said.

“I don’t think we’re hear to say the general manager will retire when we want him to …that’s not how it works in the real world.”

But at the meeting Mr Bell offered his ownrebuke to Cr Pauling, saying there was “no need” for him to explain the terms of his retirement to the full council.

“The reality is that I have put my notice in and the moment I put my notice in it was done in terms of it being received by the council,” he said.

“I made it really clear in my email that I will be physically leaving the administration in June and that I will take extended leave.

“It is normal standard practice …I do take exception to the suggestion that I might be playing the council, I stand on my record and I say that this is simply not an appropriate thing to say about my circumstances.”

In a separate mayoral minute put by Cr Fraser, the majority of councillors agreedto begin the process of hiring a general manager to replace Mr Bell.