The South Eastern Times : July 4th 2017
NEWS 7 Merger memories J.L. ‘FRED’ SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org IT is 20 years today since the first meeting of Wattle Range Council was held in Millicent, but one foundation member will not be celebrating. Former Riddoch ward representative Bill Murray said the voluntary merger of the Millicent, Beachport and Penola district councils to form Wattle Range Council has not produced the anticipated benefits such as cost savings. “It is still bad,” the Penola resident said “The council is a greater monster than it has ever been. “We are overloaded with highly paid bureaucrats. “Most councils are not performing as they should and the rates keep going up. “Grant District Council seems to be doing the best. “I do see where the State Government is passing on more of its responsibilities to councils.” In all, Mr Murray served two terms on council until he stepped down in 2003. His latest bid for office came in 2010 when he made an unsuccessful bid for the mayoralty when it was also contested by incumbent Mark Braes and successful candidate Peter Gandolfi. Regarding his six years in local government, Mr Murray said Wattle Range was a good council with good people. He fondly remembered such councillors as John Trafford, Jamie Sutherland and Lynda Willshire. “I had some spirited discussions with Sue Wheal and we remain good friends,” he said. “Don Ferguson (deceased) was a very good mayor and MIXED MEMORIES: It is 20 years today since the first meeting of Wattle Range Council, but foundation member Bill Murray believes the merger of three councils has not produced cost savings. was the ideal person to lead the new council. “He had empathy and supported causes. “As he came from out-oftown and was on a farm at Mount Burr, he was independent. “Don enjoyed support from all parts of the council area. “As Don’s farm was about Most councils are not performing as they should and the rates keep going up halfway between Millicent and my home at Penola, I would often call in after meetings for a glass of whiskey and a chat.” Mr Murray outlined a number of other personal qualities possessed by Mr Ferguson, who died in 2010 at the age of 79. “Don was intelligent and very good company,” he said. “He pulled all the communities of the Wattle Range Council area together and he tried to do the best. “He has been the stand-out mayor of Wattle Range. “Don’s wife Helen was an enormous support. “She is friendly, relates well to people and remembers their names.” Mr Murray concedes that council made mistakes Bill Murray and gave the example of the failed Teletrak horse racing venture which cost it $25,000. “Don was interested in horse racing and was conned by them,” he said. “It was a unanimous decision of council to support the Teletrak venture and we were all misled. “Council was looking for Ratecapping input call LIBERAL candidate for MacKillop Nick McBride is seeking community feedback on the State Opposition’s pre-election council rate capping pledge. Mr McBride is also inviting public comment on slashing the Emergency Service Levy and issues in the area in a introductory campaign brochure sent out to households this week. The four page “Meet Nick McBride” brochure details State Liberal policy, including a pledge to fix South Australia’s power crisis, grow the economy and backing a moratorium on fracking in the South East. The rate capping policy is opposed by Wattle Range Council and the Local Government Association of South Australia, which claims it is populist and decreases decision-making powers from local communities. Need New Uniforms FOR YOUR OFFICE OR BUSINESS? Let us help you make a choice from our large selection Picture: J.L. “FRED” SMITH economic development.” He said the construction of a new recreational boat ramp at Beachport was another passionate issue. “I was in favour of doing it and it was a real saga,” he said. “We made the best decision we could with the information we had. “However, we were trying to tame nature.” Mr Murray does not have a clear recollection of that very first meeting exactly 20 years ago. It was held in the building which now houses the council’s planning department. He remains active in community and business life to this day. Mr Murray is a director of the Penola branch of the Bendigo Community Bank, serves on the McCorquindale Park Management Committee and chairs the Penola Medical Support Group. NOMINATED: This hanging sculpture by former Millicent resident Jane Skeer has been nominated for an award as part of the annual South Australian Living Artists Festival. Now living in Adelaide, the 51-year-old started her art career just a few years ago after completing her studies at Adelaide Central School of Art in 2015. Ms Skeer has since had acclaimed solo exhibitions at the DreamBIG Festival, Contemporary Art Centre of SA and in Melbourne and Perth. She creates sculptures and 3D works out of waste material like old video tapes and newspapers. Her most recent work, and the pictured work she is nominated for, sees her manipulate old theatre programs into amazing hanging sculptures. www.thesoutheasterntimes.com.au TonyEGAN’S 62 GEORGE ST, MILLICENT PH 8733 2560 Travel Agent and Group Travel Specialists 17/18 OVERNIGHT TRIPS • The Ten Tenors 2 August • Bodyguard Musical 2 September • TORUK by Cirque du Soleil, Adel Ent Centre 18 November • Fundraiser Shopping Trip to Melbourne 25 November • Cat Stevens 50th Anniversary Peace Train Tour 28 November • Aladdin the Musical 2 December • Dream Lover The Bobby Darin Musical 13 January 2018 • Queen & Adam Lambert 2 March 2018 • Fleurieu Peninsula 5 September 4 Days • Canberra Floriade, Highlands & Blue Mountains 7 October 9 Days Last chance to book Guaranteed departure • Tamworth 20 January 2018 10 Days • South America 6 February 2018 26 Days • TAS Rail & Sail 19 March 2018 10 Days • South Africa 5 August 2018 27 Days REGISTER YOUR INTEREST • Aust Open Tennis • NT WA Rail & Sail • Japan • Hawaii • Mamma Mia the Musical • Norfolk Island 8723 6000 | gambiercoachlines.com 312 Commercial Street West, Mount Gambier The South Eastern Times, Tuesday, July 4, 2017 - 7 17/18 EXTENDED TOURS PLUS MANY MORE! 710896 715652 Monogramming is also available at..
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