Voices of Community Energy PodcastThursday 11 May, 2017
"Voices of Community Energy" recently came to Gloucester and interviewed Cam Laurie, James Hooke, Dianne Montague and Anna Burley about the ups and downs that Gloucester, like many other small towns, had been through with industries growing and declining over the years. These ups and downs have brought challenges and benefits at the same time. Recently, proposed coal and gas mining in the valley of Gloucester divided the town but now it’s community energy which is promising to build bridges and keep the community together. Download this podcast, and visit the facebook page to learn more about Community Energy https://www.facebook.com/voce.net.au.
The full podcast is also available for download here in 4 parts:
Working to secure water supplies for the futureWednesday 26 Apr, 2017
MidCoast Water's Operational Plan will deliver on a firm commitment to provide quality water and sewer services to the people of the MidCoast region by moving on important projects during the 2017-18 year.
Administrator of MidCoast Water, John Turner said the coming year will see MidCoast Water invest in progressing the construction of a second water scheme for the Manning and Great Lakes communities as well as undertaking required water and sewer maintenance projects.
Mr Turner said a focus on the delivery of quality services will remain at the forefront of MidCoast Water’s future, regardless of any change to the organisation’s governance structure.
“Change is clearly imminent for MidCoast Water, with the NSW State Government currently considering a proposal to dissolve MidCoast County Council and transfer its assets, liabilities and functions to MidCoast Council,” Mr Turner said in presenting the organisation’s operational plan for 2017-18 to the community.
General Manager of MidCoast Water, Ken Gouldthorp said a major focus for MidCoast Water will be the construction of the Nabiac Water Treatment Plant, a major component of the Nabiac Inland Dune Aquifer Water Supply System. This project is designed to provide an alternative water source to the 36,000 Manning and Great Lakes customers currently reliant on the Manning River for their water supply. A sum of $11.3 million has been allocated in the 2017-18 financial year for the project.
“Our focus on maintenance will continue, with a $2.8 million proposed allocation to our ongoing program to renew water and sewer mains across our service area,” Mr Gouldthorp added.
“We will also begin investigating the replacement of the Gloucester Sewage Treatment Plant, with $400,000 allocated to this and a sum of $500,000 has been earmarked for proceeding to design stage for the Gloucester water network renewal.”
Planning funds have been proposed to investigate an upgrade of the sewer network at Tea Gardens, and looking at the options for an upgrade to the Bootawa Dam spillway.
“A number of other important activities will also be undertaken including audits on our drinking water quality management system to ensure we are continually improving on our delivery to our community,” Mr Gouldthorp added.
With electricity one of the major costs for the organisation, coming in at approximately $3 million per year, Mr Gouldthorp said there will be a continued focus on energy efficiency.
“Electricity prices are a major cost for us and increasing electricity prices places pressure on the prices we have to charge our community for water and sewer services.”
MidCoast Water proposes to introduce limited increases to rates and charges for the 2017-18 year, with the average bill (for customers receiving both water and sewer services) increasing 6.3 per cent.
The proposed new water charges, from July 1, will be $3.28 per kilolitre (thousand litres) for the first 50 kilolitres per quarter. Water usage above 50 kilolitres per quarter will be charged at $3.66 per kilolitre.
The average customer will experience a $20.25 per quarter increase in their water access and charges, however high water usage customers could face larger increases.
“While there is an increase on last year’s prices, for the average customer receiving both water and sewer services it equates to about $1.55 per week,” Mr Gouldthorp said.
Community encouraged to have their say
Mr Turner said members of the community are encouraged to have their say on MidCoast Water’s draft operational plan and budget by making a submission during the formal public exhibition period.
The draft operational plan and budget are currently on display at MidCoast Water customer service centres in Muldoon Street, Taree and Breese Parade Forster and the MidCoast Council chambers in King Street, Gloucester as well as on the MidCoast Water website www.midcoastwater.com.au
Submissions from the general community are welcome, and will be accepted until 5pm on Thursday May 18, 2017.
Angel Flight - Who are they?Wednesday 19 Apr, 2017
Angel Flight are a not for profit charity that provide free flights to financially struggling country people who need to attend medical appointments in the city. They do not receive any Government funding nor do we fundraise. They rely solely on word of mouth and donations. 100% of the donations go straight into Angel Flights and the administration of Angel Flights.
Many country people do not know that they can utilise our service for free and they would like to spread the word so people know they can access Angel Flight services.
ANGEL Flight is a charity that coordinates non-emergency flights to help country people trying to deal with the triple trouble of bad health, poor finances and daunting distances.
Many country people don’t know they can access Angel Flight services free of charge and are struggling to get to their city medical appointments.
All flights are completely free and involve patients travelling to medical facilities anywhere in Australia.
Angel Flight can coordinate flights for country people travelling to their city medical appointments as well as ground transport in the city from the airport to their medical facility and back to airport.
Patients of all ages needing medical treatment at destinations where other forms of transport are physically and emotionally taxing or unaffordable can access Angel Flight services.
Angel Flight can also transport blood and blood products and medical drugs to country people requiring these items.
To be able to fly with Angel Flight, passengers must be medically stable, ambulatory and physically able to enter and exit a small aircraft without assistance from the pilot.
They must also be able to sit up in the aircraft with a seatbelt on for an extended period of time and if necessary be able to communicate with the pilot.
Passengers are encouraged to bring a friend or relative to travel with them and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Angel Flight have conducted more than 20,000 flights since 2003 helping over 3000 patients Australia wide.
Patients can access Angel Flight services through their health professional such as a medical practitioner, nurse or social worker.
Angel Flight can only accept mission requests from a health professional.
All flights are conducted by volunteer pilots in their own aircraft.
Our volunteer pilot’s flight credentials exceed the requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and all aircraft meet specified CASA and insurance requirements.
Angel Flight’s Earth Angels then provide car transport between the airports and the medical facilities.
Angel Flight is funded by private donations from individuals, community service groups and clubs, corporations and deceased estates.
These donations are then used to pay for the fuel used by both the pilots and Earth Angels.
Angel Flight can assist anyone who is medically and financially disadvantaged, families who have been financially devastated by medical bills due to illness, accidents or other chronic conditions and those in need of transport on compassionate grounds.
Angel Flight can also assist on multiple occasions for attending follow-up appointments or undertaking a series of treatments for a medical condition.
Registered health professionals make the referrals on behalf of the patients and the health professional can register with Angel Flight quickly and easily online.
It generally takes 5-7 working days for an Angel Flight coordinator to organise a flight.
For further information visit the Angel Flight website www.angelflight.org.au or call Angel Flight on 1300 726 567.
Strong Thunderstorm warning 21st & 22nd MarchMonday 20 Mar, 2017
Martin Babakhan details outlook for Gloucester and The Hunter
Strong Thunderstorm warning today (21st March) from 3-4pm and a severe Thunderstorm warning tomorrow (22nd March from 12 - 1pm). Please take extreme care during these times. See our study on Stepped Leader Lightning on the Weather Tab (http://buckettsradio.com.au/weather)
Farmers in Gloucester and The Hunter can expect between 30 and 40mm rain this week.
For full analysis, please listen to the podcast on our weather page (http://buckettsradio.com.au/weather).
AGL Quits Coal Seam Gas in GloucesterMonday 22 Feb, 2016
AGL's CEO, Andy Vessey, has announced that AGL will not proceed with the Gloucester Gas Project.
Reasons cited for this major turnaround included the current low oil price and insufficient flow rates from the Waukivory Pilot project. AGL has stated that protests against the project had no bearing on the decision, although this is disputed by many.
At a breifing to the community, held at the Senior Citizens Centre on the 16th February, AGLs Doug Jackson discussed the rehabilitation of wells, including the Wards River 2 and Wards River 4 wells that are the subject of environmental concerns due to problems with the 'plug and abandon' process, which includes filling the wells from the bottom to top, completely, with concrete that is specially formulated for the task.
In acknowledgement of the effects on the community, the environment and the percieved loss of opportunities in Gloucester, AGL also announced that it is intending to set up a trust fund. Although specifics of the trust and its beneficiaries were not able to be provided, it was indicated that these funds would be spread over a number of districts including Dungog and Stroud.
Jeni Coutts, AGL's Executive General Manager of Stakeholder Relations, will be overseeing the formulation of the commitee that will administer the trust fund, which will include some representatives from the community.
AGL also announced that it will provide an extra $15,000 grant to Dairy Connect, to study the feasabilty of a powdered milk factory. It is unsure if this would be located in Gloucester.
More information will be provided as it becomes available.
EL NINO LIKELY PAST IT'S PEAKWednesday 20 Jan, 2016
Martin Babakhan, renowned meteorolist, presents an overview of climate for 2015-16. Click here for more.