A LOT of WBBC readers leave comments on Facebook and at warragulcitizen.com asking further questions on stories.
First published in the 15 May 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Most questions relate to council issues. We have sought answers to a number of them from the Baw Baw Shire Council. Those responses are below:
Q: In response to WBBC’s story on excellent immunisation rates in Baw Baw: “96 per cent? Clearly the service previously supplied by the shire’s accredited nurse immuniser was working brilliantly. So why in all their wisdom has the Baw Baw Shire made them all redundant, cut back the service to sessions per month and outsourced the service to Casey Shire?”
A: From Liana Thompon, Community Services Director: “Many people over many years have worked hard to obtain these great immunisation rates.
“The Council has not contracted to Casey Council. It is Kernow Environmental Services.
“Council has been looking at every service that it provides to the community to determine if Council should be the ones delivering it or if there are others who can provide the service more efficiently. The contract with Kernow Environmental Services is a case in point. They provide us with highly efficient, experienced and dedicated immunisation nurses that run the entire public and school immunisation service, and as a company, they are committed to providing excellence in public health and promoting the importance of immunisation. The service is very flexible and provides opportunities for families to have their children immunised at Drouin, Warragul or Trafalgar at different times, particularly out of hours and on Saturdays. The public immunisation schedule is located on our website.
“This contract provides the citizens of Baw Baw with a tremendous accessible service, which costs the ratepayers $102,392.00 less over a three year period”.
Q: In response to WBBC’s story on the closure of the Red Door Bookshop and its owner Wayne Hardie: “I wonder could the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen get and print a response from Baw Baw Shire Council on Mr Hardie’s comments? Particularly around the decline in business in Warragul and what the shire is planning in order to reduce the large number of vacant shop fronts and buildings in town?”
A: From Matthew Cripps, Growth and Economic Development director: “The closure of any business within the Baw Baw Shire is not something that Council wants to see occurring.
“While individual businesses are responsible for their own business model and success there are also many other factors impacting operations. Outside factors include things like rent, the Australian Dollar, unemployment, competition from other businesses, etc.
“While Baw Baw Shire Council is not directly responsible in supporting private enterprise it does play an important role in promoting the area as a destination. In 2014/15 Baw Baw Shire Council has undertaken a branding/promotion campaign focussed on encouraging people to visit the municipality. The visitbawbaw.com.au campaign has aimed at promoting Baw Baw and its attributes to metropolitan Melbourne.”
Q: In response to WBBC’s story on the installation of gates between Smith Street and Club Lane in an attempt to stop vandalism and public urination: “Will they open up public toilets around here now, since all the hotel patrons will have to be forced to urinate in the actually street now?”
A: From Vishal Gupta, acting Community Assets director: “Council’s rationale behind the night time closure of the lane was to prevent antisocial behaviour, including urination, occurring along the lane.
“Council received a petition from nearby businesses that highlighted safety and amenities issues within the lane at night including graffiti, urination and vandalism. Public toilets are open for use generally between dawn and dusk in the Warragul CBD. Outside of these times, hotel patrons are encouraged to use the facilities within the hotel.”
Q: In response to WBBC’s story revealing the Warragul Leisure Centre refurbishment would cost over $10 million: “How is this money going to be repaid, if the $10 million is borrowed the interest alone would be a killer.”
A: From Vishal Gupta, acting Community Assets director: “Costs associated with the development of and ongoing operation of the Warragul Leisure Centre have been accounted for in Councils short and long term financial plans.
“Funding for the project will come from several sources including grants from the State and Federal Government and Developer Contributions, with the balance being raised through loan funds.
We will finish on something of an editorial note: regarding the quote on Page 4 of this paper (15 May 2015 print edition) from Drouin ward councillor Terry Williamson describing the refurbished council offices in his town as “our own [Sydney] Opera House there.” On a very superficial level – overlooking other potential problems with the site – that building does not come close to the appearance of even the building there before it, let alone the Sydney Opera House. With the ugly brown corrugated iron facade the building might be better known as the “Drouin Brown House.”
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