Welcome news

Lorraine le Plastrier
Mount Alexander Shire Disability Advocacy Group 

MASDAG (Mount Alexander Shire Disability Advocacy Group) reported our concern about the unsafe pedestrian crossing at the Barker Street-Parker Street area in September 2018 and are pleased to hear that that the government has made funds available to the shire to improve the safety. 
Barker Street is a Regional Roads Victoria responsibility and MASDAG understands that the shire has been advocating for safe crossing at this area for a long time. That area is a seriously dangerous hot spot and we are relieved that a solution is imminent. We support the local resident group calling for a safe crossing in this area.

Soccer finally kicks off

Castlemaine Goldfields Football Club’s competitive junior sides returned to the pitch last Saturday July 4 in Bendigo Amateur Soccer League (BASL) action.
Castlemaine Goldfields FC president Aaron Shooter said the whole club was elated to see the players finally hit the park after months of uncertainty.
“After eight hours in the wet and cold I was still smiling from ear to ear and my heart was full of joy. For everyone that made it possible my sincere thanks,” he said.
Castlemaine Goldfields FC’s Unders 10s are also set to return to action this weekend in the BASL Non-Competitive Junior Competition with both Under 10 Girls and Under 10 Mixed playing at Chewton on Saturday from 9.15 am.
Join the club
There are still spots available in the Goldfields Under 10s, Under 12s and Under 14s sides so please contact Club Secretary – Tony Cormack on secretary@castlemainegoldfieldsfc.net.au to find out more.
The club also hope to be able to make an announcement about their ever popular Friday afternoon Small Sided program in the coming weeks. They are still taking registrations and will finalise and commence the program in Term 3. See the Mail for the full story. Out Now.

3000 meal milestone smashed

Mount Alexander Shire’s Community Pantry volunteers smashed their 3000th meal milestone last week for needy community members impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Bendigo Federal MP Lisa Chesters stopped into visit with volunteers at the Castlemaine Church of Christ on Tuesday this week as they whipped up their latest batch of tasty meals and hampers of essential goods.
Ms Chesters thanked the volunteers which span across a range of community groups and organisations for their tireless efforts to support the vulnerable during the pandemic.

Castlemaine Church of Christ pastor Dave Tolputt said they have been honoured to play host to the community initiative and it has been a wonderful success.
Mr Tolputt said 13 agencies were involved in the pantry initiative including Castlemaine Community House and volunteers from Nalderun, Castlemaine Church of Christ, The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and the wider community. See the Mail for the full story. Out Now.

Friends of CHIRP launch lobby podcast

Friends of Castlemaine District Community Health podcast project manager Elizabeth Scanlon chats to long time community health worker Lyn McKenzie as part of the new podcast series.

The Friends of Castlemaine District Community Health (CHIRP) are launching their podcast series ‘The Story of CHIRP’ on radio program Around the Wireless on MAINfm 94.9 next Wednesday July 15.

Friends podcast project manager, Elizabeth Scanlon explained that the series has been developed as part of the Friends’ campaign to lobby state government to provide the funding needed so CHIRP and other independent, community health services can restore services which have been reduced and continue to provide services. See the Mail for the full story. Out Now.

Extend JobKeeper – Chesters

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP has met with travel industry experts in Castlemaine to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to demand the extension of JobKeeper. 
Ms Chesters said there’s no doubt that the travel industry has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The recent spike in cases in Victoria is a clear indicator that we are still in uncertain times, with no end date to the pandemic,” she said.
“I’m calling on the Morrison Government to extend JobKeeper for the travel industry and save local jobs. 
“Cancelling JobKeeper too early would have a devastating impact on local businesses and households,” Chesters said. 

Former Castlemaine lad Ben Ross and partner Nicola Veltman operate 1000 Mile Travel Group and said the travel industry was the first hit and will be the last out of this crisis.

“We have largely been forgotten about and are in a stalling pattern not being able to forecast or plan for our business which is a theme across our industry,” Ms Veltman said. 
“Right now, even though we need JobKeeper to be extended, it is a band aid effect,” she said. 
“If JobKeeper is extended and borders remain closed we will see an exodus from the industry as staff will consider alternative industries not impacted and we will lose highly valued skilled workers,” Veltman said. See the Mail for the full story. Out Now.

Funding boost for Harcourt

The Harcourt community are celebrating this week after the announcement that the township will receive a $372,131 boost towards the construction of new unisex player and umpire change facilities at Harcourt Recreation Reserve.

Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards visited Harcourt on Wednesday to announce the state government investment which will benefit the local netball, football, cricket and tennis clubs.  See the Mail for the full story. Out Now.

Waterslide permit refused

Castlemaine's Brent Clayton with the water slide he has built in his front yard - but may now have to remove unless he can overturn a Mount Alexander Shire Council decision at VCAT. Photo: Eve Lamb

A Castlemaine man says he will fight a council decision that would require him to remove a large private waterslide he has already built in his front yard.
Castlemaine’s Brent Clayton says he is receiving legal advice and anticipating a VCAT hearing, after Mount Alexander Shire councillors knocked back granting retrospective approval for the 34 metre long waterslide – that’s longer if you count the bends.
This was despite a recommendation by the council’s planning department to retrospectively grant a permit with conditions.
Mr Clayton this week told the Mail he had the waterslide especially designed and built to run into an existing dam on his Merrifield Street property for family and friends to enjoy.
However, the site is affected by a heritage overlay, triggering the need for a permit.
An application for a permit was subsequently lodged in January, drawing formal objection from a neighbour whose concerns include that the waterslide disregards significant elements of the planning scheme and is out of character with the area.
The objection also relates to potential noise and impacts on flora and fauna.
A planning department report to the council recommended granting approval subject to conditions including limited the hours of operation, and landscaping.
And Mr Clayton told the Mail he had engaged a landscape designer in an effort to address the concerns.
But at the council’s June meeting councillors narrowly voted against granting a permit retrospectively… Read more in the Castlemaine Mail, Friday July 10, 2020


Grab a bargain!

The team at Windarring Recycled Store at 317 Barker Street are thrilled to be back on deck after the COVID-19 hiatus.
The crew at the Barker Street Store and at the Vintage Bazaar stall at The Mill Complex both resumed work in late May and have been overwhelmed by the warm response they have received from customers at both sites.
In fact, they recorded record sales at the Bazaar in June.

The Barker Street store is currently open reduced days and hours – Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am-3pm and has social distancing and hand sanitising measures in place.
Windarring support worker Jakob Schmitt said they continued to work to support their clients and ADE Supported Employees during lockdown. See the Mail for the full story. Out Now.

Crime stats released

Castlemaine police station: the number of drug offences detected locally has increased, but local police say the area's overall crime rate has dropped since January.

More drug related offending has been detected in Mount Alexander Shire area in recent months, but Covid-19 appears to be driving some other forms of criminal offending down.
That’s the observation of local police this week, following the release of Victoria Police’s most recent crime statistics.
Castlemaine’s Senior Sergeant Peter Carey says there has been a 25 per cent increase in the detection of drug offending in the local police patch for the latest calendar year since January.
“We’ve seen an increase in the detection of drug offences. That’s a 25 per cent increase for the calendar year.
“Currently we’re at 195 detected offences as compared to 156 for the same time for the previous calendar year.
“Most of those will be possession, generally cannabis and methamphetamine.”
But he attributes this to a strengthened focus on detection of drug crime – rather than an actual increase in the local rates of drug related offending. Read more in the Castlemaine Mail 03.07.20

Let there be more light: local gallery reopens

Harcourt's Mary Edquist with some of the works in her new exhibition that's opening at Castlemaine Contemporary Art Space gallery. Photo: Eve Lamb

Retired corporate lawyer Mary Edquist only took up art in her early 50s but when she did it produced an explosion of work.
Now the latest exhibition by this Harcourt based artist is about to open at Castlemaine Contemporary Art Space.
Let there be more light will mark a return of public exhibitions to the little local gallery after weeks of coronavirus imposed hiatus.
Mary says the natural landscape of Harcourt has had a strong influence in the creation of the abstract impressionist works, many of them large-scale pieces, that feature in this show. Let there be more light opens at CASPA – situated above Stoneman’s Bookroom – on July 6 and runs through to Friday July 31. With social distancing still in place, gallery visiting times will be limited to Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 12-4 pm. Read more in the Castlemaine Mail Friday, 03.07.20.

Doco film fest set to fly

Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival general manger Scottie Charalambous and director Claire Jager ahead of C-Doc In The Clouds. The festival is set to be delivered online complete with interactive streaming of live panel sessions. Photo: Eve Lamb

Prepare to bunker down, grab a brew and settle back to soak up this year’s Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival offerings from the comfort of your own couch.
That’s the message from the creative team behind the C-Doc festival as ticket sales opened ahead of the festival that’s set to run over three consecutive nights from Friday July 17.
While Covid-19 has forced this year’s fest to shift its screenings from Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal to online delivery, the creative team is determined to ensure the event maintains both its showcase documentary films plus its live interactive panel discussions.
“Our point of difference as a festival is that we have the live events and we’re still having the live events,” C-Doc general manager Scottie Charalambous told the Mail this week.
“We’ve still really pushed to have those panels. (Festival director) Claire Jager’s worked really hard on putting the right faces in front of the cameras this time, rather than in front of the audience.
“And some of those participants will be streaming in from New York. It’ll be as close as you can get to the live performance.
“So you will still get what C-Doc is essentially about but it will just be through your tv or computer screen.
“So bunker down in the middle of winter and enjoy what we’re bringing to you.
“We’re doing it because we didn’t want to let the community down.”
It’s the annual festival’s sixth year, and the first with it’s new creative team at the helm.
Taking up the reins in January they were in full flight preparing to deliver this year’s festival with its In The Clouds theme when the pandemic struck.
The team say its been a challenge but it’s one they’ve risen to meet head on.
“You have to be nimble,” says festival director Claire Jager whose own professional background is in documentary production.
“Now its online appointment viewing. You’ll be tuning in for the night as if you’re watching a live show,” she says.
“So you’ll see the film and then there’ll be a panel discussion afterwards which will be streamed live.”
Ticket sales opened earlier this week via the festival’s Facebook space and website where the program can also be found.

Fancy Chooks take flight

Newstead's 'Chicken Man' Graeme Elshaug is pictured with one of his prized Welsummer roosters and some of his flock.

Forget toilet paper, over the last couple of months the hot new Covid commodity has been chooks!
The Mail caught up with Newstead local and Farmers Market regular Graeme Elshaug of Fancy Chooks on Wednesday to chat about the demand for domestic birds and how loads of families and young couples have been flocking to local markets to purchase chooks for their backyards.

Graeme has had a passion for chooks since he was a youngster.
“My Nana Martin, my mum and her sisters had chooks and my mentor Jack McPherson got me started breeding pure bred Australorp when I was just nine,” Graeme said.
“My mum and I used to attend all the agriculture shows. Mum used to enter her flowers, preserves and cooking and I’d take my chooks.”

Fifty six years later that passion continues.
Graeme and business partner Bill Wouda have been run off their feet since just before the crisis hit.

You can catch Fancy Chooks at the monthly Castlemaine Farmers’ Market tomorrow at Western Reserve. See the Mail for the full story. Out Now.

The Welsummer hens lay a chocolate brown coloured egg.