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The News Headlines

Wednesday January 18, 2017

Letters to the Editor

From The Mirror,
January 15, 1997

Promaccom Fine Accommodation


Community calls for new Foster skate park

There is a lot of community support for a new skate park in Foster.

A PROPOSAL to construct a new, modern and safe skate park in Foster is attracting a groundswell of support among skaters of all ages.
Over 800 people, mostly residents of Foster and district, have joined a Facebook group calling for such a skate park.
Long-time skater and Foster resident Don Potschka is a member of the New Foster Skate Park committee.
He explained: “Foster and the surrounding area has a large number of children ranging in age from preschool to late teens. Many of these young people are looking for a free activity that is outdoors and active, such as riding scooters, skateboards or BMX bikes. Modern skate parks act as a community hub for these young ones and their families.”
Mr Potschka said the need for a new skate park had been long recognised in the community, but over the last 10 months the groundswell of support has grown considerably and been organised into a Facebook group.
“People might argue that we already have a skate park, and this is true, but the reality is that there are some serious safety concerns regarding the current skate park in Pioneer Street.”
The current skate park, said Mr Potschka, is now close to two decades old and the concrete is rough, worn and in many parts unrideable.
“Since the skate park was built, construction and design of modern parks have changed considerably. While those involved did the best they could at the time, modern parks are safer and more usable by a broader range of users and abilities.
“The current bowl’s design is very challenging, with very few participants able to fully utilise the park’s features safely.”
Members of the newly formed New Foster Skate Park committee have met with a representative of South Gippsland Shire Council on three occasions already. There is general agreement that a new park, serving as a community hub, is desperately needed. The need to have the park situated in a more central location, perhaps at Foster Showgrounds, was also discussed.
“It is expected to take several years before this project will become a reality, so as a community the most important thing we can do now is demonstrate our support,” asserted Mr Potschka.
Foster IGA supermarket management have kindly shown their support, and now shoppers can allocate their shopper swipes to help fund the new skate park. Known as the “Swipe2Sk8” campaign, it begins tomorrow and continues until the park becomes reality. A special feature week runs from tomorrow (Thursday January 19) and will run for a week until January 26.
New Foster Skate Park committee member Jenny Cockerill explained: “In order for the park to happen the Foster community needs to show the shire we are serious. Swiping the IGA reward card is our primary way of funding the new skate park. If 30 Foster families do this every weekly shop then we will meet our goal in less than four years.”  
Committee member Janine Best added: “This skate park is a vital community asset. It provides an opportunity for youth to participate in a fun and free activity that is active and healthy.  It costs nothing to help out, so if your family can sign up and donate your shopping points to this community cause it will mean a great deal.” 
Anyone interested in following the progress of this much-needed community asset is invited to join the Facebook page New Foster Skate Park. Also log in to your member rewards account for your Foster IGA swipes and allocate points to the New Foster Skate Park or ask IGA staff for assistance if unsure.








$100,000 for Welshpool basketball stadium floor

THE basketball stadium at Welshpool’s Arthur Sutherland Recreation Reserve is to get a new floor.
That was the exciting news this week, after confirmation from the Minister for Sport, John Eren, that South Gippsland Shire Council’s application for a $100,000 grant from the 2017-2018 Sport and Recreation Victoria Community Sports Infrastructure Fund had been successful.
The shire will manage the project, and it and the Welshpool Basketball Association will contribute $50,000 each in order for the $200,000 project to go ahead.
Recreation reserve president David Grylls said he was “ecstatic” that the funding bid had been successful.
“I am extremely pleased,” he said. “The community has been after a new floor for the stadium for several years.”
Mayor Ray Argento also welcomed the news. He paid tribute to the community members who campaigned so hard for a new floor for the stadium and expressed his gratitude to the government for granting the funding.
The money is expected to come through in the next couple of months, after which it is hoped work can begin quickly, fitting in around the basketball season. The senior summer competition is due to begin shortly. Welshpool Basketball Association currently has around 180 registered players of all ages from all over the district. The association runs two competitions a year – one for adults and one for all ages.
The money will go towards totally replacing the floor and possibly further refurbishment work, such as painting inside the stadium and replacing the safety padding and seating.



Positive outlook for Alberton FNL

“THERE have been too many rumourmongers and ill-informed people who have been spruiking to anyone who would listen, that the Alberton Football Netball League would be a mini minor league and would fold within two years. Those people need to take a good look at themselves and not open their mouths without knowing the full facts.
“If they want to know the facts all they need to do is talk to one of the board members,” declared a fired-up Alberton Football Netball League president Barry Stride.
“The AFNL is thriving! Its seven clubs are in a very positive frame of mind and will not stand by and watch a league that has been operating for 120 years fall by the wayside due to results of the independent review.
“The AFNL will still be a very strong competition in all grades of football and netball in 2017 and beyond.
“It is the intention of the seven remaining clubs and the board to turn the league into a family orientated league - one that all the local communities can get behind to ensure its sustainability way into the future.
“There will be twilight games, night games, Sunday games, half-time entertainment for kids at selected games to ensure all the community participates and gets involved.
“Contrary to previous reports, all clubs are indicating they are in the process of recruiting well and looking forward to working together for the season ahead,” said Barry.
The season will commence on Saturday, April 1.
The League’s philosophy going forward is Community and Participation.
There will be four grades of Saturday football - seniors, reserves, thirds and fourths, with the opportunity for some ‘friendly fifths’ games for boys and girls aged seven to 11.
The football structure will provide games for boys from 11 years to represent their clubs at junior level up to under 18 and then move into the senior ranks.
There will be seven grades of competitive netball, 11 & under, 13 & under, 15 & under, 17 & under, C, B and A grade, all playing in line with the football fixture.
There will be a final four, with finals commencing August 26 and the grand final on Saturday, September 9.
With the unanimous support of the clubs, the AFNL has adopted football By-Laws to ensure that all boys and girls up to the age of 12 have the opportunity to represent their clubs.
In the thirds and fourths competitions teams will play with even numbers on the ground. Permits will be available to allow clubs to exchange players on the day to ensure that every player gets a game. Sixteen players a side is also an option for all clubs.
Under the restructured AFNL, clubs will be engaging with their families to create the best possible environment. There will be events and promotions supported by the AFNL Board and AFL Gippsland to entertain boys and girls of all ages on game day. Football and netball in 2017 in the league will be an occasion for all the family to enjoy.
The outcome of the AFL Gippsland independent review has resulted in a seven-team league in 2017. It may not be the outcome many had hoped for, but the clubs remaining are confident and determined to uphold the well-earned reputation of Alberton as a strong league.
Looking into the future will see the AFNL working closely with AFL Gippsland and AFL Victoria to get the league an 8th side for the 2018 season.
Clubs will operate under a salary cap of $120,000 for each club, the same as the newly created West Gippsland League. Clubs will also operate in accordance with the AFL Player Points system with an initial allocation of 48 points for each club. This system provides for clubs who require additional points to cater for new players who join them, to make individual applications.
AFNL remains affiliated with AFL Victoria. It maintains a relationship with AFL Gippsland but, at the request of the clubs, is now responsible for its own administration. Lynn Whelan has been appointed League Co-Ordinator and will carry out all administration tasks and act as League Treasurer.
Each club will have two representatives attending all special general meetings of the league to ensure both football and netball issues are fully considered; this is how all clubs now operate.
The AGM of the AFNL is to be held on February 8, and it is expected that all current board members will seek re-election.
All clubs are determined to make 2017 a successful season.
There will be changes in playing personnel as there are each year, but clubs are working hard to replace those players who have moved on and to remain competitive within the league. It promises to be a competitive season in both football and netball with all clubs looking forward to the challenges.
Tarwin and MDU have new senior coaches, with the 2016 coaches reappointed by the remaining clubs.
Clubs will be looking forward to the support of their communities to ensure that their sustainability well into the future is ensured.



Farmers’ market in Foster this Saturday

THIS month’s feature producer is Fisher’s Farm Produce, now known as Blue Tree Honey Farm.
Sharon and Rob Fisher have been coming to the market for about two years, bringing local honey. They have supplemented their offering with honey from other places in Victoria during this time when the supplies of local honey haven’t been strong.
Sharon and Rob keep their own bees and are actively involved in the local beekeeping community. The past three years have seen honey supplies very patchy. Taking too much honey from a hive means the hives need to be fed, and with very inconsistent weather and flowering, a lot of beekeepers have left more honey in the hive to ensure enough food for the bees. At the moment, Gippsland Roundleaf Box honey is available, as is Orange Blossom, Ironbark, White Box and Red Sallee.  All will be available for tasting.
Sharon is also a dab hand with preserves and will be taking over the mantle formerly held by Catherine McGlead, who has retired from her commercial kitchen. Sharon will have bread and butter pickles, tomato relish, beetroot chutney, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry jams, Pinot Noir jelly, apricot and plum jams available this weekend.
Sharon and Rob opened their farm gate store last week in Dumbalk, after two years in the planning and works, so you can also visit their store Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm for Devonshire teas and to see a working hive.  
Call in and see all of your favourite local producers at the Prom Country Farmers Market this Saturday from 8am to 12noon.  The Prom Country Farmers Market is held in the grounds of the Foster War Memorial Hall in the Main Street. Bring your own shopping bag, and come along to enjoy the friendly, social atmosphere.



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