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Toxic Truth: No escaping dust for neighbours of moonscape

07/08/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

CONSTANT CAR WASHER: Boolaroo resident Stephen Griffen at the old Pasminco site. Picture: Phil HearneToxic Truth: More stories
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​STEPHEN Griffen’s car is the only monitor needed to show how much dust is blowing off the former Pasminco site into the surrounding streets.

A heavy layer of pollution quickly gathers on the ungaraged vehicle within hours of it being washed every second day.

‘‘I’m not a whinger, but it’s quite evident to everyone around here that dust is a big problem,’’ Mr Griffen, whose First Street home overlooks the 191hectare moonscape, said.

‘‘They have got water trucks over there to wet it down sometimes but they don’t go off the main roads.’’

In addition to the dust, there is the noise, which usually starts about 6am.

‘‘There’s four or five trucks over there at the moment but sometimes they have up to a dozen.’’

Several First, Second and Third street residents told the Newcastle Herald they had made numerous complaints to the Environment Protection Authority hotline about dust blowing off the site. Despite that, EPA records show only five complaints had been received about the issue in the past two years.

An Environment Protection Authority spokeswoman said monitoring data provided by Pasminco showed the levels of lead dust blowing from the site had significantly decreased over the past decade.

Despite the official assurances, Macquarie University environmental scientist Mark Taylor said he was not convinced the site would be completely safe.

‘‘There will always be questions over previously contaminated sites,’’ Professor Taylor said.

‘‘If I had a choice I wouldn’t live there. If I didn’t have children I might have a slightly different view on it.’’

Although the EPA is still the site’s overall regulator, areas where remediation has been completed have been moved to Lake Macquarie Council’s control.

The spokeswoman said the EPA had previously shut down work on the site when there had been a high risk of dust blowing from the site.

‘‘Pasminco has an active revegetation program for much of the site, to help limit dust generation,’’ she said.

Revegetation of the main containment cell is scheduled to commence early in the new year.

It was revealed in July that the EPA considered fining the smelter’s administrator, Ferrier Hodgson, over misreporting heavy metal contamination at the site.

Documents lodged with the EPA earlier this year showed lead contamination levels exceeded recommended standards by 6400 times but it has since been revealed the reported levels were incorrect.

EPA hotline 131 555

Toxic truth: Archive

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Financial security Knights club’s top priority

07/08/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

HOOKING IN: Knights chairman Brian McGuigan shares a laugh with Kurt Gidley and Tariq Sims. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTHE Knights remain one of the NRL’s financially strongest clubs, according to new directors, despite losing money since the league took control from Nathan Tinkler five months ago.
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Under the chairmanship of renowned Hunter Valley vigneron Brian McGuigan, the new board of Katie Brassil, Eileen Doyle, Mark Fitzgibbon, Philip Gardner, John Quayle and Peter Shear met for the first time at Mayfield on Monday to plan the club’s future.

Brassil is Centennial Coal’s general manager of external affairs, Doyle chairs the Hunter Valley Research Foundation, Fitzgibbon is the chief executive of nib, Gardner is the Wests Group chief executive, Quayle is the NSW Venues chairman and former chief executive of the NSW Rugby League and Australian Rugby League, and Shear, a former Lloyds Banking Group executive, is an NRL adviser appointed by the league.

The NRL has agreed to underwrite the Knights for the next three years but McGuigan said the club would become self-sufficient ‘‘as soon as practicable’’.

‘‘We don’t know that yet, because we don’t know who we’ve got as sponsors and what funding that will give to us, but as soon as we have a plan you guys will know about it, and the community will know about it,’’ McGuigan said. ‘‘But we’ve got a responsibility of breaking square as quickly as we can, and that’s what we intend to do.’’

When the NRL, Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group and the Knights Members Club signed off on a settlement in June, the new Knights entity had $5.1million in start-up funds.

– JOHN QUAYLE

That nest egg has since been reduced, though Shear would not divulge to what extent.

‘‘The club’s financial position is strong but the club has been making losses,’’ Shear said.

‘‘But for us it’s about the future and we’re on a strong platform and we’re very focused as a board to continue to build financial stability.

‘‘The club’s made some losses in the last couple of months, but it’s still one of the most financially strong clubs in the league at the moment.’’

Quayle, who along with Shear, Knights chief executive Matt Gidley and other NRL officials helped oversee the post-Tinkler transition, said the new regime had already reduced operating costs by $3million.

‘‘Like any business, you can only spend what you make, and the first stage for us is getting that right and getting that structure in place to make sure the long-term viability of the Knights is secure,’’ Quayle said.

‘‘You can’t do that over one year. You have to do that over a period of time. If we get that right, first up, the rest flows.

‘‘No longer can a team just survive from year to year. It’s fine for people to say that in sport you can win a premiership in one year, but it’s no use doing that and going broke.’’

Gardner said the Knights had been ‘‘chasing their tails’’ financially since inception.

‘‘This time around, they’re not going to be doing that, and you’ve got an independent board in place. For the first time, the shareholder is not running the club,’’ Gardner said.

‘‘You’ve got an independent board that are going to be set up to run the club properly, they’re going to be answerable to the shareholder, and if they don’t perform, the shareholder will fire them. That’s never been the case before.’’

Gardner said the Knights would run a ‘‘leaner, more efficient administration’’ than the one that existed under HSG management, and the new board had moved on from the win now, pay later attitude that influenced the decisions of some directors in the past.

‘‘They put the blazer on and they’re prepared to sell the next 10 years of the business down the river to win this year. That’s not the structure going forward of this board, and it won’t be the structure going forward under any future ownership,’’ he said.

‘‘You’ll have a very different commercial outcome, I think, and a very different governance structure, and it’s going to be very transparent.

‘‘Because you’ve got an independent board, they’ll be transparent not just back to their shareholders but to the community and to the media, because the media is very important in ensuring that everyone is kept honest and honourable in what they’re doing.

‘‘So I think you’ll see a very different organisation both from a governance structure, and transparency to the community, than we’ve seen at the Knights over the last 20 years.’’

LSD dealer fails to sway appeal

07/08/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

A PORT Stephens man found guilty of supplying a large commercial quantity of LSD has failed to have his nine-year jail term reduced on appeal.
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Stephen John Finch, 49, said he was the victim of a bitter drug dealer who left thousands of tablets of the hallucinogen in his Pindimar home the day before a police raid in September 2010.

A jury convicted Finch in February 2013 after being shown a video of the police raid and hearing from officers who said Finch ran from the front of the home to the rear after police announced their arrival.

Police found sheets of perforated cardboard containing LSD as well as methylamphetamine and amphetamines throughout the house.

He was sentenced to a maximum nine-year jail term with a non-parole period of six years.

Finch appealed against the severity of his sentence in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday, claiming the sentence was ‘‘manifestly excessive’’ and sentencing Judge Peter Berman erred in failing to take into account mitigating factors.

But Justice Robert Hulme dismissed the appeal, ruling the initial sentence was adequate.

‘‘I am not persuaded that the sentencing judge erred by overlooking some of the matter that rendered the offences less serious or by failing to have regard to relevant mitigating subjective factors in the assessment of sentence,’’ Justice Hume said.

‘‘The circumstances could be described as truly exceptional if the offender was an innocent where matters of prohibited drugs are concerned. But that is not a description to which the applicant could aspire.

‘‘He admitted to having been a regular user of drugs. The judge referred to the police having found written records of past drug transactions, albeit they involved [according to the applicant] small quantities of cannabis.

‘‘The judge considered that the applicant had sought to minimise the level of his past drug dealing.

‘‘Notwithstanding that the applicant had quite a compelling subjective case to mitigate the level of punishment to be imposed, I am not persuaded that the sentence of eight years for the LSD offence and the overall sentence of nine years for the two offences is manifestly excessive,’’ Justice Hume said.

Finch will be eligible for parole in November 2018.

Proliferation of city boutique bars continues

07/08/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

Bar Petite, one of a host of new small bars to open in the CBD in recent years.THE wave of new bars seeking to open in Newcastle is continuing with two more applications lodged with the city council.
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The latest two, planned for Market Street and Hunter Street, are among four applications lodged in the past fortnight and come on top of dozens of new liquor licences issued to city cafes, restaurants and new bars over the past year.

A bar to be known as Shisha Lounge is proposed for 227 Hunter Street, complete with a rooftop terrace, which would operate until midnight Monday to Saturday and until 10pm on Sundays.

The bar is proposed for the historic ANZ Bank building on the corner of Hunter and Brown streets.

Owned by the Jacoub family, the building’s roof offers views of the harbour and Nobbys headland.

According to the application, the 730-square-metre Shisha Lounge would be ‘‘a positive attraction and revitalisation of the whole area’’.

The second new application is for the ground floor of 2 Market Street, opposite the city’s current post office, and is owned by Jordan Mizrahi.

Le Passe Temps, one of a host of new small bars to open in the CBD in recent years.

Under the plan, the former sandwich shop and vacant commercial space would be converted into a bar and outdoor cafe. Its proposed operating hours are the same as Shisha Lounge.

A statement of environmental effects lodged with the application says the bar ‘‘will assist to reactivate Market Street in the evenings … and play a role in the redevelopment of Hunter Street and the East End overall’’.

Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the proliferation of new and smaller bars was diversifying the city’s night-time economy.

‘‘They’re reactivating parts of the city and decentralising the big booze barns into smaller boutique bars which are mostly run by locals,’’ she said.

Two weeks ago, the Herald revealed plans for two new bars on Hunter Street, including one on the site of the old Star Hotel.

They come in addition to the dozens of new bars which have opened throughout the city centre in recent years including Reserve Wine Bar, Bar Petite, Le Passe Temps, Red Baron’s Berlin Bar, Coal and Cedar, The Laneway, The Edwards, The Terrace Bar, The Landing and The Grain Store

Jenny’s Place, a refuge for women escaping violence, helps them start again

07/08/2019 | 杭州夜生活 | Permalink

HELPING HANDS: Out Reach co-ordinator Pam Morris and team leader Rosemary Pillay. Picture: Marina Neil►The terror in our homes
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►These women should be alive today

►Successful man, wife hid abuse from the world

►Opinion: Male violence glossed over

►Editorial:Never an excuse for violence

THEY flee, with their young children, in the middle of the night.

Often, in fear for their lives, they are desperate, and they are empty-handed.

If they are lucky, they make their way to a safe place – if there are no friends or family, they may land at a women’s refuge, like Newcastle’s Jenny’s Place.

And from there, thanks to the generosity of the community, they will not go away empty-handed.

They will be armed with care packages, known as Jenny’s Gift, filled with practical self-care, kitchen, bedroom and other essential items to help them slowly re-build their lives.

‘‘Most of them come with nothing, literally,’’ says Jenny’s Place team leader Rosemary Pillay.

‘‘Just the clothes on their backs. Our funding is limited, so we have a safe place, and we are one of the only refuges that provide food, but these packs contain the basic things that we can’t provide.’’

‘‘Sometimes they contain toiletries, nappies, and sunblock. We also do kitchen packs with a few food items, and maybe a toaster, and bedroom packs with basics like linen.’’

Hundreds of women have received a Jenny’s Gift pack since it was launched six months ago, Ms Pillay said.

Jenny’s Place has been running for 37 years. The associated outreach service has been running for six years.

It helps women transition from emergency and crisis accommodation into full-time living arrangements, as well as helping some women stay safe in their own homes, and visiting families at risk.

‘‘I feel privileged to see these women go from being low and fearful in unfamiliar surroundings to taking charge of their own home, in control of their own environment, with their children with them, it’s just awesome,’’ says outreach service co-ordinator, Pam Morris.

The service is working on developing relationships with real estate agents to help give their clients a better chance of finding a private rental.

That is particularly difficult for those who have been blacklisted due to an abusive partner’s behaviours or failure to pay for rent or damaged property, and for those who have no rental references to due their former reliance on an abusive partner. In the meantime, the service continues to struggle for adequate funding.

The outreach service is run on donations alone, and the turn-away rate from the refuge remains high.

In 2013/14, 336 women were turned away, and 367 children – a 30 per cent increase on the previous financial year.

Donations can be made via the Newcastle Domestic Violence Resource Centre on 49278529, or online at Give Now (http://www.givenow上海龙凤论坛m.au/jennysplace).