Geoff Helisma

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Over the past 15 years Geoff Helisma has reported on all things Clarence Valley; telling stories about the tireless work of volunteers in community groups at one end of the spectrum, to investigating relevant local, state and federal government issues at the other.

Councillor withdraws from Yamba service station decision

At yesterday’ Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting (after the Independent went to press) two of the valley’s councillors, Peter Ellem and Debrah Novak, had different ideas about how to deal with non-pecuniary interest when considering a development application to construct a service station at the corner of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road, Yamba. At an onsite meeting before last week’s Environment, Planning & Community Committee meeting on Tuesday July 11, director Des Schroder ...

The art and engineering of fashion

Former Maclean High School student Taran Battye was born to be a fashion designer ... now the 20-year-old’s designs have been chosen to feature at the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week in September. He also features in the July edition of American fashion magazine, Sheeba, where his quote – “My design philosophy revolves around the idea of designing fashion as fashion, rather than designing fashion as menswear and womenswear.” – provides a snippet of attitude to lead the reader into ...

Mayoral tick of approval

It was a golden occasion for five young athletes – Rhiannah Woods, Alyssa Luland, James Bertolli, Zali Burke and Elizabeth Hyne – when Clarence Valley’s mayor Jim Simmons presented each of them with a gold medal, previously won by their mentor and coach Tom Hancock. During the small ceremony at the Maclean council chambers on Friday July 14, Cr Simmons briefly outlined the goings on in the chambers. “Some pretty interesting things happen in here,” he told the athletes and their ...

How sweet it is

The New South Wales Opposition leader Luke Foley and shadow minister for the north coast Walt Secord have told the north coast’s sugar industry that NSW Labor opposes the introduction of a sugar tax. The men visited the Harwood sugar mill and refinery last Thursday July 13. “We oppose the introduction of a sugar tax because we believe it will hit north coast jobs,” Mr Secord told the Independent. “We told growers, workers and the mill’s operators that a sugar tax would be a tax ...

Wildfire of the Broom

The Last Brumby of Brooms Head, a painting by Woombah artist Danielle Bilson, is the overall winner across all entries at the Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts Association’s 52nd annual exhibition, held at the Maclean showground over the weekend, July 9 – 12. Ms Bilson said she painted the brumby because she “wanted a lot of people to know his history”. “He’s fought twice for his freedom; once through the bushfires when he lost his whole mob, and when they captured his new ...

Damaged road’s repair in limbo

Trucks hauling gravel from quarries to the new highway’s construction are damaging some of Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) roads, but who is taking responsibility for their repairs? Watts Lane at Harwood is one of those roads and it’s not clear which entity will make repairs to its surface, allegedly damaged by trucks carrying heavy loads of gravel. The issue was raised with the council by an Ashby resident who wrote to CVC in an email on June 15: “I want to bring to your attent...

One, two, three red lights

At next week’s Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, councillors will consider whether or not to include the installation of traffic lights on the corner of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road, as a condition of approval for a Coles service station at the site. The council’s staff has recommended traffic lights instead of constructing the long-planned for roundabout at the troublesome intersection. In January 2013, the Independent reported: “The construction of traffic control infrast...

CVC winning ‘war on waste’ coffee cups

“Did you know [takeaway] coffee cups can't be recycled in Australia?” was the premise for an episode of ABC TV’s recently screened three-episode show, War ON Waste – but Clarence Valley Council (CVC) disagrees. The show’s host Craig Reucassel told viewers that the majority of takeaway coffee cups have a polythene liner to prevent moisture reaching the cardboard and said that a billion cups (92 percent) go to landfill in Australia each year. In its July 1 edition of its weekly ...

Service cuts + SRV = fit for the future

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) last week adopted its blueprint to meet the NSW Government’s demand that it is ‘Fit for the Future’ come 2020/21. Councillors, apart from Deborah Novak and the absent Arthur Lysaught, endorsed CVC’s “revised Fit for the Future reassessment proposal, which incorporates improvement strategies [adopted] as part of Council’s 2017-2021 Delivery Program, 2017/18 Operational Plan and Long Term Financial Plan”, as recommended by staff in the report to last ...

Wreck remembered

Page MP Kevin joined Iluka History Group’s president, Bob Carr – and a good role-up of interested citizens – for the unveiling of a plaque that marks the location of the Royal Australian Navy tug, HMAS Waree, which sank while attempting to cross the Clarence River bar on October 17, 1946. The plaque’s installation was initiated by the Iluka History Group in response to queries from interested locals and visitors. Last Thursday June 29, Mr Hogan said in a media release that the ...