New resignation changes balance 11/2/2016

Another Denmark councillor resigned this month, changing the notional balance of power.

Click on this image to read the story.

Click on this image to read the story.

Cr Dawn Pedro had been a long-standing councillor with a commitment to environmental management.

A group of councillors who campaigned with sacked shire engineer Rob Whooley are now in the majority.

However a day after Ms Pedro resigned, Cr Whooley found every other councillor voting against him on a motion.

From The Great Southern Weekender.

Councillor resigns over CEO removal 4/2/2016

A former Deputy Shire President has resigned his seat on Denmark Shire Council in Western Austrlia’s Great Southern region. 

Click on this image to read the story.

Click on this image to read the story.

He told me he did this because of the way the former CEO was encouraged to resign late last year (you can see my report if you scroll to the next page).

I can see the balance of power shifting as the newer wave of councillors, driven by the former Shire Engineer’s campaign in last year’s election, now command half of the votes.


From The Great Southern Weekender, February 4, 2016.

Expert quashes oil spill drift concerns 29/10/2015

A scientist says West Australians have no need to worry about new oil exploration wells in the Great Australian Bight.

Click on this image to read the story.

Click on this image to read the story.

A company wishes to explore for oil, and there have been fears a potential oil spill from the wells would drift westwards to Albany and beyond.

Oil spills expert Monique Gagnon says the heavy crude oil the explorers are seeking would degrade and sink before it had a chance to reach WA shores.

The Great Southern Weekender, October 29, 2015 p7

Complaint follows Shire suspension 4/6/2015


Click on this image to read the story.

Click on this image to read the story.

A senior manager at Demark shire has complained to WA’s Minister for Local Government after being put under virtual “house arrest” while under suspension.

As the shire’s engineer, he was suspended after he wrote a report to council recommending public money not be spent on a feasibility study for a development.

He said the shire had a culture of intimidation.

[From The Weekender, June 4, 2015 p3]

Denmark sacks whistleblower 11/06/2015


Click on this image to read the story

Click on this image to read the story

Denmark Shire in Western Australia sacked its engineer after he made a complaint to the Minister for Local Government.

However the sacking was supposed to be for an unrelated matter that had allegedly occurred some months beforehand.

[From The Weekender, June 11, 2015 p4]

CEO defends boat ramp study 23/7/2015


DENMARK Shire ratepayers say they are unwilling to spend $12 million on a new acquatic centre.

X23ALB_022PHowever the Shire has just committed $26,000 in public funds to a feasibility study for a boat launching ramp near a favourite swimming beach.

A prominent coastal engineer tells me this would cost at least $38 million, and probably a lot more.

If he is correct, the shire is spending $26,000 to discover it can’t afford a boat ramp.

As both stories appeared on the same page I am posting them together.

[Great Southern Weekender, June 23, 2015, p22]

Birds face high water threat 25/6/2015

THE decision by the Department of Water (DoW) not to open the Sandbar at Wilson Inlet could be depriving endangered migrating shorebirds of valuable feeding grounds.

Click on this image to read the story

Click on this image to read the story

Local resident and member of Birdlife Australia, Jesz Fleming, said a report prepared by Denmark’s Green Skills noted the water levels in the inlet have remained at an unusually high level in recent years.

The report says this makes it impossible for shorebirds to feed on animals such as molluscs and worms that usually lie buried under the saturated sand.

Great Southern Weekender [go to website]

Writing science stories can be tricky when you have a report before you and you are not sure of its scientific validity.

The author had not trained as a scientist and, while he may have been following the accepted principles of ornithology and ecology, I was not personally able to make an assessment of this.

Luckily I was able to contact a shorebird ecologist I had previously interviewed, who agreed to read the report.

She told me it was a good report, and she added some useful comments of her own.