Archive for the 'News' Category

NBN is coming

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

The NBN has announced timing for building the NBN in the upper mountains.

Construction in mountains towns Lawson, Bullaburra, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba and Medlow Bath begins between now and February, with the ability to order services likely from about the middle of 2016 (their expected ‘ready for service’ dates are Q2-2016 and Q3-2016).

The work will bring Fibre to the Node technology to 14600 premises. FTTN is the scaled back network the Coalition developed, which uses high performance fibre optic cable to connect street side cabinets to the main NBN backbone network.

The existing copper wires that connect your current telephone and broadband services will then be plugged into the street side cabinets. This mix of technologies allows up to 100Mbps network link speed, although in premises further from the cabinets this declines to speeds as low as 25Mbps.

While this is slower than the 100Mbps – 1000Mbps a fibre link to every premises would offer, it is still a substantial speed upgrade for mountains residents who have been limited to ADSL2+ speeds at best (24Mbps in ideal conditions but typically much lower). The copper based last-mile link will also offer a faster build time, and limit the amount of civil construction work.

Further up the mountain, Blackheath and Mt Vic will see construction commence in Q2 2016 with services ready early 2017.

Disappointingly, if you are lower than Lawson things aren’t so rosy. The NBN will not commence building in Lapstone, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Warrimoo, Valley Heights, Springwood, Faulconbridge, Linden, Woodford and Hazelbrook plus Winmalee, Yellow Rock, Mount Riverview, Hawkesbury Heights and Leonay until the second half of 2017, with services not expected to be available until 2018. The one bright patch is that some of these sites will get fibre to the premises.

New Speed Limits for Leura

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Transport NSW has announced speed limits in Leura Mall and surrounding streets will be reduced from 50km/h to 40km/h. The reduced speed makes sense considering the large number of pedestrians, often seemingly oblivious of car traffic.40k The new limits will take effect when signposted over the next fortnight.

Three Sisters Pale? Katoomba to get a brewery.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Industry publication The Shout reports the team at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba are readying a new boutique brewery.

With three beers initially planned, Three Sisters Pale Ale, Chimney sweep Porter and Great White Fleet American Pale Ale, the brewery will be housed in the former power plant near the Cellars/Deli.

The new venture will cap off a decade of renovations that have transformed the hotel.

carrington-brewery

 

Louise Markus Returned as member for the Lower Mountains

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The 2013 federal election repeated results of 2010 to show ALP candidate Susan Templeman comprehensively winning the mid & upper mountains polling, but losing to the weight of numbers in north Western Sydney and some of the towns east of Springwood. Two party preferred results for the upper mountains polling place are in the table below.

macquarie

Mountains train commuters – get ready to get up earlier, get home later and stand in the crush

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Draft new train timetables released by Fairfax show the state government expect to cut peak hour services for upper mountains commuters and drastically overcrowd them by adding stops across western Sydney.

The leaked draft shows the current peak hour services to the city leaving at 5:26am, 5:41am, 5:59am, 6:09am, 6:40am and 6:57am from Katoomba will be replaced by just three services 5:26am, 6:26am and 6:56am and all stop at Emu Plains, Penrith, St Mary’s, Blacktown, Seven Hills, Westmead, Parramatta, Granville, Clyde, Auburn, Lidcombe, Homebush and Strathfield. None will stop at Redfern.

The return journey also suffers sharp cuts, with the 5:06pm, 5:23pm, 5:37pm, 5:55pm, 6:08pmand 6:36pm replaced by just three services at 5:18pm, 5:52pm and 6:26pm. All services stop repeatedly in Western Sydney at Emu Plains, Penrith, St Mary’s, Blacktown, Seven Hills, Westmead, Parramatta, Granville, Clyde, Auburn, Lidcombe, Homebush and Strathfield. None will stop at Redfern.

To compound the cuts, the 5:52pm service will make limited stops in the mountains, meaning residents of Blackheath, Medlow Bath, Leura, Bullaburra, Lawson, Hazelbrook, Woodford, Linden and Faulconbridge will have just a single train between 5pm and 6:20pm.

Should the timetable go ahead, it will be interesting to see who is left voting for Roza Sage next election.

Target slated for Katoomba

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Upper mountains residents forced to trek to Lithgow or Winmalee for basics since Kmart closed will be pleased to hear that Wesfarmers is planning a Target Country variety store in Katoomba Fair. The site, in Pioneer Place previously occupied by Franklins, has been owned by the Coles group for many years, and was used to deliver Lay-by items last Christmas for Kmart shoppers following that stores closure.Target_signage

With no external building work required, the new shop could be open later this year.

Meanwhile, work continues on the old Coles/Kmart site, now owned by Woolworths and subject to redevelopment work to add parking and floorspace for the new Woolworths Supermarket and BigW stores. The battle between the retail duopoly saw front page news last month with claims of dirty tricks as each group sought control of the other’s real estate.

Work on the Woolworths/BigW site is expected to finish in 2014, dramatically increasing retail space in the region.

 

Optus Broadband coming?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Interesting to see Optus doing some duct work in Leura. This could indicate they intend to add DSLAMs to upper mountains exchanges, finally giving some competition to Telstra in the area. With no ADSL2+ ports currently available in Leura exchange, and nearing capacity at both Blackheath and Katoomba, it certainly looks like the demand is there (capacity source: http://www.adsl2exchanges.com.au/)

As always, the best broadband deals are published on Whirlpool, just be cautious as many providers offer substantially different plans where they have their own ADSL infrastructure, versus where they buy it off-net from Telstra. Make sure the plan you want is available at your location.

Local Council Elections – Australia First Party in Ward One

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

With Councill elections due this weekend, the SMH highlights the party of three of the candidates running in Ward 1. The article includes detail of the Australia First Party leader Jim Saleam’s past, and links to far right organisations.

“Mr Saleam spent three and a half years in the 1990s in prison, for supplying a gun to two skinheads who shot up the home of an African National Congress representative while his young family was inside. He was jailed for a further two years for insurance fraud. In the 1970s, he was involved with Australia’s Nazi Party – the Nationalist Socialist Party of Australia – and has been photographed on several occasions wearing swastika armbands. He also had links to the Patriotic Youth League at the time of the 2005 Cronulla riots.”

The NSW Electoral Commission maintains a list of all candidates in Ward One.

BP Katoomba to be redeveloped

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The ex-Burmah fuels site has plans before council to renovate and expand, including a adjoining Subway restaurant with indoor seating. Comment submissions to the council close 5th July.

Central, first stop Katoomba!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The O’Farrle government has announced a new daily train service between Bathurst and Central.

The morning run departs Bathurst  at 5.40am and arrives at Central at 9.25am.  The return service will leave Sydney at 5.55pm and arrive in Bathurst at 9.30pm. The express will stop at Katoomba, Mt Vic and Lithgow.

The Lithgow Mercury is calling the service the Bathurst Bullet, which is hardly the Fish and the Chips (see last question).

Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba new construction plans

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Today’s post is a round up of local development applications for proposed building works. First up, an application for retail development in Wenty. The application for six new shops plus residential unit upstairs boasts that it will bring Wenty up to speed with the other local towns that have seen recent development. Not sure Lawson, Leura and Katoomba would agree the developments have been desirable. At least it appears to be reasonably sensitive to the built environment.

Nobody will be accusing the developers of the approved units at the GWH off ramp for Leura of sensitivity to the local environment. More like an attempt to outdo the Spires in hideous presentation. Apparently, the council gave in after they were advised the development application was complying and they would lose in the Land and Environment Court if they opposed it. At least there is some schadenfreud that the absentee landlords in the Spires who paid $360,000 off the plan a decade ago will have neighbours who paid $260,000.

And the largest development in the area, a sixty unit residential apartments, plus retail, originally approved in 2007 looks set to go ahead in Goldsmith Place Katoomba. It says something about how bad the similar scale Leura apartment developments are that this block starts to look reasonable. The three building plan is six stories tall at the tallest point, but owing to the below grade site it will appear no more than three stories tall. Mind you, if work doesn’t start by May they will be back to the drawing board as consent will lapse.

Katoomba ALDI Liquor rejected

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

The Casino, Liquor, Gaming and Control Authority has ruled against ALDI’s application for a liquor licence in Katoomba.
This news follows recent approvals for Woolworths Liquor in Leura and the Katoomba Dan Murphy’s.
The SMH quotes Chairman Chris Sidoti as saying:
“”I don’t know if there are areas that have too many bottle shops but certainly there are areas that have enough,” Mr Sidoti told the Herald.
He said two bottle shop licences had been granted in Katoomba in the past two years, which the authority had ”agonised over”.
”In granting those two we said, ‘OK, this is it. For the current level of population, our view is that it’s reached the level of density where any additional ones will have an impact on harm within the community.”
Those behind Cole’s mooted First Choice Liquor in Katoomba must be pondering their next step.

More industry comment at The Shout, reporting that ALDI sees their offer of limited range and non-refrigerated products as minimising immediate consumption and the associated harm.

Image: George Stojkovic;

Got an Everglades statue at the bottom of the garden?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

The Everglades seem to have misplaced three bronze statues some decades ago. The works in question were nicked 30 years ago in the early 1980s, and while rumours of their locations have surfaced from time to time, they are still missing, and they would love to get them back.

Listen to Scott Pollock from Everglades on ABC Radio, or get in touch on 02 4784 1938.

Vodafone to Upgrade area network

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Long suffering users of the Vodafone network in the upper mountains may finally have something to cheer about.

Over the next few months, Vodafone plans upgrades to base stations in Katoomba (and Scenic World), Leura, Wentworth Falls, Mt Vic, Lawson and other areas. To get the most out of them, you will need the newest handsets (capable of using 850MHz e.g. iPhone 4), but even older phones should see a benefit with some capacity upgrades.

Full details here.

 

 

 

Got a lazy few million? The Gearin is for sale.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Liquor industry news site, The Shout, is reporting Jack Thompson has put the Gearin Hotel in Katoomba up for sale.

The listing reveals the auction is due 23 June, and the pub is turning over about $330,000 a week. The iconic actor has owned the hotel since 2006, when it is reported he paid about $4million.

Leura Woolworths due to open

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Work has been accelerating on the new Woolworths building in Leura.  The Goodies supermarket has closed, leaving locals without a nearby grocery option until the new store opens.

Current plans are for the new supermarket to open on the 14th of April.

The two Goodies premises are being refitted, and the other new Mall facing shops are also well into shop fitting. All shops are let.

Combined with renovations to the Old Post Office to accommodate a relocated newsagent, the eastern side of the Mall is a hive of building work, but completion will be here soon.

Blue Mountains Pet Photography

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

For all Katoomba and Leura dog lovers, we’re celebrating our move to the Blue Mountains with a $50 session special. Previously based in Sydney, we’re proud to finally call the mountains home and so we’d like you to help us celebrate! If you have a pampered pooch or cat that you regard as a special member of your family, give us a call today.

All details and pet galleries are on our website:  www.redbirdphotography.com.au

All creatures great and small are welcome! We are also available for [human] family sessions, contact us to see a sample session. Be quick, book early to avoid disappointment!

 

NSW State Election – Online poll

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

If the results of the BMG poll for the state election are to be believed, it could be a very interesting race indeed.

The online poll has had over 500 responses, and places Independent Janet Mays in first place, with 32.2%, leading Libs Rosa Sage on 29% and Labor’s Trish Doyle at 26.2%. If such a result translates to the polling booth, preferences will prove vital to deciding who will represent us in Macquarie Street. The election will be held on 26th March.

Ikou & Josophan’s in media

Monday, November 29th, 2010

A flattering write up of Josophan’s chocolates and Ikou day spa in the Fairfax press.

Link here.

Leura Clock Tower Working!

Monday, November 8th, 2010

The electronic magazine The Whistler has had a big win with the restoration of the Leura Spires clock tower.

The photo below was taken at about 4:07 – nice work. The second issue of the Whistler has been released, so head over and take a look.

Leura Spire Clock Tower showing the correct time!

Hats Off Dinner – Darley’s goes oriental

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Victorian Darley’s embraces the Orient. In conjunction with the Crave Sydney International Food Festival, for one night only on October 19, Darley’s is offering an exclusive six course degustation experience, with all with a taste of Asia.

Discover subtle Asian flavours, while dining in one of the most romantic settings in the Blue Mountains. Carl Middleton, the Executive Chef has prepared a unique menu to satisfy all food lovers.

Darley's Restaurant

Darley's Restaurant

What: Hats Off Dinner – Darley’s goes oriental

Where: Darley’s Restaurant, 3 Lilianfels Avenue, Katoomba NSW 2780

When: October 19, 6.30pm-11pm

Cost: $160.00

Bookings: Reservations are essential so for more information, contact reservations@lilianfels.com.au or call 02 4780 1200.

Dan Murphy’s Approved for Katoomba – Media Coverage

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Tuesday night’s council meeting reversed its previous decision (or deferral of a decision) on the Dan Murphy’s development in Katoomba, and the shop will now go ahead.

This attracted media coverage on ABC 702 (it’s not 2BL anymore!) with Mayor Myles interviewd on Deborah Cameron’s show. You can listen here.

The Gazette reports here.

Final Election Results – 2010 Federal Election

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

The AEC has finalised results for Macquarie (despite 115 ballots going missing).

Louise Markus won by a final margin of 2135 votes with a swing of 1.49% on preferences. Interestingly, both the Labor and Liberal experienced swings against them on first preferences.

Macquarie Candidates – Peter Whelan – Liberal Democrats

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

I am standing as the Liberal Democrats candidate for the seat of Macquarie, in the August 21st federal election.
I am a farmer, businessman, investor, family man, with qualifications in electrical engineering and hold a private pilot’s licence.
I am an active sporting shooter, fox, rabbit and deer hunter and enjoy playing golf every week.Peter Whelan - Liberal Democrats
I am 66 years old, married with 6 granddaughters.
I live in Glenorie and am Treasurer of Glenorie RSL Club. (drop in and see us sometime, at the friendly little club in the bush!)
I am National President of the Liberal Democratic Party.
I strongly believe in the principles of free enterprise, individual responsibility, small government and low taxes.
The Liberal Democrats are opposed to the three “old” parties, Liberals,
Labor and The Greens, who all want to tax us to the hilt, then decide how they will spend OUR money.
We believe that taxpayers want to keep more of their hard-earned money.
Taxpayers can best decide how they will spend it, or invest it, or save it, or whatever. Bureaucrats in Canberra do not know how best to spend our money, or how we should run our lives.
We could get rid of tens of thousands of unproductive Government employees, reduce middle-class welfare rorts, return power to local communities and be far better off.
For example, the Liberal Democrats would push for all State firearms registries to be closed (as has been done in Canada) and the money thus saved, put into improving mental health and dental services.

Macquarie Candidates – Terry Tremethick – Carers Alliance

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Terry Tremethick is a devoted husband and father of 3 children the eldest of whom has quadriplegia, so disability is the lived experience of Terry and his loving family.

Terry has live in the outer western suburbs of Sydney all of his is life. He currently works in IT and had lent his hand to many charities and organisations as a volunteer over the years.Terry Tremethick

Terry knows from personal experience that political outcomes can be influenced by direct action. Terry’s wife and son appeared on Channel 10 to argue that carer-families in NSW should be exempted from the increase in registration for heavy vehicles. Their direct action influenced the NSW government to exempt carer-families from the increase from 1 July, this year.

Carers Alliance is proud to have Terry as a candidate in Macquarie. Terry has a strong track-record in advocating for people with disabilities and carer-families. His desire is to change the face of government so people with disabilities and carer-families are tangibly recognised in Australian politics.

Policies – The first is the major one supported by many not just us. All are taken from Carers.org.au

National Disability Insurance Scheme (see http://www.ndis.org.au/)

It’s time to change the way services for people with disabilities are funded and structured in Australia.

It’s time to make services for people with disabilities and their families effective, equitable and efficient.

Almost every Australian has cared, or is caring, for a family member with a disability, or knows of a family doing so. Many of these families fall through a huge gap in Australia’s social services network.

Those who acquire a disability through a workplace or a motor vehicle accident generally receive financial support. However, for those who acquire permanent disabilities in other accidents, are born with a permanent disability, acquire a permanent disability through a medical condition or have a permanent mental illness, there is no automatic support to meet their needs.

Other policies here –

Protecting the rights of children

Carers Alliance believes society owes the Child the best it has to give. Accordingly children must be given the support requisite for their normal development, materially, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

A National priority

All children with special or additional needs must have a legislated right to service.

All children deserve the right to the supports that will maximise their potential whatever that may be.

The health system is the first point of entry for all children: There must be:

  • National global assessments of developmental, emotional and physical ability at prescribed stages of infant and early early childhood
  • Full assessment of physical (including vision, hearing and dental), emotional and psychological health of the child at prescribed developmental milestones up to the age of 16 years.

Special Needs Health

Developmental Disability Health

Many adults with intellectual disabilities do not need special medical attention. It is important for primary care physicians to recognize that, in general, adults and older persons with an intellectual disability have the same needs for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment as the general population.

Having said this those who do need medical attention discover that Australia’s hospitals are ill equipped to deal with people with moderate and severe cognitive disability with limited communication who are often unable to express pain and discomfort and often serious illness is left undiagnosed.

For this reason Carers Alliance believes there is a place for specialist developmental disability clinics in all major teaching hospitals to provide educational and clinical practice supports for primary care physicians caring for people with intellectual disabilities. These clinics would enable medical practitioners to gain experience in clinical conditions  or other discomforts which are often expressed through challenging behaviour and often result in the patient being sedated without pain relief with the primary condition left undiagnosed.

Aged Care

Individualised Funding of Aged Care Services
Most people as they age would prefer to remain living in their homes, surrounded by those they know and the comforts of familiarity.

Carers Alliance will fight in the Senate for individualised funding for in home services and community support services.

Mental Health

Carers Alliance is deeply concerned with the narrow scope of mental health policy from the major parties.

Carers Alliance will work towards ensuring that 15% of the health budget is for mental health services

Person Centred Funding

Carers Alliance is  committed to person centred funding that places the consumer at the heart of service provision. Currently the block funded model  sees recipients powerless and at the mercy of the funding body.  The provider determines what services a person can have and when they can have them, allowing little autonomy.

Most people living with disability in Australia know where their best interests lie. It is not only reasonable but socially necessary to provide individually tailored services that fit into the lifestyle of the service user.

Macquarie Candidates – Amy Bell – Independent

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Macquarie’s only Independent candidate,Amy Bell,  is a 31 year old mother of three from Katoomba.
With a Bachelor of Nursing from UWS and a history of grassroots environmental activism,  moving into Birth activism after witnessing a medical monopoly over womens autonomy in pregnancy and birth.

Amy cites the passing of key legislation by a determination signed the night before the election was called as the catalyst to her candidacy .

In the last year consumers have despaired at the control the medical lobby has exerted over both major parties regarding health reform.  We are now facing a situation where long awaited Medicare reforms are completely controlled by the medical lobby.  Doctors will have to physically agree to all care that a midwife, with a Medicare provider number – a registered health practitioner in their own right – provides before the mother is eligible for a rebate.

This reform could have given women in the Blue Mountains greater safety through a local midwifery service, instead they will continue to face uncertainty and danger. The Blue Mountains Hospital maternity service is not sustainable in its current form.

Amy has a strong sense of community, having volunteered with Australian Breastfeeding Association, represented consumers on the maternity consumer consultation board at Katoomba Hospital, performed with Ruby Bloomers Womens circus and co-hosts the Birth Hour on BluFM.

Amy knows the concerns of the community, because she is part of the community, and will represent the voices from Macquarie.
www.macquarie2010.com.au

Candidates for Macquarie Round-up

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

With nine official candidates in the forthcoming federal election, Macquarie residents will have one of the broader choices of representative.  Katoomba Leura Online has emailed each of them to ask why they should be elected. We’ll post the responses over the next few days.

The request below was sent to:

WHELAN, Peter         Liberal Democrats (LDP)
BELL, Amy             Independent
McCALLUM, Carmel      The Greens
TREMETHICK, Terry     Carers Alliance
TEMPLEMAN, Susan      Labor
BATES, John           Australia First Party
PORTELLI, Luke        Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
CORNELIUS, Jason      Family First
MARKUS, Louise        Liberal

Katoomba Primary School Asbestos Risk

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Reported today is news that asbestos remediation work was carried out at North Katoomba primary by an incorrectly licensed contractor. It is claimed that demolition work began on a covered walkway that had previously been identified as containing asbestos. Proper handling measures were not initially taken to deal with the possibility of asbestos contamination.

Inhalation of asbestos fibres can potentially cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, fatal diseases.  NSW Health publishes a fact sheet on asbestos risks that notes prolonged exposure is typical of those who eventually contract the diseases, which can take decades to appear following the exposure.

The incident at North Katoomba saw the demolition work halted when the risk became known, but local parents are concerned they were not notified until 5 weeks after the incident.

Following the incident, work to remove the material was conducted outside school hours. Concerned parents have been advised to consult their doctor should they be worried about medical issues.

Good news for Council, but still millions lost.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Following on from our earlier post on the debacle where BMCC had at least $11m invested with failed investment house Grange Securities, part of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers bank that was one of the biggest casualties of the global financial crisis.

The SMH reports that a class action of councils has been successful in a legal attempt to apply to Lehman Brothers administrators for recognition of their claims. In short, instead of being paid as little as 5c in the dollar, BMCC may realise a little more. Katoomba Leura Online understands the large anticipated loss has yet to be fully recognised in BMCC financial results, so future rate rises may be on the way.

Latest update on Woolworths Leura Development

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The Western Regional Planning Panel met yesterday to discuss the Woolworths development on the old Colless site in Leura Mall.

The business paper presented gives the latest info on the proposal for a 1400sqm super market plus speciality shops (by comparison, Katoomba ALDI is about 1200sqm).

The key message from council is the revised development is head and shoulders over the previously approved retail/residential multi-story development on which building work has now ceased. The revised Woolworths proposal retains the two historic shops (currently Goodies supermarket) and adds three new shops on the Mall in keeping with the surrounding premises.

Entry to the supermarket will be from a corridor running from the Mall to the car park, or via a ramp up from the proposed below ground parking. There appear still to be some issues around signage, traffic and trolleys, which should be scrutinised based on the experience of previous developments where “nothing could be done” once building was complete.

Whether a major supermarket open 7am to 10pm will be a benefit to Leura is highly questionable, but at least the new proposal looks a little more in keeping with the township.

View from The Mall

View from The Mall

New Rail Fares announced

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The premier has announced a new rail fare structure that is set to benefit upper mountains residents substantially.

The new ticket types includes the MyMulti unlimited rail/travel/ferry pass for $57 a week for mountains locals. If you just need the train component you can save a dollar. This compares to a Leura-City weekly price currently of $66. Occasional users can buy a one day MyMulti ticket for $20.

Also cut are single ticket prices with Katoomba to the City at $7.80 compared to the current $12.20. Off-peak return tickets also drop substantially from $16.80 to $10.80.

New rates will be available from April 18 2010, and full details are at the MyZone website.

MyZone Map

MyZone Map

RFS adds additional “Safer Places”.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The RFS has added the Council Chambers and car park at Katoomba, Pioneer Place at Katoomba and Mt Victoria Park to its list of safer places shoud residents seek a last minute refuge in case of catastrophic fire.

Still no sites between Leura (the golf course) and Glenbrook (Whitton Park), which remains concerning.

Full list at the RFS Website.

Lilianfels to be sold to undisclosed buyer

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

The press release newswires are reporting Orient-Express Hotels group has agreed to a sale of the 85 room iconic property for $21m.

It describes the sale figure as 23 times its 2008 earnings, which if you do the maths works out at $32 a night profit if the hotel was 100% occupied. Considering rack rates are circa. $400 a night and up, and even on special rooms are around $200 it seems a pretty modest return, or perhaps costs are too high?

Lilianfels-okat_250_hotel3

RFS releases Neighbourhood Safer Places list

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

On of the outcomes of the Victorian fires earlier this year was the adoption of a plan to designate local refuges, to be called Neighbourhood Safer Places, where residents could seek emergency shelter should their evacuation be thwarted, or they reconsider their stay and defend decision at the last moment.

The following text and table is from the RFS site, I’m not sure if I’m terribly impressed with the nominated sites.

See the below table for the designated NSP locations in your local government area. These NSP locations have been subject to a validation process and have been deemed acceptable as a place of last resort.

Please note that the NSW Rural Fire Service has not yet received NSP locations for all local government areas of NSW. In addition, some recommended NSP locations will require further investigation to confirm that they are suitable as place of shelter to be used as a place of last resort during a bush fire emergency.

The NSW Rural Fire Service will continue to update the NSP locations as new data is received and validated. You should return to this site regularly for updates on the progress of the NSP program and to find a NSP close to you.

nsp

Controversial Leura mobile tower gets ready

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Despite a number of protest letters, and backing from the local school newsletter, the 3G tower has been installed on top of the Spires. The photo below shows the crew preparing it for activation.

Although protesters suggest any level of electromagnetic radiation is unsafe, at least siting the tower in a high location, in an area generally commercial, rather than residential, and several hundred metres from the school, takes advantage of the inverse square law to give broad coverage at lower power levels. And compared to some towers it doesn’t look that bad.

Vodafone also responded to objections to the tower on health and safety grounds, citing evidence the power levels at which it would be operated are below accepted standards. The reply is unlikely to mollify protesters, however, as it basically says there is nothing to worry about according to science, rather than addressing the protesters non-scientific concerns that in the future there may be evidence that mobile towers are health hazards.

Leura's new mobile tower approaches commisssioning

Leura's new mobile tower approaches commisssioning

ABC 4 Corners examines Homelessness in Katoomba

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Locals might be surprised to see how centrally Katoomba features in this week’s 4 Corners documentary about families facing accommodation crisis in Western Sydney.

The documentary, The Last Chance Motel,  features interviews with a number of families in housing stress, many who pass through Katoomba in the search for a permanent home. Unflatteringly, a local  landlord is also portrayed as exploiting these people.

The video and transcript can be found here.

Renaissance Centre/Mount Saint Mary’s Convent For Sale

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

After sitting vacant for over a decade, the old Convent at Katoomba is set for an auction on the 23rd of July.

The building was built as a convent and used as a boarding school before being sold off. The site re-emerged as the Renaissance Centre for a short stint as a tourism/cultural centre before sitting empty since the 1990s.

Regular coverage in the media in 1998, 2001, 2002 and heritage listing in 2003 kept the site in the public eye. If you are curious to see inside and views from around the 4 acres of grounds, check out the listing

Woolworths in Leura

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The Gazette reports, in a story that I think buried the lede, that Woolworths has struck a deal to buy the old Colless site in the Mall.

Work on the development has apparently ceased while future plans are confirmed. It is believed Woolies want to open a gourmet supermarket under the  Thomas Dux Grocer branding, retaining the planned underground car parking but no longer going ahead with the previously approved residential apartments on upper stories.

If the Woolworths plan goes ahead, it appears to be much more in keeping witht he village character – an up market supermarket catering to the Double Bay of the mountains ;-)

In any case, a scaled back development has positives for retaining Leura’s streetscape feel.

Rally to Support Katoomba Maternity Services

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The Blue Mountains Maternity Coalition is organising a rally tomorrow at the Anzac Memorial Hospital in Katoomba in response to rumours the maternity wing is to be closed permanently. If you care about birthing in the mountains, consider lending your support. Meet t the hospital 1:30pm 14/5/09.

Rally Poster

Rally Poster

BMCC loses millions more.

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

In the 19 November 2008 edition, the Gazette reported that council had a number of investments with Grange Securities (part of Lehman Brothers) that had their value reduced.

The auditors at that time wrote down the value of the then $25m investment fund by $4.1m. The report also noted some direct investments in sub-prime mortgage CDOs, which it claimed would be repaid at maturity.

Recent reports in the SMH and Age newspapers show that BMCC losses could be much greater. A table from The Age shows that BMCC had $11.3m invested with Grange, and a 20 April 2009 report in the SMH states councils have been offered only 5.6c in the dollar repayment of their capital.

If this figure is accurate, BMCC faces losses of over $10m, or in excess of $800 per ratepayer.

In November, council suggested that these problem investments would come good, but current reports suggest that council may be forced to accept the 5.6c in the dollar payment, throwing the council budget into disarray for years to come.