Home' Plains Producer : PP_130227 Contents Plains Producer, Wednesday February 27, 2013
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AN Ombudsman inquiry, progress update
on the Wakefeld water project and questions
relating to the sale of the former Port Wakefeld
works depot headline another busy Wakefeld
Regional Council agenda for tonight’s monthly
The Ombudsman report relates to several
alleged breaches of the Local Government
Act by the mayor, James Maitland, and WRC
chief executive offcer, Cate Atkinson, raised
by Western ward councillor, Richard Pain.
Cr Pain wrote to the Ombudsman’s offce in
October last year, claiming a number of different
sections of the Act had been breached during
discussion of a confdential item at council
meetings last year.
While the Ombudsman’s response is quite
lengthy and detailed, to summarise, both Mr
Maitland and Mrs Atkinson were cleared of
any breaches, but council’s policy relating to
confdential items came under heavy scrutiny.
The agenda reveals council has since been
ordered to review its confdential items policy
and rewrite it by April this year.
The Ombudsman also suggested council
note reasons why items are to go into conf-
dence, a practice that should be adopted no
later than March.
Final details relating to contractual obliga-
tions of WRC, SA Water and the Federal gov-
ernment in the Wakefeld Regional Water Sup-
ply Upgrade Project are nearing completion.
Under the agreement, council will be the
holder of the Commonwealth funds, with SA
Water delivering the project.
Council will decide tonight to formalise this
agreement, with contract negotiations with SA
Water to follow.
Cr Richard Pain has three questions on
notice, regarding the sale of the former Port
Wakefeld works depot.
His questions relate to how the fnal sale
price of the works depot was set, whether the
full amount, including GST, was collected
from the purchaser, and was the GST paid to
the Australian Taxation Offce.
Balco has submitted its Statement of Intent
(SOI) relating Industrial Zone Expansion
development plan amendment at Bowmans.
The rezoning would double the Bowmans
Intermodal Site, allowing for further expansion
in the future.
Council will choose to support the SOI at
tonight’s meeting, as well as authorise Mrs
Atkinson to sign and forward it to the Minister
for Planning’s offcer for approval.
Albeit slightly delayed, Balaklava Area
Committee will present its Young Achiever
Award to Duane Wilson, who was away on
Australia Day, when presentations were made.
The presentation will take place at the start
of the council meeting.
Les Pearson reports:
Pick of the
Louise Michael reports: B NCH
GRAPE vintage has started, and
we must spare a thought for the grape
pickers out in the vineyards in this
Lovely green grape vines look
inviting in comparison with
our bare dusty paddocks.
But the hot and dry weath-
er has scorched not only
some of the vine leaves, but
some of the grapes.
As many grapes didn’t fll
out due to lack of rain, ton-
nage is expected to be about
25 per cent lower than usual,
but the quality is reportedly
Geoff Jenner, of Water-
vale, has been a grape picker,
either by hand or machine,
for about 20 years.
He works for Michael
Smyth, a contractor at Leas-
ingham, and picks for local vign-
erons around the district.
“I’ve currently got a bit of a
“cushy job” as tractor driver. But it’s
an open cab tractor,” laughed Geoff.
Open cabs are used so the driver
can hear when pickers want to empty
their buckets, and for ease of the
driver getting up and down to empty
Bins are towed behind the trac-
tor and they hold about half a tonne
of grapes. About 10 bins worth of
grapes would be picked per day.
Bins are also used to catch grapes
picked by machine.
Geoff said many growers re-
quested hand pickers, while others
have machines picking at night.
Balaklava locals Barry Olsen and
Lindsay and Jan Day, often work
with Geoff in a gang of hand pickers
for Smyths. Gangs usually consist
of about 15-20 workers. Barry has
been picking grapes now for well
more than 20 years, and started after
the fruit and veg shop he worked in
Balaklava was sold.
“It was a chance to try some-
thing different. It’s seasonal work,
and after picking has fnished, I
also do pruning,” he said. Barry
enjoys the vineyard work and good
Lindsay has also been picking for
more than 20 years, while Jan has
been picking for about 36 years in
total, the last 14 for Smyths.
“We love the work and the work-
ing environment. The heat can be
diffcult, and I’ve noticed that more
as I’ve got older, “ said Jan.
Some grapes varieties were
picked green some weeks ago,
mainly for Chardonnay, Semillon
and some champagnes, but the gang
(pictured) was picking cabernet
sauvignon this week.
Michael Smyth said quality of
grapes picked so far was still good,
but quantity was down across most
varieties, mainly due to the dry
After picking, grapes are taken to
the winery where cellar hands start
the wine-making process. Basically
the wine makers have a recipe for
the required wine, and the cellar
hands “make it happen.”
Hamley Bridge’s Barry Smith
and Ricky Huckshold, are both
Grade 4 cellar hands at Oxford
Landing Winery in the Barossa
Barry was a panel beater for 20
years, and Ricky a spraypainter for
21 years, before embarking on a
They had to complete a three
year apprenticeship and now work
with about 25 regular staff, and
about 50 during the vintage season.
“We both enjoy the working
environment, and our staff and
workmates work as a team. We also
have fexible working shifts which
is good,” said Barry.
The job of a cellar hand is basi-
cally to process grapes through to
the fnished product, bottled wine.
LEFT: Barry Smith and Ricky Huckshold, are both Grade 4
cellarhands at Oxford Landing Winery
BALAKALVA’s Lindsay and Jan Day picking near Sevenhill this
week, with Blyth’s Emily Zweck in the background.
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