Councillor candidates have their say on roads and potholes

THE Port News’ COUNCILLOR CANDIDATEQuestion Time starts todayand willuntil the electionon September 8.
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How our Question Time will work:

After asking for feedback from the public,we have narrowed down the three mainissues to get the candidates to respond on.

This weekeach councillor and mayoral candidate hasthe opportunity to outline their stance (in

100 words or less) on roads and potholes.

We will run the responses from each of thecandidates over our three editions onMonday, Wednesday and Friday.

Next week (Week 2) we will run the candidatesresponses to the issue of TheGlasshouse and general council spendingpolicy.

In Week 3, we will gather their insights onbusiness and jobs.

All of their responses will also appear in ourprint editions.

The Vision Test:As aseparate exercise along a similarlythemed idea, the Port News has devised aseries of questions after our public consultation.

We have come up with 22 questions fromthe public feedback aimed at providing abroader insight into each candidate.

Candidates have the option of respondingwith 150 words to each question: we willthen publish those responses online in full.

The aim of the exercise is to provide everycandidate equal opportunity to respondwith their personal insights.

We have asked each candidate to ensureeach response is kept to a maximum of 100

words. Any answers beyond the 100-wordlimit will be cut from the bottom.

We are running the answers in the orderthat they have been returned to us at thenewspaper.

The online responses will begin next week.

You, the voting public, will be able tomake comments online to continue to haveyour say and let the council candidatesknow what you think.

Our upcoming election coverage over thenext three weeks will include how to voteinformation, press releases from candidates,plus the expert coverage of LISA TISDELLon all the latest breaking news.

You also have the option of writing LettersTo The Editor to help keep the feedbackgoing in the run-up to this crucial election.

First up we askedcouncil candidates for their stance on "roads and potholes" in 100 words or less. The first 11 responses of the 32 candidates are as follows:

Drusi Megget

(Councillor candidate)

Where there are roads then there will be potholes, a fact of life.

The busiest roads are the first priority to be maintained. There will always be a backlog of maintenance because no regional council has enough money in the budget.

For the future it will be important to have a better public transport system - more frequent, dependable, subsidised - and good cycleways. Both of these will ease pressure on the road system. I know that these ideas also use money. However public transport and cycling will become one of the 21st century's trends.


(Councillor candidate)

There needs to be a better process on prioritising the roads in the Greater Port Macquarie area.

Council at the moment is overwhelmed by the amount of repairs needed and can not cope.

There is a need for council to acquire funding from State and Federal Governments to meet the immediate needs to catch up.

I would push for sub-contractors to be involved in the large jobs and this in it self would cut costs.

This would alleviate the problem of council resources being spread too short that require attention yesterday.


(Mayoral and councillor candidate)

Keith Wilkinson said our roads are in an appalling state of disrepair and as a high priority has vowed to fix the situation.

"These roads are dangers and the holes are quite deep and someone is going to get hurt or worse".

The council's model for funding is broken.

We all need to start thinking strategically and laterally.

Therefore, I intend to work cooperatively and closely with Federal and State Government representatives and the Mid North Coast Group of Councils to source alternative funding e.g: secure a greater share of the State Government's GST.


(Councillor candidate)

There is no easy solution to this issue which affects the entire community.

It is not just the inconvenience they are dangerous.

It will take a lot of time and money and many councils to come to solve this problem.

We need a strategy to systematically replace or properly repair the roads beginning with the worst and working through them until they are all of an acceptable standard or better.

All available funding needs to be directed towards this problem.

The poor attempts at patching potholes is both costly and pointless.


(Councillor candidate)

As I am sure many would agree, our road network is in a sad and sorry state. How we address the issue of road maintenance needs to fit into an overall theme of efficiency in how Council carries out its day-to-day operations. I believe Council will need to reassess how it tackles the upkeep of our roads - our next councillors will need to ask the following questions:

* How efficiently are staff, resources and time being used?

* Are we consulting the community effectively on how road repairs are being handled?

* Are ratepayers getting good value for money?


(Councillor candidate)

I, like many residents in our region, am concerned with the current state of our roads which not only includes the disrepair but the lack of quality repair and resurfacing of our local roads.

If elected, I intend to seek a comparative review involving the construction and maintenance cost undertaken by council staff and that of contractors including the quality of such work and whether ratepayers are obtaining best value for money and the work meets Australian standards.

Furthermore I also await the outcome of the NSW Government's green paper which includes infrastructure planning and costs for local government areas.


(Mayoral and councillorcandidate)

The decline must stop.

This is the mostcomplained about issuewhich I hear aboutevery day. It isconcerning that amotorist would choosean upgraded dirt road inpreference to ourbitumen.

The previousadministrator did somequick fixes.

One of the roads Idrive on was resurfacedand within a couple ofmonths the road had

sheered through,meaning the road has tobe done again.

This becomes a highcost to council andprevents more workbeing done and work

should be done as amatter of safety.


(Councillor candidate)

A councillor's jobis to instruct the highlyqualified staff toallocate funding tograde roads and fillevery potholeimmediately to stop thefurther destruction ofthe road infrastructure.

Then the resurfacingrepairs will account forabout 30 per cent of thecouncil funds for thenext 10 years to returnroads to a goodcondition.

Serious questionsregarding council’sability to continueborrowing millions ofdollars to repairinfrastructure when thestate’s funding onlypays the first 4 per centof the infrastructure butleaves a growing debt.

More rate rises areunacceptable and nocost grants from state

and federal are unlikely.


(Mayoral and councillorcandidate)

I’d audit the roads andprioritise the need forattention. Fill the mostdangerous potholes asa stop-gap safetymeasure and grade thedirt roads in theHastings.

Budget to tear up andreseal bad roads one byone.

All roads which aretorn up and resealedwould be done with aview to getting at least20 years service fromthem.

This would probablymean concrete for hightraffic volume roadswhich is expensive, butwould work out cheaperdue to the longevity ofconcrete construction.

It would take time,but would be worth it inthe long run.


(Councillor candidate)

My platformemphasises a re-focusby council on the threeR’s - roads, rates andrubbish.

I cannot praise highlyenough the state of theart waste managementfacility operated by


However the roadsare obviously anotherstory altogether.

The number onerequirement whenaddressing the localroads issue is that we

have to be realistic.

Council has over1300km of roadsdispersed over a largegeographic area.

Because of council’scurrent financialpredicament, we can’texpect miracles but

council will need toprioritise roads overother grandioseschemes and growthfor its own sake.


(Councillor candidate)

This is the No 1 issuefor most councilresidents.

■Worsened by ourweather patternreturning to a muchwetter environment.

■ Three-prongedstrategy

(i) immediate - a coordinatedrepairprogram compiled withreference to council’srecent audit of its roadsnetwork maximisingbest use of the limitedfinances available;

(ii) mid term - use bestavailable alternativesand advice tocompetently completeplanned projects.

Would involveoutsourcing to externalproven contractorsusing proper

contractualdocumentation; and

(iii) long term - breakthe current fundingdisaster and proactivelypursue a better fundingmodel.

■ The over-archinggoal is to get ahead ofthe problem.

Potholes are a common sight on roads in the Hastings.

Local Government elections will be held on September 8.

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Memories of mountain `miracle’

WHENEVER Meander Valley councillor Pat Frost sees helicopter rescue company managing director Roger Corbin she gives him a big, strong hug.
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``It's just so lovely to see him, it was lovely to see him,'' Cr Frost says. ``If it wasn't for Roger, I would not be here.

``I had about half an hour left in me - if he hadn't come back, I'd be dead.''

Caveside man Kelvin Howe agrees, taking the measure of the lean chopper pilot nearly twice as tall as the two of them standing close by. ``Yeah, he saved us,'' he said.

Mr Howe's wife Margaret was supposed to be the star of this particular show.

It is 10 years since Cr Frost, Mr Howe, his neighbour Dave Fleming and pilot David Sewell were in a helicopter that crashed into the Great Western Tiers near Lake Mackenzie.

Mrs Howe had finally finished the story of the rescue, the amazing survival of all four in the chopper on that cold May day and night and their slow, agonising recovery.

The book, based on daily journals Mrs Howe wrote from the time of the crash, was supposed to be something for the Howe's grandchildren to read. But it grew.

This week's launch of Miracle on the Mountain is the 231-page story of the rescue and recovery of the four but it is also about her husband and his life-long love affair with the mountain where he came so close to death.

The book launch was organised to celebrate the culmination of a huge project for Mrs Howe who admits to enjoying composition - the forerunner of essay writing - at school but had written nothing of volume since.

Instead Mrs Howe took the opportunity at the Launceston launch, at Legacy House, to turn the spotlight on the people who rescued her husband and his friends.

At least half a dozen of the more than 20 that took part in the ground and air rescue were at the launch as well as a number of the nurses from the Launceston General Hospital's Ward 5B where Mr Howe was patched up.

Unusually for seasoned emergency and rescue workers, many in the group have kept in close touch with the four that they fought to keep alive when temperatures plummeted to minus eight on the mountain.

But they hadn't been publicly acknowledged en masse before.

Cr Frost keeps hugging Rotor Lift Aviation managing director Mr Corbin because he refuelled his Hobart-based chopper at Launceston and flew back up the mountain at 2am in atrocious conditions instead of at first light the next morning.

Cr Frost knows that she would have been dead by then.

The ground search party had found four critically injured survivors when it expected that the pilot would be the only chopper occupant.

``When we went back, we couldn't land,'' Mr Corbin told the crowd at the launch. ``The conditions were too bad.''

``So they hovered above Dave and myself while we were pulled out - we went out first otherwise we would have gone out in body bags,'' Cr Frost said.

All four were by this time suffering from hypothermia and Mr Kelly and Cr Frost had back injuries which kept them as patients at Melbourne's Austin Hospital for months afterward.

Cr Frost, like the other three, had been thrown from the chopper as it crashed. She had landed with her feet in a small, icy stream and was too frightened to drag herself completely clear of the water because of her back injuries.

With Mr Corbin in the chopper were co-pilot Paul Newland, who now pilots helicopters in Western Australia, and Tim McNamara, who crews with Australian Helicopters based in Adelaide.

The first time Mr Corbin tried to fly in to rescue the injured cloud was so low and the night so dark that he could not see a thing. The ground rescue party lit fires to guide him in.

He left paramedic Mike McCall behind to help as he flew Cr Frost and Mr Kelly out and flares were let off to light his way back to pull out Mr Howe and Mr Sewell.

Also at this week's launch was SES officer Martin Boyle, intensive care paramedic Graeme Jones, police helicopter crewman Damian Bidgood and SES regional chief Gerald Van Rongen.

Mr Van Rongen and Mr Boyle were the first two of the on-ground rescue team to reach the survivors after walking through the night over unfamiliar terrain up the mountain.

``We didn't know until we got there that there were four people not just one,'' Mr Van Rongen said. ``They found us - Kelvin heard us coming and called out to us, that's how we located them.''

Mr Howe didn't mind sharing centre stage with his wife and the emergency crew this week.

``I cherish any moment I can get back,'' he said. ``And these are such great fellows. People know that there are people who do what they do but when you see behind the scenes you realise what wonderful people they are.''

Copies of Miracle on the Mountain can be obtained by emailing Margaret Howe at [email protected]南京夜网.au.

Helicopter crash survivor Kelvin Howe and his wife Margaret, seated, with fellow survivor Pat Frost, centre, and back, from left, ground and air rescue team members Martin Boyle, Graeme Jones, Damian Bidgood, Gerald Van Rongen, Roger Corbin and Lindsay Godfrey. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

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Presentation night for Dubbo Junior Basketball

DUBBO Junior Basketball recently celebrated the end of another great season with its presentation night at the Western Star Hotel.
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A number of players and officials were recognised for their efforts, among them Daniel Pracey and Kye Matterson, who took out the under-18s player of the year and MVP awards respectively.

Kaide Ellis took out the under-18s coaches award while Connor Marsh was the most improved player in that division.

Other winners were:

Under-16 Girls: Melita Hamilton (MVP), Sedia Towney-Elemes (most improved), Sarah Parker and Abbie Merritt (coaches awards) and Grace Pilon (players player)

Under-14 Girls: Tori Monk (MVP), Adi Tratt (most improved) and Milla Morrison (coaches award)

Under-12 Girls: Bec Dallinger (MVP), Neave Tratt (most improved) and Claudia Morrison (coaches award)

Corey Williams was awarded the referee of the year title while thankyou gifts were given to other referees Ben Castlehouse, Nick Conte and Blaine Caton.

A special thanks was also give to Arthur Hoskins from Custom Steel and Dubbo RSL Club for their ongoing support of junior basketball in Dubbo.

Under-18s player of the year Daniel Pracey with coach Max Ellis. Photos: AMY McINTYRE

Georgia Berry, Milly Purvis, Jayda Darcy, Tori Monk, Milla Morrison, Zoe Warwick, Adi Tratt and Ashwini Manorathan from the Dubbo Rams under-14 girls.

Ashleigh Taylor, Jordan Amos, Abbie Merritt, Melita Hampton, Sedia Towney-Elemes, Sarah Parker, Brodie Taylor and Jess Mayers.

Mark Ellis, Veronica Pickering, Claire Hargreaves, James Purvis, Max Ellis and Rodney Morrison.

Rodney, Milla, Claudia and Julie Morrison.

Tori and Katie Monk.

Under-12s players (back) Neave Tratt, Rebecca McMahon, Payton Reynolds and (front) Claudia Morrison, Matilda Knaggs, Tori Reynolds.

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Uplifting time for emergency personnel

IT must be a rare thing for emergency service workers to arrive at what looks to be a fatal collision and end up shaking hands with the person who survived thanks to their efforts.
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This scenario was played out in a ward in Orange hospital yesterday when most of the key players in the battle to keep James Cantrill alive met up again at his bedside.

It was his mother Christine Cantrill’s idea to thank the people who together kept James alive until he could be transported to Sydney for life-saving surgery.

The group which converged on the crash scene at the corner of Lake Canobolas and Cargo roads early on the morning of August 1 included paramedics, firefighters, police and a passing nurse.

Sadly for them the situation was probably not an unusual one. What made it memorable in the end was the life saved as a result of their efforts.

Too often police, paramedics, fire and rescue officers and medical staff work unsuccessfully to save the life of a road accident victim. Too often they must be haunted by the images etched into their minds after a day at a serious crash site.

Yesterday’s reunion with the Cantrill family must have been an uplifting one for the personnel involved. From the first emergency workers on the scene to the doctors at the hospital who stabilised Mr Cantrill and prepared him for transport to Westmead he received the very best of care.

His ordeal and now the family’s gratitude have been played very publicly, in the process reminding every motorist how the lives of loved ones can be taken or changed forever in a split second.

GIFT OF LIFE: James Cantrill thanks paramedic intern Daniel Clark for helping to save his life while senior firefighter Dean Brus, family friend Rosslyn Badcock and senior firefighter Tim Collins look on. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0817james3

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Fire risk a major concern for us all

FOR the fourth time this week grassfires have been in the news, with a small fire on the Golden Highway yesterday morning being quickly extinguished by emergency fire services.
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While most of these conflagrations have been small and easily snuffed out, the amount of fuel in the countryside around the city and the region is cause of great concern to fire control services.

Just this week a number of fire service volunteers from Sydney and the coast travelled through the area to spend time with Dubbo and Narromine fire service volunteers and pick up some tips on grass fire-fighting.

While the visitors might be skilled in fighting bush fires, they were happy to gather techniques and experience in open grassland fire control.

While we've enjoyed two or three fantastic summers of drought-breaking rains, the price is a massive build-up of fuel in our paddocks and forest areas.

All landholders should be taking steps to be prepare for this fire season: whether it be overhauling their firefighting units or tankers, polishing up their skills or undertaking control programs to reduce fuel levels and creating fire breaks.

Members of the Sappa Bulga Water Scheme, a story related on page 5 today, have had many thousands of dollars damage to their water supply, allegedly the actions of a thoughtless vandal.

We cannot emphasise enough to the wider community of the risks and the care that needs to be taken.

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Teenager escapes home of nightmares in search of better life

AFTER eight years of never-ending abuse and fear, Marina* decided to leave home in search of a better life at just 12 years old.
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The Dubbo resident has bravely shared her experience of homelessness with the Daily Liberal.

Marina said she could vividly remember, when she was four years old, sitting in bed with her mother who was being bashed by her boyfriend.

She said later her stepfather was extremely abusive and he threatened to kill them numerous times if they informed the police of his actions.

"He used to hit mum at night time and she used to scream for me to help her," she said.

"Every night I sleep with great difficulty because I am in alert mode and I suffer nightmares. He has really mentally destroyed me."

One afternoon, her stepfather came home and she asked him to leave because of his constant abuse to her mother and he did.

Her mother began to go downhill emotionally and drank to forget her worries. The teenager said she felt responsible for her mother's actions.

She started to cut herself because she felt unloved by her mother, and left home in rebellion.

Months of "couch-surfing" at her friend's house followed and then, aged 13, she said her boyfriend "brainwashed" to believe her mother really didn't love her and she should stay with him.

She called the NSW Department of Community Service (DOCS) and informed them her mother no longer loved her and did not want her to stay home.

"I was stupid for leaving her," she said.

Marina stayed with her boyfriend's family for a few months then left after they began to ignore her.

She then moved to a family in Cobar for almost a year until the foster carers' marriage broke down.

A period with a Wellington-based carer then followed, but she said they refused to look after her needs and kicked her out.

Packing her bags, she was sent to live with carers who were grandparents looking after few of their own grandchildren in Dubbo. But again problems arose as she said they did not respect her and she was forced to leave.

Marina met another boyfriend and decided she would move in with his family in Dubbo.

"I felt worthless, hated, dumped, ditched, depressed and lonely," she said.

"I wanted to die, to disappear and to wake up from this nightmare."

At school she said was bullied and called "emo and freak" because of her appearance and cut-marks on her arms.

Marina said being homeless took a toll on her studies at school and her relationships with others.

She started to skip classes and dropped out of school for a year because she became involved with the wrong crowd. She then started to drink her troubles away.

Marina told the Daily Liberal the worst experience was living in Dubbo with no family or friends and feeling lonely for long periods.

DOCS were not helpful and refused to take responsibility for her care, she said.

"I've never met my case worker and they are meant to catch up with you and have house inspections," she said.

Marina said she now had a good relationship with her mother and sister, and she hoped to be reunited when they moved back to Dubbo in the near future.

"All I want is someone to love me and to live with a stable family," she said.

Her message to those who were homeless was to trust there was light at the end of the tunnel and there were people who were willing to help.

"Over the years this situation has taught me to stand up for myself and to fight for what I believe in," she said. "I'm determined to rise up from the darkness and take on the world day by day.

"I will succeed, I will be somebody and I will make everyone proud."

[email protected]南京夜网

* Name has been changed to protect her identity.

Marina says being homeless has taught her to be strong and determined. Photo: AMY MCINTYRE

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Praise bestowed on reformed man

A YOUNG Dubbo man who committed crimes to fund intravenous drug use has been praised for turning his life around.
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Andrew Michael Lincoln was facing up to 14 years in jail when he was arrested on multiple break and enter and property offences.

Dubbo Local Court gave Lincoln the opportunity to take part in the Magistrate's Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) drug and alcohol program.

After spending time in a residential rehabilitation centre, the 23-year-old returned to face Magistrate Andrew Eckhold "20 kilograms heavier, working and back playing sport".

"A different man is sitting before you,'' Legal Aid said.

The court heard Lincoln was a rising sporting star at age 19 - he was working full-time and had purchased a house.

He went from "smoking a bit of cannabis" to using speed and Oxycontin (commonly known as hillbilly heroin).

When his pregnant partner walked out, Lincoln left Dubbo for six months before "coming back clean". The court heard he reverted to intravenous drug use when his grandfather became ill.

Magistrate Eckhold said Lincoln's crimes were driven by drug dependency.

"It would have taken hundreds of dollars a day to fund your habit," the magistrate said.

"Break and enters are serious and can have a lasting impact on victims who sometimes feel invaded for the rest of their lives.

"People should be able to feel safe in their own homes. You did the wrong thing but fortunately no acts of violence were committed."

Magistrate Eckhold said Lincoln was given an opportunity to take part in drug detoxification and rehabilitation in March.

"You have done rehab successfully," he said.

"The final report from MERIT is very positive."

Magistrate Eckhold warned Lincoln drug dependency was a chronic relapsing condition.

"It takes a very mature person not to relapse and reoffend," he said.

"You are going to need continued support."

Lincoln was placed on an 18-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to three charges of break and enter.

Four other charges were withdrawn by the prosecution.

Lincoln will be supervised by the probation and parole service. He was fined $200 and ordered to pay $83 court costs.

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Government error causes council rethink

DUBBO City Council may divert interest income and use savings to meet a funding shortfall caused by what has been called a federal government error.
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The council will receive $325,848 less from a special grant than it originally expected because of revised population data.

Dubbo ratepayers will now only benefit from $6,678,071 in financial assistance grants aid for 2012-2013.

The council had drawn up its budget based on the original sum.

Council organisational services director Craig Giffin advised of a proposed measure that could avert a change in this year's budget.

"Council received advance notice of the error and, as a result, has included within the draft June 2012 quarterly financial review statements provision to fund the shortfall in the grant from additional interest income received on investments during 2011-2012 and various identified operational savings," Mr Giffin said.

"The June quarterly financial review statements will be submitted to council at its August meeting.

"If adopted, no variation to the 2012-2013 budget would be required."

Of the decreased grant funding, the Grants Commission had allocated $5,042,150 to general purpose and $1,635,921 to roads.

This was reflected in the council's 2012/2013 operational plan and budget.

Councils at Parkes, Port Macquarie and across Australia reported a cut in the funding expected from Canberra.

The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW hit out at the federal government, saying councils across the state would be forced to reassess and modify their budgets as a result.

Shires Association president Ray Donald said it was a disgrace that the grants estimates were so over-inflated and reported hearing of councils that were considering postponing or cancelling projects.

Regional development minister Simon Crean refuted the criticism.

A spokesman for the minister said local governments were receiving what they were legally entitled to and that the federal contribution would be almost $2.2 billion in 2012-13.

The grant allocations changed annually in line with changes to Australia's population and the consumer price index.

Therefore, it was not unusual for adjustments to be made from time to time and delaying the adjustment was not possible under the act, he said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics provided population estimates based on 2011 Census data as required by the legislation governing the financial assistance grants payments.

[email protected]南京夜网

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P-plater banned from roads, fined

A P-PLATE driver was facing a maximum of $12,000 in fines when he appeared in Dubbo Local Court on multiple traffic charges.
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Cameron Phillip Bell, 26, pleaded guilty to special category drink-driving, exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 kilometres an hour, not displaying P-plates and driving an uninsured and unregistered vehicle.

The court heard Bell had consumed two full-strength beers over several hours and thought he was safe to drive.

"It was his brother's vehicle," the court was told.

"He did not know it was unregistered and uninsured.

"He did not check to see the P-plates were still on the vehicle."

The court heard Bell had successfully completed the traffic offender's education program and was worried about losing his driver's licence.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold said Bell had made a bad error of judgement.

"Drink-driving is wrong - everyone knows that," the magistrate said.

"You have confessed your guilt and have attempted to remedy the situation by completing driver education."

Bell was fined a total of $650 and disqualified from driving for six months.

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Cox descendant to reveal road facts 

HISTORY buffs interested in the story behind building the first road to Bathurst have the rare chance to hear from a direct descendant of the man in charge of the project.
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Richard Cox will be in Bathurst next week as the guest of the Bathurst District Historical Society to give a presentation about the building of the first road to Bathurst in 1813.

The man in charge of the project was William Cox, Richard Cox’s great, great grandfather.

Richard Cox has written a biography to bring his ancestor to life and his visit next week will coincide with the Central West release and sale of William Cox: Blue Mountains Roadbuilder and Pastoralist.

Richard has also written 12 novels and a number of works of non-fiction. Historical Society president Alan McRae said the visit was a coup for the region in the lead-up to Bathurst’s bicentenary celebrations in 2015.

“The first road to Bathurst would have to be classed as nothing short of amazing,” Mr McRae said.

“To construct over 100 miles of ‘roadway’ with a group of 30 convicts through appalling terrain in just six months would not even be attempted today.”

Richard Cox’s presentation and talk will take place on Wednesday at 7.30pm in the Holy Trinity Church Parish Hall. The talk is open to all members of the community for just $2 (including supper).

RSVP by phoning 6332 4755 between 11am and 2pm today or tomorrow, or email [email protected]南京夜网.au.

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