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Editor: Meredith Clisby
Journalists: Georgina Connery,
Kimberley Le Lievre,
Mary Lynn Mather
Contact: 6280 2457
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Fax: 6239 1345
Classifieds: 6280 3055
The annual Vinnies Doorknock
Appeal returns to the capital s streets
this month in an effort to raise
$320,000 for people with urgent and
The St Vincent de Paul Society
Canberra/Goulburn is urging locals to
dedicate two to three hours to help
achieve the ambitious target that is
$20,000 above last year s total.
The funds will go towards
emergency food, clothing,
accommodation, mental health
services, support for families, special
services for young people and life
Some of last year s fundraising went
towards the St Nick s Young Carers,
which holds camps for young carers.
Other programs funded by the
donations are the Night Patrol, the
Blue Door drop-in centre at Ainslie
Village and the Clemente university
program offered through the
Australian Catholic University to
To volunteer, visit vinnies.org.au/
GetInvolved or call (02) 6234 7347.
Doorknocking runs from 9.30am to
7pm on weekends and weekdays
from 5pm to 7pm during February.
Donate to the appeal at
SUPPORT FOR CANCER PATIENTS
Sisters' inspiring work a 'god-send'
Sisters Sophia Kemppainen and Valentina Deeble have organised the Inspire Ball for Cancer Support Group
ACT Eden Monaro at the National Gallery of Australia.
Photo: Elesa Kurtz
At the outset, hosting a fundraiser for
cancer patients and their families was
a way to give back.
But in the past 12 months, while
organising Inspire Ball, sisters
Valentina Deeble and Sophia
Kemppainen have been rocked by
three diagnoses of cancer in their
Months of planning will come to
fruition on Friday night as more than
100 guests take their seats in the
National Gallery of Australia s
The duo had been searching for a
philanthropic outlet for months and
then in early 2015 put their idea for a
never-done-before event to Cancer
Support Group ACT Eden Monaro.
"Looking at all of the local charities
we could work with what became
really important to us was knowing
100 per cent of what is raised goes to
people, not to admin fees," Miss
The successive blows discovering
members of their family had various
forms of the disease strengthened the
pair s connection to the cause and led
them to experience what the
organisation offered clients.
"It s just been stressful and has
really knocked our family around,"
Miss Deeble said.
The sisters are counting down the
days until they can enjoy watching
guests flooding into the gallery for
canapes, a two-course meal and music
by ACT 20-piece Spectrum Big Band
and plenty of laughs thanks to Comedy
ACT s Emo Parsonson and Chris
Ms Kemppainen said cancer
journeys came in different shapes and
sizes but putting her efforts towards
helping those in a similar circumstance
to her loved ones made the difficult
time easier to get through.
She said while fundraising was
important, she hoped the event would
encourage more people to appreciate
the stress borne by patients and their
"The bills people have before they
are diagnosed don t just disappear,"
Ms Kemppainen said. "When you are
going through a very emotional time
that added financial stress, medical
bills, transport costs and loss of
income, can blow things out of the
water for people."
Cancer Support Group chief
executive Melissa Gardiner said with
such limited resources having
passionate volunteers approach the
organisation with fresh ideas to
generate more for families in the
region was "a god-send".
"The girls are fantastic to put on an
event of this size," she said. "It s been
a lot of hard work and commitment on
their part. Many hours over many
For more information or to
donate visit thecancer
BUILDING DEFECTS SERIOUS PROBLEM
Public forum seeks feedback to tackle dodgy units
Owners Corporation Network will
hold a public forum with the ACT
government this Saturday, seeking
feedback on what has been a "six-year
discussion" about building defects in
Canberra unit blocks.
On February 1, The Canberra Times
reported that the government told
Canberra s multi-storey unit block
builders and developers to lift their
game after claims some projects were
so shoddy they would be cheaper to
demolish and rebuild than to repair.
OCN is the consumers voice for
owners of units, apartments and
townhouses concerning poor quality
The volunteer organisation s
treasurer, Libby Amiel, said its
members advise home buyers who
discover issues such as water leaks, a
cracking facade and poor structural
integrity to avoid "silly, horrendous
decisions" that could result from a lack
of prior knowledge.
The group s president, Gary
Petherbridge, is calling on overdue
stronger regulation as he believed
disgraceful and dangerous building
projects had been a recognised issue in
the ACT for six years.
"Some defects include water
leaking from the roofs or balconies
into people s living areas," he said.
"A lot of them have got serious
cracking on render of the walls, glass
that falls off buildings, non-standard
glass that just explodes and falls onto
the ground below. People could get
killed if they are walking along there."
Planning Minister Mick
Gentleman s office released a
discussion paper in November in an
effort to improve the ACT building
Mr Petherbridge hopes community
input at this forum will shake answers
from the government about intended
action and how it will be rolled out.
"There was a forum held about
these issues in February 2014 but the
government didn t take on too many
ideas, unfortunately," he said.
"The paper s story ... highlighted
the serious problem and this is the
second attempt of a solution to
actually correct the approach that
builders and developers take to the
quality of buildings." The Canberra
Times article revealed how Ross
Taylor, a consultant who has been
working with Access Canberra to
develop a more streamlined dispute
resolution model for builders and unit
owners, said he had been called in on
one project where repairs just weren t
While attempts are still being
made to have the builder return to
carry out the necessary repairs, this
seems unlikely, he said.
The main option remaining is
demolition and redevelopment.
The public forum will run from
10am to noon on February 13 in the
ground floor conference room at
16 Challis Street, Dickson.
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