Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 01-03-16 Contents 9 - Tuesday, March 1, 2016
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SES veteran loves helping out others
VOLUNTEERING REAPS REWARDS
Gordon McAlpine has volunteered with the ACT State Emergency Service for nearly two decades and was an
Australia's Local Hero state finalist in 2014.
Photo: Elesa Kurtz
"Motivated to help others," is how
State Emergency Service and
Australian Federal Police volunteer
Gordon McAlpine describes himself.
This is obvious after one look at his
impressive list of achievements and
the number of Canberrans -- as well as
other Australians -- he has helped over
The 71-year-old s passion for
emergency work developed during the
30 years he served in the Royal
Australian Air Force.
His most vivid, challenging and
rewarding memories from this time
include helping out during the 1974
Brisbane floods and South Australia s
Ash Wednesday fires in 1983.
Mr McAlpine was determined to
keep helping the community after he
retired as a warrant officer instrument
fitter for the Air Force in 1999.
"I had finished up my career here in
Canberra and looked around for
something to do to keep myself
busy and continue emergency work,"
"The SES looked like a pretty good
way of doing it."
He spent 13 years volunteering as a
commander for the Woden SES Unit,
leading teams out into long nights in
the field during storm damage and
ensuring they weren t overworked.
Major emergencies included the
2003 Canberra bushfires (during
which he featured on the front page of
The Canberra Times), the 2009 Black
Saturday bushfires in Victoria and the
2011 Queensland floods.
In 2004, Mr McAlpine was awarded
an Emergency Services Medal during
the Australia Day Honours. Ten years
later he was chosen as a state finalist
for Australia s Local Hero.
"That was one of the proudest
moments of my life," he said.
"Just to be even considered for that
sort of stuff is an extreme honour."
His volunteering has not slowed
with age -- he is now a community
events co-ordinator for the SES as well
as a volunteer with the AFP and
He recently attended to some of the
600 calls the SES received during
Canberra s severe thunderstorms.
Mr McAlpine s favourite work
is catering for fundraising events
and "cooking up feeds for police on
As if that s not enough, he organises
traffic marshalling and supports
ambulances at events such as the
Australia Day concert.
So does he plan to stop lending a
hand any time soon?
"It s not over yet and I m not going
to go easily," he said.
"I get a great deal of satisfaction out
of seeing other people happy and
appreciating what we do."
"I m not the oldest in the SES but I
plan to be."
Manuka and environs is one of the
prettiest and most historic precincts in
the inner south. Little wonder that the
proposed redevelopment of Manuka
Oval and immediate surrounds has
galvanised public opinion. Old
Canberra has been vanishing and many
Canberrans guard their remaining
The Manuka Oval precinct is a little
tired and the pedestrian interface
between the oval and the Manuka
shops is often downright dangerous.
However, it by no means follows that
the solution must be a significant
redevelopment of the area around the
oval with up to a thousand units, a
retail development and demolition of
several heritage buildings, with
associated traffic and parking issues.
Other issues include the potential
impact on the Manuka and Kingston
shops, and the fact that Telopea Park
school is only metres away.
The Chief Minister has promised a
long and comprehensive period of
consultation and that no decisions
have been made. We will hold him
Another potentially disturbing
aspect of the proposal is the linking of
the funds needed for the Manuka Oval
upgrade with the handover of
government land to the developers.
This practice makes us uneasy. If the
government wishes to provide funds to
sporting organisations it should be
through a transparent budget process,
not camouflaged in property deals that
are not subject to full scrutiny.
The ISCCC is keen to hear your
views on this issue. Please write to us
at email@example.com or visit our web
NOISE COMPLAINTS RISING
Rowdy neighbours keep cranking up the volume
Either Canberra is getting noisier, or
more of us are fed up with it.
Noise complaints have exploded
across Canberra, new figures reveal.
Close to 1300 noise complaints
were made across the city last year,
about 45 per cent more than the
previous year -- and 2015 s rowdiest
suburb barely warranted a mention the
Data compiled by Access Canberra
revealed Kingston as Canberra s most-
grumbled-about suburb in 2015.
Canberra s oldest and most densely
populated suburb attracted 80 noise
complaints, 64 of which related to
Kingston Barton Residents Group
president Rebecca Scouller said the
increase in noise was primarily due to
to urban infill.
With increased development,
particularly apartments and multi-use
developments it is only natural that
some parts of Kingston are noisier,
The quality of some infrastructure
on Kingston Foreshore had been an
issue, particularly when managing
noise spill from entertainment venues.
The changed purpose of some
infrastructure, like Manuka Oval, has
also played a part in the growing noise.
This change in use [of Manuka
Oval] in the middle of a residential
area is more noticeable than if it was,
for example, at Bruce Stadium.
Kingston usurped Civic as the most-
complained-about town centre in the
While gripes about noise pollution
in Civic rose in 2015, it only had about
a third of the amplified music
complaints of Kingston.
Kambah and Belconnen were the
next most-complained-about suburbs.
Blaring music drew the ire of most
complainants. However, there were 20
grievances lodged about noisy
airconditioners in Belconnen.
Turned-up tunes accounted for
around three in five noise complaints
but other rollicking pursuits also
attracted neighbours scorn.
There were 13 complaints about
gym equipment in Bruce, while
Bonython and Civic tied for the mantle
of the noisiest garden maintenance,
with seven complaints each.
Data compiled by ACT Policing
shows that hotter temperatures seemed
to amplify rowdy behaviour across the
city, with more complaints in the
warmer half of the year.
Police data showed most noise
complaints were from residents in
Braddon and Reid.
The loudest month was March while
the quietest was June.
Residents can be penalised if they
fail to comply with police direction to
cease offensive noise.
For noise restrictions across the
ACT, head to the Environment and
Planning Directorate s website.
SCHOOL AWARDED GRANT
FOR MINDMATTERS WORK
Minister for Education Shane
Rattenbury visited Caroline Chisholm
School on Friday to congratulate them
on successfully completing the first
stage of MindMatters.
The national mental health
initiative, developed by BeyondBlue
with money from the Australian
Government, aims to improve the
mental health and wellbeing of young
Mr Rattenbury presented the school
with a $5000 grant from ACT Health
and a certificate of recognition for
completing all MindMatters
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