Wild weather, po­lit­i­cal vis­its and sport be­gin year

Tom Zaun­mayr takes a look at what made news in the re­gion dur­ing the first half of 2016.

Pilbara News - - News -

JAN­UARY

The Yind­jibarndi Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion an­nounced the restora­tion of the Vic­to­ria Ho­tel in Roe­bourne would be­gin soon af­ter se­cur­ing State and Fed­eral fund­ing.

News broke of two lo­cal spearfish­er­men found dead in the wa­ter af­ter their boat hit rocks at Mawby Is­land. Lawrence Smith and Matt Pennington were con­firmed as the ca­su­al­ties, and trib­utes flew in thick and fast.

Dampier residents were dealt an­other blow when it was an­nounced the child­care cen­tre would be clos­ing down, leav­ing parents un­sure of what to do.

Pil­bara po­lice praised the pub­lic for their ex­cel­lent be­hav­iour on Aus­tralia Day. No Aus­tralia Day-re­lated ar­rests were made.

Trop­i­cal cy­clone Stan crossed east of Par­doo on Jan­uary 31 and brought flood­ing to in­land ar­eas, though the coast failed to see sig­nif­i­cant rain­fall.

FE­BRU­ARY

The Kar­ratha Vis­i­tor Cen­tre out­lined plans to turn moun­tain bik­ing into a tourism draw­card with the sanc­tion­ing of tracks and the ad­di­tion of clu­b­rooms for the Bur­rup Moun­tain Bike Club.

One of Kar­ratha’s ma­jor city cen­tre build­ings, the GP Su­per Clinic was fin­ished off, with Doric record­ing a per­fect safety record dur­ing the build.

Crit­i­cism was di­rected at the Ngur­rawaana com­mu­nity for clos­ing Gre­gory’s Gorge.

The com­mu­nity re­vealed big plans to turn the gorge into a tourism icon but the Yind­jibarndi Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion has re­fused to com­ment ever since and the gorge is yet to re­open. MARCH

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment an­nounced hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing for in­creased de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the North West, with much of it mooted for Ex­mouth.

Tom Price woke up one day to find out it had a new res­i­dent — a fe­male tyran­nosaurus rex on a mis­sion to bring cheer to the town.

A re­port into in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums in the North West was re­vealed, with the rec­om­men­da­tions leav­ing many dis­ap­pointed.

The Kar­ratha Bowls Club re­ceived the good news it would be able to lay a new green, af­ter se­cur­ing a State Gov­ern­ment grant.

Pil­bara po­lice al­layed con­cerns of a crime spike in Kar­ratha, putting the per­cep­tion down to more peo­ple post­ing on so­cial me­dia.

Ex­mouth an­glers voiced their anger at a pro­posed plan to al­low com­mer­cial fish trap­ping on the Gas­coyne Coast, join­ing North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia and Rec­fish­west in their op­po­si­tion. APRIL

Works be­gan on the lon­gawaited Dampier fore­shore re­de­vel­op­ment, which in­cluded a new walk­way, an out­door movie screen and pic­nic ar­eas.

Prime Min­is­ter Malcolm Turn­bull made a brief visit to Kar­ratha where he in­dulged in a few self­ies and handed over a $10 mil­lion cheque for the Arts and Com­mu­nity Precinct an­nounced in 2015.

It was a big month for Fed­eral pol­i­tics in the re­gion, with De­fence Min­is­ter Marise Payne fly­ing into Ex­mouth to an­nounce the re­lo­ca­tion of a high-tech US tele­scope to the Naval Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sta­tion Harold E Holt.

Foot­ball re­turned, with round one spoils of the NPFL go­ing to the Wick­ham Wolves, South Hed­land Swans and Dampier Sharks.

The Kar­i­jini Ex­pe­ri­ence capped off a big month, wow­ing guests with some truly me­morable events hosted in the beau­ti­ful con­fines of Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park. MAY

With a hot end to a dry wet sea­son Kar­ratha, Ex­mouth and Onslow each broke their April heat records, while sev­eral other towns recorded new daily highs.

Base Ma­rine an­nounced a huge ser­vice boost for Ex­mouth,

with con­struc­tion be­gin­ning on a boat lift­ing fa­cil­ity to ri­val op­er­a­tions in Hen­der­son and Dampier.

There were plenty of con­grat­u­la­tions for Ngar­luma man Pa­trick Churn­side, who was cho­sen to join the Abo­rig­i­nal Cul­tural Ma­te­rial Com­mit­tee.

While co­ral bleach­ing was iden­ti­fied as a prob­lem on reefs across North­ern Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef, the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife re­vealed reefs off the Pil­bara coast had re­mained re­silient.

The Port Wal­cott Surf Life Sav­ing Club wrapped up its first sea­son with a pre­sen­ta­tion din­ner at the Leisure­plex. Chris Putland was named vol­un­teer of the year.

JUNE

The Murru Con­cert fi­nally came to Roe­bourne af­ter wow­ing au­di­ences across Aus­tralia. The event was a trib­ute to John Pat, who died in po­lice cus­tody in Roe­bourne in 1983.

It was a big month for Kar­ratha in­fras­truc­ture, with the Quar­ter be­ing com­pleted, the new hos­pi­tal site handed over for con­struc­tion, and fi­nal fund­ing con­firmed for the Arts and Com­mu­nity Precinct.

Rio Tinto be­gan its Ground­break­ers tour through the Pil­bara ahead of its 50th an­niver­sary.

The ex­hi­bi­tion delved into the his­tory of Rio Tinto, Hamer­s­ley Iron and the Pil­bara re­gion.

Tragedy struck as mine worker Lee Buz­zard was killed on site at Chan­nar Mine near Parabur­doo. He was 32 years old.

The heav­ens opened reg­u­larly through what is typ­i­cally a dry month, lead­ing to Beats in the Heat or­gan­is­ers dub­bing the event “Sets in the Wet”.

Pic­ture: Louise Alling­ham

A wet June led to Beats in the Heat be­ing dubbed “Sets in the Wet”.

Surfers lined up at Point Sam­son when Cy­clone Stan formed off the coast.

Pho­tos avail­able at west­pix.com.au

Pic­tures: Tom Zaun­mayr

Alec Tucker, Wayne Stevens and Mait­land Parker sing to­gether as the moon rises in Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park at the Kar­i­jini Ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Astrid Doig, 4, and Jordie Am­merer, 3 en­joyed the Dampier Lions Park bike path at its com­mu­nity open­ing day.

Mitch Wilson in the un­der 9’s race dur­ing a surf life­sav­ing meet.

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