2010: January in review
Jan 4: Takeover Target and trainer Joe Janiak were given the Freedom of the City, a mayoral reception by Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades and a farewell party by Coffs Harbour Racing Club following the retirement from the track of the popular international sprinter known as ‘the people’s champion’.
The race meeting attracted an enormous crowd who were captivated by the horse’s unusual antics.
Jan 6: Little Ruby Taylor returned home from an Austrian clinic well on the way to recovery after Coffs Coast residents raised $68,000 towards sending her family overseas for her treatment.
The two-year old was tube dependant and unable to swallow or chew when she left Australia, but returned home free from machines and eating from a spoon after intensive specialist help at the Graz Kinder Klinik.
Jan 7: Calls to shift dangerous freight from road to rail in the wake of two fatal collisions between fuel tankers and cars prompted questions about the state of the North Coast rail line and worries about lost business and from the trucking industry, which pointed out petrol stations were on roads, not rail lines.
Jan 9: Bellingen residents were up in arms following revelations at a public meeting that incorrect information would be given to the NSW government to assess the hospital’s viability, with detected statistical errors underpinning a report not to be corrected.
Jan 11: New Zealand adventurer Shaun Quincey arrived in Coffs Harbour to begin his world-record 2200km paddle from Australia to New Zealand in his seven-foot ocean rowing boat Tasman Trespasser 2. He was following the feat of his father, the first person to row the Tasman in the other direction in 1977.
Jan 12: Coffs Harbour City councillor John Arkan’s plans to make the Coffs Coast an education hub for Indian students hit the national news.
Jan 13: Holidaymakers Matt Brown and Belinda Walterback saved the life of a fellow tourist, pulling a Guyra woman and a teenager from the surf and resuscitating the unconscious woman.
Jan 13: Coffs Harbour City Council took on a $12 million Pacific Highway contract to relocate sewage and water pipes for the Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade
Jan 16: A massive five tonne cannabis crop seized near Dorrigo was the biggest haul ever found on the Coffs Coast.
Valued at $18 million, it also ranked among the largest ever in NSW.
Police had to negotiate rugged terrain near Chaelundi to find the well-established crop, which included more than 9000 cannabis plants.
Two men were arrested in connection with the crop and Dennis Gordon-Smith, 61, of Coffs Harbour and Adam Beveridge, 38, of Korora were subsequently charged with cultivating a prohibited crop.
The drug bust was the result of an ongoing sting which resulted in Strike Force Morison investigating cannabis cultivation on two leased properties in the Chaelundi National Park. The plantation included a sophisticated watering system and other equipment.
Bushwalkers said the heavily forested area had become known as a no-go zone for the general public and was a wild place in some parts, probably not ideal for growing drugs because it was so isolated and anything irregular or suspicious came under notice.
The seized crop, removed by police working in hot conditions in steep terrain, was taken to a Thora sawmill and burned.
The operation earned praise from the State government with Acting Police Minister David Campbell saying the bust would have a significantly impact on the availability of drugs on the streets.
Jan 19-20: A Coffs Coast family was shattered by the senseless death of 27-year-old Simon Dingle.
The young Coffs Coast man, who had gone fruit picking in Tasmania with his younger brother Ross, lost his life when he was attacked at their caravan park near Launceston.
Mr Dingle fell and hit his head after being hit from behind and died from his injuries shortly afterwards.
A 17-year-old boy was initially charged with murder and a 21-year-old man with being an accessory. Another 17-year-old and 18-year-old were later charged with murder and aggravated robbery
Jan 19: Wild storms blacked out more than 2000 properties on the Coffs coast with Bowraville and Macksville areas hardest hit.
Jan 20: The Don Dorrigo Gazette newspaper, Australia’s only remaining hot metal newsprint newspaper, turned 100.
Jan 21: Sawtell wood chopper Kevin Smith was chosen to be inducted into the Australian Axemen’s Hall of Fame.
Jan 22: Proposals to develop a new residential community centred on Bonville Golf resort split the community between those who saw it as an opportunity and an improvement and those who saw it as creating unnecessary extra urban sprawl that affected the quality of life of people in the area.
The plan would see an extra 1800 people move into the Bonville area supported by new infrastructure
Jan 23: Coffs Harbour couple Rolf Koops and Sandra Martin, whose investment group LKM Capital collapsed leaving investors $63 million out of pocket, appeared in the Federal Court in Sydney to defend a request to surrender their passports.
The corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, was trying to prevent the couple moving to London.
Mr Koops and Ms Martin were facing allegations of breaching their trust deed’s liquidity requirements and exceeding the maximum loan to value ratio.
Jan 25: Coffs Harbour’s professional fishing industry said banning prawn trawling and net fishing in Commonwealth waters would decimate the Coffs Coast’s $15 million seafood industry.
Meeting Federal Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Tony Burke to discuss the future of fishing in the Solitary Islands Marine Park, fishermen expressed their worries that the prawn trawling and netting such as purse seining could gradually be phased out in the 16,000 ha of deep sea fishing grounds outside the SIMP.
Coffs Harbour Co-Op board member Geoff Blackburn said fishermen fishing in the marine reserve feared for their livelihoods.
Jan 26: The month ended on an upbeat note when the inaugural Saltwater Freshwater Festival, a celebration of Aboriginal art and culture on the Mid North Coast, proved a triumphant success.
The Festival attracted an estimated 12,000 people to the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden for an Australia Day of delights which featured well- known entertainers including Troy Cassar-Daley and Emma Donovan.