Bunbury Year In Review 2015

Thousands gathered for the Anzac Day service.
Thousands gathered for the Anzac Day service.

We’ve seen everything from a record turnout at the city’s Anzac Day service, another stellar fundraising effort at the annual Relay For Life and a new council with plans to transform the city. 

Through it all Bunbury people continued to display acts of bravery, generosity and goodwill.

January 7

POLICE and the state government urged road users to take more care on the road after Western Australia recorded its highest road fatality level in four years. In 2014, 184 people died on WA roads, 24 more than 2013 with 102 of the fatalities occurring on country roads.

ONE lucky Australind shopper benefited from more than $2.7 million after a winning lottery ticket was sold at the Australind Newsagency for the New Year Saturday Super draw.

January 21

SMALL business owners in Bunbury’s CBD vowed to stand strong and urged tolerance after a vicious outpouring of online “hate” against popular local venue Mots Cafe. 

RE.Discover 2015 was hailed a great success, with people travelling from interstate, visitors prolonging their stay in Bunbury and media interest from across the globe. 

Re.Discover walking street tour 2015.

Re.Discover walking street tour 2015.

January 28

A RACIST and brutal attack on Australia Day left a Bunbury taxi driver shaken but he has vowed to return to work as soon as his injuries heal. 

A NEW report called on Bunbury to develop its “local innovation, technological readiness and human capital” if the city is to reach its future potential.

THE inspiration behind the 2014 Project Kate music festival, Lesane “Jimi” Moyle, passed away  after battling an aggressive cancer for far longer than doctors predicted possible.

February 4

BUNBURY’S long under-utilised Koombana Beach could become a regular host to high-profile concerts and events if an idea to build a waterfront sound shell gets off the ground.

THE deaths of thousands of fish and marron in the Collie River were not caused by pollution, but by freak weather conditions. 

February 11

BUNBURY’S ambition to become the film capital of WA felt close enough to touch as high-profile Chinese film-makers rolled into the city to shoot a multi-million dollar movie. 

TEACHERS were looking for more support to tackle students’ behavioural issues with an uptake of chaplains at schools across Greater Bunbury. 

February 18

A COLLIE footballer charged with kneeing the face of an opponent during a South West Football League match labelled the incident a “terrible and unfortunate accident.” 

February 25

THE WAVE of international interest in Bunbury surged forward when local training company, WA Skills Training, signed off on a multi-million dollar deal with the Malaysian government. 

March 18

DESPITE coming under public scrutiny, the City of Bunbury’s three-bin system has already reached its 2020 recycling target and local governments across the state are taking notice.

A CALL to abolish the Royalties for Regions fund was met with disappointment from the Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance and the state’s regional chambers group. 

OVERWHELMING community support went a long way towards raising money to buy shark attack survivor Sean Pollard prosthetic arms, with a massive fundraising appeal underway. 

Sean Pollard concert.

Sean Pollard concert.

March 25 

A TEENAGE father responsible for giving his infant son the worst brain injuries a neurologist had ever seen could be released from jail in five years. 

SHOP owners at the Bunbury Plaza were notified that the centre’s Woolworths supermarket will close for demolition and eventual redevelopment on April 14, months earlier than they were expecting. 

April 1

A 12-YEAR-OLD girl was praised for her bravery by local police after she wrestled a young boy who stabbed a bus driver in Australind.

A DOCTOR who practiced in Bunbury for about three years from 2011 to 2014 was deregistered after he was caught prescribing himself the drug oxycodone in the names of other people. 

April 8

THE South West was inundated with Easter holiday traffic over the long weekend with about 17,000 vehicles entering the region on Forrest Highway across Thursday afternoon and Good Friday.

LIFE-SAVING health research projects in the South West recieved a boost of more than $12,000 after a donation from the former Koombana Health Network. 

April 15

A BUNBURY mother and her daughter told their story of going to hell and back in a battle with drug addiction to let other families know there is hope. Local woman Tammy Hickman was named one of three state finalists for Barnardos Mother of the Year.

April 22 

SCHOOLS across Greater Bunbury were thrown a lifeline by the state government which will see new chaplaincy funding for 2015 and certainty that the support will continue next year. 

CUSTOMERS who paid deposits or bought vouchers from the Parade Hotel as little as two weeks before it unexpectedly closed its doors sought advice from the local Consumer Protection office. 

April 29

THE amount of people caught attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into Bunbury’s Groovin’ the Moo festival increased from 13 last year to 36 at Sunday’s event. Police laid a total of 50 charges during the 12- hour festival, including 39 move-on notices for poor behaviour and eight charges of possession of prohibited drugs with intent to sell and supply.

Crowds gathered for Groovin the Moo 2015.

Crowds gathered for Groovin the Moo 2015.

PREDICTIONS this year’s Dawn Service in Bunbury would attract close to double the crowd rang true as at least 7000 turned out in the CBD. 

May 6

PHARMACISTS across Bunbury were exhausted from dealing with aggressive customers addicted to over-the-counter pills and called for stronger measures to combat the growing problem. 

THE Bunbury community sat fifth on the ladder of the most obese and unfit in WA, five per cent more overweight than our neighbours in Mandurah but with a higher level of physical activity. 

May 20

BUNBURY Mail readers applauded the efforts of local police in catching drug-affected drivers and called for an increase in testing on local roads. 

CLOSE to $350,000 seized from criminals went towards supporting Bunbury victims of crime and tackling drug use and criminal activity in the city.

AN unexpected 600 per cent hike in a state government fee will impact ratepayers across Greater Bunbury and take funds from other projects, according to Dardanup shire leaders. 

IT was a drier May than usual for Bunbury this year with the total rainfall on the city peaking significantly below the month’s average. Bunbury finished with a total 81.6 millimetres of rainfall in May, more than 20 below the average of 102mm.

June 10

FAMILIES living in daily fear of the violent rampages fuelled by their loved ones’ addiction to the drug ice called for a forced rehabilitation facility in the South West. 

SOUTH West Superintendent Peter Hatch said drug seizures had increased by 37 per cent in the last financial year and while police had worked hard to shut down major drug houses, it seemed there was always another to fill the gap. 

MORE than half a million dollars was committed to projects in the South West through the Royalties for Regions Regional Grants Scheme.  

June 17 

SOUTH West patients involved in major trauma in years to come are more likely to survive with a reduced recovery time and less likelihood of long-term serious injury thanks to a Bunbury based rescue helicopter. 

CITY of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said times were tough, but he believed a proposed 3.5 per cent rate increase was affordable for the majority of the community. 

BUNBURY Relay for Life legend Lara Hebbend was selected as Australia’s only representative to attend the international conference of Relay For Life in the US. 

June 24 

THE future of Bunbury’s racing industry hangs in the balance after the state government announced it is committed to the sale of the TAB. 

MORE than two years after the first stage of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road opened a coalition of local governments and industry players from across the South West joined forces to see the project through to completion. 

FOR five days, Bunbury played host to about 700 American Navy soldiers when US Navy Ship USS ASHLAND docked in the city. 

July 1

THE impact of the cost of living took its toll on Bunbury charities, with supplies running thin to meet the increased demand for a helping hand.

BUNBURY lost an iconic story-teller when Captain Bob Allsop, who was Bunbury’s longest-serving harbour master, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 24 surrounded by close family.

July 8

THE Bunbury Mail’s most prolific and dedicated letterwriter, Alan Summers, passed away at the age of 80, marking the end of an era in communication with local newspapers and the council.

BUNBURY was on track to claiming the title of business conference capital of Western Australia as another 400-plus people visited full of praise for the city.

MORE than 83 per cent of respondents on a Bunbury Mail online poll said they were ready to accept gay marriage as pressure mounted across the country to make it legal.

July 22

Bunbury father-of-three Peter Williams was held against his will in a 12-hour siege situation near the Leschenault Inlet, with police flooding into the city to see him released safely. 

Bunbury siege.

Bunbury siege.

A group of business owners visited Federal member for Forrest Nola Marino’s Bunbury office to present her with a “statement of concern” about the future of marine sanctuaries.

August 5

MEMBER for Collie-Preston Mick Murray said he was “extremely proud” of his daughter for choosing to fight back against a 15-year drug addiction which had taken a stressful toll on the family.

THE City of Bunbury’s 2015/16 Budget prioritised investing in transport infrastructure as well as key projects including the completion of the Hay Park Multisports Pavilion, the first stage of a water playground, the reconstruction of 600 metres of Koombana Drive and replacement of the George Baxter Boardwalk.

August 12

PRESSURE mounted on the South West Football League to implement drug testing across its player group, as the Busselton Football Club explored the option of drug testing after a former player was charged with possession and intent to sell and supply a prohibited drug. 

August 19

Figures showed home birth had become an increasingly popular and affordable option for Bunbury women with low-risk pregnancies after the introduction of the Midwifery Group Practice nearly three years ago. 

August 26

OPTIONS were explored to allow larger cruise ships to anchor in deeper water off Bunbury and transfer passengers to shore. The tender options were being discussed under a continued push to market the South West as a prime cruise ship destination next season.

September 2

BUNBURY football product Connor Blakely debuted for the Fremantle Dockers when they took on Port Adelaide.

The South West Slammers’ outstanding season came to an end when they were unable to claim a grand final victory, defeated by the Joondalup Wolves 105 – 75.

September 16

WITH more than 30 years in the police force in a variety of roles, Bunbury’s newest Officer in Charge Mal Jones brought a wealth of experience to the table.

September 30

The Busselton Magpies turned the table on Carey Park and thumped the Panthers to the tune of 47 points to claim the 2015 South West Football League premiership.

A Carey Park supporter was escorted off the ground by police officers after he punched umpire Brenton Bartlett, 24, after the reserves match between Eaton and Carey Park.

October 7

Bunbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ray Philp said businesses in the CBD were remaining closed on weekends and public holidays because of excessive penalty rates. 

LOCAL eight-year-old Imogen Kuipers rode 500km to raise funds to combat cancer after she heard about kids her age suffering with different types of the disease. 

October 14

TWO new additions to the City of Bunbury council, Joel McGuiness and Monique Warnock, would bring fresh ideas and experience following their win at the local government election. 

CAPEL became home to WA’s youngest councillor after 18-year-old Sebastian Schiano was successful in the local government elections. 

October 28

A wave of new hospitality venues in the Bunbury CBD brought fresh ideas and ventures, inspiring fellow owners to raise the bar. 

City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said his “project hit list” included the development of South’s carpark, the creation of an east-west connection between the CBD and Leshenault Inlet, an increase to the city’s rate base by facilitating development at Tuark Brook, shifting to a new depot and revitalising Withers through the local area plan.

November 4

PLENTY of young faces at Relay For Life Bunbury-South West showed the message of hope and support is carrying through to the next generation.

Eliot Dell'agostino, Kade O'Dine, Nathan Hartmann and Eliah Munro at Relay for Life.

Eliot Dell'agostino, Kade O'Dine, Nathan Hartmann and Eliah Munro at Relay for Life.

The Cancer Council fundraiser at Payne Park made more than $272,000, which brings the total over 13 years to a whopping $3.3 million.

A “Sensitive Santa” at the Bunbury Forum meant many children with autism were able to visit the jolly man for the first time in their lives. 

November 11

South West Police Family Protection coordinator Don McLean said the number of police attendances relating to domestic violence in the region was alarming, calling on people to break the silence on the escalating issue. 

November 18

Bunbury Mail and Busselton-Dunsbrough Mail reporters Justin Rake, Andrew Elstermann, Tim Carrier, Jemillah Bickerton and photographer Ashley Pearce put in a joint effort to claim the win for the WA Country Football League Award.

A LIFETIME ban from playing football in Western Australia and a 10-year ban from attending any South West Football League match were handed down to the man who assaulted an umpire on SWFL grand final day.

November 25

Fire crews from across Greater Bunbury travelled down to Esperance to support those fighting devastating bushfires and locals rallied to raise money for the recovery effort. 

December 2

Bunbury shoppers were expected to spend more on retail goods and food for Christmas with a predicted growth of $2.7 billion in Western Australia.

December 9

THE South West would gain 55 drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation beds and eight hospital beds for medically-supervised withdrawal if the state government’s 10 year plan to overhaul regional care gets funded.

December 16

SOUTH West residents converged at a Community Drugs Forum in Collie to discuss the impact of methamphetamine addiction and related harm across the region. 

Bunbury Mail editor Shanelle Miller sent her last edition to print after seven years at the local community newspaper.

Bunbury Mail editor said goodbye after seven years.

Bunbury Mail editor said goodbye after seven years.