Port Fairy’s Sackville Street.TEMPORARY parking meters should be installed in Port Fairy over the summer school holiday period in a bid to raise funds to beautify the centre part of the town, according to a Moyne Shire councillor.

Cr Mick Wolfe, who is also the head policeman in Port Fairy, estimated as much as $100,000 could be raised from the meters if they were put in place from mid-December to the end of January.

“I’ll be raising the parking meter issue at the next council meeting for discussion,” Cr Wolfe said. “There are necessary works which need to be done in the central part of Port Fairy like footpaths and roads. I don’t want to see the rates lifted for these type of works but I think if we installed removable parking meters we will raise money which can be used for those works.

“I think there are roughly 300 parking spots in Sackville and Bank streets which could be used for the meters.

“Four parking spots would use the one parking meter. I just think installing the meters would be the ideal way to get the money to pay for the projects which are needed.”

Moyne Shire parking officers have the ability to fine motorists if they break the two-hour parking limit which is in place from December 1 to April 30. “We’ve had the two-hour parking limit from December to the end of April for a few years,” he said. “I think the introduction of parking meters in the centre part of town will mean tourists will help pay for the works, instead of hitting the ratepayers’ pockets.

“We would have the ability to pull the meters out at the end of January.” Cr Wolfe said he would also be looking to target drivers who break the road laws in Sackville Street by crossing double lines. “We (the police) are continually warning or booking drivers for driving over the double lines in Sackville Street,” he said. “It’s time this issue was sorted out at council level.

“As part of our works in the town we should probably look at putting a concrete barrier wall which would be about six inches high down Sackville Street with some breaks in it.”

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OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has ruled out a centre-right party merger across Australia after the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) historic election victory in Queensland.

The Coalition leader was in campaign mood when he visited Colac at the weekend, claiming that the relationship between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman was irreparably damaged.

While Mr Abbott drew comparisons between the public mood in Queensland compared with wider Australia over the carbon tax, he believed a Liberal-National party merger was not on the cards at a federal level.

“The LNP is terrific for Queensland, but what’s good for Queensland is not necessarily workable across the rest of Australia,” Mr Abbott said.

“We have a very effective Coalition in Canberra.”

The Liberal and National Party’s merged in Queensland four years ago after a string of disappointing state election results, despite the opposition of some, including former PM John Howard.

Saturday night’s LNP victory in Queensland represents one of the largest state election victories, reducing the state’s Labor Party to less than a cricket team.

Meanwhile, Mr Abbott claimed the Prime Minister would face further internal party instability after the devastating Queensland Labor loss.

He said Mr Cheeseman’s preselection as Corangamite’s Labor candidate was not guaranteed, or was Ms Gillard’s hold on the party’s top job.

Mr Cheeseman was one of 31 MPs to support former PM Kevin Rudd in his ill-fated quest to return to The Lodge in February.

“Plainly, Darren Cheeseman has a big problem,” Mr Abbott said.

“He was one of the first people to publicly call for Kevin Rudd to return to the prime ministership.

“Darren Cheeseman does not have the trust of the Prime Minister.

“If he does not believe Julia Gillard should be prime minister, then why would any Australian believe it?”

Saturday’s visit is the third time Mr Abbott has campaigned in Colac since the 2010 federal election, one of the major centres of the ultra-marginal Corangamite constituency.

Labor holds the south-west seat on a paper-thin majority after a close contest between Mr Cheeseman and Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson at the last national poll.

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Christopher Clark (left) swings a poi as Allan Clark shows his mastery of flower sticks during a circus skills session.A TWILIGHT volcanic dreaming performance entertained record crowds for the eighth annual Lake Bolac Eel Festival on Saturday.

More than 1000 people attended the day-long event, which celebrated the environment and indigenous culture, climaxing with a traditional dance on the foreshore.

Former Bangarra Dance Theatre member Rheannan Port and Gunditjmara Karween dancer Adeline McDonald trained students from schools in Warrnambool, Allansford, Heywood and Branxholme-Wallacedale for the performance.

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Festival committee member Nolene Fraser said yesterday the atmosphere was “amazing”.

“It’s going from strength to strength. We’re only a little town,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful setting on the shore of the lake.

“It’s not something you could hold in Melbourne or anywhere else. It’s a festival of place.”

Mrs Fraser said organisers had been concerned about the forecast but patches of rain and drizzle failed to impact on numbers.

She said the event, a brainchild of singer-songwriter Neil Murray, was a “modern day festival” recalling the days after the autumn rains when the eels swam downstream and created a surplus of food for the indigenous tribes.

Aside from the twilight performance, Mrs Fraser said the afternoon’s musical line-up and an art exhibition featuring works from Deakin University’s creative arts department, were highlights.

About 20 people joined the Healing Walk from March 15 to 22. The group walked from the overflow at Lake Bolac, along Salt Creek to the Hopkins River and Hopkins Falls with permission from landholders.

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Darren Mollenoyux (back, fourth from left) with his support crew.WARRNAMBOOL’S Darren Mollenoyux is gunning for a feature race victory at Easter after he capped his most consistent season with overall honours in the Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria (SRA) series.

The 29-year-old was crowned the new SRA champion after he finished fifth in Saturday night’s grand final at Allansford’s Premier Speedway.

Mollenoyux, who started the 30-lap feature from fourth on the grid, followed home his nearest rival in the series, Warrnambool’s Jamie Veal, who was fourth. Veal entered the final needing to finish 10 places in front of Mollenoyux to steal the title.

Mollenoyux was beaming at achieving his season’s goal but admitted joy wasn’t his reaction when he crossed the line.

“(It was) just relief,” Mollenoyux said.

“I’ve never been in this position before. It was something new.

“I don’t know if it’s the right word but it was a bit overwhelming with all the heap of people saying ‘best of luck’. I was trying not to focus on the series too much but there were that many people in your face wishing you well.”

Mollenoyux said he was pleased to complete his mission and rated it as one of the biggest achievements in his racing career.

“It’s the best we’ve done in sprintcars,” he said.

“The Australian title in formula 500s, although it’s not sprintcars, I didn’t think much of it at the time. It is something not many people get to do. Not too many people get to win one of these (SRA series). It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Mollenoyux, like last year’s winner, Simpson’s John Vogels, claimed the crown without winning a feature race. He had 11 top 10 finishes from 14 rounds and eight top fives.

“I was giving it my best shot,” he said of Saturday night’s result. “I just wanted to finish. I don’t think the car was good enough to run with the others.”

He said now that the series was out of the way, his next aim was to win a feature, having not tasted success for more than 12 months.

Mollenoyux said the SRA series had been high on his wish-list.

“The other two times we have done it we have run second and third. The first year we had motor trouble and last year we had a steering box failure here that cost us,” he said.

“We have had a lot of things go wrong this season but it feels pretty good to get the win. It hasn’t been easy by any means.”

Veal was disappointed to miss his maiden SRA series triumph after turning in some blistering performances.

“I’m happy with that,” he said of second. “You can’t get too down. It’s been one of our best years. We’ve been fast and we’ve won five features.

“I think we had the fastest car. It would have been nice to win but I’m just happy with the direction the team is going.”

Veal said he would head to Sydney this weekend, extending a new arrangement he has to drive for Sydney car owner Dave Doherty.

He too is looking forward to the Easter Trail, before heading to the United States for a six-week racing tour.

Last year’s series winner John Vogels was third in the series ahead of Melbourne-based driver Brett Milburn, while Simpson’s Tim Rankin was fifth.

Rankin, who had set himself to finish third in the series, rolled in turn four after colliding with Quentin Tanner.

“I didn’t even know he was there,” Rankin said.

“He had all four wheels in the air and I nailed him, I was full noise. It’s very disappointing, I can’t believe it.”

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Brian O’Halloran and Co auctioneer Brian Hancock calls for bids on the central business district block during yesterday’s auction at Warrnambool Bowls Club.ONE of Warrnambool’s most prominent CBD locations sold yesterday for more $2.3 million.

The central business district block on the corner of Lava and Liebig streets, which is home to the 154-year-old Victoria Hotel, was initially passed in at auction.

About 40 people gathered for the anticipated sale, which had been tipped to sell for between $2.5 million to $3 million.

Bidding kicked off at $1.7 million before hitting $2 million.

Auctioneer Brian Hancock, of Brian O’Halloran and Co, took incremental bids of $50,000 before the property was passed in at $2.2 million.

Mr Hancock said it was later sold to a Warrnambool businessman, with the purchase drawing nationwide interest.

“We embarked on a major marketing campaign and it’s pretty much where we thought we’d finish,” he said.

“It’s good to see confidence back in the market.

“It’s a straightforward investment property. There are three good leases.

“It’s prime, high-view area.

“The site has a high level of foot traffic.

“It’s a very prominent site. It’s an excellent result.

“Both the vendor and the purchaser are very happy.”

The sale had been compared with that of the former Wannon Water building on the corner of Fairy and Koroit streets, believed to have sold for $2.5 million.

Mr Hancock said the decision to sell was instigated by the vendor syndicate.

“The hotel has a 20-year lease and all the tenants are on new or existing leases,” he said.

Along with the Vic Hotel, the building houses the Optus store, Pola and Co. Chartered Accountants, Australian Unity Financial Planning and First 4 Finance.

The site, which includes 16 accommodation rooms above the Optus shop and a drive-through bottle shop, provides a rental return of about $208,000 a year.

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