Aged care development to capitalise on ageing population on east coast of Tasmania

There are hopes a new retirement village and nursing home on Tasmania’s east coast will attract and retain more health workers to the regional area.

There are plans for a multi-million-dollar development on an 18-hectare property called Kelvedon Estate, 4 kilometres south of Swansea.

“The minute I saw the view and the position, I just knew it was exactly right,” principal architect John Lewis said.

“To feel that you’re living in a country town but with all the amenities that you need and can afford in your latter years.”

The Tempus retirement village has passed early hurdles after the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council initiated a planning scheme amendment and approved part of the first stage.

The proposal includes plans for a medical evacuation helipad.(Supplied: Tempus Village)

Plans include 140 independent living units, 30 assisted living units and in the future, a 44-bed nursing home, including a dementia ward.

“It will go through to high care, so in a sense, it’s a mini-hospital, although there won’t be operating as such,” Mr Lewis said.

He said the local Swansea GP clinic currently had two doctors and would look to expand to four GPs once the village was built.

There are also plans for a medical evacuation helipad, meaning patients are a 15-minute flight from the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The site will also have an 81-seat theatre, function hall, horse stables, communal workshop, playground and cafe which will all be open to the public.

Proponent Les Walden said the plan was to create something a bit different from other retirement villages.

“Some of them are just like ghost towns even though they’re supposedly full, we didn’t want to reproduce those,” he said.

“I’m sure they all do a good job but we wanted to produce something where people could age well, with home services, that’s pretty much a unique concept as we understand it.”

Mr Walden said the plan was to integrate health services into the local community.

“There’ll be medical rooms that people can use,” he said.

“We think it will attract other medical professionals, and that’s obviously of benefit in medical and economic ways to the community there.”

Health care services ‘under enormous strain’

Population researcher and demographer Amina Keygan said the population of the east coast was definitely getting older.

“Over the last 20 years, the proportion of those over 65 years in Glamorgan Spring Bay has increased from 19 per cent to 33 per cent of the overall population,” she said.

“Comparatively the population of Tasmania as a whole who are over 65 is roughly 20 per cent.”

Amina Keygan sits at a computer screen.
Tasmanian demographer Amina Keygan says any development needs to come with supportive infrastructure.(ABC News: Rick Eaves)

Dr Keygan said retirement villages on the east coast would need to come with supportive infrastructure such as access to medical services to avoid putting a strain on regional health services.

“Our regional health care services are under an enormous strain at the moment, due in part to inabilities to attract and retain health care workers in regional and rural areas,” she said.

“This is in part why the Tasmanian health system relies so heavily on fly-in fly-out locums and specialists.”

Young families welcome too

She said there was an opportunity for healthcare jobs to be created by the developments.

Leanne Dann, real estate agent.
Real estate agent Leanne Dann says the east coast is in the midst of a property boom.(ABC News: Laura Beavis)

East coast real estate agent Leanne Dann said she hoped more development would mean more health workers would be attracted to the area.

“We would love to see a lot more young families reside here and enjoy the coastal lifestyle,” she said.

She said there had been a property boom on the east coast, with land and houses selling about twice as quickly as they used to.

Mr Lewis said employment was something the developers were hoping to boost.

“Because we’re not just seasonal, we’re not just the holiday market, we’re there all the time, we’ll be able to offer people long-term careers so that the younger ones can stay here, we hope to train people,” she said.

The project’s current budget is $85 million but will increase by about $40 million when plans for the nursing home are finalised.

The proposed planning amendment, which includes highway access and some construction, will be available for public submissions before it is referred to the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

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Brisbane City Council still to decide on Boggo Road Gaol development application

A proposal for a two-storey office and retail development on the heritage-listed Boggo Road Gaol site in Dutton Park is still awaiting approval or rejection from Brisbane City Council, after the council requested another fortnight to decide.

Sandwiched between the gaol and the CSIRO ecosciences precinct in Dutton Park, the proposed development, lodged by developers Stockwell in 2019, has met with sustained community resistance.

The state- and council-heritage-listed Gaol, built in the 1880s, sits in a key transport corridor between the Princess Alexandra and Mater Hospitals, the Dutton Park State School and the new Brisbane South State Secondary College.

It also links to the University of Queensland via the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, and backs onto the Boggo Road Cross River Rail train station, expected to serve 22,000 commuters daily by 2036.

Stockwell’s development application would place a two-storey office and retail development between the gaol and CSIRO building, replacing the 11.5 metre-wide pedestrian and cycling boulevard with a 87-space car park.

The proposed Stockwell shopping and office precinct between the heritage-listed gaol and the CSIRO building.(Supplied: Stockwell Development)

Developer Mark Stockwell said he had been working on the site for six years, initially scrapping a larger 2017 proposal and going back to the drawing-board.

He said it had taken years to find the right balance for the “complex” site, with the development earmarked before Cross River Rail or the new college began construction.

“I’ve got to make it not only work for the community, I’ve got to make it work for everyone,” he said.

Community objections

Neighbouring residents concerned about the appropriateness of the proposal have lodged numerous objections to Brisbane City Council.

Community group Boggo Road Futures has suggested covering the railway tracks with precast concrete hoops, using fill from the Cross River Rail developments to cover the hoops, and converting the entire precinct into public parkland.

The group’s spokesman, and Dutton Park resident, Peter Pollard said residents were concerned the site’s historical importance would be lost.

“When you look at the development, 70 per cent of the development is car park. You’re going to pave our heritage for the sake of a parking lot,” he said.

A wide concrete pathway lined with trees with a red brick building to the left and a tall new building to the right.
The Boggo Road Gaol precinct boulevard between the two buildings as it stands today.(Supplied: Peter Pollard)

Mr Pollard said the proposal blocked the Boggo Road Gaol’s eastern wall and turned a site that should be a “tranquil environment” into a commercial zone.

“When you … look at the gaol, you just see this monolith of yellowy-orange brick that just drives home the incarceration and the stature of this heritage-listed site,” he said.

“And this new development just covers that totally with a … building that does not belong there.

“The community really wants to be involved and with this application, there’s been no tendering process, there’s been no community consultation.”

Development changes

Mr Stockwell said he had changed the development application to preserve more of the 1980s-era section of the Gaol, originally earmarked for demolition, reduced 117 ground-level car parks to 87, shifting more parking spaces underground, and widened the pedestrian and cycling links.

He said he had met with the Boggo Road Future group, and had heard their proposal for a primarily green-space site.

“I’ve reduced the number of parking spaces at grade and replaced that with … major bicycle and pedestrian links which are big and beautiful and safe.”

Mr Stockwell said he wanted to ensure parkland at the south-west corner of the site backing onto Annerley Road was further developed into an attractive, safe space for all users.

Brisbane City Council was due to make a final decision on the application on Friday, but instead asked Stockwell for another extension of time.

The deadline for the council to approve or reject the application is now March 5.

A historical black and white picture of the exterior of Boggo Road Gaol from 1936
A historical photo of Boggo Road Gaol from 1936.(Supplied: State Library of Queensland)

The council’s city planning committee chairwoman, Krista Adams, said the council was working with Stockwell “to ensure the best planning outcome for the area is achieved”, and residents’ concerns had been noted.

Political opposition

South Brisbane Greens MP Amy MacMahon questioned why state-owned land was being developed privately.

Brisbane Greens councillor Jonathan Sri, in whose ward the development sits, said the community did not support the proposal.

“The state government has now declared this a priority development area, saying it wants to plan the entire precinct holistically, so it’s foolish to drop a shopping centre and carpark right in the middle without properly considering the surrounding context and ensuring safe connections to the primary school, high school, train station, bus station and hospital,” he said.

A state government spokesperson said Stockwell’s development proposal was not affected by the priority development area declaration.

The state assessment and referral agency approved Stockwell’s application last year, meaning only the council now needs to decide whether to approve or reject the proposal.

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Isabelle Durant Named as Acting Head of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development


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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Deputy head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Isabelle Durant has accepted a position as the organisation’s acting head, the intergovernmental body said on Tuesday.

“UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Ms. Durant to the role to ensure a smooth transition as he conducts a recruitment process, in consultation with member states, to find a successor to previous UNCTAD chief Mukhisa Kituyi,” the organisation said.

Durant had served as UNCTAD’s deputy secretary-general since 2017. She has an established career in public affairs and governance, with experience in international trade, mobility and infrastructure, social policies and assisting countries. During her time in the UNCTAD, Durant has been actively involved in the organization’s socio-economic response to the coronavirus crisis, as well as inclusivity and sustainability efforts.

“I’m deeply honoured to lead UNCTAD at this critical time as countries all over the world battle a deadly pandemic and the worst economic crisis in nearly a century. I’m committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the people we serve are supported during this crisis and feel us by their side on the path to recovery,” Durant said.

Durant held high positions in the Belgian government, serving as minister of transport and energy from 1999 to 2003, later – as vice prime minister and senator of Belgium. From 2009 to 2014, Durant acted as vice president of the European Parliament, where she chaired permanent delegations to various countries. Immediately before joining UNCTAD, she was a senior expert on local governance in Algeria, a member of the parliament of the Brussels capital region and the Economic Affairs Committee, participated in EU parliamentarian delegations to Iran, Myanmar and Haiti.

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Forest Interactive Cambodia partners Cellcard to boost development of local gaming community

  • PlayGame Unlimited allows users to procure in-game credits, digital gift cards  
  • Gamers get to collect unique loyalty points to redeem in-game goodies

Forest Interactive Cambodia has entered a partnership with the country’s leading mobile operator, Cellcard, to jointly bolster the growth and development of the local gaming community.

Forest Interactive Cambodia is said to be the first gaming content provider to partner with Cellcard for its newly launched PlayGame Unlimited, a data product catered to the growing needs of the gamers in the country.

As part of the deal, the new product plan will enable gamers to procure in-game credits and digital gift cards from a wide range of popular global titles such as Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, Apple, Google Play, Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon, most of which are not yet available in Cambodia.

Additionally, gamers can also collect unique loyalty points called PlayCoins for every transaction, when subscribing to bundles. These points can be used to redeem in-game goodies exclusively available on PlayGame.

“The partnership with Cellcard is a step forward in providing inclusive opportunities and unique experiences to the growing gaming community in Cambodia, said Soknang To, Forest Interactive Cambodia country manager. “Forest Interactive has always committed to building an environment where all gamers have equal chances to enjoy streaming, playing, and get the most out of their mobile experience.”

Cellcard’s chief executive officer (CEO) Ian Watson added that the partnership with Forest Interactive further extended the ecosystem that his team were building for esports and gaming in Cambodia.

“Cellcard, as the only proudly Khmer mobile company, is committed to growing the gamer community in Cambodia and have Khmer gamers on par with those from neighboring countries,” he said. “Our position is to provide gamers as many experiences and opportunities as we can for them to enjoy their games and improve their skills. Such partnerships with Forest Interactive play a vital role in our gamer strategy.”

Prior to this alliance, Forest Interactive Cambodia launched Wallet Codes, a gaming wallet and digital voucher platform. The goal is to accelerate digital financial inclusion in Cambodia and provide Cambodians the opportunity to enjoy premium online content services by offering them flexible alternative payment channels on the platform.

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A mother’s poor mental health may harm child development, study says

For the baby, the perinatal stage — which is defined as the time from conception through pregnancy (antenatal), birth and the first year of the baby’s life (postnatal) — is “a time of unprecedented growth and sensitivity,” the study said. That’s when exposures and early life experiences may modify development starting from when he or she is in the womb to that critical first year as a growing child and onward.

A mother experiencing depression and anxiety before and after birth was moderately linked with her child’s deficits in language and cognitive and motor development in infancy.

All of these children were more likely to exhibit behaviors that either internalized negative feelings or targeted them toward others. These kids experienced and reacted with more negative emotions and were temperamentally difficult through adolescence as well.

“In light of the pandemic, these are particularly concerning results,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Since risk factors for perinatal depression include life stress and lack of social support, pregnant and postpartum women may be particularly vulnerable right now.

“These data that suggest that this poses risks not just for the mother, but also for her child, not just now but into adolescence, is a stark reminder that the indirect effects of Covid-19 may be long-lasting,” Jamieson added.

Researchers have conducted reviews of studies on the relationship between a woman’s mental health during this time and her child’s development — but they hadn’t previously evaluated the long-term effects of depression and anxiety at different stages of motherhood on a range of developmental functions from infancy through adolescence, the study said.

The authors of the current study analyzed the association of perinatal depression and anxiety with social-emotional, cognitive, language, motor and adaptive behavior development in their offspring from infancy up to age 18. They also examined whether the timing of depression and anxiety, type of mental illness and offspring age affected the findings.

Mental health before and after birth

Participants included 195,751 otherwise healthy mother-child pairs from 191 studies based in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Norway.

What women need most after giving birth, especially now

These women had either reported their symptoms of depression and/or anxiety or had diagnoses, while later information about their children’s development was also self-reported.

Depression and anxiety in the perinatal period had small-to-moderate associations with deficits in social-emotional behavior development through adolescence, such as peer problems, a lack of prosocial behaviors and attachment and emotional dysregulation.

How maternal mental health might influence a child’s growth

How a mother’s mental health might influence her offspring’s development could hinge on what happens to the baby while in the womb and interactions after birth.

Caffeine consumption not safe during pregnancy, new study says. Some experts disagree

Anxiety and depression during pregnancy could expose the fetus to increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol, leading to changes in brain function and reducing the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients, the study said.

The neurocognitive changes that prepare mothers to be able to sensitively respond to their infants could also be hampered by experiencing depression and anxiety during pregnancy, the study said. A mentally taxed mother may be less able to quickly, carefully and thoughtfully respond to her baby’s cues — potentially reducing the chances of attachment between a mother and her baby.

“During the first year of life, infants are unable to sooth themselves when they become upset — they rely on sensitive caregivers to respond when they are distressed,” said Dr. Alison Stuebe, a professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“With support from these caregivers, infants gradually learn how to cope with fear and frustration,” Stuebe, also a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UNC School of Medicine, added.

New Covid-19 study reveals more about possible risks to pregnant women

The authors lacked details about individual, family and social factors that could have affected the mothers’ mental health and their children’s development, said the study’s senior author Delyse Hutchinson, an associate professor in the school of psychology at the Centre for Early Social and Emotional Development at Deakin University in Australia.

Additional studies are necessary, Jamieson said, but “the large numbers of studies in this systematic review begin to paint a fairly consistent pattern.”

‘When parents struggle, kids struggle’

For mothers to recover from birth and transition to their role as parents, and for growing families to thrive, they need support, Stuebe said.
“But in the United States, 23% of mothers are back at work within 10 days postpartum,” Stuebe added. “We are (the) only industrialized country without paid parental leave. Women lose pregnancy Medicaid coverage at 60 days after birth, losing access to psychotherapy and medical treatment for depression and anxiety.”
Any level of drinking or smoking while pregnant may affect your newborn's brain development, study says

If parents lack access to treatment because they’re uninsured, can’t take time off from work or face some other barrier, Stuebe continued, “it’s likely that their children will be exposed to food and housing insecurity, poorly funded schools, lack of safe spaces to play and other stressors.

“When parents struggle, kids struggle.”

Maintaining well-being through new chapters

Since families now “have to balance the urgent need for hands-on help with deciding who can be part of their ‘bubble’ in the first weeks after birth,” the pandemic has made building a village more challenging, Stuebe said. Some solutions can be found at New Mom Health, a resource for postpartum women.
Take stock of your mental health during the pandemic (and what to do next)

Expecting and new mothers concerned about their mood should seek help from their physician and/or psychologist early, Hutchinson said.

“Perinatal difficulties are often overlooked,” Hutchinson said, “and many women do not seek help because they think it is expected that mothers feel down, tired or worried or because they are concerned about the stigma related to mental health.”

Staying connected with supportive family, friends and other mothers is also important, Hutchinson said — as is doing activities that bring you joy and regularly practicing self-care, “whether it involves going for a walk or other exercise, reading a book, speaking to a friend, relaxation or simply catching up on some sleep.”

While these tools alone may not prevent depression and anxiety, they can help mothers navigate challenges. If mothers are concerned that their children have any of the developmental deficits the study highlighted, they should talk with their pediatrician, Hutchinson said.

“If difficulties are recognised and help is sought,” Hutchinson said via email, “this risk may be reduced, potentially leading to improved health and wellbeing outcomes for both mother and child.”

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Goulburn development compliance crackdown creates longer list | Goulburn Post

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The owners of an allegedly unauthorised structure at a district olive grove have launched court action against Goulburn Mulwaree Council. Late last year the council issued a demolition order against the large, ornate building which the owners described as an olive storage shed. Planners had alleged the structure was non-compliant and gave the owners an opportunity to lodge a development application. Environment and planning director Scott Martin said when this was not forthcoming, a demolition order and $3000 penalty infringement notice were served. READ MORE: Goulburn Mulwaree Council ups ante on unapproved works Goulburn Mulwaree Council heads to court over Forest Siding Road shed Goulburn Mulwaree Council orders demolition of farmshed house Goulburn Mulwaree Council orders shed demolition, issues penalty Goulburn Mulwaree Council issues consent for Run-O-Waters shed Councillors heard at their recent meeting that the owners have since launched a class one appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court. The council will defend the matter, arguing it doesn’t meet exempt development provisions or match the characterisation of an olive storage shed. Mr Martin said his department is currently assessing a DA for the building. “We are at an impasse waiting on additional information. We are trying to characterise what it actually is,” he said. But he said demolition was a “last resort” given the building’s quality. The matter is just one in a long list of developments the council is either investigating or claiming are unlawful. In October, councillors were told that penalty and infringement notices, stop-work, stop-use and demolition orders had been issued as part of a compliance crackdown. They included a large shed housing people at Forest Siding Road, Middle Arm, ‘unauthorised’ granny flats, dwellings, land clearing, ‘vehicle hoarding’ and wastewater systems, among others. That list of 25 has grown to 38 matters. “Much of this can be attributed to a growing public awareness based on the amount of media coverage and a growing number of community members that are less tolerant of ‘rule breakers’ and queue jumpers,'” Mr Martin said. “Overall this has necessitated a more ‘hard line’ approach towards compliance from the council.” But it is also coming at a cost. From October to January 21, three compliance matters had incurred $15,640 in legal costs. Mr Martin expected the figure to increase with the class one appeal but said staff had minimised costs by preparing evidence and documentation. “We are doing more of that but the catch-22 is…it takes away from our day to day work,” he said. “(But) I think the message is getting through to the community. We just need to keep chipping away at it.” ALSO READ: Hospital contractor parking ‘spills over’ into residential streets The council has also issued $40,000 worth of penalty notices over the same period. In response to a question from Cr Leah Ferrara, Mr Martin said not all of this had been collected and some could take several years to recover. It sometimes depended on a person’s financial situation and other mechanisms, such as community work orders, to recoup the fines. A revenue collection service administers the process. Meantime, the council is pressing ahead with Land and Environment Court action against the Forest Siding Road property owner for allegedly unauthorised native vegetation clearing, earthworks, a shed’s construction and conversion of a garage to a dwelling. Planners claimed the shed was housing 13 people. Demolition, stop-work, restore and stop-use orders were issued last year. Two clean-up directions were also sent out, with which the owner had partially complied, a report stated. ALSO READ: Women to share their experiences of surviving climate hardships Elsewhere, a Cowper Street homeowner has challenged the council’s disposal of vehicles it impounded in December, 2019. The vehicles were allegedly blocking a rear private laneway which gave access to nine other properties. However neighbours remain concerned about cars in the front and back yards. Mr Martin said his department was investigating further action over the home’s lack of downpipes and gutters, which had caused runoff to neighbouring properties, and the state of the structure. The owner of an Avoca Street unit block of units has mounted Land and Environment Court action over the council’s refusal of a DA. The latter claimed that under-floor car parking spaces had been illegally converted to habitable accommodation. Meantime, draft stop-work and demolition orders have been issued to a Tiyces Lane, Boxers Creek property owner for the alleged illegal clearing of 35 hectares of natural bushland, a truck wrecking facility, polluted runoff and an ‘unauthorised shed’ with habitable rooms. The council also issued a $4000 penalty infringement notice in regard to the wrecking operation. ALSO READ: ‘Political posturing will not get the job done’: Pollies trade barbs over Yass water Other matters included a stop-work order on an unauthorised truck depot in Lockyer Street which had sparked neighbour complaints about noise. A DA has since been lodged but Mr Martin said the owner was seeking a ‘more suitable’ site. Staff are also investigating complaints that a southern Auburn Street business is being used as a place of worship, and an ‘unauthorised’ bed and breakfast at Wollumbi Road, Marulan. Mr Martin told the meeting the long list disappointed him but the approach was correct. “It makes people aware they have to deal with the council when they work outside the guidelines,” he said. We care about what you think. Have your say in the form below and if you love local news don’t forget to subscribe.



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Before Himalayan Flood, India Ignored Warnings of Development Risks

NEW DELHI — Long before the floods came, washing away hundreds of people and wiping out newly constructed dams and bridges, the warning signs were clear.

The Himalayas have been warming at an alarming rate for years, melting ice long trapped in glaciers, soil and rocks, elevating the risk of devastating floods and landslides, scientists warned. Nearby populations were vulnerable, they said, and the region’s ecosystem had become too fragile for large development projects.

But the Indian government overrode the objections of experts and the protests of local residents to blast rocks and build hydroelectric power projects in volatile areas like the one in the northern state of Uttarakhand, where disaster struck.

Officials said Monday that bodies of 26 victims had been recovered while the search proceeded for nearly 200 missing people. On Sunday a surge of water and debris went roaring down the steep mountain valleys of the Rishiganga river, erasing everything in its path. Most of the victims were workers on the power projects.

Villagers said the authorities overseeing the expensive development projects had not prepared them for what was to come, giving a false sense of confidence that nothing was going to happen.

“There was no program or training in the village about disaster management by the government,” said Bhawan Singh Rana, head of the Raini village, hit by some of the worst damage. “Our village is on a rock, and we fear that it may slide anytime.”

Security forces focused on one tunnel where they said 30 people were trapped. Food was airdropped to about 13 villages where the roads have been cut off, with roughly 2,500 people trapped.

The devastation of the Uttarakhand floods has once again focused attention on the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas, where millions of people are feeling the impact of global warming. The World Bank has warned that climate change could sharply diminish living conditions for up to 800 million people in South Asia. But the effects are already felt, often in deadly ways, in large parts of the Himalayan belt from Bhutan to Afghanistan.

The region has about 15,000 glaciers, which are retreating at a rate of 100 to 200 feet per decade. The melting feeds or creates thousands of glacial lakes that can suddenly break through the ice and rocky debris holding them back, causing catastrophic floods. In Nepal, Bhutan, India and Pakistan, a large number of glacial lakes have been deemed imminently dangerous by The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, an intergovernmental group.

Nepal has been particularly vulnerable, with climate change forcing entire villages to migrate to lower lands for survival from a deepening water crisis. Deadly flash floods, some caused by glacial lakes bursting, have also become more frequent.

Scientists have warned repeatedly that development projects in the region are a deadly gamble, potentially making matters worse.

Ravi Chopra, the director of People’s Science Institute in Uttarakhand, said a 2012 expert group appointed by the government had recommended that dams should not be built in the Alaknanda-Bhagirathi basin, including on the Rishiganga. He was part of a scientific committee appointed by India’s highest court in 2014 that also advised against building dams in “the para-glacial zone,” what he described as an area where the valley floor is more than about 7,000 feet above sea level.

“But the government has gone ahead and chosen to build them,” he said. Both of the hydroelectric projects hit by Sunday’s flood — one obliterated and the other badly damaged — were built in that zone, he said.

D.P. Dobhal, a former scientist at the government-run Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology said, “When we develop such projects in the Himalayas such as hydro projects or roads and rail, in detailed project reports the glacier study data is never taken into consideration or included.”

The government is building more than 500 miles of highway in Uttarkhand to improve access to several major Hindu temples, despite environmentalists’ objections to the massive forest clearance required, which can hasten erosion and raise the risk of landslides.

A scientific committee appointed by India’s Supreme Court and led by Dr. Chopra concluded last year that the government, in building the highway to the width of 10 meters, about 33 feet, had gone against the advice of its own experts at the Transport Ministry. The government had argued a wider road brought more economic dividends and was needed for potential deployment of large-scale military equipment to the disputed border with China.

The Supreme Court sided with one faction of the scientific committee and ruled that the road should be limited to 5.5 meters, or about 18 feet. But by that time, hundreds of acres of forest and tens of thousands of trees had already been cut, a report in the Indian news outlet The Scroll said.

“When you have your own ministry experts telling you the Himalayan region roads should not have a tarred surface of more than 5.5 meters, and then to go against your own experts’ recommendations, then that is a serious matter,” Dr. Chopra said. “Unless the courts look into the issue of the sanctioning officials and the executing officials personally accountable, I don’t think the situation will change.”

Trivendra Singh Rawat, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, warned against seeing the flooding as “a reason to build anti-development narrative.”

“I reiterate our government’s commitment to develop hills of Uttarakhand in a sustainable manner, and we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the achievement of this goal,” Mr. Rawat said on Twitter.

Exactly what caused the latest flooding was not clear as of Monday night, with the Indian government saying a team of experts would visit the site to investigate. Ranjeet Rath, the head of India’s geological survey, said initial information suggested a “glacial calving at highest altitude.” Calving is the breaking of ice chunks from a glacier’s edge.

Scientists studying satellite imagery from before and after the flooding said it was likely not caused by a glacial lake bursting, as no such lake was visible in the images.

They said the disaster most likely began with the collapse of a rock slope that had become unstable from thawing of ice in recent summers, and such a landslide could have broken up part of a glacier.

An avalanche could have dammed the river temporarily, creating a lake which then broke free, said Umesh K. Haritashya, a scientist who studies glacial hazards at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

Avalanches also generate heat from friction, which can melt ice that lies in its path or is in the tumbling debris.

“Basically it’s a landslide that is some fraction rock, and some fraction ice,” said Dan Shugar, a geomorphologist at the University of Calgary in Alberta. “A lot of the ice melted. And it might have picked up a lot more.”

The Raini village was in one of the areas hit hardest on Sunday, where the 13-megawatt Rishiganga hydro power project was completely washed away. Afterward, roughly 100 of the village’s 150 residents spent the night in the open.

“We did not sleep in our houses out of fear that more water may come, rocks may shift, something more dangerous may happen,” said Mr. Rana, the village head. “We took our bedding up in the forest, lit some fires, and somehow passed the night.”

The area was the site of a well-known environmental protest against deforestation in the 1970s. Protesters, a large number of them women, would hug trees to stop loggers from cutting them, in a movement that became known as “chipko,” or embrace.

Mr. Rana said local residents also held protests against construction of the Rishiganga power project, which began generating electricity last year, and they even filed court cases, but to no avail. They feared that the blasting of rocks would cause deadly landslides.

“We used to hear blasting and see the rocks shift,” he said. “When this project was under construction, half of our village slid. We requested to be shifted from here to another place. The government said they would do it, but it never happened.”

Bhadra Sharma contributed reporting from Kathmandu, Nepal, and Henry Fountain from Albuquerque.

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New land deal to realise major phase of 7,000 new home development in Cardiff

A major phase of the 7,000 home Plasdwr development on the outskirts of Cardiff has been confirmed with housebuilder Redrow acquiring a key land site.

It comes as the Flintshire headquartered firm has extended its original agreement with the Plymouth Estate at Plasdwr.

The latest deal relates to by far the largest component part (426 gross acres) of the development with a third, smaller section to follow.

It means Redrow will create up to 2,600 homes a Plasdwr and retain responsibility for leading the masterplanning of the entire £2bn garden city project.

The value of the land deal with Plymouth Estate has not been disclosed.

Plasdwr is taking shape across 900 acres of countryside in the north west of the capital.

A 20 year project, when completed,  it will  comprise up to 7,000 homes – up to 30% of which will be affordable  –  four primary schools, a secondary school, retail, health, leisure and community facilities set across five distinct neighbourhoods.

Its development will create over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Redrow is already lead developer on the first parts of Plasdwr, bordering the existing neighbouring communities of Radyr, Danescourt, Fairwater, Pentrebane and St Fagans.

Some 250 residents are already living at the scheme.

The first primary school is expected to open in 2023, and two other housebuilders have also begun developing sites.

The next phase will see Redrow committing £87m of additional investment in new infrastructure, including roads, utilities and services, drainage and landscaping. Redrow expects to deliver the first homes under this new arrangement in 2023.

Redrow project director Wayne Rees said: “Being proudly headquartered in Wales, we feel particularly privileged to be selected to remain at the forefront of Plasdwr, using our placemaking approach to lead the masterplanning team as well as creating around half the homes in such a significant new place for our capital and its future.

“For the same reason, we’re especially delighted to be part of creating thousands of Welsh jobs over a sustained period, both directly and via our supply chain.”

Mike Lawley, chairman of Cooke & Arkwright, the landowner’s representative, said: “The Plymouth Estate has been focused on delivering an exemplar scheme at Plasdwr and leaving a legacy it can be proud of.

“It is incredibly important to the Plymouth Estate to have a reliable and committed lead developer to assist in bringing this complex scheme forward, and Redrow has proved to be first rate at working collaboratively with the landowners and Cardiff County Council.

“The landowners fully support the strategic approach being taken to the delivery of Plasdwr and the considered masterplanning and placemaking approach of the entire expert team of professionals, led by Redrow.”

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Black Panther TV Series in Development for Disney+, Part of Five-Year Deal With Director Ryan Coogler

Disney is developing a “Black Panther” television series set in the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda as part of a massive new five-year content deal with director Ryan Coogler, the company said Monday.

Global smash hit film Black Panther (Review) starring the late Chadwick Boseman was adored by critics and audiences, becoming the first comic book movie to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars, and grossing over $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,300 crores) worldwide.

It was also credited as a major step forward in African American representation for Hollywood, with a predominantly Black cast and writer-director in Coogler, who is also overseeing a film sequel set for next year.

“Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation,” said Disney executive chairman Bob Iger in a statement.

“With Black Panther, Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way, creating a watershed cultural moment.”

“We’re thrilled to strengthen our relationship and look forward to telling more great stories with Ryan and his team.”

Coogler’s company Proximity will develop a “wide variety” of projects for streaming service Disney+ and other branches of the sprawling Mouse House studio.

“We’re already in the mix on some projects that we can’t wait to share,” said Coogler.

The untitled Wakanda series is the latest in a huge raft of Disney+ television shows set in the world of the record-grossing Marvel superhero films.

At an investor presentation in December, Disney announced “roughly 10 Marvel series” would hit the streaming service in the “next few years.”

Others included the Samuel L Jackson-led Secret Invasion, If Beale Street Could Talk actress Dominique Thorne in Ironheart, and Don Cheadle for Armor Wars.

WandaVision, the first new release in the Marvel franchise “universe” for almost two years due to delays caused by the pandemic, is currently airing on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar.

The pioneering Boseman’s lead role in Black Panther will not be recast in the sequel film following his death in August from colon cancer, the company has said.

Is LG Wing’s unique design alone enough to help it succeed in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Infrastructure boss holds senior racing club board position, as it embarks on major development | The Canberra Times

news, act-politics, Major Projects Canberra, Canberra Racing Club, thoroughbred park, Gungahlin light rail, Duncan Edghill

The head of the ACT’s infrastructure department holds a senior committee position at Canberra Racing Club, which is embarking on a major residential and commercial development at Thoroughbred Park. Major Projects Canberra and the racing club say Duncan Edghill has made all of the necessary conflicts of interest disclosures and is not involved in any dealings between the government agency and private organisation. But the presence of Mr Edghill, who is charged with overseeing light rail’s expansion and the Canberra hospital upgrade, on the racing club’s board does raise questions, particularly given the club’s planned transformation of its Flemington Road racecourse precinct. The Canberra Times last month reported the club’s masterplan flagged up to 3200 homes on the site, as well as commercial space and possibly a hotel and aged-care complex. The racecourse would be retained. The 12-to-15-year project could inject up to $1 billion into the Canberra economy and support more than 2000 jobs, according to an internal government brief. The club has been keen to leverage its proximity to the Gungahlin light rail line to spur a redevelopment of Thoroughbred Park, which chief executive Andrew Clark said was key to the organisation and sport’s long-term future. Mr Edghill was one of the key people in charge of delivering the first stage of light rail in his previous role as Transport Canberra boss. The racing club’s records show Mr Edghill was first appointed to the committee on June 30, 2019 – about two months after light rail took its first passengers. He was elected treasurer of the racing club last year. Mr Edghill moved from Transport Canberra to head up the newly created major projects agency in July 2019, initially on an interim basis and then full-time. As chief projects officer, he is charge of the procurement and delivery of the ACT government’s infrastructure program, an agenda headlined by light rail’s second stage to Woden and the $500 million Canberra Hospital expansion. The infrastructure agency would not be responsible for assessing or approving the racing club’s masterplan or any development applications related to the Thoroughbred Park precinct revamp. Those decisions would fall to the ACT’s independent planning and land authority. The racing club plans to start community consultation on the proposal in February. It hopes to gain government approval within three years. In statements to The Canberra Times, Major Projects Canberra and Canberra Racing Club indicated Mr Edghill’s involvement with the two organisations was above board. A racing club spokeswoman said Mr Edghill, who fills the treasurer’s position on a volunteer basis, had made all of the necessary conflicts of interests to both parties and abided by confidentiality obligations. Mr Edghill hadn’t provided the club with any information which wasn’t already publicly available, the spokeswoman said. She said Mr Edghill did not represent the club in talks with the ACT government and had on a number of occasions stepped out of board meetings when discussions turned to the relationship between the two. However, she confirmed he had been involved in committee discussions about the proposed Thoroughbred Park redevelopment when there was “no conflict”, such as on matters related to club members and trainers. “Mr Edghill’s role within the ACT government does not involve any matters relating to the Canberra Racing Club, and Mr Edghill always acts with professionalism and integrity in disclosing any potential conflicts and adhering to his confidentiality obligation,” she said. “The Canberra Racing Club does not have access to information from Mr Edghill which is not already in the public domain, but values the leadership, project management and financial experience Mr Edghill brings to the committee – and by extension to the Canberra community – on a voluntary basis from his years in the private and public sectors.” A Major Projects Canberra spokeswoman confirmed Mr Edghill had made a conflict of interest disclosure to the head of the ACT public service, and did not represent the racing club in any meetings or correspondence with territory officials. ANU emeritus professor John Wanna, who is an expert in public administration, said it was reasonable, and not uncommon, for senior public servants to sit on boards of non-government organisations. What was important was how they managed potential conflicts of interest, he said. “On all of these kinds of matters there could be perceptions of too much insider knowledge,” he said. “But from my experience, they often take great steps to ensure that everything is above board.” A spokesman for Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Mr Edghill had met the requirements on senior public servants to disclose private interests.



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