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Georgie Sivier2Rising comedy star Georgie Sivier takes out South Island RAW win. Photo Ashburton GuardianAshburton’s own Georgie Sivier has confirmed herself as a rising star of the stand-up comedy world after winning a high profile competition.

The South Island RAW Comedy Quest was on Sunday, where Sivier went up against six fellow finalists from throughout the region.

“It surprised me, I didn’t expect to get anywhere with it because I have only been doing stand up for seven months,” the Ashburton Big Little Theatre Company tutor said.

She said her stand-up act is a “bit peculiar” due to the fact she wore a shark costume, which had ping pong balls for eyes.

Her grandmother made it for a private family joke, out of a car seat cover.

“My grandmother is mortified because she thinks everyone will think she’s a really bad seamstress,” Sivier said.

A former student of Big Little, Sivier is now based in Christchurch as she makes a name for herself in the world of theatre, television and comedy.

She has established the Playspace Theatre Company which has been producing a number of shows, and will soon take the two-person play Her to the Nelson Fringe Festival.

Sivier is in the play with fellow Christchurch comedian Justin White, who won the Christchurch-based Comedian Award for 2016.

Her South Island RAW performance led to her being signed with standup comedy agency Grandpa Figs.

She will now go to the national final in Auckland, where she will be the only South Islander among seven contestants competing.

“It’s terrifying,” Sivier said.

By Susan Sandys © The Ashburton Guardian - 5 April 2017

A last-minute bid to build Ashburton’s new public library at Ashburton College is likely to be canned tomorrow by Ashburton’s district councillors.

Last month the majority, including mayor Donna Favel voted to overturn a decision made by councillors in the previous term to build the library and civic centre on one site.

Sites in the mix were Baring Square east, Eastfield and the current civic centre site in Baring Square west for a co-build of the library and civic centre.

The college site had earlier been discounted as an option for the library but the new team of councillors wanted consultants Opus Architecture to investigate the dual site option again.

It found there was little to be gained by splitting the sites and that the college library option came with some significant disadvantages.

Reports from Opus and from council staff will be discussed at tomorrow’s council meeting and they include the recommendation that “council ceases any further exploration with the Ashburton College and Ministry of Education on the option of siting the new council library on the Ashburton College site and that the Administration & Library Facilities Project Control Group be convened to review the status and progress of the site selection process and report back to council”.

The college option was thrown back into the mix at the request of the college’s new principal Ross Preece when he spoke during the public forum at the February council meeting.

As well as the community needing a new library so too did the college.

Building one facility that met the needs of the school and the community made sense, he said.

He told councillors that the college had several million dollars in available funding and could look at using some of this to assist the building of the new library as a joint facility.

The demolition of the community pool has provided an available land area of approximately 2700m2 where the new library building could be sited.

The proposal was for the library to be based on the Riccarton Library model in Christchurch and the college’s expectation was that the facility would be owned and operated by the council on land owned by the college/Ministry of Education.

In its report Opus said that there were no funding guarantees from the ministry; the only indication of support was the provision of the land on a lease basis.

The college itself indicated that it could possibly provide funding up to $500,000.

Opus found that the college option did not deliver a financial benefit for the community because the shared facility would need to be larger and therefore more expensive than a co-build.

Reaching agreement with the ministry would also involve protracted negotiations that could delay the project.

And those findings led Opus to recommend that the council proceed no further with the college site option and that the project group reconvened to review the status and progress of the current site selection.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 5 April 2017

Veronica WallGrace WilsonGrace Wilson (bow) and Veronica Wall celebrate thier victory in the U18 double final at Maadi. Photo Steve McArthurJustin Wall had a lengthy road trip ahead of him to ponder over the week that was at Maadi Cup and when the Ashburton College rowing coach finally pulls into his driveway, he’ll no doubt be in awe of what his incredible crew managed to achieve.

Ashburton walked away with an outstanding five gold medals from the week’s effort and also claimed a bronze medal and filled placings, or won, a number of B Finals during the last few days of the competition.

“It’s been an amazing week, the team have by far exceeded my expectations,” Wall said.

“But they have done a great job off the water as well; Ashburton should be very proud of them and what they have done in representing the region.”

One of the smaller schools at the Maadi Cup, Ashburton’s results have them now pegged as a feared force in secondary school rowing.

They finished third in the Star Trophy for the overall top school of the week, beaten by Hamilton Boys’ High School and St Peters’ School.

They also picked up second in the prestigious President’s Sculls which goes to the leading sculls rowing school of the week.

St Peters claimed that title with Ashburton finishing ahead of prominent rowing schools such as Hamilton Boys’, Westlake Girls’ and Kings College.

“If you based it on a per-capita format, we would be by far and above everyone else.

“And we are a school who, if you want to row, you are in.

“We don’t leave anyone behind. It’s everybody.”

Wall himself was recognised with the Bill Eaddy Memorial Trophy which was awarded by his peers and he said it was something he was very proud of.

He had nothing but admiration for his crew as a coach, but Wall’s pride in the efforts of his daughter, Veronica, were emotion-filled.

“I could not be more proud of her,” he said.

“She’s risen over and above in maturity and ability and handled it all like it’s just another day.

“There’s been a bit of criticism in a few of the rowing circles that she’s not handling all the pressure, but she’s waving that all off and continues to amaze me with her outlook and positivity about everything.”

After her four-win haul last year at Maadi, Wall managed a repeat in 2017.

She claimed gold with Grace Wilson in the Girls’ Under 18 Double Sculls on Friday and also took out the Under 17 Girls’ Single Sculls.

On Saturday she blew her rivals off the water in the Under 18 Single Sculls and then teamed up with Olivia Gibson, Wilson, Mollie Gibson and Emma Jansen to win the Under 18 Girls’ Coxed Quad Sculls.

“She’s on her own when it comes to single sculls at the moment, she has no peer.

“And for her to be able to team up with Grace and work through from novice to winning again this weekend and then again with the quad it’s hard not to be proud of her as a father.”

Wall’s stocks in the rowing world continue to rise and she is regarded by many highly-qualified rowing experts as the next big thing on the water at the moment.

What awaits her next will remain to be seen, but a black singlet is already in the offing and judging by a few of the results from some of her school mates during the week, there’s potential that she might not be the only one.

By Matt Markham © The Ashburton Guardian - 2 April 2017