PUBS OF ALBANY First beers at the redeveloped Premier Hotel, in-house brewery plans for the White Star Hotel, Artisan Brewing breaking records at the Perth Royal Beer Show — OTR’s pint glass runneth over with beer stories. It’s enough to make you thirsty. You might not be in a position to crack open a cold one as you read this, but what you can do is quench your thirst for knowledge. All of this beer talk has reminded OTR of a series put together by a former Advertiser reporter just last year. Campbell “Juddy” Williamson spent about nine months with the Advertiser. Undoubtedly his piece de resistance during that period was his eight-part feature series on the pubs of Albany. He spent hours in the library poring over archives to piece together what is likely the most complete history of our local watering holes. He even looked at a couple of venues lost to the sands of time — namely The Esplanade at Middleton Beach and the Freemason’s Hotel. In the process, he came across some nuggets of gold. Whether it was the ghost of a murderer spotted at the Earl of Spencer or one whaler’s explosive method of clearing the bar at the White Star Hotel, each instalment in the series provided some eyebrow-raising moments. It is a series that deserves more exposure, so OTR has gone ahead and put all eight stories in one place. If you want to know the backstory of your favourite pub — or just learn some fascinating Albany history — click the link below. SKATE PARK As someone who drives along Sanford Road to get to and from work every day, there are two things you can’t miss. One is the roadworks. Those roadworks have been going on for a while now but if they get rid of the potholes, it will all be worth it. There have been two crashes on Sanford Road in recent weeks, which is not what you want to see if you’re a roadworker. Patience, people. The second thing is the unbridled success of Youth Challenge Park. There are kids using all parts of that park in the afternoon and into the evening, and it’s packed on weekends. It’s not hard to see why. Pump track, skate bowl, dirt jumps, skate plaza — skating isn’t in OTR’s wheelhouse but it must be one of the best parks of its kind in the country. When it launched last year, the designers seemed most excited about the progression it would offer kids interested in competing as a skater or rider. The park is capable of hosting State-level competitions. It will also draw some novice girls and boys who might have otherwise stayed home. OTR was far more comfortable kicking a ball than doing a kickflip in his youth, but the scale and quality of the Sanford Road hub would have been hard to resist. The flash new park comes at a time when many regional councils are looking to build similar facilities, partly to attract and retain young families. To keep growing and positioning itself as the best city in country WA, Albany will need more options for young people. A $1.96 million project made possible by State and Federal funding, Youth Challenge Park is looking like a great investment.