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The Informer: High-flying plans grounded and a giant local government farewelled

Skywhalepapa and Skywhale stayed grounded during a windy start to Sunday in the capital. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Skywhalepapa and Skywhale stayed grounded during a windy start to Sunday in the capital. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

IT WAS supposed to be a high-flying end to the weekend in the nation's capital today.

However, once again, this relatively cool, wet, windy (and most welcome) summer had other plans.

The highly-anticipated maiden flight of Skywhalepapa, the new companion for the sometimes polarising hot-air balloon, Skywhale, was reined in leaving the curious couple inflated, but grounded.

While flying, in many senses, has been off the cards for the last 12 months, it seems more Australians are keen to get riding on their bikes.

New figures from 99 Bikes, one of the nation's largest bike retailers, show electric bike sales went up a gear from April to December last year.

Founder Matt Turner said purchases almost doubled nationally over that span and were up as much as 220 per cent in some regions.

He put the rise down to people emerging from lockdowns seeking "safer, cheaper, healthier and environmentally friendly ways to get around".

Rainfall over a bushfire burning in the Perth Hills reduced the threat to homes and lives.

Emergency WA has downgraded the fire to an advice message with no immediate danger to local properties.

The blaze has already destroyed at last 86 homes and burnt through about 11,000 hectares.

With a flood warning in place for the mid-west Gascoyne region on Sunday, roads remain closed and residents are urged to watch for fast-flowing and rising waters.

Premier Mark McGowan said the tropical low-pressure system sweeping across the state had caused considerable damage, including to the Northwest Coastal Highway.

In far-western NSW, a giant of local government was sadly farewelled.

Cr Brady, who remained Cobar's mayor until her death, died peacefully on Sunday morning at the central west NSW town's hospital.

She served as mayor in the town for more than 20 years in total, and sat on the local council for 40 years. She had planned to retire this coming September.

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