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Mayoral Column 27 June 2016

Released on 27 June 2016

Zero tolerance on puppy farms

Loddon Shire is taking a zero tolerance approach to illegal puppy farm breeding and it’s paying dividends.

In the last 12 months our local laws team has successfully prosecuted three separate cases of illegal dog breeding within the Shire boundaries.

The most recent case brought before Bendigo Magistrate’s Court last week, resulted in the defendant being ordered to pay a $45,000 fine and being banned from owning, breeding or working with dogs for 10 years.

An order was also made for the defendant to pay Council’s legal costs, totalling $11,016.

We believe it’s the first time in the state’s history a defendant has been ordered under the domestic animals act to comply with an order banning them for a period of 10 years from owning, breeding or working with dogs.

The prosecution follows our local laws team uncovering unregistered dogs housed in squalid conditions in a shed on a Bridgewater property.

In this instance the shed had been decked out with breeding pens without any attempt to secure the relevant planning permits.

Three successful prosecutions in a 12 month period really demonstrates that illegal breeders will not be tolerated in this Shire and those who do so can expect to face the weight of the law.

Road maintenance a top priority

With school holidays just around the corner, chances are you’ll be spending a bit of time on the road.

While you go about your travels, near or far, take a moment to consciously note the state of the road you are travelling.

While there’s always room for improvement, you may find we have one of the best gravel road networks around.

This is the result of a decision to dedicate almost half Council’s outdoor operations staff to the maintenance of unsealed roads and shoulders.

At this point in time this means we have 21 full time staff committed to our unsealed road network.

In fact in the last 12 months our unsealed road network maintenance program has benefited from $1.3 million labour, $100,000 worth of materials and $2.2 million in plant costs.

The merits of a gravel road network will always be debated, but the fact remains that in Loddon Shire we have more kilometres of unsealed roads, and per kilometre they remain more cost effective to maintain than their sealed counterparts.

That being said, Council continually strives to maintain an acute awareness of demand and change, which from time to time will result in individual stretches being sealed on a needs basis.

A creative data collection solution

Garbage collectors will gather invaluable mobile data blackspot information as they follow their usual routes throughout the Shire in August.

At designated points throughout their run, drivers will take a moment to test the level of mobile service upload and download capability.

The move follows Loddon Shire’s decision to borrow a device designed to collect and upload mobile signal strength, network performance and call drop out locations as part of a state government plan to accurately detect and eradicate mobile phone black spots.

While we already have information on mobile phone coverage, using the device we’ll develop a much more comprehensive connectivity map.

The garbage truck initiative is a great way to gather the information at multiple points using an existing resource and is particularly prudent in a geographically diverse Shire like Loddon.

It’s anticipated information collected through the project will be used to advocate for better funding of mobile towers and related infrastructure throughout the municipality.

Time to consider pre-school opportunities

Kindergarten enrolments for three and four year old sessions right across the Shire are set to open this Friday 1 July.

Council’s Early Years team is encouraging families to lodge their applications online at www.loddon.vic.gov.au as soon as possible so they have a rough idea of numbers for planning purposes.

We’re also happy to announce that while a start date is yet to be confirmed, occasional care sessions will soon be up and running in Pyramid Hill and Dingee.

As service demand increases occasional care may also be able to run in other localities so feel free to register your interest with Council as the need arises.

We also have opportunities available for people interested in volunteering with the occasional care service.

Inquiries regarding kindergarten enrolments and occasional care can be directed to Alycia by emailing earlyyears@loddon.vic.gov.au or phoning 5437 7999.

Finally if you’re a new parent interested in meeting up with other parents you can join a parent group.

Meetings are currently held in Boort, Dingee and Serpentine.

For details contact Maternal and Child Health Nurse Anthea Ryan on 0409 166 891.

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