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Thursday, 20 September 2012
News>Mayoral Column -18th September 2012
|MAYORAL COLUMN |
18 September 2012
Make fire safety your priority
There’s good news for residents in the southern parts of Loddon Shire with the recent announcement that the CFA is to put a team of experts on the ground here to help people with their fire safety preparations.
The organisation plans to offer free home assessments between 24 September and 24 October, with appointments available from8.30am to 6pm on weekdays and 9am and 3pm Saturdays.
The CFA experts will advise on such areas as property maintenance and ways to better prepare your home, managing vegetation, planning for high fire-risk days, people’s personal capacity to deal with major fires and other potential fire hazards.
Letters were to be sent to all households in the Shire this week over the names of the captains of the six brigades within the municipality that have been identified as high-risk areas.
The “hot spots” are Tarnagulla, Inglewood, Wedderburn, Korong Vale, Wychitella and Laanecoorie.
The organisation’s senior man for our region, Loddon Catchment Operations Officer Peter Taylor, says rain over the past two years has increased the amount of vegetation around and, in consequence, the risk of major fires.
“The southern parts of Loddon Shire are at high risk from uncontrollable bushfires when extreme weather events occur,” Peter says.
“These forested areas include Inglewood, Tarnagulla, Wedderburn and the districts that surround them. Getting advice from an expert could put your mind at rest.”
It’s easy to book a visit – simply go to www.cfa.vic.gov.au/hbas, phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 between 8am and 6pm or the CFA on 9262 8501 during business hours.
Sign up for kinder
The deadline for enrolling children in Loddon Shire’s five Council-managed pre-schools for 2013 is fast approaching.
If your child turns four on or before 30 April 2013, he or she is eligible to attend, but enrolments must be registered by Friday 28 September.
Next year sees the introduction of the National Universal Access program, under which every four-year-old in Australia will have access to 15 hours of pre-school education for 40 weeks of the year.
Council’s pre-schools will be offering those 15 hours over three days a week, with three five-hour sessions.
Enrolment forms are available from Shire offices, the individual pre-schools – at Boort, Dingee, Inglewood, Pyramid Hill and Wedderburn – from maternal and child health nurses or through the Loddon Shire Council website.
Expressions of interest are also open for next year’s three-year-old sessions. These are offered in centres when the numbers are strong enough to support the group, as they attract no government funding.
If you are interested, please contact the Shire Offices for a form.
In the driving seat
An innovative program to help young people get their learners’ permits is about to start in Loddon Shire.
The “Ignition” program, developed by Mission Australia in conjunction with the RACV and the Transport Accident Commission, uses IPads, visual material, activities, games and discussion to prepare young drivers for their tests.
The Shire, through the Transport Connections Program, has arranged two courses for young people who fit the criteria – in Wedderburn from 24-28 September and Pyramid Hill from 8-12 October.
Council will pay for 12 participants in each course.
Loddon Shire’s Transport Connections Co-ordinator, Sue Devereaux, says Ignition has a pass rate of 80-85 per cent, “which makes this a worthwhile program to bring to the Loddon region”.
“The course is five days, with the last day set aside for participants to visit VicRoads as a group to sit their tests,” Sue says.
“At this stage, we have organised these two courses and transport may be available if required.”
For more details, phone Sue on 0447 586 640 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Council’s on the move
The next two Council meetings will have a change of venue, thanks to the Serpentine office becoming a temporary base this week for the conduct of the forthcoming municipal elections.
The September 24 Council meeting will take place at the Boort Resource and Information Centre, while on October 22, Councillors will meet at the Tarnagulla Community Centre.
Both meetings start at 3.30pm and interested observers are always welcome to attend.
Getting out and about
The last week or so has seen Merna and I busy around the southern part of the Shire with a happy mix of highly successful community events.
The Wedderburn Historical Engine and Machinery Society’s annual rally at Engine Park was well attended and packed with interest. There were some wonderful examples of restored cars and tractors – some up to a century old.
The vintage working engines on show, too, were a fascinating glimpse into the kind of life our farming pioneers of the region knew so well.
The Goldfields Choir celebrated its 10-year history in style with a most enjoyable three-hour concert at Inglewood Town Hall, with about 140 people present.
The choir is based at Inglewood, but draws its members from a large area, including Boort, Wedderburn, Murphy’s Creek, Llanelly, Lockwood South, Bridgewater and Newbridge.
The Kooyoora Wildflower Show at Rheola last weekend was bound to delight visitors and my pleasant duty was to perform the official opening.
The two-day show, organised by the Friends of Kooyoora, featured an extensive display of local indigenous flora, guided wildflower walks, a plant stall and a variety of information for patrons.
Later, we enjoyed grand final day in the Loddon Valley Football League and Loddon Valley Netball Associationat Inglewood.
With three football and six netball premierships on the line, it certainly was a feast of sporting action.
Congratulations, of course, go to our premiers at all levels, but we equally applaud the efforts of all finalists – and, indeed, all clubs – in giving us, as spectators, such a marvellous season.
Under 17s YCW
A grade Mitiamo
B grade YCW
C grade Bear’s Lagoon-Serpentine
C Reserve Mitiamo
17 and under Pyramid Hill
15 and under YCW
Grant funds on offer
Two grant offers are currently on the table for groups in small regional communities and the deadlines for applications are closing in.
The latest round of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Small Grants for Small Communities is now open, offering grants of up to $5000.
Examples of successful applicants in the past are playgroups, men’s sheds, local halls, historical societies and community resource centres.
Applications close on 28 September. For more details, phone 1800 170 020 or visit http://www.frrr.org.au
The second opportunity comes through the Regional Arts Fund project grants offered by the Australian Government.
Victorian individuals and organisations can apply for grants of up to $15,000 for cultural development projects. Others available are “Toe in the Water” grants of up to $6000 for small projects and Quick Response Grants of up to $3000.
Applications close on 1 October. For more details, phone Regional Arts Development Officer Kim Bennett on 5032 5269 or go to www.rav.net.au