Mayoral Column 1 September 2014

Published on 01 September 2014

Festival has spring in its step

ABC Radio breakfast presenter Jonathan Ridnell will be at Barraport next Sunday (7 Sept) to officially open the 2014 “Naturally Loddon” Spring Festival.

The launch will take place at John and Sonia Piccoli’s Star Spanner Sculpture Gardens from 11am to 3pm, with all welcome.

What follows is a succession of family-friendly, nature-focused events, beginning with a wetlands tour around Boort on 14 September and ending on 26 October with Wedderburn’s Naturally New Age Festival.

In between, there’s the traditional Kooyoora Wildflower Show, family days at Terrick Terrick National Park and Tarnagulla, a carp fishing competition, the 10-year anniversary celebration for the Kamarooka Project, photographic shows and field trips and, in Boort, Sculpture by the Lake and Luncheon by the Lake.

The wildflower show is a popular highlight, featuring an extensive display of flowers, plus twice-daily bus tours and a photographic competition in several categories.   

The activities weekend at Terrick Terrick National Park offers a chance to go bird watching and learn more about the park, as well as taking part in mini-coach tours and plant walks.

A family day at Tarnagulla invites visitors to try their hand at metal detecting and show their skills in making cupcakes, while a carp fishing competition at Boort promises fun for anglers of all ages.

The Bridgewater Wool, Wheat and Wine Festival is back after last year’s successful trial and Boort will again host its gourmet Luncheon by the Lake, a five-course meal matched with local wines.

To find a brochure, check at tourist information outlets, phone the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on 5494 1257 or go to www.loddon.vic.gov.au

Painting the town red

Twenty-five students from Loddon Shire’s four secondary schools will go to Melbourne this week for the Shire’s second annual street art camp.

The decision to stage the event again was an easy one, given the success of last year’s inaugural trip.

Planned for Wednesday to Friday (3-5 Sept), the program is offered by Melbourne Street Art Tours, the only business of its kind in Australia run by street artists.

The Years 8-10 students will be accompanied by art teachers Pam Townsend (East Loddon), Nathan Sims (Boort), Leanne Talbot (Pyramid Hill) and Lauren Barker (Wedderburn), as well as the trip organiser, Council Recreation Officer Tony Bellenger.

The cost for students and teachers will be held to $60 each, plus their meals, transport and personal spending, but Council is paying the total bill of $9,900 from its FreeZa and youth development funds.

The program for the tour includes students completing individual stencil artwork, a junk sculpture, spray painting, a photographic tour of CBD laneways and a collaborative paste-up scene on a city wall. 

They will be exposed to professional examples of these art forms on both the streets of Melbourne and at the National Gallery of Victoria, then chances to practise their skills through individual and collective pieces of work.

Artworks completed by the students will go on display at Wedderburn College on Friday 24 October, to coincide with both the launch of the latest Kool Skools CD made by our young musicians and the annual fete day for the school.

Caravan park pushes on

Work on several key aspects of the Bridgewater Caravan Park redevelopment is nearing an end.

The manager’s residence is almost finished, with plumbing and other services now connected, while two buildings being assembled off-site – the park office and park cabin – are expected to arrive soon.

The three barbecues are fully operational, fencing at the south end of the park is now complete and temporary fencing in that area has been removed. 

Work on the new public toilet is all but complete, while design work on the new amenities building has been finalised and a start on construction is imminent.

Refurbishment of the internal parts of the camp kitchen has begun and on-site work will get under way within a month on a new pergola and patio as part of the camp kitchen area.

Still to be contracted are the supply and installation of a new boom gate at the park entry, more fencing work and additional landscaping to tidy up areas around current construction sites within the park.

Council is greatly looking forward to formally opening the park later this year, sure it will prove a major asset both to the local community and visitors to the Shire.

Rates notices out

Council has issued its rates notices for the coming financial year and these should be arriving in people’s letterboxes any day.
Ratepayers will note that the market valuations of their properties may have changed.

If so, this is because the state government requires all councils to conduct a revaluation of all properties within their boundaries on 1 January every two years and that has been done this year.

You can object to your valuation, but this objection must be made within two months of the date of the initial rate notice.

Application forms for lodging objections are available through the Council’s website, www.loddon.vic.gov.au

Those opting to pay their rates in full have until 16 February next year – otherwise, the first instalment is due on 30 September.

Weekly and fortnightly payment plans are available if that makes things easier.  For more information, phone Rates Officer Julie Ritchie on 5494 1200.

New grants scheme

The state government’s Local Landscape Enhancement Grants program has opened for business, offering to help community groups enhance the amenity of their local area.

Groups with an idea for a locally based environmental project that’s focused on practical improvements and addresses local needs should consider applying for funding of up to $50,000.

Examples of suitable projects include updating a community building, landscaping with native trees and shrubs and producing an information leaflet for a local park or reserve.

The program is run by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and applications close at 4pm on Monday 15 September.

For more information, visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/community-programs/LLEG-program