Mayoral Column 10 February 2014

Published on 10 February 2014

Climate forum hopes for an action plan

A regional forum planned for Maryborough on 19 February will be the next step in a major Victorian project aimed at helping communities cope better with our changing climate.

Loddon Shire is one of six councils in the southern Loddon Mallee region involved in “Adapting to Change”, an initiative funded by the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership with a grant of $240,000.

The others are Central Goldfields, Macedon Ranges, Mount Alexander, Buloke and Gannawarra.

The project acknowledges that forecasts for the region indicate more heatwaves, floods and fires are on the way.

Project co-ordinator Robert Kretschmer said the effort was designed to look at what vulnerabilities the different councils have in common and how co-operation might help.

“The forum in Maryborough will have 20 to 30 stakeholders attending, from such areas as power providers, health services, regional planning and local government,” he said.

“It follows on from workshops that were held in each of the participating municipalities last December, where we discussed regional climate risks.

“We hope the forum will identify actions that can be undertaken, leading to a plan to be published in March.

“Participating in this project won’t necessarily tie councils to committing funds – it’s more putting a focus on tasks we need to do over the next five, 10 or 20 years.”

Council’s representative on the steering group, Community and Recreation Manager Allan Stobaus, said the main value for Loddon lay in the potential to forge partnerships with other councils.

“Loddon’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy for 2013/2018, which was approved by Council in October, covers a lot of these issues for us,” Allan said.

“We’ve already been active in such measures as further drought-proofing community sports facilities, street lighting upgrades and installing solar panels.”

Trails project on track

Council has received a flood of positive and encouraging comments since it invited public feedback on new draft signage for 12 popular walking trails around the Shire.

The proposed signs were unveiled in December for trails around Boort, Bridgewater, Inglewood, Laanecoorie, Pyramid Hill, Serpentine, Tarnagulla and Wedderburn.

Manager Community Planning Tim Jenkyn said Council had identified in its Tracks and Trails Strategy that a key aim was consistent signing and marking of walking trails.

“This was a Shire-wide initiative, so has taken some time to roll out, but we are close to completion now,” Tim said.

“The tracks and trails are graded to national standards for walking, access and, where appropriate, cycling and horse-riding and consistent icons show areas of interest and rest areas, over a background aerial image, to help you get your bearings.

“Distances are provided so you can determine if you would like to walk whole or part of the trail and the design also doubles as a brochure, so can be printed when needed.

“A Quick Response, or QR, code will be produced for each trail so the sign and map can be loaded directly into a smartphone or computer.

“GPS data on all trails can also be accessed from the web and any risks are clearly spelt out.”

There’s still time to look over the draft signs and offer your comments, but be quick – Tim is keen to move ahead with having them produced and installed.

To see the designs, go to www.clockworkthree.com/preview/loddontrails/  or, to speak to Tim, phone 5494 1200.

Welcome, Alycia

Alycia OSullivan

Alycia O’Sullivan has joined Loddon Shire Council in the role of Early Years Co-ordinator, based at Serpentine, succeeding Rebecca Curren.

With a solid background in the human resources area, Alycia will be co-ordinating Council’s Maternal and Child Health services, the infant immunisation program and the Shire’s kindergarten cluster.

“It will be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to getting to know some of the parents and children of Loddon,” she said.

We welcome Alycia to Council’s team and wish her well in her new role.

Eliza hits a high note

Pyramid Hill teenager Eliza Miller has achieved another milestone in her musical journey after winning one of the Best Female Vocal categories at the Victorian Kool Skools Awards Night in Melbourne.

Held late last year, the awards night took the best 20 of the 200 musical acts involved in the annual program state-wide, invited them to perform and reproduced their work on a Best of 2013 CD.

Kool Schools is a music recording and multimedia project for secondary level school bands and solo performers to record an album of original music, either in Melbourne or Sydney, complete with their own photography, graphics and written material.

Over the past 17 years, more than 150 schools and municipal councils have participated from Victoria alone. The project has run in all states of Australia, but currently operates in Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT.

Council sponsors Kool Skools in the Shire each year to the tune of around $9,000, which pays for the participating students’ trip to Melbourne, the launch of their CD and other associated expenses.

Eliza, 16, finished at Pyramid Hill College last year and is now at school in Cohuna.

She performed one of her own compositions, Old Wishes, in Melbourne, together with fellow students Daniel Hercott on drums and Maya Mann on keyboard.

“Last year was my third year in Kool Skools and it’s been amazing,” she said.

“It’s so rewarding being able to have your own music recorded professionally.

“I’ve always loved music, but Tracy Rogers (music teacher at Pyramid Hill) gave me some lessons and has been fantastic for me.

“I’m not quite sure yet what the future holds, but I’m happy to see where my music will take me.”

Congratulations on your success so far, Eliza, and we wish you all the best.