Mayoral Column 13 October 2014

Published on 13 October 2014

Upgrade for Barraport-Gredgwin CFA

The new $285,000 Barraport-Gredgwin CFA station has officially opened, boosting emergency response capabilities for the region.

This is wonderful news for local residents, with the station opened just in time for the up-coming fire season.

The Barraport-Gredgwin station shared a $125 million government contribution with 250 stations across the state.

It provides the 42 brigade members with a modern base designed to meet the brigades and region’s future needs.

The works included a two bay motor room, kitchen and storage areas along with upgraded amenities.

The station will increase community protection and boost brigade morale.

Inclusion Plan Progresses

The report card is in on the first year of Loddon Shire’s Community Access and Inclusion Plan 2013/2015, a Council strategy aimed at improving the access of people with a disability to goods and services, employment and a full community life.

Disability Inclusion Officer Jolie Middleton said this first year had seen positive changes towards reducing barriers and a good foundation built for more achievements to come.

“Examples of actions taken so far include accessibility considerations now built into the existing building inspection template, an Accessible Accommodation Guide developed and a change to Council’s Community Grants Program which sees access issues given higher priority when applications are considered,” she said.

“Four community facilities have been upgraded to increase accessibility – Bridgewater Bowls Club, Newbridge Recreation Reserve Pavilion, Pyramid Hill Hall and Boort Football Club – and Council is looking at ways to support work experience and employment processes for people with a disability.

“Council bought “Readspeaker” software (an online text-to-speech tool) for its website and recorded 102 hits within two months.”

Jolie said the second year of the plan would see, among other objectives, Council buildings re-checked to identify any accessibility barriers, training sessions run for community groups to change any discriminatory attitudes or practices and a policy developed to ensure the voices of people with a disability were heard.

For more information on Council’s activity in this area, phone Jolie on 5494 1200 or email jmiddleton@loddon.vic.gov.au

Power-packed Plans        

A new clean energy project has been proposed for Loddon Shire, with Melbourne company RayGen submitting an application to Council to construct a 200kW solar power plant near Newbridge.

The planned facility would be built on around 2.5ha leased from mushroom compost producer Scato Plus in Yorkshire Rd.

The purpose would be twofold – to provide power for the operations of Scato Plus while simultaneously acting as a testing and proving ground for RayGen’s technology.

RayGen’s Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic (CSPV) system uses a wireless field of solar collector mirrors to focus sunlight on to a receiver located on top of a 25m mast.

The technology was trialled in Melbourne last year, with excellent results.

Construction of the plant is expected to take less than three months, with up to 10 workers on-site at any one time, and employment opportunities may follow later in the form of operation and maintenance contracts.

Council’s planning policies encourage the development of renewable energy facilities within the Shire, in appropriate locations, so this $1.4 million investment is welcome news.

Council congratulates the two companies on their joint initiative and wishes them well with the project.

Council Rate Reminder

Ratepayers are reminded that Monday, 20 October, is the last day council can receive an objection for their rate valuation.

Ratepayers wanting to object will need to complete an objection form and lodge it with council.

If anyone has not received their 2014-15 rates notice via mail they are advised to contact council’s rate department as soon as possible.

For more information contact the Loddon Shire Council rates department on 5494 1200.

Community Sustainability Infrastructure Fund

The Victorian Government’s Community Sustainability Infrastructure Fund is now open to community groups, local government and businesses to apply for grants.

The fund is set to assist groups to achieve sustainability goals, with community grants of up to $50,000 to fund infrastructure projects which achieve sustainable energy or resource recovery outcome.

Business grants are available to support feasibility studies and capital expenditure to achieve energy efficiency, resource recovery and environment improvement outcomes.

Community groups and businesses within the Loddon Shire Council are encouraged to apply.

Applications can be submitted at any time, and will be assessed upon submission.

For more information visit www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/services-and-advice/funding/community-sustainability-infrastructure-fund