Mayoral Column 15 December 2014

Published on 15 December 2014

Santa pays Loddon a special visit

Loddon Shire residents will have the opportunity to be spoilt this Christmas, if they attend the Inglewood Lions Club Carols by Candlelight.

The event started eight years ago when Loddon experienced severe drought conditions.

We were fortunate during this time that the Inglewood Lions Club decided to host a free event to provide Loddon residents with a night out around Christmas that wouldn’t affect families financially.

Each year, the Inglewood Lions Club members donate countless hours to fundraise through raffles and barbecues to raise the $8000 required to host the event for the Loddon community.

We are lucky the club has continued the tradition, and continue to host this event which sees more than 700 people attend annually.

Santa will make a surprise visit and will provide all registered children with a present valued at $20.

A free barbecue will be on offer for people to enjoy, along with rock climbing, face painting, a jumping castle, a monster raffle and fairy floss.

Band “501” will feature popular music until 7pm when the carols will begin.

I sincerely thank the Inglewood Lions Club for their dedicated commitment to fundraise each year to continue this event.

I strongly encourage all Loddon residents to attend the event at Inglewood this Sunday (Dec21), and support our local Lions club’s fundraising initiatives each year.

To register your child for a free present from Santa visit the Inglewood and Districts Community Bank, Moore’s IGA or the Bridgewater post office.

Council invests in emergency water supply points for farmers

Farmers are yet to see a reprieve from the dry weather conditions with dams across Loddon drying up, and current forecasts predicting an extended and dry summer period.

In light of current pressures being placed on farmers to keep water up to their stock, Council has stepped up to the challenge and has been working with the Victorian Farmers Federation to provide a viable solution for emergency stock and domestic water supplies over the pending summer period as well as into the future.

Last month Council put together a plan to install four emergency water supply standpipes, thus expanding the existing standpipe network from seven to 11.  The new standpipe sites are different from the existing facilities in that they will not operate on the existing Avdata key system and will not provide for an overhead fill point (i.e. low fill point only). 

The four new supply points have been located on either existing pressurised pipelines or groundwater bores in areas believed to offer the best accessibility to those farmers most affected by the dry conditions.  Operation of the emergency supply points will be different to existing standpipes in that residents wishing to access water from these sites will need to register at the Shire office and obtain a manual key and log book.

New emergency supply standpipe locations are as follows: the corner of Borung-Wedderburn Road and Boort-Wedderburn Road, at the Bridgewater Recreation Reserve, Logan Bore on the Emu-Logan Road and at the Yeungroon-Woosang Road, located in the Buloke Shire, but managed by Loddon Shire Council.

Sites at Borung, Yeungroon and Bridgewater operate on a pressurised pipeline system, however, the Logan Bore operates on twin 22kL tanks, which requires users to bring a pump to extract water from the supply point.

People will need around five to six metres of 75mm hose and a female cam-lock coupling fitting to operate each station.

Given the reduced infrastructure cost in providing and operating these supply points, Council is able to offer water from these sites at a reduced cost compared to water sourced via the existing seven standpipe sites.  Water from the emergency supply points will be charged at $3 kL, with water accessed via Council’s other Avdata enabled standpipes charged at $5 kL.

It should be noted that the water supplied from the four emergency supply points is non-potable and as such is not suitable for human consumption, unlike water provided at the majority of existing standpipe facilities. 

It is expected that operation of the emergency water supply points will be seasonal with access only made available during dry periods or extended drought conditions.

The installation of these four standpipes is a worthy investment into Loddon’s farming future and it’s expected to help the hip pocket for many farmers around the region.

For further information or details about how to access or operate the emergency water supply points contact the Loddon Shire office on 5494 1200. For the location of all 11 standpipes or to determine whether supplies form particular standpipes are potable or non-potable visit Council’s website at www.loddon.vic.gov.au.

Great Victorian Bike Ride to stop in Loddon

Loddon Shire is set to reap the benefits of the Great Victorian Bike Ride as it makes its way back to the municipality next year.

The 2015 bike route has been announced as a 540 kilometre golden adventure in the historic Goldfields region.

The nine-day bike riding holiday will start in Ballarat and include overnight stops in Avoca, Dunolly, Inglewood, Bendigo, Heathcote and Castlemaine with a finish in the gold rush town of Bendigo.

Council will contribute towards the costs of hosting the event overnight in Inglewood, but the Shire stands to reap a handsome dividend. Bicycle Victoria’s research shows the average value of this event to the towns through which it passes each year is around $35 per rider per day – a potential shared windfall for Loddon businesses and community groups of up to $133,000.

This is the second time Loddon will host the event. In 2011 the Great Victorian Bike Ride had two stops in the municipality at Boort and Wedderburn. That year, we received two awards with Wedderburn rated the ‘most favourite town’ and ‘most welcoming’ in the post-ride online survey, with Boort following in second place.

The reason we won these awards was our communities’ commitment to work hard to create a mini festival around the event.

Loddon has worked hard and is pleased to secure the event back in the region.

At Loddon, we recognise that events like the Great Victorian Bike Ride quickly stimulate the economy.  This event brings in outside dollars that we wouldn’t normally receive.

In 2011 we had fireworks, street stalls and even live entertainment. Next year, Council will be working with the whole Inglewood community to ensure this is a memorable stop for the 4,000 bike riders, volunteers and support group who will travel through our towns.

The whole municipality will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of the great economic driving force through our region. We will make sure every business and community group have the opportunity to set up a stall in Brookes Street to sell or promote their items to the riders who are passing through the region.

Swimming hole opens at Christmas event

Bridgewater will come to life next Thursday night as the swimming hole is officially opened for the summer season at the town’s Carols by Candlelight event.

I will have the great honour of conducting the official proceedings on the night.

The Bridgewater on Loddon swimming hole has come a long way in the last 10 years. The area closed down 20 years ago. However, Loddon Shire has been working with the community since 2007 to make the area a safe place for the municipality.

The Council has spent more than $250,000 on the area with the communities help, external funding, community donations and in-kind support.

Over the years we have been able to install a new swimming jetty, upgrade the pontoon, landscape the area including the installation of a retaining wall, create more accessible areas, lay new grass, build new toilets and install an electric barbecue and safety signs.

Heather Mountjoy was the initial driving force behind the work at the swimming hole. Without Heather, the swimming hole would not be the wonderful place that it is today.

Speaking with Heather, she said the community had always supported the development works at the swimming hole.

“People would come down to the swimming hole and give you $20 or $50 and tell you it’s to go towards the redevelopment,” she said.

“Businesses would make donations and the youth really got behind the project.

“People don’t just give you money from their back pocket if they don’t value the project you are working on. It just goes to show how much the Bridgewater swimming hole means to the area.”

The Bridgewater on Loddon Development Committee has been working hard to ensure the swimming hole opening and Carols by Candlelight is a successful event.

Bridgewater Primary School students will sing the carols on the night, with a surprise visit from Santa around 8.30pm.

The view of the water in the evenings at the swimming hole is majestic. If you are able to, come along to the Carols by Candlelight evening this Thursday. The event will start at 7pm with a free barbecue dinner. Bring your own chairs and blankets. Refreshments will be available to purchase on the night.

For more information, contact Bridgewater on Loddon Development Committee secretary Christine Wattie on 0400 315 440.