Mayoral Column 18 August 2014

Published on 18 August 2014

Major streetscape project starts

An ambitious streetscape renewal project begins today in Boort, after eight years of planning and preparation by Council and a total funding commitment of more than $1 million.

Contractor Tactile Australia, of Tatura, will operate alongside Shire staff to start work on the final stage of the Boort Eastern Entry redevelopment, paving the way for a potential fresh look to Nolens Park and landscaping of the area.

Removal of old material is expected to start tomorrow, so there will be limited access to the site as a construction zone for the next six or seven weeks.

The budgeted cost of this stage of the project is $404,400, shared between Loddon Shire ($90,000), state government ($300,000) and the local community’s in-kind contribution of $14,400.

Road works and the relocation of services are expected to cost $250,000, a park shelter $75,000, realignment works for future playground upgrades $33,800 and trees and landscaping $45,600.

Loddon Shire’s Manager Community Planning, Tim Jenkyn, said local input had been integral to the process since it began in 2006.

“In Nolens Park, the key objective is to create better linkages with the lakeside and provide a basis for planning for greater recreational opportunities in Boort,” Tim said.

“The park’s unique location next to Little Lake Boort means it can be an inviting place for residents of all ages, as well as travellers passing through.”

If further funding permits, Council and the Boort community can imagine seeing such potential future improvements as a sculpture walk, events space, new shelters and a revamped play space.

Class acts line up

Pyramid Hill College will host a lunchtime Battle of the Bands competition on Tuesday of next week (26 August), with around 10 acts scheduled to perform.

It’s a Shire-wide event, with the winner set for a place at the regional final in Ballarat later this year. The grand final is normally held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl during the annual Push Over festival in March.

The FReeZA Push Start Battle of the Bands competition allows young musicians from around Victoria to gain wider exposure.

Regional heats are hosted by FReeZA committees each year from February to August, with the winners going on to compete in regional finals from October to December.

For more details, please phone Council Recreation Officer Tony Bellenger on 5494 1200.

Call on preschool places

Enrolments close late next week for four-year-old places at all five preschools in the Loddon Kindergarten Cluster.

The deadline for registrations is Friday 29 August – earlier that the previous cut-off of end-September.

Expressions of interest are also open at the moment for three-year-old groups, but these, too, close on Friday week.

Application forms are available from the preschools, Maternal and Child Health centres, Council’s Wedderburn and Serpentine offices and through the Council website, www.loddon.vic.gov.au

For more information – or to discuss any issues related to the deadline date – please phone Council’s Early Years Co-ordinator, Alycia O’Sullivan, on 5437 7999.

Free service available

A diabetic sharps container exchange program, fully funded by Council, is now operating in Pyramid Hill, but it appears potential users of the service may not know of it.

The exchange site was moved to Pyramid Hill Pharmacy Depot in Kelly St in May on a six-month trial, but, so far, no one has taken advantage of it.

The service is free and residents who have diabetes or a medical need to use a sharps container are encouraged to access it.

Other exchange sites in the Shire are: at the Council Offices in Wedderburn and Serpentine, Beaumont Hall Guardian Pharmacy at Inglewood and the Boort Resource and Information Centre.

According to Diabetes Australia, 6.5% of the population of the Loddon Local Government Area suffered from the condition in 2011, a rise of more than 165% over the previous 10 years.

By 2011, 252,000 Victorians were known to be living with diabetes and this figure was increasing by 73 new cases each day.

For someone living with diabetes, medical waste includes a finger-pricking device (lancet), test strips from blood glucose monitors and insulin syringes and needles.

The correct way to dispose of this medical waste is in a yellow sharps container.

Exchange sites have three container sizes to choose from and provide residents with these at no charge. When the container is full, simply drop off your sealed, clean container to any exchange site.

For more information, please phone the Environmental Health department at Loddon Shire Council on 5494 1200.

Money from the bank

Community groups looking for another source of funding for their pet projects could consider a joint initiative from the Bank of Melbourne and the Herald Sun newspaper which is offering $10,000 to successful applicants.

The grants program, tagged The Local Project, invites communities to nominate their ideas under one of five categories – education, community, culture, environment and recreation.

A judging panel will shortlist 50 entries – 10 in each category – then award the $10,000 grants to the two entries in each section which receive the most votes.

To find a submission form, go to www.bankofmelbourne.com.au/thelocalproject

Entries close on Monday 1 September.