Mayoral Column 18 July 2016

Published on 18 July 2016

Bridgewater “ramping up” its tourism profile

Photo caption: The Bridgewater boat ramp project is nearing completion.

Despite some delays due to wet weather and poor ground conditions, the new Bridgewater Boat Ramp is expected to be completed by the middle of next month.

With the old boat ramp removed and the new boat ramp now fully installed, construction of a boardwalk is currently underway.

Completion of the boardwalk running alongside the boat ramp marks the final stage of the $242,500 project, however it will link into the overall foreshore redevelopment plan designed to draw people to the picturesque riverside town.

The boat ramp project itself was undertaken after the Ski Club raised concerns with Council about the poor standard and safety of access to the Loddon River at Bridgewater.

While at a cursory glance, Bridgewater sports and boating groups may appear to be the major beneficiaries of the project, works planned for the precinct, including the establishment of a designated parking area for boating users, will enhance the area for all.

The Bridgewater boat ramp project has attracted $194,500 from the state government under the ‘Boating Safety and Facilities’ program.

Council has listened to the Ski Club and the local community, and in addressing their concerns added further value to a broader foreshore vision.

Word is ever spreading about the accessibility and natural beauty of the Loddon River and increasing numbers of people are making Bridgewater Caravan Park, and nearby riverside locations, their destination of choice.

Council is confident that once the foreshore precinct redevelopment is complete, residents and visitors will be further drawn to the river for a range of leisure activities including quieter pursuits such as fishing, paddling, swimming and walking.

Leisure opportunities for all abilities

Loddon Shire Council is committed to ensuring an active rural lifestyle is available to as many people as possible.

Residents and visitors with limited mobility will soon have the opportunity to explore outdoor tracks and trails which traditional wheelchairs can’t reach, by booking a time to use our new trail rider.

The trail rider is a cross between a wheelbarrow and a sedan chair with handles at the front and back which allow companions to guide the rider up and down previously inaccessible tracks.

It is anticipated the trail rider will be available to book free of charge so more people, regardless of age or disability, are able to more fully enjoy Loddon Shire’s outdoor trails.

The trail rider, expected to be available for use in Spring, is just one of the exciting initiatives currently being undertaken by Council’s disability inclusion team.

A wheelchair lift to be installed at Inglewood Swimming Pool next year is also set to provide people of all abilities independent access into the pool.

To find out more about the wheelchair lift, grab a cuppa and have a read of the Loddon Bulletin which reached your mail box earlier this month, or drop into one of our offices to collect a copy.

Brightening Dingee Kindergarten

Dingee Kindergarten children have begun the school term on a high note returning to freshly painted rooms and environmentally friendly sensor taps designed to conserve tank water supplies.

While the sensor taps are currently a novelty for the youngsters who are enjoying warm running water in their learning environment for the first time, they will also provide a valuable opportunity to introduce water conservation ideas.

Work has also begun on the construction of a pergola to increase all weather outside play opportunities for the Dingee pre-schoolers.

While the painting and tap installation was managed through Council’s building maintenance fund, the pergola is being built after The Bendigo Community Bank donated a sum of $5,500 and the Dingee preschool parent committee fundraised to contribute the remaining funds required for the project.

Library agencies to create social hub

Loddon Shire residents will have further reason to borrow a library book when “bricks and mortar” agencies are launched across the municipality early next year.

Planning is well underway on the introduction of five new library agencies which will replace and increase the level of service provided by the mobile library truck service.

Under the new model residents across Loddon Shire will have access to more than 100 hours of library service per week, in comparison to the 15.5 hours currently provided by the mobile library.

The Pyramid Hill Neighbourhood House currently houses Goldfields Library Corporation’s only library agency in the Loddon region, providing 24 hours of service per week.

It will continue to operate and has recently moved to a new building with renovated spaces where people can catch up with a friend or take a quiet moment to read a magazine.

Some library agencies will be able to offer free programs and workshops with a focus on children’s literacy and digital literacy for adults.

I hope to see more families within our municipality becoming active library members over the coming months, ready to enjoy all the new community hubs have to offer.