Loddon Shire Mayoral column 23 September 2019

Published on 23 September 2019

Roadside vegetation

Last week we looked at obligations regarding native vegetation on private property, so it is timely this week to also look at what is involved with local roadsides. Importantly, you must contact Loddon Shire Council before undertaking an activity concerning roadsides.

Council manages 4,800 kilometres of local road and reserves in Loddon Shire. This includes maintaining a safe road network and providing access as well as protecting biodiversity and heritage assets.

Managing roadside weeds, planning for emergency management and fire prevention as well as supporting adjacent land uses such as agriculture are Council’s priorities when allocating resources to roadside management.

Work on roadside reserves includes such things as tree planting or removal, structures on nature strips or reserves, vehicle crossing construction and modification. A permit must be obtained before any works are undertaken.

We must also remember that collection of firewood along roadsides has not been permitted in Loddon Shire since 2015. This is not only to protect the environmental value of habitats but also because of the inherent risk of the activity. Conducting unauthorised works within Council’s road reserves can attract penalties of up to $1500.

Some roads are managed by VicRoads and some activities are subject to Victorian or Federal legislation. Since different permits may be required for different activities, it is always best to check. Call Council on 5494 1200 or email Loddon@loddon.vic.gov.au.

Thunderstorm asthma

Grass pollen season (1 October to 31 December) brings a seasonal increase in asthma and hay fever. It also brings the chance of epidemic thunderstorm asthma.

Thunderstorm asthma is thought to be triggered by a unique combination of high amounts of grass pollen in the air and a certain type of thunderstorm. For people who have asthma or hay fever this can trigger severe asthma symptoms.

Epidemic thunderstorm asthma can be sudden, serious and even life threatening. That’s why it’s important for everyone in the community to be prepared, especially those most at risk of asthma.

Resources are available from the Victorian Government’s Better Health website which includes information in many languages, to ensure that everyone can understand the dangers and be prepared. Visit https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/thunderstormasthma or for general information about managing asthma visit https://asthma.org.au/

Australia Day Awards

The Australia Day Awards celebrate the achievements and contributions made by outstanding members of our community who, through their efforts make us feel proud to be Australian.

Nominations are now open for Australia Day 2020 and include Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year, Community Services and Community Group/Event of the Year. This is an opportunity for people or groups in our community to be recognised for the significant contribution they make for the benefit of others.

Full details and eligibility criteria may be found on the Council’s website www.loddon.vic.gov.au/Live/Ceremonies/Australia-Day or by contacting Council on 5494 1200.

Be prepared for fire season

Now that the weather has started to warm up and the days are getting longer, it is time to start preparing our properties for the summer ahead by identifying and managing fire risks.
 
Council will also be taking steps to prepare for the approaching fire season by turning its attention to roadside slashing to reduce roadside fuel and mowing firebreaks in township areas.

Residents have a part to play by clearing long grass, leaves and branches, undergrowth and vegetation, ensuring gutters are clear and removing rubbish and other flammable material lying around their properties. It is also a good idea to remove anything that provides a haven for vermin or snakes which become more active at this time of year.

You can find out more about how to make your property fire safe and prepare fire plans by visiting www.cfa.vic.gov.au.

Impending closure of Respect Aged Care in Pyramid Hill

Recently the community of Pyramid Hill learned that the Respect Aged Care facility would shortly close due to mounting financial losses.

While management has begun the process of working with families to relocate residents and has suggested that staff might find work in nearby towns, Council is concerned about the potential loss of thirty jobs in Pyramid Hill and the lack of other employment opportunities for those staff.

It also means a lack of choice for residents who have, until now, had the confidence of being able to stay within their own community as they age. We know that it’s important for older residents to be able to remain close to extended family and community networks.

Council is currently in negotiations with the Respect management and is considering all options that will best serve the community.

Tourism launch

We are preparing for the Loddon Valley Business Network Dinner to be held on Wednesday 2 October at the Inglewood Town Hall. We will hear from guest speaker Terry Karamaloudis, Manager of Tourism and Major Events at the City of Greater Bendigo, and I will be excited to launch the new Loddon Valley Official Visitor Guide as well as the new Instagram and Facebook page. All Loddon Shire businesses are invited, and you can contact Shelby at the Visitor Information Centre: shutchinson@loddon.vic.gov.au or call 5494 1257 to RSVP and for more information.