Mayoral Column 24 March 2014

Published on 24 March 2014

CAPTION FOR PICTURE: Loddon Shire Mayor Cr Gavan Holt faces the media during the launch of the Inglewood rail station redevelopment last week.

New life for historic station

Loddon Shire will get its first-ever business incubator and four busy community entities will gain new homes when the old Inglewood railway station and goods shed are transformed during the course of this year.

The neglected buildings will be redeveloped into a vibrant, multi-purpose community space, thanks to the Victorian Government’s Community Use of Vacant Rail Buildings Program.

I was delighted to attend the official launch of the project last week, in company with Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum – representing the Minister for Public Transport, Terry Mulder – Cr Condliffe, VicTrack staff and senior representatives of the community groups involved.

Loddon Shire Council will lease the buildings from VicTrack, with Inglewood and Districts Health Service, Workspace Australia, the Goldfields Choir and Foodbank as agreed tenants.
 
Work to refurbish and fit out the 138-year-old station building and goods shed is expected to get under way mid-year and the tenants should be in by spring.

From Council’s point of view, the project will assist in building the prosperity of the Inglewood community and will provide a useful facility for residents’ benefit.

Inglewood and Districts Health Service will gain flexible office space for allied health practitioners, staff accommodation and for group activities such as cardiac rehabilitation and strength training, while Workspace Australia will establish a business incubator to give new and emerging local businesses the opportunity to grow.

Members of the Goldfields Choir will have a new rehearsal and performance space, while Foodbank gains a brand-new storage and distribution shed.

The project is a huge win for the Shire and Council is most grateful for the government support received.

New faces on the team

Two experienced occupational therapists are out and about in Loddon Shire. 

The pair are working with Loddon Shire assessment officers and community care workers to help clients remain independent and, more specifically, to actively involve them in decisions about their lives and the services they require. 

Sarah Gallagher, from Bendigo Health’s Rural Health Team, is based at Serpentine, but works with clients and Home and Community Care workers  in the Bridgewater, Inglewood, Wedderburn, Serpentine and Tarnagulla areas.

Kerry Harrower, from Kerang’s Northern District Community Health Service, is covering the Pyramid Hill and Boort areas.

An offer of funding, announced last year by the Department of Health, has helped to kick-start the program and this money will be ongoing.

Council’s Director Community Wellbeing, Wendy Gladman, said a great deal of hard work had been done quietly in the background by her team in Serpentine and the two health services involved.

“The occupational therapists are establishing themselves well in our team,” Mrs Gladman said.

“We are seeing a quicker response to referrals for OT assessment and therefore a quicker response to meeting clients’ needs. 

“I’m pleased to say this project is already making a difference to the way HACC services are delivered in Loddon Shire and I believe it will prove a great asset to residents.”

The HACC program offers home care, respite care, home maintenance services, meals on wheels and planned activity groups and is supported by funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

For further information, please phone 5437 7999.

Pool plan in concept stage

Council is currently working on concept plans for making the Inglewood swimming pool more accessible for people with a disability – and we want to hear your views.

We’re building our case, but whether or not it comes to pass depends entirely on grant funding.

Community Inclusion Officer Jolie Middleton emphasised this week that the project was only in the planning stage and a successful grant application was critical if it was to go ahead.

“The proposed changes include permanent ramp entry to the pool, designated accessible parking bays, accessible toilet and change facilities and increasing accessibility to other facilities within the pool grounds,” she said.

“We want to make sure that any changes reflect the community’s needs.

“We would like to hear about what barriers people are currently facing to use the pool and if they have any ideas or comments on our proposed changes.”

To move things along, Jolie has organised a  free information session at the Inglewood Senior Citizens’ Club in Grant St for tomorrow, Tuesday (25 March), from 1pm to 2pm.

The get-together, to be led by the Disability Discrimination Legal Service, aims to help people with disabilities, their carers and advocates understand more about the discriminations they might face and how to respond to them.

After the presentation, Jolie and Council colleague Allan Stobaus will invite those present to share their ideas on how the Inglewood pool could be made more accessible to people with disabilities.

Afternoon tea will be provided. Please RSVP, for catering purposes, to Jolie on 0408 445 947.

Your thoughts wanted

Council is currently working on the development of the latest plan for its early years services and is keen to gather community input.

Loddon Shire’s Municipal Early Years Plan 2014/2018 will map out Council’s services for children aged from birth to eight years and their families.

Director Community Wellbeing Wendy Gladman said parents and caregivers were invited to fill out an online survey to help with the planning.

“We believe parent and caregiver experiences are crucial in informing this plan,” Mrs Gladman said.

“If you are caring for children aged up to eight years in Loddon Shire, we encourage you to share your thoughts by filling in a short survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/loddonMEYPparentcaregiver

“We hope this exercise clarifies the hopes and needs of children and their families across the Shire.”

Family fun on offer

Looking for something to do this weekend? 

Boort District School is hosting its annual fete on Friday (28 March) from 3.30pm to 7pm, organised by the parents’ club in consultation with the students.

Features will include the official opening of the school’s community garden at 5pm, yabby races, a climbing wall, haunted house, jewellery making, decorated kites, a photo display, animal nursery, jumping castle and pizzas for sale.

For more information, phone the school on 5455 2201.

Saturday brings the annual Eddington VSCC Sprints, where around 120 vintage cars will be paraded and tested over a quarter-mile course.  Vintage motorcycles will be included this year for the first time.

Admission is free and catering is handled by the local community.  For more details, phone 5468 7295.