Mayoral Column 26 January 2016

Published on 26 January 2016

Celebrating Australia Day and a 21st birthday!

As I enjoy Australia Day celebrations within Loddon Shire today, I’ll take a moment to reflect on how far our municipality has come since its formation 21 years ago.

Twenty-one years I hear you say? That can’t be right! But believe it or not, it is.

Time has flown by and this week marks 21 years since the current Loddon Shire was formed, on 19 January 1995, as part of state-wide local government reforms.

While strong individual communities within Loddon Shire continue to proudly celebrate their unique identities and histories, over the years I’ve seen us rally together as one Shire.

So much has been achieved since the amalgamation of the former Shires of Gordon, East Loddon, Korong and portions of the former Shires of Marong, Bet Bet, Tullaroop and Maldon.

In no small way, the Australia Day award presentations throughout the day, present a timely opportunity to acknowledge all we have achieved across every corner of our Shire, through the outstanding contribution of a range of individuals, groups and committees.

Our Australia Day Committees are no exception, having worked tirelessly to arrange a variety of events across the Shire from breakfasts, morning teas, barbecue lunches and teas, through to swimming carnivals, merry-go-rounds and live music at some locations.

Join in celebrating all that makes us proud to be Australian at Boort’s Nolan Park from 9.15am, Bridgewater’s Sloan Park from 8am, Calivil Hall from 8.30am, Eddington Community Centre at 8am, Inglewood Swimming Pool from 11am, Newbridge Hall at 11.15am, Pyramid Hill Hall from 6pm, Tarnagulla’s Soldiers Memorial Park from 10.30am and Jacka Park in Wedderburn at 5pm.

Wedderburn streetscape project powers ahead

It was a case of out with the old and in with the new last week, as old power-poles rolled out of Wedderburn and new streetlights were installed.

While Wedderburn’s streetscape appears to have been transformed almost overnight, reaching this stage of the $3.2 million project is actually the culmination of a planning process which began some three years ago.

The talk about town is how open and clear the main street appears following the removal of a web of rather dated and unsightly overhead power-lines.

Improvements to footpaths, kerb and channels, drainage, paving and car parking are next in line.

Planning is also underway for landscaping work which will take place between July and September.

A final highlight we’re all looking forward to is the planting of mature Chinese Elms which will line the main street.

Clubrooms ready for winter sports season

Work has begun on a project which will reinvigorate the Boort Football / Netball / Hockey Clubrooms.

Council has invested almost $200,000 in the project which includes a veranda renovation, refurbishment of the cool-room and bar, new windows and brickwork.

While the veranda renovations will provide a larger area to socialise in, part of it will also be enclosed which will hopefully increase all weather use.

The extension will also bring sports spectators a little closer to the action, so it will be exciting to see the project progress in the coming months.

While we’re looking towards the winter sports season, it’s timely to note that within the past week Council’s outdoor recreation teams have been preparing our public ovals for play.

This has included an aeration process to assist turf preparation at ovals in Bridgewater and Serpentine.

Council welcomes inquiries from sports committees about their turf preparation for the coming season.

Major road works at Mitiamo

Ensuring our road network remains in optimal condition is a priority of Council and the focus has just moved to the Echuca Serpentine Road at Mitiamo.

This week crews began a 700 metre long sealed road rehabilitation project, widening a section of the Echuca Serpentine Road at Mitiamo to a 6.2 metre seal.

These works, which are expected to be completed by the week ending 12 February, will make the busy road safer for all, but will particularly smooth the way for the agriculture and business sectors freighting goods between major regional centres.

As we work to attract further economic investment within the Shire, we are making a concerted effort to ensure as many roads as possible are prepared to meet future agricultural and business transport needs.

The scheduled roadwork will cost $235,700 and is part of the federal government roads to recovery program which provides more than $4.5 million to help keep Council’s roads in optimal condition.