Mayoral Column 27 October 2014

Published on 27 October 2014

Bridgewater Public Caravan Park opens

It has been three years in the making, but the Bridgewater Public Caravan Park and foreshore reserve has officially been opened.

Minister Peter Walsh opened the precinct, which was completely restored after flood waters destroyed the area in 2011.

The completion of the projects will provide an economic benefit to the region, with an inviting, accessible and functional recreational area adjacent to the river.

The project will result in a significant increase in tourist numbers to the region, resulting in a very significant increase in tourist ‘bed nights’.

The development will benefit neighbouring towns, with visitors expected to stay longer in the new caravan park.

In comparison to the previous caravan park, the quality of the development will attract a far higher number of short term tourists who have a higher ‘per caravan park site’ average and spend than longer term site holders.

The two separate projects received generous funding, with the foreshore project funded through the Local Government Infrastructure Program ($100,000) and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Percy Baxter Trust ($124,000), while the caravan park received Flood Recovery Funding from the Victorian State Government ($3.3 million).

Along with visitors, it’s expected locals will take full advantage of the transformation, with a family friendly environment and easy access to water activities including swimming, fishing and canoeing.

Wedderburn marks a significant milestone

Wedderburn residents are getting for the official opening of the upgraded Wedderburn Community Centre.

The $1.75 million project has come to an end, with the official opening on Saturday, 1 November.

Residents are invited to attend the proceedings at 1pm, where Minister Peter Walsh will officially opening the centre.

A tour of the building’s facility will be offered along with a barbecue lunch.

As the Mayor of the Loddon Shire I am extremely proud of what this municipality has been able to achieve with the generous support of the state and federal governments.

This is a facility that will stand Wedderburn in good stead for many years.

The centre has already been labelled the town’s community hub, with a number of community groups utilising the centre’s facilities including a craft, pottery, patchwork and art group.

Wedderburn Community House, Loddon Tourism, Centrelink, VicRoads and the Inglewood and Districts Health Service also operate from the centre.

The development included a new tourism office, two interview rooms for visiting services, two improved multi-purpose rooms, two meeting rooms and a consulting room for the Inglewood and Districts Health Service.

Farmers market funding announced

The region will reap the benefits of an $18,000 grant to establish the Wedderburn Farmers Market.

Nationals Member for Western Victoria David O’Brien announced the funding last Tuesday.

The $18,000 will combine with Wedderburn Lions Club contribution of $1000, Wedderburn Tourism Inc. $500 and Loddon Shire Council’s in-kind contribution of $4500.

The market launched in conjunction with the Naturally New Age Festival on Sunday with 40 stallholders.

As one of the largest agricultural producers in Victoria, the farmers market is certainly a boost to the region.

The market will provide an extra income stream for local food growers and producers.

With up to 11 farmers markets scheduled to run in the next 12 months, it is expected to bring tourists to the region.

Council shines as it lights the region

Loddon Shire Council shines a light on the importance of energy efficient and environmentally friendly methods, as it joins the Lighting the Regions Project.

Council is part of a consortium of 16 local governments across north, west and central Victoria about to commence the replacement of 23,000 mercury vapour street lights with energy efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LEDS).

The $11 million project which covers almost half of Victoria includes an investment of more than $5 million from the Australian Government, through the Community Energy Efficiency Program.

The project will save 180,000 tonnes of greenhouse and in excess of $50 million across the consortium of councils.

Locally it will save Loddon Shire Council residents in excess of $1.4 million over the next 20 years.

Loddon Shire Council will replace more than 500 street lights with energy efficient alternatives, saving more than 70% in running, maintenance and replacements costs.

The cost saving lights will see a 77 per cent reduction in running costs.

With current lighting costs in the order of $80,000 per year, the savings generated by this project will be significant.

The sheer size and scope of this endeavour has meant that for a project Loddon Shire Council previously estimated would cost its ratepayers in excess of $400,000, will now cost less than $130,000, an immense saving for Loddon.

Lighting the Regions Project in Loddon will commence in mid-December.

Bridgewater Flood Management Plan

A flood management study is being undertaken to develop a better understanding of the nature of flooding in Bridgewater and inform the potential development of a Township Flood Protection/Mitigation plan.

The North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) has received state government funding to undertake this study and is inviting residents to participate; by providing their views and feedback on draft flood modelling which attempts to simulate the extent and rate of flooding throughout the town and surrounding areas. 

In addition to verifying the model as part of the NCCMA’s study, residents are also being encouraged to provide local flood observations and ideas for protection/mitigation options at the first public information session.

The study is being led by a steering committee, consisting of representatives from North Central CMA, Loddon Shire Council, Vic SES and local residents.

The study will identify key flooding issues in the town, determine flood levels for a range of events and recommend works to reduce the risk of future floods.

The organisation will work with the community to develop options to reduce the impact of future floods for both, people and property.

Residents are invited to a drop-in session on Friday, 7 November between noon and 2pm at the Bridgewater Bowling Club.

Residents are asked to bring flood photos, locations of flood markers, local knowledge and their ideas.

For more information contact Leila at North Central CMA on 5440 1896 or email floodplain@nccma.vic.gov.au