Mayoral Column 28 April 2014

Published on 28 April 2014

Council powering on

Loddon Shire expects to cut its power bills and significantly reduce greenhouse emissions with a planned move to install solar panels at its Wedderburn offices.

The $45,000 project, funded by the Victorian Government under the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership, is a priority action under the Shire’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2013-2018, which was approved by Council late last year. 

Manager Community and Recreation Allan Stobaus said the move aimed to reduce energy used from the grid, greenhouse emissions and Council’s power bills, but also to show leadership in the community.

“Last year, Council’s Wedderburn offices consumed 137,127kWh of electricity, or 380kWh per day,” Allan said.

“That usage was calculated as producing 162 tonnes of CO2 emissions at a cost to Council of around $37,000 for the year, or $101 a day.

“The plan now is to install a 30kW system which will produce 43,800kWh a year or 120kWh each day.

“While power returned to the national grid will be nominal, Council expects to cut its greenhouse emissions by 52 tonnes and its power bills by $7,000 a year.”

Allan said an information board about the new system was being prepared for display in the office foyer.

New home almost here

The new manager’s residence at the Council-owned Wedderburn Caravan Park is nearing completion off-site, with delivery expected by the end of next month.

Contractor New Trend Transportable Homes, of Shepparton, is constructing the nine-square, two-bedroom timber home.

Project manager Adrian Lowrey said the house was being built in Shepparton and would be brought to Wedderburn to be assembled next to the current residence.

“The frame was finished earlier this month and the plasterboard and outside wall were to be installed before reaching lock-up stage,” Adrian said.

“That will be followed by the fitting of plumbing, cabinets and electrical work and the necessary painting.

“Newtrend expects to come over to Wedderburn in early May to do the site works and footings and the estimated time for the home to arrive is later next month, subject to the builder obtaining the required road transport permits.”

Council set aside $120,000 for the work and the task will be accomplished within budget.

Wider welcome for RVs

Loddon Shire has taken another step in its efforts to attract motorhome owners with the announcement that Pyramid Hill has been officially welcomed as an RV-Friendly Town.

This brings to three the number of RV-Friendly Towns in the Shire, after Wedderburn was approved in 2010 and Bridgewater succeeded in its application last year.

Street parking suitable for motorhomes, campervans and caravans will be signposted in Kelly St, while short-term overnight stays will be permitted at the Pyramid Hill Caravan Park in Victoria St at $10 a night.

There is potable water and a free public dump point provided at the park.

Loddon Tourism Manager Robyn Vella said Council intended to make Loddon an RV-Friendly Shire and other sites at Boort and Inglewood were currently in mind.

The tag of “RV-Friendly Town” is bestowed after a formal accreditation process by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, which is based in Newcastle.

With more than 66,000 members operating some 29,000 motorhomes, the club – the biggest of its kind in Australia – offers motorhome insurance, a monthly magazine, social events through its 97 local chapters, a Solos' Network for members travelling alone and two national rallies a year.

There are about 180 RV-Friendly Towns around Australia and that number is growing steadily.

Help for new parents

New parents wanting to get together with others are invited to join a new group, facilitated by Council’s Maternal & Child Health Service, now meeting in Boort on the first Wednesday of each month.

The Boort New Parents’ Group meets at the Boort Resource and Information Centre from 10am to noon, with morning teas and guest speakers such as a dietician, speech pathologist and librarian.

New parents from other towns in the Shire are also welcome. For further information, please phone Cindy Phelps on 0409 166 891.

Putting the bite on dental disease

Loddon Shire’s five kindergartens have embraced a new state government program designed to improve the oral health of preschool-aged children.

Ten teachers and assistants attended a two-hour training workshop at Serpentine late last month to hear more about how the program could be implemented.

The session was led by Melissa Magnone and Vicki Pfeiffer, from the Boort Dental Clinic, and Tanya Maher-Toose, community health nurse at Northern District Community Health Service at Kerang.

The local Smiles 4 Miles project is a partnership between Northern District Community Health Service, Boort District Health and Inglewood and Districts Health Service to cover both the Gannawarra and Loddon Shires.

In 2013, more than 28,000 children across 484 early childhood services in Victoria participated in the Smiles 4 Miles program.

An initiative of Dental Health Services Victoria, Smiles 4 Miles is based on the World Health Organisation’s Health Promoting Schools Framework.

It is mainly delivered in kindergartens, though childcare centres, family day care services and playgroups are welcome to participate.

A working group comprising Bethany Maher (IDHS), dietitian Alana Hosken (NDCHS), Vicki Pfeiffer and Tanya Maher-Toose will provide information and resources to young children throughout the coming year.

For more information, phone Council’s Serpentine office on 5437 7999.