Mayoral Column 29 May 2017

Published on 29 May 2017

Janiember Park launch

I’m looking forward to the official launch this Saturday of the upgraded facilities at the Serpentine Recreation Reserve, otherwise known as Janiember Park.

The project includes the construction of new change room facilities for netball and football, and female and male umpires and renovation of public toilets. The old change rooms have been transformed into a new social area and the hall has had minor upgrade works.

Landscaping and drainage/kerb and channel works are in progress and a new playground will also be installed soon.

Janiember Park is the outstanding result of a lot of hard work by the Serpentine community, Council and the Project Steering Group. I congratulate everyone involved in the project on such a great result.

The project was made possible through a combination of funding from the Victorian Government, Inglewood and Districts Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank, the Serpentine community, Council and generous in-kind contributions.

Serpentine Creek Canoe Trail

On Saturday I’ll also be attending the launch of the Serpentine Creek Canoe Trail at Durham Ox.

The five-kilometre trail, along a very slow-flowing and often still section of the Serpentine Creek, is designed to be a self-guided paddling experience, suitable for most ages and abilities. Floating markers along the trail provide points of interest for paddlers, highlighting the natural beauty of our region.

The trail has been developed in partnership with Council, the State Government, La Trobe University Bendigo and Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.

Everyone is welcome to attend the launch, which will be held Saturday 3 June at 11am at Whytcross Road in Durham Ox.

Wedderburn Streetscape Improvement Project

It was great to attend the recent sod-turning ceremony with my fellow Councillor Gavan Holt, Council staff and Avard Civil, to mark the beginning of works for the Wedderburn Streetscape Improvement Project.

This stage of the project will include drainage works along Peters and Kerr Street, after which will be the removal and replacement of existing footpaths and garden beds in High Street, in front of Randall’s Foodworks Supermarket.

Community members will have already noticed traffic management in place along High Street, including reduced speed limits. All efforts will be made to make sure that traffic will continue to move along High Street, with minimal delays. There will also be temporary parking restrictions in front of the supermarket and Council during the footpath replacement works.

I’d like to thank our community for their patience while these works take place. Council and Avard Civil will provide regular updates to local residents, including notice of any disruptions.

I’d also like to remind everyone travelling through the area to please ensure you follow all traffic management, including reduced speed limits and be aware of ongoing activity around the site.

Weed and pest eradication funding

Council has welcomed the news that rural and regional councils will receive a boost in funding from the State Government towards eradicating weeds and pests along roadsides.

As provided in the 2017/2018 Victorian Budget, Loddon Shire Council is set to receive an additional $40,000 in funding for the next financial year (on top of the $5,000 it receives yearly). The funding will help address regionally-controlled weeds, including Gorse, cactus, Patterson’s Curse and Blackberry, and rabbits along roadsides.

This funding will go a long way in the fight to help eradicate roadside weeds and pests, which can also have a significant impact on crops and pastures around our Shire.

Council will now undertake mapping of where infestations are occurring to identify and prioritise roadsides to target weed and pest eradication.

Legal and illegal drugs response policy adopted

Last week’s Ordinary Council Meeting included the adoption of Council’s Response to Community Use of Legal and Illegal Drugs Policy.

The use of legal and illegal drugs has impacts across the Loddon Shire community. This policy provides details of Council’s strategic response to drugs, including advocacy and partnerships and community development and engagement.

The policy acknowledges that Council doesn’t have a role in enforcement against illegal drug activity and limited ability on legal drug use (alcohol and tobacco). However, as the government closest to the community, Council has an advocacy and facilitation role regarding harm minimisation and overall population health. Appropriate and workable responses also require a whole-of-government approach and working with other organisations.

The policy’s development included consultation with agencies involved in activities related to drug use within the community. These agencies also supported the development of the policy.