Mayoral Column 31 March 2014

Published on 31 March 2014

Floods story goes on record

The floods of 2011 were a traumatic event which will remain in the memories of any Loddon Shire residents for their lifetimes.

More than 30 per cent – or 2,200 square kilometres – of the Shire was impacted. At its peak, the floodwaters were said to be 90km long and 50km wide.

Many farms and towns were directly hit and about $30 million worth of damage was caused to Council infrastructure alone.

Water cut phones, power and roads, including the Calder and Loddon Valley Highways.

As one way of commemorating the event, Council commissioned the production of a series of descriptive flood markers in 2012, after receiving funding from the state and federal governments of the time. 

Now, Council has added to the concept by approving the production of a second panel to be displayed alongside the first, showing photos of the devastation in particular areas.

Meeting in Serpentine last week, Councillors gave the green light to both the extra panels and the proposed list of locations.

Both colour plates will measure 45cm square and will be either free-standing or mounted on an existing wall.

Council has a bank of flood photos submitted by local residents, but more contributions would be welcome.

If you have good pictures of a large file size taken in your area, please email them in, with your name and the location shown, to loddonvisitorinformation@loddon.vic.gov.au, marked to the attention of Robyn Vella.

As time passes, the impacts of this event will fade in some people’s memories, but not all.

These descriptive panels will be a powerful tool to re-tell a story which, we hope, we’ll never hear again.

Fire Danger Period ends

Fire restrictions in the Loddon Shire ended at 1am today (31 March).

Making the announcement, CFA District 20 Operations Manager Peter Taylor said it was still important that people took extreme care when burning off.

“The southern part of the Shire is still very dry after receiving little soaking rain over the past months,” Mr Taylor said.

“Although the official Fire Danger Period has just closed, recent grassfires have demonstrated how quickly fires can take hold and grassfires travel faster than you can run.”

Mr Taylor said people planning to burn needed to notify all other landholders around the area, stay there while the fire was alight and create a break of at least three metres around the spot.

“You must also register what you’re doing with the Burn-Off Notification Line on 1800 668 511 so CFA members are not called out unnecessarily,” he said.

Putting on a Show

Food and wine producers in the Loddon Valley are being offered a rare opportunity to showcase their wares to a huge audience, thanks to a new initiative from Council’s Tourism Department.

Tourism Manager Robyn Vella is applying for a stand in the “Taste of Victoria” pavilion at this year’s Royal Melbourne Show, in an effort to promote the region as a holiday destination.

“I’d use the stand to display tourist information for the Shire, but would also like to have a different producer come in each day,” Robyn said.

“It could be food or wine – anyone who would like to participate.

“Not many producers could afford to take 12 days out of their normal schedule, but one day could be manageable and very worthwhile.

“Council will pay for the site and there would be no charge to producers willing to make the journey.”

Robyn needs to know the level of interest by the end of April, so please contact her on 5494 1200.

This year’s Royal Melbourne Show runs from Saturday 20 September to Wednesday 1 October.

Sign up for kinder

Parents of three-year-olds living in or around Wedderburn are invited to enrol their children in a new kindergarten group beginning on Wednesday 23 April.

The sessions, planned for 8.45am to11.45am, will run alongside the four-year-olds’ program.

Cost is $120 a term.  Enrolment forms are available on the Shire’s website, at Council offices in Serpentine and Wedderburn, by phoning 5437 7999 or by visiting the kindergarten at 77 Ridge St.

For more information, please call Early Years Co-ordinator Alycia O’Sullivan on 5437 7909.

Festival in mind

Planning for this year’s Nature Tourism Festival is under way, with a committee meeting held at Inglewood this month.

Activities already locked in include the Kooyoora Wildflower Show, Boort wetlands tour, “Out ’n’ About in Tarnagulla”, the open weekend at Terrick Terrick National Park, Boort’s Sculpture by the Lake and the Wedderburn Naturally New Age Festival.
 
The committee agreed to combine certain smaller events where they were appealing to similar market segments.

The next meeting is planned for Monday 28 April at 10am in the Parks Victoria office in Inglewood.  Anyone with suggestions for the festival is welcome to contact the Loddon Visitor Information Centre on 5494 3489.