Mayoral Column 4 August 2014

Published on 04 August 2014

Mentors drive vital youth program

New adult helpers are wanted for a government-sponsored scheme which helps disadvantaged young people improve their driving skills.
Training sessions are planned for next weekend (9-10 August) in Charlton and it’s not too late to join in.
The L2P learner-driver/mentor program – funded by the Victorian Transport Accident Commission and managed by VicRoads, but free for eligible 16 to 20-year-olds – operates in 55 locations across the state.
The local program is shared between the Loddon and Buloke Shires, with the TAC funding channelled through the two councils and the co-ordinator, Greg Carmody, who is based at Charlton.
Greg said the local program now had 41 learners and 28 mentors, but needed more.
“We put volunteers through about eight hours of training and encourage them to go driving with their mentee at least one hour a week,” Greg said.
“Our current mentors range in age from their forties to late sixties and we’ve recently taken three new volunteers in their late twenties.”
For more information, contact Greg on 0467 787 328 or enquire at either the Boort, Pyramid Hill or Wedderburn community resource centres or East Loddon P-12 College.

In with a sporting chance

Tickets are now on sale for Loddon Shire Council’s first-ever sports gala, planned for Wednesday 20 August at the Pyramid Hill Memorial Hall, starting at 6pm.
Special guest will be sportsman, media commentator and motivational speaker Max Walker.
Awards to be handed out on the night will honour Loddon’s top team, administrator, coach, club or organisation and high-achieving sportspersons.
Tickets cost $50 per person pre-paid, or $55 at the door, but bookings are essential. Patrons will enjoy a three-course meal, a complimentary drink with canapés on arrival and a program of entertainment.
To reserve your seat, please phone Christine Coombes on 5494 1200.

Soccer study out

Loddon Shire has led the way on behalf of nine other municipalities in the Loddon Mallee region in investigating whether soccer could become an established sport in the area.

In July 2012, Council officers submitted an application to the state government for funding to develop a strategy to foster growth of the sport locally.

That application was successful and a Melbourne consultancy, Inside Edge, was contracted to do the work once full funding of $69,000 was secured.

The government contributed $46,000, the Football Federation of Victoria $5,000 and participating councils put in a total of $18,000.  Loddon Shire’s share was an in-kind contribution of administrative support and resources.

The consultants’ report, tabled at the July meeting of Council, noted that there is currently no soccer club operating in the Shire and only seven players are registered in affiliated FFV competitions.

However, it said, Council’s Recreation Strategy does recommend the development of alternative sporting opportunities and social games of soccer might well be of interest for some residents.

“FFV believes it would be possible to develop a soccer club in Loddon Shire through the introduction of programs and working in conjunction with the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League,” the report said.

Councillors were pleased to read the report and would be happy to encourage the growth of soccer in the Shire if there was sufficient community interest.

New face on board

Paula Yorston has been appointed to the position of Community Care Co-ordinator with Loddon Shire, effective 25 August.

Paula comes to Council after active roles in the home and community care and aged care fields over the past 12 years with Boort District Health and Buloke Shire.

Originally a Queenslander, Paula lived in Melbourne and Castlemaine before heading north to her present home at Buckrabanyule 13 years ago.

“I’m greatly looking forward to taking up this new post and have a realistic sense of what rural communities require,” she said.

Welcome to the team, Paula. We wish you well in your new role.

Full story is told

A new book telling the complete history of Wedderburn will have its official launch at the Wedderburn Mechanics Institute Hall next Sunday (10 August) at 2pm.

The printing of 2,000 copies of the 342-page hardcover work, entitled The Golden Harvest – A History of Wedderburn, is now complete and books will be on sale on the day for $30 (normally $35).

Written by Korong (Wedderburn) Historical Society stalwart Keith Ring and freelance writer and consultant Geoff Arnott, the book has taken nearly two years of effort to compile and has cost $80,000 to produce.

Funding for the project has been sourced from the Australian and Victorian governments, Loddon Shire Council and the Inglewood and Districts Community Bank.

Historical society member Ray Tonkin, who has acted as co-ordinator of the project in Wedderburn, said this was the first time anything on this scale had been attempted.

“It’s very important for history’s sake to have this book written,” Ray said.

“We’ve had short publications before on particular aspects of the town, such as gold mining, but never anything on this scale.

“Proceeds will go towards some necessary upgrades at the historical society’s building, so there will be significant benefits both now and into the future.”

The launch function will be preceded by a lunch for about 30 invited guests and supported by displays from local community and sporting groups.