Mayoral Column 7 April 2014

Published on 07 April 2014

Ready for our city showcase

Next weekend (11-13 April) sees the third annual Regional Victoria Living Expo in Melbourne – and Loddon Shire will be there bigger than ever!

As well as our regular stand, Council has paid for a second site for the Boort Tourism Group, which will go “all out” to promote its town and district.

Up to 10,000 visitors and more than 130 exhibitors are expected to attend the free event, which will open from Friday to Sunday at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

All of Victoria’s 48 rural and regional councils take part, but Loddon enjoyed a particularly pleasing run last year when we won the coveted award of Best Council Stand.

Staff members exhausted their stocks of printed material and promotional DVDs, as expo visitors plied them with questions about house prices, work and education options, lifestyle factors and more.

This year’s event includes an arts and culture program, kids’ interactive zone, special appearances, sports precinct, seminars, competitions and food and wine samples to try.

Our thanks go to the staff members who will travel to Melbourne over the weekend to volunteer their time to help promote the Shire. Their efforts are much appreciated.

Boort Tourism Group secretary Brooke Arnold said 10 volunteers would help manage Boort’s stand over the weekend, offering a bright package of information about the town.

“We’ll have six printed case studies of people who have moved to Boort, plus portfolios of businesses and real estate for sale,” Brooke said.

“The Amity group has provided two large photo banners to serve as our backdrop and we’ll also have information on community organisations, a slide show and a presentation from Boort District Health.

“Businesses around town have been most helpful in offering donations and support.”  

New park in use

Last Friday was a red-letter day for Loddon Shire, with the first holiday-makers admitted to Council’s brand-new caravan park at Bridgewater.

The site is not yet fully operational, but Council has made 50 free sites available right through the school holidays and across the Easter break and Anzac Day weekend.

On Sunday 27 April, it will be closed again to allow final construction works to take place.

The park is looking terrific, with turf now planted on all powered sites, the embankment between the higher and lower levels of the park mulched and the three barbecues all but complete.

Works such as pool fencing and connecting services to the new manager’s residence will continue over the next few weeks, but this won’t affect visitors and campers’ enjoyment of the river and surrounds.

Bookings for sites are essential.  To reserve your place, please phone campground manager David Payne on 5437 3086.

Pet registrations due

Here’s a friendly reminder that next Wednesday (9 April) is the closing date for dog and cat owners in Loddon Shire to pay their annual registration fees.

This year, for the first time, pet owners will receive a lifetime tag for their animals, whether it’s a new registration or a renewal.

Pet registration is a legal requirement and animals need to be registered by the time they are three months old.

The fee this year is $100, but pensioners pay half that.  Reduced fees of $20 (and $10 concession) are available under certain conditions.

Pet owners will receive a discount if their animal has been desexed, is over 10 years of age, belongs to a domestic animal business or applicable organisation, if it’s a dog that has undergone training or is a working dog. 

You can pay by mail, over the phone with a credit card only or at Council agencies around the Shire.

Apart from the Council offices in Serpentine and Wedderburn, sites accepting payments are the Boort Resource and Information Centre, the Bridgewater and Tarnagulla post offices, the general stores at Dingee, Mitiamo and Newbridge, Bendigo Bank at Inglewood, Pyramid Hill Newsagency and the Rural Transaction Centre at Dunolly.

For more information on how to register your pet with Loddon Shire Council, go to www.loddon.vic.gov.au or phone 5494 1200.

Hats off to young designers

Council’s kindergartens celebrated the end of first term last Thursday with colourful Easter celebrations and picnics with their families.

At Boort, the children made their Easter hat decorations at last month’s Father's Night, where 19 dads lent a hand with their kids’ creative efforts.

On Thursday, the group took to the streets to show off their Easter hats before returning to the kindergarten for lunch.

At Dingee, the excitement was just as pronounced for the local pre-school’s own hat parade and family picnic, while at Wedderburn, the children marked the start of holidays with an Easter egg hunt.

At Inglewood, the kindergarten saluted the season with a teddy bears’ picnic.

CAPTION FOR PICTURE: Boort butcher Kane Arnold hands out Easter eggs to eager children during the Boort kindergarten’s walk through town to show off their Easter hats. 

Good sports all

It’s great to see football, netball and hockey competition back for 2014, with the first round of the new NCFL and Loddon Valley league seasons played last Saturday.

NCFL general manager Lance Standfield says there are some highlights to savour in this year’s fixture, with Pink Day on 10 May, the interleague match on 24 May and the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of the Wycheproof and Narraport clubs, which will be celebrated on the June long weekend.

“Our clubs are pretty happy with their lists and the family atmosphere at games is often appreciated by our city visitors,” he says.

LVFL chairperson Colleen Rogers says the prospects for the season are promising, with grounds generally in good shape and teams strengthened by new faces.

“There’s been a lot of recruiting done and we have plenty of new and interesting players lining up this year,” Colleen says.

Congratulations to everyone involved on the hard work you’ve done in preparation for this new season and best of luck to all teams.