Mayoral Column 7 July 2014

Published on 07 July 2014

Community groups the big winners

Forty-four community groups in Loddon Shire received some welcome news late last month when Council formally approved its list of successful applicants under the 2014/2015 Community Grants Scheme.

Councillors agreed to allocate $195,326 in grants for the year, out of a possible $200,000.

In operation since 2000/2001, the scheme exists to help recreational; sporting and service organisations deliver projects that improve quality of life for residents. 

Since it began, Council has invested about $1.5 million toward 609 community-based projects worth a total of around $5 million.
  
Five projects received the maximum allocation of $10,000 – the Boort Sculpture Park and wetlands, Pyramid Hill Netball Club’s new shelter, overhead lighting at Dingee Bowls Club, a kitchen upgrade at Wedderburn Football Club and Korong Historical Society’s new book on the history of the town.

Other grants ranged from $300 for the Wedderburn Patchwork Group to $8,000 towards a new equipment and machinery shed at Boort Golf Club.   

Manager Community and Recreation Allan Stobaus said the program offered significant benefit to the local community.

“It provides money for specific projects which may otherwise struggle to secure funding through Council’s other infrastructure programs or initiatives,” Allan said.
 
“As demonstrated in the value of projects delivered so far, Council’s investment pays rich dividends both in terms of financial help and social wellbeing.”

 

Projects win cash boost

Loddon Shire has set its Community Planning priorities for the new financial year, after Councillors considered the proposed list at their June meeting in Serpentine.

In total, Council has committed to spending $266,000 on 18 requested projects across the municipality’s five wards.

Manager Community Planning Tim Jenkyn said annual CP funding was based on a $50,000 allocation per ward, plus a $500,000 Strategic Fund allocation.

“Unlike Council’s Community Grants program, which provides funding support for projects up to $15,000 at a ratio of 2:1, Community Planning is a direct allocation to projects identified in the local Community Plan, facility master plans or partnerships across communities,” Tim said.

“Community Planning committees submit specific projects and an assessment committee looks at each one.

“Loddon’s Community Planning program has been a success story since its inception over a decade ago.

“Communities and Council continue to attract significant external funding through the process and we have seen numerous projects delivered in Loddon’s small towns and rural districts under this banner.”

This year sees Loddon’s wards receiving funding support for projects large and small, with total allocations to each ranging from $50,000 to $60,000.

Budget preview

Loddon Shire residents with an interest in how Council plans to manage its money during this new financial year are welcome to come along to a special meeting of Council tomorrow (8 July) at 8.30am at the Wedderburn Shire Offices. 

The brief meeting will consider Council’s draft budget for 2014/15 before putting it out for public feedback for four weeks.

New to the Hall of Fame

I was delighted to read the announcement late last month that two highly regarded Loddon Valley companies had been honoured in this year’s awards from Business Victoria.

Laucke Flour Mills, of Bridgewater, Australia’s oldest flour milling business, won the Technology in Manufacturing Award, while Boundary Bend Olives, of Boort, the nation’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil, was welcomed as a new inductee to the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

Boundary Bend joins Hazeldene’s Chicken Farms in the Hall of Fame, after the latter was so honoured in 2011.

We offer our congratulations to both companies and trust they continue to prosper in the region.

Seniors honours coming up

Do you know an older person in your community whose efforts as a volunteer you find inspiring?

The state government is now calling for nominations for a number of categories in this year’s Victorian Senior of the Year Awards, but be quick – the deadline is next Friday, 11 July.

The awards recognise men and women aged 60 and over whose volunteer involvement supports and inspires others. 

Nominees don’t need to be super-human – past award winners have included hospital visitors, organisers of Anzac Day appeals, tutors to disadvantaged students and workers among older members of Victoria’s multicultural communities.

Winners will be acknowledged at a special Government House reception on 2 October 2014, leading into this year’s Victorian Seniors Festival.

To find out more, phone 1300 135 090 or go to www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au for a nomination form.