Mayoral Column 7 March 2016

Published on 07 March 2016

Silt removal a sustainable solution

Photo caption: An excavator on the job at Wedderburn Reservoir

Council has invested $14,000 in a sustainable silt removal project to improve the water capacity of the Wedderburn Reservoir.

Contractors employed an excavator and two dump trucks to complete the five day operation, which is expected to pay for itself in the medium term.

The five day project cleared almost 5,000 cubic metres of silt which had gathered since the Reservoir was last empty in 1982.

With poor rainfall leaving the reservoir near empty this summer, Council has taken a timely approach to clearing the silt which will improve the catchment capacity by five megalitres.

This increased water will ease the need for Council to subsidise sports clubs the cost of using Coliban Water to maintain Donaldson Park Recreation Reserve, the tennis courts, bowling green and Market Square Cricket Ground when Reservoir levels are low.

It’s great to see Council coming up with economically viable and sustainable solutions to keeping our sports grounds green.

The timely initiative has the added bonus of beautifying the Wedderburn Caravan Park grounds for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike.

Looking to the future

Council is preparing to welcome Marg Allan as acting chief executive officer of Loddon Shire.

Earlier this week, Marg expressed her delight at turning her attention to ensuring our communities not only survive, but thrive.

Marg, who takes to the helm on Tuesday 15 March, has worked in local government for more than 30 years, including 14 with the City of Greater Bendigo.

She brings with her a wealth of local government experience, regional knowledge and a firm belief and understanding of Loddon’s Shire’s current strengths and future potential.

While we’re looking forward to having Marg on board, my fellow Councillors, myself and many in our communities are undoubtedly sorry to say goodbye to former CEO John McLinden who is poised to take on the top job at Swan Hill Rural City Council.

The respect and admiration felt for John was apparent at a farewell barbecue hosted last week, and we thank him for his dedicated contribution in various positions with Loddon Shire over the last 23 years.

We now turn our attention to the future and a fresh approach as we move one step closer to the appointment of a permanent replacement.

Sports clubrooms to open at Boort Cup

The final touches on a major extension and refurbishment project at the Boort Sports Clubrooms are nearing completion, in anticipation of an official opening to take place at Boort Pacing on Sunday 20 March.

I’m looking forward to attending the opening of the $200,000 extension which is the social hub of Boort Park’s user groups football, netball, hockey, cricket, trotting, and Boort AMP Society.

While the details are yet to be finalised, it is fitting for such an important community facility to celebrate the completion of improvement works including a veranda renovation, refurbishment of the cool-room and bar, new windows and brickwork.

While the veranda renovations provide a larger area to socialise in, part of it is also enclosed to increase year round use.

The extension will also bring sports spectators a little closer to the action, so it’s pleasing to have completed the project in time for the Cup.

I hope to share further details of the opening with you in my next column.

Seek advice before cutting natives

When undertaking a project, whether that be erecting a boundary fence or installing a driveway, sometimes native trees can be perceived as a potential obstacle.

If this is the case it is always best to seek advice from Council’s planning and local laws staff before trimming or removing the native in question.

While we receive many calls seeking advice before a native tree is trimmed or removed, there are countless instances where we don’t hear about it until a tree is cut back or permanently removed.

Residents could be unaware that if they sought advice earlier they may have found the native could be legally trimmed or removed either with, or without, a permit on a case by case basis.

If you ever have to question what to do about a native tree, I would encourage you to firstly establish whether the tree is on private or public land and consult with the owner.

Regardless of whether the property owner is your next door neighbour or a government department such as VicRoads, Parks Victoria or the Council, in most cases seeking advice from Council will lead to an agreeable result before any potential upset is caused.