Mayoral Column 8 September 2014

Published on 08 September 2014

Solar panels going up

Loddon Shire expects to cut its power bills and significantly lower greenhouse emissions with a move to install solar panels at its Wedderburn offices.

The $44,500 contract, funded by the state government under the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership, has been awarded to Cola Solar, of Bendigo, with an expected completion date of early October.

The job will see 120 solar panels installed with two 15kW SMA inverters.

Manager Community and Recreation Allan Stobaus said that, last year, Council’s Wedderburn offices consumed 137,127kWh of electricity, or 380kW/h per day.

“That usage was calculated as producing 162 tonnes of CO2 emissions at a cost to Council of around $37,000 for the year, or $101 a day,” Allan said.

“Each year, the system will produce about 50,000kW, cut around $13,000 from Council’s power bill in running the office and reduce greenhouse emissions by 48 tonnes.”

An information board about the new system is being prepared for display in the office foyer.

On track for 2015 finish

Work has officially begun on redevelopment works which will see the 138-year-old Inglewood railway station and goods shed transformed into Loddon Shire’s first-ever business incubator and a new home for three busy community entities.

Contractor Ducon Construction, of Clayton South, started work at the site on 25 August, with a scheduled handover date of early next year.

The work, to be overseen by rail agency VicTrack, will create enclosed office spaces, a community open area, meeting space, kitchenette, toilet facilities and store room.

The external platforms that surround the building will also be restored and a disability access ramp installed.
The project has been financed by the Victorian Government’s Community Use of Vacant Rail Buildings Program.
Loddon Shire Council will ultimately lease the buildings from VicTrack, with Inglewood and Districts Health Service, Workspace Australia and the Goldfields Choir as agreed tenants.

IDHS will gain flexible office space for allied health practitioners, staff accommodation and for group activities such as cardiac rehabilitation and strength training, while Workspace Australia will establish a business incubator to foster new and emerging local businesses.

Members of the Goldfields Choir will have a new rehearsal and performance space, while plans are in place to establish Foodbank on the site.

Park space improved … again

The development of the public foreshore area alongside the soon-to-be-opened riverside caravan park at Bridgewater is nearing the completion of its latest stage.

A new public toilet has been installed and is now fully functional, while other improvement works have seen the installation of two free gas barbecues in their own shelters and the planting of irrigated grassed spaces.

The installation of outdoor furniture is also almost complete.

Director Economy and Community Bryan McEwan said last week these latest improvements had created an unprecedented level of access to the foreshore for visitors.

“There is now an easily managed concrete walking path from the swimming hole at the northern end right down, under the highway, to the recently built water sports platform,” Mr McEwan said.

“A path of crushed rock then leads down to the boat ramp at the southern end of the caravan park.

“These works have dramatically enlarged the public space available to visitors and have made the riverbank accessible to people with a wide range of physical abilities.” 

The $224,000 project has been funded by grants of $100,000 under the state government’s Local Government Infrastructure Program and $124,000 from the Percy Baxter Trust, administered by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

Hockey event a first

Loddon Shire Council has joined forces with the Wedderburn Hockey Club to initiate a new event on the local sporting calendar – a pre-season hockey six tournament to be played at Donaldson Park in Wedderburn next March.

There will be eight sections involved – Under 11, Under 13 and Under 15 for both boys and girls and open competition for men and women.

Teams will be competing in a round-robin format for medals and a shield and a perpetual trophy for the overall champion club.

Entries must be received by 28 February next year and the event is planned for Saturday 28 March.

Club president Carlie Turnbull said the proposed event, sparked by a suggestion from fellow member Nick Youngson, would be a “first” for the Shire.

“A similar tournament runs at Kerang, but that would be the closest,” Carlie said.

“We see it as a good opportunity to promote hockey, which is one of the growing sports in Loddon and the March timing leads nicely into the start of our season in April.”

The Wedderburn club has about 60 members ranging from eight years old to players in their fifties.

Council’s Manager Tourism, Robyn Vella, said the event provided a great opportunity to promote the Shire.

“Boort and Wedderburn both have excellent hockey facilities and this tournament will give participants the treat of playing on grass instead of artificial turf,” Robyn said.
“It will provide visitors with an insight into country communities and bring a boost to our local businesses as well.”

For more details, or to register your team, phone club secretary Christine Coombes on 0400 970 902 or email wedderburnhockey@gmail.com

Child’s play

There was good news for five of Council’s kindergartens recently, when Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell announced a round of grants to help with minor infrastructure and IT needs.

Inglewood Kindergarten and Dingee Preschool received $545 each to purchase an ipad for their centres. Boort Preschool received $1,462 to purchase a new laptop, while Pyramid Hill Preschool was allocated $1,500 and Wedderburn Kindergarten $999 for computer hardware. A minor infrastructure grant was provided to Pyramid Hill Preschool for $10,000 to install a shade sail over its jungle gym and Dingee Preschool $1707 for new shade sails over their playground.

Our thanks to the state government for its continued support of our busy children’s services here in Loddon.

Gearing up for the festival

Plans for this year’s Inglewood Alive festival are taking shape with a number of attractions locked in, but organisers are still keen to hear from potential interested stall-holders and sponsors.

Planned for Saturday 6 December, the festival fills the town’s main street with colour and movement and draws large crowds.

Organising committee member Chris Sharp said last week that popular features of the event were already in place.

“The Lions Club is managing the street stalls this year and the Inglewood and Districts Community Bank has sponsored the wood chopping,” Chris said.

“The Marist Brothers Band from Bendigo will return and we’ll also have an animal nursery, barbecues, vintage cars, classic motorcycles, boot scooting, the children’s photographic competition and Devonshire teas.

“The Eucy Museum and Masonic hall will be open too.

“We’re still looking for sponsors at this stage, so would be pleased to hear from anyone willing to take part in that way.”

Lions Club member Joy Brown said street stalls would cost $25 for the day and the preferred style of goods was hand-made products.

For more details, phone Chris on 5438 3416 or Joy on 0408 501 641.