Mayoral Column 9 November 2015

Published on 09 November 2015

Inglewood “neighbourhood safer place” decommissioned

While it’s time for all residents to consider their fire plan, I would particularly urge Inglewood residents to read on.

It’s vital we spread word that due to restoration works being carried out on the Town Hall, the building has been decommissioned as the “neighbourhood safer place” this fire season.

This means it is no longer the place to go for refuge if fire impacts the area.

While Council is currently assessing other potential “neighbourhood safer place” sites, the process will not be completed this fire season.

As such it’s crucial for individuals, families and groups to discuss and decide for themselves, where they would go as a place of last resort in case of bushfire.

While we’re on the topic of bushfire risk, I would also like to encourage residents to attend the Wedderburn Community Bushfire Risk Forum being held tomorrow evening, Wednesday 11 November, between 7pm and 9pm at Wedderburn Community House.

The forum will provide a good opportunity to learn more about bushfire risk to Wedderburn, how to prepare for the fires season and what agencies are doing for bushfire management.

Speakers from the Country Fire Authority, Loddon Shire Council and The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will be in attendance.

Wedderburn streetscape works underway

Wedderburn residents are watching where they step at the moment, as huge holes appear in their main street to prepare for installation of underground power lines.

This minor inconvenience will pay big dividends for our town as it marks the first stage of the $2.4 million Wedderburn Streetscape Improvement Project.

The focus of work currently visible to locals is drilling and conduit work preparing for the installation of underground power lines, expected to be completed by Christmas.

Civil works following this, expected to begin in February next year, will focus on streetscape improvements to footpaths, kerb and channels, drainage, paving, street lighting and car parking.

However, if you’re anything like me, one of the things you’re most looking forward to is the landscaping work planned to take place between July and September.

A highlight of this program will be the planting of mature Chinese Elms and Pistachios which will line the main street.

The trees will complement the development of lower lying garden beds which will be planted out just in time for Spring, to complete the first major improvement to Wedderburn’s streetscape in living memory, for the enjoyment of all.

Have your say about community inclusion

Living with a disability presents hurdles, even more so in a rural area, with many outreach services located in major regional and metropolitan centres.

However, we can all play a part in ensuring those with a physical, intellectual or “hidden” disability feel empowered, rather than isolated.

One way to help knock down the barriers, change perceptions and strengthen those facing extra challenges, is to get behind Loddon Shire Council’s Community Access and Inclusion Plan 2016 - 2021.

The five year plan, currently being developed, is an important part of Council’s commitment to improving the quality of life of people living with a disability.

Whether you have a disability, or are the parent or carer of someone with extra needs, we hope the Community Access and Inclusion Plan will provide pathways which  help you feel empowered to fully participate in community life,

Working together, we can all do our bit to help achieve this goal. As a Council we need to ensure public services and facilities are fully accessible to all.

As a business owner, employee, school friend or neighbour, you can do your bit by warmly welcoming others, and helping them jump any hurdles they face, while recognising their disability is just one aspect of who they are.

If you were unable to attend one of the recent community engagement forums run throughout the municipality, it’s not too late to have your say.

A short survey asking about  your experience of access and inclusion is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/LoddonCAIP. This survey is open until this Friday 13 November.

Alternatively contact Loddon Shire Council Disability Inclusion Officer Jolie Middleton by phoning 5494 1239, or texting 0408 445 947.