Mayoral Matters June 2022
Published on 17 June 2022
How wonderful it was to see the community out in force last week in St Arnaud to help us celebrate and tour the new Lord Nelson Park Multipurpose Sporting Pavilion. We can all be very proud of our efforts to see this fabulous facility through to fruition and to now be able to make use of every modern convenience that will make it a very functional space for all the groups who will be using it. Now all we need to do is choose an official name for it so be sure to pick your favourite in the poll that is currently running on our website Have Your Say page.
The Grampians Gatherings month long festival is proving to be a big hit with our community. We have had fabulous feedback from locals and visitors who enjoyed the “The Moth Trail” in Halls Gap on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. There was truly something for everyone from our youngest citizens through to our seniors on the night - the augmented reality activities proved popular at our Pop Up Park mural as were the participatory light drawings behind the swimming pool. Many attendees commented on how much they appreciated the treasured historical perspectives of local stalwarts Margo Sietsma and Janet Witham in interviews projected into trees and hollows in the Botanic Gardens. Halls Gap Primary School students’ inspired flora drawings animated on the school walls and local community artist groups works slideshows in the business district were also big crowd pleasers. Well done to everyone who helped to produce such a well-conceived and inclusive showcase.
The next event for the Grampians Gatherings festival is “Lights On”. It will commence today in St Arnaud and features an augmented reality experience of our talented local artist Kyle Torney’s murals. On the Saturday night come and enjoy some foot stomping music by Tamworth Country Music busking competition winner Rhys Crimmin and drop into St Arnaud Secondary College to marvel at the mosaic created by artist Sally Pritchard, students and community; all free fun thanks to the State Government CovidSafe Outdoor Activation fund. The last event in the program will be at Great Western on 25 June.
At the upcoming council meeting on 27 June, we will be considering submissions and plan to adopt the proposed Budget and the draft Asset Plan. We will be giving the community an additional four weeks beyond the adoption of the draft Asset Plan to ensure that you have been given sufficient time to consider and comment on what will be a significant and living piece of planning for council’s assets.
If you tuned into the live stream of the last council meeting you will be aware that we have had to reallocate funding from some Local Roads and Community Infrastructure funded projects to cover unexpected budget blowouts on other projects. These blowouts were caused largely by the pandemic’s impact on manufacturing and supply of infrastructure. The funding reallocation will free up $972, 581 to put towards lighting at North Park’s Soccer and Athletics Track and Lord Nelson Park as well as the Stawell Library Refurbishment. The defunded projects will be postponed until further LRCI funding is announced.
This winter is starting to bite into many residents’ back pockets in terms of energy expenses so I would like to highlight that a one-off payment of $250 is still available to eligible concession card holders through the compare.energy.vic.gov.au website until the end of this month. Residents who do not have access to a computer or who need assistance can get help through the Government’s Power Saving Bonus Community Outreach Program.
With winter illnesses on the rise, I urge everyone in the community to also take advantage of the free vaccinations on offer until the end of this month at clinics within the shire. The Covid vaccination has always been free, but this is a golden opportunity to get a free flu jab before the subsidy runs out. On 23 June, East Grampians Health Service is making it super easy and offering a drop
in Covid and flu vaccination clinic for everyone 5 years old and over from the Perry Room in St Arnaud. See newspapers and our social feeds for further information.
Stay warm, stay well and stay in touch with us at council because we are here to serve you.
Cr Tony Driscoll
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor