Council Report – March 2021

Hi all. The last couple of months has been busy as usual, full of meetings with local residents, reading up on policies and strategies that council is pursuing, and thinking through the “bigger picture” issues. Here is a snapshot of that time.

I chaired, for the first time, our municipal fire management committee – it was excellent to connect with so many qualified people who are working together to ensure we are prepared for fire in our region.

The Budget. You may have heard it said that Budgets are not just financial documents, but “moral” documents. That is, they say something about what we value. It has been a challenge to work through the balancing act of following through on past decisions, acknowledging the effects of Covid-19 on the local economy, and advocating for projects that are supported by our community. As we wrangle over what is in and out, we need to keep in mind that the end product will communicate our priorities as a council. I will be advocating for increased youth services, resources to ensure councillor’s are supported to engage with the community, and improvements to our open spaces.

I took part in a tour of some of the city’s swimming pools. There are difficult decisions to make regarding the number and maintenance of our pools, and ensuring there is fairness in access to pools. As councillors I think we need to start ramping up the discussions we are having with the community about the future of our pools. There are hard decisions to be made and our community needs to understand the rationale for them.

I attended the season launch of the Eaglehawk Football Netball Club. It was fantastic to experience the excitement of members as they anticipated returning to a season of club sport after being denied the opportunity last year. The club is a great example of a community club that is run professionally.

I am encouraged that the beginnings of a process for a community plan in Long Gully have begun. I was at the first meeting of a small working group is beginning to emerge – this working group will enable community input into a plan for the Long Gully neighbourhood, which is long overdue. I wish the working group all the best as they begin their work.

Finally, I want to recognise the Loddon Consortium for Gender Equality and Violence Prevention, who organised the March 4 Justice in Rosalind Park. The event was not a party political event, but a simply and powerful call to end violence, harassment and sexual assault against women. I was pleased to be able to attend and listen to the many insightful and courageous speakers.

(Photo Credit: Darren Howe, Bendigo Advertiser)