Greater Bendigo Community Plan 2017-2021
The process to develop the Greater Bendigo Community plan took over six months, involved seven councillor workshops, analysis of more than 400 feedback postcards from the community and responses to our online survey, numerous face-to-face meetings and facilitated sessions with residents, an exhibition period and community members presenting their formal submissions on the plan to Council. Council was determined to compose a high level, strategic plan that would set the direction it would take. It’s a statement to the Executive and staff of Council’s expectations for the community when they conduct council business, make decisions, carry out works and deliver services. As a governing body representing the community, such a plan is a must and it is Council’s responsibility to set these guiding principles. I was so pleased to join my fellow councillors in supporting the adoption of the final plan (and the accompanying 12 month action plan), which contains many specific items benefiting our rural communities.
Council was determined to compose a high level, strategic plan that would set the direction it would take.
This year’s Budget includes a $60.1M investment in new projects and maintaining and renewing existing infrastructure. The Budget also invests $163.5M in continuing to fund critical services for our community through the operating budget. Each Budget the Council sets will also help tick off on items in the yearly action plan.
To maintain existing infrastructure, the Budget will see $10M invested in renewing sealed roads, $3.3M for unsealed roads and $3.3M to renew drainage across the municipality. Council will also spend $2M on building new, upgrading and expanding existing footpaths.
Specifically for the Eppalock Ward, I am thrilled that the following items have been included:
Deferral of a decision on Tannery Lane – Removal of vegetation and road works
Councillors unanimously voted to defer the decision on road works along Tannery Lane, which involves the removal of vegetation, to a later council meeting to allow us to work through and consider further information received in relation to the road works.
Refusal of a permit to construct a shed at 524 Heathcote-Redesdale Rd, Heathcote
Council voted to refuse the granting of a permit to construct a shed (whose design appears to be used as a dwelling) in this location. The reasons for this included the fact that the access represents an unnecessary risk with sight distances along an arterial road (VicRoads also objected to this application). The nature of the application was also inconsistent with the purposes of the zone (which is Rural Conservation), the shed would not be used in conjunction with a permitted use of the land and will also result in the unnecessary removal of native vegetation.
Implementation of the Greater Bendigo Housing Strategy
Last year, the Greater Bendigo Housing Strategy was adopted, which set a high level strategic direction in relation to location, type and form of housing to meet the changing needs of our community. I was pleased to support the recommendation to commence the public exhibition of the implementation plan to our communities to allow for the key strategic directions of the strategy to be translated into Planning Scheme Controls including:
Application to install 44 Electronic Gaming Machines at the Wellington at Botanical Gardens Hotel.
Placing community needs at the forefront of each decision isn’t as easy as it seems and in this instance, the information before council led me to believe that our community will not benefit from an additional 44 electronic gaming machines.
I believe Council can continue to chip away at some of society’s challenging problems. The impacts of problem gaming are a well-known public health issue and solutions are hard to identify or implement.
Ultimately, for Local Government to remain relevant, I believe it must not shy away from challenging problems, but instead continually ask how it can make a difference?
This is a complex matter. I supported the recommendation to lodge the social impact submission with the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), advising that the overall social and economic impact of the proposed application for a new gaming premises and installation of 44 Electronic Gaming Machines at the Wellington is detrimental to the community.
Ultimately, for Local Government to remain relevant, I believe it must not shy away from challenging problems, but instead continually ask how it can make a difference? As a Councillor, I am required to make good decisions for all members of our community, recognising that at times there are those who may not have a voice to do so themselves. Whatever the VCGLR decides for this application, am looking forward to working with my fellow Councillors to review the City of Greater Bendigo Gaming Policy in order to create a strong position that puts the health and wellbeing of our communities’ front and centre.
Formal opening of the Harry Trott netball courts
Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke and I had the chance to attend and formally open the Harry Trott netball courts, where instead of cutting a ribbon the Mayor was asked to ‘shoot a goal’, of which she did with aplomb, first go!
Heathcote RSL Black Tie Ball
The inaugural Heathcote RSL Black Tie Ball was held in May in the RSL Hall, decked out with elegant table dressings, silverware and new crockery. Three delicious courses were made and served by terrific volunteers. We then danced the night away with a swing jazz band.
Emu Creek Recreation Reserve Triennial Meeting
It was my pleasure to Chair the Triennial Meeting of the Emu Creek Recreation Reserve Committee and it was most pleasing to see 2017 Loddon Mallee Community Leadership participant, Louise Scott, elected as Secretary.
Launch – Heathcote Township Plan development
Heathcote residents packed out the Heathcote Bowls Club in May to help launch the development of the Heathcote Township Plan. They had input into the preliminary identification of future needs of the Heathcote Township. To have your say, complete a survey at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/heathcotetp
Axedale talent – Synchronicity Performing Arts It’s my party and I’ll die if I want to (Zeljko Vanis) & RAW Arts award exhibition (Alex Hermens)
The local talents of Axedale residents wowed me this month, as I took in the photography of Alex Hermens and art at the RAW Arts Awards held at Dudley House in View Street. I also went to a hilarious performance at the Engine Room by Synchronicity Performing Arts Group, with local teacher and thespian, Zejlko Vanis, in the lead role of Ron in It’s my party and I’ll die if I want to.
Blessing and official opening of Assisi Kinder in Strathfieldsaye
I was fortunate to attend the blessing and official opening of the Assisi Kinder in Strathfieldsaye by Bishop Les Tomlinson and Father Andrew Fewings, and I was invited to hang a cross on the kinder room wall with the Hon. Jacinta Allen MP. The lovely afternoon included a performance by the kinder children and afternoon tea.
Heathcote on Show and Burlesque DeVine at the Toolleen Tin Shed
Congratulations to Tracie and Peter Young from Silver Spoon Estate for bringing Burlesque DeVine to the Toolleen Tin Shed for Heathcote on Show. A burlesque-style cabaret show thrilled a packed Tin Shed on the cold Saturday night. The volunteers who helped bring Heathcote on Show alive over the Queen’s Birthday weekend should be applauded, thousands of visitors flocked to Heathcote vineyards to sample the delights of numerous cellar doors, great food, special classes and the Barrack Street Market.
What else is happening?
Eppalock Ward Councillors Listening Posts ‘Meet your Councillors, Have Your Say’ Heathcote Bush Market, Saturday July 1, 2017 @ 9.30 am – 11am
The next Council meeting is on Wednesday July 19, 2017 at 6pm at the Bendigo Town Hall, perhaps I might see you there? Or you can tune in via the live broadcast on Phoenix FM 106.7.
Yvonne Wrigglesworth is a Councillor in the Eppalock Ward, City of Greater Bendigo Council.