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28 August 2019
SIR, – As Horsham Rural City Council Mayor I feel I have a responsibility to respond to some recent commentary about the City to River project.
The four pieces of ‘planning’ work, under the banner of ‘Transforming Horsham’, in my view, are critical and overdue.
The council has received generous support from the State Government to do this work and now it’s happening.
The intentional effort to ‘engage’ the community in recent weeks has included a wide age and experience range – from Wimmera Mobility Group to the students at some of our schools; from walkers and joggers at Park Run to shoppers at Horsham Plaza and Haven Market.
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Community consultation is more than a number process. It includes collecting opinions and ideas.
Thank you to the hundreds of people who have had their say on the draft, concept master plan.
It is not a schematic drawing, it is not a detailed plan, it is a collection of ideas.
The need for this work is captured in the 2018-2022 council plan, adopted by the council, and was reinforced by including this work as a key-performance indicator, adopted by the council, for the chief executive.
The City to River can be summed up in a few principle goals:
• Improving the central business district for businesses, shoppers, pedestrians, locals and visitors.
• Improving the Wimmera River precinct, from the showground to the pedestrian bridge, for locals and visitors and stimulate local business.
• Plant more trees.
• Consider these things with ‘future’ thinking and a ‘what could be’ attitude.
• Create modern, safe and compliant sporting facilities, close to the central business district, to encourage more people, of all ages, to play more sport, more often.
State Government support has and will continue to be critical.
Four State Government representatives sit on the project control group.
Our reliance on government support was a lesson learned with the Horsham Town Hall project.
Of the $19.6-million cost of the project, $11.5-million came from government grants. Current rate-capping restriction reinforces this reliance.
Along with the many services and community facilities the council provides, ratepayers will also contribute towards these projects.
Every year councillors and staff plan the annual budget and allocate funds for council priorities, guided by the council plan.
People who have visited Mildura recently and observed the amazing improvements to their riverside precinct, Horsham Rural City Council is proud to be using the same consultant team along with state and local sporting groups, business and community groups.
The next steps include refining the feedback, adjusting the concept master plan, coming up with priorities for funding and action and more opportunities for public consultation and involvement.
On Saturday morning we joined a large group of enthusiastic runners, joggers and walkers participating in the riverside parkrun.
A visitor from Bunbury, Western Australia, holidaying in our caravan park, provided encouraging words about the event and the course.
The run challenged a cosmopolitan mix of all ages, men and women, girls and boys, babies in pushers and friendly dogs.
The lessons for the day were the importance of ‘goal-focused progress’ and the value of achieving a ‘personal best’.
I encourage everyone who has in interest in the future of Horsham to ‘have your say’.
Horsham Rural City Council
The entire August 28, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire August 28, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!