26 July, 2022

Councillor's Column

Words by Councillor Wendy Bywaters

By Rainbow-Jeparit Argus

HINDMARSH SHIRE: Cr Wendy Bywaters shares her first Councillors Column. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
HINDMARSH SHIRE: Cr Wendy Bywaters shares her first Councillors Column. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Words by Councillor Wendy Bywaters

So much has happened since my last update, this is a glimpse of what Hindmarsh Shire Council is working on and a sample of some activity in my life as a councillor.

Dimboola's Wimmera Steampunk festival 2022 exceeded all expectation and plans are underway for the 22 April 2023 Festival, please lock this date in now.

The Steampunk Festival Sunday Recharge concert utilised part of the $30,000 grant funding Council received to run small events across the shire to assist in reconnecting communities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although some events have been held, all funding had not been expended by the closing date of the project and a timing variation was obtained to extend the program to the end of October 2022 to hold the remaining small events across the shire to help reconnect communities.

Have you seen Dimboola's amazing bird art by internationally renowned street artist Smug, yet? I love it!

Council allocated $200,000 from Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Grant (phase three) towards the sealing of the laneway where an old, corrugated iron wall of the SES building became Smug's canvas, solar lights will light the way and bollards will be installed.

The carpark and laneway from Lochiel Street to the public toilets are also included in the funding, and additional signage was installed on the clock tower to clear up confusion on the location of the public toilets and showers.

Mad Dog Morgan with a reputation as the most vicious bush ranger stopped in at the Albacutya homestead for a free meal before continuing along his way to plunder Victoria. 
I played the part of Mrs O'Sullivan in the Mad Dog Morgan skit during the Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum, Vintage Rally (look out Piggery Lane Players!).

A touch of drama added to the colour of the fantastic days of recreating yesteryear, and Jeparit's two-day event attracted over 1000 people.

Congratulations to the committee, exhibitors' stallholders, and the many volunteers.

The 25th annual Hindmarsh Landcare Network (HLN) planting weekend was a great success and over 100 volunteers made the trip to Dimboola to take part in Project Hindmarsh 2022.

A cold and foggy morning greeted everyone on the Saturday morning, but a hearty breakfast kicked off the day, then we all piled in buses and cars and headed out to the planting sites. We had lunch around the campfire, then back into it.

We managed to get all 11,500 plants in the ground- a fantastic effort from everyone!

A well-deserved dinner and presentation of past plant-outs rounded off a great day.

The last of the trees were watered in by midday on Sunday, and many of the city volunteers hit the shops before departing Dimboola.

A massive thanks to all the volunteers, Jonathan Starks, HLN Board members and to everyone who helped make the weekend such a success. I truly enjoyed the city country connections and planting trees together.

Recently, I was reminded of my time on the Wimmera Development Association (WDA) leadership Wimmera, business leaders' program.

I completed this valuable 10-month program in 2011 when I was the sole director of a Massey Ferguson machinery dealership, and a single mum.

I received an invitation as a graduate for WDA's Census presentation and as much I enjoyed the presentation and the discussion, it was the realisation that I am still a part of this wonderful supportive network of Wimmera Leaders that I treasure the most.

I know, still today, all these years later, that I can contact any one of my colleagues from our leadership course for advice or support. And that goes both ways, I would certainly be there for anyone of them.

I also realised how far on my leadership journey I have come, and I would highly recommend WDA's Leadership Wimmera program. They are taking enrolment for 2023, why not check out their website now?

As for the census data, that's a story for another day, but I do believe that Hindmarsh has some exciting opportunities.


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