Boolarra Community Development Group (BCDG) Report – Sep, 2011

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 18 August at the Bowling Club, chaired by the Mayor of Latrobe City, Cr Darrell White. Rob Herni thanked the Bowling Club for the warm welcome, their hospitality, and the quality of the catering. 22 people attended and enjoyed a thought provoking talk from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Gippsland TAFE, Mr. Peter Whitley, on the challenges facing society arising from the rapid advent of new technology, and how the education sector has to adapt and address these issues to remain effective.

The following committee was elected. Office bearers will be determined at the next Committee Meeting.

  • Committee                              Rob Herni
  • Committee                              Mark Cooke
  • Committee                              Colin Brick
  • Committee                              Paul Dodds
  • Committee                              Gwenda Pither
  • Committee                              Rick Teychenne
  • Committee                              Doug Black
  • Committee                              Jill Simmonds
  • Committee                              Emma Cooke
  • Committee                              Tracy Anderson
  • Committee                              Sue Webster
  •  Committee                              Pat McAllister
  • Committee                              Gary Mills
  • Committee                              Abbas Mehran
  • Committee                              Jeff Henderson
  • Committee                              Val Henderson
  • Committee                              Chris Dunkley
  • Committee                              Geoff Dunkley

It is a strong committee, and it is pleasing to see some new blood on the committee, along with many of the old stalwarts. Les Hunt has stood down from the committee, as he has now moved to Traralgon. However he will continue to support the committee with his financial acumen and teach the new Treasurer the ropes, in what is a very important role given the funds the committee is now holding. Hopefully, as projects are completed this will moderate.

Rob Herni has also indicated a desire to stand down as Chair after five or more years in the role. I would like to extend my personal thanks to Rob for the support he has been to me over that time, and also offer to him the thanks of the community for his strength over a very difficult period. He should be very proud of the achievements of the group over that time, and of his role. Rob will continue on the committee and I’m sure will continue to make a major contribution.

The past three months has been largely a process of consolidation, as we attempt to bring some of our projects to fruition.

Liz Tyler has been doing a great job in her new role as Facilitator, butting her head against the red tape to keep the Gazebo, Men’s Shed and Multipurpose Building projects moving forward. Building permits are currently being prepared for the Gazebo in Railway Park, plans have been prepared and quotes obtained. The Men’s Shed has got clear results back on soil tests, and has approval in principle from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE). There is now a Native Title and native flora review to be completed before physical work can commence. Site plans have been developed for the sheds and storage facilities.

The Multipurpose Building committee has been considering a wide range of options for the refurbishment, and it is fair to say they were finding the whole process confusing and frustrating. However in the past two months they have had some very fruitful discussion with Damian Blackford, Latrobe City Council (LCC) and are in the process of finalizing the design.

Sylvia Sauppe is currently in the process of designing a Community Website for the Development Group. The intention is to integrate it with other community websites such as the Folk Festival, the Rail Trail, Boolarra Primary School, Football club, the Link, etc. It will be aimed at Boolarra residents more than tourists, with processes to keep content updated and relevant, and with features such as competitions, “classifieds”, a trade and business register, and details of forthcoming events to attract locals to access it. Any thoughts or assistance would be greatly appreciated.

The Community Bus is a major issue the committee need to resolve in the near future, as it has low usage, and involves high running costs, and major expenditure in the near future to keep it roadworthy. In discussion at the AGM a number of options were considered that would potentially provide lower cost access to a bus.

Jill Simmonds has the planning for the Open Garden day in November well in hand, with six gardens organised at this stage. The wet weather has had a significant impact on a number of local gardens, but Jill is confident they’ll all be blooming marvelous by November.

The Development Group is supporting a proposal from the Top Shop, and local artist Abbas Mehran, for a mural to go on the wall of the shop. Abbas has prepared drafts of the design, and has put in a great deal of time and thought, and consulted with many locals, including the Historical Society, to develop an appropriate design, and the work is scheduled for completion by Christmas.

Abbas also initiated a “community” Art Show, which the BCDG supported. To be honest, I was amazed at the quality of the items on exhibit, and at the professional way in which they had been displayed. Everyone I spoke to on the Friday opening night were extremely impressed by the way Abbas’ concept of the people of Boolarra displaying their diverse talents had come to fruition. A big thank you also, to all the people who helped in the staging of the event.

We hope to make this an annual event that will attract people into the town, as it would provide Boolarra with three promotional attractions, along with the Folk Festival and the Open garden show, that are well spaced and catering to a diverse audience.

Colin Brick,
Boolarra Community Development Group.