Boolarra Community Development Group Report – Dec. 2011

After the AGM held on 18 August the following office bearers were elected at the September BCDG meeting.

  • Chairperson                Jeff Henderson
  • Vice Chair                   Mark Cooke
  • Secretary                    Colin Brick
  • Treasurer                    Paul Dodds
  • Asst Secretary                        Doug Black
  • Asst Treasurer            Gwenda Pither

The remainder of the committee is:     

  • Committee                  Rob Herni
  • Committee                  Rick Teychenne
  • Committee                  Doug Black
  • Committee                  Jill Simmonds
  • Committee                  Emma Cooke
  • Committee                  Tracy Anderson
  • Committee                  Sue Webster
  • Committee                  Pat McAlister
  • Committee                  Gary Mills
  • Committee                  Abbas Mehran
  • Committee                  Val Henderson
  • Committee                  Chris Dunkley
  • Committee                  Geoff Dunkley

Liz Tyler has continued her great job as facilitator, butting her head against the red tape to keep the gazebo, men’s shed and multipurpose building projects moving forward. Construction of the gazebo in Railway Park should commence shortly. The mens’ shed has submitted planning permit requests to Latrobe City Council (LCC), only to be told that the area is covered by the Aboriginal Heritage legislation and potentially requires a Cultural Heritage Plan to be developed. Subject to discussion with LCC Planning Dept, we believe this should only be a minor red tape hurdle, however, it all adds to the frustration of the committee who are super keen to get hands on.

The multipurpose building committee is very close to finalizing the design of the redevelopment, incorporating the ideas and feedback from the user groups, and it will be issued for public comment shortly. It may be covered elsewhere in The Boolarra Link, but the Multi-purpose building committee had their triennial meeting a month or so ago and the same committee was re-elected. That’s a great result for the community, as they are a hard working, down to earth group, providing a great asset to the town. A few months ago when there was a great deal of frustration at the lack of progress and clarity regarding the redevelopment process I was fearful that the town may not have a managing committee. However, they now feel they have ownership and control of the project and are really excited about the future opportunities.

Sylvia Sauppe has done a great job developing a community website for the Development Group. Refer attached article for more detail.

The group has agreed in principle to get rid of the Community Bus as it has low usage, involves high running costs and requires major expenditure in the near future to keep it roadworthy. As an alternative the BCDG proposes to subsidise community bus usage. Where a group, or individuals, propose to use a bus for a community activity if they send an email to colin.brick@hotmail.com stating the date, group and purpose of the hire, the BCDG will subsidise the hire by $50 on presentation of the supporting invoice. We will trial this for 12 months or so to see how it goes.

Jill Simmonds organized another very successful Open Garden day. I thoroughly enjoyed strolling around the gardens and chatting to people along the way. It was a lovely day, although the forecast high temperatures may have scared a few people off. Thanks to Jill (and her family) for her hard work and thanks very much to the people who made the effort to open the gardens up to us. It is a big commitment, but it is really appreciated by the people who come along to enjoy the beauty and gather new ideas. I have flagged with Jill and Yinnar the possibility of running the open gardens in conjunction with Yinnar next year. This has a number of attractions; while we work closely with Yinnar and District Community Association (YDCA) there are not a lot of activities we can run jointly, however, the open gardens lends itself to this as they are close together so the travel is not significant, it also takes the pressure off finding six gardens each year. Instead we can look at three from each community, plus attractions such as the Old Mill Site, the Yinnar Community Garden and Boolarra Ferns.

Liz Tyler has done great work with the mobile coffee vending project. A coffee machine has been purchased and a trailer is currently under construction. Two barista training sessions have been conducted, with the potential for a third course. A few of the graduates of the first course provided coffee at the Open Gardens day and they enjoyed it and their product was very well appreciated. The next step is to roll it out on a business footing that provides benefits to community groups, the BCDG and the participants.

You may notice as you enter the Post Office or the Top Shop that there are Boolarra post cards on display. These have been organised by Val and Gwenda in conjunction with Churchill News. Also, Roz Carstairs has been working hard on an updated and digitized version of her book ‘12 Mile Peg’. Unfortunately, she was unable to obtain a grant for the new print run, so the BCDG have offered to pay the print cost, to ensure this valuable community asset is widely available.

Have a safe and happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. (Each year, as I write some similar line, I am reminded of the comment from our very first BCDG meeting that what we needed to make Boolarra a better place is to smile at each other in the street. Do it. It will make two people feel better.)

Colin Brick,
Boolarra Community Development Group.