Annual General Meeting – 22 August 2019
Report from the Chair
Thank you all for your attendance this evening. We have many willing volunteers in Boolarra, serving in a diversity of community groups and clubs, and many of us wear hats in several different organisations. It is a testament to our community spirit in Boolarra that we have such strong participation from a small population.
Our Community Development Group’s aim is to promote the social, economic and environmental development of Boolarra and district in accordance with the wishes of the community.
We see our role being to work with the people and groups within the community to advance and foster the town’s wellbeing. We also seek to work closely with Latrobe City Council, State and Federal Members of Parliament and various Government Departments, as well as hosting and promoting various community events for the enjoyment of all.
The BCDG has now been active for seventeen years, and we are very proud of what we have achieved in that time. However there is still much that can be done to make our community an even better place to live.
As always we have organised the regular and ever-popular Christmas Carols and Australia Day events. This year we also held the bi-annual Open Garden which attracted over 150 people, and which provided a fundraising opportunity for other groups including the Garden Club and Red Cross. The Historical Society was also open and had good numbers attend. The profit from the Open Garden Day was donated to the Shannon Appeal.
Coming up in October we have the Boolarra Garage Sale and Car Boot Sale, which always brings lots of people into the community, and allows for the redistribution of junk between households.
One of the important roles of the Development Group is to be the voice of the community in issues of public infrastructure. This year the key infrastructure issue has been the proposed Delburn Wind Farm, and this has been a real challenge for this group, as it is an issue which has polarised the community, including this committee, which has a number of members located quite close to the proposed towers, and potentially impacted.
Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff with respect to the facts associated with wind farm installations. What is clear is that some communities, and adjoining residents, have suffered. There is also a grave risk of social fractures within the community as an outcome of the project. We do not see it as the role of this group to take a position on the preferred outcome, but rather to support all members of the community in working through issues associated with the project.
Supporting the community
The BCDG also acts as an umbrella organisation under which other groups can apply for funding, and in this year has been extremely active. In February the Bushfire Anniversary event was held at the hall, The evening was organised by a number of community members willing to provide valuable assistance, under the auspices of the Boolarra Folk Festival, and with support from the BCDG. In Heather Farley’s words “It really showcased the Boolarra community and while the fire is still raw for many, it gave people a strong sense of connection;
of a positive future, ongoing change and how some good can emerge out of a tragedy and that people are not on their own/alone.”
A week later and we had Tom Curtain Speak Up Tour at the Boolarra Community Hotel. Another fantastic night, extremely well organised and a great showcase for the Boolarra Community Hotel and the wider Boolarra community. The BCDG worked very closely with the Pub in the funding arrangement with the LVA for this event, and handling funds on behalf of the Pub. We are still holding $1700 on behalf of the Pub from this event.
A great thing about this group is that we can help people achieve their dreams. Cath Murphy approached the group in October 2018 with the concept of getting the Small Halls Tour to perform at Boolarra. We assisted Cath in bringing this to fruition, and on the 28 March we had the Small Halls Tour concert in the Memorial Hall featuring award-winning Canadian trio The Once, Australia’s John Flanagan and our very own, The Magentas, who more than held there own in the face of the quality guests. We would love more people to approach us with their dreams. We won’t do the work, but we will advise and support them to achieve great community outcomes.
Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of the group this year has been the fundraising effort on behalf of Shannon Blines, our local postmaster. Launched on Australia Day, the appeal has currently raised over $16,000. It has been a real win/win, raising funds for a very worthwhile cause, but also providing a real boost to community spirit and inspiring a number of social events, including the Sunday afternoon of classical music, which brings the community closer together.
Thank you’s and conclusion
I would like to thank the Community Development Group committee members for their participation and support, particularly our long-serving Secretary Colin Brick and Jenny Wedrowicz as treasurer. Our best wished are with Jenny at this time, as she is currently undergoing a treatment of chemotherapy.
I would also like to recognise the contribution to our activities that Mary and Shannon at the Post Office make, both in distributing information on our behalf, and collecting things for us. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution that Latrobe City make, supporting us not only financially through grants such as Australia day and Christmas Festivities, and the Small Town Capital Funding, but also with the attendance of Cr Darrell White at most meetings, and Abby Hill as our liaison officer for over four years. Abby will shortly be commencing maternity leave; our group has really appreciated the assistance she has provided us, and wish her all the best for her future adventures.
Finally I would like to note the valuable contribution that the Mirboo North and District Community Bank, and the Mirboo North and District Community Foundation make in supporting a wide range of activities and projects within the community.
It would seem appropriate at this point to recommend participation in our Boolarra Community Development Group and we welcome visitors and new Committee members to attend our meetings normally held on the third Thursday of the month. Please come along and make yourself known. Community members are also invited to raise issues at those meetings by prior notice to the secretary, who will make time on the agenda.
Once again, thank you all for your attendance, please join us for supper following the meeting.