It is my privilege to be elected Mayor of the Swan Hill Rural City Council for the next 12 months.
This is my sixth term as Mayor and I firmly believe that Councillors and Executive staff need to work collaboratively, as a team, to ensure that the
Council Plan can be implemented in the most efficient manner.
Congratulations must also go to Cr King on his election as Deputy Mayor – I look forward to working closely with him, in this role.
As Cr Benham is currently on a leave of absence, whilst contesting the State election, it is inappropriate at this time, for her to comment on her time as Mayor. As such, she will be afforded that opportunity, in a future column.
Cr Moar has the below comments to make on his time as acting Mayor, over the past three months.
I extend my thanks to both Cr Benham and Cr Moar for their contributions over the past 12 months.
Farewell as acting Mayor from Cr Bill Moar
As this mayoral term ends, I want to publicly thank each of the Councillors for their dedication to our Council and community over the past year.
As you are aware, I stepped in as acting Mayor in July and on behalf of both Cr Benham, currently on leave and I, I want to thank the community for your support.
Our group of Councillors represents a good cross section of our community and each of us strives to demonstrate our commitment to bettering our region and making our municipality the best it can be.
Over the past 12 months, our Council has developed and strengthened our community engagement processes to ensure that Councillors have a greater knowledge of what is most important to our residents. I speak on behalf of our team when I say that we are looking forward to continuing to work closely with our community and creating more engagement opportunities.
In the past 12 months our Councillor team has successfully recruited our new CEO – which is always a challenging task. I want to thank and acknowledge our new CEO Scott Barber.
Working with Council’s executive and staff, we have kicked some goals over the past year.
These include the Ronald Street housing development in Robinvale, Swan Hill Regional Soccer Hub, Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum carpark upgrade, Monash Drive road realignment and car parking upgrade and Swan Hill and Robinvale Leisure Centre upgrade,
We also commenced extensive work and consultation for the development of our Robinvale Riverfront masterplan and Nyah/Nyah West Landscape masterplans.
The sale of the GrainCorp site on Monash Drive, has been a significant and long awaited highlight for this year and it will provide commercial development opportunities, along the Swan Hill Riverfront.
Thanks to a new outreach van our smaller outlying communities are now enjoying an expanded mobile library service.
This year has also been met with some challenges and in March the Heritage Council’s decision to list Pioneer Settlement on the Victorian Heritage, halted work on the Our Place development. Similarly the construction of the long awaited new bridge for Swan Hill has been delayed due to two state level heritage protections, however we will continue our advocacy efforts in this space.
We have recently seen wetter than average conditions and we are beginning to see the devastating impacts of flooding to the region. I send my heartfelt thoughts out to all of those that are currently doing it tough.
I would like to extend my thanks to all the volunteers who assisted with flood response and agencies for their support including VICSES, CFA, ADF, and various community groups who have provided assistance filling sandbags and other critical tasks.
Increased rainfall brings challenges with increased maintenance and repair on our road networks and infrastructure, and on occasion’s has created unavoidable project delays.
In the year ahead and beyond we have some major projects to complete – each with their own unique challenges and benefits.
I wish our newly elected Mayor, Cr Les McPhee all the best in his term and I assure our residents that Council will be listening.