While the town may have been quiet, it’s still been a busy start to the year at Council!
Our road program has been continuing, with WA National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (WANDRRA) work taking place on 19 Shire Roads. This work has been jointly undertaken by the Shire and external contractors.
At the same time, our own crew has recently completed a State Black Spot upgrade of a section of Narandagy Rd, including the Manarra and Melara intersections. With this complete, they move on to some widening and upgrade works on Mingenew-Mullewa Rd.
By virtue of the WANDRRA work, we have a very full rural road maintenance program for the remainder of the financial year; this has meant that there will be significant investment in a number of roads, but it has also limited our crew’s ability to conduct other maintenance tasks as readily. You can find out more about the Shire’s road work progress by checking out one of our latest news posts.
You may have noticed advertising for the Mingenew Races on TV; our 2019 advertising has commenced, and will continue to roll out as we move towards (what we hope will be another bumper) wildflower season.
In addition to our standard marketing activities we have partnered with four of our neighbouring Shires and, in the coming months, will be featuring in a North Midlands-based episode of the travel television show Our Town. Coalseam has also been featured in the recent Australia’s Golden Outback ‘Road to the Rock’ campaign; even when people are looking to travel to destinations beyond our region, Mingenew remains a key destination to see on the way through.
Finally, we are looking to kick off our new Astrotourism Town status with Stargazers WA by holding a free public stargazing night at Yandanooka Hall on 30 March. Everyone is welcome to come down and get some tips on what to look for in the night sky, how to use a telescope and to learn more about the amazing phenomena that we have access to by virtue of our low light pollution levels.
There is a strong focus on regional mental health at present – for good reason. WAPHA held a free Mental Health First Aid Training course in Mingenew on 27-28 February, and our Shire President recently attended the North Midlands Community Wellness Plan Workshop in Three Springs; a WACHS initiative to improve regional mental health outcomes.
We have also been actively lobbying in this space, along with local member Shane Love, to try to ensure that local people have been information regarding services available to them, and a greater array of services to assist when they are in need.
There will also be a free men’s mental health session hosted by Check Mate at the Rec Centre at 7pm on Thursday 14 March. You can find out more by visiting the Check Mate Mens Heatlh Facebook page.
March. A big thanks to everyone who has been a part of this process so far, the amount – and quality – of input has really exceeded our expectations. We had our latest session on 12 March and were once again really impressed by the level of engagement this process is receiving. You can find out more about this process by visiting our strategic plan page.
Council Meeting Review
Our February Council Meeting (the first for 2019) took place on 20 February, and saw Council reviewing policies relating to Risk Management and Elected Member Entitlements. It also saw Council endorse a submission to the WA Local Government Act Reform process. At present, the Local Government Act 1995 is under significant review and we were keen to ensure that the interests of small, rural shires like ours are represented through this process. Anyone can take part in the process – there are a range of fact sheets and simple surveys that can be accessed through the Department of Local Government website.
Another item that came forward was the reclassification of the Shire’s two Water Corporation standpipes. A change in regulation has meant that Council’s across WA have been required to adjust the way standpipes are both classified (for billing purposes) and managed (for access purposes). As a result of this process, the standpipe next to the Shire Depot on Linthorne Street will be closed off for Local Government and Firefighting purposes only, whilst the standpipe on Victoria Street, at the southern edge of town, will become a Commercial Standpipe – which will mean more stringent rules around access and a fee-for-service arrangement in the 2019/20 financial year. More information about this will be released in the coming months; in the meantime Water Corporation have an FAQ document which explains the process a little more, you can download it by clicking here.
There have been a number of community meetings recently; notably a visit from Bendigo Bank to discuss their agency model and how it might work in Mingenew. The key messaging that came from the night was that:
- The model would require broad community support from a wide range of banking customers
- It can take between $15-25m of funds under management for the agency to be viable
Further information will be forthcoming about the meeting, so that anyone who was unable to attend will be able to find out more. The next step will involve Bendigo gauging the actual level of community support for the initiative.
We also had a visit from Lotterywest, who came to Mingenew to talk through their grant programs and the process for accessing funding. This meeting was backed up by information regarding the Shire’s own Community Assistance Scheme; a grants program that we are trialling in the 2019/20 financial year as a means of making our donations to community groups a more streamlined and transparent process. You can learn more about the CAS by visiting our resources page.
Website and Communications
If you’re been to our website lately, you might have noticed that we are trying to make more forms and information available on the site. Please have a look and provide any feedback you may have (you can even use the website’s own feedback form). We also publish a lot of updates on our Facebook page; for those of you with an account, like our Facebook page to be kept in the loop.
We are also in the process of updating our contact lists for our email and text message database, so if you want to receive (or continue to receive) emails and text messages with Shire updates, please complete the ‘Community Register’ form on our resources page, or simply come into the Shire office for a hard copy form.