Mayor Cr Justin King says his recent Rural Tour has been a success, giving rural townships the opportunity to show the Council their communities’ challenges and successes first hand.
The Rural Tour was launched as an extension of the Mayor’s ‘open door’ Tuesdays where members of the public are invited to make an appointment with the Mayor to discuss issues and concerns.
“The Tuesday appointments are not easy for people in rural areas to access so the Rural Tour was launched to take the Council out to the community,” Cr King said.
The first leg of tour, which ended in late August, saw the Mayor and councillors visit 10 of the smaller towns in Benalla Rural City.
The tour was conducted on weekends, allowing people the chance to come outside of their working hours and have a chat. The visits were very well received with many local community groups putting on a morning or afternoon tea.
“Many people took the opportunity to speak with their Mayor and Councillors on local topics affecting them and their communities,” Cr King said.
“We discussed many topics and consistent themes were evident,” Cr King said.
“People talked about the upkeep of rural roads, drainage, parks and gardens, and ideas and support for rural community projects.
“Many people made us aware of issues or ideas which we hadn’t heard before, and in many cases we were able to act by reporting an issue or noting it for council action in the future.
“What we were able to tell the community was that if we don’t know about something, we can’t do anything about it.
“Our visit to Baddaginnie was a good example. There are some drainage issues in the town, and on the day of the tour the rain was bucketing down. We were able to see the issues first hand and put in a report to the appropriate department. They are working through the list of things that need to be done and the community have thanked the Council for its action.”
Cr King thanked everyone who participated in the tour.
“We will be launching a monthly rural ‘listening post’ tour starting in the new year,” he said.
Image: L-R Mayor Cr Justin King with Baddaginnie residents Marj Campbell, Rose Chenhall, Neil Daniel, Lionel Daniel