Council Beat – October 17 2023

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye opened Tuesday’s council meeting with a resounding and sincere acknowledgement of the services that assisted the Wellington Shire through the recent weather emergencies.

Wellington Shire Northern Ward Councillor Carolyn Crossley made another sincere acknowledgement.

“I’d just like to acknowledge the job well done of Mayor, Cr Ian, Bye in representing the Wellington community and the organisation so well through this period,” Cr Crossley said.

“I’m sure the community appreciated their civic leader out there representing them and speaking for them on these occasions, so well done; thank you.”

Additionally, a 2022/23 report of the Wellington Shire was presented, revealing the shire is in fairly strong economic standing.

Some of the details are as follows:

The 2022/23 financial year ended with a surplus of $22.8 million against a budgeted surplus of 13.5 million, partly due to the allocation of $17.1 million from the Victorian Grant Commission factors;

The Gippsland Art Gallery Foundation received 95 artworks and eight cash donations totalling $78,456, including a $50,000 donation from Metal Manufactures Pty Limited- this name is not on donor walls, nor was the significant donation published by media;

Capital works expenditure totalled $32.3 million, while $21 million was spent upgrading roads, bridges and footpaths;

1400 trees were planted;

Visitation numbers to the Wellington Shire increased by 34 per cent, with the highest overnight visitations recorded since 2009;

Wellington Shire libraries had 220,000 visitors, and;

More than 200,000 people visited pools within Wellington Shire, and there were 1080 swim school enrolments.

Council spoke of the future challenges facing the shire.

Cyber security was seen as one of the main threats, as well as updating record management replacements and navigating state government policy to support re-zoning of land;

Material costs continue to increase, particularly for road sealing programs, as does the cost of living impact.

Council approved motions related to widening little more than three kilometres of the Sale-Toongabbie Road and replacing three major culverts on Wonnangatta Rd, near Dargo.

A proposal to build a public highway located off Nelson Street in Rosedale was approved.

Just under $150,000 worth of community grants were approved in August, including:

Maffra Cricket Club, Maffra Junior Football Club and Stratford Recreation Reserve received a $6000 grant for chair and table upgrades. (Wellington Shire Deputy Mayor John Tatterson declared a conflict of interest as he is president of the Stratford Cricket Club, as did Cr Bye because his brother is president of the Stratford Recreation Reserve);

Sale Croquet Club received a $6000 grant for equipment upgrades and;

Loch Sport Business and Tourism Association received a $6000 grant for New Year’s fireworks display.

The next Wellington Shire Council meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 8.

This meeting will see the election of the new or returning Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the next 12 months.

Meetings are held in the Council Chambers at Port of Sale.