BAW Baw Shire Councillors heard community submissions on their draft budget and council plan in a public meeting last week.
Pictured: Baw Baw Shire councillors. Photo by article author.
Nine submissions were heard before a gallery of just 16 people – last year the gallery was packed for a fiery submissions meeting about the then-council’s draft budget.
West Gippsland Healthcare Group Director of Community Services Linda McCoy told councillors their decision to cut funding for the organisation’s youth counsellor was misguided.
“I remind the council of the increasing number of population we have and with that the increased number [of youth],” Ms McCoy said.
“Yes, we’re working with small groups of people but it is in the context of a family and community.
“We’re talking about families who are struggling to cope.”
Chris Samplawski, who was told by the council earlier this year it would take five years to build a footpath along Drouin’s Weebar Road, requested extra funds to be allocated to footpaths.
“On behalf of all pedestrians we urge the council to allocate $100,000 for new footpaths,” Mr Samplawski said.
“We realise that new footpaths may not be on the top of the council’s agenda, but that doesn’t make them less important.”
Trafalgar High School teacher Kim Brand said the school had been unable to afford to send its students to the Trafalgar Outdoor Pool for swimming lessons for two years due to the cost structures of the facility.
“It would be really sad to see that facility is underutilised,” Ms Brand said.
A representative of Life Education Gippsland requested an extra four thousand dollars per year for four years from the council to help the educational organisation cover its costs.
Speaking on behalf of the Downton Park Recreation Reserve committee, Keith Leary told councillors the sporting facility required an increase in funding to allow it to develop the site and improve drainage.
Kerry Elliott of the Baw Baw Ratepayers Association told the council its employee costs were “excessive” and that higher rates for underdeveloepd land were “unfair” for new families trying to build their first home.
“Council must not rate people out of home ownership,” Ms Elliott said.
Phillipa Gleeson, one of the group behind the annual Gardivalia festival, asked that the town be planted with pink flowering plants in time for the festival to help promote the event.
“We are hoping maintenance… will take the festival on… and plant all the gardens in pink… so people coming through will know something’s going on,” Ms Gleeson said.
“Not enough people know [the event] is on, they just keep driving along the freeway.”
Councillors will debate the draft budget and council plan when both come to the council for approval.
More in-depth coverage of many of the issues raised at the meeting will be published over the coming weeks at www.warragulcitizen.com.
Get free email updates from the Baw Baw Citizen
Read more Baw Baw News