Cr Lesley Hewitt

Summer has officially started (although the current weather patterns make a mockery of that), and the Fire Danger Period for Hepburn Shire officially opens on 19th December. Council officers have started Fire Prevention Inspections to identify significant fire hazards and to help property owners address fire risks. This is an important community safety role that Council does.

The ongoing wet weather has caused damage to 74% of Council roads. Council staff deal with safety concerns first and then work systematically around the Shire to repair the damage. The timing of these repairs is also weather dependent. The wet weather has also impacted on Council’s seasonal slashing program, but this has started and key recreational areas will be prioritized before the holiday period.

During the last three weeks, I have attended a number of community events that mark the end of the calendar year. All these events or organizations have been supported in some way by Council, either with direct financial support or staff assistance that includes traffic management, rubbish and children’s activities.These included the Daylesford Show where Council staff organized children’s activities and a program of youth bands. The 74th Highland Gathering had staff undertaking traffic management and other tasks. The launch of Hepburn Community Radio was assisted by a Shire community grant and the Daylesford Historical Society and Daylesford Horticultural Society AGMs, saw both organizations assisted financially during the year. The Shire’s Healthy Landscapes Project jointly funded with Macedon Ranges and the City of Bendigo ran a workshop on sustainable grazing for horse owners in Drummond. These are just a few examples of the organizations and activities the Shire supports. Often this support goes unnoticed by the community, but the work done by staff and the financial support given helps add to community connection and cohesion and is invaluable in developing and maintaining a sense of community.

As the end of the year approaches, I know that it can be a tough time for many – those who are recently bereaved, those who are struggling with cost-of-living pressures and those who are lonely and without family and friends around. It’s heartening to know that Hepburn Regional Cheer again this year will be distributing toys, vouchers and other goods to residents who live in postcodes 3460 or 3461. Our indefatigable Citizen of Year Danny Moynihan advises that a record amount will be distributed this year, spreading Christmas Cheer thanks to the generosity of local businesses, organizations, and community members.

Christmas Cheer will be using the Daylesford Town Hall next week and as a result the December Council meeting will be held on 22nd at the Doug Lindsay Reserve, Creswick. The meeting agenda is available on the Council webpage and confidential items include consideration of offers for the Rex and the lease of the Hepburn Bathhouse.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas with family and friends and look forward to welcoming in 2023.


Lesley Hewitt is a Hepburn Shire Councillor for Birch Ward