Lesley Hewitt

Unfortunately, events in the Shire this month have been overshadowed by the three road fatalities that have occurred. The community has been shaken and saddened by the untimely deaths of five visitors to Daylesford on Cup Day weekend. This weekend is usually a busy time in Daylesford with lots of people out celebrating life with their family and friends. Along with everyone else in Birch ward I am saddened by the loss of those five people and send condolences to their family and friends. I was also heartened by the response of our community – those who stepped up on the night and all those police, ambos, CFA and SES volunteers and our own council officers who stepped up and responded so well to the emergency. The vigil at Victoria Park on Monday night and the multi-faith memorial service at Christ Church on Wednesday night were well attended and acknowledged the community loss and grief. One of Council’s ongoing roles in emergency management is about community recovery and if you have suggestions about what might assist, please reach out. Central Highlands Rural Health stepped up with a stand-up counselling service. If you want that ongoing support, please call CHRH on 53216551 or visit the Community Health Centre at 13 Hospital St. Daylesford.

The council elects a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor in November every year. I was pleased to support Cr Brian Hood’s return as mayor. Brian has done a sterling job as Mayor, as was evident in his work following the Daylesford incident and is well placed to lead Council in the final year of this Council term as we grapple with completing the projects in the four-year Council term whilst managing the financial constraints that have arisen due to COVID, three natural disasters and the ever challenging cost of living increases that are impacting on us all. I was also pleased to support Cr Juliet Simpson as Deputy Mayor. Agriculture is an important part of the Shire and Juliet’s experience as a farmer and as Councillor of Holcombe Ward, which is without a major town site, will be useful as we complete the structure planning for our rural areas. Thank you to all those residents who have reached out to acknowledge the work I have done over the past year as Deputy Mayor. I have valued the opportunity to support Brian as the mayor and to also get to know, in greater detail, the people and the issues they face right across the Shire.

You can find the agenda for the November  Council meeting on the Council website. The agenda includes a progress report on the progress of the Annual Plan 2023-2024 Quarter 1 and the 2023/24 quarterly financial update – both of which are important documents for ratepayers.

Finally, don’t forget the 149th Daylesford Show that will be held on Saturday 25th November at Victoria Park. Committee members have been working hard to put on another great show. Hope to see many of you there.

A reminder that I can be contacted at lhewitt@hepburn.vic.gov.au or on 0408793941 if you have any Council related issues you want to discuss.

Lesley Hewitt is a Daylesford resident and an elected councillor for Birch Ward.

Councillor Columns are a regular feature in The Wombat Post. We offer this space as an information channel from Council to the community. Councillor Columns are not subject to editorial review by our editorial committee but are published as we receive them from our elected Councillors.