Council meetings resumed in February, marking the official start of this term’s final year. There is still a great deal of work before us. Council endorsed the Local Strategic Planning Statement, our vision statement for the next 20 years, which is the culmination of 18 months of hard work and intensive community engagement. Our new waste management strategy was also adopted, giving us the best possible outcome considering the many constraints to be negotiated. The transition to new collection days within the rural area appears to have gone smoothly and residents have become used to the changes.

The real test for Council has been the unusually high number of weather events that have challenged our area. First came the bushfires, then the flooding and more recently high winds. The February events alone have created 305 service requests to date, requiring the engagement of 10 tree crews and the establishment of a direct contact point with Ausgrid to coordinate safe tree removal and to restore power.

As many of you will be aware, the conditions have been very testing for rural residents. Lack of electricity, reduced access to property and safety concerns have extended beyond what many have previously experienced.

However, as testimony to the resourcefulness and resilience of our rural community, I have received minimal complaints. Everybody just got on with it – assisting neighbours, engaging generators, pulling out the camping equipment and simply riding it out. It has been a true representation of our community spirit.

Moving forward, Council officers will make a presentation at the AGRA meeting on 3 March. This presentation will highlight the first draft of the Galston Village Public Domain plan and seek input from the community. In keeping with our endorsed strategy for the village, RMS contractors will soon begin work at the Mid Dural Road roundabout to install safe crossing arrangements and complete links with our existing footpaths.