HORSHAM Rural City Council Mayor Pam Clarke has defended sending a delegation to Tasmania for the Tidy Towns national finals.
A number of Mail-Times readers have questioned the value of sending a group of 19 people to Triabunna , about an hour’s drive fromHobart, for the awards ceremony on Friday night.
Readers asked via Facebook why so many people went on the trip and who paid for it.
Horsham missed out on winning its second national Tidy Towns award since 2001, but did win an environmental award and other high commendations.
Horsham Mayor Pam Clarke said a majority of the group paid their own way with Horsham council covering travel and accommodation for seven people.
“Partners all paid for themselves, Horsham Agricultural Society president Dalton Cross was sponsored by Keep Australia Beautiful, his girlfriend and his mother paid for their own trips,” she said.
“The volunteers that were paid for, they’re the ones that worked so hard for this community.
“If we can reward them in some small way to represent themselves in an Australian final then I think that’s what we should be doing.”
Cr Clarke said she did not have the final budget for the trip available as costs were still being counted, but the council made frugal decisions.
“The accommodation was shared. One unit had six people in it. Each unit had multiple people in it. We weren’t all given separate rooms. We were in holiday cabins that were pretty cheap.
“We weren’t in five-star accommodation, I can assure you.”
Economy return flights to Hobart from Melbourne start at about $200 per person on a weekday.
Horsham was a dual winner with Barmera for the ‘Environmental Education’ award.
Mr Cross was highly commended in the ‘Young Legends’ section.
Horsham’s entry was highly commended in the ‘Environmental Sustainability’ section.
“The volunteers that work for this community never ask for a thank you, never ask for recognition,” Cr Clarke said.
“They do it because they love our community and want to help make it a better place.
Cr Clarke said the delegation was given a tour of Triabunna, the previous Tidy Town national winner.
“They hold the awards at the place of the last community that won the previous award,” she said.
“Triabunna is a tiny town. Is was amazing to be there and see how wonderful their community is.
“You listen to all the presentations and see what other towns do.”