The school holidays have provided families with the opportunity to get away and explore our great country. Stage two of the Dimboola Holiday Park has seen the installation of a recreation room and five new family cabins, with the first occupants booked in last week. Most visitors to our shire provide a positive benefit for our businesses and we look forward to reaping the rewards that will flow on from the redevelopment of the holiday park.
The newly built Nhill Early Years Centre is expected to open its doors at the commencement of next term. In a time of declining population for the town, it is very exciting to have an increased number of preschool children necessitating the need for updated facilities to cope with the demand. The 2016 census data has confirmed this trend, with 2.8 per cent of the population in preschool in 2011 and in 2016 the figure is now four per cent. The project has been completed with a major contribution from the council together with state and federal government funds and the dedication of the Early Years Fundraising Committee. Volunteers on the committee were successful in raising a substantial amount of money through support from Freemasons Victoria, local community groups and the community at large supporting their fundraising efforts. We are blessed to have so many volunteers who have been making an enormous contribution to our shire for many years.
Congratulations to the Hindmarsh Landcare Network who celebrated the 20th anniversary of Project Hindmarsh.
From humble beginnings of a small group of people gathered in a lounge room, a vision of reconnecting the Little Desert and Big Desert was formed and Project Hindmarsh was born. Victorian National Parks Association volunteers from all over the state travel to our shire each year and work alongside locals to plant thousands of trees and shrubs. Many of these volunteers have attended planting weekends annually and have formed lasting friendships. I visited one of the planting sites near Dimboola and was in awe of members of our shire's Karen community and the speed in which they planted trees. Thank you to everyone involved in making Project Hindmarsh 2017 a great success that will leave a lasting legacy for our environment. Project Hindmarsh celebrated the millionth tree being planted back in 2003.