Wimmera Mail-Times Mayoral Matters, February 28

It is almost with disbelief that I look back over the weekend had at Lake Charlegrark on February 17 and 18 – the 27th Annual Lake Charlegrark Country Music Marathon.

Such a huge event held in a very small country community – beautiful setting, perfect weather. You can be lucky.

With the headline act being Lee Kernaghan, it was always going to draw a crowd.

The caravans kept rolling in, with people travelling from far and wide.

The weekend was a huge success and there’s something very special being part of such a wonderful, hard-working committee and community.

The committee have since received so much positive feedback – it’s quite humbling – including a phone call from Lee himself, sincerely thanking all those involved.

He was overwhelmed with the generosity, warmth and connection he felt, it took him back to his grassroots (being the Boy from the Bush).

Events like this, attracting so many people, can only be a win-win for our shire.

I’m sure that our surrounding towns, and the wider region, benefited in one way or another. And I thank all of the volunteers involved who worked tirelessly to make it all happen. You all have good reason to feel very proud.

Last month, we were honoured to host a visit from Dale Potter, our Australia Day ambassador for 2018 and an exceptional contributor to policing, international peace and stability, and disaster response.

I would also like congratulate our Australia Day Award recipients for 2018. Kelvin Burns was awarded Citizen of the Year, for his long-term contribution to local organisations.

Linda Guthridge and Sandy Clutterbuck received the Community Event of the Year Award, for the Christmas lunch they organise for Edenhope residents who may otherwise be isolated.

We applaud the generosity and community spirit of our award recipients.

Finally, we have been preparing for the annual Canberra deputation with mayors and chief executives from neighbouring Wimmera shires.

This is used to advocate for regional issues including infrastructure, roads, telecommunications, grants and water, making rural living even more attractive.

Cr Jodie Pretlove is mayor of West Wimmera Shire Council and treasurer of the Lake Charlegrark Country Music Marathon Committee.