NEXT week marks one year since Horsham Rural City Council was sworn into office.
Residents chose David Grimble, Mark Radford, John Robinson, Josh Koenig, Alethea Gulvin, Pam Clarke and Les Power to represent them for a four-year term.
Cr Clarke was later elected the mayor.
As a collective and as individuals, the councillors have noted many achievements throughout the year.
Cr Clarke said the Kalkee Road Children and Community Hub was a key project for the council during the year.
“I think the children’s hub was one of the biggest achievement from this council,” she said.
“The project will be completed by the end of the year, which will be fantastic.”
Cr Clarke noted the central business district revitalisation consultations were insightful.
“I think the CBD consultations were brilliant and have shown us what we need to do for our community,” she said.
Cr Clarke said being elected mayor for the first term was a personal achievement.
“Being a mayor of a first-year council can have its challenges,” she said.
“New councillors have been learning the ropes and gaining confidence at each meeting.
“The group has started to mould together well and it is good to see the development of our young councillors.”
Cr Grimble said the year was filled with many projects that would continue into the next 12 months.
He said developments at Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange and the Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal were positive.
“We are working through a master plan for the Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange, which is work still in progress,” he said.
Cr Grimble said his work developing a strategy around the regional waste stream was a highlight.
He said the bypass had been an frustration.
“The community has an expectation that we lead through these key issues and we had been requested to step up to the plate,” he said.
Cr Grimble said the year was a challenge for the council and he was appreciative of the community’s support for the work he does each day.
“I have received plenty of support from the community and I never take that for granted,” he said.
Cr Radford said the ongoing success of the Horsham Town Hall was among highlights for him.
He said the education courses available through the art gallery had received interest from the public.
“It is important to develop Horsham’s reputation as a regional centre for entertainment and continue to attract high-quality performances,” he said.
The completion of the pedestrian bridge was another highlight for Cr Radford.
While the bridge opened a short time ago, he said it was fantastic to see its popularity grow.
Cr Radford said progress at the Kalkee Road children’s hub was also great to see.
Cr Koenig said it had been fantastic to see projects from the previous council completed. As a group, he said a highlight was the councillors’ ability to get through the tough times and to function well.
Cr Koenig’s involvement with various committees were personal highlights.
“Previously there was not a link between council and the Kanamaroo committee and I am pleased to be able to put them in contact,” he said.
Cr Koenig said speaking to students at Horsham West Primary School and Horsham College on behalf of council was rewarding.
“The students have shown so much enthusiasm around an adult topic and it is great to see and answer their questions,” he said.
Cr Koenig said having young people put their hand up for council was a positive move. He said he was always on the lookout for young leaders and had encouraged others to consider the opportunities that council could offer.
Cr Robinson said the Horsham highway bypass issue was “arguably the most significant” issue during the first year.
“Our decision not to make a decision and not to investigate options with and on behalf of the community brought much justified community concern and loss of faith,” he said.
“In relation to this issue it is pleasing to see that we have learnt from our experience and resolved, while there is still time, to advocate for a preferred route for the Horsham bypass in consultation with the community.
As council moved forward, Cr Robinson said the councillors needed to endeavour to restore community confidence in their decisions.
“The community have made it well known that they are disappointed in our community engagement and called into question our decision making processes,” he said.
Cr Robinson said he was pleased that council had decided to keep the rural rate differential at 85 per cent. He said it recognised that high land values do not convert into “food on the table” or “clothes for the family.”
He expressed his appreciation for staff within the administration and operations sections of council, who were dedicated in their work.
Cr Gulvin said her role in several community advisory committee was a highlight.
“Being apart of these committee’s I am able to see what the community is doing and the passion people have for their community,” she said.
As a new councillor, she said the support received from other councillors was appreciated.
She said at the start her understanding of council as a whole was limited.
“Having other councillor’s support to help me understanding what happens has been fantastic,” she said.
Crs Les Power were unavailable for comment.
The council’s chief executive Peter Brown resigned last month after seven years in the top job.
Among the council’s tasks for the coming 12 months will be to appoint a replacement for Mr Brown.