Celebrating our city
WOW, how unique is Horsham? I have just returned from 12 weeks travelling through Victoria, NSW, Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia and compared to other towns and cities we visited, we are a unique regional city in so many ways.
We have a beautiful river flowing through our city, and it’s exciting that we are starting to really appreciate the value of this both locally and to bring visitors, with plans being discussed for developing the river to its full potential. What an opportunity this is.
We are perfectly located on the Western, Henty and Wimmera highways and though we have some key transport and traffic challenges to resolve, these highways mean we are easily accessible, and the transport industry provides many locals with employment, and supports small businesses.
We have our town hall and performing arts and art gallery reaching new heights of success continually with top artists, shows, events and conferences and adding to our cultural and entertainment activity, plus boosting our local economy. How amazing is it to see both primary and secondary schools presenting productions now? Our cinema is great for those who still like the experience of movies on the big screen.
We are looking forward to a sports stadium and new sport precincts to give our indoor and outdoor sports quality facilities to increase participation for our locals and bring us into line with facilities available in other centres. These will boost our community participation along with our local economy when tournaments, championships and other special sporting events are hosted locally.
We have a large range of unique and boutique small businesses locally.
We have seven unique fashion stores who stock ranges individually chosen by each small business owner, unique homeware and giftware stores, specialist manchester and lingerie stores which are rare now, large range of beauty and hair salons, a unique sound store which is also rare now, office equipment, shoes, office supplies, toys, children’s wear, uniforms, workwear, florists, hardware, fresh fruit and vegetables, butchers, chicken shop, art supplies, cameras and photography, framing, furniture, electrical and whitegoods
I noticed many regional plazas have many empty stores, but Horsham Plaza doesn’t.
Many key national chain stores are represented with outlets here in Horsham.
Car businesses that incorporate so many brands of vehicles, with large service centres, are based here and many specialist small businesses cover transmissions, auto electrical, four-wheel drive, tyres, spare parts and accessories, windscreens and mechanical repairs.
There are small businesses for farm machinery and truck sales and repairs, caravanning, boating and camping. Trades are covered with our builders, carpenters, joiners, plumbers, painters, plasterers, solar installations, data cabling, electricians, printers, graphic artists, sign writers, uniforms, workwear, printers, graphic artists, metal and steel work, industrial and business supplies and more.
We also have buying a coffee, meal or take away covered when you may choose from our cafes, hotels, clubs, restaurants and takeaway stores.
A selection of quality primary and secondary schools are educating our kids and grandkids for the future, with Longerenong College and Federation University providing a number of opportunities for further education. Although, opportunities for further education is an area that the governments could assist us further.
Our local businesses employ many locals and they support so many local sporting clubs, schools and other groups with donations and sponsorship. Those running our small businesses are everyday families who deserve our support and when we support them, that can increase local employment.
I honestly hadn’t ever really taken time to appreciate just how well serviced we are locally.
Maybe it’s time for us to all pause and ask ourselves – do we really appreciate what we have on our doorstep? How many of us value and support all these businesses, and try to check out local before jumping online?
Do our businesses appreciate and support other businesses by purchasing items available locally?
Do Horsham council, GWMWater, Uniting, Wimmera Health Care Group as our largest community service organisations purchase locally if available? Do they give local businesses an opportunity to supply them, and do their decisions reflect on the importance of sustaining and growing our city? Do our local accountants, solicitors, financial advisers, insurance agencies and real estate agents purchase supplies locally?
Do we want our community to continue to grow and prosper, or do we want a ghost town in the CBD like so many other locations have become? I saw these on our trip, too, and it was heartbreaking – knowing most of those small business and unique shopping experiences will not return.
Currently we are unique, and how amazing would it be to grow further? Despite our range of stores available, there are gaps – like a local ice cream and sweets shop … yum! I’m sure there are other gaps you may think of, too, which could assist various sections of our community have better lives.
I returned from holidays feeling very blessed to live in such a beautiful and diverse country, with the freedom to travel wherever I wished, and to meet so many wonderful people. But I am very grateful for the wonderful city of Horsham, which I call home.
Perhaps it’s a good time to stop and think how we want our great regional city to look in the future, and are our actions supporting that vision. Are we all supporting each other locally?
Di Bell, Horsham