In my mayor's column last month, I wrote that we were all entering some difficult times that would require us to alter our behavior to adhere to the physical distancing measures imposed by our Federal and State Governments.
It now appears that these restrictions are being gradually eased and that we can start to resume a more normal lifestyle.
Over the next few weeks we should see the resumption of organised sport, the reopening of schools, hotels and cafes and clubs and societies holding regular meetings.
Council has conducted two meetings on-line using Zoom. We are hopeful that our next meeting scheduled for 27 May can be held at the council offices where our focus will be acceptance of the draft budget for 2020-2021 prior to its release for public submission.
Our customer service office will reopen on Monday 25 May, as will 24-hour access to public toilets and senior citizen rooms. These are the first steps we are taking to resume usual practice.
It will take a little longer before facilities such as the library, museums, caravan parks, playgrounds and the information centre will be back in operation. Zoom meetings will also continue for some time.
Over the past month I have logged into 15 of these to keep in contact with other mayors, council officers and media outlets to discuss issues that range from budget preparation to assisting residents in a time of social isolation and economic hardship.
I can announce that Yarriambiack Council has been successful with two applications for State Government assistance.
We are one of a few councils that will be able to provide employment for workers in the region who have lost their jobs and registered for the Work for Victoria scheme.
This initiative will provide us with $600,000 to offer 13 people employment until November.
They will work with our outdoor maintenance staff to undertake cleaning, tree planting, looking after street gardens and assist with some light building construction.
Our application to Regional Arts Victoria for funding from their "Home is where the Hall is" program was accepted.
This initiative will provide us with $600,000 to offer 13 people employment until November
This has resulted in RAV granting $440,000 to match council and community funding of $150,000. Yarriambiack has 14 halls throughout the shire that will benefit from this project.
Each community has submitted their needs that include new curtains, painting, access ramps, air- conditioning and general maintenance.
We are looking forward implementing these and other projects as we move into a time of recovery from this pandemic.
Our sensible and considerate behavior in response to the distancing measures will enable this to occur.
- Cr Graeme Massey is mayor of Yarriambiack Shire Council.