Cr Claudia Haenel: Enticing more young families

Thank you to the community members who stopped to say hello and have their say on the 2021–2025 Horsham Rural City Council Plan last week.

It was lovely to meet so many new people and catch up with familiar faces in the green outdoor space of Roberts Place. It was an opportunity for some fantastic positive feedback from our community.

One interesting conversation was with a young couple in their early 20s, who had recently moved away to a neighbouring municipality. And I couldn’t help wondering, what more can we offer our young people to encourage them to stay and make a life here in our Horsham municipality.

Our recent Community Vision feedback from 937 people indicated that after roads, employment, green spaces and our Wimmera River, the next most important theme was a place for young people and families.

My early conversations with community certainly reflected this vision. What are we planning to do to provide for young people going forward? I would love to see us provide the stimulating industries and economies where our young people can thrive and the recreational spaces for them to enjoy. I believe we are part way there but there is so much more room for improvement. Could the Horsham North Urban Design Framework Review to integrate and beautify a major section of our city, adopted by Council at the September 2021 meeting, be part of the answer? I hope so.

While we continue to battle COVID restrictions, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for local business. At the September 2021 meeting, Council approved business and community development support to help kick start a stimulus for our local economy. A General Business Promotional Campaign to the value of $60,000 will invest in promoting our local area to draw people into the CBD and local accommodation and hospitality sector.

Businesses, community groups and the broader community will be supported in dealing with financial hardship and difficulties, as a result of the pandemic. This is a win for all our community because when business is thriving, we all benefit in jobs, products and services and economic flow through that provides.

It has been a wonderful month of meeting and greeting. As the weather warms and the days get longer, I look forward to seeing you out and about in our beautiful green spaces, enjoying the fresh air and the beauty of our great outdoors with friends and family.

Just a reminder, when we are out and about with our canine companions, who have been a great source of comfort to many over lockdown, let’s remember to pick up after our dogs. Council offer a fantastic service providing doggo bags along our walkways so let’s take advantage of that. Always keep a few of those plastic bags handy in our pockets and make our green spaces a pleasant experience for everyone. Stay safe community.

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