A Message from the Shire President

Published on Wednesday, 23 December 2020 at 1:25:48 PM

As 2020 draws to a close I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the year that has been which is probably best described as “a year like no other”.

This time last year who could have predicted that we would be heading into one of the most severe bush fires our communities would ever face?

The Yanchep Bush Fire will surely not be forgotten by any of us anytime soon, especially the residents of Woodridge, Shire staff, Bush Fire Brigade volunteer members, DFES staff and so many others involved in combatting the blaze.

Approximately 14,000ha of bush land was burnt across Two Rocks and the Shire of Gingin. 1 home was lost but fortunately thanks to the efforts of fire fighters, 6,000 homes were saved. I said this at the time but I will say it again: Council and I express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the amazing fire fighters, Shire staff and more who worked so hard to protect the lives and properties of the Shire of Gingin and City of Wanneroo residents. Your efforts are appreciated and recognised as being well and above the call of duty – thank you.

After such an incident, who could blame us for hoping for a bright year ahead in 2020? Unfortunately, COVID-19 (which became known to the world in November 2019), continued to gain in strength. A global pandemic? Not something any of us believed would happen but as January moved into February and then March, things began to look different. A State of Emergency and a Public Health State of Emergency was declared in Western Australia for the first time in its history and our borders were closed to the rest of our nation and the international world beyond.

Throughout most of March to May, Shire staff worked long hours to implement the many changes required by the Pandemic which continued to evolve rapidly. The impacts felt upon the community and throughout the following months, have been many and varied in severity. From regional border lock downs which separated families and cut off access to our capital city to the cancellation of events, pressure put on local industries and the loss of jobs, isolation and much more – the effects of the Pandemic have all been felt by us in some way or another. I am sure they will continue to be felt for many more months – perhaps years – to come yet.

Closer to home, this year has also included several matters of high concern to the community including the resignation of Dr Conradie from the Gingin Medical Practice, the continuing issues caused by coastal erosion in Lancelin predominantly and the planning to streamline recreational services for the Upper Coastal Region amongst others. For the Shire’s part, there has been much stress and pressure felt to resolve these issues whilst on the community’s part, it is clear that feelings of concern, frustration and even anger has been felt.

As ever, myself, Council, the CEO and staff continue to work with the community to resolve these matters and others as they arise. Whilst we understand not all of the community will agree with every action Council undertakes, we are 110% committed to our community and we will continue to work hard to be exemplary community leaders who listen to our community and work diligently towards achieving a better future.

Despite these matters of concern, I feel it important however, to also reflect on all the good that has occurred this year. In times of great upheaval, we have born witness to both the worst but also the best of humanity. It would be remiss of me not to note the generosity of the community during the Yanchep Bush Fire and throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. The kindness of people in our communities is a testament both to their character and to the bonds that tie us all together as friends, family, neighbours, acquaintances and even just total strangers.

Whilst I do not wish to jinx it, Council, staff and I hope that 2021 will see more of a return to normalcy. I would like to thank my fellow Councillors and staff for their hard work and dedication this year – it has not been easy but I feel you have delivered above and beyond. To the community, I thank you for your patience and for your feedback during what has been a very trying year for all of us. You have been vocal on many matters and rest assured I, Council and staff have heard you. You continue to ensure that we hold ourselves to a high standard and that we continue to strive to do better in future.

May I wish all the community on behalf of myself, Council and staff a very happy and safe festive season. If you’re travelling please take extra care as the roads are sure to be busier than usual this year. I look forward to working hard with the community in 2021 and thank you to all once again for all your hard work and resilience during 2020.

Cr Wayne Fewster
SHIRE PRESIDENT

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Shire of Gingin Offices

Gingin

7 Brockman Street
Gingin WA 6503

T: (08) 9575 5100

F: (08) 9575 2121

E: mail@gingin.wa.gov.au

Lancelin

255 Vins Way
Lancelin WA 6044

T: (08) 9575 5155

F: (08) 9575 2121

E: mail@gingin.wa.gov.au

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