20 December 2010
December has been an extremely busy month which caps off an extremely busy year.
I had the pleasure welcoming guests to the Country Energy Countryscape art prize award presentation which was held at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery. It is a great honour for Cowra and the Art Gallery in particular to host the exhibition of finalist’s artworks in what is Australia’s richest annual landscape art prize. The exhibition is opened until 30 January and I encourage you to get along and see this magnificent display of landscape art. I also congratulate Country Energy on their strong corporate citizenship presence in the community.
On a smaller but equally important scale I recently conferred citizenship status on Jung-Chun Lai (John) and Su-Mei Cheng. John and Su-Mei have been part of the Cowra community for many years and it was a great honour to confer citizenship upon this couple. I congratulate them on making this important decision and I know that they are now very proud Australians.
The Council staff Christmas party was not only an opportunity to thank staff for their hard work throughout the year but also to present long service awards to Kevin Nelligan (30 years), John Hartgers, Helen Moriarty and Tony Hayden (all 20 years each). Congratulations to all of these hard working members of Council’s staff.
Speaking of the staff Christmas party, it had to be postponed from the original date because it was at the height of the recent flooding crisis across the Shire and many of our members of staff were otherwise engaged in managing the situation. The quietly confident approach to the crisis by Council staff was a credit to their professionalism in handling what at times was a stressful and exhausting experience. Well done to all Council staff involved with that situation. There will be much cleaning up and restoration work to be done following the flooding and Council will be getting on with the job efficiently and with as little disruption as possible to the current program of works.
With the end of the year comes school presentation and award ceremonies and Councillors Bridges, Walsh and myself had the pleasure of representing Council at such ceremonies at Mulyan Public School, Cowra High School and St Raphael’s Central School respectively. It is always an honour to see so many of our future citizens growing and learning in preparation for the lives ahead of them.
Continuing with the education theme I presented certificates to graduates at the 2010 Country Energy Apprentice Graduations ceremony. Again it was pleasing to see people being rewarded for their academic and practical achievements.
Next year will be another busy one with continued progress on a number of major projects, some of which we expect will come to fruition. Such projects include the new Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP), the emergency water pipeline, LEP, CBD Redevelopment Masterplan, the Peace Precinct, Wyangala Dam upgrade, Blayney-Demondrille rail line revival, Airport Masterplan and the investigation into a commercial airline service for the town.
I take this opportunity to remind you that Council’s Customer Service Centre in Kendal Street will close at 2pm on Christmas Eve (24 December) and reopen at 8.30am on Tuesday 4 January. Trading hours for all Council facilities are available on our website www.cowraregion.com.au
Finally I wish everyone in the Cowra Shire, whether residents or visitors, an enjoyable Christmas with family and friends and all the best for a happy new year. And please travel safely over the Christmas–New Year period.