Murray Bridge council watch: July 2020

On the agenda this month: housing for troubled youth, a farming memorial, a new board for Lerwin, a pump track at Callington and more.

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The exact numbers may be secret, but everyone knows unemployment and disadvantage are problems for young people in Murray Bridge, a councillor says.

Tyson Matthews and Murray Bridge’s other councillors hope the establishment of four new residential units for young people at risk of homelessness will help.

AC Care’s Thanuja Hiripitiyage, pictured, and Habitat for Humanity’s Ben Sarre gave an update on the Studio Purpose project at Monday night's council meeting.

A former public housing duplex on Mulgundawah Road would soon house up to four people between the ages of 15 to 21, Mr Sarre said.

However, Ms Hiripitiyage said she could not publicly share the figures which showed the scale of the problem.

The organisations are still looking for students, jobseekers or volunteers who might be able to help with the construction work.

Farming history memorial proposed

A memorial to Murray Bridge's agricultural pioneers should be erected somewhere on Adelaide Road, a Monarto resident says.

Councillor Airlie Keen put forward Robert Thiele’s idea at a meeting on Monday night.

“From settlement to the present day, our region has been and continues to be a significant producer of agricultural products,” Cr Keen said.

“It is important we recognise the region’s farmers and the important role they have played in sustaining our communities.”

Mr Thiele suggested the memorial take the form of a windmill with various cut-outs or sculptures around it representing vegetables, fruit, dairy and beef cattle, barley, pigs, sheep and wheat.

Council staff will report back with an estimated cost and possible locations.

New board will take over responsibility for Lerwin

An independent board will take soon responsibility for the Lerwin Aged Care Facility, relieving councillors of that duty after 37 years.

The council's elected members have doubled as the community-owned nursing home’s board since its establishment in 1983.

Under the new arrangement, the council will continue to manage the facility for the community’s benefit, as it resolved to do in 2015.

But a panel of four aged care experts and one councillor – Fred Toogood – will act as its governing body.

In a report to councillors, community development manager Kristen Manson said the change was required for Lerwin to meet the national Aged Care Quality Standards.

Sitting fees for the new committee will cost ratepayers $11,000 per year.

Pump track may be installed at Callington – eventually

Callington’s youth may someday get a pump track of their own to use, but relocating the one at Sturt Reserve is not an option, Murray Bridge’s councillors have decided.

Flattening a site for the track could cost $10,000, councillors were told on Monday night; buying a new one for $50,000, putting it at the oval and sharing the cost with the Mount Barker council might be a better option.

Cr Airlie Keen said the Callington families she had spoken to had the impression the track in Murray Bridge was supposed to be moved around between towns.

“A lot of young kids in Callington are going to be really disappointed,” she said.

“A year is a long time in the life of a child.

“We need to reassure them we're going to keep plugging away.”

Even if the Mount Barker council agrees with the plan, the track is not likely to be in place until next year.

Council staff will report back with an update by December.

Watering fees a concern for footy clubs

Football clubs who feel aggrieved about paying to water ovals they have not been able to use until recently should contact the council directly, Mayor Brenton Lewis says.

Cr Clem Schubert raised one unnamed club’s concerns at Monday night's meeting.

Mr Lewis suggested ringing the council on 8539 1100 or emailing would be a better course of action.

Overland funding acknowledged

The Murray Bridge council has formally thanked the Victorian government for providing funding for the Overland passenger train service for another three years.

The suggestion came from Cr Mat O’Brien, who had campaigned for the train to be saved.

Assessment panel members re-appointed

The members of the Murray Bridge council assessment panel, pictured, which approves contentious or significant property developments, have been reappointed for two more years.

Cr Karen Eckermann will continue on the panel, along with chair Gavin Lloyd-Jones and members Marc Voortman, Myles Somers and Tony Huppatz.

However, the council will recruit a fill-in member in case one of the others is unavailable.

Tumbella Drive residents' concerns still being sorted out

Residents of Tumbella Drive, Murray Bridge worried about a plan to build a nursing home on their street will soon get a response, councillors have been told.

RSL Care SA will respond to the residents’ concerns about car parking as part of the development approval process, council chief executive officer Michael Sedgman said at Monday night's meeting.

“The issues are well known to your administration and they’re being dealt with,” he said.

Once the organisation has given its response, council planning staff will give a recommendation to the panel responsible for approving the development.

Photos: Emily Goodhart/Unsplash (windmill and Peri Strathearn (rest).