The first item is the Eastern Transport Coalition meeting, which held its meeting on the 21st of August. The Eastern Transport Coalition, is the council grouping which involves the seven eastern councils and represents approximately 1 million residents.
The August meeting continued to focus on the strategic objectives of the coalition and revised the group’s mission statement to reflect the importance of accessibility and the need for an integrated public transport system.
The mission statement now reads as follows:
The Eastern Transport Coalition will advocate for integrated and accessible sustainable transport in the Eastern region of Melbourne to improve liveability and reduce car dependency.
The revised mission statement reinforces the focus of the Eastern Transport Coalition, to ensure that it remains a strong advocate for public transport improvements in the region.
The meeting also included a presentation from the Bus Association of Victoria, which provided the group with some advice regarding the future bus service reviews. The State Government has been undertaking municipal level reviews of bus services and Maroondah will shortly be undergoing this process.
It is unsurprising that bus routes that have received service improvements have in turn seen patronage increases. This is clearly apparent with the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus, which has seen a 50% patronage increase due to the fact that the service now runs seven days a week and on public holidays. There is a clear correlation between service improvements and patronage and the impending bus service reviews will allow this council and our community to stress the need for bus improvements.
On the 22nd of August I attended the Ringwood Spiders Presentation Night. The Ringwood Spiders, is a football team for people with disabilities, and it was great to see the club celebrate a successful season. The Spiders have had tremendous on-field success, making it to the semi-finals, as well as off-field achievements, through becoming an incorporated association and collaborating with the umpires association and other bodies. The club is now looking at off-season activities for its members and further opportunities to involve people with disabilities.
The Maroondah Snippets Short Film Festival returned for its second year and on the 3rd of September I attended the awards presentation night. It was great to see the depth of creative and film skills that exists within younger people in our community and that opportunities like the festival exist exist to showcase this talent. All entrants should be commended for partaking in the festival and I would like to extend a congratulatory note to Youth Services for organising such a wonderful event for its second year.
Maroondah Hospital held its Charity Golf Day Thank You on the 10th September. The hospital began as a community facility and still maintains strong links with the surrounding area. The afternoon provided a way of thanking the many sponsors involved in the golf day and I am pleased to present Council with a Certificate of Appreciation for Council’s contribution as a Silver Sponsor. The Hospital raised over $56,000 used to purchase much needed new hospital equipment.
The final planning is underway for the Maroondah Writers and Readers Festival and I have been involved in the steering group which met several times last month. The festival begins on Friday the 3rd of October, with workshops, forums and events held over the weekend. The theme of the festival is crime writing and I encourage people to attend the events over the weekend.
Maroondah Youth Voice, a publication by the youth of Maroondah through a number of Secondary Schools, launched its first edition on the 12th of September. The publication provides a voice for our youth and covers a range of topics including creative writing, culture sport, fashion and health. Once again it was great to see our Youth Services Team supporting the project and I look forward to the next edition which is due in late November.
Lastly was the Good Life After Stroke Expo and Information Day held earlier today at Karralyka. The event, which was organised between the Croydon Stroke Support Group and Maroondah Council, provided information on stroke, the support services available and living life to the fullest after experiencing stroke. The speakers were truly inspirational as were the artworks, including paintings, mosaics and silk scarves developed by members of the Croydon Stroke Support Group. The Croydon Stroke Support Group, Maroondah’s MetroAccess Worker and the staff of Karralyka must be commended for the tremendous work they provided for the event.