Ruffy way forward
Community Action Group, councillors discuss future plans
THE Ruffy Community Ac- tion Group (RCAG) has met with local councillors and fellow residents to discuss the formation of its next community plan.
RCAG held a forum earlier in August to discuss with locals what they would like to see included as priorities for the community plan 2017-21 in terms of new projects, facilities or improvements to existing infrastructure.
The forum was also used to discuss the changes to the action group’s structure, with all Shire of Strathbogie administered groups to become ‘Community Reference Groups’ in the near future.
Around 30 people attended the forum, testament to the engagement of the people of Ruffy have in planning for their future, according to action group president Erwin Weinmann.
“It was great to see so many people make their way to the meeting on such a cold evening,” Mr Weinmann said.
“We started the meeting by asking everyone there to write down three things they really like about Ruffy as a community, and three things that they thought could be improved.
“That way we would be able to produce a consolidated list of some of the things we should be looking to include in our community plan.”
The aesthetics of the local area, great community spirit, safety and security, and fellow Ruffy residents were some of the most popular aspects of the town, as well as the community’s public buildings- including Tableland Community Centre and Hall.
However, like many small towns, Mr Weinmann explained there were a number of concerns for the future which were raised by many at the meeting.
“I think that the age profile of the community is something of a concern for many people in the community,” Mr Weinmann said.
“Many of those who came to the meeting thought we needed things like increased support for people to be able to remain in the community as they aged.
“This includes things like a community hub for people to be able to come to and in- teract, more options for public transport, the establishment of a labour exchange program, and more organised activities for both visitors and locals.”
Ruffy is not exempt from some of the issues facing a number of the more remote communities in out shire.
Mobile coverage, rural road maintenance and the preservation of the local landscape also figured prominently on residents’ list of concerns and priorities for the future.
While mobile signal will be something the action group will have to continue to advocate for, Mr Weinmann said the council’s recent decision to upgrade zero class roads across the district was one welcomed by Ruffy locals.
“This is one of the council’s new plans that we are very happy with,” he said.
“Some of the more remote roads up here can be dangerous at the best of times, and many have been slowly getting worse and worse in recent years.
“Better roads also help the productivity of our local farmers, and help reduce the feeling of isolation for older residents who live further away from town.”
While some of the priorities that have been shortlisted by the community for the soon-tobe-produced plan are destined for the Shire of Strathbogie for consideration, Erwin Weinmann was eager to press the point that these are things that community members themselves must take some responsibility for if they are to be implemented in the future.
ST John’s school recently installed a walking track around the periphery of the school oval (pictured).
St John’s is always looking for ways to improve their grounds and facilities, and the walking track has certainly been a popular addition to the playground.
The track is used for students to practise their cross country running skills, for walking and talking during playtimes and is another option available to students during the winter months when the oval is too wet for play.