Ruffy way for­ward

Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Group, coun­cil­lors dis­cuss future plans

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY WILL MUR­RAY editor@euroa-gazette.com.au

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.

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