Tidy Towns success
Horsham’s Tidy Towns leader has hailed an army of committed volunteers as the driving force behind Wimmera success at Keep Victoria Beautiful Tidy Towns Awards on Saturday night.
Horsham won the environmental sustainability accolade along with the resource recovery and waste management award at a gala presentation night in Horsham Town Hall.
Horsham Rural City councillor Alethea Gulvin won the young leaders award, while the rural city was also highly commended in the community action and leadership – population above 3000 – category and shortlisted for the overall tidy town award.
Horsham chairwoman Gillian Vanderwaal said it was exciting to see Horsham projects among the finalists in several categories.
“Horsham has a wonderful, vibrant, active community. These people deserve recognition for their achievements and it’s wonderful we are able to do that through the Tidy Towns program,” she said.
“At the end of the day it all comes down to the volunteers. These people are passionate about Horsham and the projects they are driving.”
Victorian Tidy Towns judge David Moncrief congratulated the Horsham community on another successful year at the awards.
“Horsham’s dedicated committee works year-round with community groups and the council to encourage ongoing beautification, recycling and litter reduction,” he said.
“This year Horsham had outstanding projects in the environmental sustainability and resource recovery and waste management fields.”
Ms Vanderwaal said the Horsham council teamed with Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group to recycle singleuse plastic bags used by farmers to store excess grain at harvest.
“The sustainability award went to Horsham Urban Landcare, which is a really vibrant group with a lot of young people who are keen to educate people about the environment and sustainability,” she said.
“They have been running workshops on sustainability and gardening skills and also run a produce swap.”
Ms Vanderwaal also sang praises of Cr Gulvin.
“Alethea is amazing. She is a great mentor and great role model. She is on council at such a young age and she is also a teacher, encouraging young people to be leaders,” she said.
Other Wimmera centres also won recognition.
Dimboola Town Committee triumphed in the community government partnerships category and was highly commended in the Cultural Heritage section.
Stawell was highly commended in the community government partnerships sector.
The groups and projects were selected from more than 70 applications from across the state.
The annual Tidy Towns program has been running in Victoria since 1983 and sets out to recognise the hard work done by individuals and groups in rural communities.
Horsham has been involved in the program since its inception.
Mayor Pam Clarke said it was great to see Horsham shine at the awards each year.
She said the name Tidy Towns was misleading.
“It’s not just about being ‘tidy’ but about having a sustainable society and community,” she said.
“We have so many volunteers who work amazingly hard at what they do to make our community a more sustainable place to live.”
One of those volunteers was the late Don Johns, who chaired Horsham’s Tidy Towns Committee for more than 30 years.
During his tenure Horsham was voted Australia’s Tidiest Town in 2001 and Victoria’s tidiest town seven times.
At the weekend, Keep Victoria Beautiful chief executive Sabina Wills unveiled a bench seat in Horsham in Mr Johns’ honour.
“Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria provided a seat because they wanted to recognise Don for all the work he did,” Ms Vanderwaal said.
“He was so passionate about Tidy Towns.”
The bench is in Menadue Street, overlooking the Wimmera River.