Village Comment: Looking forward to a walk…

By Mike O’Connor

At the time of writing I’m two days short of completing self-isolation after returning from overseas and looking forward to my first morning walk along the river.

Much has changed in the six weeks since I left but the underlying spirit of community that characterises our neighbourhood is undiminished as witnessed by neighbours and friends who have kept us supplied with groceries, supplemented by the odd bottle of wine, dropped at our door.

Residents continue to do their best to support those local businesses which continue to trade and the feeling that we’re all in this together appears to be resonating within most of the community.

The council elections have been held, although whether they should have gone ahead remains debatable. We tried for days to cast a phone vote but were unsuccessful and so were effectively disenfranchised. I wonder how many other electors suffered the same fate.

Congratulations to Vicki Howard who will represent Central Ward for the next four years but not the residents of Newstead who live west of Wyandra Street.

This follows the mindless bureaucratic decision to divide the community, carving of a slice of Central Ward and pushing it into Hamilton Ward, a decision which needs to be readdressed.

While Cr Howard easily beat her Labor Party opponent, the Greens performed strongly on a two-party preferred basis not just here but elsewhere in inner city wards, campaigning against over-development, a disregard for neighbourhood plans and a lack of public consultation.

Their platform has struck a chord with those who might not necessarily vote Green at a state and federal level and the issues raised are certain to dominate local political debate over the next four years.

As for the current crisis, it’s up to us to ensure that our community survives and emerges from its shadow more vibrant and engaging than ever before.

Stay well!