WHEN I came to live on Phillip Island in 1956, the three issues of concern were “rates, roads and rubbish”.
When I was a councillor of the Shire of Phillip Island in the early 1990s, rates, roads and rubbish were still the matters of concern, as they were following the amalgamation of the Borough of Wonthaggi and shires of Bass and Phillip Island to form Bass Coast Shire in 1996.
And now in 2013 rates, roads and rubbish still dominate the letters to the editor in our weekly local newspapers.
These are perennial issues but, as the end of the year approaches, it may be well to reflect on and acknowledge how much we have to be thankful for.
The communities of Inverloch, Phillip Island and Wonthaggi, and those between, have access to a multitude of organisations, services and facilities. There are service clubs, charitable organisations, churches, libraries, recreation grounds, leisure centres, bike tracks, community houses, a hospital, community health service, primary schools, two secondary colleges, U3A, a TAFE college, childcare centres and kindergartens, artist and theatre groups, movie clubs, sporting clubs, choirs, Opera in The Park, environmental groups, a reconciliation group, multi-cultural groups, facilities for senior citizens and aged care accommodation.
Last but certainly not least, we have excellent emergency services including ambulance, CFA brigades and SES units.
This is truly a mosaic of rich community life, which we all share and to which so many contribute.
The natural environment of the Bass Coast is spectacular. The surf and sandy beaches are amongst the finest – our coastline is magnificent. The bird life is abundant and the precious wildlife brings tourists from all around the world. We often take for granted that the air we breathe here is clean. Our farmland is managed by farmers dedicated to sustainability.
The young councillors, recently elected, are enthusiastic and dedicated. Council officers and staff are accessible.
The history of our shire is rich and varied, from the mining days of Wonthaggi, the early guest-house days in Cowes, the small farming settlements in the Bass hills – there are so many stories and memories!
One often hears comments such as Phillip Islanders are “whingers” and “Wonthaggi gets everything”. Yes, Phillip Island wants an aquatic centre and an integrated primary care centre and Wonthaggi wants an arts complex and a new secondary school. And our communities will continue to lobby for these. And we must always be mindful of those whose needs prevent their full participation in the community.
But the reality is that Bass Coast Shire is pretty much a level playing field, blessed with diverse communities in which we should all share great pride. We need to live and work together, ensuring that the municipality has a bright future and that its natural assets are protected.
December 2, 2013
Anne Davie’s story gladdens my heart. Thank you. Often have I thought of the beauty before our eyes and the richness of life on offer, for many of us, just for the taking. Not only in the Bass Coast but in all of Australia. At those times I am full of gratitude to my parents for immigrating here and wish that other countries like South Sudan and Afghanistan will some day be able to offer these riches to their people.
Felicia Di Stefano
December 1, 2013
I couldn't agree more with Anne Davie's sentiments. Sure, we have a few challenges but what immense collective wealth, civic and natural, we have in Bass Coast. I can still hardly believe my luck in stumbling upon this part of the world. Almost every day we see sights - the sea, a landscape, a sunset - that fill us with joy.
Catherine Watson, Wonthaggi