Community Action and Wellbeing
Congratulations to 2016 State Winner: Community Action and Wellbeing
In 2015, a Wongan Hills parent came up with the idea of installing a nature playground in the Wongan Hills Community Park. Dedicated volunteers worked hard to secure funds and were successful in receiving grants from a variety of sources. Phase 1 included installation of climbing structures, a rock tunnel and a water play area. In Phase 2 a dry river bed and landscaping works were completed with the help of 15 volunteers. Local businesses and farmers donated machinery and time to do the heavy lifting and transporting of tree trunks and rocks.
Phase 3 will include a music-sensory play area, wheelchair access and a paved community brick circle. Wongan Community Care (an organisation that cares for local disabled children) was consulted during the planning process and had direct input into the music sensory area which is designed to benefit children and residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
This new playground has become a popular location for locals and visitors. Those that visit enjoy the benefits of physical exercise and emotional wellbeing which come from spending time outdoors. The playground has also brought new business into town, particularly at cafés and shops.
Twilight Beach Rehabilitation
Twilight Beach is a premier tourist spot because of its exquisite views and a beautiful white sandy beach. It is the safest swimming and surfing beach in the Esperance area.
Site improvements to enhance visitor experience, improve safety and reverse degradation to the landscape included rehabilitation of the surrounding dunes and carpark, including weed control, brushing, weed matting and planting 3,000 endemic coastal species sourced from local nurseries; bollarding/fencing areas to restrict access to fragile dunes; installation of interpretative signs highlighting the significance of the area; planned construction of staircases, boardwalks, viewing platforms and seating; provision of safe pedestrian access around the car park; and a general tidy up of the site, removal of litter and old infrastructure.
This Shire-led project has implemented recommendations in the Esperance Coastal Management Plan and was partly-funded by the State Natural Resource Management Program ($30,000). It involved extensive community consultation. Esperance Nyungar Aboriginal Corporation was consulted regarding Indigenous heritage at the site and assisted with on-ground works. Other groups involved included Surf Lifesaving Club, Esperance Senior High School Bush Rangers, and Esperance Weeds Action Group.
The Greenbushes Community Garden
The Greenbushes Community Garden operates along permaculture principles. Community crop swap events see backyard growers sharing their excess produce, seeds, plants and more. The crop swap ties in with the garden’s philosophy as it encourages lots of home grown produce to be shared locally (reducing food miles).
A nature-play area has been established for children and members continue to run community morning teas and special events, including a talk from garden guru Sabrina Hahn on garden and environmental issues. These events involve a range of community members as well as groups from other regional towns such as the Ashbil Community Garden Group, the Bridgetown Friendship Club and the Boyup Brook Community Garden group. The most recent group to visit was a cultural exchange organised by a local Filipino resident.
Since the community garden was established in 2011, residents have developed friendships and support networks and, as a result, developed a more resilient and sustainable community.
White Street Fence Mural
In May 2015 the community forum ‘Blueprint Jurien Bay – unleash the potential’ was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. This engagement led to the formation of the Activate Jurien Bay Committee and led to many small projects taking place including the transformation of White Street fence. The 350 metre structure, (which is situated on a prominent street leading to the beach), was tired, old and unsightly. Jurien Bay Caravan Park and Home Hardware store contributed funding to this $3,000 project.
Forty members from Inspirational Community Arts Network, 30 members from Jurien Bay Community Men’s Shed and 80 members of the public revitalised the fence into a mural, themed ‘Creating Memories by the Sea’. In consultation with the Committee, artists, Andrea Gray and Catherine Norgett developed the sea and wildlife themes and Men’s Shed members painted the fence in two layers of ‘surf mist’. The Activate Jurien Bay Committee logo was the first graphic to be painted and digital equipment from the Jurien Bay Community Centre was used to project sea images onto the fence at night. This enabled work to be done quickly and enabled members of the public to be included by following the projection lines.
The community garden is located at the back of the Community Recourse Centre (CRC) and is managed by the CRC and Garden Club committee volunteers. Now in its third year, the club has grown from 12 to 20 members.
The Shire provided a new shade house and donated recycled materials from the decommissioned tennis courts. Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation supported the community garden by setting up the new shade house and putting in new garden beds after existing beds had been damaged by a cyclone in January. Mulch for the beds came from bales used at a billy cart grand prix event.
A key factor in the growth of the garden has been the inclusion of all children in its development. There are no physical barriers to the garden and a close educational relationship with Marble Bar School has been put in place. School excursions enabled students to plant seedlings and grow their own plants and work on the new garden beds, with older classes taking care of individual beds.
The produce has been used in a variety of ways to raise funds and to teach children skills. Friday Feast at school means one class uses the community garden produce to cook a meal. Plants, seeds and Christmas presents are sold at the Marble Bar Markets (held in the cooler months). The markets are manned by volunteers with the money going back to the garden club.
Morawa Health and Wellness Expo
The inaugural Morawa Health and Wellness Expo was hosted by the Shire of Morawa on 19 March 2016 as a result of feedback to the Shire that health and community engagement should be rated as high priority areas. The Expo sought to address some of the regional wellbeing issues by bringing health providers to town to introduce residents to natural therapies not usually available in the area.
The event engaged youth, Indigenous people, local government, and local businesses. More than 200 people participated in ten workshops and seminars and visited more than 20 stalls. Health practitioners provided their services free of charge and a community bike ride, funded by Bike Week WA attracted 50 participants.
Positive feedback confirmed the success of the event and its importance and Morawa Agriculture College has since booked one of the health providers - 360 Health - to run a cooking class.
A Clean-up to Keep Yalgoo Beautiful project was initiated and coordinated by two Shire employees working as volunteers. The first clean-up occurred on 8 May 2016 and attracted 44 volunteers (25 per cent of the population). The community was made aware of the initiative through word of mouth, advertising at the drop-in centre, the Shire and the school.
More than 12 bags of rubbish and broken glass were collected in two and a half hours. The school is working with the children to educate on litter issues and more than half of the school participated in the clean-up. The participants were then treated to a community lunch and a movie night for families at the drop-in centre, which has also been freshly painted by volunteers.
In addition to the street clean-up, Meedac supervisors and six workers assisted in clearing historic rubbish from the grounds of the community centre and in clearing an area for a future vegetable garden.
Monthly clean-ups are now planned to be run and managed by local residents.
Please click below to read more about State Winners:
Litter Prevention and Waste Management
Heritage and Culture