One-hundred-and-thirty people attended Lakes Entrance Action Development Association’s (LEADA) open meeting last Thursday at the Central Hotel.
“It was a very good turn up,” LEADA president, Bruce Hurley, said.
“LEADA appreciates the support it has and is receiving. The support gives strength to LEADA’s advoca-cy to all three tiers of government.”
Panel members, Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, East Gippsland Shire Council mayor, Cr John White, and Mr Hur-ley spoke of the hardships created by the recent bushfires as well as the ef-fective marketing campaign aimed at getting visitors to return to Lakes Entrance.
They also outlined the progress on key infrastructure projects including the upgrade of the Esplanade, look-outs and Bullock Island.
Mr Chester said Lakes Entrance is a lucky community, not being too large or too small, and that the peo-ple support each other and stick to-gether for greater achievements.
He thanked LEADA and said it was great to see a united Lakes Entrance.
He stressed the importance of action.
“We have to get stuff done,” he said.
Mr Bull spoke about the Golden Tag fishing competition.
“All 10 gold tags have now been caught but still 1000 fish are out there tagged with$2000 to be collected for each one caught,” he said.
“We really need an increase in visitation by 20 per cent over the winter. This can largely be achieved by an in-crease in anglers and by the corporate world holding con-ferences here during the win-ter months.”
Cr White said council was pursuing state and federal money to help the bushfire recovery.
He felt the recently an-nounced Federal Govern-ment grant of $10,000 to small businesses if turnover was down 40 per cent or more over three months of summer, was an important initiative.
“Actual money in business owners’ pockets will certainly help,” he said.
Mr Hurley reported that LEADA’s focus during the past couple of years has been advocating for more infra-structure developments for the town, strengthening LEADA’s membership base and developing good rela-tionships with all three tiers of government.
He said LEADA, on behalf of the community, expected to be consulted and involved in setting priorities for Lakes Entrance.
“Community input has to be an integral part of the plan-ning and priority setting process, not an afterthought,” Mr Hurley said.
“Progress is being made on this front.”
Lakes Entrance-based coun-cillor, Dick Ellis, raised con-cerns about the State Govern-ment’s new Marine and Coastal Policy and the impact that it will have on de-velopments in coastal towns in Victoria. He asked LEADA to review the policy and take a position.
There were a number of questions and comments from those attending the meeting. Two questions were aimed at urging a productive use of council’s 55 Palmers Road site.
Another question was asked about the $80,000 shortfall in funding for the upgrading of the netball courts with the questioner saying that the football/netball club did not have the capacity to raise this amount of money. Council’s general manager assets and environment, Fiona Weigall, said that council has consid-ered the request and an-nounced that it will provide the required additional fund-ing to ensure these courts are built.
IMAGE: Lakes Entrance Fisherman’s Co-operative (LEFCOL) manager, Brad Duncan, explaining the process once fish are unloaded through to where the fish are distributed at the East Gippsland Marketing business breakfast on Monday morning. K242-4806