Recovery pathway outlines plan for West Wimmera Shire's future

STRAIN: Director of corporate and community services Ashley Roberts said COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have had a large effect on West Wimmera communities.
STRAIN: Director of corporate and community services Ashley Roberts said COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have had a large effect on West Wimmera communities.

West Wimmera Shire Council will look at ways to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulates its communities as part of a new framework.

Council adopted a new COVID-19 Recovery Pathway at its September meeting on Monday.

The document details the four phases for council to work through - survive, stimulate, recover, and thrive.

Director of corporate and community services Ashley Roberts said COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have had a large effect on West Wimmera communities, along with the shire's economy.

"We are now at the stage where we need to prepare a high-level strategic pathway to provide guidance on how we recover from the pandemic. The plan needs to outline both short and long term directions," he said.

"While at this stage, our community is still very much in the 'survive' stage of the process, it is important to provide an outline for recovery to some sort of normality."

The 'survive' stage involves immediate relief activities that were initiated to ensure that as much of council's community and economy survives the initial impacts of the pandemic.

This includes initiatives such as maintaining essential services, access to PPE, hardship and rate relief policies, and continued advocacy to state and federal governments for support.

The 'stimulate' stage involves short-term responses designed to ensure what has survived continues to have support. This phase is where business confidence begins to rebuild.

This phase includes major projects such as silo art at Kaniva, Goroke and Serviceton, activation of the Edenhope Community Centre, the Goroke Community and Recreation Centre redevelopment project, along with tourism promotion, and road renewal projects.

The 'recover' phase involves helping the economy reach service levels close to those that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Possible initiatives in this phase include ongoing mental health, education and medical support advocacy, infrastructure funding, community wellbeing programs, and re- activation of volunteer activities.

The final phase will be the 'thrive' stage, where council will look at longer-term strategies to further enhance the community and economic resilience.

Possible items in this stage include exploring new opportunities in renewal energy, tertiary education, tourism, and food production.

Mr Roberts said the recovery pathway was a living document that would evolve over time.

"It will start off somewhat aspirational at the later stages until the recovery process evolves and we have a clearer direction," he said.

"Recovery activities outlined in the document will be further developed through consultation with West Wimmera communities, residents and businesses.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented council will generationally unprecedented conditions both socially and economically.

"It is important for council to prepare a measured and considered approach to relief and recovery. "

The COVID-19 Recovery Pathway is available to view on West Wimmera Shire's website and feedback from the community is welcomed.

This story Recovery pathway outlines plan for West Wimmera Shire's future first appeared on Border Chronicle.