Councillor profiles - Mayor Eleanor Scholz Wudinna District Council, South Australia

Article image - Councillor profiles - Mayor Eleanor Scholz Wudinna District Council, South Australia

“The best part of being on Council is our people; this includes fellow councillors, council staff, our   community and also the wider Eyre Peninsula councillors.”

It’s a great network, we can have our different opinions but treat each other with respect and all have the good of Eyre Peninsula at heart.

Prior to nominating for Council I was active in programs that deliver services to our district including; Rural Financial Counselling Service, Central Eyre Peninsula Care Service, Wudinna & Districts Telecentre, Volunteer Ambulance Officer, Mid West Support Group.

I still work at TAFE SA locally and did take leave to work on a three year preventative health pilot project across the region.  

In the year 2000 I thought I would give local government a go.
Seventeen years on, I’m still enthusiastic and enjoy working for our district. I’m into my second term as Mayor.

Assisting the region to grow
Wudinna District Council is 570km northwest of Adelaide, in the centre of Eyre Peninsula on National Highway One.
The district stretches to the border of the unspoilt Gawler Ranges National Park and is within an hour drive of beautiful coastline and beaches.

Scattered throughout the council district are amazing granite formations including Australia’s second largest monolith, Mt Wudinna along with Polda Rock, Tcharkula and Pildappa Rock, to name a few.   
Wudinna is the main town, with smaller towns of Minnipa, Yaninee, Pygery, Kyancutta and Warramboo.
Our total population is approximately 1250, which is not a large ratepayer base.

The Minnipa community have an active Progress Association with a local community plan that feeds into the Wudinna District Council Community Plan.

Our district is known for its crop and livestock farming and supporting agri businesses.

Challenges for our rural region include declining population, loss of services and associated employment and decline in regular passenger transport to major centres. Our Council Community Plan includes seeking alternate industries that can assist our region grow and thrive.  

Opportunity also presents threats to some.
With the discovery of a major magnetite resource near Warramboo, just 20km from Wudinna we have been included and advised on the progress of the Central Eyre Iron Project.  

This project will see the development of mine, rail and a multi use deep sea port.  When the project commences it will create employment locally and across Eyre Peninsula, it will bring competition for grain freight and reduce costs for farmers.

It will also mean that some farming enterprises will face loss of land – this is hard for those families, especially during the uncertain period of when or if the project will begin.

The decision for the project to go ahead is outside Council control, however we look forward to working with the company to identify the best outcomes for our region.    

Donation turns into employment
A modern Health Centre was built adjacent to the local Hospital on land donated by a community member. Our local doctor manages the Centre which, with a combination of Commonwealth grant funding and Council investment, now supports regular visiting specialists, a student doctor and community health and dental services.  
Another favourite project is water collection from our granite outcrops.

By repairing the granite walls and drains that our early settlers built, water collected off the rocks adds to our town water catchment and keeps our town and school ovals along with parks and bowling greens watered.

Working with neighbouring Councils
A joint project with District Council of Elliston is to bitumise the road connecting Kyancutta to Elliston.

The successful application was based on the link between the coastal town and our district including access to National Highway One.
We share health, sports, business and tourism and there will be great celebration when our last few kilometres are completed.

I’ve been pleased to see the continued development of Apex Park, a green space with playground, outdoor exercise equipment, a jumping pillow and a sound stage for community events.

Next we are planning a skate and spray park.

We are about to commence works on improving the entrances to businesses along the Eyre Highway; this project will create employment opportunities to successful tenders.

Looking further ahead we have plans to develop a civic centre that includes the Memorial Hall and new council offices. This would combine two buildings into one and bring new life and activity into the centre of our town. The consultation has provided good feedback and discussion both for and against – this is what we like as it engages all in planning and contributing to final decisions.