This, the August issue of Local Government Focus, incorporates our feature on Community Services, Leisure, Park & Gardens, and the sheer volume and diversity of submissions from councils has been overwhelming. It’s unfortunate that we can’t run them all, as the activity in this area is not only significant, but is widely varied within and between councils.
Many councils are in the process of upgrading sports fields, such as Colac Otway Shire’s Central Reserve and the Centenary Oval in Port Lincoln. The efforts put into accessing the funds needed for the improvements, both from councils and their residents, highlights the importance of these facilities in providing a meeting point for communities, particularly those regional communities with geographically dispersed populations.
Local libraries provide a similar focal point, supporting everyone from the very young to the very old. Our focus on libraries as part of the feature shows just how big a role they still play in the community, even in the face of the dire prediction of the ‘end of the book’ that accompanied the advent of the digital age.
Nothing, it seems, can replace the face-to-face interaction that a library represents, and the many programs and events run by local libraries provide residents with social and creative outlets that cannot be emulated by a screen.
That said, libraries are rising to the challenge and adapting to eBooks and digital technology in a number of ways. More than anything, eBooks are seen as an opportunity to improve the accessibility of the library’s catalogue, with 24-hour services, talking books for the visually impaired, and an increase in the titles available.
Overall, the extent of the stories in the feature indicates how central Community Services, Leisure, Park & Gardens are to councils and their communities, and how much hard work is done by both in ensuring the maintenance of a high standard of provision across the board, whether it’s home care for the aged and disabled, or the reconstruction of historically significant botanical gardens.
The front page of the issue looks at life after the Carbon Tax, focusing on some of the ways councils are mitigating their liability. While there is a plethora of examples we could use, and we’ll be looking at some of these in upcoming issues, the two methods singled out — compostable nappies and solar energy — while seemingly ‘small’, can have a huge impact on councils’ carbon emissions.
In the previous issue in June we invited you to have your say, as we would like to begin a ‘Letters to the Editor’ section, encouraging discussion and debate on the many topics that are affecting councils.
This section is an opportunity for you, our readers, to talk about the things that matter, whether you are a Mayor, councillor, manager or council employee. Please email letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.