National Top Tidy Town for Mount Gambier
The City of Mount Gambier has been recognised for its work in environmental practices after Mount Gambier was named Australia’s Tidiest Town for 2005. As a popular tourist destination in South Australia, Mount Gambier is world renowned for its remarkable Blue Lake.
Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) which coordinates Tidy Towns also has programs for urban and coastal communities as well as partnerships with the construction and retail sectors, and schools programs in each State and Territory.
Home to some 24,000 residents, Mount Gambier was previously a national Tidy Town winner in 1992. Because of its unique geological situation there is high community awareness and a priority for effective stormwater pollution prevention initiatives.
The Blue Lake, which provides the City’s water supply, is reliant on a unique underground aquifer system fed by stormwater runoff.
The KAB judges said Mount Gambier keenly demonstrates a desire to retain its heritage and educate the community into becoming more environmentally aware, while encouraging business and industry to develop and thrive.
“The Council leads by example and also encourages the community to ensure that homes and private gardens are tidy and maintained as well as enabling residents to take ‘ownership’ in tasks that build pride and self-esteem,” the judges said. “Various levels of Government, non Government agencies, schools, business and the general community all work together cooperatively. A major community priority is the need for effective stormwater pollution prevention initiatives.”
In the lead up to judging. Mount Gambier Mayor, Councillor Steve Perryman, said the City was up against some tough competition.
“To win a national award, a community must be active in so many areas of endeavour, from environmental through to social and everything in between…any community that wins their State award has already proven that they are doing these things to a very high level,” he said.
Councillor Perryman said following celebrations in December marking the 50th anniversary of Mount Gambier’s proclamation as a City, it had instigated a number of projects and community initiatives.
“We were confident of a strong submission,” he said.
New welcome bays at the entrance to the City, the restoration of Pioneer Park Cemetery, and a major redevelopment of the Cave Garden and City Hall were among those achievements.
The Blue Lake Management Committee effectively connects the community, Council and Government agencies in developing innovative ways to preserve water quality and conserving water resources.
Keep Australia Beautiful presented the Australian Tidy Towns Awards in Adelaide in April. More than 1,100 communities competed in Tidy Towns programs across Australia during 2004. Tidy Towns finalists were Black Tank Apmwerre (Northern Territory), Kojonup (Western Australia); Mount Gambier (South Australia); Latrobe (Tasmania); Heywood (Victoria); Gulargambone (New South Wales); and Atherton (Queensland).
KAB research shows that every year over $150 million worth of community work is generated across the Australian community by Tidy Towns volunteer participants. KAB National Chairman, Don Chambers, said once a year the Australian Tidy Towns awards allows us, on behalf of all Australians, to acknowledge this incredible contribution.
“Our tidy towns are now moving towards becoming sustainable communities with everyone working together to provide our children with a better future.”