HORSHAM Rural City Council chief executive Peter Brown announced his resignation last week. After seven years in the top job, he said there were many memorable projects that stood out over his career.
The Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal was one of the first projects Mr Brown saw completed during this tenure. Construction finished in 2012. He said the construction was a significant highlight in his position as chief executive – and was significant to the region.
Mr Brown said the terminal was fundamental to the region’s agriculture industries by allowing efficient container movement from the Wimmera to ports.
“The success of the project is in the evidence that six years later, we have realised the capacity of the terminal has upgraded us,” he said.
CLICK BELOW FOR AN INTERACTIVE MAP ON PETER BROWN’S TOP PROJECTS
The council’s plans for an industrial precinct around the terminal are not yet completed, but Mr Brown said the project would have a significant impact in the future.
“It will be very important for the future of agricultural production in the Wimmera,” he said. “We are putting value adding to our agriculture products, which can occur on-site.”
Mr Brown said the continuous collaboration between the Wimmera Development Association and the five councils in the Wimmera – Horsham, Northern Grampians, Hindmarsh, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack – was an enjoyable process.
“It’s a great success for the five councils to work really well together,” he said.
“We haven't seen the end of that and there will be a number of projects announced in the next few months that are really important towards agriculture.”
Giving children “the best start in life” was a passion for Mr Brown and saw him advocate for the Kalkee Road Children’s and Community Hub, which is under construction. He said the establishment would enable children to thrive.
Mr Brown said the whole community benefited from children who were well-cared for and brought up well.
The redevelopment of the Horsham Town Hall was driven by a need for high-quality services in the region. Mr Brown said the project was an “enormous success”. He said the town hall showed people that Horsham was prepared to undertake projects on a regional scale.
Mr Brown said good recreation facilities such as the town hall encouraged people to live in the community and raise their children in Horsham.
Horsham Rural City Council advocated for the redevelopment of Horsham College for many years.
Mr Brown said it was council’s number one priority to receive funding for the project.
He said despite the education department’s initial “lack of interest”, the council was able to convince the department on the importance of the project.
Mr Brown has experienced a recent success with a plan for the return of passenger rail to the region.
He said the project was an “absolute game-changer”.
“Western Victoria has the worst passenger rail in the state and we deserve better,” he said.
Mr Brown said greater access to public transportation would attract tourists and provide residents with greater access to services in Melbourne.
Mr Brown said the opening of the Anzac Centenary pedestrian footbridge had “activated” the Wimmera River precinct. He said the river had untapped potential.
“We need to put another footbridge in Hamilton Street, which will allow people to walk a number of different circuits,” he said. “We need to work hard to establish a cafe on the river.”
Mr Brown said Horsham’s appearance could be attributed to the council’s outdoor staff.
“We have a substantial outdoor staff who are really committed and produce a good result,” he said. “Our staff care greatly about what Horsham looks like.”
From an organisational perspective, Mr Brown said he was pleased to see the restructure of council staff to improve its systems.
He said council’s purpose was to produce quality services and embracing new technology had improved their ability to complete the job at hand.
Mr Brown said the council endeavoured to address the infrastructure renewal gap.
He said the council had worked hard to bring existing buildings up to scratch and improve rural roads.
“It is hard because the money gets soaked up pretty quickly,” he said.