It’s natural to reflect at this time of year.
For many people, the excitement and joy of Christmas is a fitting time to end the year.
However, for some people, it is a time of extreme sadness and grief for those who have died.
It is also a piercing time of loneliness for many people – in start contrast to the mirrored happiness of others.
I don’t enjoy Christmas and it’s because of the wretched Christmas times my family had for 18 years.
I am a survivor of family savage violence and that led to the death of my mother and the devastation of the family for 45 years.
At 13 I cared for my disabled brother for months after his birth.
So, whilst i was born in the Ararat Hospital, I was very keen to get away from the district and those early years.
That legacy though, led to a strong sense of integrity and a responsibility to help those who don’t have a voice.
It led to some resilience in coping from multiple injuries from a car accident later on, and being out of action for over four years.
Fast forward to 2017, and this resilience has enabled me to withstand the victimisation from some members of the community over council decisions considered or made this year.
This has been unpleasant, But I’ve also thought of how, as a whole council, we could have done things differently and better.
I am striving to be a better person and a better mayor because of this year’s experiences.
Just as importantly, 2017 has been the opportunity to reflect on what has been upsetting community members for the last six or so years about council’s strategic and operational direction.
I trust there are enough reformers within the council group to work with community members on fixing these wicked problems.
As we close the year, we now have a new chief executive Allan Bawden, whose local government and life skills are first class, and municipal monitor Janet Dore, who has such impressive reform credentials; and these strengths are helping council to grow and prosper.
In addition to the minister’s work, we are working from January 2 on reviewing council’s major contracts to assess the effectiveness of service provider roles and services provided – the first being the Ararat Fitness Centre.
As well as finishing the Skate Park, we will assess how well all youth services are faring.
One of the councillors will be appointed Youth Ambassador.
Council’s manager of emergency services, safety and local laws briefed council this week on our contingency plans for the holiday period. We are well prepared for emerging risks and adverse events.
In closing, on behalf of the Ararat Rural City Council, I wish you a joyous and safe Christmas period.
Glenda McLean is the mayor of Ararat Rural City Council