The Ararat Rural City Council voted to not renew its membership of the Western Bulldogs Youth Leadership Program in 2024.
The program offers unique opportunities for young people between the ages of 14 and 16 to build confidence, make new friends and develop skills that will enable them to become leaders in their community.
The decision was made to not continue with ARCC's membership at the council's first statutory meeting of 2024, on Tuesday, January 30.
Council chief executive, Dr Tim Harrison, presented two main reasons supporting why the program did not suit Ararat.
"The program appears a bit tired, and sometimes inconsistent with the way it's facilitated," he said.
Dr Harrison also cited a lack of geographic reach beyond the city of Ararat to the broader municipality.
"It tends to be young people within Ararat itself, who engage with this program because it's easy to get to after school," he said.
Cr Joe Armstrong also voiced her support for the recommendation.
"I'm quite keen to explore the options that we do know we have in front of us to support a program that's going to be better tailored across our community," Cr Armstrong said.
ARCC first joined the program in 2017, then it cost $12,000 and included 8 participants. In 2023, the program cost council $25,000 with 16 participants.
The motion also calls for Dr Harrison to come to council's next statutory meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, February 27, with an alternate young person's program for 2024.
Towaways at Pitch Music Festival
Also passed at the meeting was an endorsement by council to establish temporary towaway zones on roads around the Pitch Music Festival set to hit the region during the March long weekend.
Council officers and festival organisers believe that undertaking this action will improve safety.
Several risks of cars parked on the roads at the festival were identified.
The risks included cars parked over dry grass creating a fire hazard, parked vehicles creating a road hazard and narrowing the carriageway, and a heightened risk of pedestrian accidents occurring as people move around parked cars.
ARCC governance and risk lead, Chandra Willmott said this is one of the events major concerns because it is in a bushland setting and congested roadways can make it difficult to get emergency vehicles through.
The roads that will become towaway zones are:
- Moyston Dunkeld Road from White Cockatoo Road to Mafeking Road
- Andrews Lane from Moyston Willaura Road to Muirhead Road
- Regulating Basin Road from Moyston Dunkeld Road to past Muirhead Road
- Mafeking Road from Moyston Dunkeld Road to Muirhead Road
- Muirhead Road from Andrews Lane to Regulating Basin Road
ARCC will shortly begin development of its 2024/25 budget with council endorsing the planned timeframe at January's statutory meeting.
Council staff will develop the budget through February and March to be presented to council in April and then released to the public.
According to the timeframe, the budget will be posted to Engage Ararat by 5:00pm on Friday, April 19.
Town Hall meetings will be held through April and May in Ararat, Elmhurst, Tatyoon, Moyston, Lake Bolac, Pomonal and Willaura.
And, council will adopt the budget on Tuesday, June 25.