A HANDFUL of hardworking community volunteers are forging ahead with plans to improve Foster.
Their latest success is a funding grant to develop a management plan for the 26 acres at the end of Station Road.
“It’s been over 15 months since the Foster Community Association took on this project at the request of The Great Southern Rail Trail Committee of Management,” said FCA president Larry Giddy. “The dedication of a couple of FCA members, Heinz Haselroither and Robert Fulton, will finally provide a comprehensive management plan for the development of the disused railway platform site and surrounding acres.”
A site survey of the area should be completed within the next couple of weeks. Then a consultant from Inverloch who has worked for South Gippsland Shire and other groups on similar projects will verify the work already done, modify it if necessary and put it into a format that will be easily understood by any individual or group wanting to develop any portion of Foster Station Park.
Once this has been completed, the plan will be handed over to The Great Southern Rail Trail Committee of Management.
Foster Community Association was successful in its application to Round 2 of the Shire’s Community Development Grants program and has received $8,600 for the completion of this stage of the project.
A range of community groups have suggested uses for the 26 acres. All the projects identified for the park so far will be plotted on the concept plan. Some of these ideas are: community garden, men’s shed, bocce court, wetlands, orchard, information rotunda, amphitheatre for concerts, and a commercial precinct.
FOOTPATH TO AHERNS
There has been a recognised need in the community for a long time for a footpath from the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre in the main street up to Aherns Fruit Market. It looked like becoming a reality when the footpath was included in the shire’s draft 2010/11 capital works program.
The Foster Community Association president was therefore very disappointed to be told, when he rang the shire for an update on the project, that due to all the rain and subsequent flooding around the shire in recent months, five bridges had been lost and need replacement and the footpath project was being put on the back burner.
“I was told that along with all the road damage, funds for roads and footpaths have been redistributed, putting this project back to the 2012/2013 budget,” said Mr Giddy.
The FCA is very keen, however, to have the footpath, and at its last meeting it was decided that safety concerns are such that the group will ask Council to move forward with the footpath project.
FOSTER COMMUNITY WEBSITE
‘Come for the beauty, stay for the lifestyle www.foster.vic.au’ and ‘Victoria’s best kept secret! www.foster.vic.au’ read the bumper stickers produced by the Foster Chamber of Commerce to advertise Foster and its community website.
The website is designed to attract more people to live and work in what the residents of Corner Inlet already know is a great place. It has been up and running for a few months, receiving thousands of hits every month. It includes a free classified ads section, some local news articles and lots of information on community events. The website has lots of information and numerous links to other sites.
“We’d like to see more local businesses advertising,” said Linda Giddy, who helped the chamber of commerce get the website up. “It’s only $50 a year for great 24/7 exposure. It’s a fabulous opportunity!”
There has been growing interest from visitors to the area, she said, in the businesses which do feature on the website.
“People might be looking for anything from a plumber to a takeaway,” she said.
Anyone who would like to know more about the website and how they can advertise on it is welcome to talk to Linda Giddy 03 5689 1379, who can help them fill out a simple form.
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FOSTER NORTH LOOKOUT
Also under discussion at the May meeting of Foster Community Association was the redevelopment of the lookout beside the highway at Foster North. To date, the shire has $50,000 from the Federal Government and is waiting for an additional $30,000 from the State Government. Designs for a viewing platform and information gazebo are believed to be under way.
FOSTER COMMUNITY PLAN
In the first step towards developing a community plan for Foster, the community association held a Planning for Real® exercise at the end of last year during the State election. There were 1800 individual ideas captured about how people in this community would like to see Foster and the surrounding district improve.
This information was then broken down into categories, shown on a PowerPoint presentation and with the help of 30-plus citizens of Foster and surrounding district, on May 5 at the Foster hall, issues were then prioritized. Shire Community Development Officer Barbara Look took away the outcomes from this session and will record the results in an Excel document and present back to the FCA so it can see the community’s priorities more clearly. The next step will be to identify community groups and individuals who are prepared to champion priority projects.
The possibility of expanding the library and gallery services and premises and the introduction to the district of a University of the Third Age were other items discussed at the meeting of the Foster Community Association. The next meeting will be held on the evening of June 21 at the community health centre at South Gippsland Hospital. All community members are most welcome to attend. Bring your ideas!