With my time as the Mayor of the City of Maroondah for 2019/20 and our 4 year Council term coming to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to say what a privilege it has been to serve Council and our community.
Many of us started 2020 with so much promise and hope for the year ahead. Never could we have imagined just how quickly COVID-19 would shape our everyday lives or how challenging these times would become.
While we may still be uncertain about what tomorrow and the next day may look like and how our lives might be affected in the future, it is during times like this that we are reminded of what is most important.
This is the biggest public health challenge the Maroondah community has ever had to face, and we have remained committed to supporting all of our residents during these testing times.
In the weeks following the emergence of the pandemic crisis, your Council moved quickly to adapt our service delivery and implement safety measures, working against the unprecedented backdrop of a constantly evolving situation.
Council has demonstrated incredible leadership and tenacity through the COVID-19 pandemic, which sets us on a strong path for recovery, uncovering opportunities for innovation that would not have been evident or even possible six months ago.
Despite facing a global pandemic, I am very proud of how the organisation and our community have come together to support one another during this time. I am especially heartened by the many stories of positivity, resilience, community spirit and kindness in Maroondah.
And while social distancing has prevented other Councillors and myself from physically getting out into our communities, we have remained focused on the job at hand and have been committed to supporting residents and businesses, by vastly increasing the number of online meetings whenever and wherever possible.
This year we have accomplished a great deal including progressing new, meaningful projects and investment in both capital upgrades and new works.
We completed the design and construction of the $4.25 million HE Parker Sporting Pavilion in Heathmont; undertook a strategic review of Golf in Maroondah that will see the retention and upgrade of both Ringwood and Dorset as 18 hole courses; completed the upgrade of Lincoln Road in Croydon; and commenced the planning and design for the new multi-level carparks in Croydon, Ringwood, Heathmont and at Heatherdale Station.
We have also continued to plan for our community with the adoption of a refreshed Maroondah 2040: Our future together; a new Arts and Cultural Development Strategy 2020-2025; the Maroondah Vegetation Strategy 2020-2030; and commenced a new Maroondah Liveability and Wellbeing Strategy 2021-2031.
In Ringwood, we adopted the Ringwood Metropolitan Activity Centre Masterplan and prepared changes to the Maroondah Planning Scheme; and in Croydon we undertook community consultation and developed a Masterplan for the Croydon Community Wellbeing Precinct, which will bring a range of existing and new services to our community.
The unprecedented impact the pandemic has had on the economic, social and emotional health and wellbeing of our community also meant that we had to go back to the drawing board and rethink our priorities for Council’s 2020/21 Annual Budget.
Despite these significant headwinds, we have been able to put forward a Budget that has a great balance of what is needed in terms of our business-as-usual services, our pandemic response and a significant $85.47 million Capital Works Program that will provide jobs when they are needed most and new and upgraded facilities for our community to use and enjoy.
It is wonderful to have a record of the extent of what has been accomplished to ensure we are building a place where people are supported with the kinds of services, facilities and infrastructure they need to enjoy and thrive, living here in Maroondah.
I would like to thank my fellow Councillors for entrusting me as Mayor to lead this Council during 2019/20. It has been my distinct pleasure to lead and represent our wonderful city.
On behalf of my fellow Councillors I would like to thank the community for supporting us on this journey.
Cr Mike Symon