This last month has been incredibly busy for our Community Branch, with numerous visits to groups that support our great Community.
We held our second Community Investment Program evening for the year with in-excess of 60 people attending the Lara Golf Club.  One measure of the success of these evenings is just how long representatives of the groups hang around networking after the formalities are over. We were also thrilled to have three guests along for the evening providing updates on projects that we had supported. 

Joel Riddle, Principal from Lara Primary School brought along examples of the brand new class and take home books that were funded with a $10,000 grant. Joel outlined how the program is designed to support all reading abilities and of course how this will allow students to maximise their reading skills. We were thrilled to support this program as strong reading skills are fundamental to good education outcomes.

Ross Williamson, team leader at Serendip provided an update on their new frog pond area within the Bird Aviary. This area will now be able to run much more efficient education sessions for visiting students. In addition, a wider range of species will be able to be maintained within the new environment. The new facility will require a lot less maintenance due to its design and improved water quality management. Ross also advised that a Master Plan is being developed by Parks Victoria covering both the You Yangs and Serendip. These facilities are major assets to our Little River, Anakie and Lara Communities and provide a wide range of activity options for many groups.

Bob Schouten, President of the Lara RSL gave an update of the now completed refurbishment of the facilities at our local RSL.  This project was a true demonstration of what communities can achieve with contributions from City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Community Foundation and the Lara Community Bank Branch.  The RSL now boasts new kitchen and lounge facilities together with the updated outside gardens and barbecue area. Updated from its previous 1960’s décor this facility is another great community asset providing an incredibly valuable service to the many veterans that live amongst us. The facility is available for hire to groups.

We also received an update for local Councillors Kylie Grzybek and Anthony Aitken on various council actions around the area, including the traffic management plans and shared path initiatives.

By now many of you will have noticed the shared pathway opposite Hoffman Walk is almost completed. This is just stage one of what will eventually lead to the You Yangs via Serendip.  This path was part funded by your Community Bank in order to get the Lara Shared Pathways moving linking up new estates and existing pathways. The path between Station Lake Road and Flinders Avenue was originally designed for Corio Shire in 1987!!  Improved shared pathways was an idea raised at a Community forum conducted by the Community Bank in 2016.

It is very pleasing to see there is a master plan for the shared paths and it forms part of the traffic management plans for our community. In addition, Council are preparing design ideas to allow the path to cross underneath Station Lake Road, which will be good to see. The current crossing area is to have bollards and signage added before the path is opened.

Andrew Hilliard

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