By TONY FOSTER
WITH coronavirus restrictions now being eased, some normality is returning and I am confident that we can at last look to better times ahead.
Restaurants, hotels and clubs, playgrounds and recreation areas are opening up, sporting and leisure activities are again possible and where appropriate, people are returning to their places of work. This is all good news for our community.
Undoubtedly, our local small businesses have had a difficult time and I ask you to as much as possible, support them in the weeks and months ahead. Many of our businesses have been doing it tough but have managed to adapt to the changed circumstances. Now more than ever they also need your support.
The Brighton community, like all of Tasmania, has done a terrific job in restricting the spread of the virus and while the impact has been severe in many quarters, we can take some comfort in the fact that we appear to have weathered the worst of it.
But although things are on the improve, the virus is still out there and could flare up again. So I do ask that you make sure you continue to be aware of the risks, that you maintain the required social distancing, ensure you are washing your hands regularly, using sanitiser and generally being conscious of what you are doing to protect yourself, your families, your loved ones and your friends.
But we are moving forward. As many would be aware, Council’s offices have reopened with all the required health and safety precautions. Of course, Council continued to operate throughout the emergency, with our technology enabling staff to work remotely and while this may have caused some inconvenience, all the required services were maintained.
Our challenge now is to work to ensure that the Brighton Municipality can recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 slowdown and build on the momentum that was there at the beginning of this year.
In playing our part, Council has approved its budget for the next financial year and this includes a record capital works program that will provide an economic impetus throughout the municipality.
The Commonwealth and State Governments have also announced major infrastructure and employment support programs and Brighton should also receive flow-on benefits from these. So, while the past few months have been tough, there is plenty to look forward to.
As reported in the previous issue of Brighton Community News, our long-serving General Manager Ron Sanderson retired at the end of June and we’ve announced his replacement, James Dryburgh. James was formerly Brighton Council’s Chief Operating Officer and he commenced his new role on July 1.
He brings considerable experience and enthusiasm to the position and while Ron will be a hard act to follow, Council is confident that James has all the skills necessary to take us forward into the future.
James has a very strong strategic focus and is determined to build on the positive, can-do, innovative, and compassionate culture that Brighton has developed. He is passionate about improving opportunities for our community and creating the social, economic and environmental conditions that our residents want and deserve.
Importantly, he is committed to ensuring that Council remains efficient and provides the full range of services to ratepayers and the community, gaining the best value for every dollar we spend and remain as a leader in Tasmanian local government.
As I have mentioned on a number of occasions, as a Council we are very proud of everyone in our community who has abided by the advice, rules and regulations set by the government and our health authorities. Certainly, this has been a difficult time for everyone, from our families and workers who have been confined to their homes with homeschooling and working from home creating extra challenges. But you have listened and complied, and along with other communities, we have contributed to the containment of the virus in Tasmania.
Again, thank you for your continued support and patience during this difficult time for everyone. Remember that it is so important you support our local community and in particular our local businesses to help rebuild our local economy.
Now, as the restrictions are lifting, I look forward to seeing you out and about in the Municipality. Remember, continue to stay safe and stay healthy.