15 November 2014

2014 Chairman’s report

The past year has been an extremely busy one for Naseby Vision. It was a year in which, after 5 years of planning, fundraising and hundreds of person hours of voluntary labour and donated machine time, we completed our biggest ever undertaking, the heritage light project.

It was a magnificent team and community effort and I think that you will agree that the results are stunning, particularly when you drive around the historic corridor in Naseby at night.

Currently we have 17 “live” projects, some of which we have already covered this morning and others that we will report on shortly. This year we also grew our membership to 307, which took it over the 300 mark for the first time. Each month there is a small, but steady, stream of new membership applications.

Sadly though, a number of our stalwarts have passed away this year and our thoughts are with the families of Josie Dick, Darcy Price, Brian Millar, Margaret Hughes and Margaret Morice, who was a member of our committee for 1 term. We will miss their friendship and their contribution to our community.

The Naseby Vision website has undergone a major revamp and is now updated regularly and that includes the local events section; Stu Francis has been in touch with the Council on our behalf regarding the silt build up in the Hogburn and has gained assurances that broom and gorse control will soon be undertaken; we continue to push for the installation of a street light in Lua Street near the bowling green and this will happen once the CODC has completed planning to replace all of the street lamps with new LED lamps.

We were delighted when Dave Crutchley volunteered to organize the annual New Year Family Fun Day when earlier efforts to find a new organizer were unsuccessful and the event appeared to be in jeopardy. This years’ Fun Day was highly successful and it’s great that this long-time event continues to be a much enjoyed and unique source of entertainment.

Stew Francis and Stu Hore have week working on NV’s behalf with the NVFB, Rural Fire, the CODC and the Fire Service on a revision of the Naseby fire prevention and evacuation plans. We anticipate that the new plan will be released before the end of the year.

Over the past couple of months your committee has been busy working on plans to reopen the Naseby Store under the control of a community-owned company. Many hours of effort have been put into establishing whether or not the store could operate as a viable business and be sustainable in the long term.

When we learnt that store was about to close we arranged an urgent town meeting which was attended by around 100 people, most of whom supported NV’s efforts to resurrect the local store and many offered to contribute cash to any new venture. A store working group was formed which included the full NV committee, Keith and Sheryl Edwards, Kath Thomas, Hazel Harrison, Steve Weidner and Adrian Hood, with valued support from Frazer Barton our honorary solicitor.

The group visited the Millers Flat store which has operated successfully under a community-owned company for 27 years. We saw it as a possible model for a new store in Naseby. We also spent many hours discussing new ways to make the business viable and sustainable and talked to possible suppliers and other organisations that would help to ensure the potential success of a new business. Our intention was to report our findings to this meeting and seek a mandate to continue the project, if it was deemed to be viable.

However, when a local person indicated a very strong interest in taking over the lease of the shop, with a view to re-establishing a new local store in December, we decided to put the project on hold.  Negotiations are currently underway between the aspiring owner and the CODC.

We felt that a privately owned model would have the best chance of success and we are very supportive of the proposed venture and we would encourage our members and the community at large to give the new business regular and meaningful support.

In closing I would like to once again pay tribute to Hilary Allison, our secretary, who as always, has worked very hard to ensure the success of this organization over the past year. Hilary is passionate about Naseby and often carries a very heavy workload. She’s also a consummate fundraiser and her efforts in this area have been instrumental in ensuring that funding has been available to complete many of our projects.

My thanks also go out to our deputy chair, Stu Hore. He is a strong lifetime advocate for Naseby. My thanks too, to our committee of Stew Francis, Marilyn and Eric Swinbourn, Nick Simpson and Andrew Stewart all of whom are passionate about Naseby and work very hard for our community. I’d also like to welcome back Phil Ballard after a year’s sabbatical – it’s great to have you back in the team. We have a very dedicated and focused committee, there’s great camaraderie and meetings are always productive and cordial events.

Thanks also to all of members for your support over the past year. We look forward to receiving your ideas, concerns and suggestions for ways in which we can help enhance what we have here in Naseby and to working on your behalf in the year ahead.