Sustainable Communities 2018

Sustainable Communities

In 2018, Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns celebrated 40 years! When Tidy Towns started in 1978 it was structured to promote combined community efforts and was judged on community action, gardens and the general impression of the town.

It was said that a “Tidy Town represents an umbrella under which community forces can be welded together, and offers an opportunity for joint efforts to improve specific or overall aspects of a community”.

Ten years on and the Minister for Local Government at the time, Murray Hill, said that “KESAB Tidy Towns is much more than simply a competition to select South Australia’s Tidiest Town. It provides a framework to foster community interest and to pool enthusiasm and activities towards a common tangible goal – a better place in which to live”.

In 2008, 30 years after Tidy Towns was launched, it was time for a change, embracing greater focus on sustainability and a new name, Sustainable Communities, to encompass the elements of sustainability that were being addressed in projects and activities across regional SA.

In the past ten years, the program had some refinements to categories and the way it is run, but what remains in place is community. Community sits at the heart of Sustainable Communities, as it did when Tidy Towns first launched in 1978.

During its time the program has had just three Managers: Ross Swayne who drove the program for 30 years and literally covered every inch of the state; Luke Callaghan who was tasked with the difficult job of transitioning the program from Tidy Towns to Sustainable Communities; and our current program manager, Alex Hammett, who further refined the program ensuring that it remains relevant to communities today.

The Yorke Peninsula town of Ardrossan was crowned the 2018 Overall Winner of the KESAB Sustainable Communities Award for the first time in 40+ years of the KESAB awards program.

Ardrossan Windara Shellfish Reef Project
Ardrossan Windara Shellfish Reef Project

Full Winners List for 2018 Sustainable Communities Awards
Overall Project highly commended – councilDistrict Council of Elliston Elliston Waste Transfer Station
Overall Project highly commended – councilWhyalla City Council
Wilson Park Upgrade
Overall Project winner – councilCity of Victor Harbor
Victor Harbor Railway Turntable
Overall Project winner – schoolSt Catherine’s School Aquaponics
Overall Project winner – communityArdrossan Progress Association
Ardrossan Museum and Information Outlet
Overall Project highly commended – communityPort Julia Progress Association
Port Julia Campground
Overall Project winner – combinedAlexandrina Council, Goolwa to Wellington LAP Group and Goolwa Coastcare
Gazania Free Goolwa
Overall Project highly commended – combinedDistrict Council of Streaky Bay and Streaky Bay Tourism
Best Small TownAvon
Highly Commended Medium TownStreaky Bay
Best Medium TownArdrossan
Best Large TownVictor Harbor
Best Overall SchoolTenison Woods College
Overall WinnerArdrossan

Winner Council Overall Project – Victor Harbor for the Railway Turntable Project

Victor Harbor historic railway turntable Project
Victor Harbor historic railway turntable Project

The redevelopment of the Railway Turntable site on Eyre Terrace celebrates Victor Harbor’s rich railway heritage, and at the same time providing a public space for people to enjoy.

The historic turntable mechanism (which is still in use today) is the feature of the site. It is used by Steam Ranger to turn the train and face the opposite direction, allowing it to reverse back to the station and reconnect to its carriages and transport people to Goolwa.

The project included new safety fencing, landscaping, seating, shelter, paving, pathways, public art and car parking. Also present at the site is a shelter that is inspired by a train carriage, white picket fencing synonymous with railways, historical train numbers within the paving and some very cool blue sheep to pay homage to livestock that were exported out of the region by rail from this site.

Winner of the Overall Community Project – Ardrossan Museum and Information Outlet

The visitor info centre had existed for a number of years at the town hall, but couldn’t be opened when there was a function and the Museum had a great space, but was only open a few hours a week. By working together, the two services can flourish. The Progress Association took the lead and built a purpose built venue alongside the museum, incorporating an information outlet, office, meeting room and the new entrance to the museum. By combining the two groups of volunteers, it has enabled the Museum to increase its revenue, in order to maintain and develop the Museum to make it more attractive to the modern museum visitor. The results are clear with multiple coach tours now stopping for the museum, which in turn means money is spent in main street businesses.

This is an excellent example of community groups working together to ensure the best outcome for a town.

Best Small Town – Avon

Avon is about halfway between Port Wakefield and Balaklava, but further south. Now Avon really is small, there are 10 houses in the village and about 20 farms in the surrounding area. Whilst Avon may only be small, it has a number of dedicated volunteers, and the Hall complex serves as the core of the town. Local events and activities (such as Mental Health Day, Foodies Day and the arts and crafts group) run by volunteers indicate a commitment to maintain the assets and surrounding environment for the health and wellbeing of the environment which is a credit to such a small community.

Best Medium Town and Overall Winner

Initiatives such as the Ardrossan Museum and Information outlet project; the opening of the Ardrossan Community and Men’s shed; community clifftop gym equipment installation (a collaboration with the school, council and progress association); a new nature play area at the school as well as an indigenous garden; the Pitstop project; cans and bottle recycling; and support for the Windara Shellfish reef project all contributed to Ardrossan winning the Medium town category and going on to win the Overall Award for 2018.

Best Large Town – Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor had some tough competition from Murray Bridge and Whyalla in 2018. Initiatives such as Encounter Bikeway improvements, Lions Park upgrades, Southern Fleurieu sporting complex development, and construction of the new men’s shed contributed to the win. This, coupled with the continued work of groups like town pride gardening group and the family history group, ensure the sense of community in a large town like Victor Harbor.