Corangamite Shire celebrates 20 years

THE outlook was uninterrupted vistas over lakes, craters and volcanic mounds — a quintessential Corangamite Shire scene — as current and former councillors and long-serving staff gathered to commemorate an important day in the shire’s history.

Corangamite Shire’s Cr Geoff Smith (left), mayor Chris O’Connor and CEO Andrew Mason at yesterday’s tree-planting ceremony.140923VH14 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

Yesterday marked 20 years since the shire was formed in 1994 following state government amalgamations.

To mark the anniversary a tree was planted on a hilltop in the arboretum at the Camperdown Botanic Gardens.

Shire chief executive officer Andrew Mason said it was a small way to commemorate a significant date in the region’s history.

The Bunya Bunya pine, a Queensland native species that produces large pine cones and can grow to be 40 metres tall, was planted by Mr Mason, mayor Chris O’Connor, long-serving councillor Geoff Smith and former commissioner Alan Waterson.

The shire was formed after the Kennett Liberal government restructured local governments across the state.

The reforms dissolved 210 councils and sacked 1600 elected councillors, creating 78 new councils through amalgamations. Commissioners were appointed to drive the amalgamations and develop structures for the new councils before elections were held in 1996.

“We were very keen to mark the date to acknowledge the significant amount of work the three commissioners, Bernie Millroy, Neville Smith and Allan Waterson, did to bring the shire into what we know today,” Mr Mason said.

“They were responsible for setting the culture that continues in the shire.

“There are 37 staff members still working here that have been here since day one and of course Cr Geoff Smith has also been here since the first Corangamite Shire Council elections.

“I think that speaks very highly of what the commissioners achieved.”

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