The following is my report to the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce when I was president in 2010.
At the Annual general meeting in August last year, no nominations were received for the position of president.
Vice-president Jim Ashworth chaired the September meeting and in October, I agreed to accept the position because I strongly believe in Home Hill as a great community in which to live and work. I’ve enjoyed the role and there have been a few laughs along the way.
Our membership has remained constant but showed an increase towards the end of the year when we reached 65.
The Home Hill Chamber of Commerce can be very proud of this level of support. Attendance at meetings has shown an average of about 14.
Street Crossing Lights
The completion and installation of the street crossing lights in Home Hill’s main street was a long process, with the Chamber involved in the planning stages. This project has put Home Hill firmly into the 21st century.
Another project, which is still in the planning stage, is the installation of bright colourful banners in the main street. The Council has included funding for eight large banners at each end of the median strips in this year’s budget, so we look forward to creating a vibrant look, appealing to the eye not only for visitors, but for those who live here already, and those who are thinking of moving here.
More people in the town means more business more jobs a win situation for all concerned.
Digital Town Clock and New Welcome Sign
A major initiative of the Chamber this year was the application for funding to the Gambling Community Benefit Fund for the installation of a digital town clock and new welcome sign.
This is a project I’ve had in mind for several years and was never able to secure backing in the form of someone to write up the grant. It has never moved beyond the planning stage, until this year when Marie Finn took it on.
Together, we researched and negotiated the best possible designs and Marie wrote the application for the grant. Unfortunately, she was ill in the weeks before the deadline, so Teresa Gemellaro helped to input the data for the online application.
It was a huge disappointment to me that we missed out in the allocation of grant money in June, but we have been included in the next round results to be announced in October.
Digital Poster Competition
The digital poster competition for students from Years 7 to 12 was an outstanding success this year, with entries increasing over the three years from 15 in 2008, to 40 in 2009 and 60 in 2010. The teachers are to be congratulated for the effort they make.
The display of posters in shops around the town and their availability on the web site allow the students to express great pride in their town, and our pride in our future citizens.
The Christmas Draw at the end of last year was a huge success. It was low key, minimal work and involved no spending by the Chamber. Business houses donated prizes and organised their own tickets, which were collected into one major draw. A young man from Ayr who thoroughly enjoyed his prize won it.
Christmas Lights Competition
The Christmas Lights Competition was sponsored this year by Telstra providing $1000, and was another success story, thanks to Marie Finn. Hopefully, they will sponsor the competition again this year. Some of the prize-winners entered into the Christmas spirit themselves by donating the prize money to charities to help spread the goodwill of the season.
Civic Pride Award
The Civic Pride Award has been announced tonight. Congratulations to Karen McKaig and her staff at the Home Hill Bendigo Bank.
The inclusion of guest speakers at our last two meetings put some spark into the meetings, and we look to have regular speakers in the future.
We Need Your Help
As always, we need more members, and particularly, members who take an active interest. Farmers, as businesses, are eligible to join.
The Chamber needs more people to attend meetings so we can have a stronger voice in dealing with the Council and other government bodies.
I know this is hard at times, but times have changed and we need everyone.
In the Chamber, we are not asking anyone to do hard jobs or to fundraise. It is not a service club. We just want members to come along and have their voices heard. This is the only platform Home Hill has for our collective voice to be expressed.
Think of the Chamber as the Home Hill Council.
Everyone needs to help, because you will help Home Hill and yourselves. Remember, we live here, as do our kids and we want to present a strong and positive face to all visitors.
My thanks and that of the Chamber go to Mayor Lyn McLaughlin.
Thanks also to Deputy Mayor Lou Loizou, we know your heart is in the right place and you’ve always got time for us.
We will see the benefit in years to come of the work being done to widen street bitumen, planting trees and the care of parks and gardens. Tourists always offer compliments on how clean the town is and how friendly the people are. Again thanks to all council staff.
I would like to thank the executive of the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce.
Without them, this would be a very hard part-time job. Many thanks not only from myself, but also from the rest of Home Hill because we are here for the betterment of Home Hill.
Thanks to Jim Ashworth for his untiring efforts with the web site where he puts in hours of work each month. Not only should we be proud of the web site, but also we should be proud that Jim is a loyal Chamber member and a good all-round bloke, not to mention the work he does for the Scouting movement.
Many thanks to Marie Finn who does most of the work. In fact, if it were not for her, a lot of things would not get done and we would have 5-minute meetings. Just joking!
Warren has been a great all-rounder and Karen has been supportive in her role as Immediate Past president. Thanks to Tony and Teresa Gemellaro.
Amanda Bonanno has decided that, after eight years as Treasurer, it is time to spend more time with her young family. She has served the Chamber well with careful attention to the details. We thank her, and wish her well in the future.
In conclusion, I hope that the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce will continue to be the voice of Home Hill people. With the help of David Jackson and our local newspaper, thanks David.
Home Hill is a great place to live, a great place to bring up our kids and a great place to retire in. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.
How to Contact Me
You can contact me on my mobile phone or by emailing me.