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Waverley’s plan to revive civic pride

Volunteers helping out at the Village Verge project in Dover Heights

Waverley councillor Leon Goltsman has called for an expansion of Waverley Council’s Civic Pride program in a bid to help beautify local community spaces and make Waverley more “liveable” for its residents.

The Civic Pride initiative is a series of local volunteer projects that encourage residents to build a sense of community by planting trees, removing graffiti and helping to transform public neighbourhoods into vibrant spaces.

“We should be thinking about making places better in Waverley. Going from one area to another within the municipality, we’re not just fixing streets; we’re putting more infrastructure in place [and] you’ve got more and more villages coming to life,” Mr Goltsman said.

“The idea is to give people a sense of pride [by] honouring their community … and commending them for their efforts”.

Peter Brown, owner of TrePani cafe on Military Rd, said the Civic Pride program in Dover Heights has seen to an increase in the turnover for local businesses in the area with the construction of a learner’s bicycle track at Dudley Page Reserve earlier this year.

“It’s transformed what looked like a desolate wasteland into a more beautiful looking area [with] a greater respect for the local environment that is really uplifting,” Mr Brown said.

“It’s marvellous, it gets the community together and there’s been great enthusiasm from the locals”.

According to Mr Goltsman, Council was limited by budgetary constraints in the past and it is important residents were aware of how they could help to re-invigorate their local neighbourhood.

“[Civic Pride] has been a program spearheaded by myself in Dover Heights. We didn’t have it in our budget before so we had to do it in a creative way,” he said.

“The Dudley Page Reserve is one area that has had a ripple effect. We’re really starting to get a boost with residents having a hand in building it and people are now spending more time in these villages.”

Last month, Council commenced its Village Verge project in Dover Heights, with volunteers helping to plant trees and put together a native garden at the corner of Blake St and Military Rd. Waverley Mayor Sally Betts said this was only the first stage of street landscaping improvements aimed at creating a local village centre through greening and community input.

“This was the start of that particular corner so as soon as this has settled down, we will have a look at what we can do on the other corners,” she said.

“Our bicycle track at Dudley Page is so popular but we do need to [consider] more landscaping and maybe some extra seating [so] we will do that slowly”.

Mr Goltsman said he wants to see more Civic Pride volunteering programs throughout Waverley to help foster greater community interaction.

“It’s an enhancing experience. Residents and business owners can [take] ownership of their suburb… and as a result they’ve got themselves a beautiful street. It’s something that makes the community a better place.”

As part of the Village Verge project, Waverley Council will aim to install a new bicycle rack in Dudley Page Reserve by the end of this month.

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