Reedy Creek hopes for greater communtiy involvement

Dabyminga Catchment Cooperative president Mark South, Strath Creek-Reedy Creek Fire Brigade first lieutenant Eric Smith, Reedy Creek Progress Association president Phil Searle and secretary Charmaine Botting are hoping to attract new members to Reedy Creek’s commuinty groups.

By Jackson Russell

REEDY Creek’s community leaders are urging new residents to join community groups, which have seen membership dwindle despite population growth in the area.

The Reedy Creek Progress Association, Strath Reedy Creek CFA and Dabyminga Catchment Cooperative are among those hoping to attract new members to continue the good work they do for their community.

Reedy Creek Progress Association president Phil Searle said there were just seven occupied homes in Reedy Creek by the end of the 1960s but there were now 73 along Reedy Creek Road alone.

“If we hold an event at the hall, we would be lucky to get 20 adults. People think it’s a great place to live, obviously, but there’s no community involvement,” he said.

“They probably don’t stop and think, because if their house caught fire tonight all the people from the fire brigade are all local people that are volunteers that are giving up their time to go and put out the fire in their house or whatever the problem might be.

“They’re relying on other locals committed to doing something for the community to help them out in times of need, but they don’t stop and think about that.”

The progress association has worked on projects including the construction of mobile phone and wireless internet towers, but without new members, it will not be able to continue to make improvements to the area.

Dabyminga Catchment Cooperative, which is an amalgamation of the Reedy Creek and Tallarook Landcare Group, has a similar issue with people in the area asking a lot of Landcare but not contributing themselves.

“I suppose there is a lack of new blood, we’re all on the wobbly side of 50 pretty much, one or two younger people moved in, but I suppose just trying to attract new members and a bit of more enthusiasm or fresh ideas,” president Mark South said.

“I’m the president of the school council at Broadford and that’s the same thing. You get the same faces at everything, the same people put their hand up to join the school council, the same people go to working bees while the vast majority just say what we should do.”

Strath Reedy Creek CFA first lieutenant Eric Smith said while the brigade had been fortunate enough to attract new members recently, the majority were retirees and an influx of youth was needed.

“We seem to go through waves where you get people interested and joined and then disappear again,” he said.

“We seem to get more retirees interested now, which is great, but it’d be great to have 20 people under 30 on the books too but that doesn’t seem to happen.

“It’s just one more thing competing with people’s time and people have become complacent and think that all services are provided by ‘them’.”

Mr South said it was understandable that some people move to an area like Reedy Creek for the solitude.

“If they’re shy or don’t like mixing with other people, I understand, but there are a lot of people that I reckon if they had a bit more of an idea about what went on, they’d be more likely to join things,” he said.

Mr Searle said a lack of awareness of community groups played a part, but so did apathy.

“They come out from the city where you don’t know the person that lives 50 metres from them and they want to live like that when they come here, but if everybody did that, there’d be no fire brigade, there’d be no Landcare, there’d be nothing,” he said.

Reedy Creek Progress Association secretary Charmaine Botting said the best way to get involved was to just go to a meeting and test the waters.

“If you’re not sure, just call the group and see if they sound like the sort of people you’d want to go into a working bee with or if what they’re trying to achieve is something you’d like to see in your community,” she said.