Robin, to the right of centre, reporting back on the walkability initiative
We held the fourth of our What Riddell Wants sessions at the Riddells Creek Footy Club. Lia had arranged it. Gather at 5pm, a slice of pizza and a beer from the bar to end the day, then talk for 90 minutes, which ended up a couple of hours . A junior squad was going through their training drills on the oval, red guernseys against the bright green turf. A very nice room for a serious meeting.
Wes and Aaron, separately, brought their daughters along. Aaron’s daughter brought a bag of dress up clothes, and the two girls soon teamed up. They spent the evening playing at the end of the room, making occasional forays along the back of the room behind the whiteboards, through the squeekiest bathroom door in Riddell, to try on new cossies, then back round the other side, past the automatically opening front door, while we adults sat earnestly deciding, what, of all the things we knew needed attention in the town, we would start on in the next six months.
It was very good to have their father there.
Each interest group - infrastructure, the social side of Riddell, services and environment - came up with what they’re going to do, nn the next six months. The Infrastructure group settled on having a look at walkability around Riddell, and feeding that into the consult the Shire does on the Network Movement Study (aka traffic in Riddell).
Walkability means what’s it like actually getting around on foot, getting from your place to the shops, or to the GP. Crossing roads to find the one sealed pathway. Getting across Main Road. With a 6 year old on a bike. Or at night. The worst of walking in Riddell, and the best, a citizens' assessment. There are ways to do this.
I said last column that it's a relief to be with people getting organised to make this town work better. I hold that as an article of faith, and in our sessions, I keep discovering it.
The stand out moment for me was near the end of proceedings. Reporting back what we’d decided to do, a mother with a babe in arms stood by her pusher and told us all that what she wanted was a place for mums like her to meet in Riddell. Matter-of-fact, not complaining. Just asking for a hand on this one.
We will get that sorted. We can do this, was the tone in the room. I felt in that moment what a good way it is to spend a couple of hours, with people from this town I’ve ended up in, getting things sorted.
Little problems, like a place to sit down with other mothers, and big problems, like having a safe way to walk in a town with a major regional road running through the middle of it.
No end of problems, no end of opportunities.
And good people with whom to spend an evening.
Ross Colliver, Riddells Creek Landcare