The town of Withcott in the Lockyer Valley has been awarded the title of Queensland’s Friendliest Town for 2016 by environmental movement Keep Queensland Beautiful.
Since 1999, Keep Queensland Beautiful, as part of the iconic Tidy Towns competition, has awarded one outstanding Queensland town with the Friendliest title, based on set criteria judged by a panel of assessors.
This year assessors were extremely impressed by Withcott’s ability to achieve so much, with a strong community spirit - from a relatively small population of 1,000 (according to the last census).
The tireless work of local Councillor Janice Holstein, the Lockyer Valley Regional Council and wider community has paid off for Withcott; being awarded a 4 star rating in the Queensland Tidy Towns program in 2015.
“Civic pride is alive and well, with residents taking part in or initiating a number of community improvements and programs to make their ‘village’ more welcoming to visitors.” said David Curtin, Chief Executive Officer of Keep Queensland Beautiful.
The friendliest town award acknowledges a whole-of-community effort, not just Council’s contribution to advancing the community.
“I am absolutely thrilled our town has won Queensland’s Friendliest town, as the people here are just terrific.”
“Having been involved with the Tidy Towns program for some 16 years, I’m so proud of the Withcott community for such an outstanding achievement, well done Withcott!” said local Councillor Janice Holstein, Lockyer Valley Regional Council.
Some highlights of the Withcott submission included:
- An annual region-wide garden competition has engaged the local school (Withcott State School), with students taking ownership of developing and maintaining a range of edible gardens.
- The Foothills Festival has become an annual celebration with in excess of 100 pieces of artwork, sculptures and photography displays and more than 50 stallholders and exhibitors.
- A council-run mobile library visits on a fortnightly basis to deliver library lending services, provide information in the form of print, magazines and DVDs and offer their services to local schools.
- Council supported a community-led initiative to add planter box gardens and a sense of place to a well-used truck-parking area on the Warrego Highway so the town itself retained and increased its own sense of village despite the location.
- A men’s shed was established in the wake of the 2011 floods to assist with the human recovery, as men in the area still suffered depression, loss and on-going medical conditions caused by trauma.
- Every Tuesday, a small group of volunteers generously give up their time to pick up litter on the Warrego Highway through Withcott, making sure the town is in top shape for visitors.
Keep Queensland Beautiful’s programs motivate people to enhance the quality of their local environment through personal initiative and community action.
Keep Queensland Beautiful is a not-for-profit (apolitical) volunteer driven environmental organisation with a proud 48 year history of delivering successful anti-litter campaigns and education programs.
Our flagship program; Tidy Towns aims to recognise and reward work already occurring in towns across Queensland. The ‘awards competition’ has been adjusted to an accreditation program to better reflect the comprehensive approach that has been a part of the Tidy Towns ethos for many years.
Each town is now recognised through a 1 to 5 star rating system based on their performance in key focus areas; Environmental Innovation and Protection, Heritage and Culture, Community Spirit, Litter Action, Resource Recovery, Waste Management, Water Conservation and Energy Efficiency.
Queensland Tidy Towns started in 1974.
Previous Withcott Tidy Towns success:
2012: Litter Prevention Award for the “Litterbug” campaign.
David Curtin, Chief Executive Officer, Keep Queensland Beautiful
M: 0435 602 737