Attracting new residents to the area is a focus for Corangamite Shire Council after it was downgraded by the state government on Christmas Eve last year because of declining population.
Council growth and engagement manager Rory Neeson said they were trying to attract people to the area by promoting Corangamite as a great place to live.
With an unemployment rate of 2.8 per cent, one of the lowest in Victoria, Mr Neeson said council is focused on helping small business and industry to prosper.
“Low unemployment is a real positive for Corangamite, making our communities a great place to live,” he said.
“The flip-side is that we have local businesses on the look-out for staff.”
Recently retired couple Dirk and Raelene Peeman moved to Cobden two days prior to the St Patrick’s Day fires.
“The neighbour from over the road came across and said welcome to Cobden,’ Mrs Peeman said.
“So with all of the commotion we got to meet a few of the neighbours straight away.
“My daughter has moved to Cobden, she has got two children, so we are able to give her a hand.”
Mr Peeman said he has been happy to move away from the traffic and stress associated with living in Melbourne.
“Everybody around here is friendly, everybody communicates,” he said.
“In Melbourne no-one will talk to you.”
An avid boater, Mr Peeman was surprised when a stranger helped him out with his boat trailer.
“I was at the bakery and he came in and told me I had left the trailer brake on,” he said.
“When I went out to fix it, the man told me not to worry, he had already done it for me.”
The couple are hoping to expand their network further at two council-organised meet and greet events on February 11 in Lismore and February 25 in Cobden.
Corangamite mayor Neil Trotter said the shire was proud of the welcoming and inclusive spirit in the region.
“Finding a social circle can be a bit intimidating so council is putting on these events to help break the ice,” he said.
“The aim is for them to walk away with new friends.”
Anyone who has moved to Corangamite recently and would like to attend the Cobden event is invited to contact Economic Development and Events Officer Tammy Young on 5593 7100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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