Parkes' dedication to the community and environment was recognised with a multi-award sweep at the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards on the weekend.
Parkes took home awards for Waste Management, Response to Climate Change, Environmental Education, Community Spirit and Inclusion, as well as the Overall Award for population 12,001-20,000.
However, it was the Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society who stole the show. The M&D claimed the Community Spirit and Inclusion Award for the 2019 musical Shrek - Junior. The production not only offered rural kids an opportunity to tread the boards, it also included an Autism
Friendly Relaxed Performance - a first for a regional theatre company and junior cast.
The show was attended by many people who had not previously had the opportunity to see live theatre before, such as those living with Autism, epilepsy, a sensory disorder, or a disability. The recent refurbishments also improved the theatre experience for patrons, particularly with the new raked seating with additional wheelchair spaces.
Councillor and acclaimed thespian, Cr Neil Westcott attended the awards on behalf of Council and the Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society.
"The wonderful thing about the theatre is that it is for everyone," Cr Westcott said.
"The M&D has a strong inclusive culture, and the autism friendly performance was an extension of this - by adapting the environment we could open the magic of theatre to families who might otherwise have found the environment challenging."
Parkes Shire Council was also recognised with the Waste Minimisation Award for the Waste Management Strategy Implementation, which saw new waste facility upgrades in Parkes and Peak Hill, including a new weighbridge, gatehouse, and drop-off facilities at Parkes. The new Waste Transfer Station at Peak Hill included undercover waste drop-off areas, new sealed roads and staff amenities. Environmental improvements were also undertaken at landfills at Bogan Gate, Gunningbland, Trundle and Tullamore.
The upgrades were implemented in conjunction with the introduction of a three-bin kerbside collection service to urban customers, which has resulted in a substantial diversion of recyclables and organics from landfill.
The Parkes Recycled Water Scheme was recognised with a Response to Drought Award. The Scheme represents Council's long-term vision to secure Parkes' water supply and increase our drought resilience in a changing climate.
"The concept for a Recycled Water Scheme was generated from water management strategy planning in the millennial drought, and Council has worked hard to secure funding so it could be implemented,” Cr Westcott explained.
Banjo the Frog also received a Highly Commended Environmental Education Award for sharing the message on recycled water and water resource issues with our community.
Congratulations also go to Trundle Central School, who were recognised with a Highly Commended Community Spirit and Inclusion Award for their Country Kids Reaching Out project.
2019 Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards - Parkes Shire
- Winner: Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Overall Award Population (Category D)
- Winner: Community Spirit and Inclusion Award (Category D) Shrek The Musical - Junior, Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society
- Winner: Waste Minimisation Award (Category D) Waste Management Strategy Implementation
- Winner: Response to Climate Change Award (Category D) Parkes Recycled Water Scheme
- Highly Commended: Environmental Communication Award (Category D) Banjo: Our Water Story