The removal of any funding by council to keep open community-based offices of any kind is an unhealthy sign of local government’s inability to set its budgets and manage its expenditure.
Harvest Corner was formed for local people to sell produce and goods through a voluntary based cooperative structure. It was designed as an outlet for locals with craft and cooking skills to market their wares at a time when the rural economy was seriously depressed.
It was set up on a sound business base with a small margin retained to cover costs and was quickly recognised as ideal for a tourist centre.
Volunteers worked on a roster system and were trained to handle enquiries.
The premises changed to its current site and a tourist officer appointed on a permanent basis.
This worked extremely well and Harvest Corner was a successful award-winning facility the envy of many other towns.
The removal of funding is closely linked to YP Council’s recent rate revenue dilemma.
It is also linked to other decisions to build a new office at one end of council’s area, closure of the Warooka office, transition of staff to the central office and continued expansion of staff to comply with the Local Government Act.
This all means less revenue for essential services, reducing council presence in the more remote communities and the funding of many community-based services.
Many of these are provided by Yorke Peninsula’s comprehensive network of progress associations, friends of parks and nature reserves et cetera — all of whom are volunteers.
Councils must be challenged continually to be more prudent and fair in the setting and use of rate revenue, after all it is not council’s money, it is ours.
What about Harvest Corner?
The answer is already there, council must find it. If council is too stubborn to support volunteers assist the large number of visitors who boost the local economy through facilities like Harvest Corner then it is time to install councillors and change staff that will genuinely grow the community.
Grantley H. Dodd, Stansbury