The town of Toodyay in Western Australia is living proof that small communities can punch above their weight.
Toodyay is located on the Avon River in the wheat-belt region of Western Australia, 85 kilometres north east of Perth and with a population of 4,686 residents. Almost one in five of these residents – some 870 individuals – were part of the tidy town effort in 2015, coming together as one to contribute 14,364 volunteer hours by picking up litter, managing monthly car-boot sales, and surveying and re-vegetating the local environment.
Among the impressive list of activities that helped Toodyay emerge triumphant from the 347 organisations and individuals in the running for awards was an Adopt-A-Spot project. This was carried out in partnership with Bendigo Bank and the Toodyay Tidy Towns Committee and ensured that each group had adoption kits, which included vests, tip passes and insurance through KABWA’s Adopt-A-Spot program. Some 457 people participated in 51 litter pickups, collecting 535 bags of rubbish weighing 2,210 kg.
The town also held community clean ups, participated in Clean Up Australia Day and other locally run activities, put up anti-litter signage, developed recycling programs run through the local high school, and conducted a sustainability audit of litter.
Communication was the glue that built and sustained the community’s support with community meetings, newsletters, newspaper articles, promotions, acknowledgement of results, and engagement with local community groups all used to motivate and nurture the town’s energy and commitment for the cause.
The vision, hard work and passion of the local community was recognised in 2015 when Toodyay won three of the eight national awards at the Australian Tidy Town Awards including the honour of the overarching Australian Tidy Towns award.
2016 marks 48 years of the Tidy Towns Awards in Australia and 26 years of national competition. The Australian Tidy Towns Awards will be held in Toodyay on 17 and 18 March.