gippstar-honours-for-eleanorThe South Gippsland Shire Council will host a Civic Reception for gold medallist Eleanor Patterson and also Kaila Hutchinson-McKnight.

IT WAS important that Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Eleanor Patterson, was allowed to settle into her studies and her family life back in Leongatha after the whirlwind of the games.
But, now that has been successfully achieved, there will be an opportunity for the community to officially share the joy for Eleanor, her family and her coach David Green at a function on Wednesday, August 27.
And you’re all invited!
Not only will Eleanor be feted on the occasion, to be hosted by the South Gippsland Shire Council at GippsTAFE in Nerrena Road, but she will be joined on the dais by her coach, David Green, and Commonwealth Games 1500 metre finalist, Kaila Hutchinson-McKnight.
Our other games hero, Lisa Alexander, hasn’t been forgotten either and she will be sent a special letter of congratulations, under the council’s seal, for her efforts in coaching the Australian Diamonds to elusive netball gold.
The decision to hold a civic reception for our three local Commonwealth Games representatives was taken by the council at a meeting last Wednesday, August 13, called specially to consider the best way to honour them for their efforts.
“Getting to the Commonwealth Games, or to any major international competition, is a great achievement whatever the result,” the Mayor Cr Jim Fawcett said last week.
“And we’d like the opportunity to say how proud we are of their achievements as a community.
“I’d like to thank our staff for discussing this with the Patterson family. I also spoke to Mark on Saturday and he’s a very proud dad.
“Following those discussions, we have changed the recommendation to reflect the wishes of the family that they’d like to keep it as low-key as possible.
“Their priority is to allow Eleanor to get back into school mode and it’s desirable that we reflect their wishes.”
They might not be getting the “keys to the city” but special commemorative plaques are being made for the occasion.
A report to council noted the following:
“The community is looking to council to show leadership in providing recognition of South Gippsland Shire participants at the games on behalf of the shire and community members have indicated they are keen to attend and participate.
“Eleanor Patterson, a Leongatha resident and Mary MacKillop College student, won a gold medal in the high jump. Community members and councillors have suggested that this achievement is worthy of recognition by council, on behalf of Eleanor’s home community.
“It is considered that Eleanor’s achievement fits within the guidelines for consideration of a Civic or Mayoral Reception. The policy requires a resolution of council to hold a Civic Reception that includes a budget allocation to cover administrative, venue and catering costs.
“While Eleanor’s achievement is exceptional, the efforts of David Green, also a South Gippsland resident, in assisting Eleanor to reach this goal as her coach, are also considered worthy of recognition by council.
“Further, Kaila Hutchinson-McKnight, a resident of the shire, competed in the final of the 1500 metres at the games.
“Lisa Alexander, a former shire resident, coached the Australian Diamonds Netball Team to a gold medal. Council may also consider Lisa’s efforts for recognition.”

Traffic management

As is the want of bureaucracy, even the ‘risks’ of staging such an event were considered, as follows:
1. Allocating a suitable budget to ensure an event is provided that will meet the community’s expectation.
2. The type of event needs to be mindful of the thoughts and wishes of Games participants.
3. It may be difficult to arrange for all the nominated Games participants to attend the Civic Reception. In the case that not all nominated Games participants can attend other suitable arrangements will be made.
4. Traffic management and event management requirements need to be carefully managed including VicRoads requirements.
So, traffic management issues aside, it should be a fun occasion, starting at approximately 4pm on August 27, at the conclusion of the ordinary council meeting.