Community Spirit times Seven!

Community spirit – according to Wikipedia, “is a unity of people in society who uphold and share similar values and resources. . . Community spirit is associated with voluntary work, favours and gestures of goodwill by residents and local businesses.”

Feel good stories often involve a generous serving of community spirit – this story is no exception…

In the lead-up to another hot summer in Australia, the bay side town of Altona will once again play host to thousands of visitors from surrounding suburbs and beyond.

Kim and Sharon Walsh from the Altona Village Traders Association (AVTA) recognized this, “Altona Beach is the largest and most populated beach in the West and our greatest asset. Our beach is amazing, but is very unpredictable and can be extremely dangerous for the community and visitors of all swimming abilities.”

Despite the locale’s increasing popularity, the beach has always been unmanned by lifeguards from Monday to Friday.

Volunteers from Altona Life Saving Club patrol our beaches on weekends and public holidays and do an amazing job, but from Christmas through to Australia Day, during peak summer holiday period, our locals and visitors alike are at risk every time they enter the water.

And so, an idea was born:

To have the beach patrolled 7 days a week from December 27 to January 25.

The AVTA needed funding to bring this idea to fruition, not able to proceed without partnering up with other members of the community.

The Traders, along with the Altona Sports Club, Altona Community Bank Branch, the Lions Club of Altona, Rotary of Altona, the Altona Bowling Club and the Altona RSL banded together, agreeing that the safety of their community and visitors must be priority.

Coming together for a photo-shoot to mark this unique community-led project, representatives from each club/group were clearly thrilled to be involved. An air of mutual respect and understanding clearly present. Familiar faces, not often seen together all at once, gathered in front of Altona’s iconic pier.

Whilst Rotary and Lions might not be often spotted side by side, and the Sports Club and RSL are natural competitors, the message behind an initiative like this is Community over Competition!

Everyone benefits, when we work together.

With the Altona Beach Precinct once again being transformed into a pedestrian only zone, and the Waterfront Workout program – the first of its kind in Victoria – offering an awesome and entirely free range of fitness, dance, art and well-being activities, for the whole month of January 2020, Altona really is shaping up as the place to be this summer.

Council’s Accessible Beaches program will also be in full swing, with beach wheelchairs for hire, as well as accessible beach matting, beach lockers and an accessible change facility with a hoist and full-sized change table.

Altona Beach – fully patrolled and fully accessible – a rarity and a blessing!

And just because this story wasn’t already fantastic enough, the Lifeguards that have been given the gig, are two young locals from the Altona Lifesaving Club.

Congratulations to the Magnificent Seven who got this initiative across the line – Altona seems to have community spirit to spare!

See you at the beach!

Melissa Longo

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