After months of preparation, assessing and judging the winners of the highly anticipated Tidy Towns Awards have been announced at an awards ceremony held in Nundle.
Forbes residents left with smiles on their faces as they took home three well-deserved accolades: Winner of the Sustainable Business Award, Winner of the Environmental Education Award, and Highly Commended in the Australian Packaging Covenant Litter Reduction Award.
Bernardi’s Marketplace earned the Business award for exhibiting genuine enthusiasm for reducing their impact on the environment while actively seeking ways to contribute to improving sustainability in the Forbes community through diverse measures like recycling, local employment and a “Cool Cars” program for locals.
Forbes North Public School received recognition in the Schools Award for their partnership between the school, drumMUSTER, Agsafe and Landcare to extend sustainability in the community.
In 2009 the Forbes Nth School became the first in NSW to establish the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program and was chosen as the venue for the National Launch. From the beginning the school community have embraced sustainability and now in 2014, all fourteen classes have weekly garden science and kitchen lessons.
Finally, the ‘Coming out of Cotton’s Weir’ project received recognition in the Australian Packaging Covenant Litter Reduction Award.
The Cotton’s Weir is a majestic feature on the Lachlan River only four kilometers from Forbes. The local Tidy Towns committee felt there was a need to increase public awareness of the site by presenting it in a clean and tidy way so that the general public would be more aware of its natural appeal.
Tidy Towns is the largest sustainability program for regional NSW. More than a beauty pageant, the program celebrates town pride and community spirit, while fostering environmental initiatives which support the economic, social and environmental sustainability of country towns.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott congratulated the winners, saying, “These awards recognise the work of people in rural and regional communities to conserve their local environment.
“Keep NSW Beautiful inspires countless Australians to roll up their sleeves and do their bit to make their communities a better place.
“The Australian Government shares this focus on delivering community-led projects to support practical, grassroots environmental and conservation activities.”
The coveted Overall NSW Tidy Town Award went to Gloucester, for their considerable environmental credentials across a range of initiatives involving partnerships within and without the town, resource conservation and heritage projects.
CEO of KNSWB, David Imrie, said “I’d like to congratulate Forbes for their achievements.
“The Tidy Towns weekend is one of the highlights of our calendar.
“Working with regional communities is an important part of our work in promoting sustainability and reducing litter in NSW, and the celebrations are a fantastic way for towns across NSW to foster community spirit, show pride in their local environment and gain a valuable insight into what other towns are doing in terms of sustainability.”
“The KNSWB Tidy Towns program provides a great opportunity for communities to come together to make a difference and share their achievements in litter prevention”, said Stan Moore, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC).
“The APC is pleased to be the sponsor of Litter Reduction Award and congratulates all 2014 award winners on their innovative and collaborative efforts to reduce litter.”
The small town of Nundle, who won last year’s Overall NSW Tidy Town Award, doubled its population over the weekend as Tidy Towners from all over the state gathered to celebrate the Awards.
Despite the competitive nature of the program, the Awards Weekend is also a time for celebration and a great show of community spirit for regional NSW towns.