The winners of the Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns awards for 2021 were announced during an online presentation yesterday.

When COVID restrictions made the usual gala event that was to be hosted by reigning titleholder, Hastings, within the usual timeline not possible, it was left to an online event to acknowledge the finalists and winners in the 39th year of these awards.

Dimboola had six finalists and although they did not earn any prizes, this event gave some worthy local projects some publicity on a state-wide stage.

Horsham had more success, with one highly commended, and three category winners from eleven finalists.

The project to upgrade the carpark at the Coles supermarket earned a high commendation in the Waste category. Along with much-needed aesthetic improvements to the area, a new construction material using recycled plastic aggregate made from soft plastic waste, known as Polyrok, was used to replace the usual mineral aggregate when relaying the carpark surface.

The Wimmera Cancer Centre was the winner in the Community category.

This centre was opened in January 2019 after considerable work by Wimmera and Southern Mallee communities, with funding coming from State and Federal Governments, and donations of over $1.6 million, so far.

Don Johns OAM, former Chair of the Horsham Tidy Towns Committee, was the key campaigner for this project and is responsible for coining the slogan ‘Give where you live’.

The Energy category was won by the new roofing project at the Horsham Livestock Exchange which provides significant energy and environmental benefits, including solar energy panels, water conservation, animal welfare and environmental safety.

The 2021 Young Legend award went to Bart Turgoose, a sixteen-year-old Horsham College student who is heavily involved in many community-based activities and is held in high regard within many associations in Horsham.

Horsham was also named as Victoria’s Tidiest Town, a title they last held in 2015 and 2016.