Dereel People – Julie Lee

Dereel-people-julie-lee1. How long have you lived in the area?

About 5 years. I was ready for a tree change. I lived in Geelong and my husband in Ballarat so Dereel seemed part way between the two..

2. What’s great about living here?
I love the peace and quiet, the trees, wildlife and especially the orchids.  And yet it is still accessible to everything.

3. What do you feel passionate about?

Animal welfare. All creatures deserve respect.  The environment, it is where we live.

4. What do you find joy in doing?

In sharing; whether Christmas gifts or sharing acquired knowledge, giving is a wonderful experience.  I get a lot of enjoyment from caring for animals.  I love studying and learning, and am very happy to finally have the opportunity to go to University and look forward to graduating with a Masters in Planning.

5. What is your current pet project?

Working on building my garden.

6. What community groups are you involved in and why?

I have always done volunteer work, if you want to see something happen you have to get on and do it.

Dereel Community Hub – I had been involved in community planning previously but left because of study commitments.  I am on sabbatical so can get back into it.

Oscar’s Law – taking action against puppy farms

Animals Australia – working towards animal welfare reform

Victoria Bushfire Working Group – bushfire planning, design & management.  Where we have specialist knowledge, it’s our responsibility to share it.

7. Tell us about your best community experience.

I started and was the inaugural area co-coordinator for K60 Neighbourhood watch, covering Meredith to Winchelsea and across to Cressy.  What inspired me was a lovely older lady I knew, who was so scared of being burgled that she had bars on her window and lived in fear.  By improving communication and greater awareness of crime in the area, people started feeling safe.

8. How could you see more of this happening in Dereel?

Change can only happen if people are open to it.  We need to recognise the value of acting for community benefit and not limit ourselves to personal agendas.

9. Describe a future vision of Dereel that you would like to see.

I would like to see public space on the highway – a real sense of township centred around council owned public space, e.g. for walks, BBQs etc, with a commercial centre to the side – a typical country town centre.  This would help build a real sense of ownership and engagement in the community, with places to meet and do things together.

10. What would we do as a first step to realise that dream?

The key step is working with strategic planning of the Golden Plains Shire to work towards getting zoning changes underway to make this possible.  This would be done as part of the community planning activity. I feel my knowledge and experience working in Town Planning gives me a depth of understanding of these issues. The birth of Town Planning originated with Ebenezer Howard in the 1890’s where the town was planned around the public open space (Village Green) which was the center of the community. In Dereel there is no real center and all parts are fairly fragmented. We need a ‘sense of town’ where we can share and display our ‘town’.

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