Community stories: 23 July 2020
The Sunset Strip Village is located on Menindee Lakes in NSW and has experienced severe drought cycles for the past seven years. Without a water supply for the Community Centre Precinct lawns, Landcare Nursery and land restoration sites, the areas turned brown and undesirable.
The psychological and economic impact of the long-lasting drought has led to painful shortfalls for the community, including the tragic death of a much-loved local volunteer. In addition, at least 28 families in the agricultural industry have abandoned the area, with weekend residents quick to follow suit. The result was a drying and demoralised Sunset Strip, with a third of its houses up for sale.
The Sunset Strip Progress Association Inc (SSPAI) is a locally run not-for-profit, co-managing everything from the local pub to the post office. This resilient group of volunteers have tackled drought-related challenges in the community since 2012, and they were not about to give up their sunny strip. SSPAI knew what their village needed in order to not only survive, but grow and thrive as a small rural community – and they were willing to put in the work to make it happen.
The idea was simple: make the area green and prosperity will follow. The project has well-received by the community as it they all wanted to see the Community Centre Precinct flourish, a restoration of Landcare plantations, and an increase in lifestyle, liveability and house sales with new residents.
Thanks to a $19,070 Tackling Tough Times Together grant funded by the Australian Government, the Sunset Strip Progress Association purchased a submersible pump, a 1,000-watt solar panel, a water controller, a pressure solar pump and 3,300-gallon water tank to a create a permanent groundwater source for the 6,000 sqm flourishing community lawn around the Community Centre Precinct.
Since this much-needed investment, the benefits in the whole village have been obvious. The Sunset Strip Village has welcomed three new families and seen an overall renewed positive atmosphere in the community. The Landcare Nursery Team are growing seedlings that will ensure future growth and thriving greenery – making the Village a desirable destination to work and live again.