It's always very exciting when you move to a new neighbourhood and get to explore new spaces and places.
Before you move in you’ve probably already worked out what council or shire your home falls under. As a homeowner you will need to pay rates to your shire every year.
The rates you pay fund essential services and maintenance such as maintaining sewerage and collecting rubbish. Your shire also administers various laws and regulations to help maintain and improve services and facilities for your community.
These include community services, sporting and recreation services, environmental planning and protection, public health and waste services.
Your money (rates) pay for these things so take the time to get to know what your council/shire offers. Most have comprehensive websites and a service centre in their offices so you can go and ask them any questions.
Most councils provide:
- A recreation centre. Generally, these include a subsidised gym, pool, children’s crèche, exercise classes like yoga and group sports ranging from netball to tennis.
- A library. Libraries offer much more than just books. They have study spaces, free wi--fi, free streaming services so you can watch free movies and TV shows at home, borrow the latest magazines, activities for small children like reading time, LEGO Club for kids, books on wheels (yes, just like meals on wheels), archival documents of the area and much more. And guess what? All of those things are free.
- Parks, playgrounds and dog parks are built and maintained by the council/shire. These can encourage exercising, socialising with friends and neighbours and have been proven to help with our mental health. Some parks also have walking trails and exercise equipment that anyone can use.
- Community events like concerts in the park, art trails, food markets and community fairs are often on in summer months and are great low-cost entertainment options.