Stawell Steps project wins second national award

A collaboration between Northern Grampians Shire Council and ten partnering organisations has given rise to a second national award.

The Stawell Steps/Monash Steps project was named the local government winner of the 2013 Resilient Australia Awards at a ceremony in Canberra on Thursday. Earlier this year, the initiative took out the top small council accolade at the National Awards for Local Government.

Mayor Cr Kevin Erwin said Northern Grampians Shire Council was delighted to accept the award on behalf of Monash University - Faculty of Art Design and Architecture, Krause Bricks, Country Education Program and Wimmera Development Association.

"Winning one national award is a significant achievement for a small rural council, but this latest accolade highlights our ability to deliver big projects that benefit our communities," he said.

"We are extremely grateful to Monash University - Faculty of Art Design and Architecture, Krause Bricks who donated the bricks for the project, the Country Education Program and Wimmera Development Association for their support."

The Stawell Steps/Monash Steps is a piece of flood mitigation infrastructure at Cato Park that has become a functional and architectural community asset constructed from locally made bricks.

The Steps were designed and built by 20 Monash architecture students under the guidance of their professor Nigel Bertram and Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakao and with the hands-on expertise of local retired tradesmen and council staff.

During the construction phase, the students spent five weeks living and working in Stawell as part of Rural Council Victoria's population attraction and retention pilot program designed to encourage people to live and work in regional areas.

Cr Erwin said the project is an example of what can be achieved when various organisations combine their skills and expertise.

"The Stawell Steps/Monash Steps project wasn't just about creating a spillway. It managed to promote rural living, give students hands on experience and bring the local community together," he said.

"Essentially, it could have been quite a basic project, but the support of various agencies and the generosity of Krause Bricks and local tradesman allowed us to take it to the next level."

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