NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council Mayor Murray Emerson says 2020 has been a 'tough year' for residents and their families.
With the coronavirus pandemic putting a stop to the tourism industry and separating residents from loved ones, Cr Emerson said on behalf of the council he hoped everyone could take the time over the holiday period to enjoy one another's company.
"We wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year's break," he said.
"Of course, the tragedy at Halls Gap at the weekend as brought to the fore the possibility that things can go wrong, so please be vigilant.
"Have a good time, enjoy yourselves and remember the real reason behind celebrating Christmas.
"We'll see you all in the New Year when the council gets down to some more serious work for our community."
Cr Emerson said he was proud of the way residents were able to navigate through the year with COVID-19 looming.
"It has been tough, and stressful for everyone," he said.
"I think within our shire, residents and services did exceptionally well during this year with what they were faced with.
"It wasn't easy and earlier in the year when we were first confronted with the pandemic I hoped we would come out of it as a stronger community.
"We have exceeded my expectations."
Cr Emerson said he was looking forward to the last member of the council being elected in the new year.
"We've got some new and experienced members on board and lots of projects on the go," he said.
"It's going to be very busy in the next term of the council - but it's an exciting time for all."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the region, sign up here.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Stawell Times-News, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Stawell's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great town.