Encounter Lakes Residents Group Inc (ELRGI) is an association of community-focused residents from the Encounter Lakes and Franklin Island estates, which are nestled in the coastal town of Victor Harbor in South Australia.
Membership is available to residents in the Encounter Lakes and Franklin Island estates. This includes both residents and absentee owners of rental properties and tenants.
Whilst ELRGI has many roles in this Community, its primary role is to monitor the City of Victor Harbor (Council) to ensure it fulfils the obligations defined in the Encounter Lakes Franklin Island Management Plan. The plan was developed in 2010 under a Joint Venture Agreement between the Council and the original developers and defines the services, standards and benchmarks adopted by Council for these communities when it took over responsibility for the estates.
ELRGI is committed to ensuring the highest possible quality of life for its members. Since the development of the Management Plan, the ELRGI Committee has established a closer working relationship with Council management to ensure this objective is achieved.
As the community body for the lakes, ELRGI also progresses interest in our area with other lake users. These include users with interests in dragon boating, educating children in water safety, triathlons and paddling.
We also act as the facilitator of community networking by keeping members and Council aware of issues that may affect them, through newsletters and forums. Opportunities for community interaction are encouraged through annual social events and the unique “Santa on the Lake” event on Christmas morning.
An elected management committee controls ELRGI’s activities and undertakes resident liaison with the Council and other authorities on community matters. The Committee acts on issues of concern to residents, and as a co-ordinator of community activities. ELRGI’s income comes from an annual membership subscription on members, the quantum of which is determined at the Annual General Meeting. Costs are closely controlled and subs have not increased for many years.
The committee has established two sub-groups, the Beach Boys, that oversees beach conditions and works closely with Council on beach maintenance; and the Garden Group which co-operates with Council on the care of the 14 parks and gardens in the estate.
Encounter Lakes and Franklin Island offer a truly unique residential environment for those fortunate enough to take up residence; and ELRGI provides a resource of enthusiastic members dedicated to continuously improving the quality of that environment.
SPORTS AND EDUCATION EVENTS
ELRGI strongly supports the lakes being used to teach children water safety and a wide range of other aquatic events. These activities are enjoyed by people from many and varied backgrounds and bring a life to the lakes that adds to everybody’s pleasure.
Flotation devices are mandatory safety equipment for all lake users in kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, sailing boats and paddleboards. Inspectors from Marine Services police this requirement on a regular basis.
As residents of Encounter Lakes/Franklin Island live, on or near our lakes, we often notice day to day problems that need to be resolved, or safety issues that should be addressed. Until January 2017 Council by-laws were un-enforceable and inspectors had not been able to police issues such as dogs on beaches and the taking of shellfish. New, enforceable by-laws encouraging safe behaviour are now in place and most of these problems should be resolved.
FOSTERING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
ELRGI has concerns with visitors and a few locals feeding seagulls. When people feed seagulls it encourages them to the lakes area during the holiday season and these birds turn vicious after the holidays, when food is scarce. ELRGI relies on co-operation from all residents to ensure that nobody feeds seagulls at any time of the year. Regular notices reflecting this concern are included in newsletters to residents.
OUR FUNDS SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY
Although the annual ELRGI subscription has been kept low for many years we have been able to achieve an operating surplus for use in community projects. ELRGI was able to contribute 50% of the cost of two sets of picnic tables for John Crompton Reserve.
Council was happy to join us in this project and together, we helped make one of our major parks an even more pleasant place to visit. Part of our management philosophy is to spend prudently and accumulate a small surplus each year so we can invest in infrastructure within Franklin Island and Encounter Lakes. This way, everybody wins.
ELRGI ANNUAL COMMUNITY EVENTS
Each summer season ELRGI offers an opportunity for our members and their families to come together as a community at a lakeside park where a free sausage sizzle is provided. Non-members are able to join in by making a “gold coin” donation. Those attending are treated to some very special snags and onions on a fresh slice of bread with sauce or mustard.
SANTA ON THE LAKE
This very special event takes place on Christmas morning. Long term residents Bill and Fiona Harvey provide the boat at their own cost and organise the collection and distribution of more than 100 presents. ELRGI provides Santa, Bill is the Fairy and his friend Steve, who throws more than 250 bags of lollies to children round the lake and on public beaches, is the Elf. Santa on the lake is a unique experience for our community and one which gives those on the boat, residents and visitors a real sense of festive spirit. ELRGI is proud to be part of this great Lakes tradition and both local residents and visitors are extremely grateful for the wonderful contribution that Bill and Fiona Harvey make to Christmas each year.