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Departing APA president wins WCC award

At the Australia Day Celebrations on January 26, retiring Artarmon Progress Association president Michelle Sloane was surprised and delighted to be presented with the Willoughby City Council award for cultural and community building. This was a well-deserved award in recognition of her 20-year history of achievement in the Willoughby community.

Michelle began her community activities long ago by organising Muttama Rd street parties but her major community building work has been with the APA. She began working as a volunteer with the APA in 1990; joined the APA committee in 1993; was elected vice president in 1995 and became APA president in 2007.

Under her leadership, APA membership grew significantly and now boasts an all-time record of about 250 members. At the last AGM, for the first time, nominations for positions on the APA committee exceeded the number of positions, largely because of Michelle's drive and the way she has positively raised the profile of the association throughout the Artarmon community.

She has been a strong advocate for protection of the Artarmon conservation area and created the heritage committee as an APA subset to ensure heritage remains a major local issue. The heritage committee has this year received an award for its work. The success of the heritage committee is in many ways thanks to Michelle's support and encouragement.

Michelle introduced the Artarmon Community Fair, the most important community event in Artarmon and she has almost single-handedly organised the fair for the past nine years. Not only is the fair a fun day out but it unites the community and gives local groups such as the scouts and guides, environmental groups and Artarmon Public School an opportunity to fundraise and promote their activities. Noah's Ark Toy Library, for children with learning difficulties, in particular, has benefited from Michelle's efforts.

She is also a tireless campaigner for neighbourhood cohesion as could be seen in her efforts to unite the Artarmon community over contentious issues such as the medium density controversy last year. She encouraged affected residents to take action, which succeeded in getting low-density LEP for Artarmon's "soldiers and sailors" area and conservation protection for Raleigh St and 44a, 44b and 46 Elizabeth Rd (see Artarmon Gazette, last issue).

Beyond Artarmon, Michelle has also been involved in community building through many organisations. She is a long-standing member of the Willoughby City Lady Mayoress' Committee which raises funds for charities in the Willoughby area. One such charity is Streetworks, which assists young people who do not have adequate support systems in their lives. Michelle has become a member of the Streetworks advisory board and has worked hard to promote its works and raise its profile.

Michelle is also an important member of Willoughby's Cultural Events Committee which provides a wide range of cultural events across the Willoughby area. One of the main events organized by the committee is the annual Spring Festival which Michelle helps to organise. Because of her personality and drive, Michelle has been master of ceremonies at the annual spring fair for many years.

As she steps down from her role as president of the APA, the Artarmon community and the APA thank her for all her hard work. She is community builder and will be sorely missed. Congratulations to her on her award.

by Marianne Nestor

Courtesy of Gazette February 2011
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Michelle Sloane - deserving award winner





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