Tuesday 5 September 2017

Chairperson's Report 2016-17 - Peter Patterson

In the 35th year of our sister city relationship I pleased to report on the activities of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association over the past 12 months. Thank you to my fellow group of passionate volunteers who continue their great work to look after the sister city relationship on behalf of the Frankston Council.

Thank you to all the Executive members and others who have joined us and left us during the year. A very well done to Simon Hast, Therese Sakamoto, Bev Hannan, Vic Webster, Julie D’Arcy, Margaret Patterson and Helen Wilson. Good Luck Helen from all of us. Thank You also to Suzie Zagami and Fran Menting who were with us for part of the year.

Again, our collective thanks to Chris Hodgins for providing outstanding administrative support to the Association.

In February this year we held a reception at Frankston High School to celebrate the 35th year of our sister city relationship and the 20th anniversary of the Japanese garden. Those who attended included Mayor Brian Cunial, Councillors Hampton and Toms, Past Executive members, Life members and supporters of the sister city relationship. Speeches and ceremonial toasts recognised the work of many who have contributed to the fabric of the sister city relationship. See my speech attached to this report.

This year we completed a stocktake and documented of all the wonderful Japanese treasures we look after on behalf of the City. Thank you to Bev Hannan for this work.

We had a delegation visit of middle school students and minders from Susono on a short term stay on Frankston during August 2017. Thank you to Derinya Primary School community and Therese Sakamoto for looking after the group during their stay.

Simon Hast continues to manage our Japanese Garden at the Frankston High School. Thank you Simon. We have some work to do at the moment to recover the garden after being unattended for 5 months while building works at the school were completed.

Frankston High School continues to be a great supporter of our cause. It will be the venue for next year’s Japanese Fair. Principal John Albiston will represent the High School on this year’s Executive.

Our annual Speech Contest at Monash University continues to develop and evolve and is well supported by local schools. Our contest this Friday has attracted record numbers of participants. We also appreciate the support of those who have volunteered to be judges. We are developing a great network of people in the broader “Japanese community”. Thank you to those who have contributed to the success of our speech contest. There are some 26 schools in the region teaching Japanese and 8 schools in the city of Frankston.

In recognition of the number of Japanese expats in the broader Frankston community, one of our goals is to set up an informal Japanese Network. FSFA would be the catalyst and the organiser of the first event. After a false start earlier this year we plan to have a gathering in our Japanese Garden this spring to coincide with blossom blooming. Our Hanami is planned for late October so will can sit under the sakura and network with one another. We plan to enjoy some great Japanese food and beverages.

A member of our Association Mr Sorin Ionascu continued his great work as a Community English Language teacher in Susono. This fulfils his dream of living in Japan for an extended period. He has been well assisted by his wife Mirella and both have become loved members of the Susono community. We look forward to seeing Sorin and Mirella back in Frankston in February 2018. We supported Sorin and Mirella at the International Fair in Susono with a range of Australian goods.

The Frankston Council has approved in principle the naming of a service road in front of the Frankston Private Hospital as Susono Way. This is subject to community consultation and other processes. Once approved a tribute garden and signage will be constructed in a reserve opposite the Hospital. Signage will publicly recognise the sister city relationship and the contribution of AAPL to the Frankston Community.

After a break of a number of years, FSFA has submitted an application for an Australian Sister Cities Award. The submission was under the Community Involvement category and related to the 2016 Japanese Fair. Thank to Simon for putting the submission together. We shall keep our fingers crossed.

Jess Hast has been developing our new website. It is slowly getting there has we feed in more content and evolve the structure of the website. Thank you to Jess for her work to date. Keep up the good work.

We have started early preparations for a Japanese Fair on 6 May 2018 and a delegation visit to Japan for the Australian Fair on 30 September 2018. We all look forward to these two events.

It is sad to see that AAPL/Yazaki is closing in Frankston in the coming weeks. The company was a significant contributor to the Frankston Community in many ways. The company of course brought Frankston and Susono together and we always indebted to the company for that. We will be recognising the contribution of AAPL/Yazaki to Frankston in our new Japanese garden.

I would like to thank the Frankston Council for their ongoing support of our work and allocation of funding for our activities each year.

I thank you all for your attendance tonight and thank you again to all the Executive members and supporters of our sister city relationship.

For the longevity of this organisation and the sister city relationship we need some new faces and to connect with some from the past. I look forward to seeing some new folk around the Executive table this year.