A year of growth for the Wheatbelt's hub | OPINION

Another year has come and gone in what feels like a blink of an eye - but what a year it has been in the Avon Valley.

It marks another year of working at the paper, writing about the good, bad and the occasionally obscure - a job that brings me so much joy.

Last year was a big one, especially for the town of Northam.

It saw a lot of development that had been in the pipeline for quite some time come to fruition - the Northam Youth Precinct, $70 million of federal funding towards the Wheatbelt Freight Network and the near completion of the new Northam aquatic facility and the new Dome Cafe.

Annual events continued their success including the Northam Motorsport Festival, the Avon Descent, the Farmer's Show and the development of a charity fight night for brain cancer and Christmas in July.

Disappointment in the cancellation of the Toodyay Music Festival and York Kids events saw the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate start a volunteering series exploring the issues facing our local community groups who rely on the support of volunteers.

This was the first of many series that generated wide-spread discussion around the region including a tourism campaign, and in-depth look at aged care.

But unfortunately it wasn't always good news. As a community we grieved the loss of important members of our region, crime was committed and there was distrust in local representatives.

My personal highlights have been reporting on our local heroes.

This year Leonie Knipe was named as WA's top businesswoman, an achievement I was lucky enough to witness in person, the Northam branch of the Country Women's Association was reestablished, the Fresh Start Recovery Programme held its first public graduation, the Northam dementia cafe was launched to support patients and their carers and the Wheatbelt Health Pharmacy was named as a finalist as top pharmacy in the country.

Last year was full of news that I was lucky enough to bring the wider Avon Valley and Wheatbelt regions and I hope to continue that far into 2020.

To re-live the standout news of last year check out our 2019 Year in Review starting on Page 7 in this week's paper and sporting wrap up on Page 18.

Eliza Wynn is the journalist at the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate.