ORANGE residents can expect council’s projects over the next six months to be better than the past eight years, according to mayor John Davis.
With two major projects, the north Orange bypass and the indoor aquatic centre opened, this next term of Orange City Council had been expected to be one of consolidation with a shift back to basics.
But big-ticket items are still firmly on the agenda with work on the airport expansion and the southern distributor set to begin - plus work within the council’s normal budget “that’s very, very big”, Cr Davis said.
The $13.9 million airport upgrade will be a quick project for the council - only expected to take 12 to 18 months.
The Orange Waste Project will also be up and running within 12 months.
In the meantime the retail industry is also set to expand with council recently approached by several potential developers wanting to establish their businesses in Orange.
“There is a great deal of interest for being in Orange and I’m confident that in the next 12 months they’ll come to fruition,” Cr Davis said.
He said council did not want a “boom or bust” but wanted to keep the ball rolling when one project was finished.
Cr Davis said the opening of Ron Finemore Transport near the bypass will draw similar businesses to the industrial estate.
Action to redevelop the former hospital precinct was also expected to begin within the next six months, with Cr Davis confident the state government will find a way to sell-off or develop the site.
“That will have huge benefits on the Orange community, especially the streetscape,” he said.
“People are worried about vandalism.”
Roads and footpaths will not be left behind despite the focus on big projects.
Cr Davis was confident councillors would support an expansion of the roads program beyond the already larger budget allocated last year.
“There’s no risk that we’ve been under the pump since the drought has broken to get the roads up to scratch,” he said.
“We’ll have very good roads within the 12 months to two year period.”
Cr Davis said the aim was to keep the roads in good order and make them more durable and sustainable.
Work to install traffic lights at the Forest and Huntley roads intersection will also go ahead in the next six months.
Orange will also continue to benefit from the success of the Orange Health Service - which Cr Davis believes is the best in the state.
“It’s not just Orange’s, it’s the central west’s facility and it’s so successful,” Cr Davis said.
“We’ll have more and more medical practitioners, specialists and industry associated with the hospital.”
Despite the enthusiasm surrounding Orange’s immediate future, other projects such as the museum and the redevelopment of the Anson Street car park were more longer term, Cr Davis said.
He hopes the museum will be built within four years, while the multistorey car park redevelopment could be five to 10 years away with the council keeping expressions of interest open.