AT a time when regional areas like the Hunter Valley are seeing retrenchments in the coal industry Orange is looking optimistically forward, thanks largely to a diverse and robust economy.
On Wednesday Premier Barry O’Farrell opened the $9 million Ron Finemore freight complex and yesterday mayor John Davis predicted a dynamic six months ahead as other projects get under way.
A mix of public and private developments, they point to an exciting and challenging time.
The importance of Mr Finemore’s decision to build a freight hub on the Orange bypass should not be underestimated. Apart from the obvious benefits to his business and the reduction in truck movements in the CBD, flagship enterprises such as this can only attract more commercial and industrial businesses to the north Orange industrial precinct.
This will translate into more job opportunities for Orange residents and people looking to relocate to Orange for employment and lifestyle opportunities.
On council’s agenda are a mix of public and private projects which will bring better services, more retail opportunities and improvements to some of the basic services residents are expecting.
On a transport note, the $13.9 million expansion of the airport, which includes state and federal funding, is another vote of confidence in the future growth of the economy. When the work is completed Orange will be much better placed to attract a second carrier for the Sydney route. Better air services will make the city an even more appealing option for business operators and people working in health, mining and education.
Other projects like the sale and redevelopment of the old hospital site and improving traffic flow at the Forest and Huntley roads intersection now seem to be gathering momentum.
Just as importantly for many people, the basics have not been forgotten, with the mayor flagging more funding for roads and footpaths.
It will be a demanding period for council staff and for councillors but it will be one of managing development and growth not dealing with contraction and pessimism.