WHAT an exciting few weeks.
The Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton relay visit to Orange featured great weather and compliments for our organisation, enthusiasm of the community and baton relay representatives.
A big thank you to all involved and the community for putting up with some inconvenience to traffic movement.
Australia Day has come and gone, with the day topped off by some much-needed rain late in the afternoon.
Big crowds attended Cook Park and we take on board constructive feedback to make the event bigger and better next year.
A big thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work, Lions for their excellent catering once again, the folk who took on Australian citizenship – 24 people hailing from seven countries – and the nominees and winners of Orange’s Australia Day Awards.
It was great to see Mary Brell recognised for her work in Nepal with a prestigious award as well.
Community consultation is well and truly under way for council to develop a draft management plan for the next decade.
A pop-up information desk was held in the arcade on Saturday and I certainly was quite enthused by the responses given and the willingness of folk to have their opinion on what is needed.
You can participate online and there are other events planned over the next two weeks.
This coming weekend The Nationals party is having their central regional conference in Orange. It is rumoured that there will be over 130 people in attendance, which is good for the local economy.
Take the opportunity to ask questions of any of ministers who will be in town, including the deputy premier and the leader of the state Nationals John Barilaro.
CENTROC (Central NSW Regional Organisation of Councils) will be meeting at Orange on Wednesday evening and Thursday.
The agenda includes their continued push for a suitable road passage to Sydney.
Next column I will try and give a summary of some of this important lobby group’s aims and objectives.
Council has its first meeting for 2018 on Tuesday evening with a very lengthy agenda and the first use of the facilities to record council meetings
To report issues to council like potholes, damaged trees, graffiti, damaged directional signage, dumped rubbish, burnt-out cars and burst water connections please ring the council’s hotline on 1300 650 511 or go online to report it.
Often we find out about a problem well down the track, with the assumption someone else has seen the problem and reported it.
The restoration work on the Blowes Conservatory has been completed and this historical building, which houses our famous begonias, will once again be a special feature of Cook Park.
The recent rain – over 75 millimetres in most parts of Orange – has certainly freshened all the sporting fields and green space areas.
It has also freshened up gardens and lawns and decreased the pressure on our city’s water supplies.
Orange has one of the lowest uses of potable water per person and household in Australia, which is the result of all the community understanding how limited and precious our water supplies are and adopting many of the practices that can see a lower use without impinging on our lifestyle expectations.
Remember we were the first council to introduce stormwater harvesting, which is now fairly common practice across Australia.
In the area of energy the council’s Environmental Sustainability Community group has been working tirelessly at exploring ways to support our community in this area.
Council has undertaken energy audits and is continually looking at ways of reducing our electricity use and costs.
A good example is the solar network on the works depot in McLachlan Street and the recently installed complex on the indoor pool.
I am certainly interested in seeing more developments and perhaps research into a solar farm on part of one of our water supply reservoirs similar to what has just been commissioned by Lismore Council.
Vale to two of our city’s great contributors in all aspects of community life: Mr William ‘Bill’ Marshall and Mrs Deidre Penhall. Our community will always be indebted for your input.
Congratulations to all involved at Orange Regional Conservatorium for the launch and concert on Friday evening.
The Orange Harness Club have the only racing on turf in NSW,and are doing a great job in re-inventing themselves with a family-day-out slant as their objective. If Sunday was any indication they are well on the way of succeeding.
Coming up is a week of celebrations for one of our city’s pride and joys: A.B. Paterson. The Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival will run from February 16-25.
All the schools are back and fully operational. Just a reminder for all of us to remain on the alert when driving near schools.
Enjoy our smallest month.