First off, let me welcome the visiting students from our sister city Ishiku. Recently my family had a visit from a student who stayed with us well over 20 years ago. He is now married, has a young family and works for BP in a very senior role. Over the years we had many students stay at home, and when our children had finished high school it continued with us hosting teachers. My wife Kerry made several trips to Japan with students,and has made many close friends. The ideals of cultural exchange, friendship and understanding continue. A big welcome to Orange.
Welcome also to the new cohort at Charles Sturt University Orange. I had the pleasure of welcoming students from every state and overseas. I spent some time with a Canadian student’s father who said how much Orange reminded him of home in Vancouver. The students are already getting involved in a number of of community activities and will be an asset to our city.
The Banjo Paterson Business Awards were held recently and the volume of new and emerging businesses and industries we have continues to amaze. Congratulations to all, especially the Orange Business Chamber for the organisation.
The end of the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival saw the market day at Emmaville cottage, which was seen in a one-hour documentary on SBS and I believe aired overseas. It was great publicity for Orange.
The Orange Running Festival saw over 1300 participants, with many of the runners from out of town. It was the result of a huge effort by the voluntary committee, and injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into the economy.
The weekend’s Orange Bird Sale and dinner featured over 7000 birds and over 2000 visitors through the Orange Police and Citizens Club. Again it poured thousands of dollars into the Orange economy.
Last but not least the Newcrest Challenge received over 1400 entries, more than 3,000 of which came from visitors to Orange, many for three or four days. The influx of people meant accommodation was full, while restaurants, cafes and shops were all busy. It’s a great event on our calendar, one that we must ensure continues. A big thank you to the many volunteers that pitched in – particularly Daybreak Rotary – that supplied over 70 volunteers. It was a pleasure to be there and welcome visitors to Orange and to be part of the early start on Sunday morning. Once again, there is a little pain to some through inconvenience on our roads, but the gain to so many in business and the opportunity for so many of Orange’s residents to participate makes it all very much worthwhile.
Council has had talks with National Parks and Wildlife Service recently on the Mount Canobolas fire and where to proceed from here. I am confident by working together we can see the mountain open sooner than expected.
Last week I meet with MLC Rick Colless, minister for tourism Adam Marshall and others to push for further support for activities that bring visitors to Orange, including sporting activities, passive recreation and holidaying.
Later this year we will see the Country and Outback Regional Tourism Awards held here in Orange, as well as the state Tidy Town awards. Last night we had the Civil Contractors Federation meeting here in Orange, so it’s been a very busy time.
In my next column in a fortnight’s time I will discuss ideas for revitalising the central business district. Any ideas are welcome.