COUNCILLORS are likely to support Evocities for at least another year to give it the chance to prove its worth.
The Evocities program encourages people living in metropolitan areas to move to Orange or fellow inland centres Bathurst, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Armidale and Tamworth.
A report to Orange councillors has recommended contributing funding for the next four years, which would cost Orange City Council $255,000.
However, councillors are expected to support the program on a trial basis for the first year only, at a cost of $60,000.
Councillor Russell Turner said if the state government did not offer significant financial backing in that time, he would withdraw his support next year.
“We’re talking about millions of dollars, not just thousands here,” he said.
Cr Turner said while watching his grandson play soccer in Sydney, he spoke to other parents about whether they would consider a move to an Evocity.
“One of the fears they had was they wouldn’t be able to afford to move back to the city, it would be out of their financial reach, and the lack of capital gain in their properties,” he said.
“These can be overcome, but it will take time and dollars to convince people that the lifestyle is great up here.”
Councillors Ron Gander and Kevin Duffy believed more information was needed on the numbers Evocities brought to Orange.
The seven Evocities have welcomed a combined 1832 households since 2010 and while Dubbo welcomed 285 people in the last financial year, Orange has no direct figures.
“I want to know what the parameters are and who analyses it. Maybe we should be doing our own research, but Evocities should be providing that information,” Cr Gander said.
The Central Western Daily asked its readers via social media whether they supported the council spending $255,000 to bring more people to Orange and most of the respondents, including Anne Honeysett, said they were concerned about the number of jobs available to support new residents.
“We have enough unemployed people trying to get jobs here now without more people coming and taking jobs away from the people that have lived here for along while,” she said.
Bill Milne’s approach was, “don’t bring people, bring business”, while Robert Curran believed Evocities should be promoted to people who could employ others.
“Growth will only come and stay if work is plentiful,” he said.