$2 million spree: Funding for crisis centre, parks and heritage announced | Photos

Orange’s long-awaited domestic violence crisis centre for women and children will be built with a funding grant of $684,000 confirmed.

The funding was part of a state government spending spree of about $2 million for Orange announced on Wednesday under the Stronger Country Communities Fund and the Heritage Near Me Activation grants program.

Apart from the domestic violence centre, $550,000 has been provided for new toilets and change room amenities at Sir Jack Brabham Park, $256,000 will go to track upgrades and new storage facilities at Gosling Creek while $122,000 will pay for a solar blanket and disability lift equipment at Orange Aquatic Centre.

Cook Park’s historic fernery will receive a $100,000 upgrade and $71,000 will be spent on a toilet, picnic shelter and development of a poetry walk at Banjo Paterson Park.

And Cook Park and the Wentworth and Reform Mines at Lucknow will also receive State Heritage status.

Housing Plus CEO David Fisher said they were “absolutely delighted” to receive the final piece of  funding to start the $3.1 million project.

“This allows us now to proceed with the project,” he said.

“The next step is finalising the designs and submit our planning application to the council which we would expect to do in the next one to two months.

“It’s well-documented unfortunately that Orange has double the average state incidence for domestic family violence, so for that reason it has been supported by the both the Orange community, our local council, our state government as well as the federal government.

“We’ve all pulled together as well as the wider community in terms of fundraising to address that problem.”

Mr Fisher said it would be a “completely new approach” to providing domestic violence services.

“This building will be the first in the state, it will be a new way of providing support and services to domestic family violence victims, there will be accommodation that will provide independent units for each of the families where our services are able to be provided on site,” Mr Fisher said.

Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless said the centre would be a “safe haven” for domestic violence victims in the region.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to domestic violence in NSW,” he said.

“Each month in Orange there are more than 130 reports of domestic violence made to the police.”

Orange mayor Reg Kidd said he was “over the moon” with funding for the issue.

“We’ve got a problem, we’ve got to fix it, everything isn’t always rosy,” he said.

PARKS SCORE UPGRADES

Funding to build new change rooms and a toilet block with disabled facilities will improve Orange’s position to host major carnivals and state championship events.

That’s the view of Orange and District Softball Association president Geoff Kelly after a state government grant of $550,000 for the new facilities on the the Forest Road side of Sir Jack Brabham Park on Wednesday.

Mr Kelly said 350 people were at the softball fields every Saturday through the season and they had to walk 400 metres to the nearest toilet facilities.

He said when they organised carnivals they had to supply portaloos.

However, once the facilities were built it would boost Orange’s position to host bigger events.

“[Orange City] council has got plans for the tender, plans are drawn up for the whole facility,” he said.

Mr Kelly said they had been pushing for the facilities for “five or six years.”

He said the amenities would also benefit other sports including cricket.

The funding, under the Stronger Country Communities Fund, will also see $256,000 allocated for upgrading the track and providing new storage facilities at Gosling Creek.

This would involve widening the existing 1.2km bitumen circuit to six metres to allow for criterium bike racing and for races by human powered vehicles (HPV) with a storage shed next to the existing toilets.

The proponent, the Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club, had sought $300,000.

And the Orange Aquatic Centre will receive $122,000 for a new solar blanket and disability lift equipment.

Orange mayor Reg Kidd said the funding would boost the city’s resources.

“Programs such as this contribute enormously to regional cities, such as Orange, as they support communities by providing funding for much-needed amenities and services, which are sometimes forgotten about in regional areas,” he said.

Western NSW parliamentary secretary Rick Colless said the funding aimed to boost community activities.

“This program is about bringing communities together,” he said.

“Local projects make a huge impact on communities and can have a huge impact on boosting local business.”

SPORTING WIN FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

An advocate for better facilities for people with a disability, Samantha Rath, has called for a “massive celebration” over news disabled amenities will be provided at Sir Jack Brabham Park.

Miss Rath, who has pioneered the Kandooz program in Orange, said the $550,000 funding announcement on Wednesday was a significant step.

“We’ve been fighting for the past 15-20 years,” she said.

Miss Rath said she was disappointed the project had missed out on funding in the first round of the government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund, but was pleased it had succeeded in the second round.

“It has been quite hard to fight for so long but hopefully now we’ll be able to pick ourselves up and keep going,” she said.

“It is another step toward disabled people being equalised in this town.

“I think it’s a cause for a massive celebration.”

Miss Rath said it was difficult for people to travel to the other side of the park to find toilet facilities.

And she said the normal size toilets were too small for wheelchairs which had caused further problems for people.

Miss Rath said about 35 people aged from 10-adults played Kandooz softball on Saturday mornings from 11am from October to March.

“It’s a modified form of T-ball,” she said.

“We don’t have many rules, we have fun.”

She said she now wanted to see more disabled facilities in restaurants.

COOK PARK WINS HERITAGE STATUS

Orange’s beloved Cook Park has finally received State Heritage status.

The jewel in the city’s crown was afforded the status as part of a raft of government announcements in Orange on Wednesday.

The park, first set aside as a public reserve in 1854 and proclaimed as Cook Park in 1873, joined the Wentworth and Reform gold mines at Lucknow in receiving the significant declaration.

Cook Park also gained a $100,000 government grant under the Heritage Near Me Activation Grants program.

That funding will be used to restore and upgrade the Cook Park fernery.

Orange mayor Reg Kidd said the fernery was an historic part of the historic park.

“It was very popular for weddings,” he said.

Western NSW parliamentary secretary, Rick Colless, who announced the funding and heritage status said Cook Park and the mines were reminders of our past.

“Cook Park is a living snapshot of the formal Victorian-era parks which were established in some of our rural towns and cities,” he said.

“It maintains many elements from its establishment to the present day.

“More than 200 mature trees are established throughout the park, including elms, oaks, lindens, poplars, redwoods, cypress, firs, ash, walnut, Bunya pines and a Tasmanian blue gum.

“Among items of historical interest are the bandstand from 1908, fountains from 1891, a 1934 conservatory and two ornate sets of gates from the turn of the 20th century.”

Mr Colless said Wentworth mine, which is open to the public one weekend every month, and the remains of the Reform mine at Lucknow were part of the golden history of the region.

“The Wentworth site is highly significant for its intact collection of mining infrastructure,” he said.

“The presence of an intact stamper battery building, complete with 10-stamper head battery and ore tables is exceptional and a rare example in NSW.”

Banjo Paterson Memorial Park will also receive a heritage grant to finally provide the park with a toilet.

The $71,278 will also be used toward providing a picnic shelter and develop the Banjo Paterson Walk.

Historian Elizabeth Griffin has been campaigning for the site to be turned into a significant attraction for tourists.

The park is used for a public event as part of the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival each year and this year there were no toilets on site.

Mr Colless also announced $85,000 heritage funding for the “activation” of the Canowindra Railway Precinct, the site of the town’s former railway station and goods yard, which was described as being “at-risk.”

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