Major construction projects underway or close to completion plus a strong residential building market are driving the Orange economy.
That's the view of Orange City Council Employment and Economic Development committee chair Cr Tony Mileto who said there were a number of "very positive" signs the Orange economy was growing.
He said in the past financial year Orange had total construction work of $345 million and residential construction work of about $78 million.
The major projects include the $74 million Department of Primary Industries new offices, the $50 million Bloomfield Private Medical Centre, the $10.5 million Quest Apartments and the rejuvenation of the former Myer store-Dalton Brothers building.
Smaller projects underway around town include the extension to the Byng Street cafe, a housing project at the former Newstead Bowling Club and a new service station on Molong Road.
Cr Mileto said the economic value of these projects added to the strength of the residential building market.
He said 236 new houses were built in Orange in the 2018-19 financial year.
Cr Mileto said while this was down on the recent average of 250 homes a year it showed the building industry was sustainable in Orange.
"While there are a number of high profile, 'major' constructions projects, there are also signs this is underpinned by steady, measured growth in the local building industry," he said.
What you need to improve on is destination shopping.Cr Tony Mileto, Orange City Council
Cr Mileto said Orange's unemployment rate for the March quarter this year was 5.3 per cent with 1146 people unemployed,
He said this was lower than many other regional NSW areas.
He said retailers needed to tie into the region's tourism attractions to encourage more people to shop in Orange and help fight the challenge of people moving to online shopping.
"What you need to improve on is destination shopping," he said.
Cr Mileto said several retailers were already doing that well but others, with the support of the Orange Business Chamber and council, needed to follow.
One Orange businessman happy to see construction underway is Byng Street Local Store owner Jeremy Norris.
Mr Norris said it had taken three years to get approval and construction underway to extend the iconic cafe.
He said demolition was done and a new slab laid with framework to start next week.
"By the first week of December we hope to be using that space," he said.
Earlier designs for the extension have received objections on grounds including noise and the impact on neighbours.
The economy was also boosted last week whena $685 million expansion of the Cadia mine was announced.
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