I would like to commence this column on a positive and cheerful note, thanking everyone for their cooperation in circumstances our whole community has and continues to today progress through - the coronavirus crisis.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
And the glorious weather over the weekend, and the range of changed requirements, saw lots more smiles and a sense of hope moving forward.
Some restaurants were open, some pubs for sit down meals, groups of four enjoying golf ... but that connection although at distance was good for the soul.
I hope we all use commonsense and see the loosening of some more restrictions widen to see businesses getting back on track and people having that needed interaction, whilst observing the social distancing requirements.
There is no doubt it helps with other problems that came with the lock down.
I had the chance to see my Mother and talk to her personally after getting my vaccinations from my GP.
Thermal testing at the entrance to the home, filling in a health questionnaire, then abiding by the distancing requirements within the home. A big thank you to all those staff in nursing homes, as they are working daily with our most vulnerable and have worked so hard to get to this point of being able to see a loved one personally. It does make a difference, believe me!
Going to council on Tuesday is Orange's Health and Innovation master plan for what locals know as the Bloomfield hospital site.
As readers would know we have targeted the health sector as one of the key economic drivers for the city and the region.
Council has supported the establishment of the new hospital, Ronald McDonald house, Western Care Lodge, The Benjamin Short Grove facility, the Private Health Precinct Development and the Gosling Creek Care Centre.
The planning commenced in 2018 and the vision for the precinct is to capitalise on opportunities to develop complementary health services, life sciences, education and research.
This would also support the growth of the precinct as a medical and education precinct, and a further extended precinct containing a number of other uses. Sport and recreation and cultural, retail, commerce and residential.
Council has expressed interest, and has been lobbying Government, to have the precinct designated as an Activation Zone.
This would ensure that potential investors into the zone would benefit from a coordinated approach to land use and infrastructure planning and have best access to NSW Government incentives.
What we need now is for all of us to lobby our local members of Parliament, any Ministers you know or see, and to get Government to acknowledge and support this important planning document that will be a key economic driver for Orange and the region.
- READ MORE: Hampden Avenue units passed unanimously
The Government to date has approved an Activation Zone for Parkes, as a transport hub, and Wagga, so why not Orange?
The budget is out there for community input, so please have your say.
I am excited by seeing a substantial increase in projects that all the community benefit from - footpaths, roads, bike paths, playgrounds, parks and gardens, sports facilities and green spaces - while there are major infrastructure projects in water, the conservatorium, the CBD upgrade etc, as well as funding for our villages Lucknow and Spring Hill.
There is a recommendation for a bulky water pick up, to be determined by community input.
Great news; our water supply is increasing and our city's consumptive use of potable water is already one of the lowest in Australia.Orange Mayor Reg Kidd
Council will be perusing Federal and State grants, looking at selling some excess to needs land/properties, and loans to do everything possible to get the community and business revived.
Council is putting together a small working group - with welcome input by anyone from the community - to work on stimulating the community.
Development activity is still as strong as ever with DAs amounting to a value in excess of $70 million - ranging from new home, additions, motels and businesses.
Interesting looking around Orange at the work happening at the some of the churches, two of our iconic steeples/rovers undergoing renovation, expansion of one, and of course that iconic fence on the corner of Hill and Byng - it looks great restored to its former glory.
Great news; our water supply is increasing and our city's consumptive use of potable water is already one of the lowest in Australia, beautiful Autumn weather, the Autumn colours, children back at school, playgrounds opening, outside pool open, limited restaurant and hotel opening ... we are getting there.
Keep smiling, look after each other and stay safe.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd
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