August 17, 2010

As the Bingara Community Economic Development Plan progresses, community members might be interested in reviewing what our community has achieved over the past two years.

This list is by no means complete, but a snapshot of those projects and outcomes that have helped to shape and build Bingara.

(1)   Road infrastructure & Promotion: 
All major roads into Bingara are now fully sealed within the GSC boundaries. This is three years ahead of the schedule anticipated back in 2008.

The sealing of the Killarney Gap Road to Narrabri has seen a substantial increase the volume of traffic through Bingara (and Warialda).

However the promotion of this road aimed at Newell Highway travellers has not been pursued. The route would be substantially enhanced by improved facilities at the Glacial area, allowing (with the Sawn Rocks stop), two high quality stopping points along the route.

(2)   Alternative Energy:
 In July 2008 GSC and V2020 jointly hosted the Regenerative Energy for Rural Communities regional forum. There was an opportunity to become the first, non- remote country community to pursue a green energy option, primarily based on solar power.

Bingara is small enough to be used as a test case – the goal from the energy providers point of view could have been to have a network feeding the grid during high cost daylight hours, and drawing back from the grid at lower cost night time rates.          
Unreliable power remains a problem for Bingara.

Some follow up has been done over the past two years without  success. If our community wants this to happen, a united effort may produce some positive results.

(3)   Bingara Riverscape:
This project is finally due to commence. It will provide a beautiful parkland area at the northern end of Maitland Street. Our natural and human history will be represented within the Riverscape Project.

(4)  The “Living Classroom” and Bingara Farm Gardens:
This project is about to commence with the construction of the buildings for the “Living Classroom”.

It will focus on our District’s main industry, Agriculture, and provide an environment to investigate new ways in farming as well as linking to our town community and providing a unique learning and visiting environment.

(5)  The Roxy restoration and the Hospitality Trade Training Centre.
The second stage of the Roxy restoration involving the regeneration of the circa 1936 Café, the completion of the conference facilities, the Greek Heritage Museum and the adjoining hospitality trade training centre is well under way. This will further enhance this iconic building and add extra vigour to our job training, tourism and conferencing objectives.

(6)  National Parks:
The Nandewar/South Brigalow Bio Region legislation of 2006 saw the decline of our local cypress pine industry. On the plus side, however, the potential to establish National Parks within the previous forestry allotments gave hope for expanding our eco-tourism industry. A National Parks Depot has been established in Bingara but progress of a tourism product has been slow.

(7)  Main Street Design:
Some basic improvements within the Bingara CBD have been undertaken with garden work and repairs of shop awnings. Landscape architect John Mongard has proposed some exciting changes to our main street but as yet no formal plan has been presented to the community.

A number of mainstreet businesses have recently changed hands. It may well be timely to engage these new owners along with the established operators to consider future plans.

(8)  Website and Tourist brochure:
The Bingara website www.bingara, is now well established and very popular. The second printing of the “imagine” tourist brochure is about to be designed.

(9)  Education:
BCS has been expanded to be a full K to 12 learning institution. Some Federal Government funding has allowed new building work to commence and a solar power project is to be considered this year. The Gwydir Learning Region has been recognised nationally as an exemplary model for education excellence.

(10)  Community care:
Along with the expansion of Touriandi Lodge, the new MPS, Ambulance Station and Helipad, the Bingara Medical Centre provides well for the health of our community. The HACC facility in Bingara has expanded in its care for our senior citizens and the enhanced Library facility, relocated to the Courthouse building provides services for all ages especially the young.

Bingara town water supply is being considerably up-graded at this moment.

Improved facilities at the Bingara Showground and some tree planting and conservation projects at Hall’s Creek and All Nation’s Hill have added further value to our community.

On the opposite side of the ledger, our town and district community has struggled to maintain numbers in sporting clubs and several, Senior and Minor League and the Swimming Club are currently in recess.

Where to from here? What priorities would you give to these projects? What NEW directions would you like to see our community take? How can we generate and enhance employment? What successes have you seen or been involved in elsewhere that you think would suit Bingara?

Please take the opportunity to have your say in the CEDP project or write to the Bingara Advocate with your comments and suggestions.

Submitted by Rick Hutton – Bingara CEDP Co-ordinator.
Ph: 0428 255380