Bingara’s Community Economic Development Plan 2010 – Getting Started and Why Bother?

July 13, 2010

Gwydir Shire Council and Bingara and District VISION 20/20 have jointly applied for and have been successful in gaining NSW State Government funding for a Community Economic Development Plan (CEDP).

The funding provides for a series of public forums, some research, and the completion of a written report. The co-ordinator of the Project, (which will run through to October 31, 2010) is Rick Hutton.

“When GSC and V2020 jointly hosted the Our Place – Country Town Living 2025 Forum in February this year, we officially commenced our CEDP,” Rick said. “In that regional Forum we looked at Australian country towns generally and asked, what will they need to do to thrive in 2025?”

One possible response was, Do Nothing!

“We could assume that governments, businesses and charities will look after us,” Rick explained. “After all, we pay our taxes, we elect our politicians, and market forces are acting all the time, …and, if things get really tough, there are charities that will help us out…aren’t there?”

Perhaps! But a true measure of a democracy, a productive economy, and a vibrant community, is that citizens actively participate in the processes and have some control over their own destiny.

In Britain the idea of “transition towns” was born about ten years ago. At that time the twin menaces of “global warming” and “peak oil” led some small communities to question if they could work to reduce the threats and generate some civic pride and positive change. There have been many success stories.

The NSW Department of Industry and Investment (DI&I) has embraced the “transition towns” approach and have looked for model communities to “lead the way”. Bingara is one of the towns chosen.

“The DI&I were impressed by the “Regenerative Energy for Rural Communities Forum” in 2008, the hosting of the Motorhome and Campervan Rally in 2009, and the Our Place Forum this year,” Rick Hutton explained. “They see Bingara as a town that has vision and a co-operative community ethic. Simply put, Bingara is a CAN DO town!”

The next step in the Project is to invite our citizens to contribute their thoughts and ideas. To this end, two events have been scheduled for late July and early August.

“On Saturday, July 31, as part of the Bingara Orange Festival, an idea gathering session called FOOD for THOUGHT will take place,” Rick explained. “We would like our community members to drop in and look over the ideas that have been proposed in the past, and add some new ones that they may have,” he said,

“ ….AND we will reward our participants with a magnificent Bingara Perfect Pancake complete with Orange Festival Sauce and with an optional dollop of cream. Now that IS food for thought!” he concluded.

The FOOD for THOUGHT shop front will be either at the Bingara Emporium or the Bingara Landcare Office. Look for more details next week.

Following the Orange Festival a public meeting will be held at the Roxy Theatre at 6:30pm on Wednesday, August 4. Pieter Verasdonck from the D I&I is the Regional Director responsible for CEDP’s in northern NSW and he will conduct the meeting. Once again, all Bingara community members are invited to attend and participate.

For further information about this Project or to make a submission, contact Rick Hutton on 0428 255380, email to faysons@nsw.chariot.net.au or post to Bingara and District VISION 20/20 P.O. Box 222, Bingara NSW 2404.