Work will begin shortly on the Primary Industries Trade Training Centre, to be built on Bingara’s Town Common. The plan is to build the centre within the next 12 months.
According to General Manager, Max Eastcott, nearly $1 million of Federal money has been allocated to the project already, (part of the $2.99 million received for all the Trade Training Centres).
An additional $145,000 from the Murray Darling Basin Authority has been received which will be spent in the next three months for significant earthworks of the site.
Stage one will be the educational component. It consists of classrooms, accommodation and supporting infrastructure, as well as equipment like tractors and attachments. It will be available for Vocational Education students during school hours and the delivery of courses like permaculture at other times.
The funding for stage one has just been given the final approval required from Canberra.
Mayor John Coulton reported at last week’s Community Services Committee meeting that a request for additional funding for the Australian Centre for Regenerative Agriculture (incorporating The Living Class-room) has been submitted to the Regional Australia Development Fund. This application for a grant of nearly $5 million was lodged on May 13.
The funding application is for an Interpretative Centre, water re-cycling, dams/swales, supporting interactive IT and web presence, and additional accommodation units to support the Primary Industries Trade Training Centre.
Mr Eastcott told the Advocate that this project was put ahead of the others for which Council intends seeking funding, including the Gwydir Goodlife (which includes upgrading the Warialda swimming pool and building an indoor recreation centre in Bingara), because it fitted most closely the criteria for funding. The uniqueness of the Regenerative Agriculture proposal also gave it the edge.
The project, which started out as Vision 2020’s “Bingara Farm Gardens”, has become a wide reaching plan, aimed at combining agriculture, tourism and regional conferencing. It will eventually provide at least eight permanent jobs and more casual positions.
A concept plan was developed for the application which includes a plan for an attractive woolshed like building that is designed to blend in with the surrounding area.
According to the report submitted to council, the centre will play a key role in transforming the local economy and in putting Bingara and the Gwydir Shire “on the map”. It will achieve national and international recognition.