Wellington resident and Dubbo Regional Council Councillor David Grant has advised amalgamation money which has flowed into Wellington does have an end date and the town and Council must be strategic about how the town will continue to grow once the phase of funding ends.
“People get blinded by lot of money, and the state government’s got quite a lot of money in the coffers at the minute, and will have with the Snowy Hydro, but we have to make sure we’re putting ourselves forward and make sure that money keeps coming through,” he told Dubbo Photo News.
“The Wellington Pool has been upgraded out of that money – we’re getting a whole new pool. There’s works happening out at the caves.
“It’s probably going to be two years before all that money comes to an end, so we really need to make sure we’re getting the next lot of funding to make sure we can continue doing projects or upgrades, and doing works at Cameron Park to encourage people to stop there,” he said.
Community fears raised during the amalgamation process and that Wellington would fall into Dubbo’s shadow have not been realised, he said.
“Wellington Council had many of these projects in the pipeline, but the ability to just get them done now is a possibility because of the amount of people that are on the ground, and the amount of expertise that we have in the whole Dubbo Regional Council; we’ve been able to get projects moving and done, which is pretty exciting.
“There is a positive vibe in the town. People are seeing things happening and changing. They’re seeing things are getting done, and in a timely manner as well, and they’re liking that aspect of it.
“No, we haven’t just been pushed to the side,” Cr Grant said.
“Wellington residents feel they’re being listened to. They are saying that their ideas are being heard, and they’re being consulted and included, so it’s good to hear that.
“It’s always been a Wellington versus Dubbo, or Dubbo versus Wellington thing, for years and years, but now we’re one, I suppose the mentality was still there, but it is changing,” Mr Grant said.
“There’s people that live in Wellington and work in Dubbo and visa versa, including at the council, and I think that certainly is helping people understand the needs of Wellington and not being a burden on Dubbo at the same time.”
Cr Grant believes the Wellington business community is also feeling positive about the promotion of opportunities in the area.
“Business people are certainly seeing something from the promotion and being able to work with the whole region. I certainly feel it’s got busier.
“Even the road between Dubbo and Wellington seems a lot busier than ever. I travel that quite regularly because I work in both Dubbo and Wellington too.
“Just talking to people, they’re happy with the way it’s going. They’re seeing people stopping in Wellington a lot more regularly and spending money there.”
Another priority is access to the town centre from Pioneer Park via the footbridge which has been closed for an extended period, which would also have benefits for local business.
“We need to get this bridge open,” he urged, pointing out that fixing this link between Pioneer Park, which regularly hosts various sporting events, and the main street would cut the current walk from nearly a kilometre back to only 200 metres. “We’re currently having to go around the long way.
“It also means people with caravans and campers can park across from the main shopping area. Council has a plan to get rid of that bridge and put a proper bridge across there, so people can access it with prams, or for people with disability, so they can get across it properly.
“As it is now, you have to go down a big dip in the footbridge and climb up stairs, whereas (it would be much better) if we take the bridge off that top level of the bank, and go straight across.” Cr Grant believes the cost of the footbridge work would be in the vicinity of $700,000.
“Even to repair the bridge that’s there, they’re talking nearly that sort of money anyway. It needs new wiring, and structurally it’s been bashed up a few times with floods.
“It’s not safe.”