Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray has struck back at suggestions the region has a ‘do nothing Council’, pointing to a level of activity that far exceeds previous local governments for the area.
Councillor Murray said the Council’s $47 million capital works program during the past 12 months – and a succession of successful funding applications – was “a far cry from a Council sitting on its hands”.
“The list of completed projects and ongoing activities on schedule for completion during 2019-20 roughly triples the typical level of activity for the previous Armidale Dumaresq and Guyra shire councils,” he said.
Responding to comments by Councillor Margaret O’Connor, the Mayor said Council is instead in an intensive period of activity to protect and enhances quality of life for residents and attract new business to the region.
“As part of a renewed Council-led push for economic development, local industry has cited the need for a united effort to capitalise on this region’s potential and drive it forward,” Cr Murray said.
“That will only occur if we have unity and common purpose from all the key players, by quitting the internal point scoring and personal agendas.”
He said Council’s completed capital projects were headed by the $12.8 million Malpas Dam to Guyra Pipeline, the new $14 million regional landfill facility and $4.165 million New England Highway roundabout to provide improved access to Armidale Regional Airport and the adjacent Armidale Airport Business Park under development.
It also includes a $1.18 million Rural Fire Service regional logistics hub and training facility at the airport and a new $519,000 Guyra headquarters for the State Emergency Service and the $600,000 Stage 1 upgrade of Guyra’s main street.
He said millions of dollars were also being invested into improving the roadworks, led by $1.15 million in improvements already completed on Kempsey Road, a $1.29 million sealing of Platform Road and a $2.583 million restructure of Shand Drive to encourage further development north of the airport.
Cr Murray said all of this has been achieved amid:
• supporting RFS measures to combat unprecedented bushfires throughout the region
• assisting our communities impacted by the fires
• preserving our water supplies during the drought
• fairly managing water supplies to meet residential needs while ensuring businesses can maintain critical activities
“We can be immensely proud of what we have accomplished during the past year,” Cr Murray said.
“There is now a greater focus on consolidating what we have in place and repairing our poor cash position, to ensure we are in a strong and sustainable position and reduce the burden on ratepayers.
“However, there will continue to be plenty happening for the remainder of 2019-20.”
He said Council secured funding for a number of projects that will progress this financial year, including:
• $6 million for the Armidale Airport Business Park -$6million grant funding