MEMORIAL HALL SERVICE REVIEW
Following a great discussion with the hall committee, the council will be undertaking a service review to look at the impact and potential opportunities in the areas of hall usage, income streams, event bookings, promotion and overall administration with the end goal of developing a business plan. Council recognises the great job the committee do and the varied hours and tasks they undertake to keep the hall functioning and this review will look at the ongoing support that may be needed to assist it.
Although not a part of the review, council has applied for $500,000 in grant funding through Round 2 of the Stronger Country Communities Infrastructure Projects to refurbish the main hall and also sought separate funding to assist in renovating the upstairs area, consistent with the heritage status of the building. The hall is a major community asset and an integral part of the Bellingen culture and if successful, the grants would allow some structural repair works and refurbishments including internal and external painting, amenities upgrades and flooring.
Council has worked cooperatively and deliberatively with the member councils of the Mid North Coast Regional organisation over many years around regional cooperation and advocacy, shared servicing, joint projects, as well as supporting staff subgroups such as IT, HR, Planning, WHS, Governance and Waste.
In late 2017 the NSW government set out a process for formal establishment of Joint Organisations. Council determined at the January 2018 meeting to join a Joint Organisation, utilising the guidance and wording specified by the NSW Office of Local Government.
Having been a part of MIDROC for many years Bellingen understands the importance and strength that comes from speaking with one regional voice and collaborating with other councils on shared projects and services. The NSW State government recently announced the formation of the Mid North Coast JO to include initially Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Bellingen.
Although it was great news that Bellingen had been included in the newly formed JO, our preference had been to include the six councils between Clarence in the north and Port Macquarie/Hastings in the south.
We believe that it is in our community’s best interest that we work towards welcoming additional local Councils to our JO and so talks have been held with the OLG both at individual Council and ROC levels. Detailed correspondence is being forwarded to the Office of Local Government seeking clarification for the decision made, the proposed way forward and anticipated next steps.
Until next time
Cr Dominic King
18 May 2018