Bellingen Shire's Stronger Country Communities grants

Delighted in Dorrigo: Patsy Green, Sara Hankin, Cr Dominic King, Cr Desmae Harrison, Melinda Pavey MP, Rod Holmes. Photo by Janene Carey
Delighted in Dorrigo: Patsy Green, Sara Hankin, Cr Dominic King, Cr Desmae Harrison, Melinda Pavey MP, Rod Holmes. Photo by Janene Carey

The Bellingen Shire will receive a cash splash of more than $1.55 million courtesy of the NSW government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

The money, which will not require co-contributions from council, has been spread among seven projects, but only three of them have been fully funded.

Dorrigo is the biggest winner, with $642,490 on the way for three projects: the Dorrigo to Dangar Falls shared pathway ($259,008 granted vs $554,456 requested); redevelopment of Coronation Park ($326,880 vs $386,880); and improvements to Dorrigo tennis courts ($56,602).

Bellingen receives $335,151 for refurbishments to the Memorial Hall ($509,443 requested) such as stabilising the physical structure of the building and painting it inside and out.

Urunga has two fully-funded projects: the partial replacement of the existing timber decking on the boardwalk with Envirowalk fibreglass mesh ($109,430) and the installation of about 430m of shared pathway and a pedestrian bridge ($202,998).

Finally, Mylestom’s Path, Platform and Surf Club project receives $261,884 ($341,884 requested)  towards a new shared pathway and an upgrade to the North Beach Surf Club to improve safety and amenity.

Announcing the funding on Monday, the Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey MP, said she was sure the communities involved would appreciate the lasting benefits of these projects as they were completed.

“On behalf of the Dorrigo, Bellingen and Urunga communities, I congratulate council for putting these projects forward. It is very pleasing to see that work come to fruition and it will be exciting to see these major works get underway,” she said.

Mayor Dominic King said council was “extremely happy with the outcome”.

Dorrigo’s Chamber of Commerce president Patsy Green said the Coronation Park upgrade was long overdue, given the cramped, dark and dank state of the toilet block and the fact that the park has children’s playground equipment but no fencing despite being next to a busy road.

She was also pleased about the funding for stage one of the walking and cycling path out to the town’s main swimming hole, which she said would reach about halfway, to the Bielsdown Bridge.

“As a kid, we used to walk out to the falls, and there was nowhere near as much traffic as there is now,” Patsy said. “When we got to Bielsdown Bridge, we’d stand on one side and listen to hear if there was a car coming, and if not, we’d run to get across it. Because it’s pretty much a one-lane bridge.”

The path from the barbecue area to the bottom of the falls is also half-done and another grant is being written to address that, she said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro commented that the second round of projects takes Stronger Country Communities funding to $300 million and the money is “employing local tradies [and] putting local suppliers to work”.