We received pleasing news last week with the announcement by RDA that the Barden Park development has been accepted as one of the top three priorities by RDA Orana. While this doesn’t guarantee any funding, it was a necessary step to progress to the next stage of the funding process. The final application is now due on 15 February and our staff are working hard with RDA Orana to ensure that the application is covering all of the RDA bases. With that in mind, I spent time with Murray Wood at the Office of Sport last week to present a progressive idea to the Office. Murray used a large dose of initiative and presented a case to the Office that if we achieve a new facility then it will be even better utilised if we have a funded development officer. This grant application is dependent upon the RDA grant but I was impressed with the lateral thinking and initiative shown by Council staff. Again, with grants there are no guarantees but you have to keep pushing different ideas forward to make Dubbo stand out from the pack. Last year the Office of Sport received 255 funding applications of which only 138 were deemed worthy to fund.
I have received a number of items of correspondence from concerned citizens in relation to the possible sale or lease of St. Andrew’s Uniting Church. I have replied to all of those pieces of communication (except several with no return address). Before replying, I met with Brian Smith (Chairperson of the Dubbo United Church Council) who was good enough to meet with me at short notice. In short, I was impressed with the extensive consultation process that the church has been through to arrive at a decision which is in the final throes of being made final. At this stage, Council has no real role to play in the process. I don’t believe that it would be appropriate or reasonable for Dubbo City Council to dictate to the owner of a property what they should do in relation to the ownership of that property. If any works are proposed for the building, that is when Council would be involved. Council currently only has a requirement for a Development Application should there be any development works undertaken on the St. Andrew’s Uniting Church building. Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church is listed in Schedule 5 of Dubbo Local Environmental Plan 2011 as a local Heritage Item. In general, I feel confident that regardless of who the owner of the church is, the physical building will remain largely the same and I can’t see Dubbo losing this historic building.
Dubbo seems to be over its holiday period and the wheels of business are spinning at full speed. According to a discussion I had with Sandy Dunshea, retail was mixed in Dubbo around Christmas. Some stores reported record sales while others felt the impact of the Internet.
If you are in business, tell me your plans for this year at firstname.lastname@example.org
Clr Mathew Dickerson, Mayor of Dubbo