Dry arguments: wishlist expanding for drought funding projects

Oberon Council.

Oberon Council.

OBERON Council will add fitness equipment and water bores to its wishlist as it considers how best to spend funding of up to $1 million available from the Federal Government.

Oberon is one of the councils eligible to receive funding for community infrastructure and other projects up to the amount of $1 million under the Federal Government’s $75 million extension to the Drought Communities Program.

At its November 2018 meeting, council approved four projects to progress to the submission stage for the funding.

To date, applications have been submitted to the Drought Communities Program for three projects: drought relief events at O’Connell; primitive camping facilities at the Reef Reserve Oberon; and an upgrade of the Burraga Dam camping and picnic ground.

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Council says an application for a kitchen upgrade at the Black Springs Community Hall will be submitted shortly, bringing the total committed funding to $301,400, with $698,600 remaining.

At council's December meeting, councillors agreed to apply for funding for a number of other projects.

The first is an upgrade of the toilet block at Oberon Showground, including fitting it with new fixtures, repainting and giving it new flooring, at a total cost of $38,500. The Oberon Show Society would also link the replacement of the 150 amp CT meter and cabinet at a cost of $17,000, bringing this project to an overall cost of $57,200.

The second project is to buy and install fitness equipment including cardio, weights and machines at the Oberon Indoor Fitness Centre. This project is worth $187,000.

The third project is to install water bores, at a cost of $161,150, at the villages of Black Springs and O’Connell which can be accessed as a non-potable water source by the rural community and, where appropriate, by the Rural Fire Service to refill tankers, especially when dams are empty.

The project represents a community safety and disaster assistance measure, according to council, and has been proposed by council staff. 

Detailed costings for the project include drilling, casing, metering approvals from NSW Water, power supply, all weather road access and security fencing. To be eligible for funding under the program, the water bores would need to be located on public land and consideration given to access.

The fourth project is an RV dump point and tourism opportunities project valued at $74,000. 

After looking into the option to seek funding for a raw water standpipe, council said a reticulated standpipe exists that council provides to access water. As a result, council officers looked at opportunities to add value to the commercial opportunities for retail businesses in the current drought. 

In place of constructing a raw water standpipe, it is considered that council may consider the construction of a new RV dump point/water reticulation/electric pump station and story board facility in an area within walking distance from the Oberon business centre. 

After investigation, it is considered that the best position for this facility is in the general location between the junior soccer field and the works depot off the corner of North and Albion streets behind the SES building. 

A new sewer line connection would need to be constructed across Albion Street to connect the free RV dump point and new 20mm water services installed to give tourists access for potable water use. 

The existing bitumen loop road could be modified to allow for two new parking bays, according to council, one on each side of the loop road, to allow RVs and motorhomes to access the free disposal dump point. 

Providing a free dump point in town would allow Oberon to apply for “RV Friendly Town” status through the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA), which would support the growth of Oberon’s visitor economy.

The fifth project is a footpath at the Avenue of Trees, O’Connell valued at $258,500. The revised project is a 1.2m wide concrete footpath on the western side of the Avenue of Trees at O’Connell, from Box Flat Road to Beaconsfield Road. 

Project costings include fencing, concrete and materials, earthworks, and labour. The project was nominated by members of the O’Connell community.

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