As we approach the two year anniversary of the forced merger between Dubbo and Wellington, I have observed a lot of issues, some of which were anticipated and some that have come as a complete surprise.
The generalised fears of ‘Dubbington’ and the sky falling in has certainly not happened. However, there are a number of issues that the new Dubbo Regional community must tackle.
It’s important to simply not ignore the issues that are facing Wellington. Since my election as mayor I have been doing the best I can to learn all the issues surrounding the communities of the old council area, and there are a lot of issues that need to be tackled head on.
On the infrastructure front, council has some major assets that require new investment and upgrading to reach the standard of a modern council area. Water assets in Wellington are a case in point. A lot of water pipes and mains are coming to their used by date and the long suffering folks of Mumbil have raised concerns about water quality. Stuart Town is worse off in that it does not have a drinking water supply to the Village.
The roads in the former Wellington Council area is the issue both residents and I are most concerned about. Recent work by Dubbo Regional Council has improved some parts, including Wellington’s main street adjacent to Cameron Park, and more work is scheduled. However the rural road network needs major attention and the Wellington town street network is well behind.
With Dubbo Regional Council’s size I will be ramping up the grant application and lobbying efforts to attract both fairer and more financial assistance from all levels of government to allocate funding to priority projects. The community have voiced for a long-time concerns with Wellington police resources. Incidents such as a burnt-out car in front of the police station fuel community concerns and symbolise the lack of adequate resources. Over Christmas I visited the Scout Hall and Community Garden immediately after they were broken into. This gave me the opportunity to see the work of the community garden program and scouts. Apart from the frustration of the theft, it was confronting to see these great community-minded volunteers having to run facilities on the smell of an oily rag. Council does have small Financial Assistance Grants available and recently the first round of the Bodangora Community Benefit fund recipients were announced. There is also a final round of the Stronger Communities Fund Community Grants which Council administer also coming up.
While these programs can provide an injection of funds, numerous community groups that help address social issues would benefit with more adequate funding.
All of these factors are exacerbated by the fact that Wellington has so much potential.
For its size, the town is one of the prettiest in inland NSW with a picturesque main street and central park.
The town also has an abundance of tourism facilities which add value to the region’s economy such as such as the Wellington Caves, Burrendong Dam and the superb arboretum.
The potential for tourism within the town centre is also exciting. There is a proposal for a rural police museum in the old police station and the Oxley Museum has growth potential you can only imagine.
However there is one thing all these facilities are in need of - upgrades that will bring their facilities up to a new level that will attract even more visitors.