Office of Environment and Heritage funding announced for Nambucca

Mel Pavey, Michael Coulter Rhonda Hoban and Teresa Boorer talk plans at the ailing Bellwood Park seawall
Mel Pavey, Michael Coulter Rhonda Hoban and Teresa Boorer talk plans at the ailing Bellwood Park seawall

After announcing nearly a million dollars worth of funding for our Valley yesterday, Local State Member Melinda Pavey was back again today for two further cash giveaways, this time as part of grants from the Office of Environment and Heritage in order to reconstruct the seawall at Bellwood, and restore the Beach Access Way (Nyambaga Walking Trail) between the V-Wall and Shelly Beach.

The Bellwood seawall project received $28,000, while the walking trail got a cool $15,000. Both projects will be matched dollar for dollar by Council funding.

There is still no design drawn up for the seawall; Council said that now funding is in place real planning can begin. And council general manager Michael Coulter said Native Title needed to be consulted each time the Council plans to do any estuary foreshore improvements.

But it will involve replacing the existing rotting wooden structure with a recycled or environmentally-friendly and more long-lasting retaining wall.

While the Nyambaga Walking Trail will see the current path improved to ensure access for people with limited mobility.

“If you’ve ever walked the track on a really hot day, there are some areas where it’s really dry, deep loose sand. And if you go there in the morning, there’s a truckload of older people who do the walk over to Shelly Beach. It’s a popular walk but it’s proven to be a difficult walk for a lot of people,” Mayor Rhonda Hoban said.

Works on the projects will likely start in the 2019/20 financial year during the off-peak tourism season.

“The two locations are very iconic areas in the Nambucca Valley. Nature has handed us two very beautiful locations, but they need to be protected and enhanced if possible. Tourism is a huge contributor to our local economy, and both locations are very popular with tourists, but also with locals,” mayor Rhonda Hoban said.

“And they also have great significance to the local Gumbaynggirr people.

Both projects are about making sure that the community and visitors can use these areas in a sustainable way, so that we don’t get long-term damage. We still want people to be able to enjoy these locations in 50, 100 years’ time.

Mrs Pavey said the latest swathe of funding announcements for our little Valley are a result of the Nambucca Shire Council being “particularly good” at submitting applications for funding based on comprehensive plans they have usually drawn up years in advance.

“We tend to be working on the plan so that we’re ready to go when the applications for funding open,” grants officer Teresa Boorer said.

Mayor Hoban said that extra diligence “hopefully puts us at the front of the queue if we’ve got that background work done as opposed to a competing council that hasn’t done their homework”.

“We do allocate money from our annual budget every year to progress a lot of these plans, but by the time you spread the money around it’s thinned across the ground.”

“Budgeting ourselves each year for these projects can be a slow eating-an-elephant-type process, whereas if we’re successful in grant funding that gives us a leg up in progressing those projects.

“We look for every opportunity with this grant funding to double our money and save ratepayers.”

Mrs Pavey said the recent cash bonanza wasn’t going to slow down any time soon, hinting at another cashsplash in the coming months.

“The next big announcement we should have by the end of the year is investment in the Valla Industrial Estate. So Council has asked for our support in creating jobs and a new manufacturing industrial area in Valla. We’re in a very unusual situation in that Council does own that area and has seen it as important for the future of the Shire given the limitations on space at the Macksville Industrial Estate currently.

“I’m particularly supportive of the industrial land at Valla, I think the type of jobs that you can have here and the remuneration from automotive industries is incredible, and we’ve got to use our position between Sydney and Brisbane.”

The anticipated amount of funding to come out of that announcement is just over $5 million.

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