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Activate Wakefield! $1 million projects secured

1st May 2020

A trio of projects to activate and revive spaces across the Wakefield Regional Council area has been given the green light as part of the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Programme Extension.

  • The Blyth Cinema expansion and car park project ($350,000): will see a second cinema added to the popular local entertainment venue, with city-quality projection and sound, and a sealed carpark constructed for patrons.
  • Owen Silo Artwork Project ($100,000): the dominant silos in Owen will become the canvas for artwork designed by renowned artist Robert (Alf) Hannaford AM and painted by experienced silo painter Cam Scale.
  • Hamley Bridge and Balaklava Main Street Project ($550,000): Council is contributing an additional $450,000 for this $1 million project to activate the centres of Hamley Bridge and Balaklava as meeting places for people.

Mayor Rodney Reid said confirmation of the $1 million had been received from Federal Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Honourable David Littleproud MP and he thanked the Federal Government for its support.

“With COVID-19 and the recent rainfall it could be easy to forget that much of our region,  state and country has endured years of drought and it is pleasing the Federal Government has continued to recognise the impacts of recent years on our community,” Mayor Reid said.

“These projects could be game changers: they will attract people to the area, engage local contractors (where possible) and stimulate the economy.

“Consultation on the main streets project were postponed due to the social distancing restrictions but, with the funding confirmed, we will look to kickstart town engagement soon.

“The Owen Silo Art project will see a spectacular artwork by Robert ‘Alf’ Hannaford emerge on the Viterra silos, with experienced silo painter Cam Scale bringing the design to life. Through the theme ‘Wheat Bags to Sand Bags’, the artwork will honour the early farming history of the Owen district and the town’s contributions during war time.

“The Owen community has invested significant time, energy and fundraising efforts to bring the project to life and we are proud of their efforts.

“Blyth Cinema has become a jewel in the crown of entertainment in the Mid North – popular with visitors and locals alike. The investment in a second cinema is not only a great boost for the town and the Wakefield region but also country South Australia as it shows that small communities, by working as one and persevering, can enrich the quality of life for all.”

The COVID-19 restrictions may have an impact on the timing of the projects but Council will continue to work with the communities and the Federal Government to ensure work can be delivered in a timely way.