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Projects picked for $1M drought funding bid

6th February 2020
$1 Million bid for the Blyth Cinema project, Owen Silo Art and Balaklava and Hamley Bridge spruce-up.
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Blyth Cinema, Owen Silo Art and Balaklava and Hamley Bridge main streets are Wakefield Regional Council’s picks to share $1 million in drought funding.

Council last night decided to support the following projects to submit to the Federal Government for its second round of Drought Communities Programme funding:

  • Extension of the popular Blyth Cinema Complex - $350,000
  • Funding support for the Owen Silo Art Project - $100,000
  • Balaklava and Hamley Bridge main streets enhancement - $550,000

Should the Federal Government approve the projects, Council also committed a further $450,000 to increase the Balaklava and Hamley Bridge main streets budget to $1,000,000.

Mayor Rodney Reid said the Council was excited to throw its support behind projects that had already been well developed and supported by the community.

“The Drought Communities Programme Extension aims to create economic stimulus for drought affected communities and projects must be delivered by the end of this calendar year. The Blyth Cinema and Silo Art projects are essentially spade ready with strong community groups supporting their delivery and are positive projects for the district,” Mayor Reid said.

“Blyth cinema is already a magnet for tourists and a fabulous asset for Wakefield, so supporting that project and enhancing the area with better carparking will be a great boost for the local community.

“The Owen Silo Art project will bring people to our region and will provide a wonderful feature for our residents to visit.

“With regards to the main street projects, the community has already told Council through the Wakefield 2030 community engagement process, that improving main streets within our townships is extremely important to local businesses and the community, so we expect enhancement of main streets to be a key focus in the Wakefield 2030 Strategic Plan.

“Providing an additional $450,000 for the main street project will bring about better outcomes for Balaklava and Hamley Bridge, making those areas with heavy pedestrian and car traffic overall more enticing and attractive.”

Mayor Reid said Council’s Wakefield 2030 strategic planning process would eventually see projects and activities for the whole region take shape.

“Council is still planning to investigate a childcare facility in Port Wakefield but, given the timing constraints for the drought funding and the complexity of the project, we believe this is best managed through a separate process,” Mayor Reid said.

The approval process for Council’s submission to the Federal Government may take several weeks.

About the projects:

The Blyth Cinema extension will allow for a second theatre at the popular venue, with its own city quality projection and sound equipment, sloped floor and cinema designed seating (51 seats plus three designated disability spaces). A second foyer will provide an all-weather function space, with rainwater tank, office space, storage, landscaping and a new carpark to allow more vehicles to park on site and reduce dust issues.

The Silo Art Owen is based on the theme ‘Wheat bags to Sandbags,’ reflecting the district’s early farming practices and its role in World War One. This theme was selected by the community through a survey and internationally renowned artist Robert ‘Alf’ Hannaford has committed to the project.

Balaklava and Hamley Bridge Main Street Project will see the engagement of a specialised consultant to undertake initial needs assessment and then work with Council and the community to prioritise opportunities. Areas to be investigated may include footpaths, streetscapes, shop facades, greening and street furniture opportunities. The approach for these towns may help to guide future programs for other towns.