It is an exciting time to live in the Edward River region, and particularly Deniliquin.
An already significant investment in community infrastructure costing millions of dollars is underway, and more than $3 million worth could soon follow.
Edward River Council’s list of priority projects in round two of the Stronger Country Communities Fund suitably represents the interests of this community.
Half will be spent on sporting infrastructure — as stipulated when our funding allocation was doubled — and could see some vast improvements at Deniliquin’s Hardinge St Oval, Memorial Park, Lawn Tennis Club courts and the Golf Club.
The long awaited improvements to Napier St in the Deniliquin CBD could also be a big winner after being on the drawing board for a number of years.
But possibly the jewel in the crown of council’s application is its proposal for a $1.7 million upgrade of the Deniliquin Town Hall.
The Town Hall is a building of significant historical, cultural and community importance.
Its age saw structural issues arise in late 2010, which forced the evacuation of the building in early 2011.
While only temporary, that closure spearheaded an abandonment of the Town Hall which appears to continue today despite the building being safe for use again.
The community is crying out for an arts, performance and cultural precinct, and the Town Hall could fit the bill with the necessary funding and the right planning.
In fact, discussions with local government on making the Town Hall the suitable location for such a development have been ongoing since 2005.
Some of the grand concept plans stalled any development, though council must be commended for ensuring the project remains firmly on its agenda.
If funding for the Town Hall is approved by the NSW Government, the money would provide us with a dedicated performance space, room for big screen movies, more office space for meetings and workshops, art spaces and more.
Community and tourism benefits would come with such a development.
It would also ensure this beautiful and important building is preserved for future generations.
Community members will soon be asked to rank council’s priority list in order of importance. If we are to meet this community’s growing interest in arts and culture, the Town Hall must be near the top.