ONWARDS, UPWARDS: Member for Murray Austin Evans and Wentworth Mayor Melisa Hederics during a recent inspection of the $1.5million redevelopment of James King Park. This project, among a host of other completed and planned works, has Cr Hederics excited for the Shire’s future. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

WENTWORTH Shire Council Mayor Melisa Hederics couldn’t be more excited about the projects under way in her patch, saying the increased development was cause for celebration.

“There are a variety of projects on our agenda, some nearing completion in coming months, some being designed, a number subject to grant submissions and others being looked at for the future,” she said.

Among the projects nearing completion in the Buronga/Gol Gol area include the revamp of the Midway Centre and the redevelopment of James King Park, while a second oval at the George Gordon Oval complex was officially opened in April.

“I am ecstatic and extremely proud of Council’s and the community’s combined efforts in the delivery of this project,” Cr Hederics said. “Council provided the land, the Coomealla Club and Wentworth and District Community Bank funded the materials.

“There were also contributions from the Sunraysia Football and Netball League and NSW AFL, and a huge contribution from many local contractors and community volunteers.”

Dareton has also seen a significant boat ramp and carpark upgrade in recent months, complementing its river frontage near the Coomealla Golf Course, while Curlwaa has benefitted from an upgrade of the O’Donnell Park area on the riverfront, while an upgrade of the nearby boat ramp and carpark will occur in coming months.

Cr Hederics said she is also “fired up” about the Wentworth township, saying she was overwhelmed by the town’s strength, and couldn’t be prouder of a community that has fought and succeeded to implement a number of projects to benefit the community.

She added that some new projects in Wentworth are “shovel ready”, but are awaiting either grant funding or developer interest, including the upgrade of the Wentworth Aerodrome, which includes the sealing of the runway.

“This is a significant project, but unfortunately it has been difficult to attract funding from other levels of government,” Cr Hederics said.

Also coming up is the development of Council’s Murray Street land, which will be advertised for expressions of interest in the coming weeks. This project aims to potentially develop 40 to 50 homes.

Cr Hederics said that Council is also progressing with the development of the Civic Centre, with the intention of moving all of its Wentworth operations to the building, including the library and the Visitor Information Centre.

“The Civic Centre will be the ‘Jewel of the Shire’, and Council is working diligently to ensure that the end result is something that residents and ratepayers can be proud of,” she said.

Another exciting initiative flagged by Cr Hederics is Council’s buyback of the Willowbend Caravan Park, located upstream of the Murray and Darling Junction. Council has also committed to restoration work on the Wentworth River frontage, located at Rowing Club, which aims to stabilise the bank and enhance the appearance of the river frontage.

Mayor Hederics said she was also pleased with the NSW Government’s recently announced grant funding for community and sport and recreation projects.

“This will allow a number of important projects to be progressed right across the Shire,” she said. “One such project is the development of a Wentworth Skate Park.

“Over the last three years the Skate Park Committee has worked hard to raise around $230,000 towards its development.

“We are confident that the Skate Park Project will meet the funding criteria and, if successful, will enable Council to help the Skate Park Committee complete this facility.”

The Mayor went on to say that Council is working on 11 projects for which it will seek funding through the Stronger Country Community Fund and the Regional Sporting infrastructure Fund to ensure it maximises its chances of success.

They include:

• A Shire-wide toilet and amenities upgrade.

• A warm-up area and tie-down pad for the Wentworth Aerodrome.

• Replacement of the Barrett Pavillon at the Wentworth Showgrounds.

• Dareton streetscape and lighting upgrade.

• Wentworth riverfront precinct upgrade (playground and barbecue).

• Lights for the Carramar Drive sporting oval.

• Two additional netball courts and lighting at George Gordon Oval.

• Wentworth Area Skate Park.

• Wentworth Sporting Complex (light, playground, building and signage upgrades, surfacing of tennis courts).

• Various upgrades and new components for the George Gordon Sporting Hub.

Cr Hederics stressed that despite the number of projects “on the go,” Council continues to advocate for many important issues.

“We are keen to have a substantial input into the future management of the Menindee Lake system, and we will continue to support the people on the Lower Darling River and the Pooncarie township, and to this end I have recently taken on the role of chair of the Murray Darling Association Region,” she said.