Finally the preferred alignment for the Inland Rail Narromine to Narrabri section has been released to the public. For those who have missed the news ARTC have announced that their preference is for the line to be established to the East of Narromine and cross the current Sydney rail line and the Mitchell Highway approximately 6kms East of town. Council have had no influence and no role in this determination and it has been the sole domain of the ARTC. It gives council the opportunity to plan more specifically for an Intermodal to service the needs of the area and to attract business to the shire. This has been going on in earnest for some time but with this knowledge we will be able to more finely tune our approach.
The other major infrastructure item currently before council is the Levee Bank. It has always been the priority of this council to ensure not just the easiest and least costly option but to make certain that it is also the least disruptive. At our Floodplain Management committee meeting on Thursday of last week, a further option has been presented to council for the alignment of this levee. Councillor Rob McCutcheon, with anecdotal evidence from his dad who was involved in the 1955 flood, has brought a suggestion that will be taken to the authorities for some testing and modelling . Whilst it may seem to further delay the process, along with the other members of this committee, I believe that this proposal may solve many issues with the current options being presented to council by the consultants. It is certainly the least disruptive, will gain the best community support in the eyes of the committee and potentially be cheaper. It also has the potential to be built faster thus alleviating any extra time taken in an investigation of its merits. I sincerely hope it is feasible and work can commence as soon as the planning stage is completed.
Along with Cr Mark Munro, I was involved in paddling a two person kayak for about 17kms down the Macquarie last weekend for the black dog charity. The two hour paddle was absolutely enjoyable and whilst we were the only paddlers from the shire other than for the last few kms it took some effort to ensure we showed our visitors how hard it is to get around the determination of two local councillors. We crossed the line first and after regaining our breath tried not to show any signs of exertion to our competing paddlers. It was a great day, beautiful weather and a most worthy charity to support. I have heard a whisper that since the paddle was so enjoyable, Crs Lambert and Jablonski have already volunteered to take our place next year.
As the year comes towards its end, the mayor’s role becomes even busier with school events, meetings and end of year functions. It is always enjoyable and interesting and I have to thank Dep Mayor Dawn Collins who so capably fills in for me when I am unable to attend some of these functions. Cr Collins has been a wonderful servant of this shire for more years than she would care to remember and has always had the shire at heart. Her efforts for the shire over a very extended period deserve our sincere thanks.
The work of council goes on and I couldn’t be happier with the outcomes achieved to date and the vision we have for the future. We have a very committed group of councillors without factions or friction which makes my job so much more enjoyable. Also I am always happy to listen to ideas from our community that promote the interests of our towns and villages and look forward to the future in this shire with great anticipation.