Where to start? Cooma, Berridale or Jindabyne? All three communities and some stops in between have received dollars from the NSW Government on a day of funding announcements totalling $23 million.
Member for Monaro and Deputy Premier John Barilaro started Friday (February 1) at Cooma Hospital, and while the $18.6 million upgrade to the health service had previously been announced, Mr Barilaro was on site to award the contract for the main works to Project Co-ordination Australia Pty Ltd.
“Cooma is growing and fast developing as a regional hub of activity. It’s cementing itself as a place to be for education, retail and tourism; paving the way for more people to live, study and work in Cooma,” Mr Barilaro says.
“That’s why this community needs outstanding health care now and into the future.”
Project Co-ordination Australia will oversee new facilities that include:
- New Maternity Department;
- Expanded Emergency Department;
- New front entrance;
- New Ambulatory Care Centre;
- Expanded Medical Imaging Department;
- Refurbished Inpatient Unit;
- Relocated Pathology Department.
Next stop, the Cooma Monaro Railway Station Museum where Mr Barilaro announced $150,000 to refurbish the station buildings, creating a museum designed to preserve the region’s rail history.
“This year we celebrate 130 years since the opening of Cooma Station and so I’m excited that this funding to allow Cooma Monaro Railway to get on with the job of creating a museum for visitors to learn about rail history in the region,” Mr Barilaro says.
Cooma Monaro Railway (CMR) President Gordon Strachan says the funding is a significant step in the revitalisation of a NSW heritage site.
“There will also be the refurbishment of operational rooms, such as the station master’s office, the entrance hall, ticket office and lamp shed.
“These historically-refurbished rooms will contribute to the visitor experience and still be functional for platform operations by our volunteer staff.
“CMR is committed to the return of heritage railmotor operations from Cooma Station, and by creating this museum, we will also be able to raise some of the necessary funds required to tackle the next major project, that of track refurbishment, ahead of the return of heritage railmotor operations from Cooma Station.”
Still, in Cooma, the Deputy Premier signalled the start of a new public hall for the town’s community groups.
Mr Barilaro says Snowy Monaro Regional Council will receive $200,000 to construct the new hall next to the new Cooma Men’s Shed on Mulach Street.
“The new community hall will be available for the community to use and will act as a home for groups such as the Multicultural Activity Group In Cooma (MAGIC,) who are in need of a permanent space to meet,” Mr Barilaro says.
MAGIC co-ordinator Yvi Henderson is delighted with the news, “A new hall means a flexible and affordable place for groups like us to meet and carry out the good work that they perform in their community,” she says.
“If you give groups a space they take ownership of it and it becomes a place of belonging for everyone.”
Cooma’s kids were the next focus, with Cooma North Preschool receiving $170,800 for a major expansion aimed at increasing the number of places available to families.
“When our youngest kids head off to preschool for the day, it’s important they are heading to a learning environment with plenty of space to explore and enjoy,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Today’s funding announcement will allow Cooma North Preschool to expand and provide the best possible learning environment for all kids currently enrolled, and all future enrolled children.”
Headed for higher elevations, the village centre of Berridale was singled out for a spruce up, with Mr Barilaro announcing $588,525 for a major beautification project.
The revamp includes flood mitigation works in the CBD, upgrades to parking areas, landscaping of the park including more poplar trees, installation of additional seating along the walking path and construction of an artwork or sculpture in the park.
Snowy Monaro Mayor John Rooney says, “Each year more than one million people pass through Berridale and an enhanced CBD area will encourage more people to stop, and help boost the town and the region’s economy.”
Plans for a heritage centre in Jindabyne were next with Mr Barilaro handing over $95,000 to the Snowy Alpine Heritage Association (SAHA) for initial planning and design work on the centre, hoped to be similar to the internationally famous “Stockman’s Hall of Fame” in Longreach Qld.
SAHA spokesperson Tom Barry says there is strong community support for the project.
“We hope to establish a heritage centre or heritage park that acts as a museum of static displays and exhibitions, interactive exhibits, a repository for books, photos and artefacts and a family history centre,” Mr Barry says.
“Some other ideas include outdoor miniature village models of Jindabyne, Adaminaby and the Snowy Scheme, a multi-function centre, gallery and café.
“The kinds of history we hope to showcase include Indigenous culture and heritage, European exploration and pioneers, Snowy Mountains flora and fauna, the Gold Rush, the Man from Snowy River, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, the snow industry and much more.”
And rounding out the $23 million dollar day, $3 million to build Jindabyne’s first public library which will be built at Jindabyne Central School and serve as a joint facility for school students and the town generally.
“Libraries are treasured spaces by local communities and unfortunately Jindabyne has never enjoyed its own,” Mr Barilaro says.
“That’s why I’m pleased we are funding a brand new state of the art library and innovation hub for this vibrant town.”
Snowy Monaro Regional Council in partnership with School Infrastructure NSW will deliver the purpose-built facility which includes library space, meeting rooms and a presentation area.
With 51 days still to go to the NSW Election, it’s reasonable to think we haven’t seen the last of days like Friday.
Is there a particular project you’d like to see funding for in the run-up to March 23? It is your money!