It was great news on Monday 9 May, when the Minister for transport announced that the Blayney railway station would continue to be staffed to provide that very important service to our community. Blayney Shire Council and the general community had strongly opposed the potential closing of the station and after a positive meeting with our local member Paul Toole, he made representations to the Department of Transport highlighting our concerns. I would like to acknowledge and thank all the members of the public who contacted Councillors and wrote letters to the department all of which I'm sure had an influence in keeping our station open and having our existing staff member continue her excellent service to the people who use our train services at Blayney station.
Anyone travelling through Millthorpe over the last few months would have noticed the large amount of earthmoving and construction activity happening at Redmond Oval. We now have a magnificent new oval that will be enjoyed by many sporting groups, the local school and community organisations. It has been a very big project that has been well delivered by Blayney Shire staff and associated contractors. It has been a real team effort with the financial support of the NSW Government, Blayney Shire Council, the Millthorpe Village Committee who initiated the grant and the Garden Ramble Committee supporting the new canteen has seen this much needed upgrade of the oval come true. The grass is now planted and with a good winter and spring the oval should be ready for everyone to enjoy later in the year.
The Delegate has now completed his report into the merger proposal of Blayney, Cabonne and Orange local government areas. This report has now been provided to the State Government and referred to the Independent Boundary Commission for comment. At the last meeting that we had with the Delegate before he finalised his report, we reinforced that whilst our preference was to remain a stand-alone Council, we remain steadfast that if a merger were to happen, it is important that Councillors and staff had the opportunity to have input in the process.
The government has since sought expressions of interest (EOI) from Councillors and General Managers across NSW who would consider contributing to any new entity. We have been assured that there has been no decision made on potential mergers, so all Blayney Councillors and the General Manager have lodged an EOI to ensure that if it does happen the best interests of rate payers and staff are represented.
Regardless of this situation we are still planning for the future with our draft budget for 2016-17 being considered at the next Council meeting with plenty of projects in the pipeline in the upcoming year. Council is budgeting for ongoing road and bridge construction as well as a continuation of upgrades to sporting facilities. We will continue to concentrate all our efforts in the delivery of these projects and Council services while we all wait for a decision on mergers in the upcoming months.