Avon Water Re-use
This $3.59 million project has been funded to enable treated effluent to be utilised for broader community benefit and will reduce the historic discharge into the Avon River. The new infrastructure will facilitate the continuation and expansion of the Northam Race Club’s fundamental role in Western Australia’s racing industry in a cost sustainable way by providing reuse and storm water capture for course facilities.
The project is due to be completed in 2014 after experiencing construction delays largely associated with the excavation of significant areas of rock. The Commission and Building Management and Works are providing project management to a steering committee with representatives from the Avon Community Development Foundation, Northam Race Club and the Shire of Northam.
The Commission has been examining alternative governance structures across the region to maximise access to non-government funding for local infrastructure and economic development initiatives. The Commission continues to support exploration of the ‘Regional Investment Trust’ concept as an overarching vehicle to enable a flexible business-based approach to the funding and management of non-government infrastructure and investment.
Significant opportunities arose from the Wheatbelt Infrastructure Trust Forum held in October 2012. Both Avon Regional Organisation of Councils and Central Midlands Regional Organisation of Councils have commenced the establishment of regional trust structures. While state-level funding has provided the major elements of infrastructure in regional WA, the challenge for local governments is to find innovative and sustainable ways to engage with external funders and private investors to deliver maximum result.
The Commission’s Avon Development Unit has partnered with the AROC to develop a model for collaborative investment in this sub region. Legal and governance processes will be established in 2013-14 to facilitate future joint investment in regional projects. The WDC has also worked with the Toodyay Bendigo Bank on analysis of the factors affecting collaborative investment for some time and they will be included in this process.
The Shires of Chittering, Dandaragan and Gingin have formed the Northern Growth Alliance. Its mission is to have a united approach in addressing strategic issues within the region. The purpose of the Northern Growth Alliance is to:
- Work together cooperatively to address regional problems, issues or challenges and advance the interests of the region;
- Develop and implement resource sharing strategies or regional service delivery models;
- Undertake studies to address industry development and growth; and
- Promote and market the region.
As part of the SuperTowns Program $4.8 million has been granted to Northam to develop the first stage of a new Avon Health and Community Services Precinct on the land adjacent to the existing Northam Regional Hospital site. Northam also received $3.65million for environmental improvements to the Avon River, specifically drainage and run off management associated with the Avon River Town Pool.
Jurien Bay received $12.13 million to develop a visitor and community centre linked to the Jurien Bay City Centre Enhancement project and to undertake sewerage works in their town centre.
The Commission supported both Wheatbelt SuperTowns to finalise Growth Plans. These were launched at the end of 2012 and have been endorsed by the Western Australian Planning Commission and the Infrastructure Coordinating Committee.
SuperTowns Growth Plans
With the second highest day-visitor numbers in Regional WA, the Wheatbelt’s growth and development of Tourism has increased significantly over the last year. Employment of a Research and Project Officer for two years from March 2012 facilitated the activity.
Diverse action instigated so far has included:
- Capacity building with local communities, local governments and existing or new Industry operators – workshop presentations in 15 towns, resulting in new annual events, projects or activities in 14 communities.
- Developing partnerships with stakeholders, Government and Industry within and outside the Region – including state, national and international media coverage and awareness of Eastern Wheatbelt’s tourism appeal.
- Creating new businesses and tours, fostering growth of existing activity and facilitating the establishment of new visitor centres - including new bus and chauffeur-driven tours, two new visitor centres, new businesses and familiarisation tours.
- Generating and initiating six new community tourism development groups (town-specific and inter-shire) devoted to multiple strategies and directed at increasing visitor numbers – including new websites and social media pages, identification of traveller types and linking with appropriate marketing campaigns, value-adding on existing commodities and products to generate visitor experiences.