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Bingara & District Vision 20/20

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Bingara & District Vision 20/20. Group huddle of the newly elected Executive committee.
L to R. Rick Hutton, Frances Young, Meaghan Stamer, Garry McDouall (President), John Bishton, Sue Hutton

Bingara & District Vision 20/20 held its AGM on Thursday 18th February and the President’s Report presented by Meaghan Stamer was adopted. For the interest of the public, it is reproduced below.

 Presidents Report AGM Thursday 18th 2021 6pm

Thank you everyone for coming along here today to our AGM.

Over the past year we have seen many changes locally and globally we would never have anticipated.

During this last year the world has been devastated by the ongoing pandemic while here in Bingara we have been lucky enough to bypass this health disaster. With the ease on our local area we have been able to grow and implement strategies to move us into the next year and beyond. 

  • This year the president’s role has been shared over the past 12 months as John took a “sabbatical” in July and I have stepped in acting as President since then.
  • This year as we have been restricted by Covid to numbers able to attend meetings and locations able to host us. We have used The Living Classroom for four General Meetings, the “Pulse Celebration” party in September and for a workshop on Digital Technology in July. 
  • A huge thank you to Rick and to Gwydir Shire Council for being so accommodating and making this facility available. As always, it worked very well.
  • We applied for and received a grant of $10000 from Destination NSW in order to run “Pulse of the Earth – a Festival of Regeneration” in September, 2020 and we lined up Joel Salatin from the US to come as key note speaker (and to be funded by a 3 day workshop to be conducted immediately before or afterwards). 
  • Covid intervened, so we have managed to roll the festival and the $10000 into this year. We do plan to hold the festival on the weekend of 3/4/5th September 2021, and the organisation of this will be an early task for our new committee. 
  • With Covid restrictions lifting we held a Christmas Party at The River House, and recently had a tent and display on Saturday morning 6th Feb in Fays Park to gather ideas from the community going forward with pressing topics for 2021.
  • Thank you to all who assisted with these events. Ideas gathered in Fays Park have been collected into a paper, copies of which are circulating for those who are interested and the ideas poster boards on display on the walls around us here tonight. We asked the community focussed questions around some of the obvious things for us to address this year –these posters will help us structure our discussion later this evening.
  • We initiated the #beautifulbingara and #cometobingara social media campaigns (currently with 625 following) and, concurrently GSC upped the ante on social media posts. This work has contributed to the very strong visitation to our town since the Covid lockdown finished. 

The numbers of free campers has been self-evident, but also there have been growing numbers of tourists who might otherwise have travelled elsewhere, and this has changed our tourism mix. 

With the influx of travellers, it gives us a marvellous opportunity to underwrite our accommodation providers (and possibly to justify building additional accommodation) as well as other tourism oriented businesses. 

The River House reports a very strong 6 months, and a broadening of customer interests – with a particular focus on The Roxy and its potential, on The Living Classroom and The Carbon Farm (likewise). 

The subject of how to structure our marketing in this different world is one of the subjects we will invite you to contribute to.

  • We commenced the project “101 things to see and do in Bingara” commenced with a community engagement campaign and resulted in a long list of “things to see and do”.
  • The project has stalled and needs input as to how to present, and a fresh bout of enthusiasm.
  • The future of The Roxy complex – all of it, not just the cafe has been on the agenda for most of our meetings this year, as we and the community express dismay that it remains largely shut and uncared for during the period of high visitation referred to earlier. 
  • The Roxy Complex is a critical piece of our infrastructure and our tourism offering in Bingara. 
  • We will discuss possibilities later in the meeting, but to get it properly operational will require focus, passion and commitment. 
  • The key question, is there a role for Vision 2020 and/or other community organisations to make this happen? Covid, of course does not make this an easy task.
  • We have met with GSC at their invitation to contribute ideas on how some of the drought/fire/covid windfalls might be spent.
  • Our thanks to all committee members for their engagement this year. All of the current committee (with the exception of Sarah Traverse who retired during the year having briefly taken on the Treasurer role) have indicated that they are happy to be renominated. Our thanks to Di Etheridge for continuing to do the accounts.
  • Our thanks to Chris Turner (Business Development Manager – GSC) for his guidance this year – and welcome to the district. Chris is concerned that we should provide clarity around the roles of our various office bearers, and this also is a task for this year.
  • Thanks also to Councillors Catherine Egan, Frances Young and Tiffany Galvin for attending so many meetings, and for your very valuable input.
  • Our financial position remains strong with       in the bank, insurances and other commitments up to date. This gives us some flexibility, but not enough to be too ambitious. The more members we have, the stronger the organisation. A full list of current members is available. There are many on our circulation list who are not currently members, and we invite your participation. Forms are here.
  • Congratulations to GSC for the many capital improvements which have taken place this year – the pool, the pontoon, the library and the sporting ground facilities are the more obvious, but there are many more and all have been well done. 
  • Our “capital” base continues to expand – our challenge now is to build on this base so that we can look back when we reach 2030 on a vibrant and prosperous town and district which other small rural communities can only aspire to. 
  • It is good to see that the Warialda C of C has new leadership and energy, and we look forward to working with them on a couple of projects which are applicable shire wide.
  • Congratulations also to Tiff and Lenore for energising the Bingara Business Group and for its initiatives to date – this group complements the role of Vision 2020 really well.

Finally, congratulations to Bev Mathews and team for getting up and running the Bingara Community Op-Shop, it was a tremendous effort by all those involved.

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