7 March 2018

Cessnock City Council extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of David Clark who has sadly passed away. Our community is deeply saddened by the loss of David, who was an outstanding member of our community, immersing himself in every aspect of community life. A person like David is a rarity, he is what I like to call a keeper of our community, always working for the betterment of our community and for the greater good. His smiling face will be sorely missed.

The Branxton- Greta Business Chamber held a wonderful first breakfast to start 2018. Over 60 people listened to an address from Shadow Minister for Small Business Jenny Aitchison and heard local business owners. New local business owners Gemma Bunner and Kerri Shaw addressed the crowd and it was fantastic to see how enthusiastic the pair are to operate a business locally. Another great example of our local government area being an attractive place to invest and with the release of the Advance Cessnock City Business Investment Attraction Program, we are ready to welcome new business.

Earlier in the month I had the opportunity to present to the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) as Chair of the Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils (JO) and as Mayor of Cessnock City. It was a fresh opportunity to highlight how collaboration as a region is key to unlocking the potential of our region. We all need to continue working hand in hand to achieve the most positive outcomes for each of our local government areas, especially as the Draft Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan progresses. A hot topic at the UDIA event was the rapid growth of our region.

Over the weekend I attended the Wyndham Ridge Open Day, marking the launch of stage one of the development of 248 lots. Wyndham Ridge will be a fantastic place to call home and Council looks forward to welcoming new residents to the area.

It was marvellous to attend the opening of the Richmond Vale Railway Museum after a tough five months since a bushfire ripped through the site. It was a pleasure to stand beside Richmond Main Colliery Veterans who attended the opening to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the cessation of coal shipping from the colliery in 1967. It is very pleasing to see this museum reopened to public, a place that captures the story of our past and provides so much historic value to so many of us. Congratulations to all Council staff, members of the community and volunteers who worked hard to see the gates reopen.