THE Coledale community and other stakeholders yesterday had their first chance to celebrate and discuss the multi-million dollar NOW project, which aims to increase the availability of affordable housing in Tamworth.
Council officially launched the project at the Coledale Community Fun Day held at the community centre between noon and 7pm.
The NOW initiative – funded with a $10.68 million Australian government grant to Tamworth Regional Council though the Building Better Regional Cities Program – involves a a diverse range of improvements to the suburb’s streetscape and roads.
It will also boast a new multi-million dollar regional youth centre and 58 additional blocks of land will be opened to create affordable housing in the area.
Mayor Col Murray, a former Coledale resident, was excited to officially launch the project.
He said the project was the result of working together and that he was confident it was the start of getting Coledale to become a great place to live again.
“There’s no doubt that Coledale has missed out previously but this is the start of creating a better future here,” he said.
Member for New England Tony Windsor agreed.
“This project is the start of something, it’s a foundation, not a finish,” he said.
“It’s exciting news for Coledale and an opportunity to make up for what should have been done
originally, when the suburb was established and they built houses but no amenities.”
Coledale Residents’ Association secretary Annette Marshall said she was looking forward to seeing the construction work start.
“I’ve had a long association with Coledale – having lived there for many years and raised my six children there – and it’s exciting to know that soon a project designed to revitalise the area will start and help make home ownership more affordable for more people,” she said.
While construction work on the project is not expected to begin until early 2013, it is expected it will be finished by March 2014.
Expressions of interest closed in November for the architectural design of the proposed Tamworth Regional Youth Centre that will be located in Centenary Park.
The NOW initiative was based around the Urban Renewal Masterplan for Coledale, adopted by council last year.
The project was the result of a number of joint negotiations, over a number of years, between council, Housing NSW and the Coledale community.
Aboriginal elder Joe Craigie is one of many community members who see the NOW initiative as an opportunity for positive change.
“There have been a lot of people from different groups and agencies working on for this project for some time,”Mr Craigie said.
“The community fun day was a good opportunity for local residents to find out more about what will be done, when it might happen and how it will benefit the community.”
The community fun day included a range of other activities and entertainment from Aboriginal performances to traditional indigenous and kids games, elders’ games, a jumping castle, arts, stalls and a barbecue.