THE COVID-19 pandemic has delayed one of the region's most anticipated projects.
The development of the long-awaited Gunnedah Koala Park project has been put on the back burner due to the coronavirus crisis.
Initially promised by the state government in its 2018 budget, the $6.6 million project is slated to be built along the Oxley Highway, after Gunnedah Shire Council set aside 50 acres of land for the park in October.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said the pandemic had shifted much of the council's priorities in recent months.
"Because of COVID-19, the last few months have meant a lot of things have been put on hold," Cr Chaffey told the Leader.
"We've been working closley throughout this process with our third-party partner in the CaPTA Group.
"However, they're and their whole sector, is taking a massive hit in regards to tourism and that sort of thing.
"Understandably, they are taking the measures they can to ensure their business can continue to operate as best as it can during these times."
The coronavirus-enforced delay is not the first setback the project has suffered.
In February, the council reveled the project would not be built until December 2021, which was six months later than the original estimated completion date.
Cr Chaffey said he was unsure how much of a delay the pandemic would cause to the project, but the council would be working hard to get it back on track.
"Once we come out of COVID-19 and life starts to come back to normal, we will be picking up where we left off," he said.
"That will include picking up on those conversations that we were having prior to COVID-19 and we will be looking to kick off and start working again.
"It's all still very positive, but like many things in our community, this is one of these things that has been heavily affected by COVID-19."