The vision for an Upper Hunter town has begun with the adoption of the Create Singleton 2032 Community Strategic Plan (CSP), providing a blueprint for the next 10 years.
Councillors at Tuesday night’s ordinary meeting also gave the green light to the Long Term Financial Plan 2022-2032 as well as the Delivery Program 2022-2026 and Operational Plan 2022-2023 (including the budget) to take effect from 1 July.
Taking direction from about 8,000 pieces of community feedback to develop the Create Singleton 2032 CSP, the Operational Plan includes a $36 million capital works program, a greater investment in planning resources and the continuation of the focus on arts and culture in 2022/2023.
Major outlays include $1.6m for the extension of the rugby league amenities building at Pirtek Park; $1.1m for a new athletics facility at Cook Park 5; $150,000 for improvements to the Mechanics Institute and Senior Citizens Centre $100,000 for fencing around the children’s bike path at Townhead Park; and $100,000 each for new playground equipment at Harry George and Earribee Reserve.
The Long Term Financial Plan and 2022-2023 budget incorporates IPART’s approval of an additional rate variation from 0.70% to 2% (equating to $15 per year for average urban residential rates) to allow council to continue to meet its service delivery obligations as inflation stands at 5.1%, costs of materials are going up by about 20% and fuel costs are skyrocketing.
Singleton mayor Sue Moore said she was excited for what the new financial year would bring.
“The overwhelming response from our community was for a strengthened focus on ‘local’, through infrastructure such as shared pathways and bike tracks, shopping, events and entertainment, all growing more ways for us to experience and engage with local places and people,” she explained.
“We’re already off to a good start with the success of the Firelight Festival in May, and we’ll continue on with the Operational Plan 2022-2023 that identifies 174 actions council will undertake this new financial year to support our community’s priorities.
“I’m particularly pleased to confirm that yes, that includes more shared paths, including on Civic Avenue from the Singleton Gym & Swim to Combo Lane, and on Combo Lane from Civic Avenue to Queen Street.
“We’ve also recently been successful in securing funding from the Transport for NSW Active Transport program for new footpaths for sections of Patrick Street, Market Street and Hunter Street.
“Following on from the opening of the Arts and Cultural Centre earlier this year, we’ll also see a range of new exhibitions, programs and events to reflect our community’s identity and cement Singleton’s place as the heart of the Hunter for arts and creativity.”
Council’s general manager Jason Linnane said community connection to the environment and each other were key themes for 2022-2023.
“Sustainability remains a core focus with particular actions to develop a Transport Strategy and investigate the installation of electric car charging facilities in our local government area,” he stated.
“And, we’re bringing people together and promoting the wellbeing of our community as we embark on the delivery of upgrades and embellishments identified in our Community Sports Infrastructure Strategy, and progress the work of our Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) committees to enhance our villages in Bulga and Jerrys Plains.
“We’re also working on making our two flagship events, Christmas on John Street (to be held on 10 December) and Firelight in 2023 bigger and better than ever as part of our commitment to enhance community inclusiveness, connection, health and wellbeing.”
The Create Singleton 2032 Community Strategic Plan and associated documents will be available for viewing on council’s website at www.singleton.nsw.gov.au