Gilgai Hall Committee Chairman Rick Ellis, left, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Inverell Shire Deputy Mayor Anthony Michael inside Gilgai Hall, which will soon have its kitchen upgraded.
Friday, 22 May 2020
INVERELL Shire Council is making sure its smaller, more vulnerable communities are better prepared for future bushfires, choosing to spend a $100,000 State Government emergency grant on upgrading public halls to ensure they can support residents in times of disaster.
Mr Marshall said Tingha, Gilgai, Yetman and Delungra community halls would all be improved to make them safer and more accessible for use as an emergency meeting place.
“For the residents of Tingha and Gilgai the devastating bushfires of February 2019 will be forever etched into their memories,” Mr Marshall said.
“During those fires, their local halls acted as central gathering point for the community, where they could access information or evacuate to if their homes were under threat.
“To ensure these facilities are fit-for-purpose in future disasters, council plans to upgrade the Gilgai Hall kitchen, give Delungra and Yetman Halls a new coat of paint and install a new community noticeboard at Tingha.”
Along with two new mobile public address systems (PA), Mr Marshall said the upgraded facilities could be used by emergency services to disseminate important information to the local community.
“External fixed seating will be added, with pop-up shelters also to be purchased to provide additional shade at the halls,” Mr Marshall said.
“At Tingha, a new barbecue area will be built to help support the community recovery and provide an additional meeting space for families and friends.
“These projects will not only improve important public amenities but provide a large amount of work for local tradies during this difficult time.”
Inverell Shire Deputy Mayor Anthony Michael said some of the funding would also be put towards supporting local businesses to recover.
“Over the past two years, businesses have really taken a hit financially due to the bushfires, drought and now COVID-19,” Cr Michael said.
“Council will be working with a television producer to create a series of nationally televised segments to showcase locations, attractions, and accommodation in areas directly affected by the fires.
“The series will be aired on Channel Seven from early December and invite viewers to explore our beautiful region and spend a few dollars in our shire, when COVID-19 conditions permit.”
“Also, as sign of gratitude for our incredible Rural Fire Service (RFS) personnel, once COVID-19 restrictions are eased council will be working with the Lions Club to host a thank you event.
“This will give the community an opportunity to come together and thank those who fought so hard during last summer to keep our homes and livelihoods safe.”