Council launches bold plan to activate Orange

By November 28, 2018 December 21st, 2018 Activate Orange, Business, News

Orange City Council and community leaders today launched a new blue-print for Orange’s economic future.

The result of research, analysis and community consultation, the Activate Orange plan is built on the emerging strengths of the local economy to make a bold pitch for more than $170 million in funding from both the state and federal governments, to turn Orange into the economic powerhouse of inland NSW.

Orange mayor Reg Kidd is impressed that the ActivateOrange plan is based on projects that are already under way.

“Orange already has a high profile for its food and wine, and for the huge numbers of people who come here every year for major sporting events. What researchers have put their finger on in this is plan, is the huge potential for Orange to be an economic powerhouse in the fields of health, life sciences, retail, tourism and professional services.”

“The 400 hectare area surrounding Orange’s Bloomfield campus is a great example of what could become a ‘Life Sciences’ precinct. Orange’s public hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in regional Australia, and a major mental health hospital are already located in that zone. Private sector investors are voting with their feet. Across the road, construction has begun on new multi-storey private hospital that’s expected to employ 500 staff.

FOCUS : A 400-hectare zone around the Bloomfield Hospital campus could be transformed into a ‘Life Sciences’ precinct as part of the ActivateOrange plan.

“More than a hundred medical specialists and their families now call Orange home. The University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong are active here, within the Bloomfield precinct. And on top of this, Charles Sturt University which already teaches pharmacy and dentistry students in Orange is being federally funded to develop the new Murray Darling Medical School with Western Sydney University.

“Blind Freddy could see that with a little coordination, and with government investment when it comes to infrastructure and future planning, the momentum in this precinct could really take off, to incorporate further growth in industry and the associated services sector.

“I gather the NSW Government is looking at how to support economic activation zones around the state, and I’m looking forward to hearing how Orange fares when it comes to these funding programs.”

The ActivateOrange plan also makes the case to also build on the strength in Orange in the fields of :

  • enhancing transport connections
  • the Future City CBD upgrade
  • recreational, cultural and tourism assets

Orange City Council’s Employment & Economic Development Committee Chair, Cr Tony Mileto said he’s excited by the potential the ActivateOrange plan has uncovered, such as the Life Sciences precinct and the CBD upgrade.

“What’s makes sense for me is that the ActivateOrange plan is much more than vision statements and worthy intentions,” Cr Tony Mileto said.

“This blue-print is based on solid research and good analysis. The stakeholders are ready to go. If this can be a plan that brings all tiers of government to work together, then the future for Orange and the region as a source of jobs growth and investment is looking very bright.”

“It’s all about building on momentum that’s already here.

“A precinct that’s a hub of life sciences expertise is a location that will attract students from all around the world to study in Orange, as well as companies working in the associated fields of pharmaceuticals and other medical research. That critical mass of expertise makes it easier in future to attract good staff, easier to attract good investment.”

“If we are going to attract more students and workers to the city, we need to ensure that the CBD is designed with the next generation in mind. A place where the community and businesses will thrive. That is why the FutureCity CBD upgrade project is another integral part of ActivateOrange.“

Charles Sturt university’s vice-chancellor Andrew Vann attended today’s launch.

“We are excited by the prospect of locating our new Murray Darling Medical School within the proposed Life Science’s precinct,” Andrew Vann said. “Our research indicates that the next generation of doctors want to be integrated with their future work environment.”

“The new ‘Life Sciences’ precinct on its own however is not enough to attract students and professional staff to Orange. What is important for that culturally diverse group is the liveability of the city of Orange, its vibrancy and the casual employment opportunities that retail and hospitality bring. It all needs to come together.”

6 Comments

  • Elliot says:

    How about teenagers? Why can’t the funding go towards a new water park? It would bring lots of money into Orange and also attract lots of families.

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your question. A water park is an idea that’s worth exploring and has come up in council-community conversations. The projects in the ActivateOrange plan are aimed at providing more jobs, and then with a larger population, recreational projects like the water park would be more viable for businesses to open.

    • Jane says:

      Rather than attracting more and more theoretical people to the city how about considering the people already living here and providing council ongoing revenue through their rates. I neither see community or business thriving in comparison to similar sized cities. It’s very challenging to have a connected community without providing basic amenities to drive this. Unlike other towns our size we have basically no seating in the main st nor public eating area/ food court therefor unless you want to sit on the concrete you can’t stop to chat. We have no public toilets down town and those single robotic devices are not acceptable to count as the single toilet is unkept dirty and usually unusable. Retail shops are empty all over the place. The pool usually has 80% of lanes dedicated to 5% of users and two lanes for a couple of hundred people on a hot day. Drive to any other town around here eg. Young, Cowra, Forbes etc and they get to swim in the whole pool. It’s a shame the residents who fund council to represent them repeatedly fail favouring ideas for people who don’t live here. Orange was a great place to live in the 80s for families. We had fun facilities at the lake like the long slide and the deer. Council had commonsense like building the bmx track near where all the kids lived rather than in a corner of town near a handful of kids at best. We could use the whole pool even the diving blocks! I don’t know how today’s children even practise and learn how to dive. We had the beautiful grounds and toilets at four mile creek. I personally don’t drink wine, don’t go the art gallery etc or all the other things that tricky to do with kids just like my neighbours but I do go to the pool, look for kids parks etc several times a week. Usually I just drive to another town to use the pool now as it gets too dangerous with so many people squished into two lanes. Personally I would like to see:
      1) Public toilets built and maintained somewhere visible to travelling tourists.
      2) bench style seating in powder coated metal (durable and heat resistent) every 50 or so metres along the main st.
      3)Some public eating areas with tables and chairs where people can catch up over their lunch break etc.
      4) a smaller style skatepark next to the existing one where younger children can ride without getting in the way of the bigger kids. (This park is one public facility that is well utilised by the community).
      5) open at least 5 lanes of each pool to the public in the holidays and on weekends.
      None of these points are excessive and would improve practicality for residents incredibly.
      Thankyou for your time.

  • Marlene says:

    ActivateOrange is an impressive and bold plan to build on the strengths and potential Orange has to offer in many fields. The one area that needs urgent action is the CBD and retail. The CBD needs to expand which is a challenge given its location in the centre of the many fine buildings, houses surrounding it. At present the high volume of traffic and associated parking problems can act as a deterrent for visitors, tourists and even locals to shop in Orange. I look forward to seeing the plans for the upgrade of the CBD which hopefully will encourage a more diverse shopping experience.

  • Kim Roughley says:

    Hi council, great initiative.
    I too would appreciate some more water activities around. Give the kids something to look forward to if a weekend. Peewees and the adventure playground are over worked and have lost their shine.
    Bit of a selfish request – I’ve moved here from Brisbane they have great foot paths and cycleways all the way into the suburbs and it really encourages you to get out.
    There’s a new estate off Tilston way that is cut off from joining in on some established paths to a decent park (near Robin Hood) by the creek that runs through there. Can you pretty please consider a foodbridge?? It would mean I could even walk my little one to daycare!
    Thanks 🙂

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