Facilities upgrade earmarked in Greater Taree budget

MANNING Aquatic Leisure Centre will be expanded, Harry Bennett Park will get new public amenities and restoration work will continue on Taree War Memorial Clock following adoption of Greater Taree City Council's operational plan and budget.

Councillors gave the green light to the budget and operational plan at its meeting on June 18 and both plans cover the 2014-15 financial year. The operational plan deals with key initiatives being undertaken by council and how performance will be measured, tracked and reported back to the community.

According to council's general manager, Gerard José  "our operational plan for 2014-15 spells out how we will operate in the coming financial year."

"It outlines the three key areas of council operations: the community-focused service delivery, the internal support services and the overall corporate benchmarks that measure and track performance so that we can report on this to the community at regular intervals throughout the year," Mr José  said.

"Legislation requires that progress towards meeting the key initiatives outlined in the plan is reported to the community twice a year, but council reports this four times per year which ensures close monitoring by councillors of the activities and performance of the organisation.

"Over the next 12 months we aim to build a new amenities at Harry Bennett Park which will expand the range of activities that can be held in the park, undertake more work on the Taree War Memorial Clock and expand the floor space at the Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre to meet the growing demands of customers.

"New projects will also be undertaken thanks to the success of recent grant funding to engage better with local schools and better understand what audiences are looking for at the Manning Entertainment Centre."

Mr José  said that one popular program being undertaken in the libraries would be to develop interactive access to local history images. He added that Manning Regional Gallery would develop a program of niche market art fairs to diversify audiences and income streams and work to promote cultural diversity in art.

Council would also review the various means by which donations, sponsorships and in-kind support was provided in a bid to provide more effective support to community groups in the Manning Valley.