With the year drawing to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on our achievements and how far we’ve come during another challenging year. Whilst we’ve all had to look after our health and safety due to COVID-19, storms and flooding have also been challenges that we’ve faced together. However as a community we’ve really joined together to support one another, and continued to enhance and enjoy our city as a wonderful place to live, work and invest.
The AlburyCity 2021-2022 Annual Report was recently finalised, highlighting the many initiatives that were delivered during the last financial year. I’m pleased to share that we achieved 96% of the actions within our annual Operational Plan, and delivered $32 million in capital works programs – an extremely strong result given the challenges we faced.
One of the key highlights this year was the endorsement of the Towards Albury 2050 Community Strategic Plan – a long-term plan for the future of our city, developed for, and in close consultation with you, our Albury community. We’re making great headway towards achieving our community vision, to be A nationally significant regional city that is vibrant, diverse, innovative and connected, and inspired by its culture, environment and location on the Murray River.
A number of other significant plans and strategies were endorsed this year – some of which were a first for our city, and once again, they have been developed in close consultation with our community. Our Disability Inclusion Action Plan, first ever Reconciliation Action Plan, the Botanic Gardens Master Plan, Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and Retail Action Plan were all significant achievements. And great work is happening right now in developing our Local Housing Strategy, Inland Water Safety Strategy, Multicultural Plan, Eastern Hill Activation Plan, Les O’Brien Athletic Precinct Master Plan, MOVE - Albury Wodonga Integrated Transport Strategy… and the list goes on.
This year we also signed a new Two Cities One Community Partnership Agreement with Wodonga Council, reaffirming our commitment to continue to work together in advocating for the needs of our border community on issues such as improved health services and more. After our two cities were divided during the COVID-19 lockdowns this collaboration has become more important than ever.
We also signed a milestone Collaboration Agreement with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation to fast-track social and affordable housing to meet the needs of our growing community. Research for our Local Housing Strategy told us that our community is growing, housing is getting more expensive, and we don’t have enough diversity in housing to align with our population, so this agreement is a huge win for our city. And it’s already paying dividends, with the recent announcement of planning approval for 24 brand new social housing units to be constructed in East Albury.
Although we’ve seen some delays due to flood impacts, construction of our highly anticipated Albury Riverside Precinct has been progressing this year. Once flood waters recede we’ll be able to get back in and push forward with these works, creating a spectacular riverside experience for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
Construction of our Pumphouse Maker Space and Artist Workshop is also progressing, which will see this historic building transformed into a vibrant creative facility for or local entrepreneurs. Design for the exciting redevelopments of the Convention Centre Wing at the Albury Entertainment Centre and the Animal Care Centre are also underway, with the new Material Recovery Facility at the Waste Management Centre starting construction next year.
We even extended our CCTV camera network from the Albury CBD to our second largest business district of Lavington, and introduced two mobile CCTV trailers which have been highly successful in deterring crime and identifying offenders.
Sadly some events had to be been cancelled or postponed due to the ongoing wet weather, however we were able to bring some great experiences to our community, including the amazing Aurora Light Show at the Botanic Gardens, Music in the Gardens and the inaugural Riverside Vibes. There were also a host of amazing shows and performances at the Entertainment Centre and exhibitions at the LibraryMuseum and Lavington Library.
After a two-year break we hope to see everyone at Carols by Candlelight in QEII Square next Wednesday 21 December, as well as at the highly anticipated Big Bash Match at our Lavington Sports Ground on New Year’s Eve!
I’d like to thank everyone in community and the hard working AlburyCity team, strongly supported by our councillors, our volunteers and partner organisations for their support over the past year, without your passion and dedication none of what we’ve achieved would have been possible.
I look forward to another great year of delivering great outcomes for our community, and wish you all a happy and safe festive season.