OPINION: Welcome to 2024 from the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association

Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association President Bruce Murray and member John Baskett advocating for authentic community consultation and transparency regarding the Hunter Offshore Wind zone.

ON behalf of the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association (HNTGPA) Management Committee (MCC), welcome to the new year.

We trust everyone is enjoying a fantastic summer break, enjoying our Myall River, stunning beaches, and parks.

Firstly, congratulations to our newly elected Management Committee members: Vice President Michele Winn, Secretary Sherrie O’Keefe, and Committee member Chris Taylor.

They join Treasurer Kay Jones, Public Officer Sandra Bourke, Jeannette Hart (President Myall River Art Walk Group), Kath Verdon, John Verdon, Bryony Barnes, and Christian Patterson.

A special acknowledgment goes to our outgoing Vice President and Life Member, Trevor Jennings, for his outstanding contributions over many years.

Furthermore, a sincere thank you to Sandra Bourke for her diligent work as our Secretary, particularly in securing grants over the past two years.

Reflecting on the past year, the HNTGPA achieved significant success, obtaining approximately $130,000 in grant funding.

This entire sum has been reinvested back into our community, resulting in key accomplishments such as the outdoor exercise equipment in Providence Bay Park, the Seniors Festival, pool upgrades, and solar lighting installations at the skate park and Lions Park.

Our dedicated volunteers played a crucial role in preparing the Scout Hall for Seniors Week, undertaking tasks such as cleaning, painting, and equipment replacements.

The Hall remains under the management of Scouts NSW.

Additionally, the HNTGPA contributed to the inaugural Lee Anderson Award at Galleries in the Garden, replaced the Service Clubs sign near the skate park, and collaborated with the Men’s Shed to establish a garden around its base.

The Myall River Art Walk Group has been active in restoring the Surf Club mural, creating new whale murals at the Surf Club, working on the NAIDOC mural, the Marine Drive amenities mural, and numerous smaller art installations around town.

As we enter 2024, the HNTGPA has over 130 members, committed to working together for the betterment of the Myall Coast community and the environment.

In terms of advocacy, we continue to express serious concerns over the State Government’s disappointing and tardy response to the urgent need to dredge the lower Myall River.

The silting poses a high risk to both river users and is adversely impacting the environment.

We are also advocating to the Federal and State governments for improved consultation and transparency around the serious adverse environmental and economic impacts of the Hunter Offshore Wind turbines, to be situated 20km off Hawks Nest Beach and the RAMSAR listed Myall Lakes National Park and protected Cabbage Tree island.

We are steadfast in our commitment to advocate for these and other issues throughout the year.

Looking ahead, we already have two grants in readiness for our community.

The first is the NSW Seniors Grant, supporting our third NSW Seniors Week with a free ‘Hey Hey it’s Seniors Day’ Gala Concert and Afternoon Tea on Saturday, 16 March.

Stay tuned for free tickets and details about the exciting entertainment program.

The second funding initiative, from the Mid Coast Council and HNTGPA fundraising, will be directed towards the Singing Bridge Golden Jubilee Commemoration, commencing on Saturday, 6 April.

This commemorative event will feature street stalls, concerts, and displays across Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest, reminiscent of the community’s celebration in 1974.

We will be seeking support from community groups and local businesses to make this event a success.

Our commitment extends to various projects in our twin villages, focusing on upgrading the community hall, the regional skate park, off-leash dog park development, ongoing pool improvements, Myall River dredging/access, footpaths, roads, general amenities and park enhancements.

These initiatives will also form a significant part of our ongoing advocacy to local, state, and federal governments.

Our first General Meeting for 2024 is scheduled for Monday, 12 February 2024, at St Stephen’s Community Hall, starting at 6:30 pm.

This is a temporary arrangement pending the completion of the Hawks Nest community hall upgrade.

Thank you for your continued support.

Cheers to a thriving and community-driven 2024.

By Bruce MURRAY, President, Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association

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