Upper Orara Hall upgrades thanks to Regional Community Grant

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh at Upper Orara Hall with committee members and local residents.

KEEPING the doors open is the driving aim of the Upper Orara Hall committee who maintain and manage the historic 116-year-old building.

A morning tea last Thursday saw committee members celebrating the installation of a new water tank with Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, thanks to a $10,980 Regional NSW Community Grant.

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Replacing the leaky old tank with a spanking new one is another step to keeping the door open and equipping the hall to meet the needs of an evacuation centre in the event of fire, flood or other emergency.

Aiming to get the most out of the grant money, the work was carried out by local tradies.

“As an evacuation centre the hall is not up to standard and the new water tank helps us get it up to specifications,” Upper Orara Hall committee member Steve Shields told News Of The Area.

Mr Singh said local residents should be extremely proud of what has been achieved.

“The local community has driven this important project from start to finish and I congratulate them on their passion, their persistence and their hard work,” he said.

While the village is about 20 minutes drive out of Coffs Harbour, the area faces its own unique challenges, particularly in emergencies.

“Once you’re on the other side of Red Hill you’re getting rural,” Mr Singh said.

“Fire and flood isolate these communities from urban facilities, that’s why halls like this are important.”

“Having a space like this helps build resilience in a community.

“Building community spirit through sharing good times together gives you the foundations for resilience for when bad times such as disasters hit.

Ultimately a place like this saves lives.”

Careful budgeting of the funds allowed for not only the replacement of the water tank, but also adding water filters to bring the water to a drinkable standard.

Six fold-up stretcher beds were also purchased for overnight emergencies, while the ladies bathroom got an upgrade with a new vanity, mirror and new tiles.

LED lights were installed throughout, fresh paint was applied to the toilet areas and meeting room, and repairs were made to cupboards.

“They’ve managed to get a lot done in a relatively short amount of time, due in large part to the tireless efforts of many volunteers,” said Mr Singh.

President of the hall committee, Margaret Hoschke told NOTA, “Grants like this one help us to keep the hall in working order and make it beautiful so people want to hire the place for their own events – keeping the door open.

“It’s a great asset to the community.”

Upper Orara Hall and Nana Glen Halls are the only two halls in the Coffs Harbour LGA which run independently of Council and are self-funded, relying on grants and donations.


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