Council decides how to spend grant money

MORE VIBRANT: Council will spend part of the State Government funding granted to make Dungog more vibrant and alive on installing free public Wifi and better signage at the Visitor Information Centre in Dowling Street, Dungog.
MORE VIBRANT: Council will spend part of the State Government funding granted to make Dungog more vibrant and alive on installing free public Wifi and better signage at the Visitor Information Centre in Dowling Street, Dungog.

Better signage, more seating and free WiFi are all part of the plan to rejuvenate Dungog’s central business district.

Dungog was one of 20 towns to receive a $50,000 State Government grant to help make the town centre more vibrant and alive.

One of the conditions of the funding from the Department of Industry for the Dungog Place Making Project was that more than half the grant – $30,000 – had to be spent on expert assistance, with the remaining funds to be spent on projects.

JOC Consulting was engaged to conduct community input into how the money should be spent with more than 300 ideas coming from the community through interviews, Facebook posts, surveys and workshops following the consultants setting up a pop up office in Doiling Street for three days.

JOC Consulting  later donated $10,000 back to the project, allowing Dungog Shire Council to consider a new budget of $30,000

At the council’s April meeting, a motion on how the money should be spent from Cr John Connors and seconded by Cr Robert Booth was unanimously supported.

The council will now spend $10,000 for “wayfinding” signage around Dowling Street, based on an audit of existing signage and taking account the outcomes of the Dungog Regional Tourism re-branding exercise which is currently underway (see story on page 3).

Further, $5000 has been allocated for bench tables and seating in the forecourt of the Visitor Information Centre; $2000 to upgrade the existing visitdungog website to make it more user-friendly and $2000 to provide free public WiFi connection at the visitor information centre. A further $11,000 will be spent on seating, rubbish bins and general improvement of the footpaths in Dowling Street between Mackay Street and Hooke Street.

In a report to the meeting, councillors were advised that the community engagement identified a desire for improvements to the council-owned vacant lot at 239-242 Dowling Street.

At the March meeting, councillors agreed to seek expressions of interest for the future use of that land.