Funding boost for heart of Bedgerabong

The Bedgerabong Showground is a more than a social gathering place, it’s a hub for the rural community and now it’s going to get some much-needed upgrades. 

The grounds have received two funding injections that will allow a makeover in coming months.

Bedgerabong's Chris Simmonds, member for Orange Phil Donato, Bedgerabong's Darren Collier and Council's grants officer Andrew Rawsthorne.

Bedgerabong's Chris Simmonds, member for Orange Phil Donato, Bedgerabong's Darren Collier and Council's grants officer Andrew Rawsthorne.

This year’s State Budget includes $102,000 for a Stronger Communities Grant to build two multipurpose pavilions, install a water tank and upgrade the kitchen in the hall.

Last week the Showground and Racecourse received a further $15,000 Community Building Partnership grant, which member for Orange Phil Donato travelled out to present. 

The trust’s Chris Simmonds and Darren Collier said the funding had financed a permanent structure to replace the temporary one volunteers rallied to erect for each event. 

It’s a huge improvement both from a safety aspect and for the volunteers required to erect the structure, they said. 

And it’s part of the much larger project to better equip the grounds not only for social events, but for times of emergency as well.

The showground is the hub for the community’s response during times of both flood and fire. 

It’s the landing place for State Emergency Services and Rural Fire Service helicopters, and in the 2016 flooding the site was abuzz with volunteers filling sandbags and coordinating relief efforts. 

The funding will also see the connection of a phone line, to ensure communication in an area with patchy mobile phone reception.

The kitchen in the hall will be enlarged and upgraded to meet modern food handling standards. 

A 20,000 litre water tank and tankstand will be installed, to allow two fire trucks to fill at the same time without the need for a transfer pump.

Mr Simmonds said the committee of volunteers was “elated” at the news.

He thanked Council’s grants officer Andrew Rawsthorne for his help in putting together the grant applications.

“I’ve been on the committee for 15 years and this is the first decent funding I’ve seen,” Mr Collier added. 

“As a small rural village, the Bedgerabong Showground pavilion is of significant importance to the whole community,” Mr Donato said. 

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