I SINCERELY thank my council colleagues for their support of three motions I put forward at this week's monthly meeting. I'll report on each of those motions in the next few days, and will start with Willow Court.
Now three months into my four-year term on council, I brought forward this suggestion after spending quite some time trying to adapt an earlier Willow Court grant application in order to make it suitable for a now-closed Federal funding scheme. Unfortunately, many of the documents required for a such a grant were simply not available to us as a council. This included a Business Plan for Willow Court, which is an essential component of almost any grant application.
As council staff are already fully engaged in their daily duties, I proposed that the Council engage someone for three months to consolidate the existing plans, update them where necessary, and to fill the gaps by developing the plans which are lacking. I respect that some will disagree with this type of expenditure, perhaps in the vicinity of $20,000, but I cannot see any alternative, and it is our stated intention to move ahead with Willow Court without delay.
The following is the text of my report to the council meeting.
Willow Court Project Management Consolidation
The purpose of this report is to obtain approval from Council for the engagement of a consultant or contractor on a three-month term to consolidate all plans, reports and documents relating to the Willow Court Barracks Precinct; to develop a business plan for the Barracks Precinct; and to create a development strategy for the precinct.
The recent resignation of the council’s economic development staff at Valley Vision has created a need for the temporary employment of a consultant or contractor to consolidate the many studies, plans and reports relating to the Willow Court site.
In particular, a comprehensive Business Plan is required. This document would improve Council’s chances of obtaining suitable grant funds for the development of the historic site.
The essential duties would include:
• consolidating all plans, reports, studies and documents relating to the Willow Court Barracks Precinct
• developing a comprehensive business plan for the Barracks Precinct
• creating a step-by-step development strategy to have the Barracks open to visitors as soon as possible; and the ongoing development of the remainder of the precinct (Frescati, Bronte, Carlton and Alonnah Houses)
• making a recommendation about the future employment requirements of the precinct
• making a start on the development strategy, once approved by Council, in any time remaining
A comprehensive Business Plan and Development Strategy are essential components of any future grant application or request for government or corporate support. An updated Development Strategy will also provide Council with the necessary directions to undertake a step-by-step development of the site in the event major funding is not immediately forthcoming.
Applicants for the position should have:
• A passion for the site
• A proven track record
• Excellent time-management skills
• An ability to quickly but thoroughly review and prioritise existing plans and reports etc
• A demonstrated ability to produce Business Plans and Development Strategies
• A commitment to the Derwent Valley
The three-month contract could be funded from the Royal Derwent Hospital (Willow Court) Reserve Fund.
So, that was my report. Again, I thank my fellow councillors for offering their unanimous support. I look forward to seeing the position filled as soon as possible.
If you would like to read what other councillors had to say about this idea, head over to the New Norfolk News.