Councillor profiles - This month from Inverell Shire Council, NSW

Article image - Councillor profiles - This month from Inverell Shire Council, NSW Councillor Paul Harmon, Mayor, Inverell Shire Council, New South Wales

A community for everyone
Inverell Shire is a dynamic and creative community that provides an opportunity for its citizens to enjoy a quality lifestyle.  

The area is endowed with natural resources and citizens who adopt a progressive and inclusive approach to life.  

These values are encapsulated in the Shire’s Vision Statement: ‘A Community for Everyone’.

The Shire of Inverell covers an area of 8,623 square kilometres of rich farm and grazing land, including large mineral deposits, particularly tin and sapphires – the area produces a significant proportion of the world’s sapphires.

The town’s population is approximately 12,000 and the local government area has approximately 17,000 residents.

I think Inverell has a great vibe and cosmopolitan feel about it.  

It is a great place to raise children. It has excellent schools, a vibrant CBD with a proactive Chamber of Commence, excellent sporting facilities, a modern cultural precinct and sound water resources.

New major projects
Council has been undertaking several large projects within the community.
During the mid to late 1990’s, council undertook a major redevelopment of the Inverell town centre.

However, as can be expected with assets that are approaching 20 years of age, it was appropriate to think about future renewal.

As an emerging regional centre and in the era of competing with planned shopping centres, Council should also be asking the question – do we simply maintain and manage what we currently have or should we be striving to enhance what we have built to date?

The journey toward the development of a draft Town Centre Renewal Plan commenced approximately 18 months ago.

As custodians of the community’s assets, Council recognised the value in having a comprehensive and transparent blueprint for the future.

Council agreed upon a project brief and engaged specialists to facilitate
the process.

The specialists worked in consultation with Councillors, staff, and community members and stakeholders groups.

Council was regularly updated throughout and ultimately endorsed a draft plan for the purposes of seeking the views of the broader community.

The consultation process generated widespread awareness and enabled interested community members the opportunity to express their views.

Having a viable and vibrant town centre not only benefits the business sector but also the whole shire.

It is incumbent upon Council to provide the planning, the infrastructure and a level of amenity that will facilitate a viable and vibrant town centre now and into the future.

Council has also installed valuable new exercise equipment at Captain
Cook Drive near the Suspension Bridge.  

This equipment supplements the public exercise equipment further up the Macintyre River in Campbell Street.  

There is also a push underway to transform Inverell’s Cameron Park into a year–round regional sporting complex.  

This will be a complete revamp of the area.  

We’re a sporting town and have some wonderful sporting facilities here and this will be a project that will cap it all off.  

A grant process application is underway.

Council is also involved in developing a solution for flying fox concerns in the area.

Local business
As a local businessman being involved in a family business, Inverell born and bred and along with my wife and four sons, I have always been an active member of the community.

I have always had a keen interest in local government issues and I felt that through my local experience and knowledge and strong community links, I could contribute to Inverell in a meaningful way.

I share my Mayoral role with my full time position as the Company Manager of Inverell Bus Service and Inverell Coaches, both of which provide the district with a great range of services including an extensive school and town bus network as well as links with Inverell Tourism.

Since I have been Mayor I have had the opportunity to preside over Citizenship Ceremonies to congratulate citizens from all parts of the world, who have decided to call Inverell home.

This is a privilege and I feel very humbled by the experience.

In my role as Mayor, it has certainly been a learning curve with a lot to take on board.

I believe it is important to get as much information as you can to make an informed decision by valuing the advice of council staff and listening to and respecting the views of the community.