Bill West and Steph Cooke smile at the camera

The NSW Government will be helping to bring to life Cowra’s Open Space Legacy Project with just under $2 million awarded from the Public Spaces Legacy Program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke today announced a $1,999,680 grant for Cowra Shire Council from the program, which will enhance public spaces across the shire through the following projects:

• Lachlan River Recreation Linkage

• Cowra CBD and Peace Precinct Art Project

• Village Signage Project

• Aboriginal Art Installation and Landscape Project.

Steph Cooke MP said the NSW Government was supporting the council to create a legacy of quality, green and accessible public space to be treasured for generations to come.

“The Cowra community has a rich history that deserves to be celebrated even further in these wonderful public spaces,” Ms Cooke said.

“Investing in these areas which can be enjoyed by everyone is the perfect way to create a legacy for future generations.”

“I want to congratulate Cowra Shire Council for all their hard work on this project which will help stimulate the local economy.”

“To secure full funding for the project, council needs to continue accelerating assessment and determination of local DAs, which will have the additional benefit of bolstering the local construction pipeline through to 2023.”

Mayor of Cowra Shire Council Bill West said the project would help celebrate local history and culture, as well as completing our existing beautiful open spaces.

“This is a tremendous boost for Cowra Shire and very welcome funding which will enable the Council to continue with some of the important community space projects we have on the books,” Cr West said.

“Our history and heritage is incredibly important, particularly our Indigenous heritage and culture. Council has been working for a long time to give proper recognition to the local Aboriginal community in the peace precinct, for example.”

“Council warmly welcomes this funding and we acknowledge the hard work of our local member Steph Cooke.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the funding being delivered to councils was reliant on them meeting agreed targets to speed up local development applications.

“This program is the first of its kind in NSW and demonstrates state and local government working together to create a legacy of beautiful public spaces that communities, for decades, can be proud of,” Mr Stokes said.

“In exchange for legacy funding, councils participating in the program need to speed up their assessment times. They have until June 30 to keep hitting their targets but, so far, the program has seen a 20 per cent improvement.

“It’s been great to see the unclogging of the planning system as part of this program – 42 of 53 planning proposals that had been stuck in the planning system for more than four years have been resolved and 161 of 168 regionally significant development applications have been cleared.”

Cowra Shire Council will be provided with funding for project planning and design and will have until 30 June 2021 to demonstrate they have met DA assessment performance improvements to lock in their full allocation of funding, ahead of construction starting on projects from August this year.

For more information, visit:

https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Planning-reforms/NSW-Public-Spaces-Legacy-Program