From the mayor's desk: 'Cultural rot' claims are ludicrous

Recent comments declaring the 'cultural rot' of our city are ludicrous. The Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA) is a mecca for cultural experiences that only continue to flourish with more opportunities for arts, entertainment and intellectual pursuits.

Spectacular: The Hunter Valley Airshow was spectacular and attracted a crowd of about 14,000. Picture: Marina Neil

Spectacular: The Hunter Valley Airshow was spectacular and attracted a crowd of about 14,000. Picture: Marina Neil

Our community is home to festivals and events, this is what makes us such an attractive destination. We host award winning weeks for our residents, including Seniors Week 2019. This festival saw around 49 people joining clubs whether it be the local sewing group, choir or men's shed.

We are in the midst of Youth Week 2019, which gives our young people many opportunities to participate in the arts. Before we know it July will be here and with it comes our wonderful NAIDOC week celebrations.

Our own libraries are thriving cultural spaces just recently again seeing the Newcastle Writers Festival collaborate with our team and hold events in the LGA for the second year running. Local writers, poets and storytellers now gather at Cessnock Library monthly as part of The Cessnock Writers' Nest.

We host over 1000 sessions of education, learning and special interest initiatives every year. These can include author talks, history talks and art exhibitions, and everything else in between.

The Cessnock Performing Arts Centre program is so well curated it attracts people from across the Hunter. Council is extremely proud of its cultural facilities that are run by various groups from the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery and Marthaville Arts and Cultural Centre.

To question the culture of our city is an insult to so many community groups who work tirelessly to add value to the cultural fabric of the Cessnock LGA. Our future is bright.

Award winner

The Australia Sustainable Communities - Tidy Town Awards were held in Tasmania. Cessnock City Council was in the running for a national award after being named Tidiest Town in the iconic Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Sustainable Communities Awards.

We came home winners from the national awards - our Council took out the Resource Recovery and Waste Management Award. This category of award is about recognising innovation and achievements in recycling or waste reduction.

The Cessnock Waste Management Centre that opened in 2017 attracted the award.

Receiving the award reflects the excellence and innovation of this facility. The new facility is a huge improvement and in the first six months we saw a 17% increase in recovery of source-separated materials. Council is looking forward to hosting the 2019 State Awards and showing off what the Cessnock LGA has to offer.

Youth Week

National Youth Week is underway and is running until Friday, April 26. The program has been running since April 4 and there is still many activities for young people to get involved in. Youthfest is on this weekend at the Kurri Kurri Skate Park which will see both a skate and scooter competition. The celebration includes live music, street art and workshops, face painting and a cool, chill out space for onlookers. To find out more call CYCOS on 0401 107 413. Other events include a sewing workshop, podcast workshop, cupcake decorating and a couple of day trips. Visit www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/youthweek.

Flying high

The Hunter Valley Airshow was an incredible event, drawing record crowds of around 14,000. The two day event attracted many people from out of area to enjoy the spectacle. Our LGA is home to many events and it is important we continue to build our reputation as a destination with lots to see and do. Well done to organisers, Council were happy to support the family event that has no doubt provided a significant contribution to the local economy.