Bob Pynsent: From the Mayor's Desk | Support of local business is vital

It was great to be out in Branxton earlier this week meeting and talking with business owners about the impacts of and recovery from COVID-19 as restrictions ease.

The 'Support Local' campaign, a partnership between Cessnock City Council, local business chambers and associations has been designed to raise awareness of the importance of shopping and buying local during these difficult times.

The campaign has a targeted approach to each town and village which has been welcomed by our business community.

In Branxton it was clear people are doing their bit to support local businesses. This support is vital for the ongoing success of these business and local jobs. Particularly with the bush fires hitting first and then a pandemic.

Council has been working hard to look for opportunities to support and aid businesses as they recover from serious downturn. Council secured $250,000 from the NSW Government's Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund.

A variety of projects are funded under the grant, including funding for walking trails, visitor information points and signage, television episodes, Tourist Drive 33 promotion, digital tourism applications and the support local campaign. Further an additional $100,000 for destination marketing under the Federal Government's Disaster Recovery Fund.

We are proud to be able to deliver these projects that will ensure the sustainability of local jobs and our tourism industry.

DRAFT PLAN

The Draft 2020-21 Operational Plan is on public exhibition and residents are urged to provide their feedback. The Plan outlines Council's activities and key initiatives over the next financial year. If you are interested in please visit Council's website and have your say.

Cessnock Waste Management Centre is open again.

Cessnock Waste Management Centre is open again.

FACILITIES REOPENING

As restrictions ease Council is continuing to look at how we can deliver services and what can be reopened to the public.

As of Friday 29 May more facilities reopened, which was fantastic news for local sporting clubs and groups, with sportsgrounds and recreational spaces set to reopen for activity.

Cessnock City Library and Kurri Kurri Libraries also reopened their doors. Opening hours will be Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Patrons will be able to select and borrow their own items or call staff who will prepare a loan for collection. An express public computer, photocopying and scanning services will be available at each branch. Both libraries will be operating in a COVID-safe mode. If you have any questions please feel free to call (02) 4993 4399 or email at library@cessnock.nsw.gov.au.

The Cessnock Waste Management Centre and the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre are also operating as normal.

Council is working towards reopening the Administration Building to provide a face to face customer service. Work is underway to install a number of screens to protect both customers and staff at the counter. It is anticipated that the face to face service will resume in mid to late June.

As we reopen services everyone in the community must continue to social distance and listen to health advice. Please, if you are unwell stay home and get tested.