President's Report 2021

President's Report tabled at the AGM 8th November 2021 attached

President’s Report 2020-21

What an extraordinary and challenging year for Wentworth Falls businesses and community with the continuation of the COVID 19 lockdowns in 2021. Had it not been for significant government intervention at State and Commonwealth levels by way of grants and Services Australia wage supplements directly to wage earners many businesses and families would not have survived the economic and emotional crises.

The COVID issue still is significant and there will be continuing impacts on business and the tourism sector and the community in the Blue Mountains until such time that all interstate and international tourism is revived. Many tourism related businesses reliant on international tourists and overseas employees will experience a slow recovery.Wherever possible the WFCC&C Inc has tried to keep businesses informed of grants and other government programs to keep businesses viable in these uncertain times.

 Continued advocacy for business, tourism and the CommunityThe WFCC&C Inc continues to strongly advocated for improved safety provisions for pedestrians and vehicles on Wentworth Falls Station Street over rail bridge along the recommendations of the BMCC commissioned report (2016) into the safety of over rail bridges in the Blue Mountains. Council has refused to act on these recommendations which according to the report tabled at Council in June 2016, is required to ensure the safety of all those using the bridge and trains passing beneath. BMCC did pass a motion to write to the Minister of Transport in April however there has been no feedback from Council to date. WFCC&C Inc has requested Council follow up  on this matter. We have yet to present our petition on the matter to Council. The Council was requested to apply for an infrastructure grant from the Commonwealth and State Governments to address the safety issues however, BMCC informed WFCC&C Inc that such grants were not applicable in this instance.

BM Inc

The Regional Business Chamber representatives with the support of the NSW and Australian Chambers of Commerce previously addressed WFCC&C Inc and all other Chambers in the Mountains to establish Blue Mountains Inc. This organisation would be an advocate for all business and community groups in the Mountains. WFCC&C Inc has been invited to be a ‘hub’ of BM Inc. There is a way to go on this matter before any agreement can be reached. Members were surveyed in an attempt to determine membership of BM Inc. Little response was forthcoming.  Consequently, it would seem prudent to wait and reassess membership at a future date.

 Mayoral Reference Group

BMCC established this forum to meet with the Chambers and the peak tourism group to consider matters of concern to business and the communities that are represented. However, this forum has rarely met in 2020-21 given the restrictions of COVID lockdowns. 

CCTV in Wentworth Falls Village

CCTV has been generally determined a success however the cost of maintenance of the CCTV facility is of continuing concern.The work of Bill McCabe in retrieval of information for police and maintenance of the system should be acknowledged as well as the business which houses the mainframe facility. The village is indebted to you both and we again thank you. There is a continuing problem with the program running the system and NSW Police have offered some assistance for which WFCC&C Inc however, the police have not followed through. The matter of maintenance costs is of concern across the Mountains towns and villages and the matter is to be discussed at a future meeting of the Mayoral Reference Group.

Remembrance Services and maintenance of Coronation ParkCOVID 19 caused a cancellation of the ANZAC service in 2021. The Remembrance Day Service to be held in November will proceed with a COVID Safety Plan and QR code and Vaccination requirements in place. We are indebted to Reverend Jon Guyer and to Eric Moore and Graeme Hudson respectively for their contributions. I would like to thank all our volunteers at the services and in the gardens who contribute so much to the maintenance and improvement of the village and community fabric of Wentworth Falls. I also acknowledge the contribution of Ms. Gaynor Haynes and Mr. Richard Giles, Principal of Wentworth Falls Primary School and students to the 2021 Remembrance Day commemorative Service. The contribution of teachers and students to these services is greatly appreciated and hopefully can be continued in the future in a COVID free environment.

We however always need more feet on the ground for these activities and desperately need more volunteers to assist if these activities are to be maintained.

These are important activities as they bond the community together.

 WFCCC Newsletter

The newsletter, composed by Eric Moore from the minutes of meetings has been significant in raising the profile and contributions of WFCC&C Inc. and for increasing communication within the village community in the COVID context. Thanks to Eric Moore for this significant contribution and for keeping the flags flying in the village.

 Flyer for Wentworth Falls Village

The new flyer for Wentworth Falls Village remains on hold given the COVID situation. Eric Moore has been responsible for the design and together with Jason Cronshaw will be approaching businesses to sign up for membership providing identification in the flyer and potential advertising once the current COVID crisis is over. The graphic design of the map of the village is an issue to be resolved.

Executive Members

I thank members of the past executive, our Secretary, Rita Fisher, Treasurer Bill McCabe, Vice President, Jason Cronshaw and members of the Committee and Subcommittees and all our volunteers for their work and support throughout the year.

Future Challenges for WFCCC Inc.

Assist businesses and the community to overcome the severe conditions imposed by COVID and provide support where possible.

Need to get our Flyer for the Village up and running and thereby increase our business membership.

There are continuingchallenges regarding the maintenance and operation of the CCTV system.

The still impending master plan for Wentworth Falls village and whether this will extend to provision of aged and affordable housing within walking distance of the village.

Lack of Council support for improved safety on Wentworth Falls Rail bridge is a continuing concern.

We do need more business and community membership and greater member involvement in WFCC&C Inc. Hopefully our new brochure can secure new members as well as provide a source of revenue.

I do express my appreciation to all our members for their continued membership and support through 2020-2021.

I feel honoured to have worked with so many fine people who have contributed so much to community and environment of Wentworth Falls and the Blue Mountains.

           Lew Hird, President