In an email to the membership, Yass Valley Business Chamber President, Jack Walker provided an update regarding a variety of issues that concern its members.

The first topic on the agenda was the forthcoming Council Election, in which the Business Chamber had been contemplating putting together their own ticket to ensure there would be “strong business leadership” in the next Council.

Yass Valley Business Chamber President – Jack Walker

The Chamber ultimately determined it would be best to remain an independent entity from Council but committed to providing support for candidates who support the policies of the Business Chamber.

The second topic was the Main Street Grant opportunities, in which the Chamber was strong in its position after Yass Valley Council missed out on funding during a ‘High Street’ grant where it was in competition for funding from other councils.

Jack suggested Council missed out on the grants due to prioritising its own projects, including the Hawthorn Estate and the Civic Centre Precinct, and advocated that the main street masterplan should be essential to the Civic Centre Precinct design process.

Council engaged with the Chamber on this application however refused the Chambers request that more be added to the application. The refusal was on the basis that Council stated a main street masterplan was required. The Chamber supported the application on the basis that Council would undertake a main street masterplan which would be completed at the same time as the Civic Centre Precinct design and would help to inform the Civic Centre Precinct design process,” wrote Jack.

On the issue of the Civic Centre or “Crago Mill Precinct” as it is now to be known, the Yass Valley Business Chamber put forward three suggestions to Council before they make a development application:

  1. Broaden community engagement to a roundtable workshop;
  2. Undertake a demand and supply analysis;
  3. Complete the main street masterplan.

    The business Chamber was highly critical of Council for not having a main street plan which could assist secure a High Street Grant

The main sticking point for the Business Chamber is their belief of a need for community consultation for the project.

“Council should not lodge a DA for the Crago Mill Precinct until October at the earliest giving time for early community engagement and strategic planning work to be completed and the new Council to be sworn in,” wrote Jack.

The Business Chamber reaffirmed their position, that the Crago Mill Precinct would be good for the region provided it does not get in the way of other important community projects.

Max O’Driscoll