In response to the unprecedented number of applications for funding under the Local Heritage Assistance Fund grant program, Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Dominic King advised that Council has approved a significant increase in its financial contribution for the 2018-2019 Fund.
This year, in line with the adopted Heritage Strategy 2017-2020, Council undertook a targeted campaign to encourage property owners of commercial buildings within the Bellingen Conservation Area to apply for funding towards restoration and conservation works on their buildings.
Examples of projects eligible for funding included verandah, awning and verandah post restoration, external re-painting, re-application of traditional painted letter signage, restoration of original tiling on shopfront walls, restoration of pressed metal ceilings, roof or gutter replacement and relocation of air-conditioning units away from shopfronts.
As a result, 15 of the 18 applications received were for projects involving commercial buildings in Hyde, Church or Oak Street, Bellingen. Council’s Strategic Planner and Council’s Heritage Advisor considered that all the projects were worthy of Council support as they involved important conservation and restoration work to heritage listed buildings or buildings located within the Bellingen Conservation Area and would have a very positive effect on the streetscape in which they are located.
Mayor King added, “Restoration works in this area will complement the recent upgrade works undertaken as part of the Bellingen Main Street Beautification Project and will further enhance the historic character and appearance of the town.”
For these reasons and as a gesture of goodwill towards property owners of commercial buildings in the Bellingen CBD area, Council staff recommended that additional funding be located towards the 2018-2019 LHAF this year to enable funding of all projects. Council fully supported this recommendation and the proposed increase in funding allocation to allow allocation of grants funds towards all projects as outlined in the report to Council was passed unanimously.