Walcha Mayor update

It was a privilege to be at the Walcha Bowling Club when the Westpac Rescue Helicopter bike riders were welcomed to town. The work that Walcha's Committee do in fundraising for this vital service resulted in Walcha raising the most money of any town along the route.

Our local riders, Mel and Dave Ledingham and Dion Bird proudly carried the banner for Walcha this year. This was a gruelling ride over five days, up hill and down dale for 650kms over predominantly gravel roads. I have no doubts there was a lot of fun to be had, but the reality of being back on the bike and pedalling over that terrain the next day would soon erase that euphoria.

These people don't do this for any personal accolades, only to help provide a service that anyone of us could need at any time. I heard some Councils don't maintain their roads as well as here so I think they were glad to enter our area.

Walcha's greeting of these riders as they entered town was described to me as the best in the seventeen years of this event. Our riders, runners and Committee members have a great history in supporting this event and their hard work over the years is what keeps the helicopter in the air.

Local tourist officers Suzie and Lisa were given a special mention for there assistance also, these girls go above and beyond in the promotion of our town.

Having been involved in one incident where this service was required I can guarantee you there is no greater sound than a rescue helicopter coming over the hill. Mel, Dave and Dion you did us proud.

The Joint Organisation of Councils (JO) is forging ahead with its international engagement strategy. The JO was an initiative of the NSW Government during the amalgamation debate as part of the Fit For The Future process to give Councils scale and capacity. With this in mind the JO is investigating international investment to grow the economic base of the seven member Councils.

Some larger Councils in the JO already have a footprint in this area and their advice and expertise will be of great value. What form this will take has not been determined, but it is envisaged that it will be in the area of investment, not the sale of assets.

China is being investigated at this stage, but all options are on the table. Any action of this type is a long term strategy but Council believe that it is a priority to investigate.