EVERYTHING happened at once in Glenreagh this weekend with the town welcoming back visitors for what could be considered its official reopening.

More than six months has passed since the town held its monthly community markets and there was welcome relief from residents eager to get things moving again.

Coinciding with Coffs Harbour City Council’s Shop the Orara Valley initiative, the weekend saw visitors browsing stalls, eating snags from the Lions Club BBQ and nipping into the The Golden Dog Hotel for a beer.

A tree planting ceremony was also held for the official unveiling of the new and improved Golden Dog statue bringing together sponsors and the community to revel in its new look.

Secretary of Heartstart Glenreagh, Faye Neil, said the weekend was significant coming almost exactly one year on from the devastating summer bushfires.

Glenreagh celebrates the official unveiling of the Golden Dog and its new and improved look. Photo: Tim Jarrett
Glenreagh celebrates the official unveiling of the Golden Dog and its new and improved look. Photo: Tim Jarrett

While there wasn’t a strong desire to commemorate the events of November 2019, Ms Neil said it was fitting they should have a reason to come together.

“It’s really positive for the community,” she said.

“Not only is the Golden Dog our iconic landmark, but the Golden Dog Hotel became our community centre this time last year.

“The publican and staff donated time and resources to provide shelter, food, information and support to our community during the bushfire event and the floods that followed.”

Since that time the creation of a community centre for Glenreagh, which sits almost exactly between Grafton and Coffs Harbour, has come into sharper focus.

C.W.A markets in Glenreagh are back. Photo: Tim Jarrett
C.W.A markets in Glenreagh are back. Photo: Tim Jarrett

Glenreagh Heartstart is behind a renewed push to build a multipurpose community hub to service an area which looks set to grow in population in the coming years.

Ms Neil and Heartstart president Noel Backman envisaged a Hub incorporating a doctors office, a computer and study space, meeting rooms and gift shop and information centre.

“It will have more capacity to service the needs of the community, you could have small group training and mental health programs.”

Central to the group’s vision is a vacant block of land adjacent to the Glenreagh Police station.

Owned by the State Government, the hope is to put the site to better use by having members of the community come together to build the Hub themselves – with a relocatable house.

Heartstart secretary Faye Neil at the site where she hopes the new Glenreagh Community Hub will be located. Photo: Tim Jarrett
Heartstart secretary Faye Neil at the site where she hopes the new Glenreagh Community Hub will be located. Photo: Tim Jarrett

And while it may sound like a bold idea, Ms Neil says she has seen it all before in a town she previously lived in – Comboyne.

Similar to Glenreagh, Comboyne is situated right at the edge of the Local Government Area and now has a community centre staffed by volunteers who operate a gift shop, visitor information, health space and IT services.

“The reason we want to go down this path is that it is cost effective and builds ownership, it can be dynamic and change with the needs of the community,” she said.

“The community hub is all about centralising the resources within the community so people can have easy access to them.”

Glenreagh Heartstart are looking for new members and can be contacted at heartstart@glenreagh.org.au.



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