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Too much inequality, not enough recreation: Hundreds in Orange have their say, you can too

Early morning Summer Street. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

The gap between the haves and have-nots in Orange has emerged as a key issue, according to a survey on the future of the city that has already been filled out by hundreds of people.

An online survey run by Orange City Council reveals the top challenges facing the Orange community in the coming years are:

* Lack of social and affordable housing;

* Problems surrounding poverty and social equity;

* Lack of recreational options, and;

* Giving a priority to the environment, employment growth and the business community

“The Orange community has strong community values," said mayor Jason Hamling in response to the early results.

"I think that’s why we’re hearing concerns about social injustice.

There is community concern about poverty in Orange. Stock image.

"Working towards making Orange a fairer place to live is something we could push for state and federal government to address, but there could also be steps that a local council could take."

Since November 2021 council has been engaging with the community to produce a Community Strategic Plan (CSP), "a blue-print to guide the Council’s work for our city's next ten years".

To balance the online engagement on the YourSay Orange web page, council held face-to-face events last week asking:

* What do you love about Orange now?

* How could it be better and what would you change?

* What would you like Orange to be like in ten years’ time?

Hamling said he was "delighted that hundreds of people have been a part of this community conversation either online or face-to-face. It shows how enthusiastic and committed our residents are towards building a better community.

"It’s interesting to hear that while many people really like the Aquatic Centre, they want to see an expansion of what’s on offer there to make room for people to simply play and have fun in the water."

Orange Aquatic Centre. Supplied.

Hamling added: “They love the Anzac Park indoor sports stadium, but they want to see it expanded, or another indoor, year-round space for a playground or a climbing wall or other recreation that’s not organised sport."

Two-thirds of the people who have completed the survey are women.

“It would be good to hear from more men [and] more locals who are aged under 25."

You can complete the short survey here. The deadline is March 6, 2022.

More information about the CSP conversation here.


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