River Gums gazebo and road resurfacing project up for My Community Project grant

Residents of River Gums villas at Fairview Retirement Village are hoping the Moree community can back them in their long-awaited quest to build a community gazebo.

For a number of years, the residents have been wanting to develop an outdoor undercover area where they can meet up with each other and family members, however funding had never allowed for the project to get off the ground.

"It's something they've been wanting for so long and it hasn't been able to happen," Fairview board member Debbie Evans said.

They now have the opportunity to receive up to $200,000 in funding to construct an enclosed gazebo and resurface the road, through the My Community Project grants program, however the catch is that only projects that receive the most votes in each NSW electorate will be funded.

The River Gums project is currently one of 42 projects from the Northern Tablelands, and one of 12 from the Moree Plains Shire alone, that is in the running for a combined $260,000.

The residents are now appealing for the Moree community's support to help them get enough votes for their project to be funded.

River Gums resident Heather Caccianiga, who, with Estelle Evans, has led the push for a gazebo, said it'd be great to have a place where all of the residents who live in the 18 units can regularly meet outside.

"Every six to eight weeks we have a morning tea to get together, as this end [of River Gums] often doesn't see that end, and every time we meet we think 'wouldn't it be nice to have somewhere outside'," she said.

The residents currently have their morning teas on the bench seats placed around the grounds, however if its too hot or too cold, they have to squeeze into someone's unit.

An enclosed gazebo would not only provide a place for the River Gums residents to meet, but it would also give them a space to eat and socialise with visiting family and friends. Fairview residents would also be able to benefit from a gazebo, which could also be used for exercise classes, and as a space for school children to perform.

"Loneliness is the biggest thing for the residents," Ms Evans said.

"If they've got a loved one at Fairview, they can bring them outside, or if they have family visiting, kids can run around. It will benefit both areas."

Ms Evans said the all-weather gazebo would include a barbecue/kitchen area, tables and chairs and possibly lounge seating.

"It'd be so good to have it here, it'd make a huge difference," Fairview facility manager Jane Mackney said.

"It's so needed."

Meanwhile, the road also needs resurfacing, to fix the uneven surfaces which run-off water drains into, making it difficult for residents to walk on, particularly those with walkers.

"Some of the people who live at River Gums have a partner at Fairview, but they can't push their walkers through the puddles to go and visit them and it's too hard to push them on the grass," Ms Evans said,

"I'm worried about falls," Ms Caccianiga added.

To vote for the River Gums project, go to https://mycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au, select Northern Tablelands electorate and shortlist your favourite projects. You'll need a MyServiceNSW Account and your Medicare card. Arrange your top three to five projects in order of preference and submit your vote. Each person can only vote once. Voting can be done online at mycommunityproject.service.nsw.gov.au or at your nearest Service NSW Centre. Call 13 77 88 for more information.