Spruce Up Dorrigo, also affectionately known as SpUD, is a subcommittee of the Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce and consists of a group of creative Chamber Members who have specific projects in mind for the beautification and promotion of Dorrigo. SpUD have several projects in various states of progress and apply for funding through grants for financial help to complete these.
One of SpUD’s more adventurous ideas was the revamping of the Coach Terminal from an old, run-down eyesore to the bright, fresh and welcoming art work that greets visitors to Dorrigo and brings a sense of our World Heritage Rainforest into town.
This project has taken over 18 months and with a huge amount of dedication from the SpUD team, in particular Sandra Pitkin, who has overseen the majority of the work from commencement to completion, so a huge thank you goes to Sandra.
To the rest of the dedicated SpUD team – Helen MacDonald, Steve Viola, Katiuska Cruz and those that have moved on over time, Brian MaGrath, Margo Hoskins and Kate O’Leary, thank you so much for your enthusiasm and hard work.
The amazing result that was achieved involved a very complicated and time consuming process. Meetings with Council, working out what could and could not be done; who would be responsible for what and who needed to give consent. The structure belongs to Bellingen Shire Council, but adjoins a privately owned building that is used by a financial organisation and therefore security also needed to be considered.
After several meetings it was determined that some repairs were needed first and Council was approached in February 2015. Council agreed to the structure being painted and would supply the paint, but would not agree to their staff doing the actual work.
A proposal was made to the Bellingen Arts and Culture Advisory Committee in May 2015 requesting assistance with funds to enable the Project to go ahead.
After much debate the Committee finally agreed to allocate $ 3,000 to the project, but the money was only to be used for the art component and not the building and the funds had to be used by the end of the financial year – 1 month but there was a lot of work to be done before the mural could be printed. Eventually, after much paperwork and pleading, the money was allowed to be allocated to the next year to enable SpUD to use it.
$ 3,000 was not enough to finance the photographic mural so money needed to be found elsewhere. Not only for the mural, but for the rest of the project. The building needed cleaning, painting and structural changes to enable the mural to be installed.
A decision was made to put a ceiling in the structure to provide a more intimate, warmer space, to enhance the focus of the mural and ultimately to save money on the changes.
Brian McGrath applied for a grant from the NSW Community Building Partnership Program in August 2015 and this was successful in December 2015 but with a lesser amount than applied for but enough to enable the project to start.
Permission was sought from the owner of the building and the Head office of NAB. The owner of the building was helpful, and agreement from NAB was eventually given.
The aim was to use local tradespeople as much as possible for all aspects of the project but this proved challenging as our local builders and painters were all very busy.
After a lengthy process, Jeff Hughes was chosen for the building and Lynn Burke came to our rescue regarding the painting.
Helen wrote many letters to organisations and businesses requesting support and Katiuska and Steve organized a Rock Trivia Quiz night in June 2016. Local businesses were very generous with donations for prizes, Ray White Rural provided the Auctioneer, Katiuska wrote the questions and Steve was MC for the night. Dorrigo Residents were wonderful supporters and along with a generous donations from Lions Club, Rotary Club and shop owners as well as great generosity and assistance from Richard Shadforth and staff at the Dorrigo Memorial RSL Club, the funds were finally enough to enable SpUD to fund the work needed
So many thanks go to:
The Photographer – Drew Hopper
For the Photographic Mural – Ferntree Signs – Luke Freeman and Jess Howe
Builder – Jeff Hughes
Painter – Lynn Burke – assisted by his wife Cathie
Margo Hoskins who was there at the beginning with her wonderful support.
Brian McGrath for his wonderful grant application writing
Alison Pattinson who was always ready to assist us if possible
Steve Klipin and Michael Grieves from Council for their support
And of course the wonderful SPuD committee – Sandra Pitkin, Helen MacDonald, Steve Viola, and Katiuska Cruz who have seen this project through from the start.
The renovated Coach Terminal was officially opened by Sandra Pitkin on Sunday 16 October 2016 with special guests: State Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, Bellingen Shire Council Manager of Economic and Business Development, Michael Grieves, Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce Committee members and members of the Dorrigo Community.