Growing Armidale

Local MP Adam Marshall and Mayor Sam Coupland.

A new plan to grow the region over the next 20 years has been put on display by Armidale Shire Council.

The plan, known as Toward 50,000, has started public exhibition now going through to Tuesday 19 March 2024, and identifies new employment precincts to deliver Council’s aspirational target to attract 4,000 jobs to our region by 2040 as well as areas to accommodate new housing for an increased regional population of 10,000.

“For too long the Armidale region has suffered from a low population, missing out on much needed government infrastructure and public amenities. Toward 50,000 is a solid plan to make our region an attractive place to live, work and play. People move to regional towns where there are quality jobs, so we expand our economic base considerably to become a magnet for families to move here. This plan identifies priority areas for controlled environment horticulture, renewable energy industries and manufacturing which can help drive the growth of our region over the next 20 years.”, said Mayor Sam Coupland.

Towards 50,000 is underpinned by a region building a water security package which includes the raising of the Malpas dam wall to the maximum of 6.5 metres and the connection of Oaky River dam to Council’s water network. Increasing the secure water supply in the region from 2,430 megalitres per annum (MLpa) to about 8,000MLpa will allow expansion of the engine industries to drive the growth of the region and support a population beyond 50,000.

“The action to solve the region’s water security problems started on day one for Council. At our first Council Meeting in January 2022, my fellow Councillors and I set an aspirational target to grow jobs in our region by 4,000 by 2040, however, it became clear to us that without water security all other efforts to grow would be futile,” stated Mayor Coupland.

“Through Adam’s [Marshall, local MP] support we secured funding to raise Malpas Dam in June 2022 and we agreed to purchase Oaky River dam from Essential Energy in December 2022. Now that we’ve got the foundations in place we can step confidently forward and shape our own future – this is what we are going to do.

“The success of Toward 50,000 will be dependent on the community getting behind it. We encourage everyone to spend time reviewing it and making submissions.”