Our say | Will 2018 be Bathurst’s year of wait and see?

2018 is shaping as a steady-as-she-goes year for the Bathurst region.

As the new year dawns, there are no major projects on the horizon set to ignite the public’s imagination over the next 12 months.

Instead, the new year is likely to be one where we see work continue on a number of projects that are already under way or planning continue for some that aren’t.

The biggest infrastructure project for the Bathurst region in coming years will be the development of a second circuit on Mount Panorama and the associated motor industry hub.

It is a $50 million development that has been in planning for more than a decade now and while each new year brings it closer to fruition, we’re unlikely to see work begin in 2018.

What we will see is the preparation of more design plans for the circuit and heritage reports on the proposed site, along with promises of what a gold mine the whole development will be for the city.

Elsewhere, there will be more new housing developments across the region as both Bathurst Regional Council and a number of private land owners continue to subdivide land to release new housing lots.

We can expect the region’s population to continue growing at a healthy rate as the local economy remains strong and the region continues to attract a steady influx of “tree changers” looking to escape Sydney’s high property prices and lengthy daily commute to work.

The redevelopment of the former Masters site at Kelso will be the next big thing in Bathurst retail but, again, 2018 could come and go before we see anything happen there.

Home Consortium has already been granted approval for the project that will see the massive Masters building converted to nine bulky goods outlets, but Kelso is just one of around 40 similar projects on Home Consortium’s drawing board, so it’s simply a matter of waiting our turn.

Perhaps the year’s most interesting story will be the battle inside the council chamber.

2017 ended with tensions among councillors threatening to split the chamber, with only a loose alliance of five councillors maintaining some sense of order.

But it’s not hard to see that alliance cracking and, if it does, it’s anybody’s guess where the new power will lay.

That might make for some interesting viewing, but does not make for great leadership of our city. Happy new year.