Some of the Co-op members Richard White, Des Guthrie, John Heath, Donna Streher, Leah Sutherland, Richard Turnbull. Photo: Christopher Tan.

By more than 50 per cent of votes “The Coota Co-op” is the name chosen by the community for the proposed Co-operative store set to replace the current Target site.

A lot of work has been done by the Steering Group since the idea of establishing a Co-operative was mooted in July.

Meeting weekly on a Wednesday, the group has accomplished so much.

This includes engaging the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals for advice, forming a Steering Committee and approaching the community with a questionnaire.

A total of 204 responses were returned from the community consultation survey and the top four requested goods were children’s clothes, homeware, school shoes and Manchester.

With a clear interest by the community for the need of a Co-op once Target closes down in March, the Steering Group were able to confidently advance and work towards being a fully qualified and registered incorporated body.

Members John Heath and Richard Turnbull are responsible for governance and most recently the group has decided on the majority of the rules applying to the Co-operative.

In compliance with international rules of co-operatives, there are a few fundamental steps for incorporation to be official.

 The first key phase is gaining approval from the Minister of NSW Fair Trading for registration of the Co-operative.

Once that is completed, a formal formation of the Co-op will be carried out and this involves appointing board members and directors and the approval of the rules of the Co-op.

And that is because Co-operatives require names of directors when registering with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Incorporation could be formalised in two weeks’ time and the Steering Group said it is a “big task” to ensure compliance along the way.

Local solicitors JMA Legal have been assisting and responsive with legal advice.

The Steering Committee is made up of volunteers and community members with day jobs and this includes Richard Turnbull, John Heath, Des Guthrie, Todd Basham, Gwen Norman, Donna Streher, Lynn Spain, Leah Sutherland, Richard White and Cr Leigh Bowden.

With positive feedback from the community for the Co-op to go forward, the Steering Group has organised a public meeting on December 1 at the Ex-Services Club.

Community members are invited to hear about the status of the Co-op as well as help progress the development by pledging to invest in it or join a membership.

Initial membership will be set at $20 and perks include being able to vote, to receive discounts at the store and also be part-owners with buying of shares.

Consequently, if there is insufficient investment Steering Committee member John Heath said the Co-operative would not go ahead.

“This co-operative is a community co-operative, owned by the community and for the community,” he said.

“This is not a money-making venture but one with the best interest at heart for the community.”

The Times understands the Target site has been secured for the Co-op and a local business man is in the process of purchasing the building.

In other news, Turners Furniture One Cootamundra have kindly donated a $500 prize voucher for The Coota Co-op’s logo design competition.

All entries are to be emailed to cooperative@cootamundra.com and the winner will be announced on December 17 at the Coota Community Christmas Party on Parker Street.

Entries closes on December 11 and the winner’s logo will be tasked to a graphic designer.

Christopher Tan