Temple criticism part of ‘Christian jihad’

SHOALHAVEN City Councillor Andrew Guile is part of a Christian jihad, according to fellow councillor Greg Watson.

The comment was made after Cr Guile criticised the decision by councillors to give the Shaolin monks another extension on loan repayments for land they are purchasing at Comberton Grange for a proposed temple development.

It was the fourth time council had offered an extension since the monks settled on the deal with council in 2007.

While Cr Andrew Guile supports the project he said council was being too lenient on the Chinese when it comes to payments.

“They now owe us $306,000 in interest alone. Since 2007 they have paid $639,000 in interest,” he said.

“This is the best deal I’ve ever heard of.  I’d like to get this deal.

“We have now given them until June 30, 2014 not only to not pay back the principal but not even any interest until then.

“This is the fourth extension.”

Crs Guile and Amanda Findley voted against the payment extension.

Cr Guile said the constant reason he heard for the extensions was “that if we want the project we shouldn’t put them at financial risk”.

“I’m sorry, it’s their problem to get the approval. No one else gets treatment like this. 

“How many more times will this council extend this? At what point do we say, ‘Where’s our money please?’

“This will be a great project if they can get it approved through the state government,” Cr Guile said.

Cr Greg Watson has been a champion of the project from its beginning and considers it “the only thing the Shoalhaven’s got going for it in terms of major development”.

“This will generate a couple of thousand jobs if it comes off.

“We could say we’ll insist you pay for it now, but no one in their right mind would do that without a guarantee from the state government that the project will be approved.

“If in the end it doesn’t get approved at the end of the day we’ve already picked up $600,000 in interest payments, we get the best part of a $1 million in environmental studies transferred to council and they will have established that the land has a use beyond what it was.

“I’m afraid Andrew Guile is coming from the last council when a number of councillors appeared to have declared a Christian jihad on the Buddhists.”

Cr Watson said decision time for the project was drawing near.

“If the state government isn’t prepared to approve it in the next few months it’s probably going to be over.

“I think the last environmental studies have just about being completed.

“One issue right through has been RMS wanting the Shaolin Temple people to build a flyover at the Forest Road and Princes Highway intersection. 

“That demonstrates the absolute hypocrisy of government agencies, when you consider the Jervis Bay Road intersection has 10 times the traffic and the state government was prepared to approve the Stockland subdivision and shopping centre which is hundreds of lots with zero contribution to the Wool Road intersection with the highway.”

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