WITHDRAWING funding committed to the Ulladulla Civic Centre and spending it in the northern Shoalhaven will leave the project incomplete, according to Ward 3 councillor Mark Kitchener.
“The Policy and Resources Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 21 moved to transfer monies from the Ulladulla Civic Centre’s external and internal asset enhancement extras to fund Kids’ Korner, a project in Ward 2,” Cr Kitchener said.
“While it could be argued that Kids’ Korner is a project worthy of financial support, so is every other project that comes before the Shoalhaven City Council. It is the councillors’ responsibility to prioritise projects, to make choices and to allocate funds equitably across the three wards.”
He said it was one thing to differentiate between projects and to allocate money to fund them but an entirely different thing to withdraw money from an already funded project.
“Funds for the Kids’ Korner project need to come from another source,” Cr Kitchener said.
Cr Kitchener said the decision was an example of the neglect of the southern Shoalhaven and a blow to the morale of residents in Ward 3.
“One could possibly understand if the money in question was being transferred to upgrade the electrical capacity of the Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club so that the newly constructed commercial kitchen could be made operational but to have the funds redirected to Ward 2 is difficult to digest,” he said.
Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash rejected Cr Kitchener’s claim the southern Shoalhaven was being neglected.
“I think Cr Kitchener needs to look at how much is spent in Ward 3,” she said.
She said it had always been planned to use the Ulladulla Civic Centre contingency fund elsewhere if it was not spent. Council last night debated whether to allocate $300,000 from that fund to the Noah’s Ark project part-funded by Restart Illawarra and $100,000 to undertake much needed repairs to Kids’ Korner, a preschool that serviced the East Nowra area.
“We have to fix the roof to stop the children having to wear raincoats every time it rains and the toilets desperately need replacing.”
Cr Gash accused Cr Kitchener of being “very divisive”.
“Ward 3 has done exceptionally well. The issue of the Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club was not given to council,” she said.
She said when she visited the club recently she was told it did not want to hit council for the funds needed to improve the electrical capacity.
“This is something the energy provider needs to look at.
“Cr Kitchener needs to realise that this is a city with three wards and we try to be as fair as possible within the budget limits of council,” she said.