Bellingen centre to support youth
THERE was only one dissenting voice in Bellingen Shire Council when it came to voting for the construction of the William Street Youth Centre last week.
And it was that of long-time youth advocate, Cr Dave Scott, on the grounds the council did not have detailed costing for the project, except ongoing expenses of about $105,000 per annum.
“I believe this is a good project but I cannot support the development application because we have no costings,” Cr Scott said.
As for the others, the unexpected Federal government ‘gift' earlier this year of $1.54 million for the project put it squarely in the ‘full-steam ahead' basket.
“We were one of only five shires in the country who received this money – we never expected it,” Cr Kerry Child said.
“It will be a great hub with a homework centre, music space, area for youth services and counselling – we cannot look this gift horse in the mouth.”
Cr Bruce Cronin said approving the development application was a ‘no-brainer'.
“This is one of the best things to have happened in this town,” he said.
“To vote against this would be very narrow-minded.”
Although giving the project their support, other councillors also voiced concerns.
Cr Ian Coe said it would be good to have information about possible tenants and Cr Sean Tuohy said the ongoing costs could prove a problem.
Director of corporate services Peter Wilson said the council was now recruiting a project officer for 12 months to develop a business plan for the youth space, consult with possible stakeholders and manage the facility.