Cr Kerry Child supports the project.
Cr Kerry Child supports the project.

Councillor wants action on hub

PLEASED but frustrated Bellingen Shire’s councillor Kerry Child said she was looking forward to seeing work begin on the William Street Youth Hub.

“We are shovel-ready but because we haven’t yet had formal agreement from the Federal Government for the extension of the completion date we remain in limbo,” Cr Child said.

“We can’t employ our co-ordinator and we can’t begin finding out which organisations might be interested in having their offices in the building.”

She said while she understood the funding concerns of her council colleagues, she believed the facility would be a wonderful asset that would eventually cover the cost of its own maintenance.

“The Bellingen Youth and Seaboard Services are looking to expand and have said they are interested in the space; Reconnect might want to outreach into Bellingen from Urunga and the Women’s Health Centre has long wanted an outlet in town. The co-ordinator will seek out these organisations and start putting a plan together. And if we have these services in town it will mean their clients won’t have to leave the shire to get the help they need.”

Cr Child said there was never enough money to do all the things the council wanted to do.

“I don’t have the magic answer to say the funds will be there but I feel optimistic because this project is just so worthwhile.

“I feel if we can get those services into the facility then it will be fantastic.”

Cr Child said the argument that $500,000 had been lost because the William Street land had not been sold was misleading.

“That land is community land in a prime location – it is an invaluable asset.

“It cannot be sold unless it is rezoned and the council voted against that.”

General manager, Liz Jeremy, said it was a big project that would require ongoing maintenance.

“However right now we are awaiting confirmation from the Commonwealth for an extension of the completion date – if that cannot be ensured then we cannot accept the grant.”

She said the response from the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations might not be received until mid-May.

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