I have been thinking for some time as to how to free up money within our budgets to pay for upgrades to sporting facilities in Wonthaggi.
I do want to see upgrades. I would agree with those who say that current facilities are tired.
I am not particularly wedded to whether we go ahead with the Wonthaggi YMCA or a new high school site.
To date, the YMCA site has had significant planning and community input. While many have talked a lot about a future high school site, a master-plan has yet to be drawn up. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, but it needs to be done properly.
This latest proposal for funding has come straight out of left field. It has been thrown up without proper planning.
The first basic outline of the proposal was received by councillors on Friday, February 10.
It is the only council proposal I have received so far that didn’t say what the cost to residents was going to be.
There was no figure whatsoever. The cost was literally “xxxx”.
We didn’t have a figure on the Monday or on Tuesday or even Wednesday morning of the meeting (February 15).
We received a figure at around 2.45pm, a few hours before starting our public meeting.
Council staff had been working to get that detail, but it had taken that long to get the information from the Fund.
The question is this – would you commit millions of dollars of residents’ money to a project with just a couple of hours of consideration of the cost?
I took the view that it would have been irresponsible of me to do so with such flimsy planning and detail.
All councils draw up their budgets for the financial year in April, May and June.
Every dollar committed before we sit down and draw up our plan is a dollar we don’t have available for the next year.
It is the difference between operating in ad hoc way or operating with a proper plan.
It is the difference between putting it on the credit card or paying for it with money that we actually set aside.
I am committed to finding money to put aside for upgrades to Wonthaggi’s sport infrastructure.
But I won’t make promises without the money and I will not support putting everything on the credit card.
Cr Julian Brown, Bunurong Ward, Bass Coast Shire Council.
High ball explanation