I wish to respond to recent commentary surrounding the proposed Mount Gambier Regional Sport and Recreation Centre.
This issue has been a talking point within the community for more than 30 years. It arose in the public arena once again in March this year, when Council was encouraged by the Federal Member for Barker, Mr Tony Pasin MP as the driving force, to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a major proportion of the proposal’s funds as part of the Federal Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
I would like to thank Mr Pasin for his enthusiasm and support in organising and facilitating a public meeting on Wednesday 21 March 2018, called to discuss the possibility of a regional indoor sport and recreation facility, with Mr Pasin even paying for the hire of the venue.
This enthusiasm was buoyed when over 300 community members attended the public meeting, and also by the receipt of a petition to Council with more than 10,000 signatures in favour of the concept. The petition was presented at a Special Council Meeting on Tuesday 24 April 2018. Following the strong show of community support, Council endorsed the submission of the EOI at that meeting, noting the very short timeframe for delivery of submission by Friday 27 April 2018.
It is the responsibility of Council to provide accurate information and we are now working through the process of design, costing and financial modelling to meet the grant documentation requirements for the Mount Gambier Regional Sport and Recreation Centre. The centre will provide a community hub and incorporate other multipurpose activity spaces for youth and community use. We are committed to the development of a funding proposal that is shovel ready and the preparation of accurate and detailed information is essential to assist in making an informed decision. As we have previously indicated, once this process has been completed and Council has assessed the operational costs against the long term financial plan, an extensive engagement process will be undertaken with the community to assist them in making an informed decision regarding the proposal.
This proposal is the largest single infrastructure project in the city’s history and will provide us with a multipurpose sport, recreation and community facility for use well into the future. It has always been Council’s intention to conduct an extensive engagement process to identify the level of support or otherwise within the community.
State and Federal Government sources are being asked to contribute $30million to the project, while Council may contribute up to $10million. The proposed State and Federal Government funding is specific to regional growth – if our submission is successful the funding must be used for the project which has been presented. If our submission is unsuccessful in this round of funding, the project will not go ahead and the $30million will be allocated to another project in another region.
The majority of people I have spoken to personally are in support of the proposal. Graham Greenwood included a footnote in his comment published in The Border Watch on Friday 13 July 2018 calling on those who wish to contact me and other Elected Members to express their views on the indoor sports centre and request a ratepayer's poll. Mr Greenwood’s request has not resulted in significant formal feedback to Council. I have personally received responses from 11 people calling for a poll, including one from Mr Greenwood. In addition, Council has received a total of 13 emails in relation to the proposal, six in favour of the concept and seven against.
We are appreciative of the assistance provided by the Federal Member for Barker Mr Tony Pasin MP and Member for Mount Gambier Mr Troy Bell MP. Their ongoing commitment to the project is important. I trust this response will clarify Council’s current position and reassure the community of our commitment to seek your input during the community engagement process. We want you to have all the facts to enable you to make an informed decision.
Remember, YOU – the members of our community are the most important stakeholders of this project. In the end, it is up to you to decide if we proceed or not. Your opinions matter.
If you would like to learn more about the work Council is doing on this proposal, or ask a question, please visit https://www.haveyoursaymountga... We also encourage community feedback through the 17 member Community Reference Group that Council has established to provide the community with an ongoing voice during the development stages.
If you have any questions about the Mount Gambier Regional Sport and Recreation Centre please feel free to contact our Elected Members or me directly on 8721 2507 or firstname.lastname@example.org