Residents given voice over proposed Ballina rates hike
RESIDENTS concerned about the proposed 2.5% rate levy to fund upgrades to the Ballina and Alstonville pools are being urged to take part in upcoming community consultations.
Ballina Shire Council mayor David Wright said the decision to upgrade the pools rested entirely on community input.
"Council doesn't have a set position," he said. "We're asking people what they want.
"If it comes back the overwhelming majority don't want it, we won't do it.
"The meetings are designed to find out a) if people want the pools upgraded and b) to find out what they actually want (done)."
Cr Wright said the idea to upgrade both facilities came from years of surveys that found heated pools were the community's number one priority.
"We've been doing community surveys for a number of years and heated pools have come out on top."
Ballina resident Yale Knudson raised questions about where the $8 million cost figure came from, whether or not the number of people using the facilities justified their upgrade and why one-off asset sales were not an option.
"There appears to be little if no scrutiny on the cost and various other items that support this council proposal," he said.
"A number of questions have not been answered by council and their information brochure on the website is extremely low on detail and high on hyperbole."
Cr Wright said the $8 million estimate to upgrade was an approximate figure given to council after consultants were engaged to examine the pools.
He said an exact figure would come after community consultation determined what facilities the community wanted and tenders went out to contractors.
Last year, the two pools clocked 157,056 visitors with the heated Alstonville pool recording 6,722 more visitors than Ballina.
"When you consider the number of individual entrances, that's a lot of people," Mr Wright said. Cr Wright said other funding options had been considered but a sale of council-owned assets would reduce the amount of council income, limiting future projects, works and upgrades.
Find out more and have your say:
- Tuesday, October 7, at the Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre, meeting rooms 1 and 2 from 7pm.
- Wednesday, October 8, at the Alstonville Leisure and Entertainment Centre from 7pm.
- Thursday, October 9, at the Ballina Shire Council Chambers from 7pm.
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450, Ballina NSW 2478.
Ballina Shire Council is running a survey on it's website. Click here to take part.