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Sparks fly in lights debate

Friday, 27th April, 2012

By Erica Visser 

An estimated $540,000 upgrade to lighting at the Alma Oval that was due to take place this year has been pushed back to as late as 2014.

City Council voted to postpone the project at its monthly meeting last night following concerns over Council’s financial problems.

The project, which had been added to this year’s budget, will now be considered in the 2013/2014 budget. 

Councillor Tom Kennedy, who voted against the motion, said that South residents were being “targetted” by Council, referring to the closure of the Alma Pool and upkeep of Patton Street as examples.

“South Broken Hill has been let down in all areas,” Clr Kennedy said told the meeting.

He said that deferring the project was as good as postponing it indefinitely.

“It’s all smoke and mirrors. The motion has no other bearing and it’s a motion that says you are stopping the Alma lighting indefinitely,” he said.

“Yet (Council) has no problem spending a million dollars on a bitumised road, but when it comes to spending $400,000 out the South they’re happy to put it off for three years.

“There’s a million dollar film studio sitting there idle but Alma Oval will always be used by the whole community.”

Clr Kennedy also criticised Mayor Cuy for stating he would prefer Norm Fox Oval to be upgraded.

Mayor Cuy, who was one of the councillors who put forward the recision motion, said his preference for the Norm Fox Oval was irrelevant. 

“I am not here to be interrogated by someone like you,” Mayor Cuy told Clr Kennedy.

He also rejected the notion that South BH was being targetted and put Clr Kennedy’s comments down to an election pitch.

“Councillor Kennedy is in election mode. He thinks he can get votes from the South,” he said. “There is no attack on the South. He is positioning himself for votes.

“Councillors should not be doing things for votes; we should be doing things right for the community.”

Clr Christine Adams agreed, saying that although she “grew up in the South” and had a strong connection with it, Council has a responsibility to put finances first. 

“I believe at this time the motion needed to be addressed and I’m quite happy,” she said.

“I don’t believe there is a divide. Whilst North has the pool, South has hundreds of children go over to play basketball, gymnastics, bocce and bowls. There’s an even spread.”

Clr Adams said that a major concern she had with the lights project was an increase in cost to residents as a result of skyrocketing electricity prices.

While football clubs would be the main contributors to power costs, Clr Adams feared that the costs would be put onto residents.

“My main concern is not the infrastructure and start-up costs but the operational costs,” she said.

“The user pays - and the users are the same people that have been hit with constant power bill increases.”

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