Thursday, 31st October, 2013
By Erica Visser
City Council will try to convince the State Government to divert $1 million in funding for its canned heavy bypass road to another project, however it cannot agree on which.
Council in January deferred the signing of the contract for the construction of the road, which would bypass part of the city.
However it last night voted to ditch the project and allow General Manager Therese Manns to pitch alternate local projects to the Government.
Council management had recommended that the funding go to either power upgrades for its Eyre Street Film Studios or to fix the road up to the Line of Lode, Federation Way.
The road is under the management of State Crown Lands and Council has previously rejected requests from it to contribute funding for repairs.
Mayor Wincen Cuy stood outside during the conversation, as his business runs the Broken Earth restaurant, on top of the Line of Lode.
But Councillor Bob Algate questioned management’s priorities, stating that there are many other roads in “desperate need” of attention and referring to the film studios as a “dead loss.”
“I just wondered how all of a sudden the Federation (Way) is number one priority,” he said.
“Now we’re talking about asking the Government, who probably won’t say yes anyway, for money for this road when there are countless others crying out for attention.
“The film studios, I thought the Council’s view generally was that it’s a dead loss...Throwing money at a film studio which has cost us an arm and a leg...and it’s still not going to be used.”
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A report stated that $4 million still needed to be spent on the film studios.
Ms Manns said that the power upgrades were essential if Council wanted to make the studios viable to sell off.
“If we wish to sell it, it’s going to be very difficult without adequate electricity at the site,” she said.
Clr Dave Gallagher passionately suggested that the Living Desert primitive camping grounds be a priority.
It was decided that Council will compile a list of priorities prior to Ms Manns approaching the Government.
“The reality is that this funding is not guaranteed,” Ms Manns said.
“But when we tell them, it’s better to have projects ready to put on the table rather than (have the Government) move the funding to another local government area.”
Clr Peter Black commented that it was a “reality” that Council would not receive any funding.