Council asking for review on funding decision
Wednesday, 24th September, 2014
By Andrew Robertson
City Council will ask an assessment panel that rejected a multi-million dollar funding application to transform Argent Street to review its decision.
The main street renewal plan and a film studio project failed to make the shortlist for Resources for Regions funding - but a proposed refurbishment of the Civic Centre has.
The $5 million Civic Centre upgrade is among 14 infrastructure projects worth a total of $117 million that are now vying for $89 million in State Government funding
under the latest round of Resources for Regions.
It is the first time Broken Hill has been invited to apply to the program - which is only open to mining-affected areas - since the government changed the funding criteria.
Proponents will now be invited to submit a full application, and successful projects are expected to be announced by the end of the year.
Council said if it secures the funding it will transform the 44-year-old Civic Centre into a "modern day hub" for conferences and events.
But the independent assessment panel will also be asked to reconsider its decision not to shortlist the Argent Street proposal, which remains Council's top priority.
Mayor Wincen Cuy said yesterday the "groundswell" of local support for the project along with the city's pending heritage listing should make for a "very strong case".
More than 150 people attended a series of community workshops held in the city last week as part of Council's BH Heritage City - Living Museum and Light Project.
"I've spoken to minister (Kevin) Humphries today and asked if we can be reassessed," Mayor Cuy told journalists yesterday.
"This is not just about an upgrade of the main street; this is about the diversification of a whole community.
"This project is where our future lies."
Projects in Cobar, Cessnock, Muswellbrook, Lithgow, Mid- Western, Narrabri, Newcastle, Singleton and Maitland local government areas also made the shortlist.
But General manager Therese Manns said most of those projects were to cater for population growth, where as Broken Hill was "at the other end of mining".
She said it was important that all levels of government worked together to ensure Broken Hill was able to "leverage off this heritage city listing".
"It is certainly something we want to talk further with the independent panel about in relation to the city's heritage listing ... and just ensure everyone fully understands and fully appreciates what economic impact that could have on the city of Broken Hill."