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Pensioner Association ready to fight Council for hall

Saturday, 9th January, 2016

The Broken Hill Pensioners Association’s Lillian Cox says the group was concerned they may lose their long-term meeting place, the Aged Persons Rest Centre in Blende Street, after Council announced an assets review. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel The Broken Hill Pensioners Association’s Lillian Cox says the group was concerned they may lose their long-term meeting place, the Aged Persons Rest Centre in Blende Street, after Council announced an assets review. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By Erica Visser

The city’s pensioners say they are ready to fight any attempt by Council to take away their only meeting place.

Halls and centres are in the firing line after a survey found residents would prefer more funding for roads.

The Broken Hill Pensioners Association has met at the Aged Persons Rest Centre in Blende Street on a regular basis for years. 

Vice President Lillian Cox said pensioners were “really upset” after reading about Council’s upcoming asset review in the BDT last month.

“The thing is we’ll fight this because we have nowhere else to go. We can’t afford to pay rent, we charge our members $3 a year,” Ms Cox said.

“I spent two weeks over at the plaza selling raffle tickets to raise money. We have all our own facilities here that we really need; we have all our own gear.”

Ms Cox said that pensioners’ anguish could have been reduced had Council communicated with the group prior to announcing their hub was one of those on the chopping block. 

“I wish they’d let us know what they’re doing. We’ve had no correspondence.”

She also claimed that Council had little interest in the upkeep of the building, with fallen guttering remaining on the ground outside the centre’s entrance for the past 18 months.

“That guttering wasn’t even covered up until they came to fix the roof. I’d been warning them about a stain on the ceiling for months and then when we got a weekend of rain last year the top ceiling caved in.

“They don’t do anything to advertise the rooms when they could be rented out. This building is in the best position and has the best facilities but no one knows about it.”

The fate of the BIU Band hall was also hanging, despite being utilised an average of three times per week.

“We are certainly concerned about Council looking at the viability of the BIU band hall,” said Secretary Treasurer Ross Mawby.

“We used to use a building where the bomb shelter is and we reached an agreement with Council in the 1970s that we’d move to the hall.

“I certainly feel it would be dishonouring that agreement if we lost it.”

Mr Mawby added that the hall was also used by the Civic Orchestra and for music lessons, parties, concerts and Council committee meetings.

“It was built especially for the BIU band, and musical groups need certain specifics. You need a hall with good acoustics, room for concerts and sufficient parking,” he said.

Meanwhile Councillor Jim Richards reinforced that no assets were exempt from the review process. 

“Everything is up in the air at the moment, everything is up for review,” he said.

Council’s recent “levels of service” survey attracted 600 responses, many of which suggested Council puts funding for community centres and halls at the same or reduced levels.

Eleven buildings are up for consideration including the North Mine Hall, Bridge Club, Alma Swimming Club and Youth Centre.

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