Karuah Men’s Shed – Because He Can…..

Karuah Mens Shed – not in our Tomaree area but of interest in how our Councillors are behaving

Bruce01Because He Can:

The push to overturn the staff recommendation was led by Mayor Bruce MacKenzie.

Cr MacKenzie said he called for a DA for the building at 5-9 Memorial Drive, Karuah to be used as a men’s shed to the council to discuss the issues behind staff recommending it be refused.

“Because of a few different reasons, staff can’t approve it [the DA] under delegated authority,” Cr MacKenzie said.

“But Councillors can.”

True, Men’s Sheds are a great initiative. However, the recent decision by Councillors to disregard pages of background provided to them by Council officers and another recommendation against approval, they still voted to allow Karuah Men’s Shed to go ahead and restore a dilapidated riverside building ……with dodgy foundation piers just for starters. There are no toilets and the access is steep for those with a disability. Cr Dingle highlighted that Community land is available elsewhere in Karuah and there are other options.

How much of ratepayers money will eventually end up being used for the restoration is an unknown. $25,000 of “Repealed Section 94 funds” has already gone to this project and who knows how many government grants will be received to progress the project and other capital works funding redirected.

Regardless of how great these volunteers are at restoring, they will still need heaps of materials to work with… at a cost.

Most importantly, it surely would have been sensible to have the “ownership” issues sorted out before a DA was submitted – interestingly – prepared by the Le Mottee Group. We understand that half the area is owned by Marine Parks and the other by Crown Lands.. We just ask….Would you renovate something without sorting that out first? We also noticed that Cr LeMottee remained in the Council chamber to vote as well, having not declared any pecuniary interest.

The emotive and “feel good” of such initiatives should surely be separated by Councillors and let some commonsense prevail! Councillors should recognize they can’t fund every community initiative that comes along without setting huge precedents and distracting them from directing funds towards the very basic services every ratepayer expects like roads, garbage, drains, amenities, maintenance and upgrade of what we have….. and the list just goes on!

Margaret, TRRA Secretary

Examiner  25 June 2014: Councillors Overturn Staff Decision On Karuah Men’s Shed


This entry was posted in 2014, Council Decisions, Council Meetings, HOT ISSUES, PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT, Planning Issues, PORT STEPHENS COUNCIL, What The Papers Said! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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