Monday, May 16, 2016
I'm never happy when children's footie teams get put to the back of the queue and millions and millions are spent on spectator/professional football such as at the local stadium. The new admin man seems to be neglectful of the ordinary Saturday games played by chldren.
THE Geelong Amateur, St Joseph’s and Grovedale footy clubs want to know why Geelong’s one-man council has undone plans for ratepayers to finance major works at their home grounds.
The interim administrator, Yehudi Blacher, endorsed the City of Greater Geelong’s draft budget this week, revealing he had sidelined more than $3 million worth of projects that the elected councillors were planning to finance before they were booted from office last month.
It’s believed Mr Blacher put about 10 projects on the backburner, including the three footy club requests, which added up to $950,000.
Mr Blacher would not be drawn on which projects they were but said he had concerns about the processes councillors used to propose some of the projects and the business cases submitted for them.
The City also said it had taken a more conservative forecast on some of the land sales that were planned to pay for the projects.
“There were projects proposed by particular former councillors which hadn’t been through the normal assessment process,” he said.
“What I determined is not that those projects won’t proceed, but that they won’t proceed in this budget until there has been an assessment process.”
The frustrated footy clubs said they’d had no word from City Hall that anything was wrong with their applications, and — before the council’s dismissal — they had been informally told their projects were slated for financial backing in the budget.
They now have until June 7 to persuade the City their projects were worthy of inclusion in this year’s budget.
But it’s likely Mr Blacher will be gone by then, replaced by three administrators who will run the council until elections in October next year.
The footy clubs have each said they needed new changerooms, particularly because of the growth of girls’ and junior footy, and they were not seeking cash for social amenities.
Ammos was awarded $400,000 in last year’s council budget for its plan to rebuild the player changerooms on the lower level of its double storey Queens Park clubhouse.
President Simon Farrell said the club was poised to start the project with cotenant Newtown Chilwell Cricket Club last year but it was delayed when council officers demanded a lift be included for disability access, at an estimated cost of $200,000.
“We’re ready to go on this from September 4 (the day after the Bellarine Football League grand final),” Mr Farrell said. “We’ve got $300,000 worth of in-kind support at the ready, just like we did last year. But now we’re in limbo again, and we can’t get a word out of the council.”
Joeys sought $400,000 to build stand-alone female changerooms at Drew Reserve for netballers, footballers and cricketers, who now prepare for their games in a public toilet block.
“It’s disappointing — we believed our application ticked every box, and was submitted appropriately and in good faith,” club spokesman Ron Threlfall said.
Grovedale facilities manager Neil Vivian said his club applied for $350,000 to build new visitors’ rooms at Burdoo Reserve, and planned a volunteer effort to rebuild its own changerooms.
Mr Blacher said the projects he had decided against financing this year could still be given council funding in the future, but it was important the budget process have “integrity”.
“They’re not dead projects, they’re still alive,” he said.