THE upgrade of the Ulladulla Civic Centre has re-emerged as the major issue in the southern Shoalhaven as the countdown to next month’s local government election continues.
Speaking at last Wednesday’s night’s annual general meeting of the Shoalhaven Business Chamber Milton-Ulladulla Region, outgoing mayor Paul Green listed the Civic Centre upgrade as one of council’s greatest achievements over the past four years.
However a number of councillors fear the project will be derailed and are accusing Member for Gilmore and mayor hopeful Joanna Gash of turning her back on extensive community consultation.
Mrs Gash told last Wednesday’s meeting that she has no plans to “bulldoze the Civic Centre” if elected mayor but has made no secret of the fact that she wants the best possible outcome for the site in terms of design and usage.
The Team Gash proposal includes a possible public/private business partnership to attract a staged tourism venture on adjacent land.
A number of other mayor hopefuls have gone on record saying they are fully committed to the Civic Centre upgrade in its current form.
John Fergusson, also speaking at last Wednesday night’s meeting, warned incoming councillors not to lay a glove on the $10 million Civic Centre project.
“I will die in a ditch over it,” he said.
Cr Amanda Findley agrees the Civic Centre is in desperate need of a facelift and said The Greens would “not walk away from the Civic Centre redevelopment”.
Meanwhile former mayor Greg Watson and current deputy mayor Andrew Guile have both accused Team Gash of attempting to divert funding away from the Civic Centre to the Dunn Lewis Centre.
Cr Guile said the proposal for a public/private partnership was a ‘pie in the sky’ suggestion and a smokescreen designed to hide Team Gash’s real intentions.