TWO key local projects have been overlooked by Regional Development Australia, not even making it to the next round of funding consideration.
Ulladulla’s Dunn Lewis Entertainment Centre missed out on a $5 million Commonwealth grant to complete the facility, and an application for $650,000 to build a significant section of the Coastal Pathway from Milton to Mollymook was also unsuccessful
The Yerriyong Motorsports Facility, near Nowra, was the only Shoalhaven project to proceed to the next round in the national selection process.
Dunn Lewis Centre manager Gayle Dunn said she was “very disappointed” when told the facility had missed out on funding.
She said the $5 million grant was required to complete the second and final stage of the complex in Parson Street Ulladulla.
The news came despite Mrs Dunn’s talks with Prime Minister Julia Gillard during the Bali Bombing 10th anniversary remembrance ceremony in Kuta in October.
Mrs Dunn had an opportunity to talk with the PM about the community memorial project and also invited her to tour the centre.
While Ms Gillard could not commit to funds, Mrs Dunn thought her support could add weight to the application for funding under the Commonwealth’s $3.5 billion Regional Development Australia Fund.
Mrs Dunn said she would “push ahead” with the project and continue to apply for government funding.
“This was the big one,” she said, “so we’ll have to wait until next year and try again.”
“We’ve missed out, but we won’t give up.
“We’ll just have to keep trying until we get the funding.”
Mrs Dunn said the second stage of the facility would provide sporting, gymnastics and dance facilities for the Ulladulla district.
“We really need these facilities in our area,” she said.
“And the centre is running out of space to run all our activities.
“Once the auditorium is built, there will be more space for the community’s sporting groups and also to host entertainment events.”
Mrs Dunn said the funding failure was “a shame for all user groups”.
“But, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles,” she added.
Shoalhaven City Council’s application for funds to start building a 5.2 kilometre shared pathway from Matron Porter Drive in Milton to Tallwood Avenue in Mollymook also missed out on funding.
In response Cr Patricia White is calling for the community to “work together” to “make the pathway happen”.
She last night pushed council’s policy and resources committee to recommend “council staff and all available councillors meet with the community within two weeks” to make a decision on the pathway route and how to involve the community in the project.
She said a stalemate between council staff and the Coastlink Pathway group on where and how $25,000 in council funding should be spent was “ludicrous”.
“This is one of the reasons why I ran for council,” she said.
“This type of thing goes on all the time with report after report – we could be arguing about this for the next five years.
“I will call for a meeting, on site, with the community so we can work out the logistics and get on with it.”
Cr White said she would hate to see the community lose money that had been allocated to the project, but said staff “should not be allocating funding without a firm agreement about the pathway route”.
Despite concerns from the Coastlink Pathway group that the community could not build the path, she said “people want to do it”.
“We need to put the call out and see who is prepared to get involved,” she said.
Cr White agreed to publicise the proposed community meeting in next week’s Times newspaper.
“It’s madness that this keeps going around in circles,” she said.
The Coastlink Pathway group collected more than 500 petitions supporting the project at a community rally in Milton in May last year.
Mayor Joanna Gash said she supported the pathway and would like to see work start as soon as possible.