$880,000 Government windfall for Ballina aged project
By MARY MANN
AFTER a frustrating eight-year journey, Ballina's Doug Stinson can finally see a time when elderly people in the shire will 'get what they deserve'.
And what they deserve is the multi-purpose community centre planned for Treelands Reserve, on the corner of Moon Street and Bangalow Road.
Deputy Prime Minster Mark Vaile yesterday announced the Federal Government had given in-principle support for funding of $880,000 for the centre, which will act as a one-stop shop for aged services in the shire.
The funding announcement means Ballina Shire Council now has the $3.5 million which the building is expected to cost, with contributions from the State Government ($600,000), council ($1.6 million) and an anonymous bequest of $500,000.
The centre will include office space, day-care rooms and meeting rooms for various community groups.
Mr Stinson, as an independent consultant, wrote the initial report for council in 1999 which highlighted the need For better aged services for the growing elderly community in Ballina.
A particular need was to replace the day-care facility for dementia sufferers, Harmony House.
Mr Stinson could finally see a time when the centre would actually be built, almost a decade after the initial proposal was put to council.
"It was an obvious need ever since the council report, and the need, obviously, is even more now," he said.
The project suffered a setback last year after a budget blow-out in the cost of then proposed building meant council didn't have enough money for the centre, as well as an art gallery which is also planned for Ballina. The art gallery is to be located in the former council chambers building.
Council has called for tenders for construction of the community centre. Work is expected to start in three months.