Councils pushing pet projects

PAGE electorate councils have nominated more than $20 million in projects they want financed under the Federal Government’s regional funding boost.

The projects were nominated at the request of Page MP Janelle Saffin and range from the refurbishing of Lismore City Hall to a new sports complex and cultural walkway at Casino’s Queen Elizabeth Park.

Ms Saffin said they would join other projects she was already pushing through the Northern Rivers branch of Regional Development Australia and Regional Development Minister Simon Crean, such as a bid by Ballina Shire Council to get Australia’s first biochar furnace.

Ms Saffin said the projects she was lobbying for were worth close to $26 million and came on top of the more than $30 million in commitments she made during the Federal election campaign.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot’s office yesterday said she had not followed a similar process with the Byron and Tweed shire councils, with a spokesman saying MsElliot had been put in charge of the funding process for NSW and had to remain at arm’s length from it. He said RDA was supposed to contact individual councils.

Local projects

Lismore City Council: $9.7 million for major refurbishment of City Hall.

Ballina Shire Council: $4 million to finish the $8.4-million River Street beautification from Grant to Moon streets and Cherry to Martin streets.

Kyogle Shire Council: $2.9 million for the Kyogle Museum and Art Gallery, incorporating an extension of the existing library. It would become a cultural and learning precinct for locals and a major tourist attraction.

Richmond Valley Council: $2.5 million for Queen Elizabeth Park Master Plan redevelopment. The council is consulting with nine local sporting groups and indigenous elders on a multi-use sporting complex and cultural walkway.

Clarence Valley Council: $1.5 million to extend the Treelands Drive Community Centre at Yamba.

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