Funds for fields set to be slashed
FUNDS to upgrade Lismore’s urban and rural sportsfields may be slashed in half, with the remaining $100,000 diverted to environmental projects, under a motion to be discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Cr Gianpiero Battista, who is proposing the motion, yesterday told The Northern Star money needed to be found to complete environmental projects following the rejection of the proposed special rate rise.
“We only spend $10,000 on the environment, but this council has changed and so has its priorities,” he said.
“People want more money spent on the environment and that is what this is about.”
Upgrades of sporting fields have already been deferred for 12 months in next year’s draft budget, with the proposed halving of funding starting from the 2011/12 financial year.
However, Cr Battista is not expecting a backlash from sporting groups as the cuts only apply to the council’s annual $200,000 upgrade budget, not maintenance of fields.
He said that over the past five years council had spent $1 million upgrading sports grounds and that the focus should now be on programs to improve and protect the area’s fauna and flora.
“There have been a lot of improvements over the past five years at our major sporting fields, so $100,000 (going forward) isn’t a small amount,” Cr Battista said.
He said while it was clear the community rejected the proposed 3.5 per cent special rate rise, there was significant support for spending more on the environment.
Executive director of sustainable development, Brent McAlister, says in the council papers that staff was in the process of developing a rec-reation plan that would identify the impact of any permanent funding changes.
He suggested that councillors wait for the report before they lock in the cut to the sportsfields upgrade budget.