'We should've known': $500k pool cost increase criticised
BALLINA Shire councillor Eoin Johnston says a budget increase of $520,000 for essential power upgrades and solar at the Ballina and Alstonville pools was an "oversight we should never have had to deal with”.
The last minute requirement to upgrade power at both sites was clarified at last week's Ballina Shire Council meeting, but Cr Johnston said it wasn't good enough.
"In my view it's something that should have been known to staff,” Cr Johnston said.
The upgrades, coupled with recent wet weather and the removal of asbestos from the former pools, has pushed back the completion date for both projects until next year.
The Ballina pool is now expected to be completed by January 15 and the Alstonville facility by January 8.
Installation of solar and other additions and improvements would also be included in the upgrade, which council voted for unanimously. Councillor Jeff Johnston, who is a local solar provider, declared a insignificant pecuniary interest and left the chamber.
IN what was a diverse council agenda, councillors moved to arrange a meeting with Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant in a bid to secure permanent fire-fighters for Ballina.
Councillor Nathan Willis called for the meeting in a notice of motion after learning from Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin that a review into the need of additional firies was under review.
He said the appointment of full-time day staff seven years ago needed to be strengthened by allowing for permanent firefighters to complement retained firefighters at the station.
But Cr Sharon Cadwallader fired back at Cr Willis' motion and said: "We do not need full time firefighters”.
"I'd be happy to go to a meeting just to explain what the station commander for the Ballina Fire Station has already told us,” Cr Cadwallader said.
She referred to statistics contained within a report from station commander for the Ballina Fire Station, Captain Dennis Henry that reveal 276 call outs were conducted in the 2015/16 financial year.
Councillors voted 7-2 in support of holding a meeting with the minister and that it would continue to call on the "NSW Government to provide permanent full-time firefighters in addition to the retained firefighters in recognition of the growth in our Shire”.
CHANGING Ballina Cup day to a public holiday didn't get up in what was a fleeting mention about the popular social outing in the chamber.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of retaining the Ballina Cup day as a Local Government Day.
A local event day means there is a day-off for residents within a local government area to celebrate a community event.
The vote came after the council asked the community to share their thoughts about the possibility of making cup day a public holiday.
Councillor Ben Smith was absent for the October ordinary meeting.