25 June, 2015

Lithgow Pool, again

From: Lithgow Ratepayers <lithgowratepayers@gmail.com>
Date: 17 June 2015 9:27:53 pm AEST
To: Greater Lithgow Ratepayers <lithgowratepayers@gmail.com>
Subject: MEDIA RELEASE: 'Lithgow City Council Mayor Maree Statham called upon to publicly apologise to ratepayers and the Local Member for Bathurst and Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole.
MEDIA RELEASE – IMMEDIATE
 
'Lithgow City Council Mayor Maree Statham called upon to publicly apologise to ratepayers
and the Local Member for Bathurst and Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole.
 
 
Lithgow City Councillor Martin Ticehurst is calling upon Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham to publicly apologise over false and misleading public statements published in yesterday’s Lithgow Mercury newspaper on the official opening of the new indoor heated pool at the Lithgow City Council’s Aquatic Centre..
 
The Lithgow newspaper under the online headline, ‘It’s official; Lithgow’s indoor pool opened after 35 year wait’, reported that Mayor Statham said, “.. the indoor heated pool was ‘not a luxury; it’s a necessity’.”
 
It was also reported that Mayor Statham saying that the new indoor heated pool, “.. would not have been possible without a $3.2 million grant from the NSW Government negotiated by State Member Paul Toole’ and further that she, “.. was astounded when we were called down to Parliament House for the announcement that we had the money,”
 
Councillor Ticehurst said, “Firstly, many ratepayers and the Local Member and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole will be very disappointed that Mayor Maree Statham has not been anywhere near upfront, open and transparent over the funding of the new so-called indoor heated pool. 
 
It’s certainly not a normal public indoor heated pool – it’s been best described as nothing more than a pool – indoors! 
 
I also understand that with the Council refusing to take the pool temperature higher than 27 degrees so as to avoid major internal condensation and with no indoor air-conditioning or heating in this new facility for patron comfort, many new users have already indicated that during winter they will be going back to the better indoor heated pool facilities provided at Katoomba and Bathurst.
 
This new Council indoor pool built at a huge cost of $3.6 million dollars, could not possibly be regarded as a necessity and is a luxury that ratepayers could certainly have done without.  This position has been previously supported by every other preceding Council over many decades due to the very high funding required for construction and the exorbitant ongoing operational costs to run the facility in a small country town.”
 
Councillor Ticehurst further said, “The Mayor Maree Statham would have been well aware by her own previous Media Release and correspondence received from both the Office of Local Government and Local Member for Bathurst, Paul Toole that all of funding of $3.6 million dollars for the recent construction of the 25-metre indoor heated pool was due to a Council Bank Loan approved under Round Two of the previous State Governments previous Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme.
 
This so-called pool – indoors is now currently being funded by Lithgow ratepayers to the tune of some $380,000 each year and for each of the next 10 years to a private bank, a total of $3.8 million dollars.  And this does not include any of the expected additional annual losses of more than $200,000 in additional Council operational expenses for the Lithgow Aquatic Centre.
 
In my opinion, the etiquette of the Lithgow Mercury and Mayor Maree Statham on this issue has been very disingenuous and mischievous with both readers, ratepayers and the Minister; by falsely claiming that the official opening of the new Lithgow Council indoor heated pool came about by a “$3.2 million grant from the NSW Government negotiated by State Member Paul Toole”.  
 
State Budget papers publicly confirm that the Mayor Maree Statham’s $3.2 million dollar grant is in fact for the current and future Lithgow Aquatic Centre renovations of the publicly condemned 50-year-old, 50-metre Outdoor Pool and has been spread over two years, firstly some $800,000 in the current financial year and $2.3 million dollars in the next 2015-16 financial year.
 
“Mayor Maree Statham’s should immediately publicly apologise for her false and misleading public statements to ratepayers and Local Member for Bathurst and Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole.  However, given past observations, ratepayers and Mr Toole would be best not to hold their breath.”  Councillor Martin Ticehurst said.
 
Martin Ticehurst
Councillor
Lithgow City Council
 
 
References:
 
 
 
Local Member for Bathurst and Office of Local Government letter confirming LIRS Funding:  http://archive.lithgow.nsw.gov.au/agendas/13/0909/ITEM3.pdf
 

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