Campaspe Shire sporting groups are still awaiting almost half a million dollars set aside by Campaspe Shire Council since November 2011.By Elaine Cooney
Campaspe Shire has sat on almost half a million dollars set aside for Rochester’s sporting groups since November 2011.
Campaspe Shire Council earned $481,883 from the sale of its water rights at Campaspe Golf Club to Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project.
This money was earmarked to go back to the Rochester community but it has not seen a dollar of these funds.
On November 22, 2011, Campaspe Shire’s service review manager Keith Oberin said council was determining a process in which all groups could apply for these funds.
So far no process has been put in place and Campaspe Shire Council could not give a timeframe of when an application process would be established.
Chief executive Keith Baillie said when council received $481,883, government flood funding and insurance payments from the January 2011 floods opened up, which meant some projects had access to alternate funding sources.
Cr Leigh Wilson said he was responsible for delaying the discussion of an application process for the funds coming before council.
Cr Wilson said he was waiting for the Rochester Racecourse Recreation Reserve – which encompasses the Campaspe Golf Club – to create a master plan for the reserve’s planned projects.
He gave the group $2000 from his discretionary fund to help design the plan.
Committee 4 Rochester project manager Graeme Robertson is assisting with the plan.
Mr Robertson said Rochester Lawn Tennis Club, Campaspe Golf Club and the reserve committee all had project ideas and he was combining them to present an overall plan to council.
Cr Wilson said he was not in a hurry to make a decision on what to do with the money but he would like a plan in place by the end of the year.
When asked if he was favouring the reserve committee ahead of other sporting associations, Cr Wilson said he wanted to give the committee the respect it deserved to put a plan in place.
Cr Wilson said the money was not put aside for the reserve committee but was still allocated to improve recreation facilities in Rochester.
He said he wanted to ensure the reserve committee could strongly demonstrate what it would do if offered Campaspe Shire grants.
‘‘I will not support a proposal if a group cannot prove their ideas will work,’’ he said.
‘‘The money would not be to keep the group going.’’
Cr Wilson referred to a hockey court built at the reserve 15 years ago, with the help of government funding, which was ‘‘never’’ used.
Mr Baillie said it was important the Rochester community had a detailed discussion about its next and most valuable recreation priorities that may benefit from these funds.
He said Committee 4 Rochester suggested it would facilitate the community discussion.
‘‘This approach is much preferable to an expression of interest process as originally envisaged,’’ he said.
‘‘We understand the community would like this resolved however a timeframe has not been established at this point.’’
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