The provision of a humble toilet block in a recreation area appeared to signal Kalaru’s place in the shire as the next area of growth during discussion at the council meeting on Wednesday, October 11.
During debate over Evans Park committee’s request for $17,000 from the water and sewer fund to see the project completed, the mayor Kristy McBain flagged the potential for the area.
“When we talk about blue sky areas there are very few areas able to be developed but Kalaru has two huge flat areas of land so this will be a facility used well into future. This will be a growth area for the shire,” Cr McBain said.
The potential for the area and number of young families there was pointed out by councillor Tony Allen who proposed the motion that council meet the additional funds required for the connection of the toilets to the water supply.
“This project has been going on for at least 10 years and they have been working towards a goal. They have battled hard and long to provide a recreation facility. This is a growth area and at last year’s Christmas party there 80 children there. It is hard to find an area of flat land. In the fullness of time Evans Park might be returned to competition football. This gives a small community of volunteers impetus,” Cr Allen said.
The funding has been welcomed by president of the Evans Park committee Russell Hodges who said the committee was “very pleased with council’s response”.
“There’s a lot of kids with nowhere to go and this will be a recreation area for Kalaru kids and maybe long-term some sporting activity,” Mr Hodges said.
Evans Park received $69,237 to establish an evacuation point, a shelter and three unisex toilets. Originally budgeted to use onsite sewerage and rainwater, costs rose when council said it preferred connection to the reticulated water system.
The connection has been costed at $30,000 but the Evans Park committee had budgeted $13,000 from its NSW Clubs grant leaving council to find $17,000 from its water and sewer fund.
Director community, relations and leisure Anthony Basford said that ongoing maintenance and cleaning for the toilet block would be about $7000 a year.
However the proposal raised a number of questions from other councillors concerned how this additional cost could be borne given the discussions that had taken place previously about the cost of council’s assets.
Councillor Jo Dodds said that as much as she would love every community to have their own sports ground she wasn’t sure of the wisdom of adding another asset to council’s list but Mr Basford said council already maintained the grounds.
“I am speaking reluctantly against this. I thought I had participated in so many discussions about the cost of assets. I am not convinced we necessarily need this,” Cr Dodds said.
Councillor Robyn Bain said that council’s water and waste manager Jim Collins had said the fund has “buckets of money” and added that she supported the idea.
Councillor Cathy Griff said she was also in favour but added that “it mystifies me, whenever money is mentioned we don’t have the money”.
But other councillors believed the toilets would be well-used.
“It will be used as a community facility. As the chair of the Bega to Tathra safe ride I will know the riders will use it,” councillor Liz Seckold said.
Councillor Russell Fitzpatrick said it would be used by Tathra teams and mentioned cricket and AFL.
“Good community members have worked hard to get to this point,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
However Cr Kristy McBain injected a note of caution saying it was difficult to enter the site and while it was good as a passive recreation ground, its use could not be intensified until council took a look at how vehicles accessed the ground.
In December 2016 member for Bega Andrew Constance announced that Evans Park had been given $69,237 for the establishment of an evacuation point.
“The project includes the construction of an amentities block and shelter, which will allow the area to be a neighbourhood safe place and an assembley point during emergencies,” Mr Constance said.
The new amentities include a shelter and three unisex toilets.