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Confusion over Victorian Government’s refusal of funding for redevelopment of the St Albans Leisure Centre
In a pre-election environment when spending pledges are being announced across Victoria, backers of the planned redevelopment of the St Albans Leisure Centre have been left astounded that their submission for Community Sport Infrastructure Funding has been refused.
Brimbank City Council’s thoroughly costed application for a $3 million grant toward the cost of the redevelopment of the Centre was rejected by the Victorian Government last week, leading to astonishment among Councillors.
A subsequent ‘leak’ of documents to local newspaper the Star Weekly suggested the application for funding for the redevelopment failed to address key issues and was under-developed.
However, the Council has rejected these claims, with Brimbank Mayor Lucinda Congreve issueing a statement advising “Council is well progressed with its plans to replace St Albans Leisure Centre with a world-class health and wellbeing hub, the centrepiece of which is a state-of-the art aquatic and leisure centre, despite a recent funding round setback.
“In June, council submitted a detailed application for Community Sport Infrastructure Funding, under the Better Pools category, to Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV)
“To ensure success, the application was co-developed with Otium Planning Group, a highly respected sport and leisure consultancy service with a significant track record and understanding of grant submissions.
“Benchmarked against previously successful applications under the same or similar funding programs, we believe our application was sufficiently detailed, addressed all the funding requirements and ticked every policy box.
“Our submission was foreshadowed by multiple presentations to various State Government departments by members of our Senior and Executive Management Team, and Council provided all follow-up information as requested by SRV during the assessment process.”
Mayor Congreve advised that the Council had not been informed of any shortcomings in its application, adding “Council is yet to receive any formal advice from SRV as to why this application was unsuccessful, but have been disappointed to see unsourced and unverified information being circulated, suggesting that project outcomes including gender equity policies and healthy food choices were not defined in Council’s application for swimming pool funding.
“Council rejects any contention that the combined information supplied during application and follow-up was in any way deficient.
“To date, Council is unaware of any other local government submission under Better Pools which received funding in 2018, as we understand the recent election commitment for $10 million towards a proposed Torquay pool was outside of the SRV Better Pools program, which has a limit of $3 million.”
Despite the setback, Mayor Congreve said the Council would continue to strongly push for the $53 million project to go ahead.
She concluded “since endorsing the final aquatic and leisure component brief in August, Council has conducted a Request for Tender process to appoint the Architect and Design Team and has assessed all applications. The final recommendation is expected to be presented for endorsement at the December 2018 Council Meeting.
“The final design process will begin following the appointment of the Architect and Design Team. Our ultimate aim is to create a facility where the community can meet, stay active and healthy and access those services that will make improvements to the health of people in Brimbank, and in the west.
“Council will continue work, undeterred by this recent setback, and will redouble our efforts to secure significant government funding as our community deserves. Council contends that this project is too important regionally and locally, for both recreational and health and wellbeing outcomes, not to receive significant funding from Government.”
15th July 2016 - City of Brimbank installs innovative The EDGE climbing feature
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