Fresh fight against Shellharbour City Hub

Arguments over Shellharbour City Council’s contentious $57 million City Hub project will continue on Tuesday night with Shellharbour councillor Kellie Marsh lodging a notice of motion that the council cease all work and expenditure associated with it.

On the same night, councillors will be asked to endorse an expressions of interest process for the sale of the former council chambers and administration building at Warilla, the proceeds to go towards funding the hub.

The council will also be asked to include the neighbouring Warilla Library in the expressions of interest process, ‘‘subject to the proponent agreeing to provide a purpose designed facility for a branch library within a new development if required’’.

What residents really think of Shellharbour City Hub

The reason for including the library in the sale process would provide ‘‘a wider purchaser audience that could enable a more substantial development and use of the site’’ according to the council’s manager of property and recreation Donna Flanagan.

Cr Marsh’s notice of motion calls on the council to conduct a ‘‘yes-no’’ poll at the 2016 local government elections asking the people of Shellharbour to decide on the future of the City Hub project.

The Warilla council chambers opened in 1969.

Cr Marsh also wants the council to stop the sale of ratepayers’ assets allocated for the project.

Land at Oak Flats has already been sold to help fund the City Hub, while expressions of interest have been called for a 42.25-hectare site at Tullimbar.

The current administration office at Lamerton House will also be sold to fund the hub.

The hub has regularly progressed through key milestones on a 4-3 vote with Cr Marsh and councillors Peter Moran and Deputy Mayor Paul Rankin regularly voting against the project.

Cr Marsh said she did not believe the process was beyond the point of no return.

‘‘I will not back down on this issue, I will fight it until the absolute death,’’ she said.

‘‘If I stopped getting phone calls I would put this issue to bed, but I don’t feel the council has been listening to the community.

‘‘There has been surveys but I think to get a true reflection we should take it to a poll – no ifs or buts.’’

Meantime, the council has acknowledged there was community interest in the potential heritage significance of the former council chambers site at Warilla and a monument known as The Freedom Wall and Peace Grove.

The National Trust advised the council the architectural firm that designed the building was a ‘‘significant architectural firm’’ and there was potential for the building to have social significance. However, the building was not identified as having heritage significance during the council’s community-based heritage study, which was adopted as part of the latest local environmental plan.

The Freedom Wall and Peace Grove were also not identified in the study, but the council is investigating options to relocate the monument to other council-owned land.

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