Wollongong "should not have to go begging for a can of paint" to upgrade the South Coast's major entertainment venue, a Liberal councillor has told his colleagues in the NSW Government.
In a passionate and frustrated speech at Monday's council meeting, Leigh Colacino took aim at his own party as he lent his support to Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery's push to get urgent attention on the WIN Entertainment Centre's failing basic facilities.
Cr Colacino, who is on the board of Destination Wollongong, agreed with Cr Bradbery that seats, toilets and access needed attention with the approach of the world road cycling championships in 2022.
"We have over 300,000 people coming to our city in a couple of years time, those people are going to be taking photos... and telling the world all about their experience in Wollongong," Cr Colacino said.
"The world's press is going to be pushing out the story of the event - and guess where the media is going to be based?"
"Right now it looks like the WEC is going to be the event hub - and that is what we are going to be showing the world."
However, he also questioned why the government had not paid attention to a long-running push for a major refurbishment or rebuild of the centre.
"The region needs a purpose built convention centre and we should be fighting for what is truly needed," he said.
"The WEC is long past its used by date and I'm not going to beg for a paint job on this - because we are delivering a high quality tourism opportunity for the whole of NSW.
"To tell you the truth mate, I don't even know that they're going to give us a can of paint. I'm just fed up with it.
"The state needs to hear loud and clear that Wollongong is doing its bit in being a major attractor, a destination in its own right."
"We should be receiving funding that all the other regions around the state who have received special project funding [have got].
"Why do we miss out? We're not bloody far enough away, we should be closer? I don't get it."
In his motion, Cr Bradbery heeded calls from Wollongong MP Paul Scully and other councillors to ensure it did not look like the city is backing away from long-held plans to refurbish the centre.
He added an extra point, emphasising that the urgent upgrades did not compromise the long-term objective of building a convention centre.
"What I am asking in the mayoral minute is that we get better disability access, toilets and more appropraite seating," he said.
"I don't want to detract from the fact it needs a major overhaul, but at the same time while we're waiting around for it to happen we have this [cycling] event fast approaching where a lot of eyes will be on this city.
"We need action right now."
The motion was supported unanimously by other councillors, who variously labeled the WEC as a "glorified tin shed" and a "monstrosity".