Ex­as­per­ated pres­i­dent hits brick wall in fund­ing battle

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - East Victoria Park -

“I WILL find the money some­where,” said an ex­as­per­ated Vic­to­ria Park RSL sub-branch pres­i­dent Kelvin Lid­di­ard last week.

But the ques­tion of who will foot the $70,000 plus short­fall re­mains. Will it be the Town of Vic­to­ria Park, as it still does not have an RSL sig­na­ture on a legally bind­ing agree­ment en­sur­ing it will re­pay the coun­cil?

“All I can do is pull my hair out ev­ery night and all we can do is keep mov­ing for­ward,” Mr Lid­di­ard said. “It’s three-quar­ters done, I’m loathe to aban­don it now.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Town, the me­mo­rial wall project for Play­field Re­serve next to Vic­to­ria Park RSL has a short­fall of $76,500 and de­spite suc­cess­ful grants and ap­peals for fund­ing, where the ex­tra money will come from re­mains a mys­tery.

“I’ve had no sup­port from RSL HQ, and been re­ally dis­ap­pointed and sur­prised that no lo­cal busi­nesses have got­ten be­hind this project ei­ther,” Mr Lid­di­ard said.

“I have sent out 100 let­ters to lo­cal busi­nesses ap­peal­ing for dona­tions but haven’t had any re­sponse. The RSL’s char­ter says it is re­spon­si­ble for erect­ing war memo­ri­als but the state ex­ec­u­tive and fi­nance com­mit­tee have said they would pre­fer to spend their funds else­where. I think it’s a bit nasty.”

The Town’s re­port said an email from the WA RSL in­di­cated it would not be sup­port­ing the project as it be­lieved their “limited funds should be spent on more needy projects”.

The Town has not been able to forge a legally bind­ing agree­ment with the Vic­to­ria Park sub branch for it to re­pay the $121,599 cost of build­ing the wall, less its ear­lier $50,000 do­na­tion.

Last Oc­to­ber, an email from the WA RSL in­formed coun­cil it was not in a po­si­tion to sign the legal agree­ment prior to its com­mit­tee meet­ing in the last week of Novem­ber.

In Fe­bru­ary, an email from the WA RSL CEO told the Town the mat­ter had been de­ferred.

The Town is now seek­ing a meet­ing with state pres­i­dent Gra­ham Ed­wards.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tions with (Kelvin Lid­di­ard) have al­ways in­di­cated, up un­til the most re­cent let­ter, that they have the ca­pac­ity and abil­ity to source fund­ing,” the re­port said.

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