$5m to spend

Preschool, pool funded

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE - By James Ben­nett

The last step in the de­vel­op­ment of a new preschool and long day care cen­tre has been achieved, with al­most $1 mil­lion al­lo­cated last week to im­prove early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties in Jer­ilderie.

Jer­ilderie Preschool and Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil’s ap­pli­ca­tion for $994,000 to build the new fa­cil­ity was awarded on Fri­day.

It is part of a mas­sive $3.8 mil­lion in Stronger Coun­try Com­mu­ni­ties fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion to Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil projects in round two.

A large por­tion of the al­lo­ca­tion, $2.2 mil­lion, will specif­i­cally be spent on sport­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

An­other $1.36 mil­lion in SCC fund­ing will be spent in the neigh­bor­ing Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil area, mean­ing more than $5 mil­lion in vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments will be de­liv­ered in the South­ern Rive­rina over com­ing months.

The al­lo­ca­tion for Jer­ilderie Preschool is the cul­mi­na­tion of two years of hard work, preschool di­rec­tor Re­bekah Sal­ter said.

She said the flow-on ef­fect to the com­mu­nity through jobs creation and eco­nomic growth will be enor­mous.

A lo­ca­tion for the de­vel­op­ment was con­firmed in July this year, with coun­cil al­lo­cat­ing land on the cor­ner of Ma­honga and Kennedy Sts.

‘‘This will be­come a ma­jor draw­card to Jer­ilderie for young fam­i­lies, and is the cen­tre of our fu­ture de­vel­op­ment,’’ Miss Sal­ter said.

‘‘We’re hope­ful it can open up 10 jobs, which would be fan­tas­tic for the town.

‘‘It will also al­low fam­i­lies to get back to work quicker, know­ing that care is avail­able for chil­dren un­der three years-old.

‘‘This was the first year we opened the cen­tre for five days per week and it’s worked re­ally well so we’re happy we can pro­vide this into the fu­ture with longer hours.

‘‘We’ve had won­der­ful sup­port from the com­mu­nity and the coun­cil to have long day care in Jer­ilderie.

‘‘Lead­ing the push for long day care has been Ca­rina Ro­rato. She’s been a fan­tas­tic ad­vo­cate and it re­ally wouldn’t have hap­pened with­out her, as she’s led the steer­ing com­mit­tee with great charge.’’

Mur­rumbidgee Mayor Ruth McRae said Jer­ilderie’s other ded­i­cated fund­ing through SCC is a $1.3 mil­lion al­lo­ca­tion to build a new Jer­ilderie pool.

‘‘Re­gard­ing the swim­ming pool, we’ve been ac­tively seek­ing as­sis­tance to re­build that for a num­ber of years,’’ Cr McRae said.

‘‘Build­ing pools is costly but in this day and age, small towns must have a lo­cal pool be­cause ev­ery child should learn how to swim.

‘‘Hope­fully, the re­build will hap­pen af­ter the swim sea­son and we can en­gage with the com­mu­nity mov­ing for­ward.’’

A time­line of works is yet to be de­cided for each of the Jer­ilderie projects, but Cr McRae said ‘‘the in­ten­tion is to have both built soon’’.

SCC fund­ing was also al­lo­cated for up­grades to the Coleam­bally Sport­ing Precinct ($705,000), Coleam­bally Sta­dium ($320,000) and Dar­ling­ton Point Sports Ground ($320,000), and for the in­stal­la­tion of an ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem at the Dar­ling Point golf course ($190,000).

Three of Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil’s town­ships will re­ceive a share of fund­ing from the Stronger Coun­try Com­mu­ni­ties round two fund­ing stream.

The sole Fin­ley-based project sub­mit­ted for a share of the coun­cil’s fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion was not sup­ported by the NSW Gov­ern­ment when $1.36 mil­lion in projects was an­nounced on Fri­day.

Ber­ri­gan Shire Mayor Matt Han­nan said while the sup­ported projects in Tocumwal, Ba­rooga and Ber­ri­gan will be great ad­di­tions for the shire, the Fin­ley snub was a bit of a sur­prise.

He said even in round one, which gave coun­cil $2.2 mil­lion to spend on lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture, Fin­ley was only awarded $160,000 (for the Fin­ley skate park).

‘‘It’s al­ways great to re­ceive out­side fund­ing to go to­wards our projects but we need to find out why Fin­ley didn’t re­ceive fund­ing. I have al­ready spo­ken with (Mem­ber for Mur­ray) Austin Evans.

‘‘In the first round they polled the com­mu­nity to work out where the money should be dis­trib­uted, and I be­lieve that may have been the case again. But I have not come across any­one in the shire who was polled by the state gov­ern­ment.

‘‘In round one we sub­mit­ted fund­ing for the Fin­ley Show­grounds but that was knocked back.

‘‘Be­cause it was knocked back we elected not to sub­mit it again for round two, how­ever there is a grant pend­ing through an­other pro­gram for us to get fund­ing at the show­grounds.’’

In round two coun­cil had ap­plied for $400,000 to in­stall an au­to­mated sprin­kler sys­tem at Fin­ley Golf Club to wa­ter all 18 holes.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously we felt the golf course would have been a good com­mu­nity based project to as­sist the golf club in the fu­ture,’’ Cr Han­nan said.

Projects which have re­ceived fund­ing in­clude $489,000 for the de­vel­op­ment and ex­pan­sion of the Ba­rooga Ad­ven­ture Park and $395,000 for Ber­ri­gan War Memo­rial Pool up­grades.

An­other $497,000 has been al­lo­cated to the rede­vel­op­ment of the Tocumwal Recre­ation Re­serve net­ball and cricket fa­cil­i­ties and $59,000 to new light­ing and score­board at Ber­ri­gan Sports­ground.

Ber­ri­gan Shire di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate ser­vices Matt Hansen said the al­lo­ca­tion for the Ber­ri­gan Sports­ground is only a por­tion of the amount needed for the project.

‘‘We re­quested $107,000 in our ap­pli­ca­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘Coun­cil will dis­cuss with the sports­ground man­age­ment com­mit­tee about what it wants to do mov­ing for­ward.

‘‘One op­tion can be do­ing part of the work.

‘‘We will also be speak­ing with the fund­ing body if we can do por­tion of the project or do all of it and fund the rest.

‘‘It’ll be a de­ci­sion for the man­age­ment com­mit­tee to de­cide if it’s will­ing to pay the re­main­ing money or al­ter­na­tively coun­cil can chip in some of the re­main­ing cost.’’

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