The proposed new Civic Centre for Ryde is a one million dollar waste of ratepayers money, Ryde City Council heard on Tuesday night.
Ryde Council recently held a lucrative design competition for a new Civic Centre but Clr George Simon (ALP) described the process and the prize money awarded as a costly shambles.
Councillor Simon said there’s no budget or cost estimates to fund a new Centre and he echoed fears raised by Independents councillors that the Baird government will come in, abolish the council, demolish the building and sell off the land to a property developer.
“The whole design competition is a million dollar waste of ratepayers money,” he said.
“The winning design is never going to be built, it is never going to happen !”
The Labor councillor accused his Liberal majority opponents of ‘spending like a drunken sailor’ on the project which he described as a white elephant paid for by money that should have been available for residents’ services.
“You Liberals have had your fun and now an administrator has to come in and tell us it will never be built.”
Liberal leader Bill Pickering disagreed and claimed a new Civic Centre will be Òthe centre of gravity for local governmentÓ in a forced merged mega council of Ryde, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove.
Independent Terry Perram was stunned by the comment.
“We don’t even know if the other councils want to come here, they’ve already got a wonderful council building in Lane Cove and we certainly don’t want to steer a new council to occupy this site,” he said.
“What’s even worse is that we’ve already wasted $7 million dollars on the failed Twin Towers proposal, that was so toxic to the community.”
Councillors were advised that the City of Ryde has not entered into any contract to build a new Civic Centre and has not breached a Baird government guideline that prevents councils facing a forced merger from spending a substantial amount of money to could indebt a mega council.