The Sutherland Shire Council has voted to allocate nearly $ 3 million to convert unused space in the South Village at Kirrawee into a community hub, while indicating that it is a strong preference for it to be run by the city council.
The latest part of the long-running saga was played out in a confidential gathering at the October Council meeting.
However, it will be up to the new council, to be elected on 3 December, to continue with that approach.
The 1,500-square-foot area, on the northwest corner of the center, facing Biddy Giles Park, was made available to the council under a voluntary planning agreement between the South Village developer and the city council.
It has been a shell for two years, while the council has considered and rejected several proposals after calling for expressions of interest.
While the latest deliberations were taking place behind closed doors, the decision, which was adopted by 8-3 votes, was later announced.
The decision was to allocate $ 2.45 million from the new 2022-26 delivery program to furnish the space, funded by the VPA (Voluntary Planning Agreement) contributions from the operator of Lucas Heights’ waste facility.
The initial design costs, up to $ 50,000, will be funded from the 2021/22 Community Halls budget.
Council staff have been asked to present a further report by February 2022 outlining the budgetary implications “and potential funding models in line with the advice-as-operator model”.
Cr Jack Boyd, who moved the proposal, said it was two years ago that the council took over ownership of the space and almost a year ago that a consultant provided a detailed analysis of what communal facilities were needed in Kirrawee, such as:
- Common living area with information kiosk
- A large community house with a semi-outdoor space facing Biddy Giles Park
- Small common rooms and meeting rooms for local groups
- A semi-commercial kitchen to facilitate communal events
- A library connection space to facilitate study and co-working, including quiet zones and access to the library
- Storage facilities, maker’s places and public toilets
“Located in the heart of Kirrawee, opposite the stunning Biddy Giles Park and surrounded by local businesses, this place is a prime location for a high quality community hub,” said Cr Boyd.
“It’s time for the municipality to stop sitting on its hands and continue to provide a high – quality multifunctional space to society. We can not afford to wait any longer.
“My proposal sees $ 2.45 million dedicated to furnishing the community hub, with $ 50,000 committed to designing the facility this fiscal year.
“Importantly, it outlines a clear intention for the municipality to build and operate the plant itself.
“We have a commitment to live up to our commitment to the community, and I look forward to visiting the center soon.”