Moree Plains Shire Council opts to drop endorsement for Moree Civic Precinct redevelopment Stronger Country Communities Fund application

Stage two and three of the Moree Civic Precinct redevelopment project will no longer be endorsed by council for the Stronger Country Communities Fund.
Stage two and three of the Moree Civic Precinct redevelopment project will no longer be endorsed by council for the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

After preliminary discussions were made at its last meeting three weeks ago, Moree Plains Shire Council has now confirmed which Stronger Country Communities Fund applications they will endorse.

The Moree Civic Precinct redevelopment program will not be submitted for consideration, due to concerns about the cost of the redevelopment as well as the ongoing costs if a cinema were to be installed.

In council's meeting on August 23, the proposal was made to enter stage two and three of the Moree Civic Precinct redevelopment, which would include an upgrade to the Banquet Hall and the mezzanine refurbishment and seating, that would potentially allow for a cinema to be introduced, which would amass to $581,676 in costs.

However, following further investigation, the cost of both projects was estimated to be around $686,588.

Councillor John Tramby guaranteed he had a private contribution of up to $250,000, and currently has a petition that has been signed by more than 500 people in the community and continues to grow.

"We're the only town that doesn't have a cinema anywhere in the north west. We need to make this town liveable," Cr Tramby said.

"That mezzanine level is stage one to getting conferences to this town, to getting live shows to this town.

"That application was put in as it was, and I support it, and the townspeople have shown in repeated petitions they support it."

However, the major concern was about the increase in estimated costs, but more importantly, the ongoing costs of running a cinema.

"These grants provide a wonderful opportunity," councillor Sue Price OAM said.

"There are so many things that we could possibly have in our community but it's the ongoing costs of these infrastructure costs that cause such a headache.

"I would support part of the (Banquet) hall project but I can't see at this stage how we're going to continue into the future manning a cinema.

"I can't see how in two weeks (until applications are due) we can get enough information to support a cinema and the ongoing future of a cinema."

"That's the big, big issue, is the ongoing costs," Moree mayor Katrina Humphries added.

"I don't think we can be looking at burdening council with a greater cost in the future and it worries me very much."

Councillor Mike Montgomery said he is in favour of the Moree Civic Precinct redevelopment but not of council running a cinema, particularly with an application of such large costs that would take up a significant portion of the $815,000 available for the Moree Plains Shire.

"If we're going to continue with the civic precinct redevelopment, maybe we finish stage one before we go onto stage two.

"I don't want to see us cruel some of the local applications that are done by local groups because we've hogged all the money."

In the end, the vote was passed by four votes to three for Council to just endorse the Mungindi Tennis Court Revitalisation Project and the MAX out MAAC project and leave out stage two and three of the Moree Civic Precinct Redevelopment project.

However, following the vote, Cr Tramby said he would personally enter the application himself.