There was unanimous support to accept the state government’s grant offer of $5 million to implement the second stage of the Riverside development at Wagga City Council’s meeting on Monday night.
Councillor Rod Kendall said that the funds should be welcomed and the funding authority thanked for the grant.
“Five million out of the $6.7 million to complete stage two of the riverside area of Wagga along the wonderful Murrumbidgee River will allow us to complete, what I believe, was a dream when we approved the Riverside master plan,” he said.
His words were supported by councillor Daniel Hayes, who said the grant was a great testament to the work of council staff.
Deputy mayor Dallas Tout was also pleased to see the long process pay off.
“I was here when we voted on the original master plan and it was a bit of a Hail Mary,” he said.
“It’s going to be really well welcomed by the community.”
The second stage of council’s Riverside project will build upon the existing facilities at Wagga Beach and include event spaces and support infrastructure, set-ups for pop-up shops and a regional playground with water play features.
The remaining money needed for the project out of the estimated $6.7 million will be funded by council.
It has been estimated that when the project is completed it will contribute to a boost in visitor numbers by 10 per cent to 1.42 million per annum and deliver additional spending of $79 million per annum to Wagga’s economy.
The unanimous support for the Riverside funds did not extend to the adoption of the asbestos policy, which was opposed by councillors Hayes and Yvonne Braid.
Cr Hayes said he was struggling to say “yay or nay” to the policy.
“I’m weighing up the increase in revenue, the variation income threads versus the impact of taking asbestos from other local government areas,” he said.
“I am more inclined to take the view that just because we take some asbestos doesn’t mean we should take more.”
Cr Kendall said he had a different view on the issue and it was vitally important that as a regional centre Wagga has adequate disposal methods to support smaller councils who are unable to handle the asbestos properly.
“It is critically important that the product, such as asbestos, is properly handled and properly disposed of because I think we know in this day and age the the health issues that can arise from it,” he said.
Despite the opposition, the asbestos policy was adopted by council during Monday’s meeting.
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