Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Where Did Riverbank Funds Go?

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Where Did Riverbank Funds Go?

Article excerpt

I READ with interest the views of our mayor on upgrading the Riverbank precinct.

According to the mayor it is about prioritising between street lights and streetscapes.

That makes sense except if one looks at the fact that the mayor decided to overturn a project to finish the Riverbank redevelopment.

This had been a top priority of the previous council, state government and the Rockhampton Tourism and Development Organisation.

A sum of $6m had been allocated for the completion of the project to add to the over $50m already spent on the Riverbank and showground precinct.

Council soaked up $400,000 in the construction of the John Leak Memorial with that project running double the estimate, leaving $5.6m for completion of the area between the two bridges and a fishing platform on the northern side of the river.

One of this mayor's first actions was to ditch this project and add that figure to the already $60m being spent by the state on developing industrial land at Gracemere. It was this opening of this project that cost Terry Hill his job.

The reality is that the eyesore that is the riverbank between the bridges instead of being a haven for belligerent drunks should by now be boasting user-friendly exercise equipment, a night market area, viewing platforms and the sort of promenade now visible in most modern cities.

The mayor made it clear she was not interested in the Riverbank so she is not being honest in saying that we either have street lights or upgrade the river precinct. The project she torpedoed was paid for, designed, and all she had to do was build it.

Recently I inquired from the council CEO as to what had been done with the money and I received a reply that told me that money had been spent on roads and pipes at Gracemere.

I was told I have to use Freedom of Information laws to get the full details.

One has to wonder what the big secret is and why the public has to pay for information regarding this expenditure. After all, it is public money. The mayor is a public official and should not be forcing citizens to spend money to dig information out of the council files.

I am thankful that this mayor was not able to railroad the new pool out the same way she did the Riverbank. …

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