No chamber fix

Cumberland Councillors George Campbell and Lisa Lake say Auburn residents are feeling shut out following a shift of operations including Council meetings to Merrylands following amalgamations in 2016.

Story appeared in: Review | February 26th, 2018

PLANS to refurbish the former Auburn Council Chambers at a cost of more than $500,000 have been shelved.
Councillors failed to reach agreement after more than an hour of debate on a proposal which included a plan to rotate council meetings across the local government area (LGA) at an estimated cost of $120,000 including staff overtime.
Speaking in support of the plan, former Auburn Councillor Tony Oldfield questioned the costings included in a report tabled on Wednesday and urged the council to make more of an effort to reach out to the community.
"I think the community deserves a breakdown of the costs," he said.
"Council rooms don't have to be furnished like executive suites."
Backing the proposal, Cr George Campbell labelled the decision to scrap the Auburn council chamber and approve the extension of the Auburn Library as "vandalism".
However he couldn't find enough support for an alternative motion for the work to be completed on a "more modest" budget.
Arguing against the plan, Cr Michael Zaiter said Merrylands was at the geographic centre of the LGA and while having "no problem" rotating meetings, he said the funds would be better spent on improving services.
"Lets leave the money in the kitty and use it for something more worthwhile," he said.
While agreeing that facilities in Auburn were desirable, Cr Tom Zreika said it was "absolutely preposterous" to re-instate the Council Chamber.
"The capital of Cumberland Council is now Merrylands and we didn't have a say in that," he said.
"Ultimately, it will cost us too much to re-instate the status quo.
"Those funds can be better utilised in improving roads and traffic issues, collecting garbage, installing footpaths, and that's just to name a few."

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Publication: Review | Section: News | Author: Kim Palmer | Story ID: 135076 | Viewcount: 7489