BY OUR CIVIC ROUNDSMAN
Ryde City Council has backed off from a proposal to demolish the Ryde Civic Centre after a hard hitting campaign in The Weekly Times.
The editorial blasted a demolition proposal the Ryde Civic Hub Committee – which was expected to be debated at next Wednesday night’s Council meeting – alongside the cost of relocating staff to lavish premises in Macquarie Park when the Civic Centre could be repaired at a fraction of the cost.
The demolition “no show” this Wednesday has been hailed as a huge win for The Weekly Times.
“Your campaign has paid off!” former Mayor Clr Jerome Laxale said.
“This was a live option and I’m not surprised the Liberals have backed down, given the enormous public pressure that was put on them.
“I wouldn’t say the issue is over yet, but I would say this is a big victory, a huge win for The Weekly Times and ratepayers.”
Councillor Laxale was critical of abuse aimed at The Weekly Times Managing Editor John F Booth AM and Labor councillors over the editorial at the last council meeting.
“Your editorial made an impact in our community,” he said.
Liberal Clr Jane Stott also told the last council meeting the issue had led to community anger and she accused Labor councillors of being party to it.
The Weekly Times has learned that although Civic Centre related reports for next week’s meeting are classified as confidential, a demolition option is not among them.
Ryde Independent Clr Terry Perram said he will move a motion to have the two confidential classifications lifted in the public interest.
“It shouldn’t be confidential in my view and the one that isn’t confidential is just a routine update on the Civic Hub project,” he said.
“But there is nothing in any recommendation about demolition.
In fact, we’ve agreed to spend around $45,000 on maintenance to the Ryde Civic Hall and we need a power supply from the Civic Centre to do it.
“We’ve also just signed an agreement with the police for them to use the empty civic centre for training and we would not have taken these actions if there was any imminent move to demolish the Civic Centre.”
Councillor Perram believes that no recommendation to demolish the Civic Centre will be taken before Council elections now scheduled for September 9 this year.