BY OUR CHIEF CIVIC ROUNDSMAN

Public anger has erupted over last week’s revelations in The Weekly Times that Ryde’s Liberal led – or misled –  Council is squandering over $2 million of Ryde ratepayers hard earned money in lavish accommodation at Macquarie Park.

Especially as that relates to over $10 million over the next five years when for a meagre $100,000 or so the existing Ryde Civic Centre building could be repaired and continue to be used.

The building has been declared structurally sound and does not need to be demolished as has been stated by leading construction management expert Professor John Smolders of Newcastle University’s prestigious School of Architecture and Built Environment.

Demolition of the Civic Centre building would also mean that the adjoining Civic Hall would be lost to the community as well.  Regular users are devastated at the news. “Where can we go?” they are asking.

Protest before the meeting the Liberals won’t tell you about!

Ryde ratepayers have until Tuesday April 26 to organise a protest to save the historic Ryde Civic Centre and community Civic Hall from certain demolition.

Located in the heart of Top Ryde, the Civic Centre is part of Ryde’s heritage and only needs minor repairs to light ceiling tiles and other small problems to once again be the pride of our community.

The next door Civic Hall is also under threat from the demolition crazy Liberal councillors despite being the site of countless great moments in Ryde’s history and currently being used by health, arts, cultural and seniors groups as well as by schools, Eisteddfod performers and citizenship ceremonies.

But these irreplaceable civic buildings – as iconic as Circular Quay’s AMP Building – could be reduced to rubble if Ryde mayor Colonel Pickering and his Liberal vandals gets their way at the Tuesday April 26 Council meeting.

But it is not too late to stop them!

If you value your heritage and want your group or family to continue to have a community hall – it’s up to us all to attended this council meeting at 7pm in the makeshift council chamber above the Ryde Library and shout this demolition proposal down.

Ryde Independent Clr Denise Pendleton said ratepayers have a right to be heard.

“This proposed demolition has never been put to the community and at the last full council election the overwhelming majority of voters were against it,” Independent Clr Denise Pendleton said.

“What we are seeing now is a well practiced political technique by the Mayor and the Liberals where the (Civic Centre) building is not  maintained and then knocked down.

“It is all about getting rid of this building without ratepayers having a say.

“I support ratepayers, I want to retain the site for both civic and community purposes and I want the community to be heard.”

Labor Councillor Jerome Laxale backs ratepayers and has urged all community Civic Hall users to protest against demolition.

“The Liberals want to knock the lot down without any replacement for the Civic Hall or any suitable alternative venue for community events and I’m saying this is foolish in the extreme,” he said.

“This is especially foolish as a staff recommendation is not to knock down either of them at this stage, so I’m not blaming staff for the rort, which has been forced on Ryde by the Liberals from day one.

“They used their political majority on council to pass a motion on August 26 last year to seek options for demolition and they mean to do it.”

Councillor Laxale rubbished Liberal claims the demolition will see a new, Chinese designed, civic centre rise from the rubble.

“If you demolish both buildings and a State Liberal Government appointed administrator comes in, he or she would have a vacant site ripe for high rise development, not a new civic centre,” he warned.

Labor Councillor George Simon recently warned that a replacement building on the Civic Centre site “will never, ever be built” and that tens of thousands of ratepayer dollars have been squandered on a design competition, won by a Chinese firm that will walk away with thousands of dollars in ratepayer funded prize money.

What could frustrate the Ryde Liberals’ plan is that Liberal State Government approval for a demolition may be required because its 23a laws cap the amount of spending for councils on new projects targeted for forced mergers – including Ryde – without government consultation.

If you can’t make the meeting you can send your outraged messages to the Ryde Liberal Councillor’s at these email addresses:

Clr Bill Pickering – Mayor

Locked Bag 2069

mayor@ryde.nsw.gov.au

 

Clr Sarkis Yedelian OAM

PO Box 631

Gladesville 1675

sarkis@yedelian.com

 

Clr Roy Maggio

Locked Bag 2069, North Ryde NSW 1670

rmaggio@ryde.nsw.gov.au

 

Clr Jane Stott

Locked Bag 2069, North Ryde NSW 1670

JStott@ryde.nsw.gov.au

 

Clr Artin Etmekdjian

Locked Bag 2069, North Ryde NSW 1670

artine@ryde.nsw.gov.au