QUESTIONS have been raised about whether council will be able to attract state and federal funding for a new aquatic centre which could cost $67 million to build.
The council backed a preliminary business case for a year-round aquatic centre at its last meeting of 2018 on Tuesday.
It could be seen as an auspicious time for council to make headway on the project with state and federal elections looming in the next six months.
However, Local MPs were cautious about throwing support behind the multi-million dollar project and one councillor said there’d be “a snowball’s chance in hell” of getting any commitment before the elections.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Glenn Inglis moved an amendment calling for councillor workshops to be held in early-2019 to consider funding strategies and the finalisation of the business case.
Conservative financial modelling showed the centre could run at an annual net operating loss of $1.2 million.
At the meeting, Cr Inglis said the cost-benefit ratio would be need to be tightened to attract government investment.
Ahead of the meeting Russell Webb was concerned getting the state and federal governments on board before the upcoming elections would be a big ask.
He said Tamworth had a number of large scale projects on the boil and the growing city would have a variety of needs in coming years.
“There are other things in this city to be looked at in the next five-to-10 years, including the new arts and cultural precinct,” he said.
“We don’t want to build something that’s going to preclude us from giving consideration to other infrastructure that’s needed wanted and desired,” he said.
Mark Rodda believed there would be support for the aquatic project down the track and council would have to “hedge it bets” who would be forming the government of the day.
“The federal government is finished and it will have to be renegotiated with a probably a Labor government and given polling into the state government and it’s not assured the government will be reelected,” he said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said it would depend when council got its business case to the government.
Mr Anderson wouldn’t commit support for a new Tamworth aquatic centre, but said “we need to continue to upgrade our sporting facilities”.
“We’re right at the start of process, there’s a long way to go,” Mr Anderson said.
“We’ll wait to see when we get the business case.”
New England MP Barnaby Joyce said he would “continue to fight for premier sporting facilities”.
“I've fought for tens of millions of dollars for sporting facilities in the region, including AELEC and the Northern Inland Sporting Centre,” he said.
“I've successful fought for other big funding projects in my term and I'll continue to do the same.”
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