MOUNT Gambier Hospital Health Advisory Council (HAC) presiding member Maureen Klintberg has called on the community to “embrace progress” and vote in favour of Mount Gambier City Council’s proposed $39.1m community recreation hub.
Ms Klintberg has urged residents to support the project in this month’s elector survey, as blue envelopes are distributed to all electors in the city this week.
The survey will include a “yes” or “no” question and a simple majority will determine the fate of the multi-million dollar project, which has already secured $15m from the Federal Government.
“For decades I have observed lost opportunities for development in this city, too frequently caused by people withdrawing interest because of surrounding negativity,” Ms Klintberg said.
“The opportunity to receive significant government funding for an identified project has never been made available on the scale now offered.
“The $15m in federal funds that has been allocated cannot be used for any other purpose, despite however many other projects we would like to see achieved.
“Generations here in this region are being affected by the lack of progress – as parents we wanted an indoor facility for our children, now they are seeking it for their children.”
Ms Klintberg said the proposed multi-purpose hub would deliver “significant” economic and social benefits.
She added Mount Gambier was the only major regional city in South Australia or Victoria without an indoor sport and recreation centre.
“The potential to improve the health and wellbeing of community members of all ages is one of the most important factors,” she said.
“It has been well publicised that this region has a high percentage of people with serious health issues, with lack of fitness and excess weight being contributing factors.
“It has been stated that many sports have declined – maybe an indoor, modern facility will result in a resurgence of interest and participation, particularly over the winter months.
“Having lived here for 46 years, I am passionate about this community and we must embrace progress.”
Ms Klintberg said while she did not believe the elector survey was entirely representative, she hoped every person eligible to vote would tick the “yes” box.
“Council members were elected by the community as the decision making body for development within the city precinct and relative to the case at hand, a community reference group was formed.
“‘Finding fault syndrome’ was contagious and so severe in the community that it caused a questionable remedy.
“Should there be the community vote in the form currently being advocated? I am not alone in saying no.
“Our younger people are denied a say and 8000 Grant District Council residents are excluded, together with Wattle Range and people over the border – all are potential users.
“However, I urge everyone to vote yes to the building of a community recreation centre.
“The vision is clear, a concept plan has been presented and the way forward may be slightly cloudy, but will clear, just like Mount Gambier’s weather.”