Joint use library project sparks debate in council meeting

Two councillors on Wednesday voted against the recommendations to progress council's joint use library project.

Councillor John Walker said he'd be voting against because "due process has not been carried out" and the "community not consulted".

He said council has submitted to political pressure and there's been no proper planning.

"We have not sought community requirements or expectations, or received community input or professional advice on the existing site so we don't know whether the existing site could serve the same purpose," he said.

John Walker was one of two councillors who voted against the project.

John Walker was one of two councillors who voted against the project.

Deputy mayor Tony Wallace spoke for the project and labelled some of councillor Walker's comments "not true".

"Most of what councillor Walker has just said is completely fallacious. I have never seen a program with more community consultation than this. I have never seen a program or project with more due process than this.

"It's like living in some alternate universe to say these things, it's just not true."

Councillor Matt Stadtmiller sided with councillor John Walker saying: "we might have to go to our own planet, no offence councillor Wallace".

"There's no provision in the Local Government Act that requires council to provide any sort of funding to education especially primary school or high school education. I will not be supporting it on that ground and a number of other grounds, but that is the main reason I am not supporting a community library, which is designed for the community, to be built on Department of Education land," he said.

Councillor Armstrong, despite voting for the project, said he's concerned "about access and equity particularly when it comes to the aging population".

"Even though this isn't a done deal, I believe that there needs to be greater investigation undertaken to ensure there is equity in access for all the population," he said.

"I'm concerned for people who are not at school, who were were at school 60 or 70 years ago and want to use the facility. I'm concerned about how they'll get there, the distance they'll need to cover to get there and how they'll get home again.

"It's not necessarily a problem of the geographic location, it's a problem of what services are available.

"We have to ensure that all of the community is able to access this fantastic facility."

Councillor Margaret Roles endorsed the project and said a lot of issues raised will be overcome as the facility is used.

"We will have a settling in period, we will find out how it works and we will also adapt and change the working plans so that the whole thing will work for our community.

"We can make it work, it's up to us. We can decide whether it's going to work or decide whether it's not going to work. I'm certainly on the side we're going to make it work."