West Wimmera Shire Council contributes to Kaniva Community Hub

Harvey Champness, Erica Manh, Sharon Munn, and Kim Hawker with Angela Veitch and Kylie King get ready for the opening of the new Kaniva Community Hub in June.

Harvey Champness, Erica Manh, Sharon Munn, and Kim Hawker with Angela Veitch and Kylie King get ready for the opening of the new Kaniva Community Hub in June.

WEST Wimmera Shire Council will contribute money to reduce the massive community debt left after a project was under-funded. 

The hub, which was built earlier this year, ended up with a $351,000 shortfall.

Council loaned the Kaniva Community Hub committee money to pay for the shortfall.

However, residents were concerned that the money would be difficult to pay back, after the community had already raised $280,000 for the new hub.

Residents were also concerned that council contributed $50,000 to the project, but up to $500,000 to the Edenhope Community Hub.

Council discussed the issue at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Chief executive David Leahy said it was a full house at the Kaniva chamber.

“Council resolved to reduce the overall debt by $151,418, which will reduce it down to $200,000,” he said.

“Council also made a commitment to enter into further negotiations around repayments.”

Mr Leahy said council would sit down with the hub fundraising committee and discuss the issue further.

“I feel it was an amicable outcome,” he said.

Mr Leahy said the decision was a way forward, that would enable everyone to move on.

“There has been considerable discussions for a lengthy period of time about this issue,” he said.

“Hopefully the next lot of discussions will keep it moving forward.”

At the meeting, council also agreed to apply to the state government’s Drought Communities Programme fund to have an application for $200,000 assessed for the Kaniva Community Hub.

Mr Leahy said it was pleasing to see a large number of residents at the meeting.

“It’s not unusual to see people at the council meetings and it would be good to see more people more often,” he said.

However, Member for Lowan Emma Kealy believes the state government should contribute money to the hub to cover the shortfall. 

“The Kaniva Community Hub was meant to be a project to help a drought ravaged community, however it has left residents financially worse off,” she said.

Ms Kealy raised the issue in parliament earlier this month. “The community has worked extremely hard to make this fabulous building a reality and they are justifiably proud of what they have achieved,” she said.

“At the same time they are deeply concerned at a $351,000 debt that the club has now inherited due to a significant shortfall in government funding,” she said.

“I have requested the regional development minister provide further funding for the hub.”

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