Hoard against hub

THEIR new orange T-shirts at the ready, a group of Shellharbour City residents have banded together and hit the streets to seek community views on the contentious $57 million City Hub project.

They will also host a community meeting this Friday night.

The Stop the Hub Community Group recently ran a weekend street stall regarding the project.

Group spokeswoman and Warilla resident Diane Quinlin said, "we've 'engaged' with more people in a few hours at one location than council did at their costly 'kiosks' spread across the region".

"Queues formed in Shellharbour Village on [the] Saturday and Sunday morning as 340 Shellharbour City residents signed the petition to stop the hub," she said.

"We're going to do more of it, as the response was so fantastic. Residents said the hub was a waste of money, that Lamerton House was adequate and why doesn't council reuse the previous council chambers building at Warilla for the Central and Warilla library?

"They also didn't want the War Memorial land sold," she said.

"I've lived here a long time, and people are so against it, it's breathtaking."

Petitioners cite location, accessibility, affordability, perceived lack of proper community consultation and concerns regarding library facilities among reasons for the ceasing of the hub's construction, as well as stopping the sale of community assets to fund it.

"This Taj Mahal City Hub is a folly on a grand scale," the petition reads.

The hub precinct aims to provide civic and cultural facilities which will complement the commercial, retail and residential development in the city.

The proposed hub will provide new administration offices, a new library which incorporates a museum, a civic auditorium, new council chambers, community meeting rooms and facilities.

Last year, the council appointed CBRE as real estate consultants to market and sell five properties earmarked to fund the hub's construction.

It is due for completion by the end of 2016.

Ms Quinlin said the paper petition was in addition to the online one at communityrun.org/petitions/stop-the-hub, which was being signed for submission to NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell.

The group will also host a community meeting at Shellharbour Surf Club on Friday at 6pm.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said last year that the council had an obligation to meet the needs of the community "today and tomorrow".

"I have no personal attachment to the hub . . . we make decisions in good faith based on the evidence we are given.

"If there was genuine community angst they would be out there protesting in force and they are not," she said.

Councillor John Murray said hub opponents usually changed their opinion once the finances were explained and when they realise the proposed complex contains promised city-wide services.

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