Dispute over hub library funding

A $200,000 grant has been allocated for a new library within the proposed Shellharbour City Hub development.

The Library Council of NSW supplied the funding as part of the Library Development Grants program.

However, a spokesperson for the state library said the grant was not a show of support for the hub development.

‘‘The proposed million dollar Shellharbour City Hub development was not a consideration in assessing the application,” she said.

“All applications are judged on their merit against the Library Development Grant guidelines.”

However, Shellharbour Council general manager Michael Willis welcomed the funding as a commitment from the state government that “signifies the compelling need for this centrally located, city-wide service”.

‘‘Co-locating this service with civic and social facilities will offer a dynamic, resource-rich central facility at the heart of future community and cultural life,’’ Mr Willis said. 

Councillor Kellie Marsh said it was “delusional” on council’s behalf to suggest that the state government had come out and supported the hub project.

“This funding is from libraries and it’s for libraries,” she said.

“I accept any money or grants from the State Government for the Shellharbour area, but I am very disappointed that council are putting it towards a library that hasn’t been through the DA process yet.

“We have a library at Warilla that recently flooded and three other libraries in the area that desperately need funding.”

Council’s group manager of community connections Kathryn Baget-Juleff said the four existing libraries have limited programs, and no meeting room spaces or places to study. 

‘‘The central library will provide multi-purpose spaces and integrate the museum as part of an innovative partnership to bring greater resources and services to the community,’’ she said.

‘‘This library will help to improve partnerships and programs for our growing community’s knowledge and appreciation of our history and people.’’

The public exhibition period for the City Hub DA closed this week, and will be considered by the Joint Regional Planning Panel at a date yet to be determined. 

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