While COVID-19 has created many challenges for our community, it has also provided an opportunity for Council to fast track a number of important projects.
Council is making the most of the temporary closure of our libraries and leisure centres to bring forward expenditure from its budget in order to carry out maintenance and upgrades. Some of these projects would not normally be possible without significant disruption to visitors, and would take much longer to complete if the centres were open. We want every visitor at our facilities to have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable time.
While our leisure centres and libraries are closed, I assure you that staff are hard at work behind the scenes taking the opportunity to improve our facilities in time for when patrons return through the doors.
We are spending more than $1.7 million at the leisure centres during this time, on a range of projects from repairs to the aerobics room and replacing the sauna at Prairiewood Leisure Centre, to repairing a leak, repainting and rust treating the indoor pool at Prairiewood, to major operations like the $1.7 million spent replacing the air conditioning systems at Prairiewood and Fairfield Leisure Centres.
We are also continuing our investment in our libraries to transform them into learning and community hubs with $150,000 being spent bringing forward works and upgrades. This includes $65,000 spent building a new technology hub at Bonnyrigg Library. Like the lab.LX at Cabramatta, this new lab will be an exciting place to learn and create using the latest in technology.
We are also spending $85,000 to transform the children’s area at Whitlam Library, Cabramatta. The new state-of-the art space will have an interactive projection floor, Lego, activity walls, a giant chess board, portable bookshelves, computers and iPads.
While our early learning centres continue to be open, providing an important service for our residents, we’ve also taken the opportunity to complete the upgrade of the play area at Fairfield Early Childhood Centre. Council is spending $134,000 on a new playground that I am sure the children will love, including a cycling path, shade, slide, sitting areas and gardens.
Council is committed to investing in our community to provide jobs, but also improving the quality of our services and infrastructure. Council is planning to spend more than $42 million in the next financial year on maintaining our libraries and leisure centres, roads and paths, parks, town centres, drainage and so much more. The thing with maintenance is, it costs a lot of money and it’s not always visible. These works are vital to ensuring that these important facilities remain in good condition for the enjoyment of the community for many years to come.