Pottsville funding ?frozen

COMMUNITY groups in Pottsville have stepped up their fight for a long-awaited youth centre which seems no closer to being built even though they believe developers' contributions have been sitting in the bank.

Chairman of the Pottsville Youth Club Project Committee Victor Cusack has lodged the results of a survey of local youth with Tweed Shire Council's administrators along with a plea from five community groups hoping for action.

In an address to the administrators during a public access session last Wednesday, Mr Cusack claimed $1.1million of developer funds remained "unspent and apparently frozen".

He complained that a $300,000 developer contribution from the Ray Group which founded the Koala Beach estate had apparently been allocated to "other unspecified projects" but said a similar amount could be taken from the $1.1million in frozen funds and put towards the youth centre.

Combined with a possible $330,000 in federal government grants Mr Cusack said the project could be "up and operating within 12 months with little effect on Council's current budget".

Mr Cusack said Pottsville had been asking for a youth centre for five years but it seemed the request could still be shelved further while the Council conducts a "needs survey".

"Our research has revealed that dozens of councils throughout Australia have established various types of youth facilities whose operating costs are fully funded by federal and state grants," he said.

"Many have been operating for years at no cost to ratepayers."

Mr Cusack said the population of Pottsville had grown from 850 10 years ago to 4098 in the 2001 Census and was now increasing by about 25 per cent annually.

Five years ago a survey had found 76 per cent of residents listed youth facilities as the most urgent need.

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