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Big plans for a vibrant region

GRC Deputy-Mayor, Cr Rick Kearney has big plans.
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Deputy-Mayor Cr Rick Kearney lays a wreath on Anzac Day

He only has one hurdle, he needs to get re-elected. Cr Kearney scored Council’s and his own performance over the past four years and spoke about his hopes for the future when he dropped into the Argus recently.

He said he was a passionate supporter of the refurbished Civic Centre but and now he has a new goal for ratepayers: The re-development of the Goondiwindi Memorial Pool.

“It’s almost 60 years-old and now is the time to look at what we can improve.

“We know how important it is to the wider community. It took foresight to build the pool in the first place and the time has come for us to look seriously at its future.”

Cr Kearney highlights the Moree spa complex as an example of what is possible.

“We don’t know if that’s feasible for Goondiwindi but it is certainly worth looking at.

“The Moree Plains Shire has spent $millions on upgrades and that’s because it understands how much it boosts the local economy.”

Cr Kearney pushed for funding to conduct a feasibility study which will begin later in the year.

“It will investigate how and when the pool is used, its economic advantages, what facilities we can improve and whether we can utilise artesian water.”

A major part of the study is sourcing funding.

When would work begin? “That’s impossible to say because we don’t know what issues might arise down the track but sooner rather than later is my hope,” he said. Cr Kearney said the Goondiwindi pool, and its possible upgrade, was a different matter than the Inglewood pool and amenities. Council has spent $1.4m, so far, on the Inglewood facility.

“It was pushed through as a matter of urgency due to its condition.

“It was beyond repair and that’s one of Council’s best achievements over the past term,” he said.

Another highlight for Council, he says, has been its tight fiscal policy.

Over the past four years the rate increase per year has dropped significantly.

“When amalgamation took place the increase was around 10percent. Last year it was around 3percent. That’s something Council has worked hard to achieve,” he said.

Surprisingly that comes after it spent $6m on the refurbished Civic Centre and the new Council offices where the old library and Tourist Information Centre was in Mclean Street.

“We came under criticism but we believe we now have a unique civic building which greatly adds to the community and the Goondiwindi CBD. While we spent $6m a vast majority of that came from funding and the sale of the old Waggamba Shire building.”

He says the new civic centre and the Inglewood pool and the hoped-for improvements to the Goondiwindi Pool are examples of “big picture” thinking.

“These are the type of projects I want to see continue and which council should be looking for. No matter where the opportunity comes up, whether it is Inglewood or Talwood.”

And while it may sound boring to some, that extends to the region’s roads.

“As the Roads and Infrastructure portfolio holder, ensuring we have the best roads we can possibly have has been a priority. We are proud of what we have achieved. Compare us with other shires and we are pretty lucky with the standard of our roads. However that ‘luck’ has come about due to understanding how important infrastructure is to all our ratepayers.

“That said, life as we all know is often about the little things.

“I urge all those who have nominated to realise councillors are here to look after the interests and concerns of our ratepayers.

“It may be a landowner with an issue over a condition placed on a development or it may be a concern about a barking dog.

“We are there to listen and to help if we can,” he said. I’d like to thank all those who have supported me in the past and I hope they have the faith to continue that support. Whatever the outcome, good luck to all candidates. Elections are always exciting and make us all think about our region’s future.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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