LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I acknowledge that the existing premises in their current form is inadequate by modern standards. I have reviewed the plans for the proposed council chambers and I submit that:
1) The proposed site for its construction on land adjacent to Viewhaven Lodge should be zoned and reserved for aged care facilities. It is my understanding that the opening of Viewhaven Lodge, after the closure of Harley and Banfield House nursing homes, netted an extra two beds. It is a ridiculous situation where elderly residents of Crookwell have to travel to the nursing home at Taralga to visit their spouses and relatives because of a shortage of beds at Viewhaven. More beds and an expansion of the existing aged care facilities in the Upper Lachlan Shire will be required in the not-too-distant future, and it will be a certainty that there will be a demand for it in the future. To extend Viewhaven at its current location would surely make more business sense than building a separate establishment elsewhere. If a separate establishment was to be built - it would also make sense to have it adjacent to Viewhaven.
2) All alternatives including, but not limited to; the refurbishment/extension to the existing premises, the decentralisation/relocation of services and various departments to separate premises, and the building of entirely new premises - should be examined and assessed by an independent consultant. If it is the recommendation of such consultant to build entirely new premises consideration should be given to what is to become of the old premises eg. is it to be sold or leased and monies recouped to compensate for the new building? And if so, what are the prospects or likelihood of a particular type of business taking on the premises given its size, or will it remain vacant?
3) The location of the council chambers should remain in the vicinity of the main street and business area for easy accessibility (consider those who do not drive, and the elderly who may not be able to negotiate hilly climbs or distant walks).
4) All processes involving the proposed future of the council chambers should be open and transparent with consultation and involvement of the residential and rate paying community.