Linnwood repairs "dumped" for toilets: Grove

Linnwood House at Guildford. Picture: Gene Ramirez.

Linnwood House at Guildford. Picture: Gene Ramirez.

A council commitment to restore Holroyd’s historic Linnwood House has been ‘‘dumped’’ in favour of toilets at Toongabbie, claims Liberal councillor Ross Grove.

On August 5, a majority of Holroyd councillors voted to reallocate $222,929 previously set aside for what Cr Grove decribed as ‘‘urgent repairs’’ to the 1891 building’s leaky roof, to fund a toilet block at Cornelia Road.

If allowed to continue, this is likely to be just the first in a long line of future cuts. - Holroyd councillor Ross Grove

Cr Grove said Holroyd had broken a public promise it made when it argued for a 44.22 per cent rate rise over the next five years to fill funding gaps for ‘‘key assets’’ - buildings, roads and bridges, parks and recreation and storm water.

‘‘One of the key projects was Linnwood. We said we would undertake hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs in return for more money - namely, from the ratepayers,’’ Cr Grove said.

He said deferring ceiling and roof repairs would make the eventual project cost ‘‘balloon out of control’’ to ‘‘millions’’.

The council had not reneged on its commitment to repair the roofing of Linnwood House. - Holroyd Council spokeswoman

‘‘If water gets into Linnwood’s roof, it gets into the materials and timbers and corrodes the building internally... It’s important we do works at Linnwood now, because they’re required now.

"If allowed to continue, this is likely to be just the first in a long line of future cuts."

Cr Grove inspecting the ceilings at Linnwood. Picture: Supplied.

Cr Grove inspecting the ceilings at Linnwood. Picture: Supplied.

Holroyd mayor Nasr Kafrouni said the order the council carried out infrastructure works would ‘‘always be debated by those who have an interest in works that aren’t at the top of the list’’.

‘‘We will stay focused on ordering works in a way that best serves our broader community's needs,’’ Cr Kafrouni said.

A council spokeswoman rejected Cr Grove’s claim Holroyd had ‘‘dumped’’ its commitment or that Linnwood required "urgent repairs", but said funds allocated for Linnwood renewal works for 2014/15 were deferred to be spent on public amenities.

‘‘The council had not reneged on its commitment to repair the roofing of Linnwood House,’’ she said.

‘‘The list of infrastructure works to be funded by the special rate variation will be carried out over the course of the 10-year long-term financial plan.’’

“The order in which special rate variation funded works will be carried out follows criteria that are centered on the immediate infrastructure needs of our broader community and financial and safety risks associated with works. 

“The decision to carry out works to public amenities, ahead of renewals to Linnwood House, was based on these criteria.”

She said the council had spent $21,000 on Linnwood’s roof over the past two years and more would be undertaken if necessary using emergency repairs funds.

"There are no further urgent repairs required for Linnwood House, other than roofing repairs scheduled to commence end of August 2014, a total expenditure of $34,439."

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