Pollie Crackers began in 2015 as a means of informing the local community about the NSW’s government’s unsubstantiated plans to amalgamate local councils into larger bodies.
Many residents responded with vigorous opposition expressed through the local state member, Katrina Hodgkinson, who was eventually compelled by public opinion to forsake her government-supporting stance and heed the wishes of her electorate.
It seems Grenfell may now be facing another crisis of a smaller but still very important scale.
Some parents have advised the Feather Duster that the Department of TAFE is currently negotiating very forcibly to acquire the Scouts’ and Guides’ hall in East Street, including Procter Park, with the intention of demolishing the hall and erecting a new building for the TAFE college.
There are a number of matters here which might be of concern to the community:
* the foundation stone for the hall was set in 1947 by Lady Baden Powell, “Chief Guide of the World,” wife of the British founder of the Boy Scouts and with him, co-founder of the Girl Guides, giving it considerable heritage value,
* “Procter Park” (it is not a dedicated park). was assigned by the Scouts to the Grenfell Municipal Council in 1970 to honour the work done by Gordon and Olive Procter, and was accepted by the then mayor, Claude Mendham. It has been maintained by council as a valuable recreational area ever since,
* the grounds and hall were all paid for by local fundraising. If sold, the proceeds would be directed to Sydney with no guarantee that the local bodies would receive any compensation,
* allegedly, an earlier offer to provide equivalent land and premises has been withdrawn.
Accordingly the local Scouts and Guides would have to raise sufficient funds to purchase other land and build a new hall or they will be FORCED TO FOLD.
This would mean the community either losing these organisations or having to contribute a second time to replace an asset already paid for,
* apparently TAFE is claiming that their new building must be within walking distance from Main Street.
Why? Most Grenfell people have cars these days.
TAFE colleges operate quite well in many other towns distant from the CBD, however inconvenient that may be for the coffee set,
* the Scout block is relatively small so it can be presumed that the proposed new building will not be large: it would therefore fit easily in many other places,
* the new college is unlikely to have adequate on-site parking, meaning that on-street parking will have to be utilised, similarly to the new medical centre,
* there are presently 14 young Scouts, 8 prospects and 7 Guides attending the centre.
This is a significant number of our young people being coached in valuable life skills.
Everyone would want to see TAFE continue in Grenfell despite the decreasing courses over the years, but by the same token nobody would want to see the Scouts and Guides fold as a consequence.
Surely there must be a less contentious site in or around Grenfell which would suit the needs of TAFE without putting at risk two other important organisations.
This is a ludicrous situation obviously devised by public servants based in Sydney, far from common sense!
If you have an opinion, make it known to the council and especially the local state member.
Otherwise, just sit back and observe our gradual decline.
Feather Duster No 3