Opinion: Plans for new Melville civic centre too extravagant

A NEW Melville civic centre is an unnecessary extravaganza we cannot afford.

Like so many ratepayers, I would like to know why a planned project of this size is not put to the ratepayers in the form of a referendum.

After all, we ratepayers are the ones who pay the salaries and provide the funds for the council to operate.

Greater transparency is needed to investigate if those new offices are really needed. There can be other alternatives such as adding an extra wing to the existing centre. There is ample space to accommodate this.

It is so easy to increase the rates when the council needs more funds. Instead, there are several ways the council can trim expenditure, which would result in considerable savings and radically reduce the need to spend $38 million for a new centre.

When perusing the council guide, I counted about 20 services/products that could be axed easily without affecting services to the ratepayer.

For instance art awards, collections and exhibitions, literacy and foreign/English language programs (the State Government already caters for this) and the sister-city friendship programs.

There are many more but the most expensive one that no one asked for is the patrol service. There is a handful of cars patrolling 24/7 covering more than 1000 streets and the officers have not even got the power to make an arrest.

We have the police for this.

When axing those services, together with natural attrition and voluntary redundancy, the council will achieve the savings and reduced staffing levels so that a new centre would not be warranted.

HENK BODEWES, Kardinya.