Second petition started on Redlands Donald Simpson Centre funding

LABOR’S candidate for the state seat of Redlands has waded into the Donald Simpson Community Centre funding issue, launching a petition to have the centre funded by three levels of government.

It’s the third petition on the issue, with the first organised by community members having raised about 1600 signatures.

Ms Richards said she had written to mayor Karen Williams, who supported her call for all three levels of government to fund the centre.

Council voted in May to end annual operational funding of $100,000 a year for the centre but to maintain maintenance works up to $60,000 a year and a notional rent of $100,000 a year.

It proposes to distribute the $100,000 saved more widely to the needy.

Ms Richards said she was responding to community outrage and her petition already had more than 600 signatures.

Ms Richards said Cr Williams had written to her this week, supporting the three-level funding idea.

Cr Williams letter says that it is disappointing that some candidates are using the issue for their own gain.

She says candidates should stand with council by committing to fund the centre and the ideal situation was for all levels of government to be involved.

Ms Richards said while it was disappointing council voted to reduce funding, it was encouraging that Cr Williams wanted to work with other levels of government to keep the centre afloat.

“Residents tell me time and again what a vital service the centre provides for the community, particularly for seniors,” she said.

“Yet we haven’t heard a peep out of local member Matt McEachan.”

Mr McEachan said he had set up a petition which was the right format for state parliament and it was the official petition to save the centre.

“...Kim Richards’ petition can’t officially be submitted to parliament in its current format, doesn’t have a principal petitioner and all of the personal details on it will go direct to the Labor Party. Unfortunately, it’s a complete sham.

“The only way to save the centre is to support my official petition.”

Last week Cr Lance Hewlett moved unsuccessfully to have funding reinstated.

Council argues that over the past 30 years, the centre has received more than $1 million in funding for infrastructure and services. In that time, demand has increased from other sectors, like those with disabilities.

With more than 48,000 residents aged over 50 in Redlands, the centre caters for about five per cent of this population.