QUESTIONS remain on whether delays to Housing Plus’s refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence will lose government funding as councillors line up to reverse the approval from Tuesday night’s Orange City Council meeting.
Seven councillors passed the development application for The Orchard and the accompanying seven-lot residential subdivision unanimously.
But it came after four councillors – Glenn Taylor, Kevin Duffy, Scott Munro and Sam Romano – left the chamber and abstained.
Cr Taylor, who unsuccessfully tried to defer the matter for two weeks, said they did not walk out because they opposed a facility, but because George Weily Place residents had fair concerns.
MAP: The proposed site of the domestic violence crisis centre...
“A refuge doesn’t negate these people’s rights,” he said after the meeting.
“They realise it’s too far down the road to get a new site, but they’re willing to accept it if the road’s changed and that’s what we’re going to aim for.”
But Housing Plus chief executive officer David Fisher said the project relied on two state government grants and one federal grant, which demanded construction start by the end of March.
“One of the funds we’ve already delayed twice – we’re not saying we wouldn’t ask, but they’ve been quite flexible,” he said.
Depending on the length of the delay, it might jeopardise our funding arrangements.Housing Plus chief executive officer David Fisher
“Depending on the length of the delay, it might jeopardise our funding arrangements.”
The most contentious issue with residents was the access off George Weily Place to the site via a new road through a gap between two houses.
Councillor Scott Munro asked at the meeting how long it would take to redesign the access from either the Escort Way or the Northern Distributor Road.
Staff replied design, re-exhibition and assessment would take two months.
Technical services director Ian Greenham said access off the Escort Way would be too close to the future roundabout at Ploughmans Lane, while direct access off the Northern Distributor Road was not favoured.
However, Cr Taylor pointed out Bunnings Warehouse had a direct access, between Clergate Road and Leeds Parade.
“The council has full control, they can give full permission to give access straight off the distributor,” he said after the meeting.
He said the rescission motion had not been submitted yet, but “it’s going in”.
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