Move to defer $3million cost of Carss Park pool demolition ruled 'out of order'

Demolition bill: The Kogarah War Memorial Pool (Carss Park Olympic swimming pool) shortly before it was closed. Picture: John Veage
Demolition bill: The Kogarah War Memorial Pool (Carss Park Olympic swimming pool) shortly before it was closed. Picture: John Veage

A move to defer the allocation of $3 million for the immediate demolition of Kogarah War Memorial Pool at Carss Park was ruled "out of order" at this week's meeting of Georges River Council.

At Monday night's meeting to debate the council's 2020/21 budget, Councillor Kathryn Landsberry attempted to move an amendment to defer the $3 million allocated to demolish the pool to the 2021/22 financial year.

This would ease the strain on the 2020/21 budget she said.

At the same meeting the council debated scrapping the voluntary pensioner rates rebate in order to save $1.2 million a year.

The council is facing a deficit of $3.2 million.

Georges River mayor, Kevin Greene sought advice from the council's general manager, Gail Connolly who advised that Councillor Landsberry's amendment would breach the council's Code of Meeting Practice.

This states that if a motion to rescind a resolution has been lost no similar motion can be brought forward within three months of the meeting at which it was lost.

Georges River Council voted on May 25 by eight votes to seven for the immediate demolition of the pool.

A motion to rescind the decision to demolish the pool was submitted by Councillors Kathryn Landsberry, Vince Badalati and Rita Kastanias and debated on June 1.

This was also lost, eight votes to seven.

Cr Greene said this meant he would have to rule Cr Landsberry's amendment "out of order" under the conditions of the council's Code of Meeting Practice.

Cr Landsberry challenged this, saying none of the councillors had known that $3 million had been allocated to the pool demolition until they read the budget papers.

She said original estimates back in 2018 put the cost of demolition of the pool at $800,000 and with the remediation of the land the figure was $1.2 million.

"Given the fact that we spent the last hour discussing (scrapping) the pensioner rebate I think it is really negligent of the council to go forward with allocating $3 million on something that doesn't need to be demolished," Cr Landsberry said..

"Sans Souci Bathers pavilion has sat there for a very long time and we haven't had a sense of urgency in demolishing that."

Cr Landsberry said she had also questioned the lawfulness of the immediate demolition of Carss Park pool.

"Given the fact that councillors no longer have legal authority in relation to development applications which includes demolition I questioned the general manager and I am waiting for advice back whether we can actually legally resolve to immediately demolish the pool. I haven't received that advice," Cr Landsberry said.

"We only found out in the last few days that $3 million has been allocated for this purpose.

"For you to vote it out of order with the code I think is outrageous."

Cr Greene said, "You are entitled to that opinion but the reality is it is out of order."

Cr Vince Badalati said when the council voted for the immediate demolition of Carss Park Pool there was no mention of any figure.

"In fact, if $3 million had been mentioned at that time, councillors may have voted the other way," Cr Badalati said.

"I believe that this is a different motion to what was originally voted, so I support Cr Landsberry on this."

Cr Greene said Cr Badalati was entitled to do so.

"But my ruling still stands because of the interpretation of the Code.," Cr Greene said.

Cr Hindi added,"The money was not allocated or mentioned (when councillors voted to demolish the pool). If in any motion money is not mentioned, by the Code of Meeting Practice you are not allowed to vote on it. You are meant to defer it but (instead) it got voted on."