New Arncliffe Youth Centre gets tick of approval from Local Government Minister

NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock inspected Bayside Council's soon-to-be-completed $3.5 million Arncliffe Youth Centre yesterday.

Mrs Hancock inspected the site with Bayside Council mayor Joe Awada and general manager Meredith Wallace.

"This soon to be opened, state of the art centre is a great example of Council working with the local community to provide much-needed services," Mrs Hancock said.

"Council engaged closely with the local community and families in the area and identified a strong need for youth and recreational services in Arncliffe and suburbs nearby."

"Shared space like this is critical, with such centres providing an opportunity for participation and association for our young people."

When completed, the centre will accommodate a range of organised sport and informal spaces and include two indoor multi-purpose courts, one with a grandstand for up to 440 spectators, and a number of rooms to accommodate recreational activities and youth services.

As well as sporting activities, the aim of the centre is to be a learning and study space, with rooms to accommodate music and artistic pursuits and youth support and counselling.

Mrs Hancock said a project like this can only be delivered because of Council's strong management.

"As a newly-formed Council in 2016, the mayor, general manager and staff have been working hard to balance the books and continue delivering services for the community," Mrs Hancock said.

"Through hardwork and perseverance, Council received an unqualified audit report for its 2019-20 financial statements from the NSW Auditor General.

"Bayside Council is a success story worth celebrating and the community should be confident of Council's financial records and operations into the future."

The Arncliffe Youth Centre is expected to be operational from early 2021.

In May this year Bayside Council decided to outsource the management of the centre but at its November 11 meeting declined all tenders and decided to manage the centre itself.

"Council is of the view that it has adequately canvassed the market but the tenderers were not able to demonstrate the required experience and capability or were outside of the budget expectations for the project," the council's resolution stated.

"On that basis, Council is best equipped to manage the Youth Centre itself.

There were fears for the future of the youth center after builder Ralan was placed under voluntary administration last year.

Ralan was building the youth centre in Wardell Street in conjunction with its adjacent 318-unit development, called The Orchid, at 213 Princes Highway, Arncliffe.

But Ralan went into voluntary administration on July 30, 2019 and administrators Grant Thornton Australia Pty Ltd worked with creditors and other stakeholders as to the best way to proceed with the project.

Back in 2014 the then Rockdale Council entered into an agreement with Ralan for the company to build the Arncliffe Youth Centre in exchange for the council transferring the development potential from its Wardell Street property - vacant land along the railway track - to the company's adjoining land at 213 Princes Highway.

The agreement saved the council about $3 million which it had set aside to build a new youth centre.

Earlier this year Bayside Council voted to contribute an additional $154,000 to the Arncliffe Youth Centre, which is currently under construction, to accommodate alterations to the design.