Snowy Valleys Council Administrator Paul Sullivan, Member for Albury Greg Aplin, Department of Premier and Cabinet representative Trudi McDonald and Member for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire met in Sydney on Wednesday to discuss the $8.5 million in infrastructure money still to be spent.
Mr Sullivan said the meeting wasn’t for the purposes of making concrete decisions, but rather to make sure everyone was on the same page.
“We basically went there to assess the process and the outcomes and go from there – it was to give us a bit of direction,” he said.
“It was setting the foundations of the process, nothing more than that, just getting a feel for the potential.”
The $8.5 million to be spent on infrastructure projects is money from the NSW government that was given to Snowy Valleys as part of the Tumut-Tumbarumba merger.
Communities across the newly created shire attended community workshops earlier this year to share their views on what the priorities for splashing the cash should be, with options like improving creekscapes and trails, heating pools, and advocating for Brindabella Road to be sealed among the frontrunners.
Mr Sullivan and the rest of the team must decide what the money is to be spent on, using reports on the community workshops put together by consulting group Linqage International, before council elections are held in September.
However, he said they were taking their time to make sure they got everything right.
“We went through all the outcomes and the other information we had from the prior strategic plans, and we were just working out the framework and the direction from here,” he said.
“We worked out the process with which we’re going to assess the potential projects, and we expect something to progress in the next few weeks.
“There are some that show promise, and obviously they’ll only show their full promise once we’ve done a full assessment – but there’s some great ones right across the council area.
“It was a good, frank, straightforward, collegiate discussion.”
Mr Sullivan said he would be engaging third party stakeholders to assist in the decision making process to ensure everything was objective.
“The next step is to find the right external parties to assess the projects,” he said.
“Staff will be employed to provide information, but the projects will be assessed from arm’s length.
“There were no preconceptions about anything, we looked at everything on their merits, but we want greater detail and information before we make any decisions, which is what you want for important infrastructure projects.”
Overall, Mr Sullivan thinks things are progressing well in the infrastructure grants process.
“We came out of the meeting with a smile on our faces thinking, yeah, we’ve achieved something,” he said.