Good news: funding to restore the heritage heart of Balmain has been restored.
Last month, the Inner West Council resolved to abandon plans to create a new Balmain public square on the corner of Darling and Mullens Streets by raiding funds that had been saved for the demolition of the Telstra Exchange building.
This site is part of the most important heritage precinct in Balmain and the community has worked for years to ensure its beauty and history is realised.
Telstra had agreed to the demolition of the front portion of the telephone exchange building and Council would contribute funding.
Along with residents who had fought for this for so long, I was bitterly disappointed when the Mayor successfully passed a motion at Council to cut funding to this project last month. Despite that vote, Greens Councillor Rochelle Porteous submitted a motion to have the matter reconsidered and to restore the funding as well as commit to funding a refurbishment to Dawn Fraser baths.
You can read the full wording of the motion (C0618 Item 16) here.
Thankfully, the motion passed and funding will be reinstated to both projects. While it's disappointing that Labor Councillors argued to deny this project funds it's a relief that the majority of the Councillors listened to the community and changed their original decision.
I’m committed to promoting and preserving the heritage at the heart of our community and I’ll be working hard to ensure that we get this public square built.