Campbelltown Council (Sth Aust.) elected members vote against miniature railway in Thorndon Park

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 22 Apr 2019 12:31
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
That is not good.

Regards,
David Head

Campbelltown Council elected members vote against miniature railway in Thorndon Park

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  davesvline Chief Commissioner

Location: 1983-1998
At first glance, lets hope it's not just the work of a bunch of fun vampires influenced by some local sook with a vested interest in knocking this on the head??

I grew up visiting the Moorabbin and Diamond Valley ones.
Nowadays, I've noticed there's competing pressures for the uses of our open spaces (read as locals only wanting to take their dog somewhere for a crap) NIMBYs and local councils wishing for more cramped populated places to generate rates.

Diamond valley has enough grief from the NIMBYs opposing them wanting to expand along the local creek. Soon there'll be some amazing discovery of something rare as the trump card to knock this on the head, if all the other BS objections have already been squashed.

At second glance, this one it would seem has had a lot bigger issues especially with funding. None of the stuff for this type of setup is cheap.
I mention Diamond valley, as it's been there yonks, been invested in and improved over time. If that was to start up now the cost would be massive.
Even the smaller ones at BoxHill and Croydon would cost a shed load more than the funds this lot have raised? I would estimate (at a wild guess) their fund raising efforts were missing 3 zeros.

If I'm not mistaken, isn't one already in Campbelltown?? Pretty sure when I lived there one was, however I didn't visit. If there is, are they potentially competing and this was always going to be a quick death??

Regards
  Hafenbahn Locomotive Fireman

Call me dumb (you wouldn't be the first) but I read through all the article and comments and had got to the stage of looking up Thorndon Park in Google Maps before I realised that this was not referring to Campbelltown Council in NSW but in Adelaide. I guess the mention of Paradise should have been a giveaway. Not something you normally associate with Campbelltown in NSW.
  davesvline Chief Commissioner

Location: 1983-1998
Nah, I'll take that one......LaughingLaughing.  

Campbelltown - in Adelaide Shocked. At 3rd glance that a massive "whoops".

Still, all the previous glances I made would have to be somewhat accurate.


Thanks for the correction.

Regards
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

She had repeatedly questioned the project’s long-term financial viability after its proponents, Paradise Railway Inc, raised only $1124 of a required $65,000 for start-up costs.

The initial cash contribution was meant to be $100,000 but this was subsequently reduced by $35,000 when the club’s 25 members were unable to raise funds.
AdelaideNow
If the proponents had only managed to raise an average of $44.96 each, I think the council is quite justified in knocking this on the head.

Cr Leombruno pledged to cancel it when she was running for re-election and was returned with a higher proportion of the vote than in the previous election, plus there was also a petition against funding the railway and a number of ratepayers expressing their objection at the council meeting. It certainly does not seem that it was undemocratic for the new council to reconsider it.
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
The lesson seems to be that if a council offers you money for something then have them sign a contract straight away. If it cannot be a contract because there is no consideration then have them sign a deed. Then they are up for damages, including loss of profit, if they change their minds later. Most state and federal government grants are set up this way. Unfortunately, councils have their own rules, or few rules.

Don't let one knockback stop you - adjust your immediate expectations to what you can do with the resources in hand.

Our club started almost 40 years ago with a very short loop of 5" gauge track paid for by our members. The only thing the council contributed at the time was permission to operate on a large block of flood-prone land. That was enough. Later we learned how to get donations of concrete and steel and also collected a little cash in donations from visitors.These allowed the tack to extend and a parallel 7 1/4" line to be built. This made running more interesting for us and more attractive to visitors so we started to sell tickets for rides. Then we extended again and also improved the station. Only later did we get a grant for a workshop and meeting room.

So collect a little more money from the Paradise members and build the short track you can afford. Use the area for which you have a lease. The kids will pester their parents to come again. Eventually councilors will get the message that support for a train club is cheap outdoor entertainment for the ratepayers.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The lesson seems to be that if a council offers you money for something then have them sign a contract straight away. If it cannot be a contract because there is no consideration then have them sign a deed. Then they are up for damages, including loss of profit, if they change their minds later. Most state and federal government grants are set up this way. Unfortunately, councils have their own rules, or few rules.
TomBTR
One of the policies held by the City of Campbelltown is that capital grants are to be capped at 50% for new establishments, so the approval on a 135/65 split was already in breach of policy.

The timing of the approval vote last year also plays a part in this. It is convention in SA councils that any capital expenditure approved after June 30 in an election year is not confirmed until the incoming council has had a chance to look over it and decide whether to debate it afresh.

So collect a little more money from the Paradise members and build the short track you can afford. Use the area for which you have a lease. The kids will pester their parents to come again. Eventually councilors will get the message that support for a train club is cheap outdoor entertainment for the ratepayers.
TomBTR
The club has clarified that there was no contract or lease in place as yet. There was a plan but nothing in writing - see previous point about ratification of decisions made just before an election.

I think they will have a better chance of success on a second attempt in a few years (let the dust on this one settle first) if they look for a different park. Thorndon Park is a lovely park, but has the complicating factors of state government ownership (the park surrounds a decommissioned reservoir) and a well organised group of campaigners who will oppose the building of new infrastructure with limited usage (the club proposed just 15 public run days per year) on the park.

Campbelltown is one of the more progressive councils in metro Adelaide, and a number of the councillors demonstrated they were in agreement with the potential social benefits of the project. If the club can work out a more realistic proposal and get themselves organised enough to put their best foot forward, I think there's a real chance they'll be able to get approval and assistance next time around.

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