Maintain the Alcohol Prohibition at the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre – A Promise is a Promise – 26th April 2016

A Statement by East Ward Greens Councillor Murray Matson of Randwick City Council on why Randwick Councillors should support tonight’s rescission motion about the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre

Randwick City Council maybe about to undermine the credibility of the Community Consultation process it conducted in 2010 that saw a rejection of alcohol at the East Ward Senior Citizens Centre.

In 2010 Randwick Council conducted a survey to gauge support for a special rate levy to fund repairs and additions to Council’s community assets under the proposed “Building for our Community Program”. One listed project was the building of a new Community Centre at Neptune Street, Coogee.

General Manager’s report GM7/10 reported that there was little support for Neptune Street but that there was for a refurbishment and extension of the existing East Ward Senior Citizens Centre in Brook Street.

But the community also wanted an alcohol prohibition. Page 17 of the GM’s report quoted the Coogee Precinct Committee as requesting that the Centre be upgraded to cater to “non -alcohol related activities”.

The Coogee Precinct does not support the building of a new Community Centre in Neptune Street and requests that funds be provided to do some basic renovations in order to facilitate shared use of the centrally located Senior Citizens Hall by Council staff and/or the police alongside the regular seniors activities, Precinct activities, preschool, play groups and similar community non -alcohol related activities.” (bold added, 13 April 2010, General Manager’s Report GM7/10 Page 17)

Council minutes from the 13th April meeting show that the then Councillors had read the report and were clearly aware of the Precinct’s non-alcohol response to the consultation around the survey. On the night Councillors White and Andrews moved for both the removal of the Neptune Street proposal and for non-alcohol related community activities at an expanded East Ward Senior Citizens i.e.

“That Council:

 Modify the Buildings for our Community program by:

  1. a)  Removal of the new community centre at Neptune Street Coogee from the program
  1. b)   Inclusion of a rebuild of the Eastward Senior Citizen’s centre in year 4 that will provide a single level building with an expansion of 2 metres to the northern side to accommodate Council’s operational needs with shared usage by police when required and facilities to meet the requirements of existing and new users such as precinct committee, seniors, preschool, play groups and similar non alcohol related community activities. … (bold added, part extract)

Despite this clear resolution, it is now being ingenuously claimed that Council made no explicit promise to the Coogee community that there would be an alcohol prohibition at the Senior Citizens during the exhibition of the Building for Our Community proposal.

This is only true because Randwick City Council never included a Senior Citizens proposal in the original exhibition. The idea only came about as a result of the community feedback from the exhibition – and came with a caveat from the Coogee Community that there was to be no alcohol. But a promise was made to the community by the then Randwick City Councillors who responded to the feedback to the survey by voting for motion seconded by Councillor Andrews that there be a prohibition.

On behalf of East Ward I ask all Randwick Councillors to support tonight’s rescission motion in order to block Councillor Andrews’ attempt to allow alcohol into the East Ward Senior Citizen Centre by back flipping on his own 2010 motion for a prohibition.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson



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