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Hurstville Council tonight endorsed their Draft Management Plan and budget, which included a $50,000 donation to the Jubilee Oval Community Appeal. The Jubilee Oval donation is now a part of the final budget and it should be signed off just after the beginning of July. Following the meeting, a Hurstville Councillor informed an R2K representative that it's very unlikely that the donation will be rejected in the final budget.
The budget meeting was quite fiery, with Councillor Pickering attempting to convince the other Councillors to vote against the Jubilee Oval donation. Pickering believed that the money would be “better spent in other forms” and argued that the funds should be allocated to the Library as the “books have just about had it.” Councillor Pickering also brought up the recent Hassan Saleh incident as a reason why Jubilee Oval shouldn't receive the funding.
Councillor Steve McMahon replied to Pickering's statement and listed the benefits of having the Dragons based in the St.George area. Councillor McMahon was supported by Councillor Joanne Morris, who was clearly impressed by the St.George-Illawarra supporters who had made submissions to Hurstville Council in support of the Jubilee donation. Councillor Morris remarked that of all the items in the draft budget, this was the only one where there had been any public feedback and it was all positive.
The budget was easily passed when it became time to vote. Councillor Merv Lynch JP didn't vote on the donation, as he is a member of St.George DRLFC and declared an interest.
R2K would like to thank the supporters who made the effort to contact Hurstville Council in support of the Jubilee Oval donation. A selection of the supportive e-mails are listed below:
1) “Hurstville Council is very much part of the St.George district and it is most important our joint communities work together to ensure we have a first class sporting venue... We also want to see soccer and rugby union prosper within our district. Sport provides an important social outlet to less socially desirable activities.”
2) “I have seen the Council do many wonderful things in the area. I live and breathe in the St.George area and was pleased to find out that Hurstville would promise to help fund the return of the Dragons.”
3) “The importance of the Dragons to the entire St.George district should not be underestimated. During their history, the Dragons have played at venues in all three Council areas that comprise St.George: Hurstville Oval, Arncliffe's Earl Park and Kogarah's Jubilee Oval...The return of the Dragons to an upgraded Jubilee Oval helps to raise the profile of the St. George region. The Dragons are a regionally identifiable icon; an icon that will allow the three St.George Councils to promote the identity of St George as a distinct region within Sydney.”
4) “Think beyond boundaries and work towards unlocking value in this important community asset, not just league, but school carnivals. Imagine if one day all the three Councils could come together and be called The City of St.George.”
5) “The ground is a very important part of the St.George district and the reason why people outside the district travel.”
6) “The Dragons are an institution and a valuable commodity to the whole of the St.George community that includes the Hurstville electorate. I am immune to the argument that because we are such a multicultural society we therefore have to forfeit all of our rights. Now is the time for Council to stand up and be counted. The measly amount is nothing compared to the admiration and support you will receive.”
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