Kingborough Council is considering an interest-free loan to fund the proposed playground within Kingston Park and is seeking the endorsement of the community.
The Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter said “The playground is one of the most important and popular features for Kingston Park and the design has been created through extensive public consultation.
“It is what the community wants however we have been unable to get support from the Federal Government to build it.
“We now have to consider pursuing a loan in order to deliver what we promised, and want to make sure the community is on board with this.”
An interest-free loan under the State Government’s Accelerated Local Government Capital Program is now the only available source of funds for Council to be able to build the playground and public open space elements in Kingston Park. It is available now but may not be available in the future.
This loan would total $5 million and would be sufficient to cover the costs to construct the playground, adjoining parking and connecting pathways. There would be no impact to ratepayers in applying for such a loan in the short-term due to the interest free nature of the loan, and Council’s Long Term Financial Plan will ensure a sufficient underlying surplus to cover any outstanding loan interest expense in the future.
The playground is based on a ‘nature-play’ theme and the final design has received a very positive public response. It will sit next to the new Kingborough Community Hub and will be a major attraction for many years to come.
“These public facilities are an integral part of the overall Kingston Park project and the community’s expectation of the playground is high after a significant consultation process,” continued Cr Winter.
“Council is developing this site in order to reinvigorate central Kingston, provide much needed community facilities and reduce the need for Kingborough residents to travel into Hobart.
“Financially, this is a stand-alone project that is being implemented separately to Council’s other capital works programs. Land will be sold from within Kingston Park to pay for the public infrastructure that Council is providing within Kingston Park – such as, in this instance, the playground.”
In order to maximise the value of the land that is being sold and to meet community needs, Council is providing most of the public infrastructure up-front. To date, this has included some of the roadworks and the Community Hub. Council must borrow the necessary money to carry out such works, until the anticipated revenue from land sales becomes available. Funding for the works to date has come from a mix of external grants, internal loans and external loans as approved by State Government.
Although Council is likely to incur a shortfall of about $5 million after about 10 years for the Kingston Park project, the additional rate revenue from the development will more than cover the expected maintenance and operational costs for the public infrastructure.