In an interview with SBS Hindi last week as part of Holi festival celebrations, Liberal Opposition Leader Matthew Guy attacked the proposed recommendation to build an Indian Cultural Precinct at Wyndham’s President Park stating that “I think you need a facility that the community can meet in, have dinners and functions. I don’t think a park is that”.
Councillor Josh Gilligan has now issued a statement that the “alternate Premier must be up front with Wyndham residents and provide more detail as to his plan to abandon the Indian Cultural Precinct funding by the Victorian Government”.
“In my remarks on the report released by Wyndham City Council on the proposed development of the Indian Cultural Precinct, I believed that the precinct should be built in Tarneit and should look to invest in our existing community centre model including the potential expansion and enhancement of Penrose Community Centre—one of the recommended locations in the original report,” said Cr Gilligan, adding that Mr Guy must clarify his election promise that he will build a community centre, in Wyndham, that is full costed and funded by the Victorian Government.
A community centre can cost millions of dollars depending on the size and scope of the project, said Cr Gilligan. Wyndham ratepayers should not be left with an unfunded election promise that Mr Guy has used to electioneer amongst the South Asian community by making community members think he will deliver a community centre for them in Wyndham, he added.
Mr Gilligan said he had questions for Mr Guy.
- Will he commit to a fully costed community centre under a government he leads in collaboration with community consultation as part of his plans for an Indian Cultural Precinct?
- Will he commit that not one cent will be needed by Wyndham ratepayers to fund his community centre promise?
- Will he commit to build his proposed community centre in the City of Wyndham in collaboration with Wyndham City Council?
- When will he deliver the project on behalf of the community?
In 2017, the Victorian State Government funded a feasibility study into a potential Indian Cultural Precinct in Wyndham.
The State Government has indicated that up to $500,000 would be made available to contribute to the development of a cultural precinct in Wyndham.
Similar cultural precinct funding has previously been used to enhance precincts such as Victoria Street Richmond, the Asian Gateway in Springvale, Eaton Mall in Oakleigh and the Afghan Bazaar in Dandenong.
The study engaged with more than 700 local residents to examine whether an Indian/South Asian Cultural Precinct would be viable in Wyndham and to determine the location and nature of such a precinct.