More funds needed to protect history

Councillor Marcus Cornish. Photo: Melinda Jane
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With many older properties protected for their cultural heritage and significance in Penrith, costs to keep buildings both functional and historical are becoming too much for some residents to bear.

Councillor Marcus Cornish believes the level of Heritage Assistance Grants funding needs to be increased to $100,000, to more adequately cover the repairs and maintenance costs.

As it stands $30,000 is made available in grants from Council each year to assist in the preservation of heritage properties.

Cr Cornish said more funding needs to be available to help and encourage residents to keep on top of historic building maintenance to protect the valuable cultural heritage in Penrith.

As a member of the Heritage Advisory Committee, he said that with limited funds, some properties in the LGA are unable to afford proper maintenance required on heritage buildings and run the risk of falling into wreck and ruin.

“We’re talking about a lot of people around the Lemongrove area for example, they’ve got older houses they can’t touch,” he said.

“If they put a new roof on for instance, it can’t just be Colorbond or a quick fix like newer houses. If you’re doing a roof, you need $30,000 plus.”

A Council spokesperson said Heritage Assistance Grants provide financial assistance to private heritage owners for repairs and maintenance works to their item.

“Grants are offered on a $1 for $1 basis where Council contributes half of the cost of the restoration works. There is $30,000 in available funding this year,” the spokesperson said.

Application submissions for the latest round of grants close at midnight on Friday, May 18.

Cr Cornish put forward a motion at last month’s Ordinary Council Meeting that the funding be increased to $100,000.

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