The community continue to seek clarification on the City of Launceston council's acceptance of $10 million in grant funding meant for drought affected communities.
The $10 million Building Better Regions grant was given to the council for its Creative Precinct development. To be eligible it had to prove the project would be delivered in a drought-affected location.
The development will transform the Paterson Street car park into a bus exchange and the old Birchalls building will host a creative industries education precinct.
However, elected members wiped their hands clean of the debacle as mayor Albert van Zetten repeatedly stated grant applications were "operational matters", during Thursday's council meeting.
"The submission of grant applications are operational matters which are not reported to council. Council makes many grant applications each year and where they are successful, councillors are advised of the opportunity to accept the funding," he said.
In other news:
"The full details of the grant application are yet to be publicly announced however, I can confirm that it was not appropriate that there be discussions with the Paterson Street central car park owner in respect to the applications."
One member of the public asked if the council would return the grant funding as it was "unethically and immorally benefiting" despite not experiencing drought.
Cr van Zetten said the application was made in good faith.
He said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology data showed, in the 20 months before the council's application in December, a 'severe deficiency' in rainfall for the region.
"According to the bureau, both the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 year figures show that the kanamaluka river was well below average in terms of flow and were equivalent levels to those recorded during the height of the millennial drought in Tasmania," he said.
Cr van Zetten said the council would share further details with the public once it finished processes and planning with the coordinator general's office on the acceptance of the grant.
"We made all the necessary inquiries directly with the federal government as to whether we were eligible or not. If we were not deemed eligible at that initial stage, our grant application would not have been submitted. It is as simple as that," he said."
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