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Pottsville men shedders too stubborn

According to the development application that Tweed Shire Council has prepared for a Men’s Shed at the Black Rocks sports field, members of the Pottsville and District Men’s Shed Inc have refused to progress an application for a permanent site at the Barry Sheppard sports field (Hastings Point) simply because they refuse to go there.

The reason they have given in the past is that it is too far away from Pottsville. However, it is a very similar distance as the Black Rocks sports field is to the Pottsville village centre.

Barry Sheppard has the same approval pathway as Black Rocks, has less environmental constraints, is socially inclusive and men shedders are welcome by the Tweed Coast Tigers AFL Club.

The Men’s Shed president recently revealed his vision that ‘approximately one hectare is what is needed for men’s shedders of the future to work with. In and around Pottsville this should be achievable’.  I believe he is deluding himself if he thinks he can secure one hectare of public land (ie 10,000 sq metres) on or near the coast, including the 4ha Black Rocks sports field which has a concept plan for two football fields, cricket pitch and clubhouse.

‘Around Pottsville’ encompasses the Barry Sheppard sports field, so it cannot be considered ‘too far away’. A previous Council report states that the Men’s Shed had investigated, but were unable to secure, a site at Camp Wollumbin at Casuarina, which is further away from Pottsville than the Barry Sheppard sports field.

In July 2014 the Men’s Shed executive members were given a detailed presentation at Tricare Hastings Point of the risk of koala extinction should further development occur at the Black Rocks sports field. Since then council staff and councillors have been working closely with them to secure an alternative, permanent, less environmentally-impactive site.

It is time that the Men’s Shed faced the reality that approximately 500-600 square metres is the average size of a Men’s Shed site.

Why can’t council and/or the state government step in and insist that an application for a permanent site be progressed at the Barry Sheppard sports field rather than waste tax payers’ money building a temporary shed at Black Rocks, only to face relocation costs in the future?

David Norris, Pottsville


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