20 C
Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Ballina blokes appeal to council for land to build a Men’s Shed

Latest News

From go to whoa – Norco Primex expo covers it all

Norco and Primex are bringing a three-day sustainable farming and primary industry expo to you.

Other News

Father of Julian Assange to speak on the Northern Rivers this week

Northern Rivers residents can hear Mr Shipton in person at the Courthouse Hotel this Tuesday, May 4, from 7pm as part of the monthly Turning Point Talks.

Interview with Madeleine West

Madeleine West is a nationally acclaimed actress who is one of the many talents who lives in our region. Not just a soap star (some might know her as Dee Bliss from Neighbours), Madeleine has an extensive performance training background and she’s going to be sharing her Theatresports expertise with kids at the Byron Comedy Fest.

Mayor’s parting gift 

Michele Grant, Ocean Shores The Mayor’s parting gift to the Bruns/Bayside Community was ushering through approval for the controversial Corso...

Conversing in an age of verbal flatulence 

The other day I bumped into an old acquaintance of mine in the centre of Brisbane. For twenty-five breathless minutes he regaled me with a microscopically detailed account of his secondhand electric car.

Dreaming about a bucket-list surfing and wellness holiday?

Have you always dreamt about traveling to exotic ‘bucket-list’ beach destinations like Bali or Vanuatu… or are your dreams...

Local kite surfer smashes long distance world record

It was a cold, windy night on the rugged NSW south coast and Brian Kiss von Soly was wrapped up in a silver emergency blanket like a human burrito. 

A file picture of a Men's Shed in the Hunter Valley. Men's Shed in the Hunter Valley. There are now 600 registered Men's Sheds where men can do handywork, across Australia. The blokes in Ballina are hoping the local council will help them build the best Men's Shed in Australia.
A file picture of a Men’s Shed in the Hunter Valley. Men’s Shed in the Hunter Valley. There are now 600 registered Men’s Sheds where men can do handywork, across Australia. The blokes in Ballina are hoping the local council will help them build the best Men’s Shed in Australia.

Darren Coyne

The old Aussie saying that ‘Every bloke needs his shed’ could be ringing in the ears of Ballina councillors at a committee meeting next Tuesday.

The council’s Commercial Services Committee will be discussing development options for a parcel of land at 54 North Creek Road in Ballina.

The land, owned by the council, comprises an area of 1.346 hectares and is zoned “General Industrial”.

Located at the south eastern end of the site is an old weatherboard dwelling, that up until recently was being let at $340 per week.

The council voted in November last year to investigate the development potential of the site, with a view to creating more industrial lots for the Southern Cross Industrial Estate.

The council committee must decide whether to develop the land and sell it off for industrial use, or agree to the Men’s Shed group’s request and forego part of the revenue that could be could be utilized.

Ballina Community Men’s Shed team leader Graham Eggins has appealed to the council to help provide ‘an adequate facility if not one of the best in Australia’.

The group has asked that the council fully develop the site, remove the existing house, and grant freehold title on a section of the land to the group.

Mr Eggins argues that freehold title would help Men’s Shed attract funding, or provide equity for a loan should it be required.

‘This would however require Ballina Shire Council to either give or heavily discount the desired developed block in favour of the Ballina Community Men’s Shed for $150,000, which is all that we could reasonably offer,’ he said.

Alternatively, Mr Eggins said the council could lease the land to the group for a peppercorn rental for a period of at least 25 to 30 years.

‘We realize that either of these alternatives represent a strong commitment by council to the Ballina Community Men’s Shed,’ Mr Eggins said.

‘Over just a few weeks we have been able to obtain about 400 signatures on a petition asking Ballina Shire Council to allocate for us a more suitable parcel of land for the development of a Men’s Shed.

Mr Eggins said the project was not just to meet the needs of ‘a few old men’.

He said the Men’s Shed, currently located at Fishery Creek, catered to men of all ages, with activities ranging from metalwork, electronics, computers, woodwork model building, art, music and other interests.

‘Many voices such as (former Victorian premier) Jeff Kennett of Beyond Blue are voicing the importance of the men’s shed movement,’ Mr Eggins said.

‘There are an increasing number of people moving here who are looking for a men’s shed.’

Mr Eggins said the group was hoping for a positive decision from the council so that it could apply for grants under the National Stronger Regions Grant program, and a Clubs NSW grant, both due by July 31 this year.

‘We would therefore need an answer from council ASAP for this deadline to be achieved,’ he said.

‘The members, who are all volunteers, have been working hard on this project for four years now.

‘Without land, and without it soon, the great gains made so far may be lost. Together we can do it.’

Meanwhile, in a report to the council by Civitech Consulting Engineers, the consultants have advised that the subject land is appropriately zoned for industrial use.

The consultants examined a number of options, but have recommended proceeding with a four lot subdivision of the land, with acoustic work, filling and the removal of vegetation.

‘This option maximizes the development potential of the site and is considered an efficient use of appropriately zoned and located industrial land,’ the report says.

Ballina council staff have recommended that the council lodges a development application to undertake a four lot subdivision of the site.

But in respect to the Men’s Shed proposal, staff want councillors to decide.

‘Finally, in respect to the Men’s Shed, as this report relates to Council’s commercial activities, the preference is not to allocate land at a discounted price or at a peppercorn rent as the aim of this committee is to maximize returns to the community,’ the report from staff says.

‘Ideally this type of decision should be made in an ordinary council meeting where council is considering matters from a whole of community perspective.

The Commercial Services Committee meets on 19 May. If councillors decide to further examine the proposal from the Men’s Shed group, a recommendation would likely be prepared for the council meeting towards the end of the month.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Greater Sydney goes into COVID related lockdown

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has just announced that greater Sydney area will go into lockdown until next Monday.

Board defends its management of Mullum Rural Co-op

The issue of potential fraud and financial mismanagement was a key part of the response from Mullumbimby Rural Co-op board, and Chair Ross Tucker,...

An operetta and children’s theatre for NORPA

NOPRA has announced recipients of the theatre company’s two artist residencies.

Dam doesn’t give a damn about koalas

The proposed Dunoon Dam is still a possibility, though it has been voted against twice by the members of Rous County Council. Now information has emerged which presents another reason to shut down the threat of the dam once and for all.