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Byron Shire
April 12, 2024

Why isn’t Men’s Shed going to its preferred location?

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David Norris, Pottsville

The Threatened Species Conservation Society has received information that in early 2014 Tweed Council planning staff and the Pottsville and District Men’s Shed (P&DMS) both agreed that Lot 3 Centennial Drive, Pottsville was the preferred site for their men’s shed.

In a report to council dated 17/7/2014, P&DMS stated that the Black Rocks sports field was the only suitable site available as the Pottsville Preschool was planning extensions on the Lot 3 site. However, once the Preschool extension plans were completed, the remaining section could be available for consideration. Two years later the Preschool plans are complete and the development application is awaiting council approval. It appears there is plenty of room left for a men’s shed.

At the September 15 council meeting, Crs Longland, Polglase and Byrne refused to defer the granting of a licence to P&DMS to build their temporary shed at Black Rocks and refused to bring forward a report to investigate the viability of a permanent site at Lot 3. In not investigating the Lot 3 site, council is in breach of a previous resolution for council officers to continue to look for an alternative permanent site.

It also appears that council is in breach of the Local Government Act by relying on men shedders once established at the Black Rocks sports field to provide ‘an active management and reporting function’ to deter anti-social behaviour. According to the Act, only council employees or councillors can perform a regulatory function.

At the council meeting Cr Longland complained that he ‘had to endure hundreds if not thousands of emails’ about this issue. Doesn’t his job description include listening to the people?

Why aren’t P&DMS jumping at the chance to go to a permanent centrally located site at Lot 3 Centennial Drive, which was their preferred option from the outset? What is driving them to an isolated, controversial, temporary location, with a refusal to fully investigate their preferred option?

What is going on here?

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  1. Conveniently absent from the ‘alternate fact’ that PDMS refuse to consider alternate locations is the simple distinguishing between temporary and permanent locations. PDMS have DA approval in a temporary location at Black Rocks Sports Field. There is five years until this lease expires, during which time PDMS will work with Council on suitable permanent location options. To consider an alternate TEMPORARY site/s is fundamentally flawed based on financial prudency alone.

    As of 15/09/16 Tweed Shire Council had spent $51,000 on the Black Rocks DA.

    Per Council meeting agenda papers of 15/09/16 (page 49) the Council resolutions of 17/07/14, 21/08/14 and 16/10/14, and the December 2015 DA approval, could entitle the Men’s Shed to request financial reimbursement for costs already incurred if required to move to another location. Those same Council papers outline that it is likely approvals for the Men’s Shed to move to another location would be similar or greater. Is that good governance taxpayers?

    Another ‘alternate fact’ is that Lot 3, Pottsville is a suitable alternate location. Again, Council meeting papers (15/09/2016) provide insight into the unsuitability of this option. “The proposed alternative location on Lot 3 DP1062338 Centennial Drive at Pottsville does not offer any ecological advantage”, as:
    • The EXACT suite of threatened species exists at both locations;
    • Relocating to Men’s Shed to Lot 3 MAY result in clearing vegetation. BRSF will not;
    • Lot 3 vegetation includes areas mapped as preferred Koala habitat under the Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management. The intended position of the Shed at BRSF is 20m from any vegetation and WILL NOT impact vegetation;

    These are publicly available facts that dispute the misleading ‘alternate facts’ being spewed forth


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