Fed up with waiting for Tweed Shire Council to make a decision, members of the Pottsville & District Men’s Shed Association (P&DMS) and their allies are organising a Convoy of Support to its disputed site at Black Rocks Sports Field on Sunday, February 26.
Controversy has raged for years about the proposed site, which is located adjacent to a dwindling koala population.
Some nearby residents, who say it has become a site for vandalism and hooning, have been calling for the sports field to be closed and the site revegetated with koala feed trees.
The isolation of the site has also been seen as a factor, with several locals suggesting an alternative location on crown land in downtown Centennial Drive, Pottsville.
But P&DMS president Michael Ryan has disputed the availability of the Centennial Drive site, telling Echonetdaily last year, ‘The land in Centennial Drive is crown land. Crown Lands has not indicated that it is about to transfer this parcel of land to the council for community use.’
‘If Tweed council did get control over this site, wouldn’t council be obliged to advertise for expressions of interest from the community regarding its future use?
‘This process itself would take months of consultation and then developmental approval would be required,’ Mr Ryan said.
The group is currently meeting at a demountable classroom at Pottsville Public School but say this could be taken away at a moment’s notice if the school’s needs changed.
They argue that a five-year licence to place a demountable at Black Rocks would be a win-win, with the association’s members tasked with upkeeping the toilets and change rooms already on the site.
According to the association, the convoy is an opportunity for supportive members of the community to walk, ride and drive from the current temporary Men’s Shed site to the proposed site at Black Rocks Sportsfield.
‘The convoy has been organised as a way of harnessing the widespread community support for the embattled Black Rocks Men’s Shed,’ a flier promoting the event reads.
‘The continued delays by Tweed Shire Council to sign the relevant documentation granting the Men’s Shed a five-year licence at the site has caused undue stress and frustration among the normally easy going, friendly Pottsville community.
‘The community wants to show the Pottsville & District Men’s Shed members, Tweed Shire Council, and the region, how much they value the Men’s Shed and want it as part of their community,’ it concludes.
The convoy will leave from the site of the existing temporary Men’s Shed at Pottsville Public School at 9.30am and participants can walk (or from 10am drive) to the disputed site at Black Rocks Sports Field in Overall Drive.