The controversial Men’s Shed at Black Rocks Sports Fields in Pottsville is seeking to expand its existing footprint 12m to the west.
At last week’s Tweed Shire Council meeting councillors voted in favour of advertising the licence application of the 12m extension. The motion stated that the extended licence will be approved automatically ‘Should no reasonable objections be received when the proposed extended Licensed Area in the Licence Agreement is advertised… If reasonable objections are received when the proposed extended Licensed Area is advertised, a report will be brought back for further Council consideration.’
Too close to koala corridor
Opposition to the use of the Black Rocks Sports Field site as a men’s shed has been based on the fact that the area is next to a koala corridor and is ‘surrounded by a large swathe of protected wetland wildlife habitat’.
The use of large and loud machinery and the increased activity at the site is likely to disturb and stress koalas and other animals say objectors.
The four-hectare site, was zoned for public recreation when it was created as part of the staged Black Rocks Estate subdivision approved by the state planning minister in 2006.
Objecting to the expansion of the men’s shed site Councillor Katie Milne (Greens) said that she opposed the shed at this site because it was next to a koala corridor and that while a ‘men’s shed is important we don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing where our koalas are but we can choose where our men’s shed goes’.
Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) spoke in favour of the site expansion as did Crs Pryce Allsop (Conservative) and James Owen (Liberal).
Mayor Cherry pointed out that the motion was about putting the proposed expansion ‘out on exhibition’ for public comment and submissions.
‘COVID has hit the men’s shed hard like all our community groups,’ said Mayor Cherry.
‘That was a big thing this year and people realised how much they need the camaraderie. I certainly support everything they are doing there.’
Both Crs Allsop and Owen spoke in support of the Men’ Shed’s expansion highlighting the good work they do in the community.
‘Is a good thing for men at a certain stage of their lives,’ said Cr Owen. ‘It probably helps that the [women’s] croquet is next door.’
The motion was passed with the support of Crs Cherry, Allsop, Byrnes, Cooper, Owen and Polglase and Cr Milne voted against.
♦ Updated 26.2.21 to reflect that Crs Owen and Polglase voted in favour of the motion and did not abstain.