20 C
Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Ballina Council debates waiving Seagulls debt

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

Thanks for Bob

Jo Faith, Newtown I wish to thank The Echo for printing the article by Bob Morgan, First Nations academic. This...

No air for Ben

Rhonda Ansiewicz, Federal Stop giving Franklin air time. Mayor Richardson, in his usual fashion, joins up with his mate Franklin...

Lennox Community Garden celebrates terrific two

The Lennox Community Garden team recently had an early morning working bee and visit from Tamara Smith MP and they reflected on the two years that have passed since they first broke ground.

Schools planting trees to save riverbanks

Six schools in the Lismore area six will plant about 6000 trees creating links across the Wilsons River corridor in Lismore and Tucki Creek in Goonellabah.

Get over it, Byron Baes!

Andrew Willy Wilson, Mullumbimby Are you guys for real? I can’t believe all the fuss over the proposed Byron Baes...

Native Title declared on Evans Head after 25-year fight

Last week the court met on Evans Head, where 52 small parcels of land covering a total of 7.2 square kilometres were given native title.

Ballina Seagulls entrance. Photo David Lowe.

The matter of over $15,000 owing to Ballina Shire Council by the Ballina Seagulls Rugby League for unpaid rates was discussed at council’s last meeting.

Cr Phillip Meehan suggested 50% of the debt could be waived due to COVID-related hardship, saying the club had not raised enough from recent poker machine sales to recover from its financial crisis.

Cr Ben Smith said he had no issues with the club, but believed there was inadequate transparency about its financial situation. ‘Normally you have to demonstrate hardship,’ he said. ‘The club hasn’t done that.’

Cr Keith Williams said it wasn’t a hardship application, but about the cost of recovering debt from an entity that was being wound up, with a new volunteer-based organisation in the process of taking over the running of the club. ‘This is not an easy job, and it’s being done by volunteers working in the best interests of the community,’ he said.

Club Lennox supported when it was a ‘basket case’

Cr Keith Williams. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Williams pointed out that Club Lennox had been supported when it was going through financial difficulties, and such circumstances needed to be looked at case by case.

He also pointed out the special importance of the Seagulls to Ballina’s Aboriginal community. ‘Those people will lose, disproportionately,’ he said. ‘This is a community organisation that builds community and brings people together.’

Cr Williams said the 50% offer would mean there would be a chance to come to a settlement, as opposed to the existing plan of writing off only $92 interest on the debt.

‘I don’t think we should just leave this club to the wolves,’ he said.

Cr Nathan Willis said there was an opportunity for the club to enter into a payment plan, and that it might end up being a 100% write-off for council. ‘We shouldn’t pre-judge it,’ he said, arguing for the previous resolution of the finance committee to be maintained.

Exceptional job

Ballina Deputy Mayor Sharon Cadwallader. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader said she didn’t know the personal ins and outs of the club, ‘but I do know they do an exceptional job in the community.

‘I see this as an extension of our community donations, albeit via a different process,’ she said. ‘This would be a negotiation to meet them halfway, give them an incentive to find what’s owing.’

Mayor David Wright said he ‘loved the club’ and was open to writing the whole debt off or 50%, but the club needed to provide bank statements. ‘I just want to know there’s no money there,’ he said.

Cr Jeff Johnson said he supported the 50% idea, but wondered why proper information had not been provided, so that a 100% write-off could be considered now, rather than having the debate again later.

Half knowledgeable people and half footballers

Cr Steve McCarthy said it should be up to Council GM Paul Hickey to assess the financial situation. ‘COVID has upset them, They have seven games a year they need to make money out of. They’re trying their hardest and their new committee is half knowledgeable people and half footballers,’ he said.

The Ballina Seagulls sign has seen better days. Photo David Lowe.

As debate returned to the state of the club’s books, Cr Williams said the 2019 books showed it was ‘not a pretty picture. They weren’t able to trade through COVID. Do you think they would be better off this year than in 2019?’

He said at least half the debt should be written off with negotiations after that.

In the end, council voted unanimously to write off interest charges and authorise the GM to provide the club with the opportunity to enter into a suitable payment plan, including possible debt write-off.

Cr Sharon Parry was an apology for the meeting.

More stories about Ballina Shire Council:

Ballina Shire for the next 4 years: time to have your...

The Ballina Shire Council’s Draft Delivery Program and Operational Plan 2021/22 - 2024/25 will be on exhibition until the 28th of May with provisions for public feedback. 


Ballina Council – April wrapup

Ballina Shire councillors managed to cover a lot of territory at their last meeting, which finished before a very late lunch.


Celebrate Compost Awareness Week at Ballina Community Garden

This year, International Compost Awareness Week runs from 2–8 May with the theme ‘Better Soil, Better Life, Better Future’.


Ballina council debates South Ballina Beach 4WD access, again

An attempt to enlarge the list of approved 4WD beach users allowed to access South Ballina Beach failed to get the numbers to progress at the last Ballina Shire Council meeting.


Wollongbar wildlife hospital clears another hurdle

Ballina Shire Council has voted to prepare a planning proposal to modify the LEP for the site at Lindendale Road Wollongbar which is proposed for the new Northern Rivers Wildlife Hospital.


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.