21.1 C
Byron Shire
September 25, 2021

Ballina Council debates waiving Seagulls debt

Latest News

New venues of concern in Ballina

The Northern NSW Local Health District has been notified of a number of new venues of concern associated with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Other News

ScoMo does it again

ScoMo recently travelled from the ACT to Sydney, not something to be recommended at the moment. What is an essential...

Water resilience

A number of groups in the Byron Shire have been working our way each month through topics set for...

NSW Regional Housing Taskforce to recommend holiday rental regulation changes

Regional Housing Taskforce Chair Garry Fielding says recommendations around short-term holiday letting regulations will feature in his report to planning minister Rob Stokes later this month.

Wearing drink bottles on your bum to save rainforests

Undies entrepreneur Brendan Lo doesn’t see himself as a smart arse, but his take on some old bit of wisdom is a bit cheeky.

Second confirmed COVID case in Lismore

Acting Chief Executive Northern NSW Local Health District, Lynne Weir says there one new case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in a resident of the Northern NSW Local Health District.

Found – Have you seen Steve? Missing person

Mullumbimby man Steve Mustchin went missing at 11am this morning from Byron Bay Hospital and his family are asking locals to keep an eye out for him.

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:

Cadwallader determined to win support for new water science team as...

Cr Cadwallader has taken advantage of a local government rule allowing councillors to reintroduce a failed motion without having to wait three months if they have the signed support of at least two other councillors.


Ring of steel called for as Byron and Tweed locked down...

Councillors and members of parliament from across the region are calling for greater restrictions on who can come to the Northern Rivers and other vulnerable regional areas from COVID hotspots in NSW.


State gov’t services failing to keep up with regional population growth,...

Cr Cadwallader told The Echo on Thursday she’d be asking council staff to pursue the matter of policing resources in the shire after last month winning majority council support to pressure the government on the future of Lennox Head Public School.


Ballina mayor hopeful and Dunoon Dam advocate loses bid for new...

Cr Cadwallader said earlier this year she’d be running for mayor in the next local government elections and that water security, particularly the dumped Dunoon Dam proposal, would be one of her key campaign issues.


Ballina Shire Council votes down affordable housing at old depot

A majority of Ballina Shire councillors have voted against developing an affordable housing project on Ballina Island’s state-owned old depot.


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

Byron Bay beach party end in PINS and a charge for biting

Police say a woman has been charged and four Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) issued following a beach party in the Byron Bay area overnight.

Fundraising for koala signs for Bangalow

As the koala mating season has started, Bangalow Koalas has set up fundraising to create incorporate more koala road signs. Bangalow Koalas, who keep a watch...

Nuclear Submarines – just a foot in the door

In the next few months we will hear a lot about how superior nuclear-powered submarines are. Vice Admiral Mike Noonan is even claiming superior stealth characteristics – which is simply not true. Yes, they tend to be faster. This is great if you want to go thousands of kilometres in a matter of days. But they are also much more expensive.

Compost back on Lismore’s gardening menu

Lismore City Council says that their BIOCycle Compost is again on sale from the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre and Nimbin Transfer Station, after a two-year break.