28.2 C
Byron Shire
February 27, 2024

Ballina Council debates waiving Seagulls debt

Latest News

Short film awesomeness

Flickerfest and iQ are back, Thursday to Saturday at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall. Go on a remarkable cinematic journey...

Other News

Small breweries feeling the pinch

Like many small businesses doing it tough, local independent breweries are no exception. The number of small to medium-sized independent craft breweries falling into administration is growing.

Save Wallum

I listened to the Byron Shire Council (BSC) meeting to hear the fate of the Wallum site. Congrats to...

Silence broken on gender pay gaps

The exposure of the gender pay gaps in large Australian organisations is a turning point for gender equality, but more must be done to hold employers to account, says a University of South Australia researcher.

Natasha Lechner inquest verdict released

State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan was in Byron Bay Courthouse on Friday afternoon to deliver her findings in the inquest into the death of Natasha Lechner, who died after taking kambo in Mullumbimby in 2019.

SAE Institute now a University College

Creative media educator, SAE, says it is has been reclassified from institute to a University College. 

Bypass the supermarket duopoly

With more and more people feeling the pressures of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis and the government launching investigations into supermarket...

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:

More recycled material for Lennox road improvements

Lennox Head's latest road resurfacing projects are benefiting from leading edge recycling technology, converting waste to useful new life


GemLife’s seniors’ housing estate (again) and more Ballina Council 2024 court...

A conciliation conference between the Ballina Shire Council and developers wanting to build a seniors’ resort-style estate in West Ballina is to happen in less than three weeks.


The Kollective to take on Ballina Shire housing project

Ballina Shire councillors are to debate the future of public lands zoned for residential development in Wollongbar this week, including the potential of selling some or all the assets.


New $19 million Lennox hotel plans on show

The once sleepy seaside town of Lennox Head, like so many others, continues to undergo a rapid facelift with plans for a new three-storey hotel the latest on show.


King tides and flood warning in Ballina this weekend

King tides expected in Ballina over the weekend may lead to minor flooding over some local roads, the Ballina Shire Council was warning Thursday.


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

Marching in with a bang!

Get your party pants on as Nudge Nudge Wink Wink marches in with a bang this Saturday. Arrive early and leave late! Two incredible guest DJs join the Cunning Stunts residents in the Shed.

Bangalow Film Festival starts next week!

Bangalow Film Festival is back for its fourth year and the full program is available in all its cinematic glory – and it starts next week. Grab the popcorn and settle in for exclusive world and Australian premieres of critically-acclaimed feature films, award-winning documentaries, beloved classics, plus masterclasses with industry experts, Q&A sessions, special guest encounters and surprise events.

Interview with Lydia Lunch and Joseph Keckler

Tales of Lust & Madness is a new show from Lydia Lunch, New York’s ‘punk poet queen of extremities’ and Joseph Keckler, a singular performer once crowned the ‘best downtown performance artist’ in New York City.

Tintenbar-East Ballina face tough test to make LJ Hooker cricket finals

Tintenbar-East Ballina (TEB)senior cricketers face a stern test to make it through to the finals of the LJ Hooker first grade league after losing to Casino in their most recent two day-game.