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Community & Business

15 May, 2022

User agreement saves Men’s Shed

AN application by Yungaburra Men’s Shed for a five-year lease over the town’s ageing hall has been rejected by Tablelands Regional Council but the group will be able to use the facility for 18 months under a user arrangement instead.

By Robyn Holmes

AN application by Yungaburra Men’s Shed for a five-year lease over the town’s ageing hall has been rejected by Tablelands Regional Council but the group will be able to use the facility for 18 months under a user arrangement instead. 

A report by chief executive officer Gary Rinehart outlined a number of reasons why the group could not be given a lease, including that the proposed use of the facility did not fit with what the land was intended for, and was in conflict with the “recreation and open space” zone the hall is located within. 

According to the report, the Men’s Shed, which currently has around 23 members, has less than $20,000 in revenue and assets and is therefore not considered to be financially sustainable to be issued a lease over the hall. But the key sticking point was the use of the land the hall is built on. It is held by council as a reserve dedicated under the Land Act 1994, for the primary purpose of “Park and Recreation”, and the sub-purpose of “War Memorial”.  Under the Act, council can only grant a lease of the land for uses outside those purposes if Ministerial approval is given, and according to the report, this is unlikely to be granted. 

But Councillor Peter Hodge rejected this was an issue.

 “We know that the intent of the council’s decision was to provide tenure to the group (for the hall) – if we need ministerial approval, then go and get it,” he told the council meeting. 

All councillors except for Cr Annette Haydon supported the men’s shed proposal to use the hall, with Cr Bernie Wilce saying the value of the group to its members “can’t be underestimated” and noted that similar groups had been given tenure in sport and recreation areas by other local governments such as Cairns. 

Deputy Mayor Kevin Cardew put forward a new recommendation that would give the men’s shed a user agreement for 18 months to enable the group to find a more suitable long-term location for their activities.

“I want to see a realistic rent though because it puts the men’s shed on an equal playing field with other community organisations so they will be aware of the sort of rent they would be paying in the future,” he said.

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