23 October, 2022
Fees to host community events sliced
COMMUNITY groups who want to host an event or activity on land or roads owned by Tablelands Regional Council will pay almost nothing after councillors sliced the application fee from $152.50 to just $1.
Cr Dave Bilney raised the issue after he was made aware that the Ravenshoe RSL subbranch was being charged $152.50 after they applied for a permit to hold a Remembrance Day event in a local park.
He proposed that council should no longer charge Not for Profits (NFPs) or non-commercial entities for a per-mit to conduct an activity on council area or roads, and that any groups that had been charged since 1 July when the new fees came in, get a refund.
“There’s been a couple of people who have come to me about charging this fee and while council has endorsed the fees and charges schedule, I don’t personally think we fully understood the ramifications of that fee,” he said.
“I personally don’t believe that was the intent of the fees and I want that fee back to nil.
“I understand there may be some is-sues charging nil, if that’s the case, I’d like the line to be struck out of the fees and charges schedule.”
But chief executive officer Gary Rinehart said a fee had to be attached to the permit because it came under Local Law No 1 so the line item could not be deleted.
“I’m just advising what your Local Laws say and certainly refuting that this was not well canvassed prior to it being adopted,” he said.
“It was discussed extensively ex-cept that we may not have appreciated what the impact would be or how com-munity groups may respond.
“The fee can’t be nil – for the ‘lease’ to be valid, it has to have a payment.
“The reason for the fees is that we have to process those applications and there’s a cost to that, it takes quite a bit of time.”
Councillors debated what the fee should be for some time, eventually agreeing to make the application fee for NFPs $1 until council officers re-view the fee and the relevant local law. Any NFPOs that have been charged the fee since it came into effect on 1 July will also get a refund.
“I really think that we need to have a good look at our local laws – two come to mind straight away – the tractor pull at Kairi and the bull ride at the local showground – when local laws got in the road and caused such a ruckus they almost cancelled the events,” Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Cardew said.
“We have public parks and facili-ties for public use, why are we going to charge NFP organisations to use our public facilities, it doesn’t make sense.
“It’s causing us problems – this is the third one in a matter of months.”