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16 April, 2022

Frustration for Men’s Shed over hall delay

FRUSTRATION is growing among members of the Yungaburra Men’s Shed as the group waits for a lease or similar arrangement to manage the town’s old hall, even though Tablelands Regional Council made the decision to grant them tenure over the facility nearly two months ago.

By Robyn Holmes

Photo | Dreamstime

The delay in securing an arrangement for the Men’s Shed to run the hall appears to be centered around the use of the building, with advice from council officers that a Material Change of Use could be required. 

The building sits in a Sport and Recreation use zone and because the Men’s Shed will use power tools to make items and do other similar activities, the use could be viewed as conflicting with the zone. 

In the interim, the group is being allowed to rent the hall for the same use, leading Yungaburra Men’s Shed chair Jeff Hall to ask questions of CEO Gary Rinehart as to why a MCU would be required for further use of the same kind. 

“I emailed the CEO to ask that if we rent the hall, are our activities considered Sport and Recreation, but if we lease it, our activities suddenly come under a different zoning?” Mr Hall said. 

“Our activities are clearly Sport and Recreation. I have written to the Australian Men's Shed Association to ask for a letter of support in which they give examples around Australia where men's sheds are located on Sport and Recreation ground.” 

Mr Hall said there was a perception that Men’s Shed activities were all about light industry and workshops. 

“Whilst there might be some tools used, it would be no more than what anyone has at home. It is much more about community, sharing ideas and implementing health programs – we may get Tai Chi and Yoga going as well,” he said. 

“We intend to meet three times per week and have a monthly social evening where we might open it up to the whole Yungaburra Community to bring a plate and enjoy some music and so on.” 

Mr Hall says the group will continue to rent the hall in the meantime, but urged the council to draw up a long-term agreement as soon as possible. 

Responding to questions from The Express to determine if a MCU would be required, Mr Rinehart said officers were confirming the planning requirements for the use of the hall by the Yungaburra Men’s Shed and plan to table a report at the council meeting on 28 April. 

“A lease is considered to be a disposal of land, and we are bound by legislation as to how we manage this,” he said. 

He said while he understood the group’s concerns about delays and any costs in relation to applying for a MCU, council has “to do what is required under legislation”. 

Council has already determined it has no further use for the old hall due to its age and lack of use, and voted in July last year to remove the building but only after a 12-month period to see how much usage the facility had. 

The Men’s Shed put its case to council at its 24 February meeting after which council voted to commence negotiations for the tenure of the premises to the group.

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