2 November, 2023
Sailing club pleads with council over costs to expand toilets
A LOCAL sailing club has made a plea to Tablelands Regional Council for a reduction in its rates and charge as it tries to expand its toilet and shower amenities at the club grounds.
Annette and Roger Wadley from Tinaroo Sailing Club were granted a deputation to council last week so the group could put its case for reduced rates and charges before submitting an application for a major State Government grant to extend its ablution block.
Mrs Wadley, who is the volunteer grants officer and membership secretary for the club, which was established 60 years ago, told the council the grant application had to be submitted before 16 November and they wanted some reassurance on what they would pay council annually for the additional toilets before putting in the application.
She said if the club was successful in expanding the toilet and shower facilities, it would cost them an additional $6510 a year in council charges.
In her deputation, Mrs Wadley outlined the success of the club and the large number of people who attend events there.
“The club has produced four world champions, national champions and State champions,” she said.
“The club currently has 300 members plus their families – the club runs learn to sail weekend courses for the broader community, is utilised by numerous school groups that also camp at the club, members and their friends and families camp during holidays and weekends, we run an annual three-day regatta attracting more than 300 people who also camp, support the Wooden Boat Association regatta and we run fortnightly fun days.
“This is all with just one female and one male toilet and shower.
“These facilities do not meet the demand and the club does not have an all-ability access toilet and this is something that’s necessary to ensure that no one is excluded from participation.
“We require an extension to our amenities block including an all-abilities access toilet and additional toilets and showers which will cost $106,000.”
Mrs Wadley said the club was not-for-profit and was run entirely by volunteers who were “trying to keep our community active” and revealed their net profit in 2022 was only $18,300.
She said the club currently paid $12,793 in council rates per year and were now concerned about how much this would rise once the number of toilets were increased.
“The cost for the additional pedestals would be $930 per pedestal per year. This would bring the rates and charges up to nearly $20,000 per year,” she told council.
“We already have members on payment plans and putting up fees because of these new amenities for community learn to sail programs or school programs would put more negative pressure on participation.
“To leave these discussions regarding these additional yearly charges with council until after we are successful with our funding would just not make sense.
“To complete our funding application, we seek from council the approval to build the extension to the existing ablution block and some direction from council as to by what means council could give consideration to address these additional rate charges incurred by the e extra pedestals – whether this is by the negotiation of a new lease, by ongoing concessions or by other means. We seek your direction.”
Cr Peter Hodge gave a commitment the council would look at the situation and “understood exactly where you’re coming from” and urged the club to submit the application and “worry about the other thing later”.
Cr Kevin Cardew said he wasn’t aware of the amount of rates and charges the club paid and agreed it was an issue that needed to be looked at closely.