After months and months and months of meetings, discussions and planning Nambucca Valley councillors will be scratching their heads once again this evening and wondering 'where to now' for the Bowraville Multipurpose Sport and Recreation Hub.
With the council having promised $700,000 towards the sports centre to link and coordinate all sport in the Hennessey Tape sporting precinct in Bowraville, the council drafted and forwarded a funding deed to the 'Nambucca Valley Connected - Sharing Sport Throughout the Region Incorporated' (NVC).
This draft deed has now been rejected by the organisation.
In their response to the council's draft deed, the group wrote:
We note the funding agreement is a draft document, however our group contends a funding agreement with Nambucca Valley Connected (NVC) is not necessary. NVC was established and incorporated in consultation with Office of Sport (OOS) and Council as the most effective and financially responsible way to administer the State Government grant and plan and manage the construction of the project.
Council indicated they did not have the resources to manage the project.
Our group will not consider a funding agreement with Council that exposes our members to responsibilities or risks that are unacceptable and unwarranted. We are community members volunteering an inordinate amount of personal time to a community project that will have sporting, recreational, social, health and wellbeing, and economic benefits to a socio/economically disadvantaged population.
We are bewildered and disheartened that Council is seeking indemnity for a public project that will benefit ratepayers and residents for decades.
In his report to the councillors, which will be tabled tonight (Thursday), General Manager Michael Coulter, writes:
"There are many options between remitting $700,000 to the NVC without any funding deed for their expenditure as they see fit, through to insisting that the objects of the proposal originally endorsed by Council be guaranteed prior to the provision of any funding.
"As owner of the land the Council has authority to determine what is built of its land and how it will be operated."
Mr Coulter writes that without some form of written agreement there is the risk of misunderstanding as to which organisation is financially responsible for the components of the project.
"There is also no certainty that NVC or Bowraville Recreation Club Inc. will accept ownership of the land intended to be transferred. Or for that matter that Council won't change its mind on transferring the land and assume ownership and control of the facility and make its own decisions concerning the transfer of liquor licences and poker machines from the existing Club to the new complex."
Mr Coulter said the NVC will now be sent a list of questions the council would like answered, including
- Which body (NVC or the Bowraville Recreation Club Inc.) will be responsible for linking and coordinating all sport and recreation in the precinct?
- How will the Bowraville Recreation Club's existing 1.8 hectares of land be utilised for sport and recreation purposes in the event the aged care proposal does not proceed?
- What is the list of works that NVC is seeking Council to undertake from the allocated $700,000 noting that Council has already spent or committed $131,183 of its own funds constructing elements of the agreed plan being the Bowraville Children's Playground, the conversion of the tennis courts, and the upgrade of the amenities, paths and BBQ areas?
Councillors will be asked to note all of this at tonight's meeting.
For more details about the project, visit the 'Nambucca Valley Connected - Sharing Sport throughout the Region' Facebook page.