A motion for not-for-profit clubs and community groups to no longer pay leasing or licensing fees to use Dorset Council owned facilities has not been passed.
Mayor Greg Howard put forward a notice of motion at the council’s March meeting, which was then discussed and brought to council again at its meeting on April 16.
Cr Howard said the sporting clubs and groups that operate in the municipality provide “significant benefit to the physical and mental health of the community” and also generate benefits to businesses, providing employment opportunities to the community.
“Over a long period of time Dorset based sporting clubs and not for profit groups have negotiated various arrangements for the use of council-owned facilities.
“These arrangements vary depending on the value of the facility, regularity of use and in-kind contributions by the groups and clubs.
“Over-60s clubs and groups make use of council facilities and during the past two years more than 40 of those clubs and groups have been granted relief from paying fees either by negotiation, or by changes in council policies such as removal of swimming pool fees and fees for the use of halls and reserves.”
Dorset Council abolished swimming pool entry fees in November 2017 for the Scottsdale, Branxholm, Ringarooma, and Winnaleah swimming pools.
“The remaining 21 clubs and groups pay lease or licence fees to council, which at times places them at a disadvantage with competing clubs and groups as well as placing them under financial stress.
“While passage of this motion will not remove all of the anomalies associated with the use of council-owned facilities it will go a long way to providing a more level playing field for local sporting clubs and community groups.
“Clearly clubs and groups will still have a lease or licence agreements with council but would not be required to pay a fee.”
The removal of licensing and leasing fees would reduce council revenue by $25,093.73 based on the 2017/18 lease and licence fee schedule. Of the six councillors present, only three voted in support of the motion, meaning it wasn’t passed.