Box beef breaks out
IRE over an announcer's box has erupted, leading the not-for-profit Stanthorpe Sports Association to come out swinging at Southern Downs Regional Council for refusing to waive a fee.
Despite arguing that the association had "for many years been significantly improving council owned facilities at little or no cost to council”, the council refused the request.
The sports association wrote to the council in mid-July asking for a waiver of the building application fee, pointing out that the new announcer's box represented a $30,000 improvement to a council-owned facility.
"It is just embarrassing that council allegedly has made claims it has $50 million in the bank but will not encourage the community who is saving the council millions of dollars by proactively improving council facilities,” association president Colin Britton said.
The group had to pay the $1730 upfront but will receive half back.
Mr Britton said that even $865 was a "significant amount” for a not-for-profit community group.
Council CEO David Keenan was first to respond to the request, though the letter was initially intended for Councillor Yve Stocks, the portfolio councillor for events, sport and recreation.
Mr Keenan told the association the council provided non-profit organisations with a 50 per cent discount on building approvals. He said the waiver had been "discussed” by councillors, who had agreed not to grant it.
The CEO also said that "other private businesses” issue building approvals "and it would seem inappropriate (for the council) to be offering a free service in direct competition with the private sector”.
"If you wish me to believe that other not-for-profit groups enjoy and agree to paying fees that is an absolute cover-up of the truth. I don't know of any not-for-profit that feels it should be paying to improve council owned facilities,” Mr Britton said in a second letter back to council.
"The CEO's comment around private business has no bearing on the issue of why not for profit organisations should be working their butts off in their spare time to improve facilities for the community on what is council owned land and in my opinion already a council responsibility.”
Mr Britton said there had been no follow-up response from the council.