Development discount for Ballina RSL

By MARY MANN

A DISPUTE between the Ballina RSL Club and the shire council over $100,000 worth of public infrastructure works has been resolved after council decided to write off most of the bill.

Development consent to carry out a $5 million makeover of the River Street club was granted in March, on the basis the club agree to construct a pathway, landscape and install other infrastructure works at a reserve next to the club.

But the RSL Club said it simply didn't have enough money in its piggy bank to cough up the $100,000 asked for.

Councillors said yesterday it was unfair the club should have to fund the money in light of the significant amount of money it already contributed to the community, including $200,000 it annually contributes to needy groups.

"The RSL Club is an integral part of the community, to which it has already contributed a lot," Cr Alan Brown said.

"The $60,000 should be sufficient to abide by the requirements to have the area beautified."

Club general manager Bill Coulter said he was satisfied and relieved with yesterday's council decision.

"It is fair and we are happy to be contributing towards the park works," he said.

Council's general manager Paul Hickey said the $100,000 originally requested was one third of the amount it would cost for the public works proposed for the park.

The Department of Lands had recommended the club fund some of the costs because it was leasing 12sqm of Crown land to carry out the extensions of the club, Mr Hickey said.

Mayor Phillip Silver said it was unfair for the club to have to pay the lease on the Crown land, which would cost the club $28,000 per year, as well as one third of the park infrastructure costs.



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