TS LIsmore navy cadets on parade at the Ballina Tattoo 2019.
TS LIsmore navy cadets on parade at the Ballina Tattoo 2019.

‘Poor judgment’: Council slammed over navy cadets decision

A DECISION to remove the navy cadets from their Ballina home of 32 years and offer it to the SES has been slammed as "very poor judgment".

NSW SES Deputy Zone Commander Mark Somers said his organisation would not be interested in that site.

"We would not be interested in getting any other organisation out of their current home," he said.

Mr Somers said the council had not contacted him to offer the site or discuss the possibility yet.

"We are looking for a purpose-built site for an emergency service, something that has to cater for all of our requirements," he added.

"From memory, that site seems to me to be a bit small."

President of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch, Dick Wills, said he was "extremely disappointed" with the council's decision, and confirmed the TS Lismore Naval Reserve were not notified the motion was to be discussed.

"Although the cadets have been leasing for 32 years, the site was developed and care for years before by the Defence Force," he said.

"I'm disappointed with the content of the discussion (at council); it started as a motion based on financial considerations, but thanks to an amendment process that consideration was lost for a much more opportunistic concept, which disappoints me.

"In the discussion, there was no consideration of the longevity, the history or the importance of the Defence Force Cadets unit plays in the community.

"The decision was made with very poor judgment and very poor knowledge."

Mr Wills addressed the council about the topic during their meeting last Thursday, when they agreed to not renew the lease and to explore further use for the council-owned land.

The motion estated that "council advise the Australian Navy Cadets of its intention that upon the expiry of the existing lease, the lease will move to month to month to allow council to receive a report on the use of the land for the benefit of the entire community such as the SES".

The building at 26 Endeavour Close, Ballina, has been the Australian Navy Cadets - TS Lismore site, leased from the council, since 1988. Council has also subsidised the rates on the land.

The TS Lismore Naval Reserve Cadets were contacted for comment.



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