Steve Mackney
Steve Mackney

Sport lose out on grant allocation

SPORTS clubs in Lismore are set to be the big loser when the 2010-11 budget takes effect on July 1.

Lismore City Council intends to withhold funds of up to $200,000 which over the past four years have been allocated as Urban and Rural Sporting Fields Grants.

The proposal will be put to the council next week, but it seems a foregone conclusion that sports clubs will not have that significant backing in the coming fiscal year.

Football Far North Coast general manager Steve Mackney has written to the council urging to reconsider its position.

Mackney insists that because most grounds in the city are council-owned, with clubs as tenants, it is the responsibility of the council to at least contribute to ongoing capital works .

“The diminishment of grants for the 2010-11 year may establish a precedent that has an adverse implication for our community for years to come,” Mackney wrote.

But deputy mayor Isaac Smith has moved to reassure the sporting community that the non-allocation of grants is a one-off which has been dictated by a need for increased funds in other areas.

“This should only be the case for one year,” Cr Smith said.

“Lismore is a strong sporting town so we can expect to have the sporting grants back next year.”

Cr Smith – a sports enthusiast – said that while it was regrettable to take the money from the clubs, it had to come from somewhere.

“It’s been a tough year and I acknowledge that this situation is not ideal but there are areas like roads and community service which we need to attend to,” he said.

Cr Neil Marks, who sits on the sports and recreation policy advisory group, is saddened that sports clubs will take the brunt of the hit while other areas escape relatively unscathed.

“Other areas are set to be docked 10-15 per cent, but it looks like the sporting clubs will get nothing for 12 months, which is disappointing,” he said.

“Clubs come to us for grants to do work on council-owned properties but for this coming year we will have to turn them away.”

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