Council split on funding appeal

Council split on funding appeal

THE City of Joondalup has listed $675,000 to be considered in the 2015-16 budget to contribute to upgrades at the Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club.

Councillors at last Tuesday’s meeting voted seven votes to six to list the money in 2015-16 of the five-year capital works program subject to Lotterywest also contributing $675,000 and the club contributing $350,000.

Mullaloo SLSC requested the funding to refurbish its building’s first floor to include an administration centre, remodelled members area, redesigned training room, additional storage and a cafe, estimated to cost $1.7 million.

President Carlo Tenaglia said a refurbishment would allow the club to continue to “serve and protect” the community and expand membership.

“Our biggest threats don’t come just from the ocean – it will be the lack of members in the future when they can’t afford to be a part of this club and when we don’t have enough equipment and facilities to support our community properly,” he said.

Club director Vicki Rasmussen said the cafe, proposed to be leased for about $92,000 a year, would provide the club with “a healthy financial return”.

“These funds will ensure the club will continue to deliver outstanding lifesaving and educational service,” she said. This includes expanding patrols to the north of Mullaloo.

City officers had recommended the council not provide funding but agree to “give further consideration to funding a refurbishment”.

Mayor Troy Pickard moved an alternate motion to list the funding for consideration in 2015-16 saying it was clear a facility upgrade was needed.

“A strong indication is the fact the club has proposed to spend significant funds of their own money,” he said.

As part of the motion, funding was listed for consideration subject to the club paying rent from the income it would receive from the proposed cafe.

The fee would recognise the club’s financial contribution to the project and that it is a not-for-profit community service organisation.

Mr Pickard stressed the development of a cafe would require development applications to address land use and parking requirements.

Cr Brian Corr said he did not think the council should allow a commercial tenancy to be developed on the land “marked for recreational purposes”.

“We have earmarked this general area for a cafe ourselves so where will this leave our plans?” he asked.

Mr Pickard said it would not “present a barrier” for the City.

Cr Corr said he felt the club was “in a healthy financial position” given it would be able to contribute $350,000 to the project.

Cr Geoff Amphlett agreed, stating the club had an operating surplus of $89,500 this year.

“Times are tough and we’ve got a whole list of people who are currently asking us for money,” he said.

“The five-year plan currently stands at $6,253,658. This club has come to us and asked us for $675,000 so they can open a commercial restaurant. That equates to 0.7 per cent of rates.”

Mr Pickard said though the money was not budgeted for, it did not necessarily mean rates would increase to cover the funding.

Cr Mike Norman said it would be a significant challenge for the City to find the funds without affecting rates.

Crs Corr, Amphlett, Kerry Hollywood, Tom McLean, Russ Fishwick and Teresa Ritchie voted against the motion.