Club appeals for rates relief

Commodore Russell Stephenson wrote to Local Government Minister Tony Simpson on May 24, outlining seven reasons why the club should be exempt from paying rates.

This came after a council decision on April 23 to charge rates to sailing clubs under Subiaco’s jurisdiction, including Mounts Bay and the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

In the letter, Mr Stephenson explained that the club should be exempt because it did not receive any services from Subiaco and had a nature reserve (Pelican Point Reserve) on its site that required the club to keep the grounds open and operate on a not-for profit basis.

‘Our tenure is somewhat unique in that we’re on an A-class reserve,’ he said. ‘We already pay significant rents to the Swan River Trust and the Department of Transport, so it’s not as if we’re not contributing.’

Mr Stephenson said that since Mounts Bay was much smaller and less funded compared to the Royal Perth Yacht Club, it was unfair to place it in the same position.

‘They were due to pay about $13,000 a year, whereas we were going to pay $8000,’ he said. ‘But they’ve got 2500 members, and we’ve got 250, and they’re operating budget is probably more than ours.’

Mr Simpson said he had received the communication from the club but could not comment further on what action might be taken.

Royal Perth Yacht Club general manager Stuart Walton said the club respected Subiaco’s decision to charge rates but would have liked to see some service.

‘We would feel a lot more comfortable if they were in a position to take control of the street access to the club, in terms of controlling parking,’ he said.

Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said an annual audit had recommended that rates be charged to clubs, given that other local governments were doing the same.

‘I think what the City has offered them is very generous, so that they don’t suddenly find themselves unbudgeted for an amount they didn’t know was coming,’ she said.