Discussions on hold between council and combined club

RENT INCREASE

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Port Douglas District Combined Club, better known as The Tin Shed, is concerned about a rent increase. IMAGE: Newsport.

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DISCUSSIONS between the Port Douglas District Combined Clubs (The Tin Shed) and Douglas Shire Council have been put on hold until the completion of a legal review with Council’s decision to increase the club’s rent by 131 per cent a key sticking point.

The club’s management committee – according to their August newsletter ‘The Tin Shed Rag’ – has appealed and tabled an offer, “which was rejected by Council”.

The Tin Shed is contending that the regular five-year rental reviews have not been undertaken by Council, which includes one in 2014. “If there is a bright side, Council has decided to back date payment to October 2016,” it says.

In response to why Council rejected the Tin Shed's offer to counter the 131% rent increase with another offer, Mayor Julia Leu said in accordance with the lease, due process was followed in undertaking a market review of the rental.

“The revised lease rental has been adopted by Council and the club was advised.

“In accordance with the lease, the appeal process has been initiated and while the legal review process is underway, further discussions have been postponed. It would be inappropriate for Council to act otherwise than as provided by the terms of the lease,” she said.

To the question why Council is refusing to meet with the club and not recognising it as a not-for-profit sports club; and the role it plays in the community, Leu provided the following response.

“While the legal review process is underway, further discussions have been postponed.

“As part of Council’s deliberations, in respect of the market review process, it was noted upon reviewing the Club’s financial information contained within their 2016 annual report, substantial income from gaming facilities including keno was as follows:
· Financial year 2014/15 - $1,563,780
· Financial year 2015/16 - $2,385,346
· Financial year 2017/18 - $2,508,485 (projected)

At a Council meeting earlier this month, and in response to a pre-lodgement application to increase the floor space in their dining facility, Council deemed the extension would be an “over development”. Council also felt there was a need for additional parking.

In her response to why Council has also refused to meet regarding the additional parking spaces and matters as they relate to the pre-lodgement application, Leu said Council is still considering issues associated with the Tin Shed’s proposal to add additional floor space to their dining facility.

“Council officers will bring back a report to Council with options regarding additional car parking that may be available, if any, prior to making a decision on the pre-lodgement enquiry.

“At present, the Tin Shed has not provided any options for Council to consider in relation to this key issue.”



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