Clubs urged to have say on facilities policy

The Wakatipu Sports User Group is reminding sports clubs to put in submissions to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's draft community facilities funding policy.

The policy has been drafted to strike a balance between ratepayer-funded and direct user charges for sporting, arts or culture groups occupying council land or buildings.

It proposes to charge clubs 7.5% on food and beverage sales, and 5% commission on golf and tennis coaching revenue.

Some clubs' leases would also be changed to include payments to the council for overheads, maintenance and insurance.

Council general manager of community services Paul Wilson said the charges were aimed at recovering a small portion of the cost directly from the users of facilities.

The council wanted a consistent new framework for setting charges and rentals for facilities, including charges for sports fields.

Wakatipu Sports User Group spokesman Simon Spark said about 20 people attended last week's meeting between sports clubs and the council.

Mr Wilson represented the council and addressed concerns and questions sports club members had about the policy, he said.

The meeting helped inform members before they made submissions.

Mr Spark said each club would make a submission on the policy and the user group would also put in a "generic" submission.

"I agree that there has to be a policy that is fair and equitable for everybody.

"I don't think any club would disagree that they have a financial obligation for operating on council land," he said.

However, volunteers put a lot of work into helping the club's profits and takings from the bar and food facilities were put straight back into the club.

"People work hard in clubs and if the council is going to take 7.5% commission on any bar takings, it will be a bitter pill to swallow for some organisations," he said.

Any fully commercial operation on council land should pay its fair share but the costs should not be prohibitive, he said.

He welcomed the council's approach in consulting the clubs and was glad of the opportunity to give feedback on the policy.

"It's a good idea for sports clubs to not just be negative about it.

"Let's come up with some solutions and alternatives that the council can work with," he said.

Submissions close on Friday.


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