SPORTING clubs in Tamworth will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of a fee restructure for council-owned facilities, set to be handed down by the end of the year.
Tamworth Regional Council’s acting horticulture and parks manager Murray Russell says the fee restructure should provide a more equitable system for the town’s sporting ground users.
We need to make sure we’re not killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
Mr Russell said council was looking at establishing a hierarchy of the region’s sporting grounds to create a fairer playing field for the various users.
“Council has identified inconsistencies and is reviewing how charges are applied for sporting fields,” Mr Russell said.
The plans are only in the early stages, but some concerns from the sporting community are filtering through.
Northern Inland Football president Tim Coates says “affordability is the bottom line” for a number of sports in the region.
“Sport is a big part of the economy in Tamworth,” Mr Coates said.
“We need to make sure we’re not killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
“If it goes up by 20 per cent or something similar, we would look at increasing fees. I don’t know many businesses that could take a 20 per cent hit.”
Mr Coates said the move was positive because it would give a clearer idea “who does what, when and where”.
Under the proposed tiered system, Number One Oval on Kable Ave would be classified as a premier ground, a facility the Tamworth Swans are prepared to pay for.
“We’re supportive of the concept,” president Josh McKenzie said.
“We will pay our way and that’s fair enough. Council have done it the right way, with extensive consultation.”
But Mr McKenzie is anticipating costs will go up for the club and said both of Tamworth’s AFL clubs were being penalised, in a sense, for helping improve Number One’s facilities.
The Swans president said part of the reason Number One was considered premier was because lighting allowedfor use after dark, which the Swans and Tamworth Kangaroos played a role in obtaining.