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CVC back-flips on Maclean Sports Centre

cvreview-imagescClarence Valley Council (CVC) will consider changing the operation model of its Maclean Sports Centre from lease to management and, ultimately, align agreements across its three centres so one contractor can manage them. Previous lessees, McPherson Sports Pty Ltd, vacated the centre on September 17, after five troubled years, amid claims that CVC had not treated or communicated with them fairly. The centre has been dogged by defects since its construction in 2011, including ongoing ingress of water during rain events and cracking in the squash courts. Ironically, the council officer’s recommendation concurs with a McPherson Sports’ letter to CVC, which called for the adoption of “the same operating model for Maclean Sports Centre as exists for the Yamba and Grafton centres”. Council meeting papers indicate that the rent at Maclean was around $23,000 per annum. At the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre in Yamba, CVC pays the centre’s operator around $120,000 per annum and the operator retains 50 per cent of the booking fees and 100 per cent of the canteen take. The report to council, which advises “it is considered that a lease model for Maclean is not a desirable approach”, notes that the “council is responsible for structural maintenance and does not receive usage information from the operator under [the current] arrangement”. “Council is therefore unable to ascertain the value of the centre and the associated level of community use,” the report states. “It is recommended that this metric information be made mandatory under the conditions of the operating model to ensure that we have information available for all sporting centres when tendering in the future.” The council officer argues that it would be in the council’s best interest to align the management contracts across the three sports centres, so as to create an “opportunity to consider all three centres (or combinations of centres/facilities) under one operating contract in 2020, to foster greater utilisation of the types of facilities each centre provides and events/competitions they could cater for”. “This model provides equity in the operation of Council’s sports centres and enables greater opportunity for comparative analysis and future management,” the report to council states. The additional cost of aligning the Maclean centre with those in Yamba and Grafton, the report states, will be accounted for “when there will likely be some savings from current contracts by aligning all centres under a single tender”. The Maclean Sports Centre is currently closed “while maintenance is undertaken, and an interim contract is in progress”, the report to council states. The matter was considered at yesterday’s Civil & Corporate Committee meeting and a decision will be made at next week’s full meeting of council.