The valley’s surf lifesaving clubs (SLSC) at Yamba and Minnie Water will soon achieve tenure certainty for their clubhouses and land, following the NSW Government’s announcement of new long term lease agreements.
The clubs will no longer have to renegotiate leases on an annual basis with Clarence Valley Council, which manages the Clarence Coast Reserve Trust.
Yamba SLSC’s past president and current vice president, Alan Schofield, said the club formerly had a 40-year lease with the government “that expired a year and half ago”.
“We currently have an interim lease with the council,” he said.
“We’ll be reviewing the new lease [conditions] and going through it carefully to see how it imposes on the club and what we do from there.”
A department of Primary Industries position statement, Authorising surf life saving clubs’ use of Crown land in NSW, states that: “surf clubs operating under the standard surf club lease will pay the reserve manager statutory minimum rent as it is determined from time to time, or any greater number agreed between the surf club and the reserve manager.
“Where a surf club derives additional income from the premises for commercial uses that are not authorised fundraising activities, the surf club must achieve a market rent for that commercial use.”
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the new leases “mean the clubs can focus on what they do best: keeping our beautiful beaches safe for everyone”.
“Until now there was a lot of paperwork to be done by the clubs but the new agreement removes the need for clubs and councils to negotiate new lease arrangements and provides a 20-year minimum lease,” he said.
Tony Haven, president of Surf Life Saving NSW, welcomed the new initiative, too, saying in a media release that “clubs across the state would benefit enormously”.
“This is a significant milestone for our organisation,” he said. “For the first time in our history it will provide affordable and secure tenure for all of our surf lifesaving clubs on Crown land across the state.
“The agreement is the result of a long term dialogue between Surf Life Saving NSW and the government, along with valuable input from a number of councils throughout the state, to simplify the way clubs access Crown land.
“Surf clubs who have reached or are nearing the end of their current lease terms will be among the first to benefit from today’s announcement.”
About 80 percent of surf clubs in NSW are located on Crown land.
Minnie Water SLSC’s president, Paul Gallagher, said his club was awaiting formal notification; however, he welcomed the announcement.