Clarence Valley Council says it expects the Maclean Sports Centre to be closed for about a month, depending on the timing of the next council meeting.
Responding to the Independent’s enquiry (via email), CVC’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said that the timing of the CVC election had interfered with the process of finding a new lessee, despite the required three months notice given by McPherson Sports.
“The tender process takes at least three months to proceed including preparation of documentation, review of submissions and approval by council,” Mr Anderson said.
“Given the timing of the council election, the earliest council could have considered this would have been its first meeting in October.
“The time provides an opportunity to review the operating model, and while we have taken action to have interim managers put in place, this will have to be considered by council at the first available opportunity in October.
“Building maintenance will be done in the meantime.
“This information and timeframe was reported to council’s meeting in August 2016.
“Negotiations have been held with interim licensees, however there are a couple of items on which we need to seek the direction of council and therefore a decision cannot be made until council meets next month.”
Mr Anderson said that third party businesses and groups that operate at the centre have been notified of the temporary closure and that there were “no issues” outstanding.
“All regular groups have been advised and have been willingly accommodated at alternative venues or at the centre [including] a one-off booking by the Pacific Valley Christian School on October 13,” he said.
Meanwhile, re-elected councillor, Jim Simmons, expresses his opinion in a letter in today’s edition. He writes that the temporary closure of the centre was “at no time … a part of Council’s decision”.
He writes that advice from staff “did not include closing the Centre for any period and Councillors were assured that temporary arrangements would be put in place, pending calling of tenders for future management or lease”.
He is critical of the council’s “treatment of the McPhersons”.
“They are long time respected residents and business operators and had offered to negotiate a way to keep the centre functioning while Council found new operators,” he writes.
“I hope the new Council will bring more understanding, respect and communication regarding important community facilities such as the Maclean Indoor Sports Centre.”