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PCYC slated for Grafton Sports Complex

Geoff Helisma |

The valley’s councillors have unanimously given “in-principle support to transfer the Grafton Sports Complex (Grafton Basketball Stadium) to the Police Citizens Youth Club”.

At the May 20 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, councillors imposed several conditions on the transfer that will, if the project comes to fruition, put the onus on PCYC to complete a “mutually beneficial negotiation … with the Grafton Basketball Association”, to ensure the association can continue with basketball at the centre while agreeing “to terminate its current lease” with CVC.

Other conditions include PCYC completing negotiations with the Grafton Ghosts Rugby League Football Club and NSW Crown Lands “which may involve the PCYC becoming trustee of the toilets/change rooms on the side of the basketball complex, as these are on Crown Lands” and that “a basketball complex is maintained for future use of the community” in the event that PCYC ceases to operate the complex.

The contract of sale, should the transfer take place, must “include the provision for formal registration on [the] title”, which, in the event of PCYC ceasing operations at the centre, that “the property is returned to CVC”.

The proposal includes a 500 square metre expansion of the complex, including the addition of a new mezzanine and multi-use rooms; upgrades to the building’s cladding, toilets and change rooms; and new parking facilities.

“The outcome will result in a more efficient utilisation of the building and provide much needed youth services for the Clarence Valley, expanding the actual number of permanently funded youth officers by two (two police youth offices are attached to the facility funded by the local area command),” the report to council advised councillors.

“The handover of the building and land to PCYC is contingent on them obtaining funding to modify and refurbish the building. A Sports Infrastructure grant application has been lodged.”

Clarence Valley Council will reap several advantages if the project goes ahead, including a “direct cost saving of over $100,000 per annum based on current allocations,” the report to council stated.

“In addition, a PCYC condition report identified $456,000 needed to be spent over the next 10 years on the complex, [including] $238,000 on the building fabric, with $160,000 of this in the next four years.

“In effect, [CVC] should be spending around $45,000 pa not $14,000 pa….

“The present facility’s written down value is around $6.1 million (the insurance replacement value is over $8 million), but the complex is only bringing in direct income of less than $50,000, a 0.98 per cent return on investment” – these figures are pending a forthcoming valuation.

“The complex stands idle much of the time, with a very low utilisation rate; the PCYC would activate the site, not only running basketball, but a myriad of other sporting and training activities identified in their feasibility document.

“PCYC also now provides training for disadvantaged youth in job skills, which again is badly needed, given the valley’s high youth unemployment rate.

“Already PCYC has been negotiating with the partners in the Clarence Correctional Centre (John Laing and SERCO) on mutual aims and supporting funding.”