Lower Sports Council members plan to veto talks of merger
- Clarence Valley Sports Council meeting at Grafton Council Chambers today (Mon, Feb 22) at 4.30pm
- Lower Clarence Sports Council meeting at Maclean Council Chambers today (Mon, Feb 22) at 7pm
A LOWER Clarence Sports Council delegate plans to veto a proposal to amalgamate with Clarence Valley Sports Council later today.
For those up in Grafton this merger would just be a dash for cash.
Bruce Green said he will 'rail-road' the idea to ensure the two sports councils which come under the Clarence Valley Council umbrella continue to operate independently.
Both the Clarence Valley and Lower Clarence sports councils will be briefed by Clarence Valley Council in separate meetings today about a proposed merger.
"I'm going to move a motion to remove all this garbage," Green said.
"I want to rail-road it before it even gets through, never to be mentioned again.
"I'm just looking after the best interests of the Lower Clarence clubs. I can see some of the benefits of a merger, but clubs aren't going to drive down to Grafton to listen to them squabbling about what's going on in Grafton, and vice versa, what's happening at Iluka doesn't interest people from Grafton."
Green believes an amalgamation would result in a 'dash for cash' effect, particularly from sporting clubs who are currently members of Clarence Valley Sports Council.
A representative of the Lawrence Rodeo, Maclean Agricultural Show and Lower Clarence Pony Club committees, Green suggested Lower Clarence Sports Council funds typically took longer to distribute than their Grafton-based counterparts.
"We have trouble spending our allowance each year and get to a second or third round whereas Grafton clubs have to take a cut," he said.
"So for those up in Grafton this merger would just be a dash for cash. Whoosh and it's all gone."
A motion was tabled at the Clarence Valley Council meeting in December to join the two existing sports councils in an effort to streamline services and make it more cost efficient.
"Council in 2008 resolved to have a preference to ultimately have a single representation for sport through one entity," the motion said.
Big River Sailing Club's representative on the Lower Clarence Sports Council, Hariet Woodrow, said the move was not in the best interests of sporting clubs.
"The funding pool has for many years been evenly split between the two councils, and those funds distributed to local sporting member clubs for projects at grass roots level," Woodrow said.
"The proposed amalgamation seeks to apply the funding to higher strategic purposes such as council planned infrastructure and promotion. Before long there will be no grass roots project funds.
"The current sports councils are one of the very few ways the council engages regularly with its community stakeholders in a regular dialogue. Can you put a price on that?"
Chairman of both sports councils, Cr Craig Howe said he recognised positives and negatives with the proposed merger, but it was a decision for the committees themselves to make.
"The size of a combined committee will definitely be big but so will the size of the money allocated," Cr Howe said.
"It will give us the opportunity to do bigger projects if needed but it won't take money away from the smaller clubs.
"The downside is the fact people will be travelling for each opposite meeting."
Fellow councillor Arthur Lysaught threw his support behind the amalgamation.
"I am a great believer in the One Valley model," Cr Lysaught said.
"For too long we have listened to the differences between the towns of the Valley and it is time to stop.
"Both of these committees have worked successfully apart. I cannot see a reason why they can't do that together."