Council responds to possible legal action over services

SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council and Stanthorpe Sports Association remain at loggerheads over the upkeep of the McGlew Street sporting complex.    

The SSA has previously claimed the council  'walked away' from a lease agreement  about service levels of the sporting fields, though overall maintenance had continued.     

In a written statement this afternoon, the council advised legal correspondence had been received from Catanzaro Solicitors on behalf of the Stanthorpe Sports Association last Wednesday, indicating that legal counsel has now been briefed and that the Association would undertake legal proceedings if their demands are not met.    

In a public statement, SDRC has responded that council staff have attempted to work with the SSA to deliver a service that is equitable and of a similar standard to other sporting organisations across the region.  

"To this end, council has facilitated meetings for the executive of the association with both the councillors and officers to determine the ways in which the higher order maintenance can be delivered to the McGlew Street sporting complex," the statement read.   

"To further assist the Association in the delivery of higher standards of maintenance, Council offered at no cost to the Association a commercial lawn mower for use exclusively by the Association.  

"After a protracted period of time, this offer of the gifted mower, valued at over $4,500, was rejected by the Association on the grounds that there was no room or space available in any of the numerous sheds or building located at the McGlew Street Sports complex to store the mower nor were there any persons or volunteers available from any of the clubs to operate the mower, despite the very high levels of membership and support from the sporting clubs operating under the auspice of the association.    

"Southern Downs Regional Council has also facilitated meetings between the Stanthorpe Sports Association and the Women in Custody Program to ascertain if this may be an option for the Association to consider in relation to higher order maintenance.   "Council is unclear of the status of the application submitted, but supports the good work undertaken by the Women in Custody Program."     "

Southern Downs Regional Council is disappointed with the receipt of the legal correspondence, especially given the offers and options that have been provided to the Association, and has no alternative but to engage legal representation at ratepayers' expense."   

In rejecting the offer of the mower, the SSA instead requested a payment of $25,000 per year for a three year period ($75,000) from the ouncil, which would allow the association to purchase its own plant and undertake the required higher order maintenance, a request the council declined.   

Since the offer of the commercial lawn mower was made to the association, the council  has been approached by at least three other sporting organisations from across the region seeking to use the mower or to have it gifted to their group.    

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