Community groups and residents who use community facilities are urged to check out a new draft Facilities Leasing and Licencing Policy which is on public exhibition until May 14.
The policy clarifies Central Coast Council’s approach to rental charges, tenure, maintenance responsibilities and the process for leasing and licensing existing and new sites.
Council developed the new Draft Facilities Leasing and Licencing Policy following an extensive review of the use and management of more than 300 community facilities.
During the review process, community engagement was encouraged through stakeholder discussions, workshops and an online survey.
Residents said they wanted council to provide and support a network of affordable and maintained facilities and that these formed the active hearts of local communities.
There are eight categories of tenant to which council may lease or licence a community facility or commercial building.
The policy talks about the length of a lease or licence which council may offer to each category of tenant.
It talks about the process for offering a new lease or licence on expiry of an existing lease or licence and states that new lease and licence agreements will not include as-of-right renewal options or entitlements to additional lease terms.
The policy says that lease or licence terms will recognise the need for council to respond to changing community needs over time, as well as the need for tenants to have certainty of tenure if they are seeking to invest in capital improvements to a facility.
The lease or licence terms recognise the need for council to minimise risk associated with the management of its assets and that proposed large investments into or onto council owned or managed assets may be subject to specific detailed agreements between council and the proponent.
Community facilities include arts and cultural centres, childcare, community centres and halls, senior citizen and youth centres, sports grounds and associated buildings.
The policy does not apply to surf clubs or seasonal hire or short term arrangements, or community facilities which are managed by staff or Section 355 committees.
Mayor Lisa Matthews said the review was important to provide clear equity across council’s portfolio of community facilities in a consistent and transparent manner.
“Our community facilities provide opportunities for sport, recreation, cultural activities, events, meeting spaces, social gatherings, learning, volunteering and business premises,” Mayor Matthews said.
“Council is committed to continue to provide community facilities at an affordable rate and to keep them maintained to a standard that the community expects.”
She said the new Draft Facilities Leasing and Licencing Policy was a good news story for the community with many organisations providing vital services and programs through the wide range of community facilities that are leased, licenced or hired.
The draft policy went to the council meeting on March 9 where the councillors agreed to put it on public exhibition for a period of 60 days to get community feedback.
The policy is 18 pages and public feedback closes on Thursday, May 14.
You can find it here: yourvoiceourcoast.com/community-facilities-review
Meeting & Media release, Mar 9
Agenda Item 3.3
Central Coast Council
Reporter: Merilyn Vale