23 May 2016 Council Clarifies Position on Deep Sea Fishing Club

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23 May 2016 Council Clarifies Position on Deep Sea Fishing Club

In response to the media and community interest over the question of extending the lease for the Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club Ltd for a further 10 years beyond 2021, Council would like to provide further clarification of the current position.

“No one wants the Club to be in difficulties,” said Andrew Beswick, Council’s Director Business Services. “A revitalised Deep Sea Fishing Club would be a fantastic attraction at that location. Most people agree that an extension of the lease would be the best outcome, but if it was that simple, then why haven’t we done it already?

“If Council recommends extending the lease without allowing it to go through the usual open market process – and writes to the NSW Minister for Primary Industries saying that – he still has to sign it off and he’s made clear we have to provide evidence that supports our decision. That evidence has to answer a set of criteria set down by the Minister.”

These criteria are:

·         Whether the tenant is a good and complying tenant. This has not been satisfied as the tenant was in Administration.

·         The nature of new capital proposed. This can only be tested by running an Expression of Interest in the open market and that hasn’t been done.

·         Whether the proposed development is appropriate for the site and consistent with the reserve purpose. Again this can only be tested by running an Expression of Interest in the open market and that hasn’t been done.

·         A lease term that is reasonable to enable the tenant to recoup its investment. The financial information provided by the Club shows it can recoup the money invested within the current lease term, so there is no need for an extension.

·         Rent that is market rent. The Club’s rent is heavily subsidised by ratepayers and the Club wants a subsidy to continue for a further ten years beyond its current lease.

“What you also have to consider is that the club’s financiers promised to help them on the basis of their current lease which ends in 2021,” added Mr Beswick. “If they are now saying that the lease has to be longer before the money is forthcoming, then it’s a matter for the Club and its financial backers to sort out.

“The Club’s lease still has five years to run and Council is very happy to negotiate on the conditions of this lease to assist the Club. We are offering to help the Club improve the lease premises and look at possible development of the site within the existing lease term, including a new road, beer garden and the addition of shops.

“We’ve also explained we’re happy to run an Expression of Interest process to establish the best use of the site, which will enable the Club and others to participate in an open market process for a new lease immediately following the expiry of the current lease.”

A report on the request for an extension of the Club’s lease from 2021 to 2031, will go before Coffs Harbour City Council on Thursday, May 26.​