All sides to be heard on stadium fee

Albury Council is yet to make a final decision on an upfront $100 fee at the Lauren Jackson Stadium.
Albury Council is yet to make a final decision on an upfront $100 fee at the Lauren Jackson Stadium.

ALBURY Council is under pressure to fast-track a solution to the latest Lauren Jackson Sports Centre dispute.

The council on Tuesday night will bring together the Albury Basketball Association and its six junior clubs, which are at odds about the introduction of an upfront $100 fee per season starting on July 1.

Mayor Kevin Mack and councillors Ross Jackson, Daryl Betteridge and Patricia Gould met with association directors on Thursday night and an independent moderator has been engaged for Tuesday’s meeting.

The outcome of that will determine when council makes a final decision on the issue.

Introduction of the up-front charge for junior basketball stalled this week when council put aside the stadium fees and charges schedule from adoption of the 2014-15 budget after the lodging of a 500-signature petition opposing the move.

The matter was due to return to council in late June, but the basketball association requested it be brought forward with registration days already in place and potential impacts on stadium cash-flow.

Senior basketball already operates on an up-front payment basis as does a majority of other junior sports including Auskick.

The switch from the current pay-as-you-go ticket system will generate $11,000 in operational savings at the stadium.

Council agreed to the change in April but Cr Mack said it wanted to hear from both sides before its implentation.

“It is important both sides have equal opportunity to speak,” he said.

Basketball association chairman Paul Gooding said an urgent resolution was required.

“Unless something gets resolved in the next few days we will run out of time to organise ourselves to cater for almost 1000 players,” he said.

“Junior basketball and netball are the only sports of any consequence in the stadium not doing this.

“It went haywire with some clubs saying they couldn’t afford $100 upfront.

“I can understand there are people with lesser means who could struggle with this. But we see it as a good business decision for Albury Basketball Association.”