Parking will not be free

A FINAL decision on the venue for the Ovens and Murray Football-Netball League grand final hangs in the balance with the Panthers Group confirming it will charge a fee for the use of its car park at Lavington Oval.

The O and M board will meet on Monday night to decide the venue for the grand final which has been played at Lavington since 1995.

Panthers Group chief executive officer Warren Wilson said last night his organisation was entitled to derive income from its asset to pay rates on the former licensed club land, including the car park.

“I am not going to charge the council, I will charge anybody who wants to park there,” he said.

“Or if the council wants to do me a deal, I will do a deal.

“I’ve got a vacant block of land which is costing me rates every year.

“I want to recover that.”

The Panthers Group closed its Lavington club on Sunday night.

Wangaratta has submitted a rival bid to host the grand final at Norm Minns Oval and is in the box seat to reclaim the event if a car park deal cannot be sorted out between the Panthers Group, Albury Council, Lavington Panthers Football-Netball Club and the O and M.

The council owns Lavington Oval and submits a joint bid with Lavington to host the O and M grand final.

Mayor Kevin Mack said last night the council would have sufficient space for car parking at the grand final without the former sports club car park.

It has access to a grassed area above the sealed car park and would open a vacant paddock it owns at the eastern end of the ground.

The vacant paddock was used for the A-League soccer match earlier this year.

Cr Mack said gates had been created for fans to walk through to the oval from the paddock at the eastern end.

“We’ve got enough land to park vehicles,” he said.

“We’ve got access to the ground at the eastern end which was used for the A-League match.

“For convenience purposes we would like to use the sports club car park.

“But we are not going to pay an arm and a leg, trust me.”

O and M general manager Aaron McGlynn said last night the league needed power at all entrances to use ticket counting machines.

He said the power wasn’t available at the eastern end of the ground.