Council to pick up pieces

Kevin Mack: clubs need to have a viable and sustainable future.
Kevin Mack: clubs need to have a viable and sustainable future.

ALBURY mayor Kevin Mack has provided some reassurance to affiliate groups of the embattled North Albury Sports Club once its fate has been sealed.

The council owns the Bunton Park ground and club and Cr Mack said yesterday user groups including North Albury Football-Netball Club and North Albury Bowls Club wouldn’t be abandoned in a time of crisis.

The parent club is in the hands of administrator Chris Chamberlain, who said this week the sports club was a “day to day” proposition with debts of around $900,000 and a lukewarm response to the collection of $250,000 in member pledges.

Albury Council is owed around $60,000 by the sports club and has been unable to renew a lease with it since December 2012.

“Our job is to provide facilities for community use and our preferred model is existing user groups remain,” Cr Mack said.

“But we are also creditors and we need to recover our debt.

“Our role will be to pick up the pieces when everything is settled.

“We won’t abandon those clubs, but they need to have a viable and sustainable future.”

The affiliate clubs have also gone into administration with their bank accounts also frozen.

Any funds they have will be used to repay creditors.

Mr Chamberlain said yesterday the affiliated bodies had the option of separating from the existing arrangements.

“If at some point this all goes pear-shaped they can head off on a different tangent and look to incorporate themselves,” he said.

“It might be a decision they may make regardless of where this all goes.”

The Hoppers’ netball teams will compete in Ovens and Murray finals this weekend and a major bowls tournament will be played at the North Albury greens starting today.

Cr Mack said the council had been frustrated in attempts to get sports club directors to the table to discuss a new lease.

He added the North Albury situation would spark a review of all clubs using council-owned facilities including re-education on their requirements.

“Everything will be reviewed and not just the ones in trouble,” he said.

“There was probably some inevitability around what has happened, but we can’t afford to lose them.”

Cr Mack said a newly floated option of the North Albury and Murray Magpies football-netball clubs becoming co-tenants at Bunton Park was premature.