ALBURY Council has baulked at the chance to enter into talks to purchase the derelict Lavington Sports Club site.
The opportunity to enter into an "exclusive dealing deed" with the owners of the building and associated land, the Penrith Panthers, was rejected in a confidential council session this week.
Panthers shut the sports club at short notice more than two years ago and have been unable to secure a buyer.
Council was previously approached to consider buying the property including carparks used for major event days at the adjacent ground it bought from the Panthers for $1.2 million in 2009.
The Border Mail has been told an earlier deal to buy the site included a sweetener of five National Rugby League premiership matches.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a sale is the high cost to demolish the sports club building which had a golden era in the 1970s and 1980s before poker machines were legalised in Victoria.
Council's draft minutes from this week's meeting showed Cr David Thurley and Cr Alice Glachan moved and seconded a motion to allow general manager Frank Zaknich to begin talks with the owners.
Cr Henk van de Ven declared a conflict of interest as he owns property in close proximity to the sports club.
Lavington Oval is about to undergo an $8 million redevelopment which includes $4 million of federal government funding and a further $3.5 million ratepayer contribution.
First stage works will be the creation of new playing fields and an amenities building to the east of the main oval on land between Centaur Road and Pearsall Street.
The 4.5 hectare block was bought by council in 2012 for less than the advertised amount of $1.25 million.
The council runs the risk of being caught short on carparking space for major events if the sports club site and carparking is sold to a residential property developer.
But mayor Kevin Mack said the sports club site was surplus to council needs.
"We already purchased land in that precinct and for four major events a year why would we spend over $2 million which includes the cost to knock it down," he said.