Unfortunately Council’s planning department have recommended the DA for the redevelopment of the Bowling Club for approval without 5-a-side football. Tonight at 6pm Councillors will vote on this recommendation and if approved it will be the beginning of the end for our 5-a-side facility.
Soccer is one of the most popular social sporting events in Australia and the most popularly played sport worldwide. It is well known as a highly accessible sport as it is easy to learn the basic rules and it requires minimal specialist equipment.
Five-a-side soccer is a particularly good option for social sport due to team size and game length. Weekly games are an important social and community activity for our participants as well as an excellent and accessible form of organised outdoor exercise.
The popularity of five-a-side soccer is demonstrated not only by our large number of participants but also by the fact that 69% of respondents to the Council’s own survey were in favour of the continued use of the site for five-a-side soccer.
The one thing which soccer, including five-a-side soccer, does require is appropriate fields such as those currently provided at the site. If these facilities are lost, there are no other facilities for hosting five-a-side soccer in the Randwick local government area.
Kikoff appreciates that there is also interest in other sports, such as basketball, at the site and believes that as far as possible facilities for a variety of sports should be offered throughout Randwick. However, to abolish the fields in favour of another sporting facility would be to eliminate a popular, established option that continues to gain popularity. Assuming that Council is concerned about the health and wellbeing of its constituents, it defies common sense to remove a well-subscribed sporting option.
Council have told us we will have plenty of notice to wind up our operations which should give us at least three months to honour existing bookings, coaching programs and leagues.
Yesterday we contacted Councillors with a plea to retain the 5-a-side football and we gave the following reasons:
- The wider community support the retention of KIKOFF in its current location. This is supported by individual submissions made to Randwick Council and own Council’s own community consultation.
- There is a 950 signature petition supporting the retention of the facility. Most of the petitioners are from the Randwick local government area. The petition opposed to KIKOFF scarcely exceeds 25 signatures as per Councils report for the Ordinary meeting last July.
- The facility provides a sporting, fitness and social hub for hundreds of local residents every week, cancelling KIKOFF’s existing use lease will adversely affect these local residents on many levels.
- There has been no alternative site provided for KIKOFF: the new fields at Heffron Park will not be provided to KIKOFF, but either administered by Council or have their management tendered out – this provides zero guarantees KIKOFF can continue to serve Randwick’s community. There is also no timeline for the tender process or construction and as a result it could be years until such a facility at Heffron is available to the community.
- Replacing a revenue generating facility that serves a vital local service for thousands of Randwick City residents annually with a ratepayer funded car park could be considered poor value for ratepayer’s money?
- “Randwick Council wants its residents to drive cars instead of keeping fit”. That is the message that is sent when acar park replaces the KIKOFF facility. Please support the positive message of staying active by allowing KIKOFF to retain its existing use and continue to serve the local community – services include: fitness, social, youth and seniors physical activities, coaching etc.
- KIKOFF is stridently committed to being a good neighbour. It is willing to do mediation meetings with any concerned residents and is open to adjusting its operations to placate its neighbours, including earlier closing times. This is true despite the comments from the local Precinct Committee who have twice refused to attend mediation with KIKOFF.
- KIKOFF have been exemplary tenants for Council, they’ve never missed or been late with lease payments and have always responded to requests immediately and positively.
- The facility provides a secure long term revenue stream for Council. If the activity being done is considered worthy, then this revenue stream should be secured instead of being replaced by a car park.
- Noise at the site is actually not excessive. KIKOFF commissioned an independent acoustic report that says so, Council have refused to conduct one despite KIKOFF’s repeated requests to do so.
- KIKOFF is willing to relocate to the northern side of the clubhouse where there are no residential dwellings nearby – or a completely alternative site. It is also willing to fund an acoustic wall to deflect any potential noise to the oval.
- KIKOFF retains a Joint Venture agreement with the former Bowls Club. It could be considered unfair on KIKOFF (a local small business) to cancel a legal ongoing existing use contract because the Bowls Club went bankrupt and the Council became the new ‘partner’/’landlord’? At the very least, the cancellation of the agreement would have to be highly justified considering the many adverse impacts cancellation would cause on the community, perhaps in this instance the justifications to cancel KIKOFF’s lease are not there?
- The Council Report tabled for the July 2014 Council Meeting upon which councillors based their current decision could be considered unbalanced. KIKOFF were also poorly advised by Council not to lobby on its and its community’s behalf in the lead up to this meeting, which was unfair as their voices were not heard or considered. Councillors made their decision without full knowledge of all the issues and relied only upon the opinions presented in the report without actual facts.