Rugby club and council in standoff over $6m sportsfields

THE Wollongbar Alstonville Rugby Union Club says it will not use the new $6million sports fields at Wollongbar unless Ballina Shire Council changes the location of the proposed clubhouse.

Concerns have been raised that the building is located too far away from the fields.

The club is reconsidering its offer to contribute $300,000 to the cost of the facility.

Tony Pennisi from the rugby club said at this stage members would prefer to keep their headquarters at Lyle Park.

"We are thinking we could use the new grounds as a training facility," he told councillors.

"It would not be in our best interests to go to the new clubhouse.

"We are also concerned that three or four different codes would be put into the one building, adding up to more than 500 members.

"The new clubhouse will be located away from the field and we believe that will have a significant impact on our revenue.

"It would affect our ability to be self-funding.

"We see no future-proofing in the current layout - there is not room for our club to grow."

The rugby club had promised to contribute $300,000 towards the new clubhouse, but Mr Pennisi said the club was now reconsidering that offer.

"In this current format, it won't suit us," he said.

Despite the concerns, councillors have voted to adopt the proposal to build the shared change room and amenities building at the original site.

The council also voted to meet with the rugby union club to address concerns.

Mayor David Wright said they would be meeting with the club to sort out the problems.

"I think these are issues that we can work through," he said.

"These are $6million fields and we want them to be used."


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