Council agrees to rent waiver for cafe but is mum on detail

ISSUES: The iconic Shelly’s on the Beach Cafe could be demolished to make way for a new restaurant.
ISSUES: The iconic Shelly’s on the Beach Cafe could be demolished to make way for a new restaurant. Rebecca Lollback

BALLINA Shire Council has sought advice from the Division of Local Government over its decision not to disclose specific information about a rent waiver for the owners of Shelly's on the Beach Cafe.

The issue was moved into a confidential session of the last Commercial Services Committee meeting.

A final vote on the matter at last week's ordinary meeting was also discussed during a confidential session.

The minutes from that meeting show the following motion was passed: "That Council authorises the General Manager to implement option two as per the options section of this report".

The council will also write to relevant ministers in an effort to resolve the issue of the council acquiring Crown land, which would allow the new development to proceed.

The council's resolution to allow general manager Paul Hickey to "implement option two as per the options section of this report" gives no indication of whether the rent will be waived.

According to the Division of Local Government's Guidelines on the Closure of Council Meetings, resolutions made during confidential sessions should be "sufficiently clearly framed to enable the public to identify the decision that has been made by the council".

But Mr Hickey said the guidelines also said councils needed to be careful to "ensure that the wording of the motion does not disclose any confidential information".

"Based on these discussions (with the DLG) the only advice I can provide at this stage is that the council has authorised the general manager to negotiate some rental relief with the tenants, although I cannot divulge the amount of that relief.

"The relief is due to the need for council to compulsory acquire additional Crown land to allow their redevelopment to proceed, and to also recognise that the property will be under construction for a period of time."

Topics:  ballina shire council

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