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What happened at the September 2015 Meeting?

posted 23 Feb 2016, 22:33 by Christel Mex

Eighteen reports were considered this month and the lengthiest items included the upcoming consultation on the proposed 40 KPH speed limit (which I supported), playing of baseball at the Norwood Oval, the upcoming lease of the pie card stand, proposed road encroachments at the Bath Hotel development and the location for a significant donated sculpture.

 I seconded the motion to support the continuation of the playing of baseball at the Norwood Oval and moved an amendment to the motion that will extend the ‘peppercorn’ lease of the Don Pyatt Hall to the Norwood Rotary Club. Here's what I said that was not recorded in the minutes:

 I move this motion for two reasons – first, to draw attention to the amount of local benefit our community receives from the work of Rotary, and secondly around the principles of the original lease agreement and the opportunity costs that Rotary undertook in donating the building to the City of Norwood in 1974.

The Rotary Club of Norwood raises $20,000 to $25,000 per year for community projects, and it has been reported to me that 70% of this goes back to our local community. These projects include youth leadership training, especially in the area of science and technology courses for girls in Year 11.

Rotary set up the eastern branch of Operation Flinders, which helps at risk youth from our area who may be suffering from drug addiction and embarking in petty crime. Recently Rotary sponsored Ms Sara Borg, a local medical student, with a post-graduate scholarship to further her work in tropical diseases. In recent years Rotary also promoted awareness of mental health and sponsored small business awards. Those are just some examples in addition to their volunteer work for council events such as the Christmas Pageant and the food and wine festival.

I note that in their original lease agreement, clause three stated that the Rotary Club could have access to the hall at other times in addition to their regular weekly meetings as long as it wasn’t being used by another group. 

This is missing from the staff recommendation and would mean that we would be placing an additional burden on the Rotary Club when they have their training events for young people, the small business awards and public meetings such as the successful mental health public information sessions that attracted between 200 – 300 people.

The opportunity costs for Norwood Rotary in donating the hall to the City should not be understated.  If they kept the hall in the 1960s and sold it at commercial rates in 1989, they probably would have made close to $1million dollars – hence I doubt that Council will ever be able to meet its debt to the Rotary Club.

History cannot be ignored in this case.  There could be a strong case to not charge the Rotary Club for rental of any hall in the city due to its generosity to the city and the generous contributions that their volunteer members continue to give our community.

I therefore urge my fellow Councillors to support this motion.

Here's a link to the minutes: