$250,000 Cleve Sporting Bodies grant backflip

Cleve Sporting Bodies president Kelly Richardson in front of the damaged facility.
Cleve Sporting Bodies president Kelly Richardson in front of the damaged facility.

The Cleve District Council is likely to rescind a decision to provide $250,000 to the Cleve Sporting Bodies for its planned new community sporting complex to replace the clubrooms damaged in a storm last year.

The council voted in June to commit $250,000 toward the Cleve Multi-function Community Sports Centre, subject to grant funding.

However the council recently received legal advice recommending it rescind the decision and undertake community consultation on how, if at all, it should support the development.

The council commissioned Kelledy Jones Lawyers to conduct a review of the council’s decision to support the grant after receiving a letter of complaint from resident Grantley Siviour about the council’s handling of the matter.

“The issue wasn’t about the decision, or the legality, but the process of the council,” Mr Siviour said.

He said the elected members that voted yes had “decided to ignore all the advice given to them, local government procedures, Acts and guiding principles”.

In its 233-page report, Kelledy Jones Lawyers found the councillors did not have sufficient information available to them about to the legal relationship between the council and Cleve Sporting Bodies or the proposed sporting facility, to be able to make an informed, responsible and accountable decision.

It also found the council had not met its public consultation requirements.

The report made three recommendations for the council to consider including rescinding the motion to provide $250,000 to support the Cleve Sporting Bodies’ proposal.

It also recommended the council formalise the consent for Cleve Sporting Bodies to demolish the current facility and construct the proposed facility, and undertake public consultation on the proposal to contribute to the new facility and the nature of the contribution.

The council’s chief executive officer Peter Arnold will prepare a report for the October council meeting recommending the rescission of the motion passed at its June 26 meeting.

The Kelledy Jones Lawyers’ review also identified issues with the licences the council has with each of the sporting clubs in the district, including Cleve Sporting Bodies.

In a report to the September council meeting, Mr Arnold said under the licences, the council had “allowed sporting clubs to enjoy quiet possession of the property covered by the licence”.

“Clubs have been allowed to operate, maintain and develop ‘their’ facilities as they see fit.”

However, after this review, Mr Arnold said the relationships with sporting bodies would have to change.

“We have to become more prescriptive with the way we work with the sporting bodies,” he said.

“We will be having open discussion with these sporting bodies but not for a few months.”

Mr Siviour said he was happy with the review.

“They went through the process and I am happy with that,” he said.

“But it’s not up to me, it’s up to them how they go about it.”

Cleve Sporting Bodies declined to comment.

Cleve District Council has now put the decision out to public consultation.

An information paper is available on the council’s website cleve.sa.gov.au and at their offices.

Submissions on this matter should be made in writing, and received at the Council offices no later than 5.00pm, Friday 20 October.