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Council overhauls Waverley venue hire

Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre

Waverley Council will implement a new venue hiring process heralding the beginning of a ‘prioritisation process’.

Regular hire of Waverley indoor community venues will ensure applicants can annually apply for an ‘Expression of Interest’ to make a booking. A regular hire is to be defined as a person or group who wants to hire a Council indoor facility for 11 or more bookings in a calendar year.

Councillor Leon Goltsman lauded the move and said reviewing the existing process would help ensure fair access.

“The idea is some people hire our venues and they don’t live here, but we’ve got people who want to hire venues on a regular basis,” he said.

“I think it will help them really maximise the use of our facilities whilst being fair to local groups that want to use the venues.”

Council hopes the review will enable them to explore viable commercial opportunities and make improvements to the hiring process for Council halls and venues.

Mr Goltsman said Council will investigate a variety of options, though the review will focus mainly on indoor halls such as the Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre unveiled in June last year.

Formerly known as the Waverley Park Pavilion, the Centre includes a full-size indoor sports court, community room and function room for local clubs, groups, meetings and conferences.

Plans for redeveloping the site began in 2007, with Council aiming to deliver a multi-purpose recreational space to serve as a community hub, and not solely as a fitness centre.

Greens Councillor Dominic Wy Kanak called on Council a year ago to assert its stance and ensure fair trade principles were strictly followed in purchasing sporting equipment. There is now improved demand for Waverley venues.

“The Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre has been very successful in offering improved sporting space for Waverley’s Community,” Mr Wy Kanak said.

“I have also supported the Fair Trade Campaign by supplying the [Mid Western Regional Council of NSW] with Fair Trade sports balls from the Edmund Rice Centre that contributes some of that funding to remote Aboriginal communities.”

But Mr Wy Kanak voted against Council’s new venue hire process, arguing it may disadvantage local groups and sporting teams, particularly not-for-profit organisations.

“I will not support [the] over-commercialisation of Waverley’s venue hire if it means not-for-profit community groups and disadvantaged people in Waverley will find it more difficult to obtain meeting and event space,” he said.

The new venue hire process was approved at the September 17 Council meeting and will be enacted from January 1 next year.

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