Sport clubs up the pressure on council over water, rates

GLADSTONE sporting clubs are turning up the pressure on council in a bid to get more water and to have "unnecessary" infrastructure charges scrapped.

Wallabys Rugby League Club president Andrew Lockwood is calling on all sporting clubs in the Gladstone region to unite as one and to take their case to council, or state government. Mr Lockwood said a meeting will be held next month and hopefully an official alliance will be formed comprising every club in the Gladstone region with sporting fields to water.

Mr Lockwood is pushing to have council's fixed water allocation of 4000KL per hectare tripled and an annual charge of $459 per toilet scrapped.

In a draft letter addressed to other clubs Mr Lockwood calls on the community to stand up against charges which place "a significant financial burden on every volunteer organisation".

"Our sporting venues provide important infrastructure to the community and ... more could be done to assist in the running and development of our clubs," the draft letter says. This year Gladstone Touch received a $30,000 water bill. The club has resorted to volunteer fundraising to cover the cost.

Reports suggest other clubs face similar pressure with representatives from about 10 clubs meeting last week to compare rates bills.

The representatives confirmed they had already approached the council but made no progress.

Mr Lockwood said the rumblings have been a long time coming but council's refusal in September to waive a $4336.20 bill for the Wallabys' sewer connection charges was the last straw.

The council had already knocked $5483.05 off the bill.

The officer's report presented at the council meeting said staff repeatedly offered advice to the club on watering practices, including using sprinklers in the early morning or late evening.

But Mr Lockwood said the water allocation was only enough for half an hour of water each week. "We need at least three times that to keep the field in any kind of reasonable condition."