Bendigo council backflips on sports ground fee

File photo.
File photo.

A SPRING Gully school will not have to pay for the use of a council-owned sports facility for its annual charity fundraiser after City of Greater Bendigo backflipped on its decision to charge a fee. 

Spring Gully Primary School was required to pay $180 for the use of three ovals for its charity fundraiser. 

Principal Francis Trezise contacted Melbourne radio station 3AW on Wednesday to express his frustration. 

"We requested that they consider waving the fees on this occasion due to the nature of the activity and we just had a response saying they’re unable to do that and good luck with our fundraiser," he told 3AW. 

The council has since waived the fees, citing its "charitable purpose" as the reason for the change.  

The school's annual footy colours day raises money for children with cancer. 

Mr Trezise said the fees would have been taken out of the money raised from the event had the council not backed down on its decision. 

He said the school had cancelled its bookings on two of the ovals because of the cost. 

"We have achieved what we wanted," he said.  

"If we had had to pay, there would have been less money going to charity."

Mr Trezise said schools should be exempt from paying the usage fees. 

"We don't see the need for a school, a non-for-profit organisation, to pay to use a public space," he said. 

"We consider that fee as part of the collection of rates."

Eaglehawk North Primary School principal Craig Arrowsmith said he supported schools not having to pay the usage fees, however he said he understood their purpose. 

He said his school used the Tom Flood Sports Centre to train for the RACV Energybreakthrough but shared the cost with other users of the facility. 

"I can see it from both sides," he said. 

"The venue costs money to maintain.

"Council has been kind enough to us to charge one fee between shared users - they didn't have to do that."

White Hills Primary School principal Damien Jenkyn said his school also shared the cost of booking the Tom Flood Sports Centre. 

"I can see both sides," he said.

"Council negotiated in good faith.

"Where do you stop and start, which groups do and don't you charge."

The Bendigo Advertiser is seeking comment from City of Greater Bendigo. 

We don't see the need for a school, a non-for-profit organisation, to pay to use a public space.

Francis Tresize


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