Palm Drive  fields .
Palm Drive fields . Matt Taylor GLA090319PALM

Council halves park hire fee for junior soccer clubs

JUNIOR soccer player fees will be halved this year, following price hikes in recent years to use the Palm Drive Sports Fields.

Last week the council voted in favour of dropping the fee per player from $55 to $20 out of fears the facility could become a "white elephant".

It comes after last year the council increased the fee from $40 to $55. The per-player fee is used to cover maintenance and park hire costs at the council-owned fields, used by junior soccer clubs. Mayor Matt Burnett said $20 was enough to "cover everything".

Clinton Park Sports Association president and Football Central Queensland chair Andrew Pelling hoped the council would maintain the low fee.

"Over the long term, if the council keeps its fees similar, it will mean a reduction of costs," Mr Pelling said.

He said the saving of $35 per player could lead to increased membership and allow for more money to be spent elsewhere at the clubs.

"We have been advocating for a fee drop for some time so we are quite pleased to see it coming into play," he said.

"We are very happy the council reviewed the fee.

"We will be visiting clubs to see how these changes can benefit facilities."

A periodic fee is charged for park hire in the absence of a lease.

The council's fee is separate to other player fees such as insurances and registration costs.

The issue was discussed at last week's council meeting with an original recommendation to keep the existing cost of $55. However after deliberation the alternative recommendation of $20 was adopted.

"I think $20 is a figure that will cover everything. It's less than the 2017/18 figure and much less than the $55 being suggested," mayor Matt Burnett said.

"If we vote to put a $55 charge on the parents of soccer kids you'll push them back to their own fields and you'll have soccer scattered right across the region.

"You won't have a collaborative regional facility and you'll basically have a white elephant sitting there."

Cr Burnett said it wasn't fair on club volunteers to manage their own ground and the Palm Drive facility.

"The reason Palm Drive was created was to bring all soccer together. It's the biggest and most participated sport in the region.

"This is a facility that council maintains. You can't expect the volunteers to mow a field like Clinton and then go mow the massive fields at Palm Drive."

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