An offer to slash a club's rent in exchange for reducing its number of poker machines may be rescinded by Ballina Shire Council.
An offer to slash a club's rent in exchange for reducing its number of poker machines may be rescinded by Ballina Shire Council. Contributed

Bid to scrap council's $1 rent deal over pokies reduction

SOME Ballina Shire Councillors will call to rescind a motion to slash a club's rent to $1 if they remove six poker machines.

The council passed a motion to reduce its rent for Club Lennox at its meeting in December.

This included a plan to offer the club rent based on 50 per cent of the valuation, or half that if the club reduced its pokies by 10 per cent.

Councillors voted to slash that to a peppercorn rent of $1 if the club reduces its pokies by 20 per cent.

But councillors Phillip Meehan, Eoin Johnston and Sharon Cadwallader have put forward a rescission motion.

This will be considered at Thursday's ordinary meeting.

Cr Meehan said they were concerned about the cost this change would have to ratepayers and whether it would be an equitable decision.

"The main concern for me is about the cost of this subsidisation to our community," he said.

"That's the major issue.

"The other issue is the equity across our community in terms of how council might assist other organisations."

He said other clubs weren't afforded the same discount being offered to Club Lennox.

Subject to updated valuation, he estimated the December motion could cost ratepayers some $300,000 in revenue in the next five years, if they accepted the $1 rent offer.

"That's simply too much," he said.

The club's manager Glen Lloyd previously told The Northern Star the offer was a surprise, but that club executives would consider it.

"The reality is that without poker machines the club is not here," he said.

"We put a million dollars back into the local economy through employing local staff and sponsor 17 affiliate clubs."