Basketball association threatened with axe

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A MEDIATOR has been brought in by the state government to try to salvage a multi-million dollar expansion and upgrade of the Frankston Basketball Stadium amid a council threat to “remove” the organisation that runs basketball competitions at the stadium.

Sport and Recreation Victoria, a Department of Human Services department body, will talk to Frankston Council and the Frankston & District Basketball Association to try to break a deadlock over a new lease agreement.

The association has refused to sign a lease increasing annual rent payable from about $30,000 to about $160,000 each year, including a 6 per cent take on the group’s revenue above $1 million.

Cr Colin Hampton told association representatives at a meeting last month between council and the Frankston & District Basketball Association that council could go ahead with a first stage $12.7 million project to expand the stadium in Seaford without the association and manage the stadium itself.

“There are several options available,” Cr Hampton said when contacted by The Times last week.

Councillors will be briefed again in private on Monday evening (3 April) about the latest state of play in lease negotiations.

Council committed $4 million of ratepayers’ money to the expansion to include four new basketball courts alongside $2.5 million of state government money and $5.2 million of federal government money from taxpayers.

The association is pitching in $1 million of funding and feels council is “double dipping” its members, many of whom are ratepayers, by now slugging the FDBA with a sharp increase in rent for the stadium on council-owned land at 90 Bardia Avenue.

Council has ordered builder Devco Project & Construction Management to stop work on a first stage $12.7 million expansion of the stadium in Seaford amid the stand-off over the lease.

Previous meetings between council CEO Dennis Hovenden, the mayor Cr Brian Cunial, councillors and the association have ended without agreement and acrimony between council and the FDBA.

FDBA general manager Nathan Jolly says council is engaged in a “cash grab” with its proposed lease. Cr Cunial said council “cannot be held to ransom” over lease negotiations.

Mr Hovenden has ordered builder Devco Project & Construction Management to stop work on a first stage $12.7 million expansion of the stadium in Seaford amid the stand-off over the lease.

The basketball association is rallying its members to march on Frankston Council offices on Monday 10 April to “Save Our Stadium” if common ground cannot be found.

Frankston and Carrum Labor MPs Paul Edbrooke and Sonya Kilkenny have called on council to resolve the dispute and urgently go ahead with the stadium expansion.

First published in the Frankston Times – 3 April 2017

This article was amended on 4 April 2017 to confirm the federal government has committed $5.2 million to the stadium upgrade project and not $4.5 million.

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