A last-minute offer from the Goulburn Workers Club (GWC) to sell a portion of land at the Workers Arena to the council has resulted in an agreement by the parties to negotiate.
It is a seen by all parties as a positive move and a way forward to the potential sale of the hockey fields to the council.
But some think the offer is too limited and this will be the subject of further negotiations.
The land offered by the GWC for sale on Tuesday is 3.3ha that incorporates the current hockey fields and clubhouse and runs down to Finlay Road, but does not include the car park or access to the facility via Sports Way, which is owned by the club.
The email with the offer was sent to Goulburn Mulwaree general manager Warwick Bennett at 4.17pm on Tuesday, with the council meeting scheduled to start at 6pm.
It stated: "The board of the GWC has approved to negotiate with Goulburn Mulwaree Council the sale a portion of land at Goulburn Workers Arena if council desires to utilise it as a hockey facility. Negotiations are to be based on the current market value of the area."
Prior to this, Mr Bennett had recommended in a report to that meeting that the council "formally reject" an Expression of Interest to lease the facility from the club.
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The offer provoked much discussion at the meeting among the councillors.
"It is a good outcome," Cr Peter Walker said.
"It pleases me that the GWC have looked at this and think that hockey in the town needs looking after. I commend them on their changed attitude."
Cr Leah Ferrara asked if the offer "was too limited" and "would it be easier for us to build our own."
Operations director Matt O'Rourke said it was more cost effective to upgrade the current facility at the Workers Arena than to establish a new one.
"It is more straightforward and cost-effective to upgrade that establish a new facility at Carr Confoy," he said.
"There are also risks there (at Carr Confoy) including possible land prices and floodplain issues."
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The council resolved to accept the offer to negotiate the potential purchase of the current hockey facility at the Workers Arena and authorise the Mayor and general manager to undertake those negotiations.
The council resolved that these negotiations "shall be without prejudice and it be made clear at the beginning of all negotiations that the final decision will need to be made by the full council."
Prior to any negotiations with the GWC, the mayor and general manager will meet with the Goulburn Regional Hockey Working Party to discuss the options.
Council endorsed the following comments to be considered during the negotiations:
- The area being offer is too limited and does not allow for future growth of hockey where additional practice grass fields are essential for the number of players now participating in the sport
- The area being offered to the council is very limited as it does not provided any car parking options or safe access from Finlay Road to the proposed site.
- Market price should be a discounted factor as the original capital cost as well as ongoing maintenance and operations costs have been substantially funded by the state government, the council and Goulburn Hockey Association.
- The capital cost to the council to upgrade this facility to be in a usable state will be substantial.
Following the meeting, Cr Andrew Banfield said it had opened a door, but there was a long way to go.
"We are happy that negotiations have been opened but it is far from a resolution," Cr Banfield said.
"They have only offered a portion of land that is not suitable, so it opens negotiations.
"The car park is not included and neither is access off Sports Way because that is owned by the GWC as well. This has to feature in part of the negotiations because how do you get in there to park your car?"
Goulburn Hockey Association president Nadine Ward was excited about the negotiations.
"This is the closest we have ever got. If the council and the GWC can work something out and that land is sold to council, we can provide what our members need," she said.
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