A refurbished outdoor hockey complex for Goulburn is one step closer following talks between the Workers Club and council.
But the council says there's a way to go yet, with negotiations only just beginning. Mayor Bob Kirk said the parties met in recent weeks to discuss whether the club was open to selling its Workers Arena hockey fields and some surrounding land.
"The meeting was quite positive in terms of their willingness to continue discussions," he said.
"There are some details to be firmed up before we even have a proposition and we have to negotiate an outcome with that, but it seems to be achievable."
Some councillors accused the Club of walking away from its obligations after the Workers refused to sell the land to the council.
The Goulburn Hockey Association says the sport's future is in "crisis" if a disused field is not restored. President Nadine Ward said they needed two fields at a minimum to properly schedule matches but ideally, there should be room for a flourishing sport to grow.
The council was last month set to reject the Club's $120,000 annual lease offer and express its disappointment over its 'abandonment' of local hockey.
But a last minute email from The Workers offered to negotiate a potential purchase.
Council general manager Warwick Bennett and Cr Kirk met with Club CEO Brett Gorham and three board directors almost two weeks ago. Workers board president Tony Dawson declared a conflict of interest as a council employee and was not part of discussions.
Mr Bennett said his staff had since completed a site plan of the land needed to build an extra field and provide 200 car parks.
"We are currently getting that land valued and have sent the site plan back to The Workers Club for them to look at. It was a very positive meeting and the club is very open to alternatives and giving up more land than what it originally envisaged. We're confident of an outcome," he said.
Mr Bennett said the Club directors would talk to the board about the possibility of selling extra land.
"We are doing work on how we will fit three fields on to the site because we have to future proof the complex. If we are spending several million dollars on this we need to make sure it can cater for the sport and attract high-end events such as state and national championships. Between us and Crookwell we are looking at doing that."
This is a turnaround on last month's offer. Councillors at their meeting in October said the land being proposed for purchase was insufficient to allow for additional grass practise fields.
In addition, the car parking area was not included and neither was access off Sports Way, running beside the fields.
But Mr Bennett said inroads were made on both aspects at the recent meeting.
"Sports Way is a private road (owned by the Club) but they are open to us having right of access," he said.
This could become a road leading up to an expanded carpark, catering for 200 vehicles. Currently, hockey patrons access the facility via a road around the Club's rugby league fields.
A further meeting will be held between the parties and another report will come back to councillors with land valuations, the outcome of talks and recommendations.
Goulburn and District Hockey Association president Nadine Ward said her committee had informed the council of the space needed before the meeting.
Members did not go ahead with a planned motion to The Workers AGM on October 27 urging the club to sell council the land. This was due to the club's late offer to negotiate. Mrs Ward said she appreciated the board's changed stance.
"The discussions are between the council and club but obviously we're hoping for a good outcome," Mrs Ward said.
Like the council, the Association believes it is more cost effective to purchase the existing complex than spend $10 million on a new facility at the Carr Confoy fields in Eastgrove.
Workers CEO Brett Gorham was not available for comment.
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