MidCoast Council approves $800,000 loan for Manning Valley Hockey Association

Division three: Dale Tonks deflects while teammate, Cameron Hook looks on. Photo: Dave Keen
Division three: Dale Tonks deflects while teammate, Cameron Hook looks on. Photo: Dave Keen

MidCoast Council has agreed to increase a loan agreement with Manning Valley Hockey Association (MVHA) from $600,000 to $800,000 at its ordinary meeting in Taree. The increase in funding was made necessary by unforeseen costs arising through the process of the association’s development of a third turf field.

Council considered the recommendation in a late report, voting by a majority to enter into the agreement, with MVHA to repay the loan by way of monthly repayments over a 20 year period.

MVHA president Debbie Monk answered questions at the meeting, reassuring councillors the association was capable of handling the agreement.

“The money is to get a third turf, and we will use this to target new sports groups to use the fields as well,” Ms Monck said.

“Cricket, soccer and futsal ill hopefully get use as well as hockey. Increasing revenue has been budgeted for.

“The association is completely self-sufficient. Our volunteers do the labour, and we as an association pay for all our costs – electricity, the lease, all of it. We don’t ask council for any money for that sort of thing and that’s always been the case.”

Councillor Brad Christensen moved to approve recommendation, and the motion was seconded by Cr Troy Fowler. “This is a no brainer,” Cr Christensen said.

“It has been discussed thoroughly, they are a great organisation who do everything themselves, and the third turf holds massive potential for the area.”

Cr Peter Epov moved an amendment to the recomendation, seeking to defer the decision until next meeting of council, requesting a financial assessment.

“I’m not prepared to explain $80,000 of unsecured loan to the public,” he said.

Cr Jan McWilliams seconded the amendment, but Cr Len Roberts spoke against it, saying all the necessary information to make the decision had been provided already.

The motion to adopt the amendment was lost.

Mayor David West said the decision should be an easy one.

“We have an organisation paying for everything themselves,” he said.

“This investment will bring major events to the region.’’