Gliding ultimatum Council tells club to pay up or ship out
Benalla Rural City Council has issued an ultimatum to the Gliding Club of Victoria — pay up, or get out.
At an extraordinary meeting of BRRC’s finance and operations committee councillors clashed over a motion put forward by Mayor Don Firth.
That motion stated the Gliding Club of Victoria Inc, Benalla Aeropark Club Inc, and the State Gliding Centre Committee of Management either sign the revised leases, which have been increased by council to reflect the cost of running the site, and pay $16 904, or vacate their premises at Benalla Airport.
The money requested is the Gliding Club’s share of the cost of developing the leases.
If they don’t pay and sign the leases the council wants them out by close of business today.
While the exchange between councillors was more passive-aggressive than heated, the airport leases are still a contentious issue in Benalla.
When discussing the motion Cr Firth said: ‘‘I believe the gliding club will assist us by signing the leases and paying the money owed.’’
In response, Cr Danny Claridge said he was ‘‘disappointed’’ Cr Firth had put this motion to council.
‘‘They said last week they will sign the lease and pay the money owed,’’ he said.
Cr Peter Davis agreed and said he believed the mayor had made the decision out of frustration and confirmed he would not be supporting it.
‘‘Council hasn’t been squeaky clean (in these negotiations), neither has the gliding club,’’ Cr Davis said.
‘‘This motion is not showing good faith.’’
At this point council chief executive Tony McIlroy interjected to warn councillors ‘‘it’s not appropriate for the gliding club to contact (individual) councillors directly’’.
He went on to state issues such as this must go through the correct channels.
In response to councillors Claridge and Firth said he their point.
‘‘But this has been going on too long and it must come to an end,’’ he said.
‘‘If it’s not paid by September 5 the motion will stand.’’
Gliding club president Jonathan McAliece said the club had received notice to pay or vacate, but he had been made aware that the motion had ‘‘fairly weak’’ support within council.
‘‘It’s pretty disappointing really,’’ Mr McAliece said.
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●Davis, Cr understood