Coun­cil price hikes leave groups in cold

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE City Coun­cil has more than dou­bled the costs of some com­mu­nity ser­vices since amal­ga­ma­tion.

O p p o s i t i o n c o u n c i l l o r Jenny Hill has slammed the in­creases to the fees and charges dur­ing the past four years, cl ai ming ama­teur sport­ing and per­for­mance groups had been priced out of lo­ca­tions like River­way and the Civic Theatre.

Cr Hill’s com­ments came a f t e r c o u n c i l r e l e a s e d 2 0 1 1 / 2 0 1 2 p r i c e s a t t h e Life­style and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee meet­ing late last week.

But coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices di­rec­tor Gavin Lyons said the fee in­creases were all about cost re­cov­ery.

Mr Lyons said the price rises re­flected the ex­pense of man­ag­ing the ser­vices and run­ning the de­part­ments in­volved.

At River­way’s Tony Ire­land Sta­dium, prices have in­creased from $ 330, in the 2007 fi­nan­cial year, to $ 600 in 2011/ 2012, for a com­mu­nity group to use the sport­ing fa­cil­ity for a half day. For a full day, costs have risen from $ 660 to $ 1200.

To hire a func­tion room at the same site, prices have risen from $ 99 to $ 200 for a half day.

Foot­path din­ing venues and pet own­ers have also been slugged with huge price hikes in the past four years.

‘ ‘ S p o r t i n g g r o u p s a t River­way have seen those

Sport­ing groups at River­way have seen fees dou­bled over the past four years to use those fa­cil­i­ties

elec­tion year. ‘‘ They will say it’s only a 10 per cent in­crease this year – $ 45 or $ 50 – but there were some re­ally big in­creases in the mid­dle of the term,’’ Cr Hill said.

‘‘ At the mo­ment peo­ple are very sen­si­tive with price rises . . . 50c more here, $ 10 more here, $ 45 more here.

‘‘ It ( in­crease of the fees) should be the cost of liv­ing i n c r e a s e , t h e Co n s u mer Price In­dex which is 2.5-3 per cent.’’

Mr Lyons de­nied there was any po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion in the tim­ing of the price in­creases.

Life­style and Com­mu­nity De v e l o p ment Co mmitt e e chair­woman Jenny Lane said she did not un­der­stand why Cr Hill was not happy that prices had not moved much as coun­cil pre­pared for this bud­get.

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