Basketball group welcomes lease
Horsham basketball leaders have welcomed confirmation of a Horsham council decision to offer them up to a 10-year contract to lease Horsham Basketball Stadium.
Horsham Amateur Basketball Association president Owen Hughan said the decision meant the association had escaped ‘potential disaster’.
“The conflict arising around the renewing of the lease of the basketball stadium has been resolved with no negative conditions imposed on the association,” he said.
“The HABA believes that common sense has prevailed. The association is now allowed to run its successful program without interference and put its energy into basketball and kids.”
Horsham Rural City Council voted at its September 24 meeting to offer the basketball association ‘a seven-year contract with a three-year extension’ to use the stadium.
But Cr Mark Radford put forward a notice of motion at the council’s October 22 meeting to rescind the decision.
Cr Radford argued that councillors had made the decision without any officer report or recommendation to provide ‘foundational strength’.
In his rationale he wrote: “If good governance is about informed decision making, then a 10-year commitment to do anything requires some science behind it.
“To commit to a 10-year license is not an agreement between the two parties. The basketball association and council representatives are yet to reach agreement.
“With respects to the basketball stadium, discussions need to continue, to find a fair and reasonable balance between meeting the current and future needs of both the association and the council.”
Cr Radford failed to get seconder for his notice of motion.
The move all but ensured draft Horsham indoor sports Centre plans, which had involved the stadium as part of a larger development crossing into Horsham Showground, went into limbo. The council is now exploring umbrella precinct planning involving the area.
Mr Hughan used the opportunity to press a belief that a new indoor stadium should be at Horsham College instead of Horsham Showground.
“The council probably doesn’t realise that the association is perhaps its biggest ally in providing information about what’s needed for indoor sport in Horsham. We’ve been doing this a long time,” he said.
“What’s always been obvious to us is that basketball, being such a consistent and high-value recreation activity in country communities, needs an autonomous base.
“We support a new indoor stadium. But it can’t be at the expense of the basketball program in Horsham, which is directly connected to maintaining the basketball stadium as it is now.
“Saying that, we must have autonomy with the stadium. It is not about saying we’re above anyone else, it’s about survival.
“What we have is a purpose-built basketball stadium, which has proven itself for nearly 50 years.
“Added to this is evidence of the negative experience other basketball associations have had when they have gone down the road of going under council control. They have lost all autonomy and financial viability.
“If we were part of the project as it stood we would go broke and it would be the end of basketball in Horsham.
“We understand the time and effort that has gone into the creating of an indoor stadium, but we’ve always argued that the selected site is inappropriate.
“Multi-purpose should always mean multi-purpose and not be at the expense of a participating tenant.
“The college proposal, tapping into the heartbeat of youth in Horsham, would mean the primary tenant is the school, not an amateur sporting group.”