’Community roots’ to underpin future of old hospital site
THE future of the old Byron Hospital site is a step closer to being decided.
Byron Shire Councillors considered a draft lease for the Shirley St site at the ordinary meeting last Thursday.
Under the draft lease, Old Byron Hospital Ltd is to be the head tenant of the property for a 10 year period.
Rent is listed as $1,046,500 per annum and a 10 year extension of the rental term will be possible.
A rent incentives document details how the group will be "entitled to a rent reduction" if certain conditions are met, including that it subleases at least half of the "lettable area of the premises" to "community tenants" and charges those tenants no more than 50 per cent of market value rent.
Crs Paul Spooner and Sarah Ndiaye moved that the council enters into a head lease, subject to advice from the Office of Local Government to ensure the council meets its statutory requirements.
They also moved that a review of the lease be held after three years, instead of the five-year mark originally proposed.
"What we're proposing today through this motion is that we do enter into a head lease agreement with a newly formed company (which has) come out of the community group that's been shepherding this project," Cr Spooner said.
"I'd suggest this is a good outcome for our community and for preserving something that has, very much, community roots."
He said it was significant the hospital site was donated by a community member "many years ago".
"It's not off the starting blocks totally yet, but we're very close," he said.
Mayor Simon Richardson queried how remediation works would be billed and general manager Mark Arnold said this was being finalised.
Cr Alan Hunter opposed the move to a three year review but Cr Cate Coorey said this would allow councillors to consider the matter again in the next council term.
The motion passed in a majority vote.