Council's new management model for Byron complex

Byron Shire Council will use a new 'direct management' model for Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex, they have announced.
Byron Shire Council will use a new 'direct management' model for Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex, they have announced. DOUG EATON

BYRON Shire Council will use a new 'direct management' model for Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex, they have announced.

Following an external report which reviewed the facility's operations and outlined options for how the complex could be managed, the recommendation at a recent council meeting for a new direct management model was taken on by Council.

Byron Shire Council general manager, Ken Gainger, said the review of the facility and the current state of the market, has determined that this is the best approach.

The report was commissioned following the decision not to progress negotiations with the PCYC to manage the multi purpose facility, he said.

"A new direct management model will be developed to enable Council to keep control of the facility whilst maximising community use," Mr Gainger said.

"In addition, new management initiatives would be introduced to reduce the current operating costs."

"In their report, the recreation consultant's highlighted that there are currently limited companies in the market place offering the required services to manage and operate the BRSCC.  Plus, management companies are expecting increased management fees for their services and knowledge."

"Going down this path at this point in time, is unlikely to achieve a result that would suit our community's needs."

Mr Gainger said enabling a direct management model would allow greater control over hiring sections of the building on a permanent and temporary arrangement with potentially a more beneficial financial and social return to Council.

"For example, the multi purpose facility has a superb commercial kitchen - If we retain a direct management model, Council will pursue leasing the space to a catering company that would be granted catering rights for events at the building," Mr Gainger said.

"We are also about to announce that a major sporting code is about to be based from the complex.  It will be a great boost for sport and health and well being of our region."

The proposed new management model will also see the outdoor fields and the complex being managed under the same business unit. A new advisory committee comprising user groups and community representatives will be established and report regularly to management and Council.

"Like any new business, there is a period of time whilst the business grows its product and services," Mr Gainger said.

"The BRSCC is a tremendous asset to the region and Council will be aiming for the best economic and social outcome for ratepayers and residents."

"The aim is still to achieve a cost neutral facility.  However, like many others services such as libraries, pools and community buildings, this may not always be achievable or the best community result."

"It's a fine balance between keeping community facilities affordable for community use and managing a responsible budget."

Starting next week at the BRSCC are remediation works on the southern sports fields to help improve drainage.

The works to be undertaken are the same as works previously taken on the northern sports fields at the end of last year. 

It involves removing the top 40 millimeters of soil, top dressed with a coarse sand and watered to establish the new turf.

Council's executive manager of community infrastructure, Phil Holloway, said the additional works on the northern fields has seen a five-fold improvement in the playing surface ability to absorb water.

"A number of weeks will be required for the southern fields to be re-established before they are useable again.  The works were scheduled during the high growing season to minimise disruptions," Mr Holloway said.

Council is also expecting works to commence soon on stage 1 of the cycle track. The 435 metre recreation cycle track has been made possible through grant funding secured by the Byron Bay Cycle Club.

Topics:  byron regional sport and cultural complex byron shire council

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