WE DON’T WANT TO PAY TO PLAY: Bangalow Public School students (foreground) Brenton Spry and Georgia Sproul, with fellow students and parents protesting Byron Shire Council’s plan to charge for the use of the Bangalow sporting fields.
WE DON’T WANT TO PAY TO PLAY: Bangalow Public School students (foreground) Brenton Spry and Georgia Sproul, with fellow students and parents protesting Byron Shire Council’s plan to charge for the use of the Bangalow sporting fields.

Playing not paying

THE Bangalow Public School community is up in arms about Byron Shire Council’s proposal to charge the school for the use of village sports fields.

It’s part of a draft user plan to charge sporting clubs, organisations and schools for the use of council-managed sports fields in the shire.

Bangalow P&C president Karen Stafford said the school, because of the size of the land it was sited on, didn’t have any choice but to use the council sporting fields for team sports and carnivals.

She said the school would be charged $22 for use of Shultz Oval at the Bangalow sports fields – the school also uses the other fields regularly – with the cost put on to parents.

She said there was a real concern some parents would take their children out of school-based sporting events because of the fee.

“Parents don’t want to pay extra on top of the rates they’re paying directly or indirectly through rent,” she said.

“It’s incredulous in this day and age when childhood obesity is such a big issue.”

She questioned whether the facilities, like the toilets, were up to a standard where a fee could be charged for their use.

Under the draft policy, council aims to “provide a fair and equitable system for allocating and charging for the use of sports fields” and to promote a co-operative effort in caring for sports fields.

The policy also aims to prevent over-use or “inappropriate” use of the fields to ensure their sustainability.


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