Council agrees to further community support

Sporting clubs and community tenants of City of Greater Geelong-owned facilities will pay no rent until the end of March as part of a $4.18 million COVID-19 community and economic support package agreed by the Council on Monday night.

The rent waiver until 31 March 2021 is valued at $415,000 and extends the Council’s previous decision to offer six months rent free for sporting and community tenants from 1 March this year.

It is one of several community-focused measures included in the Council’s latest support package, alongside a decision to put $110,000 towards an early season opening of the Lara Aquatic Centre in October.

The outdoor pool opening will create more opportunities for lap swimmers while indoor pools remain closed under the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The facility, which normally remains closed until November, will open for three two-hour periods (morning, noon and afternoon/evening) on weekdays and on Saturday mornings.

In June, the Council allocated $300,000 to fund the off-season opening of the Kardinia Aquatic Centre, meaning both of the region’s City-managed outdoor pools will be available to swimmers throughout next month and beyond.

The full list of community measures endorsed by the Council as part of the Monday night’s COVID-19 community and economic support package is as follows:

  • Extension of rent waiver for community and sporting tenants of Council-owned land/grounds and buildings until 31 March 2021 (estimated value $415,000);
  • Early season (October) opening for Lara Aquatic Centre ($110,000);

    COVID-19 Gender Impact Analysis ($30,000);

  • Improved community digital access ($25,000); and
  • Development of guidelines towards establishing community gardens ($20,000).

The gender impact analysis will seek to provide a clear picture of the impacts on women in the Greater Geelong community during the pandemic, with a view to shaping programs and recovery responses.

The $20,000 investment for community gardens will see the development of guidelines and an allocation of resources to support the establishment of new gardens in the region.

And the $25,000 for improved digital access will primarily fund training and resources through neighbourhood centres.

The package adds to the $12.8 million in relief and recovery initiatives released since March, taking the total value of the Council’s COVID-19 support to more than $16.9 million.

Councillor Trent Sullivan:

Sporting clubs and community groups face severe financial challenges over the summer season, with continuing restrictions on their activities and a difficult environment to secure sponsorship from business.

Extending the rent waiver we applied over winter is the right thing to do and will give these clubs and groups some certainty as they plan for the next six months. All of these clubs offer important recreation and social connections for our community, which are more important than ever in the current environment.

The other community support initiatives we’ve funded recognise that the impacts of COVID-19 go far beyond business. As well as supporting our region’s economic recovery, it’s vital that we also do what we can to restore the physical and mental health and wellbeing of residents.

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