Funding help for Barwon Heads FNC

has agreed to provide funding to the Barwon Heads Football Netball Club to help
with the upkeep of its home ground at Howard Harmer Reserve.

The agreement will see the club receive $20,000 per year for the next three
years, to be used on ground maintenance and watering.

Barwon Heads FNC is the only local sporting club in the region operating
on public land not owned or managed by the City of Greater Geelong. Howard
Harmer Reserve is on state government-owned land managed by the Barwon Coast
Committee of Management (BCCM).

Given that council generally provides a subsidy in excess of 85 per cent to
maintain and water all other public grounds that local sporting clubs operate
on, and after a review of the situation by City staff, it was found that Barwon
Heads FNC is eligible for funding under the council’s Fair Play Strategy.

As a result, council has voted to fund 50 per cent of the club’s $40,000 annual
maintenance costs.

Council has also directed CEO Martin Cutter to write to the BCCM requesting
that it provide the other $20,000 per year, consistent with its obligations to
maintain community assets under its control.

The decision is about demonstrating fairness and equity in how the council
supports local sporting clubs who operate on public land, but does not shift
any responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the reserve onto the City of
Greater Geelong.

The council also noted that the subsidy is being provided only because Barwon
Heads FNC operates on public land, and only uses the ground for part of the
week. This means that when the club is not using the land it is available to be
used by the community as public open space. Under the Fair Play Strategy,
council does not subsidise sporting clubs on private land.

Mayor Bruce Harwood:

Barwon Heads
Football Netball Club is in a unique position as the only community club in the
region on public land not owned by the council. We support and subsidise all
other sporting clubs on council public land, and we believe that for equity and
fairness reasons, the club should also get some financial help. We also call on
BCCM to provide additional support to the club as well.

The club makes an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of the
local community, and this funding assistance will help them maintain their home
ground to a high standard so that it’s an appealing and safe place for players
to train and play.

Councillor Trent Sullivan, Bellarine Ward:

This has been a long process and the
good people of the Barwon Heads Football Netball Club have faced an ongoing
struggle to maintain their playing field to the same standard as the clubs they
compete against. I heartily support this decision to provide them with funding

/Public Release. View in full here.