Funding help for Barwon Heads FNC

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Council 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 assistance.

Page last updated: Wednesday, 9 October 2019