Pottsville Men's Shed gets a new home
YEARS of uncertainty could finally be over for the Pottsville and District Men's Shed after it was granted a licence last week to construct a five-year temporary building at Black Rocks sports field.
Tweed Shire councillors agreed by a majority of 3:2 last Thursday to grant the licence, first sought by the organisation two years ago.
The gated sport field site, which sits within a koala habitat area, has been subject to strong contention in recent years, with conservationists concerned about its impact on the threatened marsupial.
Pottsville and District Men's Shed president Michael Ryan said it was a great relief to be granted the licence after years of consultation with council and the community.
"It's another step in the process in moving to Black Rocks,” Mr Ryan said.
"The license has got to be issued and we'll follow up on that process as well as the construction certificate. Once we've got both of those I believe we'll be in a situation where we can look at a start date for construction.”
Mr Ryan said the group hoped the Men's Shed would be relocated to Black Rocks sports field by Christmas.
But Threatened Species Conservation Society president David Norris said a better site for the Men's Shed would be on Crown Land at Lot 3 in Centennial Dr, opposite the Pottsville Bowls Club.
"I have walked extensively over Lot 3 and I can report that there are no primary koala food trees on this site,” Mr Norris said.
"The Black Rocks sports field site supports koalas, bush stone curlews and ospreys.”
Mayor Katie Milne said she believed all site options should be considered before a decision was made.
"I've been trying to get a central site for the Men's Shed which is what I felt would be a good thing not only for the Men's Shed but for the community,” Cr Milne said.
"The Men's Shed is going to benefit that community immensely and I do fully believe a central location and not that strange oval down the end of Pottsville is going to be the best site.”
But Mr Ryan said 90% of the Men's Shed members disagreed with the Centennial Dr option and had voted in favour of the Black Rocks site due to its present availability.
"We know Black Rocks is a temporary site but we've got it for five years,” he said.
"If this other site is available with a signed letter that says in five years time we can move and build and it gives us five years to do it, we're quite happy to do that. At the moment it's prohibited and if we stop what we're doing now it'll be five years before we can do anything.”
Mr Ryan said most of the members would prefer to move to a temporary location instead of staying at the Pottsville Beach Public School where the group currently meets twice a week.
"We don't have any tenure at the school, we're there at the invitation of the principal and that's basically it,” Mr Ryan said.