When pokies meet developers with help from Labor

johnboy 12 September 2012 22

Labor in the ACT has two great loves. Poker machines and real estate deals.

So it’s very exciting to see Joy Burch bring the two together along with patronage and largesse.

Nine small licensed clubs will receive grants of $15,000 each to assess the viability of their sites for residential development, ACT Minister for Gaming and Racing Joy Burch said today.

Ms Burch today announced the recipients of the ACT Government’s Small Club Site Redevelopment Support Scheme, which was funded in the recent 2012-13 Budget as part of the Government’s policy to help clubs diversify their revenue base.

“I am pleased that there has been such a positive response to this initiative, and that clubs see this as an opportunity to diversify their business models beyond the traditional source of gaming machines,” Ms Burch said.

“I am also pleased to see that many of the recipient clubs are located in existing residential areas where there are great opportunities for medium density infill, which would support another ACT Government policy objective of increasing housing supply.”

The Clubs who have been successful are:

— ACT Rugby Union Club in Barton
— Belconnen Bowling Club in Hawker
— Burns Club in Kambah
— Canberra Racing Club in Lyneham
— Federal Golf Club in Red Hill
— Harmonie German Club in Narrabundah
— Irish Club in Weston
— Italo Club in Forrest and
— Murrumbidgee Country Club in Kambah


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22 Responses to When pokies meet developers with help from Labor
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Duffbowl Duffbowl 12:23 pm 19 Sep 12

banco said :

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Rugby Union Club in Barton but how they could have any residential development at their site without demolishing the club escapes me.

The same can be said for the Harmonie Club, of which I’m a member. The club is ringed by a car park that is about 5 metres wide on the sides and front, and about 8-10 metres at the back. Unless the club can buy or be granted the land parcels surrounding it, I don’t see how it could develop anything without knocking over the existing building.

ClubsACT, this isn’t particularly targeted at your organisation, that’s a totally different ax that needs grinding. I’m just wary of any solutions that are put forward by a government around election time that seems to be not particularly well thought through. If the clubs do decide to rebuild, the regulars and members will seek somewhere else to go. Once moved, it can be hard to get people back. The main beneficiaries of such a move would be the larger nearby clubs.

How does ClubsACT propose that the smaller clubs be supported during the redevelopment period, if they go down that route?

banco banco 12:10 pm 19 Sep 12

ClubsACT said :

The entire point of the grants is to enable small, non-group clubs to get some initial work done to explore what opportunities exist on their site for particular types of development (residential, child care, aged persons units, community need etc). This is not about clubs knocking down their premises and replacing it with an apartment block, it’s about utilising the land around the clubs for residential style development.

$15,000 is a very small amount and will pay for very preliminary consulting work.

If this enables those small, independent clubs to create new non-gaming revenue streams then that is a worthy objective.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Rugby Union Club in Barton but how they could have any residential development at their site without demolishing the club escapes me.

I hope the clubs will be paying back the $15,000 if anything comes of the development (after all it’s a “small amount of money”).

ClubsACT ClubsACT 11:49 am 19 Sep 12

The entire point of the grants is to enable small, non-group clubs to get some initial work done to explore what opportunities exist on their site for particular types of development (residential, child care, aged persons units, community need etc). This is not about clubs knocking down their premises and replacing it with an apartment block, it’s about utilising the land around the clubs for residential style development.

$15,000 is a very small amount and will pay for very preliminary consulting work.

If this enables those small, independent clubs to create new non-gaming revenue streams then that is a worthy objective.

breda breda 4:49 pm 13 Sep 12

Aussielyn, the point is that if a developer gets a change of use approval which means they can extract more value from a site, they have to pay a charge for it. This recognises that they have effectively been given free money by administrative fiat.

What the clubs want to do (and there are quite a few golf clubs and the like sitting on massive, valuable parcels of land) is get free money by administrative fiat so that they can continue to pay their staff and overheads. In other words, it’s a subvention of ratepayer owned wealth to the clubs – or should I say, to their staff and suppliers. The beauty of it is, it’s invisible – we never see the money we lost, but they sure do.

Sorry, it’s a corrupt and murky process which should be deplored. And, it rewards organisations that mismanage their funds, overpay their staff and are profiting from legacy arrangements from the days when they were struggling community groups.

aussielyn aussielyn 4:15 pm 13 Sep 12

The ACT Govt revenue stream is unsustainable as it is too dependent on land sales, which will run out. This is a hangover from self-government. Maybe the ACT Govt could start collecting rates, payroll tax and other duties from the federal govt!
If, say, the Murrumbidgee Country Club wants to develop 9 holes into residential housing it could build maybe 600 flats on it. The main beneficiary would be the ACT Govt, the developer, then the club. At least it will be able to pay its water bill! We shall see what develops next year, as all negotiations will be kept secret and both major parties will be pro-development.
Any club that wants to develop must change its lease if it is a concessional lease. This involves a lease variation charge, which was waived in the case of the Brumbies site in Griffith. A change of zoning of the land requires a draft variation to the Territory Plan. Spot zoning RZ3 islands into RZ1 & RZ2 areas may happen. High density in suburban areas will upset the neighbours, as their street will fill with overflow parking.
ACT Treasury has no time for community facilities or concessional leases as it does not collect enough rates especially if the lease specifies 5 cents per year. LDA & ACTPLA are revenue-raising arms of govt.
Small clubs will have to change their business plans and provide other goods & services. Smart operators, with good boards, will adapt and survive. Large clubs, with multiple sites, will develop the ones that are not financially viable and a drain on the group.

rosscoact rosscoact 2:42 pm 13 Sep 12

Duffbowl said :

rosscoact said :

Duffbowl said :

It doesn’t take much for a lease variation. It happened to the former Hungarian club in Narrabundah; now it’s a clump of snazzy* looking terrace houses.

* = For a given and undefined value of snazzy.

Territory Plan variation is required rather than lease variation if residential use is what is allowed. An all together different animal.

BTW, I’m not trying to defend, just shed some light on what’s going on. The ACT government is doing this to assist these clubs. Like it or not, think it’s corrupt and an aberration against God, whatever, everyone is perfectly entitled to an opinion.

I’m saying what the stated intention of this grant is, nothing more.

Sorry, my bad; you’re right. A TP variation is required, it is a different animal, but has been done in the past.

Forgive me in that I read suggestions from a minister about urban infill, and make a small leap.

I reckon that The government would plan on doing a Variation for all the sites that prove they can do it through this process. Probably one variation that allows medium density for all the blocks.

Duffbowl Duffbowl 2:29 pm 13 Sep 12

rosscoact said :

Duffbowl said :

It doesn’t take much for a lease variation. It happened to the former Hungarian club in Narrabundah; now it’s a clump of snazzy* looking terrace houses.

* = For a given and undefined value of snazzy.

Territory Plan variation is required rather than lease variation if residential use is what is allowed. An all together different animal.

BTW, I’m not trying to defend, just shed some light on what’s going on. The ACT government is doing this to assist these clubs. Like it or not, think it’s corrupt and an aberration against God, whatever, everyone is perfectly entitled to an opinion.

I’m saying what the stated intention of this grant is, nothing more.

Sorry, my bad; you’re right. A TP variation is required, it is a different animal, but has been done in the past.

Forgive me in that I read suggestions from a minister about urban infill, and make a small leap.

rosscoact rosscoact 1:36 pm 13 Sep 12

Duffbowl said :

It doesn’t take much for a lease variation. It happened to the former Hungarian club in Narrabundah; now it’s a clump of snazzy* looking terrace houses.

* = For a given and undefined value of snazzy.

Territory Plan variation is required rather than lease variation if residential use is what is allowed. An all together different animal.

BTW, I’m not trying to defend, just shed some light on what’s going on. The ACT government is doing this to assist these clubs. Like it or not, think it’s corrupt and an aberration against God, whatever, everyone is perfectly entitled to an opinion.

I’m saying what the stated intention of this grant is, nothing more.

Duffbowl Duffbowl 12:35 pm 13 Sep 12

It doesn’t take much for a lease variation. It happened to the former Hungarian club in Narrabundah; now it’s a clump of snazzy* looking terrace houses.

* = For a given and undefined value of snazzy.

breda breda 11:29 am 13 Sep 12

rosscoact said:

The blocks the clubs are on are generally community facility (although some are commercial) and so cannot be developed for anything except community facility which in some instances can include older persons accommodation.

You are correct that they could hand it back but I think this initiative is designed to help them use their land to assist in their viability. Make of that what you will
————————————————————
Sorry, that doesn’t fly. If these developments are going to ‘assist in their viability’, it means the organisations are making a profit. It doesn’t matter that they are making a profit providing accommodation to any particular group. What matters is that they are using taxpayer subsidised assets to do things that the land was not zoned for, to bail out their financially unviable activities.

When the next round of extravagant extensions or declining demographics or just plain incompetence sends them to the wall, they will have ripped off ratepayers multiple times and will be back asking for more. After all, there are some very well paid club executives who have a standard of living to maintain here!

Land zoned for community purposes should either be retained for that use (perhaps by a different community group) or else subject to a transparent process whereby the lease is dealt with in a normal commercial manner that will maximise returns to the ratepayers who have been subsidising it.

rosscoact rosscoact 8:01 pm 12 Sep 12

breda said :

The real issue is that community organisations were given free or cheap land (subsidised by ordinary ratepayers) and then whenever they get into financial trouble, the ratepayers are expected to fork out again. In this case it’s via grants, but more generally they are provided with income streams by allowing property developments on land that was given to them for community purposes.

It’s just plain corrupt, IMO. If a club or sporting body can’t manage its finances, then the lease should either be resumed and sold commercially, or handed to another community organisation that can manage itself properly.

Licensed Clubs haven’t been eligible for direct sales at any price for some years.

The blocks the clubs are on are generally community facility (although some are commercial) and so cannot be developed for anything except community facility which in some instances can include older persons accommodation.

You are correct that they could hand it back but I think this initiative is designed to help them use their land to assist in their viability. Make of that what you will

MERC600 MERC600 7:48 pm 12 Sep 12

No mention of the now closed Serb club in Mawson, nor what was the old Dutch; then Raiders club, also in the same block..

breda breda 5:50 pm 12 Sep 12

The real issue is that community organisations were given free or cheap land (subsidised by ordinary ratepayers) and then whenever they get into financial trouble, the ratepayers are expected to fork out again. In this case it’s via grants, but more generally they are provided with income streams by allowing property developments on land that was given to them for community purposes.

It’s just plain corrupt, IMO. If a club or sporting body can’t manage its finances, then the lease should either be resumed and sold commercially, or handed to another community organisation that can manage itself properly.

Thumper Thumper 4:56 pm 12 Sep 12

Rather than say it is ACT Labor looking after the clubs once again, could it be ACT Labor looking to remove what little competition there is for the big clubs

Given their hatred of pubs, it wouldn’t be such a stretch of the imagination to say yes.

Gismondo Gismondo 4:49 pm 12 Sep 12

Does this mean i can leave at the racetrack? i mean officially

Deref Deref 4:28 pm 12 Sep 12

What’s not to like? Blocks of flats shaped like poker machines with a poker machine or two in each flat! Sounds great!

Duffbowl Duffbowl 3:49 pm 12 Sep 12

Some of the smaller clubs are indeed small clubs. As far as I’m aware, which isn’t very far admittedly, the Harmonie Club only has the block upon which it stands. The car park isn’t huge, so to develop medium density infill would require the clubs to go.

Rather than say it is ACT Labor looking after the clubs once again, could it be ACT Labor looking to remove what little competition there is for the big clubs?

MERC600 MERC600 2:49 pm 12 Sep 12

What a waste of cash .. Any developer would willingly put up the cash .. Imagine how much the blocks will go for..

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 12:57 pm 12 Sep 12

Masquara said :

Joy Burch and Katie Gallagher are also planning to subsidise their club donors through providing some kind of “healthy meals program” for “poor families”. Given that there is very healthy welfare plus subsidies for “poor people” in this city, I’d love to see research into how many of the unfortunate kids needing a free breakfast at school, are in that position because of Joy Burch allowing the Labor Clubs to push pokie machines away from the less lucrative areas (where people are richer) and into the saddest socio-economic areas. What a cynical exercise on Katie and Joy’s part!
Katie, Joy: if you don’t want kids to go hungry, keep pokies away from poor parents!

completely agree

Masquara Masquara 12:34 pm 12 Sep 12

And in the interests of fairness, must recall the reason the ACT Greens’ Shane Rattenbury is dead silent on the pokies issue – one that the much-missed Kerry Tucker would have been vocal about:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/greens-accepted-funds-from-pokies-operators-20120904-25bqi.html

ACT “Greens” in name only.

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