Council lifts fees burden from GJC

THE Griffith Jockey Club (GJC) is celebrating a win after council agreed to refund years of rates and fees.

The GJC will have annual general rates and $800 worth of special event day fees from the last two years refunded, but will have to reapply for fees to be waived on an annual basis.

Council had previously maintained the $800 covered additional preparation in the lead up to a race meeting, including septic tank cleaning, electricity, cleaning and restoration of minor damage and testing and tagging of electrical equipment. 

Griffith Jockey Club member Bernie Connolly told council his club was shouldering an unfair percentage of the costs. 

“We’re a small committee organising a big event similar to La Festa and our race day brings a lot to our local economy and all profits go back into facilities,” he said. 

“The Griffith Jockey Club doesn’t have exclusive use of Dalton Park as council hires it out for weddings and private parties but Griffith Jockey Club pays the caretaker’s fee. Council would still have to maintain the facility if we folded. 

“The bookmakers’ arena was built and maintained by the GJC and we dispute there is additional maintenance of that in the lead up to an event and $800 is particularly unfair for a special day fee.”

Mayor John Dal Broi said council was happy to assist the club given its benefit to the community. 

“Like most racing clubs or harness racing clubs, they’re doing it tough and if they don’t get support from local government they won’t survive,” Cr Dal Broi said.

“It won’t be a lot of money but when you have a hardworking volunteer committee it’s only fair and reasonable to give them a hand.

“They will never get the number and type of race meetings like they do in the city but they bring people to town and in a round about way that benefits the whole community.

“The club has folded before and has been resurrected and we don’t want to see that happen again.”

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