Goondiwindi Regional Council Mayor Graeme Scheu has confirmed Council has submitted a firm offer to the Goondiwindi Bowls Club for the purchase of club land.
The offer will potentially provide a win-win situation for both parties, Cr Scheu said, with the purchase able to resolve a problem for Council related to the ownership of a public walkway.
"This is not a 'bail-out purchase', as some may suggest," Cr Scheu explained. Although it will provide certainty to the Goondiwindi Bowls Club for another 15 years at least; more importantly, it will solve an existing access issue for Council."
The purchase of the land will provide important public access to the walkway at the levee bank. At the time of the walkway's construction in 1997, a formal agreement for public access was overlooked.
The block currently owned by the Bowls Club includes the walkway; Council's purchase of the land would therefore guarantee the necessary public access.
There were a number of options available to Council to address this issue: to purchase the block, negotiate an access easement, or compulsory acquisition of the land.
After many discussions, it was decided Council would attempt to purchase the block, with an initial 15-year leaseback to the Bowls Club, making the offer beneficial to both parties.
"Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of the club, there has been a lot of talk about the possible sale," Cr Scheu said. "Conjecture has been rife after Council previously decided against purchasing other clubs' lands like the RSL, Leagues Club and Macintyre Club. It is not Council's role to bail out licensed clubs but, in this case, it is in the community's best interest to proceed with the purchase of the site," he said.
Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has worked with Council during the process and confirmed acquisition would be in the community's best interest during a visit to the site. Council began negotiations with the Bowls Club once it was confirmed that a ministerial exemption was not required.
"This allows Council to finally solve the public walkway access issue and the offer will give the Bowls Club more long-term certainty due to a 15-year leaseback clause with a peppercorn rental."