Swifts Sports Club in Booval.
Swifts Sports Club in Booval.

Why sale of sports club won’t go ahead

SWIFTS Leagues Club has decided against purchasing the building and land it has occupied for the past 20 years from Ipswich council.

The club wanted to buy Swifts Sports Club in Cameron Park in Booval, with plans to overhaul it into a modern facility.

The decision came just a couple of weeks after the council decided it would lead a new community consultation to determine the future of the site.

In a letter sent to council CEO David Farmer on September 11, Swifts Leagues Club chairman John Hughes said the club reviewed the community consultation scope and plan document.

"We have decided that we do not wish to proceed with the purchase and will be satisfied remaining lessee," he wrote.

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"We are appointing S & R Venues Pty Ltd to assist us in regard to construction, renovation and refurbishment works we propose for the site.

"This will require discussions and communications with council regarding the works it needs do."

Swifts' lease on the site started in September 2001, with two ten-year options.

Councillors will vote to repeal the decision made in August to undertake community consultation at this morning's council meeting.

The council emailed the community consultation scope and plan through to Swifts on September 7.

On September 11, Mr Hughes phoned the council's property services manager Brett McGrath to advise him that the board had decided not to proceed with the sale.

A report presented to council notes the facility is nearing the end of its useful life.

"The proposed disposal of land to Swifts is not proceeding and the lease agreement will continue between the parties," it notes.

"Under the maintenance requirements the onus is on Swifts to make aesthetic and functional upgrades to the facility.

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"Council may have some obligation to rectify any safety issues and possibly some structural issues with the facility to sustain the longevity of the asset.

"Swifts has disputed parts of the maintenance obligations under the lease.

"If this is not resolved between the parties then it may result in a minor contractual dispute."

The report noted the council has expended a "substantial amount of resources" over a two-year period in the management of this matter.

"Additionally, there have been costs associated with required third party services such as valuation assessments and drafting survey plans," it notes.

"The decision not to proceed with the disposal means that the parties will revert back to the lease agreement and fall within operational requirements and expenditure."

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.