Wyong Lions Club still has no idea if they’ll ever receive compensation for their shed and storage facility, after Wyong Race Club evicted them from the land earlier this year.
According to Wyong Lions’ President, Colin Slack, the club had been forced to purchase a new shed, to the tune of $3,000, to ensure that they had a secure site to store their barbecues and other items used in their community fundraising activities.
Slack said the club’s solicitor had been negotiating with the race club’s solicitor to secure compensation for the Lions’ Rose St shed, which they purchased in 2009.
Since that time, the Lions have undertaken numerous improvement works on the shed, including concreting, raising the building and installing a kitchen.
“At this point, all requests for compensation have been denied,” Slack said.
Complicating matters, Slack said the club had installed their new shed at their temporary site at the Tuggerawong Retirement Village, but the terms of their tenancy with the Village were not fixed, meaning they could face another sudden eviction at any time.
Slack said the whole situation had been “very disappointing”.
“We’re first and foremost a not-for profit, charitable, community organisation.
“We raised $88,000 last year, and every cent of that went back into Wyong, so we’re very disappointed.
“All funds that we have are donated funds.
“We had to purchase a new shed with donated money that could have been better utilised to provide our services to the community,” Slack said.
“Given the not-for-profit status of the club, there was no way the Lions could afford to take legal action over the shed compensation.
“We are currently investigating exactly how the race club were able to take over the community land, given it was widely acknowledged as trust land.
“We hope to find something that may help our cause,” Slack said.
According to Slack, the Lions Club had been operating in Wyong for 49 years and were preparing to celebrate their 50th anniversary later this year.
“Of those 49 years, the club has been utilising the Rose St shed for around eight years.
“We had a verbal agreement with the previous race club committee to use the land for at least 15 years, but that’s obviously not the case with the current committee,” Slack said.
The Lions received their marching orders from the race club in November, 2018, and removed their final belongings on February 28.
Aside from the matter of compensation, Slack said the club was also investigating exactly why the race club needed to evict the Lions, as well as the Central Coast Volunteer Rescue Squad and Central Coast Poultry Club, who also vacated from their Rose St sites prior to March 1.
“The race club submitted a $6m Development Application (DA) to Central Coast Council for the expansion of its facilities and we have assessed the DA and question why we needed to leave Rose St, when the current plans for the race track expansion do not incorporate the land in question,” Slack said.
Interview, Mar 1
Colin Slack, Wyong Lions Club
Dilon Luke, Journalist