During a three-week community consultation opportunity, our Buildings and Properties team asked for feedback on the draft Council Leasing and Licensing Policy 2019 (Draft Policy). The Draft Policy is intended to replace the existing Community Leases Policy 2006 (2006 Policy) which was adopted at a time when many of our community groups did not have a formal agreement with Council. It was primarily endorsed to provide a strict timeframe of six months to negotiate a lease. In the intervening 13 years all occupiers of Council land and buildings have had a lease (or licence) and the major goal of the 2006 policy was clearly achieved.
Over this period of time our tenant base has developed from community groups to now include commercial organisations and telecommunications companies. Council is now a tenant itself in a number of instances. Whilst the 2006 Policy has provided guidance for officers over the past 13 years, it is timely to review and update this.
The Draft Policy will provide greater accountability and transparency in our management of Council land and building assets, whilst seeking to treat all tenants and licensees in a consistent, equitable manner. In providing a clear framework, Council will have guidance:
- For both community tenants and commercial tenants (excluding seasonal sporting allocations);
- Where Council will occupy property as the tenant;
- To determine whom Council will lease to;
- To encourage sharing of facilities;
- To ensure a consistent approach;
- To achieve the greatest community benefit from Council facilities; and
- To provide clarity with the approach to rental fees and charges.
The consultation commenced on 31 May and closed 21 June 2019. Two people provided feedback to the draft Policy. The issues raised included length of tenure, relocation clauses, lease negotiation period, liquor licences and transparency of Council’s lease register.
The feedback addressing the issues raised was included in a Council Report asking Councillors to endorse the Draft Policy. Officers did not seek to amend the Draft Policy following the consultation.
This Council Report was presented to the Ordinary Council Meeting on 23 July 2019. At that meeting Council noted the comments received and endorsed the new Council Leasing and Licensing Policy. The 2006 Policy was revoked.