Council brains in two minds

The human brain is divided into two parts one hemisphere is predominantly responsible for rational or analytical thought and the other for creative and intuitive thinking.

Larger organisations of humans, like city councils, can also be understood in this way, with the more creative people being given positions in, lets say, event management, while the harder-nosed and more analytical brains become executive directors.

At present, the executive directors of Lismore City Council are keen to get the sports community to earn some revenue, so much so that they have decided to virtually privatise the Oakes Oval grandstand and its kitchens. Meanwhile, the event organisers have been busy hiring our grounds to corporate interests for nothing. Last month our creatives were approached by NRL franchise the Titans, who wanted to book Oakes Oval for a trial game that will draw thousands of people to the ground. Guess how much money Lismore City Council will earn from this big drawcard? Nothing they waived the hire fee. Thats right, zilch. And Council has also generously decided to cough up the cash for the rubbish disposal after the game.

Okay, so its fun to see some of the nations best league players, but lets analyse the money changing hands here, so we know exactly how much were missing out on. About 6,600 people will attend, and thats a cautious estimate. Thats 150 corporate seats at $85 each, 1400 A reserve seats at $27.50 each and the rest (about 5000) at approximately $15 each. Thats a grand total of $126,250. And that doesnt take into account any earnings from drink and food sales. (Oh, and the Titans have a monopoly on drinks sales as well.)

My goodness, were generous in Lismore, arent we? The CEOs of that corporate giant must be happy. I can just hear them now... Those hicks in Lismore are letting us host a party on their patch for nothing and theyre even going to clean up the mess! Bless their little cotton socks.

Furthermore, were excluding the local cricketers (who actually pay hire fees) from the ground for three weeks before the game so that the grass can grow on the wicket square. To the Councils credit, they have returned some of the hire fees to the Lismore District Cricket Association, but that just means the big game is costing us, the ratepayers, even more.

There was a time, and it wasnt that long ago, that the integrity of the Oakes Oval turf wicket was respected throughout the cricket season and football was excluded. Needless to say it wouldnt be fair on the footballers if a cricket pitch was prepared during the winter. You can imagine the howl that would go up if we did that. Now the pitch is at risk with the finals just around the corner. Its poor form and the cricket community is not impressed.

The councillors who think that sport is something you watch on TV tell us that local businesses will do well out of the influx of cars and people in the city. Thats guff the visiting crowds drive in, watch the game and drive home. The only local benefit out of the big bash? Well, Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) has the opportunity to run a sausage sizzle and thats it. Its a rort... and then these fly-by-night corporate predators will have the nerve to suggest theyre reaching out to country kids.

So there you go my fellow ratepayers, were trapped between a sell-off and a giveaway. One side of Council wants us to make money, by selling off our heritage, and the other wants us to give our money away, to those who need it the least.

The mind boggles whichever side you use.

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