Website Main content
Website Secondary navigation Public access session

Bernie Perrett - 17 September 2019

Bernie Perrett presented to Council regarding the Narooma Men's Shed at the Public Access Session on 17 September 2019.

Council Briefing – 9.15 a.m. September 17th 2019

Narooma Men’s Shed – Community Shed Project

Introduction:  My name is Bernie Perrett, President of the Narooma Men’s Shed and today I advocate for the continuation of the Men’s Shed in Narooma.

My purpose is to seek the assistance of the Council in coming to an agreement with RMS Roads and Marine Services regarding parking for our new shed in 2039!

History:  Since inception in 2011 we have sought a place to call home, a permanent facility incorporating a community meeting place.  Hard bitter long years saw rejection after rejection.  Councillors Constable and Brown began the process of successfully gaining land (RMS land) adjacent to the unused and derelict Narooma Scout Hall.  We relied on the continuing support of Mayor Innes and many councillors.

In March 2019 on signing a (15 +5year) back-to-back lease with Council (and through them RMS) our members and supporters were over the moon.

Our current lease ends next month and a new lease is not viable long term due to increased rental costs.  The Macaulay family need more than a passing salute for their long-term support at Glasshouse Rocks Rd during our formative years.

Where are we at now? After many weeks of pre DA work, planning conditions were imposed:

  • The 3 shed concept was changed to include a stepped design to make the build more residential.  The non standard building costs rose by $50K.
  • The height of the shed was reduced so it was not imposing and access requirements were set for our community use component. Costs for extra excavation and paths of $25-30K.
  • Our original metal workshop on Lot 2 was reduced by 50% to accommodate car parking on site, as Council could not accept a minor encroachment onto the “paper road’ called Taylors Lane.

It was accepted by Council planners that we build our main facility across Lot 2 to maximize space.  The DA was agreed to in principle and the Council planners put it to RMS for a second approval.

At that point we had:

  • Major funding requirements were in place
  • Expressions of interest for work on the site were in
  • Prime cost items were sourced and priced
  • Major contractors were briefed.In other words we were ‘shovel ready’.  The DA was rejected by RMS on the grounds:
  • No permanent buildings or structures were allowed on Lot 2
  • No access was given through Lot 2 to Lot 1 after the build on Lot 1 was completed
  • The main shed protruded into Lot 2 which was not acceptable
  • Parking on hard-stand was not allowed.

We regrouped, argued and pressed on.  Andrew Greenway advocated over our cause and RMS agreed to:

  • Long term access from the Eastern corner of Lot 2 to the end of the lease or resumption
  • Gravel parking on Lot 2
  • Temporary storage cubes on Lot 2 to alleviate critical storage now that shed construction on Lot 2 had been prohibited
  • Temporary fencing

We had an agreement or so we thought.

All these changes were done on verbal advice and we reacted quickly.  We were therefore not privy to the nuances between RMS and Council, re trade offs, commitments, questions put.  We continue to act in good faith.

As of last week we have been presented with a further RMS issue: that of the provision of parking in 2039 or if the Narooma by pass gets underway.  The question from RMS to Council and the question that is at the CRUX of this presentation is:

In the unlikely event that Lot 2 is resumed by RMS for the by pass, how will Narooma Men’s Shed house 8 car parks on Lot 1 and how will access be provided to Lot 1?

Back to Narooma Men’s Shed once again!  We submitted a ‘Resumption Plan’ which was to act as a discussion starter re parking and access (not a final document).  This plan was aggressively and extensively slammed down by a planning assessment officer as absolutely non-compliant.

We are now wedged between RMS request for a parking plan for 2039 (or on resumption) and Council planning demands.

Our Narooma Men’s Shed Committee, under duress, have exhaustively sought options to move forward to our DA being issued.

Option 1:  That the Council take up the Scouts’ offer endorsed by the Regional Commissioner in April 2019 that they agree to help us with our DA by allowing us to use Scouts land for parking as it is adjacent to our Lot 1. That Council establishes an agreement in the form of a letter of intent or letter of comfort that will assure RMS of a clear Lot 1 in 2039 or earlier IF the by pass becomes reality.

OPTION 2:  That the Eastern end of the main shed on Lot 1 is demolished in 2039 (or on resumption) to allow the slab to be utilized for parking.

OPTION 3:  NMS will satisfy its lease conditions for Lot 1 and 2 and simply hand back both sites to RMS.  This will result in the closure of the Narooma Men’s Shed.

We need Council to offer up Option 1 as our best option to RMS and provide a statement that the 8 parking spaces in contention would be managed in collaboration with the Scouts Association.

I would therefore like to conclude by saying it is our intent to see this project through to the end and build an amazing community asset. If we can overcome this last issue we will start turning soil in October and have the project completed in April 2020, just in time to satisfy our Federal grant requirements.  Any further delays in moving forward, will place the project from being fully funded into a questionable financial state.

Thank you Mayor, Councillors and ESC staff for the time you have given me to put this dilemma to Council.