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‘Private school rates’ claim over park lands sport leases

Adelaide City Council says a prominent private school and suburban sporting clubs can co-exist on a park lands site, amid questions over the school’s sub-letting fees.

Jul 03, 2024, updated Jul 03, 2024
School sports at King Rodney Park / Ityamai-itpina (Park 15). Photo supplied.

School sports at King Rodney Park / Ityamai-itpina (Park 15). Photo supplied.

Last night’s City Community Services and Culture Committee agreed that Prince Alfred College (PAC) should continue to be the head lessee of King Rodney Park/Ityamai-itpina off Dequetteville Terrace, subject to sub-letting to Goodwood Saints Football Club and Goodwood Cricket Club

It comes after the council flagged PAC’s lease of King Rodney Park/Ityamai-itpina for further investigation in March because the Goodwood clubs also expressed their interest in the space. 

Both Goodwood clubs have supported Prince Alfred College being the head lessee as long as they have access to the playing fields, change rooms, sports lighting and storage space in the building for their AFL Women’s program and junior cricket program. 

Currently, Prince Alfred College (PAC) leases the building and playing fields of King Rodney Park/Ityamai-itpina off of Dequetteville Tce from the city.

PAC would charge junior and women’s teams fees of $29 per hour for use of the playing fields, $34 per hour for use of the playing field with lights and a $40 daily fee for changerooms, according to the report presented to the committee. 

Councillor Phillip Martin said to access these facilities the subletting fees are “a bit excessive” compared to what the council charges PAC. 

The City of Adelaide lease agreement charges PAC about $4100 in rent and licence fees to use the park lands for the financial year 2024/25. 

“I did a bit of calculation… all up the women’s AFL and kids cricket are paying PAC $55,000 for part-time use of a facility the city is charging $4000 for,” Martin said. 

“I think it’s a great thing that a community sports organisation is getting a private school’s piece of the park lands but… it sounds a bit like they’re charging private school rates.” 

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City Shaping Director Ilia Houridis told the committee that $4100 wasn’t the full cost applying for PAC’s use of park lands, and that the sublet rates were set to recover the increased cost of light use, watering the grounds and other maintenance which PAC was responsible for under the lease agreement. 

In March, Prince Alfred College headmaster David Roberts told the committee that PAC spent $70,000 annually on the upkeep of park lands facilities. 

Details of the full costs PAC paid for the grounds will be given to council members ahead of next Tuesday’s council meeting.

Councillor Mary Couros said Martin’s statement was “bold” and that the council will ensure “no one’s taken for a ride”. 

The lease agreement is for a five-year term, with priority use granted to the Goodwood clubs on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings. 

PAC doesn’t support the use of the grounds on a Wednesday evening and requires Saturday and Sunday use for finals at the end of the summer cricket season. 

The council administration said it will work with all clubs to minimise program clashes and fair and reasonable access to facilities, with PAC having the most use as the head lessee. 

The lease agreement has to pass the council next Tuesday and be signed by PAC by August 31. 

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