PCYC Northam fights Shire of Northam's fee structure

PCYC Northam has approached the local Shire to lower the fees for the group’s use of the Northam Recreation Centre during term 4 of 2017 while their usual premises is under reconstruction.

PCYC was left without a place to run their Stepping Stones alternative education program at the end of the 2017 school year. 

Although assessing potential options around town the Recreation Centre was the only appropriate facility, as the group needed kitchen and toilet facilities. 

The daily rate to book Meeting Room 3 in the Recreation Centre is $210 with the final bill charged to PCYC equally $12,180 for the 10 weeks the group needed the room.

PCYC Centre Manager Jane Atterby addressed the shire on December 13 requesting a 70 per cent discount to the fee they were charged to coincide with other not for profit groups working with youth under a community service provision.

The last minute nature of the booking meant that PCYC were unable to enter into a formal lease agreement that would have reduced their fee. 

In an ordinary council meeting on December 20 the decision to reduce the fee for PCYC’s use of the Recreation Centre was unanimously voted in favour of. 

Councilor Rob Tinetti urged the council to vote in favour of the move. 

“We need to support the work PCYC do in the comminuty,” he said.

“It could have been $3,000 we didn’t get if it wasn’t rented out.”

Councilor Michael Ryan said the application is a chance for the council re-assess current procedures and the way fees are calculated.

“This is a good learning experience for the Shire in terms of the fees charged for the Recreation Centre,” he said.

“We may need to look at monthly fees.”

PCYC Centre Manager Jane Atterby was thrilled when she found out the price had been dropped. 

“I’m very glad they saw sense,” she said.

“As a not for profit, registered charity group we rely on outside funding sources and fundraising so we wouldn’t have been able to afford the full price.”

The reconstruction of the original premises was long overdue with the building having its 60th anniversary in June 2018, but it will still be a few weeks until the building is ready for the group to move back in.

“We are hoping to move back in after the March long weekend, but we are hoping to find a shop front on Fitzgerald Street to open up in at the beginning of term,” Ms Atterby said.

“We won’t run activities until we get back to the building in March but we need office space in the meantime. 

“It isn’t ideal waiting for the building to be done since it’s our main form of income.

“If we have a shop front we can start promoting what we’re doing and the kids and anyone else who wants to see us can start dropping in.” 

PCYC provide sporting group space, run PCYC activities and alternative education programs and help at risk youth gain their L plates.

“It’s hard not having a building at the moment,” Ms Atterby said. 

“Even if we aren’t running the programs the kids are still welcome to come in and hang out. 

“Avon Youth run holiday programs for kids 12 and above but there isn’t anything for the younger kids. 

“I worry for the kids who we have been unable to provide activities for over the holidays.”

The new building will feature new roof and external cladding, stainless steel kitchen facilities, revamped bathroom and shower blocks, a new common room and dedicated classroom.

Ms Atterby said the common room will cater for the children who aren't so sport and fitness inclined.

PCYC hope to put a recently donated big screen TV to good use by creating a games and music room for the community use.

The floorboards at the back of the main hall were in need of replacing after drainage issues caused several humps to form. 

Despite the new look exterior the group will continue to use its previous equipment as they rely on donations to continue their work.

For updates on the re-opening and progress of Northam PCYC see their Facebook page.