Echo Park Speedway in stalemate over land lease
A DISPUTE over land in Collinsville has sparked debate at the council table as the lease owners claim they have been locked out of their own property.
The council is a trustee of the state-owned land at 60 Corduroy Rd in Collinsville and issued a lease to the Echo Park Speedway and Sporting Association in 2018.
Whitsunday Regional Council CEO Rod Ferguson said before the lease was issued, parts of the area were used for grazing animals.
"They've been there for some time … some of them had leases of their own but they've expired," he said.
Treasurer and secretary of Echo Park Speedway and Sporting Association Sharon Saxby said the group previously had no problem with the land being used for grazing.
However, she claims over the past few months the club has had issues accessing 100 acres of property.
The club was broken into earlier this year and Ms Saxby alleged afterwards, someone put up a barbed wire fence and changed locks on a gate, which meant the club could not access certain areas of the land.
She said they had been in contact with people using the land for their animals in a bid to gain access but had been unsuccessful in reaching an agreement.
A recommendation came before the council today that would allow the Echo Park association to enter into sublease agreements with other parties for agistment purposes.
This would have given the association the ability to manage and maintain the sublessees.
However, Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker wanted to confirm the group was ticking the boxes needed to run as an association in terms of annual general meetings and memberships.
He tabled a motion to get more information from the association before a decision was made.
"I'd hate for us to be going into a lease where the actual organisation that we're going in with is not operating properly," he said.
Councillors unanimously voted that the association must provide more information on their membership, meeting arrangements and financial auditing arrangements before any further decisions are made.
Mr Ferguson said regardless of the council decision, the land was legally in the possession of the speedway association through their lease.
"The speedway group have total control of that lease area and they're having negotiations with the agistors and council is working with both parties to try and reach some kind of compromised outcome that means everyone is happy," he said.
Ms Saxby said it was frustrating the association had to go through these processes and was now unwilling to work with people using the property for agistment.
"We were, but after today we're not having anything to do with the horses," she said.
The issue will be discussed again in upcoming council meetings.