A BUSH racing club has been forced to foot a $16,000 bill for what it sees as “totally unnecessary” infrastructure upgrades, after losing what it describes as a “common sense” dispute with its local council.
A week out from its biggest event of the year, the Chinchilla Race Club resembles a “war zone” as frantic excavation works are carried out for a major upgrade of its plumbing infrastructure.
The club has been excited to use a brand new set of kitchen facilities for the first time at its annual Chinchilla Cup meeting on December 19, but hit an obstacle when the Western Downs Regional Council (WDRC) deemed the kitchen’s plumbing system unfit for approval.
Club spokesperson Wally Gleeson said the council had refused to approve the new kitchen until major waste water upgrades, including the installation of a new septic tank and heavy drainage infrastructure, were completed.
The works have come at a total cost of $26,000, of which the WDRC has contributed $10,000.
“Because we’ve now got two gas fryers, a cook top and a dish washer, it’s now officially considered a commercial kitchen, so we have to go through all this nonsense,” Mr Gleeson said.
“We only have four race meetings in a year. We rent the space out for functions too, but we might go ten weeks without the kitchen even being used.
“The council wants liveability. To force a small volunteer organisation to raise another $16,000 to do something that’s totally unnecessary is ridiculous.
“There’s no common sense, making us do all this. There shouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
“The council needs to make submissions to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) saying these sorts of things don’t suit small communities with little clubs.”
In a statement the WDRC said government legislation required the club to have suitable plumbing facilities to accommodate the significant kitchen upgrade.
“Plumbing requirements are governed by the Queensland Government’s Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code. They are not Council laws, and must be complied with,” the statement said.
“Council has given significant support to the Chinchilla Race Club as part of their kitchen upgrade project and in October granted $10,000 to the Club to upgrade its plumbing system.
“On top of financial support, Council has worked with the Club to help them identify ways to ensure their kitchen wastewater is disposed of correctly.”
The upgrade works are expected to be completed in time for the Chinchilla Cup race meeting.