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PHOTO: ENSIGN FILES

Some clubs using council-owned grounds look set to be in for hefty lease increases – in the Gore Model Engineering Club’s case, for example, a jump from $130 a year to $360.

The Gore District Council finance and policy committee discussed recommended fees changes at its meeting on Tuesday.

Another club facing a lease hike is the Gore BMX Club, based at Hamilton Park, whose annual charge could also rise from $130 a year to $360.

Some councillors were not comfortable with some of the increases proposed in the document.

The committee decided to recommend the proposed changes but left room to ask managers questions before they finally adopted the proposals.

After the meeting council chief financial officer Luke Blackbeard said the increases were prompted by a need to bring charges in line with other council leases.

“It’s trying to be consistent,” Mr Blackbeard said.

Cemetery fee rises were prompted by the fact revenue from fees was usually less than budgeted for, he said.

“During the 10-year planning process, staff conducted a survey of other councils’ fee structures and found there was scope for increasing many of the cemetery charges,” he said.

Mr Blackbeard said the council was investigating the possibility of including changes to its charges in its annual plan consultation document in the future.

Longtime model engineering club member Graham Head said he had not been informed of the proposed changes but the club would struggle to pay the increase.

The club had only about seven members, Mr Head said.

“We don’t have an awful lot of money,” he said.

The club offered rides on a miniature train in warmer weather, but the $2 charge “doesn’t make us rich”.

The club was approaching its 30th anniversary and started building infrastructure about 1990, he said.

The rides provided another activity in the town.

“It gives people an excuse to go into the park.”

BMX club president Richard Pascoe said if the fee increased to $360 a year it would be challenging for the club.

The club had “big numbers” attending its Friday sessions about three years ago, but this season only about 20 riders participated weekly, Mr Pascoe said.

“We’re really just getting by at the moment,” Mr Pascoe said.

The club was run by parents in an informal format, he said.

As well as the Friday sessions, individual riders used the track daily, meaning it was a community asset, he said.

If the club had to pay more for its lease he hoped the council would carry out some upgrading work at the park such as repairing the roadway.

Eastern Southland Softball fees would rise from $150 a year to $300 under the proposal.

The Mataura Pony Club faces a rise from $126 a year to $160, while pony paddocks will rise from $198 a year to $299.

Burial plots are also set to rise. A single plot with the right to buy an adjoining plot would rise from $551 to $800; a single interment would rise from $610 to $840; and a double interment in a single plot would rise from $694 to $895.