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Big bucks and secret sports deals

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by deadlyeagle, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. deadlyeagle

    deadlyeagle Member

    +11 /0
    Big bucks and secret sports deals
    12:00a.m. 4th February 2009
    | By Bill Hoffman

    The besieged Quad Park Corporation has left the council and ratepayers exposed to deals which are costing several hundred thousand dollars to unravel.

    In its bid to promote the value of Stockland Park as a sporting venue of national significance, agreements were signed with footballer Steve Menzies, the Australian Sports Commission and Rowing Queensland which brought benefits to the region but which had inadequate revenue streams to cover the costs.

    It is understood Menzies, who quit the NRL after last season’s premiership win by Manly to play in the United Kingdom, was paid $25,000 plus accommodation and airfares to make several visits to promote the NRL.

    Options for NRL players to come to the Coast in 2009 and 2010 have not been taken up.

    The commercial in confidence agreement was signed between the player as an individual and Quad Park and is considered to be at market rates, although it was generally perceived that the visits were efforts by his club to promote its franchise and the NRL The Daily believes that Manly has assisted the new Quad Park administration by arranging to bring more players to the Coast and that the board is now happy that it would get its value from the relationship.

    It is understood that Quad Park also undertook to pay airfares and to accommodate athletes taking part in high performance training on Lake Kawana exposing it to several hundred thousand dollars in expenses.

    Accommodation provided included rooms in the four and a half star Seaforth Resort at Alexandra Headland. It is believed Quad Park is still negotiating settlement of its liability to the Australian Sports Commission.

    The contracts were signed in good faith by those organisations and have to be respected at law.

    The Daily reported in October last year that Quad Park was approaching insolvency unless it received an immediate working capital injection of $300,000 into its 2008-09 budget.

    The council had already budgeted more than $1 million to QPC in its 2008-09 budget.

    Quad Park Corporation’s unaudited net deficit for 2007-08 was more than $500,000.

    Council has engaged respected former local government bureaucrat John Kelly to take over as managing director of the board to examine its liabilities to determine which deals are good value and where not to negotiate to terminate arrangements.

    Kelly is a former Noosa shire director of community services and was seconded by the state government to help sort out the affairs of the Johnstone Shire Council before its eventual dismissal in early 2007 due to internal rows.

    He, Wurtulla councillor Keryn Jones and former Caloundra councillor Don Smith are now the only members remaining of what had been a 12-member board of directors overseeing what was set up as a private company of which Caloundra City Council had been sole shareholder.

    Ms Jones said that as a newly-elected councillor appointed to the board it had soon become apparent there were issues to be resolved.

    She said she had been working with the Quad Park Working Group and staff to resolve a number of problems that had emerged.

    The new administration is understood to be pinning its hopes on a successful National Rugby League trial between Melbourne and Broncos on February 28 to build the case for $5 million in state government funding to top up $10 million already committed by council and the federal government for construction of a 1200-seat grandstand and facilities.

    While the Quad Park board was fulfilling its charter in creating relationships and promoting sport at the facility insiders say it didn’t look carefully enough at the capacity of its budgets to honour commitments.

    It is believed that whatever entity Sunshine Coast Council determines appropriate to manage the future affairs of the sports complex would be happy to continue the relationships but not at previous levels.

    The agreement with Queensland Rowing was so open ended that it meant the more activities the body undertook on Lake Kawana the greater the cost exposure to Quad Park.

    Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles CEO Brett Winkler who has been critical of delays in getting the stadium facility underway at Quad Park yesterday expressed satisfaction with the new administration but said the Quad park board had always honoured its commitments to his organisation.

    “Everything they said they would do they did,’’ Mr Winkler said.

    He said Manly officials had been on the Coast last week to meet with council and were comfortable with the direction of the new management and governance structure.

    Quad Park History

    The Quad Park Corporation was set up by Caloundra City Council to function as a private company of which it was the sole shareholder.

    A board of directors was appointed which eventually grew to 12 in number. Only two of those were councillors, limiting the amount of influence the city could exert over its affairs.

    It was set up as a separate corporate entity to promote sport in the region and as such was not subject to the provisions of the Local Government Act, which would have governed its operation if it had stayed in council hands.

    The organisation was funded by an operating grant from the council.

    Its charter of corporate intent allowed it to create relationships to promote sport at the Quad Park complex.

    With amalgamation, Sunshine Coast Regional Council inherited Caloundra City’s shareholding.

    While it is not a direct party to any agreement Quad Park Corporation formed with other bodies, as sole shareholder it ultimately had to act to honour agreements signed in good faith and which have to be respected at law.

    Quad Park incorporates the best rowing facility in south-east Queensland in Lake Kawana and the main playing field is the only one on the Sunshine Coast which meets national standards.

    The board brought many significant events to the region which have been a benefit to the sporting community here as well as to the business community.

    However, it is understood that the lack of council oversight was responsible for, as one insider put it, the organisation going “a bit off the rails”.

    The council is expected to come up with a new structure.

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