By Rebecca Peppiatt
SHIRE of Mundaring councillors were given a round of applause at Tuesday’s meeting after voting to reduce the rent on a building used by Darlington Scouts and Guides.
Kathleen Skipsy Hall on Glen Road has been used by both the Darlington Scout Group and the Darlington Dibbler Guides for more than 20 years at a cost of $350.90 a year.
As part of a new lease agreement, the council looked at their policy on community leases and recommended the rent be increased to $1100 plus GST.
A cost that the groups said was unaffordable.
About 15 members of the Scouts and Guides turned up to the meeting to protest against the recommendation.
“The proposed increase in costs will have to be passed on to our members, putting Scouts and Guides out of reach for more families,” Scout group leader Glen Stenton said.
Mr Stenton asked for a ‘re-classification’ of the land, reducing the rent down to $500 a year, plus GST.
Cr Doug Jeans put forward an alternative motion to set the rent at $356, a one per cent increase.
Cr Simon Cuthbert seconded the motion.
“A 345 per cent increase is hard to be absorbed by a community group,” he said.
Cr Jason Russell voted against the alternative motion, stating he thought this would affect other not-for-profit groups in the Shire.
“We should encourage our community groups to stick to policy,” he said.
Cr Jeans’ motion was ultimately carried by Council 5/4.