Council approved sporting ground waivers, card surcharge waivers and rent relief earlier today.

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) has today approved a number of further measures to provide relief to the community as it responds to the Coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the relief options, TRC Finance and Business Strategy Committee Chair Geoff McDonald said Council had approved sporting ground waivers, card surcharge waivers and rent relief for three businesses experiencing hardship.

“Our winter sports either haven’t been able to return to the fields or have experienced extreme difficulty in doing so,” Cr McDonald said.

“On top of this, they’ve been unable to train and have had decreased numbers.

“The waiving of fees will benefit individual sporting organisations between $248 and $2485 for the full winter season, with the estimated cost to Council between $30,000 and $40,000.

“We realise the pandemic will not only have an impact this year, but in the years to come, so we need to look at how we can ensure the long-term futures of our clubs.

“Most initiatives from the different levels of government so far have focused on helping our business, industry and the economy and we felt sporting organisations had been slightly overlooked which is why we made the decision today to waive park hire fees for sporting clubs for the 2020 winter sporting season (concluding 30 September 2020).

“In addition to this, earlier today Council also approved rent relief for three businesses that lease Council-owned premises.

“As part of our initial COVID-19 relief package, all rent for community and commercial tenants was waived from April to June 2020.

“Obviously some businesses have been more severely impacted than others over the past few months and Council considered the hardship cases of three businesses, approving a 50% reduction in lease payable for a three month period (1 August to 31 October) to the Toowoomba City Library Café and Encores and a 50% reduction in lease payable for a four month period (1 July to 31 October) to the Empire Theatre.”

During the ongoing pandemic, Finance and Business Strategy Committee portfolio lead Kerry Shine said Council would continue to look for opportunities to assist residents throughout the Toowoomba Region.

“We fully understand there isn’t a simple solution that will solve everything but we are open to being as flexible as we possibly can when it comes to our community,” he said.

“We’ve shown that we’re prepared to listen to our residents and will continue to examine further methods that could provide help.

“One way to do this is by extending the waiver of card surcharges for all card transactions with Council.

“In April this year Council made a decision to waive card surcharges for all card transactions and we think it would be more than appropriate to continue this until further notice.

“We also hope this will encourage residents to continue using cashless and contactless transactions as much as possible.”

The card surcharge will be reviewed when considering the 2021/22 register of fees and charges.