Council agree to alleviate some of the debt owed by Kaniva-Leeor United

DEBT: West Wimmera Shire Council has made the decision to write off Kaniva-Leeor United's debt for the next two years and remove interest charge.
DEBT: West Wimmera Shire Council has made the decision to write off Kaniva-Leeor United's debt for the next two years and remove interest charge.

West Wimmera Shire Council has put a plan in place to alleviate some of the debt owed by Kaniva-Leeor United Football Club for the Kaniva Community Hub project.

Before the decision was made at a council meeting held last year on December 16, the Kaniva-based club owed $160,000 to council.

Council acknowledged that the club was severely impacted in its capacity to repay the debt due to Victorian COVID-19 restrictions making face-to-face fundraising impossible.

At the meeting, councillor Tim Meyer moved that all money owed in payments for the calendar year 2020 and 2021 be written off, and no further interest be charged on the remaining debt for the balance of the loan.

Councillors Bruce Meyer, Tim Meyer and Tom Houlihan voted in favour of the motion, while councillors Jodie Pretlove and Trevor Domaschenz voted against.

A further motion was made by Cr Domaschenz to have the hub project financial aid offset by rental received from Kaniva Racecourse Reserve.

All councillors were in favour, except for Cr Houlihan, who abstained from the vote.

West Wimmera Shire Council mayor, Bruce Meyer, believes council's decision will make repaying the debt a lot easier for the football club.

"2020 has been tough enough for everyone living through the coronavirus lockdown and restrictions, let alone by organisations who are reliant on social events to fundraise for projects," he said.

"We believe council's decision to write off the debt for the next two years and remove interest charges, will help the football club and the Kaniva community recover a little without saddling them with a debt they cannot pay back immediately.

"We hope to see easier times ahead and a resumption of some of the fun and social fundraising we, as a community, know and love."

In November last year, Kaniva-Leeor United made the decision to participate in the Horsham District League for season 2021, leaving the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara Football League (KNTFL).

While the club has given no indication that it will return to the KNTFL next year, the ability to play community sport without the fear of being locked out due to border closures will be beneficial for the club.

KNTFL president Peter McLellan said not being able to play community sport last year would have been tough for the club.

"Like every community club, they want to be able to play games - for Kaniva-Leeor United, being about to play their eight-odd home games a year is massive for them," he said.

Mr McLellan hopes the club will strongly consider moving back to the KNTFL in 2022.

Kaniva residents won't have to wait long to see sport return to the town, with the club set to host Kalkee in their Round 1 fixture on April 10.