North Ballarat ties will not be broken: chairman

North Ballarat Football Club chairman John Nevett has written the following open letter.

I would like to assure our members that, while the City of Ballarat has compulsorily acquired the North Ballarat Football Club freehold land and buildings, the club will retain its strong heritage, regional sporting focus and community involvement. I can also confirm that all teams associated with the club – including the North Ballarat Roosters in the Victorian Football League, North Ballarat City Football and Netball Club in the Ballarat Football League, North Ballarat Cricket Club, the North Ballarat women’s football team and North Ballarat Sports Club – will be fully supported by a dedicated and hard-working board as we transition into the next stage of this process.

The North Ballarat Football Club tender for the Eureka Stadium site following the City of Ballarat’s land acquisition will be provided within the tender process timetable.

As North Ballarat Football Club board chairman, I can assure members it will include a well-constructed and measured submission that will meet all the club expectations.

I can also assure club members the fully committed board will be seeking maximum compensation for the freehold land and buildings through the appropriate channels, though no formal compensation offer has yet been received from the City of Ballarat.

The council has two weeks to make the offer, which will expire on May 11.

The club’s expectation is that the compensation amount will be far greater than the $5.5 million announced in The Courier on Friday by the City of Ballarat as the cost of taking over the Eureka Stadium freehold land and buildings.

Our valuation has started with the club’s valuers, Herron, Todd and White.

It is anticipated we will get a compensation valuation figure within the next 60 days.

I would also like to make it clear that North Ballarat Football Club has the legal right to occupy the Eureka Stadium site rent free for the next three months.

There is also the further option of North Ballarat Football Club continuing to occupy the site for another three months.

I would like to also make it clear this whole acquisition was put in place before the annual general meeting, and before the board was elected.

There has been no negotiation between the City of Ballarat and the new board since its election at the annual general meeting on February 22.

I would also like to stress that the North Ballarat Football Club has managed the site extremely successfully to date and there is no reason why we will not do so into the future, if allowed.

In conjunction with receiving fair and reasonable compensation, the North Ballarat Football Club board now has to ensure we achieve a fair and reasonable lease of the buildings and carpark, and fair and reasonable user agreements for the two ovals and changerooms.

I also believe the City of Ballarat has acted prematurely in instigating the Eureka Stadium land acquisition.

If it was just about securing the changerooms for AFL games, there were several far less costly procedures that could have been put in place.

However, provided the City of Ballarat recognises the club’s contribution to the community over past decades, then it should have no reason to doubt the ability of the North Ballarat Football Club to do so into the future.