Tigers Club in Court

Balmain Tigers Leagues Club Development Application is in the Land and Environment Court with the decision expected in the next four to six weeks.

Leichhardt Council blamed as Tigers await their fate

Leichhardt Council is being blamed for action in the Land and Environment Court that could seal the fate of the proposed Balmain Leagues Club redevelopment proposal on Victoria Road Rozelle.

The Court could take up to eight weeks to decide the proposal’s outcome, well past the NRL’s April 30 deadline for the Balmain Tigers to come up with a plan to repay around $5.8 million in money owing.

This has led to media speculation that the cashed up Wests Ashfield Club could move in to pay the debt and swing control of the joint venture Wests Tigers to a diehard Magpies faction.

Ian Wright is the spokesman for the court applicant the Rozelle Village and blames Leichhardt Council

Mr Wright said that if the leagues club proposal for a 12 and eight storey leagues club/residential development is approved, the Tigers will be able to pay the debt without a Magpie bail out, as envisioned by the club back in 2010.

“Leagues clubs fund football clubs, ” Mr Wright said.

“The Tigers should not be in the position they are in and are only in this position because the Council refused the leagues club development action several years ago, largely because The Greens on the council got their noses out of joint,” he said.

“And if anyone was in the Land and Environment Court last week they’d say the Tigers will not come back because all you need to do is look at this council’s opposition to this development, despite it being fully compliant.

“This is a council that is even prepared to challenge the depth of soil in a proposed flower box, it is that desperate, absolutely desperate to stop this proposal.”

Leichhardt Council Mayor Darcy Byrne has declined to comment on on-going court action but this week showed his support for the Tigers by renaming the hill at Leichhardt Oval after Tigers legend Wayne Pearce.

Mr Wright is sceptical about what he described as the Council’s ‘true commitment’ to the local club, founded in 1908.

“It is not what they say, it is what they do,” he said.

“We are now in a position that it could take up to eight weeks to get a decision by the court because it has to wade through boxes and boxes of evidence.

“That could go past the deadline and I know the Tigers are talking to Wests Ashfield.

“Our position is straightforward, our proposal fully compliant.

“Further, we are not being opposed by Transport NSW, who seek to protect the Metro Corridor and who joined the (court) proceedings.”

Despite speculation Wests Ashfield could seek to rebrand the Wests Tigers, a decision to scrap the ‘Tiger’ brand would need to be approved by the NRL.

“You never know the outcome of a court case until it is handed down, but the facts are on our side,” Mr Wright said.