The Nimbin Community Centre will be hosting a Meet & Greet BBQ for tenants, volunteers, members and staff! This BBQ will be catered, so please confirm your RSVP if you will be attending.
Meet & Greet BBQ
Come and meet the new team!
The Nimbin Community Centre will be hosting a Meet & Greet BBQ for tenants, volunteers, members and staff! This BBQ will be catered, so please confirm your RSVP if you will be attending. This is a excellent opportunity to meet the new staff team at the Community Centre, and catch up with fellow members, tenants and volunteers.
Meet & Greet BBQ - Facebook Event
Friday 25th August 2023
From 5pm - 7pm at Nimbin Community Centre
RSVP by 18th August to email@example.com
If you would like to join Nimbin Community Centre as a member, read more here.
Rent, Maintenance & Funding
From the Nimbin Commubnity Centre Management Committee
Following the Facebook response to our July newsletter that attracted criticism of the decisions made by the management committee regarding recent rent increases, it seems important to talk more about the specifics of the rental increases we have been canvassing with tenants and to respond to points raised.
One criticusm was:
The tenants are now facing rent increases of between 25% and 100% because the Community Centre says it has no funds for site maintenance.
The Truth About Rent Increases
The only tenant that has had a 100% increase in rent (92% to be specific) is the Early Childhood Learning Centre (Family Day Care to many of you). Their rent until this year, for the whole space they occupy in the middle of the Centre, was $141 a week. Early in the year we met with their Director and talked about the need to increase their rent. Our target rent for the building we identified as $425 a week and we asked them to consider what they could afford and get back to us. They offered to double their rent and we are very grateful as we recognise their service, a service we consider to be of vital importance, is subsidised by funds they receive to deliver services in Lismore.
What about the other tenants?
Here are some rental statistics from Nimbin Community Centre:
7 tenants had a 5% increase in their annual rent
7 tenants had a 7% increase, commensurate with the CPI.
1 tenant had an 8% increase
2 tenants had a 17% increase. For one of those tenants this equated to $7 a week. For the other, a commercial tenant, $20.50 a week.
One commercial tenant is facing a 15% increase ($36.50 a week). They will still be below our target for the space, which is based on area occupied, and we have offered to take 3 years to bring the space to our target.
We are still in negotiation with another tenant but have again offered to increase the rent to our target over a 3-year period, a proposal that came from our meetings with tenants as a group.
Nimbin Neighbourhood Centre
In regards to long term tenant Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre, which seems to cause the greatest angst for some, they received a CPI increase of 7% in July, but for many years have benefited from a lease that allowed CPI increases only (2-3%) while other tenants experienced a 5% increase. Their lease is up for renewal at the end of this year and they are currently under our target, despite our reclassifying them as an unfunded organisation. It is our desire to bring them up to target over a 3-year period, but we will enter into negotiations regarding this in good faith as they provide highly valued community services.
That’s the story around rent increases. One tenant facing an increase over 25%.
The Truth About Site Maintenance
We have never said that there are no funds for site maintenance
In our budget we set aside significant funds for maintenance every year. If we didn’t the grounds and buildings wouldn’t look as they do. What we have been saying is that we have owned these buildings for a long time and our reserve of funds is dwindling as we struggle to maintain buildings that are 60 – 100+ years old and our annual income is currently not close enough to meeting our needs. We inherited buildings in relatively good condition as they were a school. We have done our best to maintain them in that condition through volunteer input, comparatively cheap labour and grants. We have been incredibly responsible financial managers. However, almost 30 years later we are faced with some significant, major repairs. Birth and Beyond needs restumping and the roof on the brick building (Casuarina) needs replacing. We can’t keep patching it up. Other roofs are developing rust holes and timber walls are rotting. The wall we are currently replacing along the side of Birth & Beyond is a $35,000+ project. Fortunately, we secured a grant of $21,000 towards this work.
How do we establish rents?
We established rent targets for each rental space after Council withdrew its financial support.
We needed to replace that lost income and developing target rents based on the area occupied seemed a fair way to do it. We discounted our targets for community-based, not for profit tenants. When deciding between community and commercially-based applicants for vacant rooms, we always prioritise community, even though the rent might be less. Since establishing targets, we have struggled to bring long-term, community-based tenants up to target, each arguing their worth and identifying the impact rent has on their service delivery. A dilemma we completely understand.
Another critism was:
The tenants formed a consortium to try to collectively negotiate with the Community Centre because many will struggle to pay or will be unable to pay the proposed rent increases and have been told if we cannot afford to pay them we will be evicted.
We have never talked about evicting anyone.
As you can see from the above, the rent increases are not substantial enough to warrant or even consider evictions and most tenants have accepted the rent increase without objection. We offered to negotiate with every single tenant. A number took us up on our offer and the negotiations were very amicable with positive outcomes. The word eviction has never crossed our lips or been in our minds. We care about this community as much as any of our tenants and are absolutely dedicated to seeing the assets under our care thrive for future generations.
Funding from Grants
A critism about funding:
Instead of quarantining funds for this purpose...funds [Nimbin Community Centre] has gained from all us tenants all these years ....it chose to purchase additional properties….. at no time were the tenants consulted about the fact that it would be the tenants who would in fact ultimately be expected to pay for these purchases.
It’s not true that most of our reserves have come from the rents paid by tenants. A large portion is historical and came when we received grants for salaries that had GST attached – a bit of a windfall over many years when we received Area Assistance funding. We have held these reserves for a long time. We did purchase Birth & Beyond but that cost us very little thanks to the incredible generosity of a few individuals and community organisations. Ownership of this building has allowed the Environment Centre to flourish with a very reasonable rent.
We contributed significant funds to purchase of 7 Sibley St, in partnership with NNIC, and worked tirelessly to fundraise the balance. We eventually gave our 50% share in ownership to NNIC so they would have free reign to develop their project.
We did purchase 11a Alternative Way to develop Aquarius Park but, at the same time, brought $2.54m into our community which will see that project come to fruition for the benefit of generations to come. It did come at a cost, and we will have to maintain the park into the future, but we have no regrets as we can see it will become an incredible community asset. We made it very clear at the time that we would have to draw on reserves to bring this project to fruition and we approached every single organisation in Nimbin that we thought might be able to contribute. This included a number of our significant tenants. We are extremely grateful to Rainbow Power Company who contributed 50% to the acquisition of this land in return for a subdivision, along with the building entitlement, that gave them greater security into the future.
It is regrettable that misinformed opinion, such as was posted recently on Facebook, gains traction. All the buildings purchased by the Nimbin Community Centre are now community buildings, owned by the community and therefore out of the hands of commercial developers.
The committee is so far from a group of cutthroats. Check out our website to see who you’re referring to. A group of volunteers who work tirelessly for the community for love of community. The minutes of every meeting are on our website and, if you are interested enough, you’ll get an appreciation of the issues we deal with every month. Apart from the increasing costs of maintaining old buildings, we are dealing with the effects of climate change, the fallout from the pandemic, and increasing insurance and electricity costs. Our finances are on public display on the website, as are our annual reports and governance policies.
We review our aims and objectives on a regular basis to ensure they’re still appropriate. We have never lost sight of the original dream but have had to moderate it or change direction over time. We are arguably one of the most transparent organisations in Nimbin for those who are interested. We welcome constructive input and feedback. We encourage engagement but appreciate it’s not always easy to get involved as a newbie in an organisation with a long and complex history. We welcome the young people who are stepping up to take over. They are our future, and they deserve your support.
Join us as a member!
Join the membership of Nimbin Community Centre to have your say and vote on the committee. Membership is only $20 for the year. Read more here.