A group of well-heeled Lake Hayes residents aren’t giving up on forming a registered charity – despite a rejection by the Charities Commission.
Charitable status for the “Lake Hayes Pest Eradication Society Inc” was officially turned down in November but LHPES president David Penrose says a fresh application is being worked on.
Penrose says LHPES’s 20-odd members are all people living around the picture-postcard lake, where properties worth under a million dollars are virtually unheard of.
As well as Penrose, a leading real estate agent, other LHPES officers include top lawyer Tom Pryde, investor Willie Roberts, major developer and commercial landlord John Guthrie, and Greg Ross, another leading realtor.
Penrose says the Charities Commission rejection is “purely [on] a technicality”.
“It hasn’t been incorporated correctly, it hasn’t been quite set up the way it’s supposed to be.”
Charities Commission paperwork supports his contention.
“The eradication of pests and promotion of native birdlife … is charitable,” the commission acknowledges.
And while there’s “opportunity for private pecuniary profit”, the commission says there’s nevertheless “sufficient protection” against it. But what’s killed the Lake Hayes group’s initial bid are winding-up provisions in the constitution calling for surplus assets to be “disposed of as the High Court directs”.
However, the Charities Commission says: “The High Court would be unlikely to be involved in the winding-up of the society.
“An express clause directing assets to charitable purposes on winding-up would meet requirements,” the commission helpfully advises.
Penrose says a revised charity application will be filed by February.
Once charitable status is achieved, he says “there’s numerous avenues for seeking funding”, but right now they’re concentrating on setting things up.
Membership will also be widened: “We haven’t even gone outside the sphere of the neighbours [yet], really.”
The society will sit comfortably alongside another local group, also involving lawyer Pryde, dedicated to improving Lake Hayes water quality.
Penrose says the pest-eradication society aims to “restore the native birdlife and trees”.
“The plan is to put a [pest] control programme into place for the likes of stoats, ferrets, rats and rabbits.”
The society wants to get schools and community groups involved, Penrose adds.