Centre of attention
Angelo Giovas has had enough of “prevaricating, cajoling, fobbing off, rhetoric, spin and platitudes”.
The Pacific Paradise Progress Association president is sick of “further consultation, production of surveys and papers”.
He just wants a community centre built on the North Shore, preferably at the site originally designated behind the Pacific Paradise shopping centre.
He said surveys and consultation by the previous Maroochy council in 2002, 2003 and 2004 had all come to the same conclusion.
“The North Shore community wants a community centre with 400 or more seats, with two or three smaller 20-30 seat rooms and kitchen facilities, which is not a sports centre, is easily accessible, is in the community hub, is easily available for our school kids and others to use for school presentation nights, community theatre and other small group activities,” Mr Giovas said.
About 2003, five acres of land owned by the department of national resources were set aside for the community centre.
There was much rejoicing when, eventually, Maroochy council allocated funds in mid-2006 to build the centre.
But in June 2007, the council reneged on funding promised for the centre.
Then came amalgamation.
This year the new Sunshine Coast Regional Council accepted a department of natural resources and water DNRW recommendation to refuse the application on environmental grounds.
Mr Giovas is “puzzled” about the DNRW refusal and by council’s decision not to contest the refusal.
“What flora and fauna issues could exist given that a few years back the 6000sq m building area was cleared, filled and compacted under a DNR permit?” he said.
“This was with the understanding that the majority of the balance of the 22,000sq m site would be kept as an environmental park.”
Mr Giovas believes some officers from the previous and current councils have an agenda to move the community centre to the sports fields on the other side of the David Low Way.
“To put the community centre there will needlessly isolate it from the established community hub and from easy access by our school kids, who the community has always considered as significant, but not exclusive, users,” he said.
“To walk a primary school class to the sports fields would be take 15 to 20 minutes … across David Low Way, which was considered dangerous to kids as a controlled two-lane crossing.
“It will now be a four-lane crossing.
“My guess is the school simply won’t use it except for a couple of times a year.”
But local councillor Debbie Blumel said the years of delays had not happened on her watch.
Ms Blumel said the new council had accepted “a strong recommendation” from the DNRW that there were important environmental values at the original site.
“The council has moved on to identify an alternative site and I hope that by finding an alternative site that doesn’t have adverse impacts on the environment, we can get an even better outcome,” she said.
“The refusal by the DNRW isn’t putting anything on hold; we are full steam ahead.
“And we now have the opportunity to identify an even better site than that one, which was tucked away behind the shopping centre.”
Ms Blumel said Mr Giovas’ claims about the dangers of school children crossing the David Low Way were “spurious”.
“The David Low Way intersection with Menzies Road is in the process of having a $5 million upgrade,” she said.
“And there are traffic lights and centre traffic islands where teachers can safely help the children across the road.
“Secondly, there will be a lot less traffic on that part of the David Low Way because the Pacific Paradise Bypass will take a lot of the northbound traffic away from the Mudjimba-Pacific Paradise area.”
Ms Blumel said the council would not be reconsidering the original site.
“We are not going to attempt to put an important community building behind a shopping centre just because Angelo has had an interest in that,” she said.
“We have to bring it (the centre) out into the open, we have to put it somewhere where it’s got room to move, room to grow, where it can be seen and where the children can safely access it.”