More drama over sports park land

It was a full house at yesterday's council meeting in Proserpine as residents came to voice their concerns about the recent purchase of a block of land for a future sports park.
It was a full house at yesterday's council meeting in Proserpine as residents came to voice their concerns about the recent purchase of a block of land for a future sports park.

A GROUP of Whitsunday residents have banded together to try to stop Council buying a piece of land at Mt Marlow for a future sports park.

The group, which includes members of local sporting groups and other community members, attended yesterday’s Council meeting in Proserpine to express their views.

It is understood that the group has three main objections to Council’s decision to push ahead with the purchase of the 95 hectare land owned by Havengrand.

Those are: that Council had acted without consulting the community, particularly the sporting community, about what was needed from a new facility; a belief that the land choice made by Council was poor because Havengrand is located on good quality agricultural land and is one of the few properties in the area with a cane line running through it; buying a property that was valued at $1.44 million one year for more than $3 million the next was seen as mismanagement of public funds.

About 30 community members attended the Council meeting.

Group member and former chair of the Whitsunday Open Space and Recreational Advisory Commitee (OSRAC) Peter Chengody yesterday told councillors that they needed to listen to the community.

He said that Council had not followed the 2005 Open Space Strategy which was created by OSRAC in purchasing the Mt Marlow property owned by Havengrand.

“We hereby today cast a strong and firm vote of no confidence in your financial management on this issue and with your over-seeing of the strategy and I applaud those who have given up their time today to show united solidarity against your decision making,” Mr Chengody told Councillors during public question time.

“We now ask you to apply every last possible legal and administrative effort to stop purchasing the Havengrand property and return back to the mandate set by the community, formally reinstating OSRAC and the 2005 strategy.”

Mr Chengody’s comments were followed by a round of applause from the public gallery.

Council has yet to formally purchase any piece of land for a future sports park but have been in negotiations with Havengrand since February.

Once negotiations have been completed any decision will then go back to Council for approval.

Havengrand shareholder Tony Price yesterday defended the piece of land at Mt Marlow and said it was ideal for future sports use and was central.

“I really think that people need to look at what is good for the whole community and not what is good for seven hectares of land in Jubilee Pocket,” he said.

“The land will provide room for junior soccer, junior cricket, and junior rugby on a piece of land ideally suited for it.
“This land is closer to the Christian school than the current Whitsunday Sports Park.”

It is unclear how the group plans to go about changing the council decision but Mr Chengody said he was prepared for a fight.

“Council hasn’t dealt with the community for over 12 months,” he said.

“We can’t let them walk all over us like this.”


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