No change in sports park decision

Residents against the purchase of Havengrand Barb Adamson and Jo Pillifeant were not impressed with the decision made at Wednesday's Council meeting in Bowen.
Residents against the purchase of Havengrand Barb Adamson and Jo Pillifeant were not impressed with the decision made at Wednesday's Council meeting in Bowen.

AN ATTEMPT to change the Whitsunday Regional Council's decision to buy land at Mount Marlow for a future sports park failed at yesterday's Council meeting.

Cr Jan Clifford had lodged a rescission motion to overturn the decision to purchase the 95 hectares known as “Havengrand”.

Once again, the decision was locked at 3-all and once again, Deputy Mayor Rogin Taylor used his casting vote to support the purchase of the land.

“Shame on you,” Cr Clifford said to Cr Taylor after he used his casting vote.

She was ordered by Cr Taylor to retract the comment but she instead repeated it.

Mayor Mike Brunker declared an interest and left the room while discussions took place.

He is a long time friend of Havengrand shareholder Tony Price.

Cr Clifford said she had lodged the rescission motion after the council meeting two weeks ago because the independent GHD consultation report had not been made public prior to the decision being made by Council and she said Havengrand was too big, too expensive and too far from town.

"As the guardians of the finances of the region, we have and will be, continuing to ask the State Government and the Queensland Treasury Corporation for a loan in the amount of $100-$150 million to replace and upgrade the ageing and failing water and sewerage treatment plants for the Whitsunday Regional Council area," she said.

"To take the water and sewerage reserves to pay for this ill-conceived and unrealistic block of prime cropping land is at best misguided and, at its worst, totally financially irresponsible and culpable."

Cr Taylor presented some of the GHD report findings and said Cr Clifford had previously moved motions associated with the purchase of Havengrand.

"On December 17 in 2008, you Cr Clifford voted for the CEO to negotiate with the Peppers Property and Havengrand site with a view to increasing 70 to 90ha for a regional sport spark," he said.

During public question time, Havengrand shareholder Tony Price addressed Council about the land.

He questioned Cr Clifford’s logic about the size and location of the land, saying it was only nine kilometres from Proserpine and seven kilometres from the Whitsunday Shopping Centre.

Concerned Cannonvale resident Barb Adamson was at the meeting on Wednesday and said she was less than impressed with the outcome.

"The whole thing is disgusting," she said.

"The whole process is flawed."

Discussions of the contract were also to be discussed at the meeting but were on the agenda for the closed session, meaning the public and press would be unable to attend.

Cr Clifford moved a motion for the discussions to be public and this was passed.

Cr Whitney asked chief executive officer John Finlay to discuss the issues with the land, including the train line.

Mr Finlay said he was not aware of any issues at present.

"But they will be determined along the way," he said.

The motion to proceed with the purchase of land for $2.2 million plus GST was passed 4-2 with Councillors Whitney and Clifford requesting their names to be recorded against the motion.

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