Councillors to sell off Slade site
EXPRESSIONS of interest will be sought for Warwick’s Slade Campus, Southern Downs Regional councillors decided yesterday.
At the Corporate Services Committee meeting, the sentiment of the majority was clear - council has spent too much time and too much money on the dormant site.
Both a Master Plan by the AEC Group and the Queensland Treasury Commission’s report recommended the campus, which was purchased by the former Warwick Shire Council in May 2007 for $3.65m, should be sold.
The big hope had been that the site was to be used as an option to expand the growing Warwick State High School, but that was dashed when a representative of Education Queensland confirmed it wasn’t interested in the site.
Other plans which never got off the ground include a training school for Chinese pilots as well as an Indian medicine university.
A community engagement meeting was also held earlier in the year where an array of possible options were heard, including a campus for the Satellite College, recreational site for the elderly, mental health facility and a respite centre for dementia sufferers.
The site is currently used by community groups and for functions and accommodation, but there has been a wave of discontent from councillors who complain they have been pouring money into maintaining Slade.
At yesterday’s meeting, council was presented with all suggestions and told to make up its mind.
CR Denise Ingram quickly piped up that council was not in a position to develop it and it should be sold off in its entirety.
Both Mayor Ron Bellingham and Deputy Mayor Peter Blundell expressed their concerns the community suggestions had not been explored in full.
Cr Bellingham added that council needed to decide whether the oval would be included in any sale and added that the plaques on trees around the oval would need to be considered.
However, Cr Vic Pennisi was adamant council needed to divest itself from Slade.
“Making that decision doesn’t preclude any of those submitters from coming to us with a proposal. But we can’t sit here for another 10 years.
“Then there is the other side of this: why should we give these groups this opportunity when we’ve already told Allora and Killarney that they have to pay for their doctor surgeries themselves?”
Cr Ingram passed a resolution saying council would market the campus nationally for expressions of interest for either different sections of the campus or for the whole thing.
She was defiant against Cr Neil Meiklejohn’s suggestion to leave it on the table until next week’s general meeting.
All councillors except Crs Bellingham and Blundell voted for the proposal.