Debate over Slade Campus masterplan

A FIERY debate over a master plan for the council-owned Slade Campus is on the cards at tomorrow's general meeting in Stanthorpe after councillors on the Corporate Services Committee last week rejected advice from officers to appoint a consultant to do the work.

The council had set aside $40,000 in its current budget for the master plan to match the same amount granted in May last year as the part of the State Government's Q150 commemorations.

But a motion to approve the appointment of national consulting firm AECGroup was lost at the committee meeting, despite the firm's tender coming in at just under $80,000.

Mayor Ron Bellingham said yesterday he was not present at the Corporate Services meeting but understood the main concern was the cost of the master plan.

But the mayor - understood to be unhappy with the committee's decision - was adamant a master plan was crucial to guide redevelopment of Slade Campus.

“Personally I believe we do need a master plan and council does not have the expertise to complete one,” Cr Bellingham said.

“I understand there may be a concern about cost but we need to develop a strategic vision for the site.”

He confirmed negotiations were continuing with a flying school and interests associated with Warwick's Total Health and Education Foundation to establish learning facilities at Slade, but conceded the “economic situation” may hamper re-development plans.

The Daily News submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to council late last year in the hope of obtaining documents related to the Slade negotiations but it was rejected on commercial-in-confidence grounds.

In other council property news, expressions of interest are now being sought for future uses of the 60-hectare former Applethorpe TAFE.

The cut-off date is April 3 and council advertising lists features of the site as its water licences and storages, industrial sheds and potential office accommodation.

Cost so far:
  • Slade Campus: Bought by former Warwick Shire Council for $3.65m in May 2007. Several redevelopment plans mooted but nothing signed off to date.
  • Applethorpe TAFE Campus: Bought by former Stanthorpe Shire Council for $1.15m in September 2007. Expressions of Interest for new uses now being sought.

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