Campus fears quashed

FEARS Slade campus could fall into the hands of outside tenderers have been quashed by the council.

Southern Downs Regional Council chief executive Rod Ferguson said the two parties – the Slade Lives Again group and Warwick Christian College – need not worry about being pushed out of the bidding process for the campus.

Mr Ferguson likened the process to selling a home and said it would be “poor management” if the council ignored a third party’s interest.

However, he stressed that the new interest would not affect the first two applications.

“The firm has no access to the current process as it did not lodge an expression of interest,” he said.

“Even though the tender process is well under way and is closed to the two parties, there is nothing guaranteeing that either of the tenders lodged will be accepted by the council.

“It would be poor management on council’s part if it ignored interest from other parties who may want to work with the successful tenderer or have an interest in the site if it remained on the market.

“It is no different to having a contract on your property, but allowing further inspections just in case the contract falls through.”

The firm has turned out to be an Australian-based company on the Sunshine Coast, which had a previous interest in Slade.

Mr Ferguson said the council had been speaking with them for “several years” and that the company was looking at a number of sites in Queensland and New South Wales to show potential venture partners from the Middle East.

“No great effort was taken in showing them around,” he said.

“They requested the opportunity to look over the site again and they were allowed to do so only after they were informed of the current tender process, and that they did not have a right to participate.”

Mr Ferguson said he was not aware of any other groups that had approached the council with a new or renewed interest in the site.

A spokeswoman for Southern Downs council said the name of the company could not be released due to privacy reasons.


Slade history

Previously owned by Anglican Church Grammar School.

Former Warwick city council bought for $3.65 million in 1997.

Interest in 2009 from Flight Training Australia and The Total Health and Education Foundation.

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