Slade Lives Again reaffirms stance
WE WILL not give up is the message being sent by Slade Lives Again group vice-president Margaret McKinnon.
“This has only made us more determined,” Mrs McKinnon said regarding another group of potential buyers who looked at Slade campus last week.
The group flew into Warwick in a helicopter and a shroud of mystery last week, sparking concern from the Slade Lives Again committee.
“It is not deterring us. There is no way in the world it will deter us,” Mrs McKinnon said.
She said the group would be launching further appeals to the community in the weeks to come.
“We will continue to move further forward by trying to keep the community communication up,” she said.
“Because we have been so committed to meeting council deadlines we have not be able to keep up with letting people know what is going on.
“But we intend to inform the community as we continue heading towards our goal to retain the Slade campus for the use of the local Warwick community.
“We cannot lose that beautiful pristine property.”
She mirrored Slade Lives Again president Ian Perkins' views.
“I think Ian summed it up very well in Saturday's Daily News and I think he gave a very clear picture of what we think,” she said.
“We are all astounded that there is another group looking at the property.”
She said all they could do at this point was trust the council to remain within the guidelines which they had set down.
“We just have to hope they will continue to work that way but with new buyers coming in to look at the property, we really need confirmation of that,” she said.
“And we know this is a long process. By the time we finish off the feasibility study it will almost be time for another election of the new councillors and they need to understand the community expects them to stick to the guidelines they set out for the sale of Slade.”
Councillor Denise Ingram said she couldn't see how the council could do it any other way.
“It has to go as it was,” she said.
“I only know what was in the paper about the people coming down to look at it and I do believe people may have had an interest after the closing date but we had to say no.”
She said she thought most of the councillors would have the same view.
“It would have to be that way. I would think most of the councillors would stick to what's been arranged,” Cr Ingram said.
“The rules are the rules and we put out the original and there were two parties and there is time for them to come in with their tender documents.”
Cr Ingram she didn't think the tenders would be rejected so parties interested after the expressions of interest date could apply.
“It would be interesting to see but I don't think we could legally do it,” she said.
Mrs McKinnon said use of the campus had increased over the past few months.
“The number of community groups continuing to use the campus has increased 15,” she said.
“They use it regularly and the number of people using it just keeps growing as people realise it is there.”
She said Lifeline was the latest tenant after they shut up shop in town and several other groups were looking to use it but had to wait for the go-ahead from council.
“I know of one group that is very keen but they were told by the council to just wait and see,” she said.
“Now I really don't know why that would be.”
She said the loss of Slade to private business would be devastating for the community.
“Many of these groups have nowhere else to go and no access to other halls that they can afford,” she said.
“The primary reason for these groups to exist is to serve the community but they need somewhere to do that.”