Your questions answered: Suttons Beach Pavilion demolition

Answers to your questions: Suttons Beach Pavilion demolition

By Nick Crockford & Matt Rodin

The response to news Suttons Beach Pavilion is to be demolished has been one of surprise, shock, anger - and many residents have plenty of questions.

A large number of people believe the much-loved building should be saved and have signed a petition which has reached more than 6000 signatures.

Moreton Daily has sourced the answers to the community's biggest questions on the matter, including a timeline of events and explanations from Moreton Bay Regional Council, being the owners of the building. We answer your questions below...

Timeline of events

Your questions answered

Why is Suttons Beach Pavilion being demolished?

Mayor Peter Flannery says Council received the "bad news" from officers and engineers who explained, among other issues, water has "been coming through the concrete walls, (with the pavilion) being so close to the embankment". 

Council CEO Greg Chemello sent a letter to lessees Sandra Duncan and Oli Thomson yesterday which said "Council commissioned independent consultants to undertake inspections.

"These found extensive building defects, design and construction legacies, deteriorating buildings with concrete elements to the Suttons Beach Pavilion nearing the end of their life leading to major safety concerns of the buildings."

Mr Chemello explained Council's decision not to extend the lease on the building was due to its deteriorating condition, adding to allow an extension of the lease would be "an abrogation of our (Council's) fundamental and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of our communities". 

Why isn't the building heritage-listed? 

Mr Chemello has revealed why the iconic pavilion is not protected as a heritage-listed building, explaining:

"The main Suttons Beach Pavilion, used originally as change rooms and a kiosk for beach-goes has been altered significantly since it was first built in 1937."

"The second pavilion was constructed 20 years ago in 2002. 

"Council undertook a heritage assessment of the site in late 2018, revised in February 2021, with the findings showing that very little of the original pavilion building had survived over time.

"The original external staircase to the west of the Pavilion is of high significance, being in almost original condition, with its inclusion on the heritage register recommended for consideration." 

What has Council done to prevent the demolition of the buildings?

Mayor Peter Flannery has revealed in 2019 $500,000 was allocated towards the restoration of the iconic building, however further "bad news" arrived when engineering reports revealed that the deterioration to the structure was unsalvageable. 

“We sent the officers away a number of times, we wanted to save the building, but they kept coming back with the bad news," he said, on ABC Radio Brisbane.

“On further investigation by the officers we’ve seen there’s deterioration a lot worse than originally thought and the structure’s becoming unsafe.

“Last thing we want to do is demolish a beautiful building which has been there 80-plus years but every report says the same thing.

"It’s reached the end of its life.”

Council CEO Greg Chemello revealed in his letter to Suttons Beach Pavilion lessees that, in addition to Council's legal responsibility to "ensure the safety of our communities" the "very high" costs associated with maintenance and replacement of the buildings did "not make the current pavilion structures a viable asset for Council to maintain. Council has therefore made the decision to demolish the Suttons Beach Pavilion complex." 

When were lessees notified of the end of lease?

Suttons Beach Pavilion lessees Oli Thomson and Sandra Duncan have said they were informed of the decision to demolish the Redcliffe landmark last week. 

Moreton Bay Regional Council has maintained Mr Thomson and Ms Duncan were notified of the decision not to renew their lease on February 25, 2021, with expiry on the lease initially set for November 27, 2021. 

Council CEO Greg Chemello has stated in a letter to the lessees that on March 16, 2021, in response to a request by Mr Thomson, "Council granted you an extension to continue trading until February 28, 2022."

Why has Council remained silent on the matter up till this point?

Mr Chemello added in his letter to lessees "Council had agreed with you to suspend any public release of information relating to the conclusion of your (lessees') operations and future use of the site until early 2022. 

"This was to enable you to continue trading (at nominal rent only) unaffected and retain staff over the Christmas period" Mr Chemello wrote. 

What is going to happen to the space?

Plans have been revealed by Mayor Peter Flannery to go back to the future on land where Suttons Beach Pavilion has stood for 85 years.

“(We will) probably go back to the original concept of having toilets there,” he said, on ABC Radio Brisbane this morning.

“Some kind of café in the future, food trucks can pull up during the day or weekends, playground equipment, barbecues and that kind of thing."

Will there be public consultation?

“We’ll be going out to the community and having consultation on future ideas for that site. It will definitely remain in public ownership.

“I want to guarantee to the community it will not be sold to developers.”

Mayor Flannery said the stairs from Marine Pde to the beach would remain and work was under way to protect the rotunda. 

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