Moreton Bay Regional Council will work with residents to restore or rebuild the landmark Suttons Beach Pavilion, if the cost is within its budget, after a successful meeting today and intensive community campaign.
Representatives from Suttons Beach Pavilion Preservation Group including President Jodie Starr met with Mayor Peter Flannery and CEO Greg Chemello this morning to present their arguments for preserving or rebuilding the structure.
Ms Starr said it was a constructive meeting and could not have gone any better.
“Council would like to, moving forward, work with us. It was well received,” she said.
Ms Starr said an initial proposal to make the area green space with a toilet block while permanent plans for the site were determined seemed unlikely to proceed and council was keen to either restore or rebuild.
“The invasive testing still needs to be done and the tenant will have to vacate the building on the 28th of February,” she said.
Ms Starr said Council had also committed to be more transparent.
“It’s a great outcome. We’re all very happy with the outcome,” she said.
The group is still planning a peaceful rally on February 20 on site at 10am to give residents a chance to show their support for the landmark and send a strong message to Council.
“We’re still going to campaign and want the community to get behind us, but we want to work with council,” she said.
“We feel quite proud of ourselves that we’ve come so far in two weeks. It’s been an outstanding effort by everyone in the community and the committee.”
Mayor Peter Flannery and Deputy Mayor Jodie Shipway praised the group for their constructive community campaign and understanding.
“Firstly I think it was important to acknowledge the handling of communications around the condition of the buildings has been poor, and I have apologised for that,” Mayor Flannery said.
“While we were caught on the back foot, we have been working double speed to make all the engineering reports public and get community engagement underway.
“This is critical so that not only are locals armed with all the relevant data to make an informed decision for themselves, but also to ensure that whatever happens with this site it reflects the community’s views and values.
“Obviously we don’t have all the answers yet which is why we will be undertaking the invasive testing as quickly as possible to confirm to us, and to let the community, know the exact extent of deterioration here. Together I sincerely believe we can find a way forward with the campaigners.
“I know the local Councillor Karl Winchester is strongly of the view that the building should be retained if possible, and we are looking at that. But we have to be realistic, and if that’s not possible I’ve already said I think it’s important to retain that kind of art deco aesthetic in Redcliffe. In which case we would have to consider the costs of constructing a replica.
“Importantly, the Suttons Beach Pavilion Preservation Group has committed to shutting down some of the misinformation that’s currently circulating on social media.
“Facebook can be a breeding ground for conspiracy theorists, so I want to recognise the campaigners for their integrity and coming to Council with a genuine passion for achieving an optimal community outcome here.
Council won’t continue any masterplanning for the Suttons Beach Park that spans between the Redcliffe Peninsula Surf Life Saving Club and the end of MacDonnell Road, until after the invasive testing is done and future of the buildings is determined.
The Suttons Beach Pavilion Preservation Group acknowledged that Council did not have any pre-conceived strategy or ill-intent to demolish these buildings, but is obligated to respond to the significant concerns raised in a series of independent structural engineering reports to ensure public safety.
The two parties both agreed the next steps in the process will be:
* Tenant vacates buildings
The buildings will be vacated at the end of the current lease on February 28, 2022 to maintain public safety and enable the necessary invasive testing of the structures to be undertaken.
* Invasive testing of the buildings
Undertake invasive testing of the buildings after the buildings have been vacated. The testing will confirm the internal structural integrity of the buildings and inform future Council decisions on the fate of the buildings. Council is currently calling for tenders from suitably qualified experts to undertake this invasive testing.
* Deciding the future of the buildings
While the independent expert reports commissioned by Council to date have put the organisation on a path to probable demolition, there still remains three options for the buildings: demolish, partially demolish and partially rectify/restore, or fully rectify/restore. The decision on the fate of the buildings will be informed by the invasive testing results, community survey findings and detailed cost analyses to ensure the chosen option represents good value for use of public funds.
Council and the Suttons Beach pavilion Preservation Group encourage everyone to participate in the current community survey. Closing on March 11, 2022, the survey can be completed online at https://yoursay.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/suttons-beach-public-space or paper copies can be collected from any Council Customer Service Centre or Library.