Community representatives have made a plea to Moreton Bay Region Councillors to save the iconic Suttons Beach Pavilion.
Speaking at today’s Council meeting, Suttons Beach Pavilion Preservation Group member Karen Whittam said news of Council’s intention to demolish the building had “shocked and outraged Redcliffe and the wider Moreton Bay community”.
“It’s not just Redcliffe residents who care so much,” Ms Whittam told the meeting.
“It’s a social hub for all of those people who choose to come out to the beach.
Ms Whittam says the Council’s Foreshore Development Plan in 2017 recognised the building as a landmark of the Suttons Beach precinct.
“It therefore seems that a lack of council action for a number of years is what’s led council to determine that the best course of action is to demolish it.
“We feel very let down by Council’s neglect in the first place and then by council’s decision to demolish.
“It is the only place on the foreshore to get ice cream at the beach, where we can eat, drink and listen to live music.
“It’s the heart of the beachside community.”
An online petition organised by the Suttons Beach Pavilion Preservation Group attracted more than 13,000 signatures in just over two weeks.
Ms Whittam urged Council to give the existing business owners a “stay of execution” until a final decision is made.
However chief executive officer Greg Chemello says that with several engineering reports saying the only way to determine the extent of damage to the building is using invasive testing, it was not possible for a food business to operate there.
“There’s no way under law that any food business can operate during invasive testing,” he says.
Ms Chemello says multiple factors have contributed to the building’s state, including the initial design of the 1930s which was replicated in 2002, the quality of the construction and maintenance.
“Those three things combined led to where we are today,” he says.
Shane Murphy told Council the pavilion itself was an attraction that set the area apart from other beachside communities.
“To be able to enjoy our wonderful beaches, community facilities such as Suttons Beach Pavilion enhance and make it accessible to everyone,” Mr Murphy says.
“The pavilion is simply an intrinsic Redcliffe institution.
“The pavilion is a the point of difference to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts – we must preserve and protect our distinctive advantage.”
Mr Murphy says the pavilion could be replaced with a similar structure at little cost to Council if repair is not deemed possible.
He says Parks Victoria offers 40 year leases to businesses willing to enter into commercial and construction partnerships and Moreton Bay Regional Council could do the same.
“(Council are) custodians of our infrastructure and facilities - we want you to remedy the situation and to ensure that Suttons Beach retains a pavilion for everyone to access and enjoy for many decades to come.”
Community members will meet with Council tomorrow to discuss the issue further.
The Suttons Beach Pavilion Preservation Group is planning a peaceful protest onsite on Sunday at 10am.