Letter To The Fraser Coast Chronicle Editor
I note without surprise that the Council proposes to take no action on the petition opposing the removal of the Memorial Hall. There are four questions the council should address immediately:
1/. Who wants it moved,
3/. where is it going,
4/. and how much will it cost?
The Cardno plan which went out for public comment said that there was “an identified desire” to relocate this and the railway building. It did not say whose desire this was. The only reason given was for greater access to Freedom Park. Consultation before the Cardno plan was very limited, with major stakeholders excluded. The mayor has subsequently suggested a need for more space in Freedom Park, and it was reported the RSL had some desire for more statues. Are these the “identified desires”?
As anyone can see, Freedom Park is empty most of the time, even at lunch, and in any event, the current space would provide a seat on the grass for a thousand people. Even the grand vision for renewal isn’t going to produce that many. It is busy for a few hours a year on Anzac Day, but it copes with that too.
If the RSL wants another statue, that can be accommodated with the buildings intact, especially if it is sited carefully. But even if that was a problem, with the greatest respect to the RSL, the hall is far more valuable to the community than another statue, and it is after all community land.
My enquiries indicate that the cost of removing, relocating, and reinstating the hall would likely exceed $300,000, plus the cost of the alternative land. I doubt the already stressed ratepayers are going to be too amused by this, especially those in Maryborough (or Bauple).
The council’s formal response to submitters mentioned the hall as one of the significant topics in the submissions. Can they tell us how many there were, and the numbers for and against?
Perhaps objectors can take heart: given their current performance, most of the present councillors may have been voted out of office long before the jack hammers start.