Susan Lewis, president of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre Management Committee, looks at a scale model of the new centre.
Susan Lewis, president of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre Management Committee, looks at a scale model of the new centre.

Funding answer creeps closer

COUNCILLOR Gerard O’Connell expects to hear mid-February whether the region has successfully obtained $3 million of Federal Government funding that could make the long-awaited Hervey Bay Community Centre a reality.

Applications for grants under the government’s Regional Community Local Infrastructure Program close tomorrow.

“We’re all still pretty hopeful; we have well-costed plans for the community centre,” Mr O’Connell said.

The councillor with the economic development portfolio said the centre was the first stage of a larger regional plan.

He said stage two would be building the Hervey Bay Arts and Cultural Complex.

Mr O’Connell said it would be a good compromised outcome if the complex, which Urangan High had hoped would be built in the school grounds, was also at the Pialba site, creating a hub.

No government funding had been granted for the complex so far, Mr O’Connell said, however he estimated it would cost about $12 to $13 million.

“The first thing is to get really serious federal money and then see if we can build up corporate and local money. We’re really fortunate to have two projects in the pipeline.”

The community centre would house 20 services including counselling, childcare, support and help for victims of sexual assault. The cultural complex would be a venue for performing arts, hospitality and youth training.

“If you put all of that together we’ve got a terrific multi-purpose community complex,” Mr O’Connell said.

“If Federal Government avenues of funding come through we end up with a community centre; a place of gathering, and an arts, conference and community training centre.”

Mr O’Connell said it was important to take a collaborative approach when applying for government funding: “The danger is in asking for too much money too soon. This is the beginning of a couple-stage process.”

The councillor believes the two projects are the next stage in developing a mature city and the next step in making a more sophisticated community area.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Regional Development and Local Government Anthony Albanese visited the site last year when they were lobbied for funding for the Pialba plan.

for the people
  • The Hervey Bay Community Centre will be a one-stop shop for services
  • It is estimated the centre will cost $5.8 million to build
  • The Fraser Coast Regional Council has donated land on the corner of Charles Street and Torquay Road, Pialba, for the centre
  • The State Government has promised $1.5 million
  • Volunteers began working on the centre 10 years ago and have made four applications for federal funding
  • The driving force behind the Hervey Bay Arts and Cultural Complex is the Urangan State High steering committee


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