Grant deadline looms for study

THE DEADLINE to get a $30,000 grant from the Queensland Government to fund a feasibility study on a Fraser Coast convention centre grew a little more remote this week when councillors decided they wanted to approve criteria for grants, rather than a committee doing so.

Councillor Gerard O’Connell, who chairs the region’s Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), was at Wednesday’s council meeting when a report mentioning possible grant funding of $30,000 was tabled.

The report also said the cut-off date to apply was eight days away.

Councillor Belinda McNeven, however, said EDAC shouldn’t be seeking grants without the consent of the whole council.

She wants the CEO “to organise a workshop to enable council to approve criteria for any possible grant funding to provide Fraser Coast convention needs”.

Mr O’Connell said yesterday the process of looking at a feasibility study for a convention centre had been “very transparent” and he now hoped the council would embrace this concept “and take a lead role in examining what could be a great facility for the future of our region”.

“If it can’t stack up financially then we won’t do it. Meanwhile a council officer who sits with us on EDAC is bringing a report to councillors shortly,” he said.

“I respect everyone’s opinion; this concept is new, costly and out there but there will be 150,000 people living here within 15 years and the region will be a key tourism destination.

“I’m not saying build it and plunge it into debt.”

Meanwhile, the committee and council will probably need to apply for other funding.

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