Photo from iStock.
Photo from iStock.

Motion to delay Maranoa youth hub shot down by council

The Maranoa Regional Council narrowly voted against a proposal that would have delayed the Maranoa Gaming Community’s dream to establish a youth hub.

But the proposal would have had a massive perk of giving the MGC their own dedicated, purpose-built facility to operate the new gaming centre.

The plan was to sell off the old Roma Neighbourhood Centre and use the funds for the new building.

During the ordinary meeting on January 27, Councillor Geoff McMullen moved to repeal a previous motion that would develop a report for the centre and enter into negotiations with the MGC to operate the facility, which is aimed at reducing youth crime and giving kids something to do.

The council originally voted to negotiate with MGC on November 25, 2020.

Councillor Wendy Taylor said the Neighbourhood Centre has sat there for so long and needs a lot of attention, and believes it should be sold off.

“If we can sell it and do something else with the money,” Cr Taylor said

“We’re just trying to move it in a different direction.”

She believes the new buyers will do more for it.

Councillor Cameron O’Neil told the meeting there was a potential buyer that could take the Neighbourhood Centre.

“We have an opportunity to use the revenue for this particular parcel of land to build something really special,” Cr O’Neil said.

“I don’t think any of us here could hand on heart say there isn’t an issue in youth crime and we need to play our role in addressing that.”

There is a concern that the Neighbourhood Centre is located on the major Warrego Highway, although mayor Tyson Golder told the meeting the kids roam the highway anyway.

“It’s been excruciating for me as a member of the community to see such an enormous resource, that used to deliver so many benefits for the community, sit idle,” Cr Golder said.

“This is community-driven; the excitement in the community about a youth centre that will also be a neighbourhood centre.

“There’s no way that if we sell this facility, we could replicate what was there.

“From the feedback I’ve got from the community, this gets kids off the street.”

But councillor John Birkett told the meeting he agrees with both sides in principle, but voted for the Neighbourhood Centre.

“Personally, I’d like to meet with these people again to go over these new things on the table,” he said.

“At the moment, to be respectful of them, that’s what I’d like to do.

“Out of respect for them, I think I’ll vote against.”

The motion to retract the previous motion to negotiate with the MGC was lost with five councillors: Birkett, Golder, Mark Edwards, Julie Guthrie, and George Ladbrook voting against, and councillors O’Neil, Taylor, McMullen, and Johanne Hancock voting for.



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