College building goes to waste while homelessness rises
THIS week, the two seemingly different subjects I am writing about (housing for older women and Noosa Tewantin TAFE) hit the same nerve.
In my latest article focusing on affordable housing for older women, one of the options included handing over of government-owned land to affordable building companies.
Last year, I wrote about the terrible waste caused by leaving the Tewantin Noosa TAFE college and land vacant.
For the second year, the Qld Government has failed to see the premises occupied and the waste goes on at the same time, there is an affordable housing crisis.
EARLIER: TWO-and-a-half years after its closure, the Noosa Tewantin TAFE is still a collection of empty buildings.
The silent and dilapidated college campus is a stark contrast to the state-of-the-art building once deemed worthy of a prestigious commendation from (RAIA) Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
The national architectural award said the 2005 construction style set: "... a very important precedent for public buildings in rural south-east Queensland context".
But this praise has earned it little respect from two state governments.
In June 2014, the college was closed after a TAFE Queensland review, held under the Newman Government.
At the time figures showed the initial student enrolment (2006-2007) of 716 students had decreased to 265 students in its final 2013-14 year.
Since its closure, an offer by former Playford-led Noosa Council to negotiate a TAFE purchase and retain its educational focus has been echoed by Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington, including instituting an option to rent on a temporary basis until a permanent decision is made.
"We have urged the state to consider allowing a tenant to occupy the site while they make their determination for future use," Mr Wellington said.
"They have declined to go down that path."
He said he had personally met with the Minister for Training and Skills, Yvette D'Ath, to discuss the matters and also delivered council's viewpoint in writing.
"Unfortunately, the site is caught up in the State Government's Ten-Year Strategic Training Asset Management Plan for Queensland.
"We have no idea when that process will conclude and a determination made."
State Liberal Member for Noosa, Glen Elm, refers to the lack of a sale as "a lost opportunity - a scandal".
A spokesperson for TAFE Queensland confirmed there are a number of parties interested in buying the site but a decision was not imminent.
"There has been significant interest from a number of stakeholders in the area to take over the facility and in the adjoining land and facilities and this will be considered in the development of the 10 year plan," the spokesperson said.
The site has an active alarm system and regular security checks as protective measures to deter vandalism and other criminal activity.
The security measures include internal building and grounds inspections, in addition to the static security systems that are in place.
Vegetation maintenance is being undertaken around the perimeter of the buildings to minimise fire hazards, improve camera surveillance and facilitate unimpeded wildlife access.
•Council rates: $18,532
•Building maintenance: $31,369
2006 - First student intake
2014 June: TAFE closed
2014: Palaszczuk Government introduced the Qld Training Asset management Repeat Bill.
2015: State Government's undertakes the Ten Year Strategic Training Asset Management Plan for Queensland. The future of the TAFE will be decided in this plan.
2016: Tewantin Noosa TAFE still lies empty.