Bundaberg Regional Council will invite public expressions of interest for potential sale or lease of the Bargara Administration Building and/or Cultural Centre.
Today's Council meeting resolved “this approach is considered in the public interest given the need to align community expectations with market interest in the buildings, prior to inviting written tenders for the sale or lease”.
Council recently undertook three months of community consultation on the issue, including town hall meetings, a community survey and poll.
In assessing expressions of interest, weightings will favour proposals that meet a community need or service gap, and demonstrate positive social and economic outcomes.
Venues and facilities spokesman John Learmonth said the public consultation so far would help inform potential users about community expectations to ultimately achieve the best possible outcome for residents and ratepayers.
“No decision has been made to lease or sell the buildings,” Cr Learmonth said.
“This process is about testing the market to see what potential interest there might be in the community.
“There is an opportunity for interested community organisations to submit expressions of interest either by themselves or in partnership with others.”
Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council was dealing with a legacy issue from amalgamation in 2009.
“We want to achieve the best possible outcome for residents and ratepayers,” he said.
“If anyone is suggesting that Council has a predetermined position, that's entirely false.”
Cr Helen Blackburn quoted usage figures for the Bargara Cultural Centre, showing a 64 per cent vacancy rate in 2018. The vacancy rate was 73 per cent when Council bookings were excluded.
“I hope that community organisations will embrace this opportunity to work together on possible proposals that maximise usage of the facility,” she said.
New service centre in Bargara
Council will open a new customer service centre in Bargara on 18 March.
People will be able to make enquiries, pay rates and register their dogs while shopping and enjoying a coffee in the Bargara town centre.