May 12, 2021
A dangerous, asbestos-lined hall at Tingoora could be demolished … but only if the majority of Tingoora’s residents agree.
The reason is the hall sits on two blocks of land – one owned by the South Burnett Regional Council (SBRC), the other by a now-defunct trust – and the site cannot be cleared until both the SBRC and the trust agree.
The vexed issue of the hall and its unusual ownership structure was discussed at the SBRC’s standing committee meeting on Wednesday.
Councillors were told Tingoora Hall has not been used for many years and had gradually become so dilapidated security fencing had to be erected around it to preserve public safety.
Council had decided to write the hall off its asset register almost a decade ago and had no plans to replace it.
However, the site’s arcane ownership structure meant all previous Councils deferred taking any action on its removal.
Properties Manager Leanne Petersen told Wednesday’s meeting Council officers had recently taken legal advice about the issue.
They were told Council would need to call a public meeting of Tingoora residents as a first step.
Under the terms of the trust, an invitation to attend the public meeting would have to be sent to all residents who lived within a three-mile radius of the town centre.
If that meeting then voted to re-form the trust committee, it would need to elect six Tingoora residents to that committee.
Those six members could then pass a vote allowing the hall to be removed or demolished and the block of land it owned to be put on the market.
Ms Petersen said under the terms of the trust, any proceeds from any sale of the trust’s land had to be spent on community projects in Tingoora.
She suggested there were several worthwhile projects where the money could be used, for example, to upgrade the town’s ageing tennis courts,but the future of the hall and the disposal of any sale proceeds was ultimately up to the Tingoora community.
However, Ms Petersen said because of the unusual nature of the land’s ownership, Council needed extra legal advice on what might be entailed in effecting a sale.
In the end, Councillors voted to defer a final decision until September.
This will allow staff time to obtain more advice and bring a final report detailing all options, including the sale of the hall to a third party, back to a standing committee meeting.