August 30, 2021
Community groups which meet regularly at the Kingaroy Town Common Hall have been told by South Burnett Regional Council they must find other premises by late October.
The groups have been asked to make way so SBcare Inc can use the building for the next two years while its facility on the corner of Avoca and Kingaroy streets undergoes a major expansion.
At July’s General Meeting, South Burnett councillors voted unanimously to give the not-for-profit community organisation SBcare a two-year lease of the Town Common Hall, on condition that Council offer alternative venues to groups currently using the building.
southburnett.com.au believes about seven groups meet regularly at the Kingaroy Town Common Hall, although Council cited privacy reasons for not releasing a list of users.
The Kingaroy Town Common Hall was built in the mid-1990s on Council land by South Burnett CTC as a JobSkills project.
It was funded by CTC and the Department of Sport and Recreation with assistance from Jupiter’s Casino Community Benefit Fund, the Kingaroy Junior Soccer Club, Kingaroy Lions, the South Burnett Vintage Car Club and Kingaroy Shire Council.
CTC managed the building on behalf of the Kingaroy Town Common Hall Association Inc for several years, hiring out the facility and using it for job training.
The Association later handed over the hall to Kingaroy Shire Council.
Last week, South Burnett Regional Council – the successor to Kingaroy Council – wrote to all groups which have been meeting at the Town Common Hall to advise them Council believed the SBcare expansion at the former Senior Citizens Centre was necessary to meeting growing demand for aged care services in the community.
The letter suggested the groups – some of which have been using the hall for decades – to consider meeting in Kingaroy Town Hall’s Supper Room, Kingaroy’s QCWA rooms, the Uniting Church hall, the South Burnett Enterprise Centre or the Kingaroy Scouts Hall.
On Wednesday, SBcare CEO Cheryl Dalton said the organisation had applied for the lease so it could relocate Kingaroy Senior Citizens Club activities and some South Burnett Care staff while the construction work was happening.
She was aware the group’s temporary takeover of the hall would cause inconvenience to some groups, and deeply regretted this.
However, the planned upgrades were so substantial the organisation had no other choice.
Mrs Dalton said the $824,000 project would result in major improvements to the Senior Citizens Hall, office spaces and facilities which were currently “bursting at the seams”.
However, shortages in the building and construction industry meant the job was likely to take at least two years – and possibly longer – to complete.
Mrs Dalton said that when the expansion project was first considered, SBcare had offered the Kingaroy Senior Citizens Club the choice of either moving while work on the hall portion of the project took place, or moving for the entire construction period.
When the group said they would prefer the latter option, SBcare began negotiations with Council for a lease of the Kingaroy Town Common Hall.
Mrs Dalton said Council had been very supportive of SBcare’s expansion plan and recognised it was necessary.
She hoped that once construction was completed, the Kingaroy Town Common Hall could be returned to general community use.
southburnett.com.au spoke to representatives from some of the community groups currently using the Kingaroy Town Common Hall.
Cooinda Craft Group co-ordinator Lois Vreeken said the group was considering using the Kingaroy Town Hall Supper Room or the QCWA Rooms as a new meeting venue but was concerned parking might be an issue at either due to the Kingaroy Transformation Project work.
Mrs Vreeken said the group was annoyed there had been no community consultation prior to the decision, and had written to Cr Danita Potter and Cr Kirstie Schumacher about it.
Yoga teacher Janine Vukelic said she was also looking at an alternate venue but was disappointed Council had not consulted with the hall’s users prior to arriving at its decision.
Alex Niven, from the Gamez Knight board gaming group, said the change had caused his group no real problems because it was planning to shift to a new location in the Youngman Street Industrial Estate in September.