FLASHBACK: Residents discussing the Bunya Mountains disaster plan in a local restaurant in 2021 (Photo: BMCAI)

July 6, 2022

The Bunya Mountains Community Association (BMCAI) is pressing ahead with its plans to build a community centre in the Bunya Mountains.

The decision comes after the group received negative feedback from Western Downs Regional Council (WDRC) about the centre’s proposed location.

BMCAI first began discussing the idea of a community centre last year.

Members noted the Bunya Mountains was the only major settlement in the South Burnett without a town hall or similar public meeting space.

The group put the idea to WDRC and were told the Council would require BMCAI to prepare a feasibility study before Council could consider the proposal.

BMCAI found that such a study will cost between $35,000 and $60,000 to produce, and began a drive to secure funding to do it.

In the meantime, members also undertook a multi-month search to find a suitable site.

In March, the group suggested to WDRC that two adjoining blocks of Council-owned land at the corner of Tolmie and Ensor streets would be a suitable site for the centre.

But in May, WDRC responded with a letter indicating the land was “not entirely suitable for the purpose of a community centre due to the slope and drainage issues”.

The letter said that after further consideration, WDRC would prefer the two blocks not be used for a community centre, and emphasised the Council would not consider group’s proposal until a feasibility study had been prepared and a suitable site found.

At BMCAI’s quarterly meeting held shortly afterwards, the group resolved to press ahead with the project.

BMCAI secretary Carol Weekes told southburnett.com.au the pandemic and lockdowns had underlined the importance of a community centre for the ongoing health and well-being of the community.

BMCAI also believed WDRC’s concerns about slope and drainage issues on the blocks could be overcome.

She said most buildings on the Bunya Mountains – including the J.S. Fisher Lookout that WDRC had built in 2020 – were kept level with pole supports because most of the land in the area had a steep slope.

Most drainage issues were also capable of being solved.

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The South Burnett Regional Council will be working with Bunya Mountains residents in the SBRC portion of the Bunya Mountains to standardise their street addresses.

At the SBRC’s June General Meeting, Councillors were told some Bunya Mountains residents used Rural Addressing, and some did not.

This was causing problems for emergency services.

Councillors voted that staff send letters to all properties in the Bunya Mountains precinct that have non-standard property addresses to advise it intended to convert them to Rural Addressing, which is based on how far in metres a property’s entrance is from a road’s starting point, divided by 10.


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