Dilemma over future of old bowls site
By JADE BILOWOL
PUBLIC parklands now ? or a future fraught with uncertainty?
This is the dilemma thrown up by the prime 1.36-hectare Palm Beach and Currumbin RSL Bowls Club site, bordering the north side of the Currumbin Creek river mouth.
Gold Coast City councillor Daphne McDonald has called on the community to decide whether the site should be morphed into public parklands or remain vacant until the Currumbin-Palm Beach RSL's lease on the Queensland Government-owned site lapses in 2013.
Cr McDonald said the RSL's proposition could well be the last opportunity for the public to secure the site with its stunning views.
"If it is rejected, we won't have use of the site until 2013 and then that is dependent on the Department of Natural Re- sources - it may not be an option then because they may deem it too valuable," Cr McDonald said.
"This is a valuable opportunity because we haven't got much parkland on the beach in Palm Beach."
She also said the proposal was not totally set in stone, with community consultation conducted onsite until Monday from 9am until 3.30pm.
The results will be tabled and a final decision by council is expected in April.
In response to concern ratepayers were disadvantaged by the RSL leasing back the planned kiosk, Cr McDonald said ratepayers would benefit because of use of the public parklands.
She said independent assessment had revealed the current building at the site would cost more than $1 million to renovate.
Cr McDonald also said the assessment found that demol- ishing the building and creating "still-water" parklands complete with recreational facilities and a kiosk-style building was more viable.
Currumbin-Palm Beach RSL CEO Anne Stovin said she was aware of calls by several local groups to hand the building over to community use, but that the RSL had not been approached directly by anyone since the announcment of their plans.
"While we are supportive of local groups, people need to be aware that refurbishing a building that has been unused for many years will cost a lot of money, and any ongoing maintenance would also need to be budgeted for," Ms Stovin said.
"There have been no proposals that identify where this funding would come from and we believe our plans to be the most feasible and ultimately for the benefit of the entire community."