Major snub over rugby stadium

THE sod has been turned to mark the real beginning of a dream come true for thousands of Gold Coast rugby league fans ? the building of the $160 million stadium at Robina.

Welcome to the home of the Titans, so long in coming, but with such grand design and potential.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie kicked off the ball and turned the initial sod on Friday. But it was one of the lowest of low key events, according to several Gold Coast City councillors.

Where were the invitations to elected councillors who represent the ratepayers, who contributed just on $20 million for the stadium land, roads and so on?

Mayor Ron Clarke was there, as was Robina councillor Jan Grew, but we're told only because they heard of the launch through the reliable Gold Coast grapevine.

Outspoken Cr Daphne McDonald, one of several councillors who would have been there had there been a courteous invitation, said the government launch was "one more slap in the face to Gold Coast ratepayers and their council".

A stickler for 'old-fashioned manners and courtesy', Cr McDonald said she was sick and tired of the way the government insulted the Gold Coast and its community.

"Here we have the launch of a stadium which our ratepayers have contributed heavily to, a sporting project the council has supported all along the way, negotiated for the land, agreed to all kinds of conditions laid down by the gov- ernment and we are not even told of the sod turning ? courtesy costs nothing," Cr McDonald said.

"I am bitterly disappointed for our community ? they are the ones who will be supporting the games when they begin."

Cr Jan Grew, incredulous that the Gold Coast was ignored on such an important occasion, said the stadium was a fabulous facility for Robina and had potential for activities other than rugby league.

Cr Grew "grew up" in council, first with the Albert Shire then with Gold Coast city almost in pace with the development of the Robina Regional Centre.

Thirteen years in council, she witnessed the birth of Robina (now celebrating a decade) from the initial businesses to its present reputation as a leader in many corporate endeavours in education, research, retail and entertainment.

"The launch of the stadium concept comes at a time when council has approved a new $16 million Robina Library, when the community centre will be expanded to meet demands and when Robina figures prominently as the site for a new council administration headquarters, a place where all staff and elected members can be under the one roof rather than scattered here and there," Cr Grew said.

It is doubtful even adventurous developer, philanthropist and millionaire, the late Arthur Earle, who planted the first trees and built the first roads at Robina, ever imagined its potential to be so great.

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