Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington today welcomed confirmation the State Government had finally accepted Council’s $1.7M offer, made late last year, to buy the former TAFE property at Tewantin.
“Staff can now begin negotiating with the State Government over purchase conditions. We look forward to taking possession of the 11-hectare property once settlement occurs in a few months’ time,” he said.
Council is yet to decide on the site’s long-term future. The Mayor said any potential use would need to show community benefit and not come at an additional cost to Noosa ratepayers.
“There’ll be a detailed investigation of options for the use of the site which will be brought back to Council,” he said. “We have received a great many suggestions from residents: everything from a research centre to affordable housing. But in the end, whether we on-sell the site, subdivide it to preserve the critical habitat, or develop the site ourselves, the outcome cannot be an ongoing drain on finances. It has to pay its way.”
The Mayor said a significant portion of the site was home to endangered vegetation, plus koala, black-cockatoo and wallum rocketfrog habitat.
“Ensuring this critical regional ecosystem is protected will of course be a top priority. That also means that the building footprint is unlikely to be enlarged.”
The Mayor said independent valuations confirmed Council was getting good value for the agreed price, given the land’s size, location and environmental significance. “The $1.7M is well below valuations,” he said.
“We will be garnering expert advice to help us determine a use for the facility that ensures both ratepayer and community benefit.”