The Urangan Community Centre offers English lessons for migrants. See details on this page.
The Urangan Community Centre offers English lessons for migrants. See details on this page. CONTRIBUTED

Council grants $200k for community centre expansion

FRASER Coast Regional Council has agreed to provide $200,000 towards the redevelopment of the Urangan Community Centre.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the idea at a special meeting yesterday.

The expansion means the centre will significantly increase in size and be able to provide for a wider range of community support services.

The council owns the Urangan Community Centre building but the facility and services on offer are managed by the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre.

Mayor George Seymour, whose wife works for the HBNC, declared a conflict of interest and left the room.

Deputy mayor Darren Everard said the funding commitment would bolster the Urangan Neighbourhood Centre Management Committee's application for up to $1 million for the State Government to expand the facility.

Speaking at the meeting, the council's director of development and community Gerard Carlyon said the expansion had been discussed for the past 12 months but the project had not progressed significantly as there had been no funding available.

He said the business plan, which was 12 months old, would need reviewing and the design of the building would change slightly.

Councillor Anne Maddern asked if approving this funding would set a precedent for other community groups also looking for help to build facilities.

Chief executive officer Ken Diehm pointed out differences in the groups' situations and said in this instance, the funding would strengthen the case for a cash injection from the State Government.

He said this meant the community would have access to a building worth significantly more than just the council's contributions to the project.

"This is different than asking the council to wholly fund a building," Mr Diehm said.

The expansion would allow the centre management committee to move into wellness and wellbeing services including integrated family support services, domestic violence services, support and self-help groups, seniors' activities, community learning and information sessions.

"The existing centre has reached capacity and needs room to grow to cater for a growing population," Cr Everard said.

In addition to providing capital funding, the council also agreed to waive development application fees should the project be successful in attracting a State Government grant.