Councillor Phil Truscott said there were two existing spaces for RV travellers in Bauple.
Councillor Phil Truscott said there were two existing spaces for RV travellers in Bauple.

Seemingly simple vote exposes deep divide in country town

Deep divisions over the future of Bauple were exposed when a motion requesting a new lease for the town's recreation ground was presented at the Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting.

Bauple Progress Association president Marc Bromet addressed the council at public participation on Wednesday night, asking for a deferral on the decision regarding the lease, with a view to his organisation being on the lease amid a push for RV camping at the space.

The lease is currently held by the Bauple & District Recreation Ground Association.

Mr Bromet argued the lease had been "responsible for stopping services in our town", pointing to concerns over sustainable visitor numbers, reduced enrolment at the school from 100 to 18, "dividing a community and benefiting one group at the detriment of others".

He warned another 10 years of the same would result in a loss of tens of millions of dollars for the region.

"No one promotes failure, we do not, you should not the CEO and mayor as leaders should not … as president of the BPA I will not," he said

"The economic cost is too significant to the Fraser Coast - this is not thinking economic responsible leadership."

During the subsequent debate over the motion however, Councillor Phil Truscott revealed during he had received emails from other BPA executives ahead of the council meeting, stating they did not in fact want the lease and it should be retained by the BDRG Association.

Cr Truscott told the meeting seven organisations at Bauple had also contacted him to say they were happy with the existing arrangements.

He said there were two existing spaces for RV travellers in Bauple and it did not make sense to explore other options for RVs when the two existing sites were seldom full.

"Why spend extra ratepayers' money when it's not a problem at the moment?" he said.

Cr Truscott also pointed out the recreation grounds were state land and as such there was a long and arduous process that would need to be followed to attempt to get approval for RVs, which was likely to be complicated by the fact that the grounds were located near Bauple State School.

The Bauple and District Recreation Ground Association had agreed to special conditions, including the use of the oval by the school.

The association has held a lease on the land for the past 10 years and a new 10-year lease had been formally requested.

The lease fee applied for community group leases under the council policy is $1 per annum.

The councillors amended the motion and agreed to instead grant a lease for five years for the Bauple and District Recreation Ground Association in the hope the divided community would work together and come up with a better plan in that time.

Cr Truscott said he was looking to improve the existing RV sites at Bauple as well as considering looking for other suitable land.

The Chronicle has reached out to Mr Bromet for comment.

Originally published as Seemingly simple vote exposes deep divide in country town