Hope for Beerwah Sportsground’s future

By Greg Brown

THE Beerwah Sportsground Management Committee (BSMC) has been battling bureaucracy for more than two years and the toll has taken it to the brink of financial collapse.

The committee’s struggle has been with Sunshine Coast Council rigidly enforcing ever increasing levels of red tape and disallowing previously permitted uses of the grounds, which used to bring in much needed funds for the management and maintenance of the sportsground.

Much of the problem has stemmed from the simple fact that at some point the function of the land was mistakenly changed on paper from ‘showground’ to ‘sportsground’, which severely limited the types of permitted activities and how they are managed.

Committee president David Weil said the council don’t pay for the upkeep of the grounds, or the water used, or the repairs and improvements to the facilities.

“The considerable costs are borne by the management committee, for which we have to raise funds through charging groups using the grounds,” Mr Weil said.

“Over the years this has been done by hosting events like the Beerwah Charity Sports Day and Christmas carols, clubs such as caravan groups for basic camping on the grounds, pony club events and overnight stays by self-contained caravan and RV campers.”

With severely limited income over the past two years, the BSMC is almost at the end of its financial tether, with the threat of insolvency looming if the situation isn’t addressed.

However, the committee hopes there is now a light at the end of the tunnel, with a process about to begin to legitimise – in the eyes of the bureaucrats – the range of community and organisational uses that have been regularly occurring at the Beerwah Sportsground for many years.

The solution is for the council, as trustee of the land owned by the Queensland Government, to prepare a land management plan and submit it to the state government for approval.

This will allow the designation of the grounds to be officially altered to ‘showgrounds and recreation’, giving legitimacy to the uses that have occurred there for the past few decades.

This plan will outline what the agreed permitted uses will be under the lease the BSMC holds over the sportsground, with the proposals to go out for community consultation before the plan is drafted.

The council engaged the services of consultants CPR Group to undertake the community and stakeholder consultation.

The views of the community will be critically important to the outcome as the council will be looking for community support for what the BSMC is trying to achieve, as well as the views of local businesses.

“The committee has been working towards a positive resolution for a long time,” Mr Weil said.

“This is something we hope will finally give us, and the community, some certainty both financially and for the use of the facilities.

“The committee is encouraged by the talks already had with CPR and council, and the committee encourages the community to have their say when the broader consultation process begins.”

CPR Group will canvas key stakeholders directly but hopes to provide a portal through the council’s Have Your Say website for locals to show their support.

GC&M News will provide more details how to have your say and show your support in the September 28 edition.

Main image: BSMC committee member Helen Weil talks with Chamber of Commerce president Jenny Broderick