Mayor Jennifer Whitney has announced that Whitsunday Regional Council will be considering its options for Havengrand, the 96.05 hectares of land off
Road in Mt Marlow purchased for $2.1 million by
the previous council as a site for a sports park.
The mayor’s comments come after council resolved to invite tenders for the sale of the land, just weeks after it was announced that it would be inviting tenders for the lease of the land. Council has confirmed that the tenders received for the lease are on hold pending the outcome of the tenders for sale.
“At this stage, Council has not had the land revalued since it was purchased,” she said. “A report will go back to Council after the closing of tenders for further consideration and discussion on how best to move forward.”
When contacted by the Whitsunday Coast Guardian, former mayor Mike Brunker opted not to enter the fray; stressing that council is able to sell its own land.
“We were looking towards the future when we purchased the land,” Mr Brunker said. “But it is now council land, and it is council’s business what they do with it.
Community advocate Barb Adamson, who publicly opposed the Havengrand purchase in 2010 and used a council meeting last month to question why council couldn’t sell the land rather than lease it, described the mayor’s announcement as “good news”.
“Selling the land seems like a more sensible solution,” she said. “I’d rather see them sell it so we can get a piece of land that is accessible for everyone in the community.”
“Land was bought for a sports park at
Carlo Drive ten years ago, before it was
sold,” Ms Adamson said. “Then council bought this land, which was overpriced,
and now it’s being sold, too.”
“The process has continually been halted over the years, and we’re still without the promised sports park.
“But from my perspective, this is good news,” she said. “I hope they go ahead and sell the land, so we can get outcome with which the community agrees.”
Mike Porter, Manager of CANEGROWERS Proserpine, said that the local farming community would welcome the sale of Havengrand, permitting that it was bought for agricultural use.
“We would absolutely support any decision that succeeds in returning good quality agricultural land to the sugar industry,” he said.
“Whether the land is leased or sold, if it’s being used for agricultural purposes, which it’s zoned to do, then it’s a good thing,” Mr Porter said.
Tenders for the sale of the land close 4pm on Monday, 24 September.