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Whitsunday Regional Council approves new Cannonvale library at Galbraith Park

By Ray White Whitsunday

Plans have been approved to build a new library and community centre in the Whitsundays, saving ratepayers more than $300,000 in rents per year.

Whitsunday Regional Council became the trustee of reserves at Galbraith Park off Shute Harbour Rd in Cannonvale after the former cane farm land was gazetted in 2004.

Councillors have now unanimously voted to approve a five-year draft masterplan for the reserves which includes building a 1500sqm community centre to house Cannonvale’s library.

The plan states the council has already committed more than $7m to making the project a reality within the next three years with Councillor John Collins describing it as “sensational” to see it finally come to fruition after six years of planning.

The proposed location of the new Cannonvale Community Facility to be built at Galbraith Park off Shute Harbour Rd in the Whitsundays. Picture: Whitsunday Regional Council

Councillor Clay Bauman said the plan made “clear economic sense” as the council could sever its two leases at the Whitsunday Plaza shopping centre for the current community centre and library, which cost ratepayers more than $300,000 each year, and redirect those funds into the centre.

He said the Cannonvale Community Facility, with a car park to be built directly underneath, maximised green space in response to submissions, and would help educate visitors about the region’s special environment.

The plan, if approved by the Department of Resources, will take place over two stages.

Whitsunday Catchment Landcare has worked on revegetating Galbraith Park since 2009 with the new masterplan for the area including scope for further rehabilitation of the reserves. Picture: Whitsunday Regional Council

Stage 1 requires the council to alter the reserve’s purpose to “recreation” in order to build the centre designed to withstand a 1-in-500 flood height with architecture that “integrate(s) with natural surroundings”.

Along with library services, the centre includes community rooms; hot desk facilities for small businesses, education and community groups to use; room for arts and cultural displays and activities; and spaces to support social connections for isolated and at-risk groups, new migrants to the Whitsundays, seniors, residents with a disability, mothers’ groups and special interest 

The plan states it is hoped the centre will help the council to meet its goal of growing small business value add by five per cent or $78 million by 2030, and create an opportunity to attract a Regional University Study Hub.

There is also scope for further revegetation of the reserves, following extensive work by Whitsunday Catchment Landcare since 2009, as well as informal sports areas, recreational assets, pathways and trails.

Stage 2 covers the council’s proposal to freehold a maximum of five per cent or 70sqm of the centre for commercial use.

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