Pomona advocate Brian O'Connor becomes the first person to put a question to Noosa Council in its new public question time.
Pomona advocate Brian O'Connor becomes the first person to put a question to Noosa Council in its new public question time.

Council faces its first public quizzing

POMONA community advocate Brian O'Connor, will go down in local history as the first person to quiz the elected council in open session about pressing issues of the day.

His first question sought details of the replacement service when the existing mobile library ceases to hit the road next year.

Council community services director Kerri Contini said this have-books-will-travel service was now 13 years old and "reaching the end of its useful life".

"Council staff have been planning for its replacement for the past year and this has included consultation with a range of stakeholders including mobile library customers, businesses and community organisations," he said.

Ms Contini said options being considered include a smaller truck, 24/7 library vending machines and extending services through bulk loans to partnering facilities.

"It is likely that the final model will be a combination of these and will be implemented in approximately mid-2020," she said.

His second question was: "With the sale of the former Tewantin TAFE College complete, can Noosa Council provide an update on: the final sale price; the estimated amount of money required to refurbish the building to an acceptable standard; likely uses, including involvement by the private sector; estimated rental income from tenants; and the maintenance and utilities outlays in any one year? When will the buildings be occupied?"

Mayor Tony Wellington response was: "Unfortunately we haven't secured the TAFE site yet.

"It was discovered that after we made the offer, which was public knowledge, of $1.7 million for the site, which is less than the estimate of the value of the property, that there were constraints on the site," the mayor said.

"Those constraints can only be dealt with by the State Government, so we are now waiting on the State Government to resolve the issue of the constraints on the site so that the site may be able to be purchased."

"Only in the last 48 hours those negotiations have resulted in a breakthrough that hopefully we will be able to make public very soon, which will help facilitate the purchase.

"For the moments the constraints on the site mean that the site cannot be purchased by council."

Mr O'Connor then asked what these constraints were only to be told by the mayor: "I'm unable to outline the nature of the constraints at this point in time because that has not be made public by the state."

Newly announced Noosa Council candidate Amelia Lorenston then asked: "Mr Mayor, in keeping with your effort to increase transparency and openness in council, will the Noosa residents have the 'right to know' the breakdown of the submissions made in relation to the draft new Noosa Plan and the new short-term stay laws in Noosa?"

Mayor Wellington deferred to the council's Kim Rawlings, director of environment and sustainable development.

"Yes, a public report will be provided to council on both the outcomes of the Noosa Plan

public submission process, including numbers of submissions, outline of issues, whether

they supported or objected and whether they resulted in a change to the Noosa Plan or

not," Ms Rawlings said.

"Similarly with the local law, a public report on the outcomes of the consultation

process will be provided to council, outlining number of submissions, an outline of issues

raised, whether in support or objection, proposed changes to be made and the process

from here."

The question time sessions are planned for the end of every council ordinary meeting.