Grafiti at the Noosa Tafe, taken June 2020.
Grafiti at the Noosa Tafe, taken June 2020.

Mayor pulls pin after two years of TAFE negotiations

The up-and-down journey of Noosa's TAFE complex looks to have taken another turn this week.

The former TAFE site closed in 2014 with dwindling student numbers and has sat idle ever since, with only vandals, wildlife, and the homeless spending time at the Tewantin facility.

Up until this week, all paths led to Noosa Council purchasing the building for an estimated $1.7 million, but that may soon change.

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Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart has put forward a motion to discontinue negotiations with the estate, stating excess maintenance, overlaying koala habitats and native title implications as reasons for the council backflip.

"We as council took a tour of the building, we have been advised it could be $1 million plus to get it up to scratch," she said.

Homeless dwelling at the former Noosa Tafe complex, taken June 2020.
Homeless dwelling at the former Noosa Tafe complex, taken June 2020.

This was alongside the forecasted building renewals to 2030 of approximately $7 million.

Cr Stewart said while the impact of COVID had certainly changed the landscape, it was not the deciding factor in her motion to pull the pin on negotiations.

"I don't think this is a good investment with the constraints around it, COVID or not," she said.

In her recent mayoral minutes, Cr Stewart proposed council would instead agree to "adopt an advocacy role for potential suitable end users (lessees or purchasers), with these likely to be from the education or training sectors".

In a social media post, Member for Noosa Sandy Bolton said the proposed decision may be "disappointing" but she was determined to find a buyer.

"While this may be disappointing after two years of negotiations with state, and the many opportunities that this site provided for our community, we must appreciate whatever decision is ratified at Thursday's council meeting," she wrote.

"I have met with a number of providers over the previous months, as I am determined that this site will not sit idle nor deteriorating any longer."

The motion will be put forward to all councillors and a decision will be made on Thursday, July 16 at the next General Meeting.