New CBD to become council HQ in massive move
EXCLUSIVE: There are fears the Sunshine Coast Council could be preparing to walk away from Nambour and Caloundra as it prepares to turn the new Maroochydore CBD into city hall.
A report is due back to council in March exploring development options for an 11,768 sq m new office building which would be at least 60%-filled by council staff.
The massive shift in resources, dubbed 'The Smart Move Project', aims to empty about half of existing council buildings in Caloundra and Nambour, shifting a massive slice of the council's 1713 employees into the new city.
Division 10 Councillor Greg Rogerson pushed for extensive impact assessment to be undertaken beforehand, concerned the move may be unstoppable.
"I don't want to see this as a fait accompli, that we're going to Maroochydore come hell or high water," he said.
"It's (Nambour) too good of a town to be walked away from."
Early discussions between the council and Ernst & Young indicate the council may need to take control of more than the proposed 60% of the new building to make it commercially attractive to other partners.
Council CEO Michael Whittaker confirmed the council had already committed to having a "strong presence" within the new CBD and had resolved to create a "town hall"-type facility.
He remained adamant there would still be significant staff and services at both Caloundra and Nambour offices, but added the space vacated may be opened to the private sector or community groups.
Four staff are currently working on the project while a four-year IT services transition plan was agreed upon by the council's executive leadership team on February 9.
The council's leading architect has also been directed to work on the new council chambers project for one-to-two days per week.
Division 2 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer attacked Cr Rogerson for intimating the council was walking away from the two towns.
"This hasn't just happened overnight," he said.
He implored his fellow councillors to look at the change positively and consider the opportunities the spaces in both council buildings could create for other businesses or community organisations.
Development options being considered for the new facility include long-term tenancy, various options of council ownership, a development lease, public-private partnership or other alternatives.
Nambour Alliance president Tony Vella urged the council to think of the future of towns like Nambour and said he expected the number of people in the council building to remain the same, regardless of where the council chambers moved.
He said pulling people out of the business houses of Nambour would impact on the town without a doubt.
"It's all got to do with our need, Nambour's need, to actively contribute to the economy of the Sunshine Coast," Mr Vella said, urging the council to ensure the same usage of buildings.