State government funding earmarked for Redland City Council’s sport and recreation hub at Mount Cotton will be redirected as a federal-level assessment stalls the multimillion-dollar project.
A total of $4.5m received through the 2021-2024 SEQ Community Stimulus Program was allocated to the precinct, but the project has been held up by the federal review and will not meet the grant deadline.
More than $100m was made available to south-east Queensland councils under the state government funding program to fast-track investment in new infrastructure and community assets.
Funding guidelines stipulated that all projects needed to be delivered by June 30, 2024 and extensions would only be granted in “exceptional circumstances”.
Redland City Council said in a statement that “strict delivery timeframes and guideline conditions” meant the funding would need to be redirected into a more advanced project.
A spokesman said council would work with the state government to “agree the best way to reallocate the available grant funding to benefit our community”.
It can be revealed that council has applied to have the funding redirected into the Charlie Buckler Memorial Sportsground upgrade at Redland Bay.
“Council’s goal is to continue to receive this much needed state government support, noting the strict delivery timeframes and guideline conditions under the grant agreement,” a council spokesman said.
The federal government deemed the sport and recreation hub a controlled action in March, halting council’s plans to have construction on stage one under way in early 2023.
Council self-referred the precinct’s final designs to the federal environment department but argued in its submission that the precinct should not be deemed a controlled action.
It said there were no anticipated significant impacts to threatened species or their habitat and about 70 per cent of the site, or 112 hectares, would be maintained as conservation.
Council has also said previously that its decision to purchase the property off Heinemann Road had saved the land from “potential extensive development in the future”.
The project will now require approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed.
A federal environment department spokesman said Redland City Council was currently preparing assessment documentation for the review.
“There is no statutory timeframe for them to complete this,” the spokesman said.
“Once the assessment is complete, the department will consider all the relevant information.”
Cr Julie Talty said the precinct master plan had support from council, the community and state government.
“Redland has a significant shortfall of land available for community purposes with clubs and community groups seeking accommodations that can meet the needs,” she said.
“To meet this need completely, Redland would need to almost double the area currently available for sport and community facilities.
“The federal government needs to balance the 30-plus years of environmental land management carried out in Redlands as part of their EPBC assessment.”
Cr Rowanne McKenzie agreed that the federal government should consider the millions of dollars council was spending each year on managing the city’s environment.
“Council and local governments across the country deliver vital community infrastructure for their residents,” she said.
“Whether it’s sporting fields, parks and open space or road upgrades, every project that requires EPBC referral will be delayed and has the potential for increased costs to ratepayers.
“Thousands of community members across multiple sporting codes are waiting for this project to be delivered.”
Council had planned to begin work on the project in early 2023 after allocating $15m for stage one works in last year’s budget.
Once completed, the venue will be used for rugby league, touch football, BMX and cycling. Other features include a water play area, picnic spaces and trails.
A council spokesman said a stage one construction contract with Alder Constructions remained in place.