House must go, council told
WHILE around 65 local families sit on the waiting list for crisis housing, Bundaberg Regional Council is preparing to demolish a Bargara home on the orders of the State Government.
Councillors Wayne Honor and Danny Rowleson voiced their outrage at the decision, made at the council's ordinary meeting.
Cr Rowleson said he considered it to be "quite a habitable property".
The move to demolish the house - which is situated at the back of the Bargara State School oval and once was used as a pound-keeper's residence before being rented out - comes after the State Government Department of Environment and Resource Management wrote to the council and told it the house was incompatible with the environmental reserve.
But Cr Rowleson said he found the proposition "offensive" and did not believe the council should be "bullied" by the State Government.
"I think there's a lot of people out there struggling that would find that house habitable," he said.
Cr Honor said there were many people in the region who had lost their homes.
"It really is a slur on the State Government for it not to be used for the people who are desperately in need of housing," he said.
Regional Housing Ltd general manager Brett Hanna said the crisis accommodation waiting list in Bundaberg was hovering around 65 families.
"It's typical that we get 20 to 25 new applicants each week applying for crisis accommodation," he said.
"There's a housing crisis in Bundaberg at the moment and that's making it difficult for people."
He said some of these families might be living temporarily with relatives in overcrowded conditions or in hotels.
"So they'd not homeless yet. Or they might even be in their van or car in a caravan park and it's not sustainable because they have kids at school," he said.
Mr Hanna said they were able to house 10 to 15 families a month, at best.
"And some we just aren't able to assist," he said.
Cr Honor said the council should approach the State Government to be able to leave the house where it is.
But Cr Vince Habermann said while he was "sympathetic" to the need for housing, he disagreed.
"Sadly this house is becoming increasingly dilapidated and becoming quite an eyesore … it is the way to go," he said.
Cr Lynne Forgan said the house was vacant and had become a "financial burden" to the council. She said it required extensive maintenance, contained asbestos and had recently been vandalised.
"The property is surplus to the council's needs, while proposals for the use of the house have been considered, those suggested uses would mean high ongoing maintenance costs," she said.
The house will be tendered for removal or demolition at no cost to the council.