Councillor MARX: Yes, thank you, Madam Chair. I want to rise to speak on three issues briefly—the election commitment for the lights at The Avenue, the Taiwan Festival as has been mentioned by Councillor MATIC, and Sunnybank Bowls Club. Actually, no, he didn’t mention the festival, he mentioned something else that was Taiwanese. Sorry, it was a very big Taiwanese weekend—and the Sunnybank Bowls Club.
Firstly, the LORD MAYOR mentioned in his E&C Report about an election commitment that has been finalised, and I’m delighted to say that another one was finalised over the holiday break as well, which was the installation of lights at The Avenue and Hellawell Road, and Hellawell Road and Borella Road. The initial scope of work was just the one set of traffic lights. It was quite a substantial amount of money involved. The offices did a fabulous job, and we ended up getting two sets of lights for $4.2 million which assists with all the schoolchildren that attend Sunnybank Hills State School. They have more than 1,000 students coming from all over the place. So trying to get out of Borella Road onto Hellawell Road was always a problem for them, and lots of safety concerns.
So being able to get two sets of traffic lights in that place, we did a bus stop removal and reinstallation in a secondary place which required some land resumption. We did some magnificent work there with the new landscaping that is in place. I had so many comments about it, and it’s been a long, long time coming. The previous Liberal Federal member for Moreton, Gary Hardgrave, it was something that he put up a petition more than 10 years ago when he was the Federal member. As the local Councillors, I was delighted that the LORD MAYOR approved funding over the last two financial years, and this has finally come to fruition. I was actually even there to turn the lights on.
It’s quite an interesting process. One of the very last things that the officers have to do is put down the final solid white line where the cars come to a stop before they go to the lights. You literally hold the traffic up, or the traffic is queuing and waiting while the officers physically do that white line. Then, as soon as that white line is done, you can then flick the switch, the lights come on, they all go orange automatically, and then everyone sort of sits until they start synchronising, and then the officers obviously assist until the lights get into flow.
It was fabulous. It was like a bit of a festival. We were out there, and we had Council officers, and we were waving and tooting and everything. It was really cool. I have to say I was more than happy to give Council officer Graham a big hug when we turned those lights on. Then we moved down the road and did the second ones at Borella Road, and after that I gave him another hug. I said, for two traffic lights, he deserves two hugs. So I was very pleased.
I know there was some concern here mentioned in the Chamber just prior to the budget with—in particular the Morningside Councillor was concerned about the Taiwan festival funding. According to her, it had been cut, which at the time I stated was not true. A decision was made by the new Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce President Simon. Under no circumstances was he running another Taiwan festival, and he publicly said this again on the Saturday night, that he would never ever do it again. However, the students from the university strong armed him into running it one more time, which they did over the Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday.
It was a huge event. I gave them funding straight up for the fireworks which they were more than happy about. It was held at the Sunnybank Hills Shopping Town. There was I don’t know how many thousands came through. The weather, as we all know, was raining, so luckily enough being in the car park, it was able to be moved down to the third level as opposed to the fourth level, and the rain stopped just in time on both occasions for the fireworks to go off on the fourth level, right up to the sky, so that was very good.
Again, Simon has said unequivocally, never running it again. In fact, he seems to think that the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce lost over $20,000 in running that festival, so they will be thinking very carefully again about whether they do it or not. But I’ve said to them, if you do decide, come and see me and we’ll talk about getting some funding reinstated for you if that’s your wish. So we’ll watch this space for that.
The other thing was the Sunnybank Bowls Club. Last drinks was held on Sunday afternoon. It was a sad occasion. There was a lot of people there. As I said to a lot of people I spoke to, it’s the same old scenario. Like weddings and funerals, that’s when you catch up with everyone. So it was really sad. That bowling club has been going for more than 50 years.
Something I found out, which even the Council officers didn’t know, but that’s actually been a registered site for the rain gauge for the Bureau of Meteorology since 1888. I said to the guy, are you sure you don’t mean 1988? He said, no, no, 1888. So there’s been a commitment to read that gauge at 9 o’clock every morning, seven days a week, for however many years 1888 goes back to. It’s a long time. I just take my hat off to them. So we now have to find another place for the BOM rainfall gauge to go to.
I haven’t broached the subject with my staff, whether they might be interested in doing it Monday to Friday, but potentially not, so I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’ll have to talk to the high school. But it has to be seven days a week. Anyway, that’s another issue for us to sort out.
But look, the bowls club, they were going backwards at a fast pace. They were losing $2,000 a week. They just could not sustain them. Their membership was diminishing, as has happened, and we’ve noticed this in all bowls clubs. The club was just getting too big—the actual building was becoming unmanageable for them. I spoke at the meeting on Sunday and assured them quite unequivocally that the place would become a community place for everybody there.
I told them that this land is State Government owned, and its sport and rec zoned, and it was in trust to Council. However, the State Government has the ability to take that land back from us and rezone it if they wish to do so. One would hope that they don’t, but if they do wish to do that, there was nothing I can do, but I assured them from the Council’s point of view, it would remain sport and rec and it will remain a community space.
I am very keen to hear of any suggestions of what the two bowling greens could be used for, keeping in mind that bowling greens are the biggest expense for a bowling club to keep up with the maintenance. I have had one suggestion which I am going to talk to officers about, but I am very keen if anybody has had any experience of what they would think a bowling green would be useful for that wasn’t a huge high maintenance, that would be much appreciated. So, thank you, Madam Chair.