Redland City Council has been asked by more than 1,500 residents to restore operational funding support to the Donald Simpson Community Centre.
At the Council’s general meeting on Wednesday 21 June local resident Debra Swain presented a petition and addressed councillors about the valuable contribution of the Donald Simpson Community Centre to Redland City. Here’s what she had to say.
Restoration of funding to the Donald Simpson Centre
My name is Debra Swain of Wellington Point, I am here as a concerned Redlands resident and hold no affiliation with any organisation.
Thank you for allowing me to address the Council and present this petition regarding the reduction in operating funding for the Donald Simpson Community Centre.
As a resident of the Redlands and a member of the Centre I am extremely concerned about the Redlands City Council’s reduction of annual operational financial funding to $50,000 for this coming financial year and to ZERO from June 2018.
This represents a reduction in operational funding to an all age Community Centre.
Not a “club” that may have poker machines etc or one that only runs seasonally…but a Community Centre that is used on average 7 days a week by a high volume of local Redlands citizens of all abilities and ages.
A Centre that generates (as at audited figures 2016) 62% of its own income and the with the 28% operational income from Council used for the only paid staff such as Manager and Secretary who along with non paid Board members have over the years applied for grants to assist with the financial sustainability of the Centre and have been successful.
However, they can only apply for capital works in grants and nothing of an operational nature which is why funding is so important.
With over 120 volunteers, and some 50,000 visitors a year, this is a Centre like none other in the Redlands or its surrounds.
The Centre was opened in 1987 with funds from State and Local Government and donations from the community.
The Centre is named after Donald Simpson, a Shire Clerk from 1963-1978 who was a wonderful community supporter. He passed away in 1981 and was honoured in such a way to have the parkland and then Centre in his name.
One only has to look at the membership package to appreciate the wide range of services provided to those retired and non-retired, matured, lesser abilities and young community.
Not maintaining Councils financial operating funding will result in increases in fees and charges to:
- Membership fees for excess of 2200 members
- Room hire
- Activity fees
- Services provided
- Educational classes
This increase in fees and charges will have a serious economic effect and lead to the reduction of affordability of services to our fixed low income community.
The Centre has always operated with good governance and sound financial principals with their finances and working hard to keep prices affordable, so the Centre is available to as many Redlanders as possible.
The Council’s 2030 Community Plan talks of:
- A healthy community aging well
- Well co-ordinated services & networks
- Community facilities as people grow older.
In general this is the Donald Simpson Community Centre which caters for people at all levels health and fitness:
- From able bodied, to walkers and “wheelie walker”
- The hearing and sight impaired
- People with Health Issues
- People with disability
Supporting all demographics of people with or without issues the Centre welcomes people to join and make good use of the facilities, including the dining facilities which currently provides affordable meals and a place to just sit and socialise.
The Centre is a hub for Redlands Seniors Week including the Seniors walk and for the subsequent “Senior Week of Events”.
Craft classes provide the Redlands Public Hospital Auxiliary with large numbers of knitted and handmade craft to raise funds for vital hospital equipment and on-site events to raise funds for the hospital.
The Donald Simpson Centre is an icon of the Redlands Community and providing community help hopefully for today, tomorrow and years to come.
The Centre provides for the wellbeing of our people. These people maybe your Grandparents, Mother, Father, Friends; or who knows, over time maybe yourself or your children.
Medical facts have proven that interaction/ communication helps with the health and well being of the ageing.
The Redland City Council, by cutting operational funding, shows a gross dereliction of their duty as a good corporate citizen.
Withdrawal of the Council’s Financial Operational Support of the Donald Simpson Centre is a slap in the face to the people who played a key role in the development of our beautiful city and the well being of our community.
The Centre shows good management and financial prudence for also providing for the viability of the Centre for future generations.
Excess funds are currently maintaining three months operational emergency funds of $150,000 and $70,000 which was kept to be put towards the hub. Plus, if you add the money for solar panels, the reserve money is accounted for with no extra.
Currently there is no concrete evidence of the development and funding of a proposed hub or transitional strategy for the replacement of the Centre’s current contribution to the care and well being of our community.
I would like to present this petition of only two weeks work and plead on behalf of the signatories (and even those unaccepted E Petitioners and so many of those in our community who are not yet aware of this decision by their Council) for the restoration of Council’s financial operational funding to the Donald Simpson Community Centre.
I thank you for your time.
Contact a Redland City Councillor
If you want to let the Mayor and divisional councillors know what you think about Redland City Council’s decision to cut the Donald Simpson Community Centre’s operational funding support, here are their contact details:
Mayor: Karen Williams
Phone 07 3829 8623 or 0416 123 588
Councillor Wendy Boglary Division 1 Wellington Pt, Ormiston
Phone 07 3829 8619 or 0408 543 583
Councillor Peter Mitchell Division 2 Cleveland, North Stradbroke Island
Phone 07 3829 8607 or 0412 638 368
Councillor Paul Golle Division 3 Cleveland South, Thornlands
Phone 07 3829 8618 or 0438 117 265
Councillor Lance Hewlett Division 4 Victoria Point, Coochiemudlo I., Thornlands, Redland Bay
Phone 07 3829 8603 or 0421 880 371
Councillor Mark Edwards Division 5 Redland Bay, Bay Islands
Phone 07 3829 8604 or 0407 695 667
Councillor Julie Talty Division 6 Mount Cotton, Sheldon, Thornlands
Victoria Point, Redland Bay
Phone 07 3829 8606 or 0418 218 847
Councillor Murray Elliott Division 7 Alexandra Hills South/Capalaba
Phone 07 3829 8732 or 0418 780 824
Councillor Tracey Huges Division 8 Birkdale South, Alexandra Hills
Phone 07 3829 8600 or 0427 734 214
Councillor Paul Gleeson Division 9 Capalaba
Phone 07 3829 8620 or 0488 714 030
Councillor Paul Bishop Division 10 Birkdale North, Thorneside
Phone 07 3829 8605 or 0478 836 286