Moore Park Beach residents fight St Johns for community hall
MOORE Park Beach residents fear they may lose their community hall if St John Ambulance continues to sell off its Queensland assets.
But the Moore Park Beach community have vowed not to give up without a fight.
This comes after a Monto couple, Col and Claire Harris, were left heartbroken after they were given three weeks' notice as its office was closed down.
The couple were blindsided when St John representatives arrived to relieve them of the equipment they had worked tirelessly for the past 29 years to fund.
The situation sounded all too familiar for the Moore Park Community.
Moore Park Beach Lions assistant-secretary Jennifer Carter said an ownership dispute had been "going on for years” and everything was "up in the air at the moment”.
The hall in question was donated to the community by Welcome Creek farmer George Smith in 1963, to be used for the local St Johns cadets to train in.
Mr Smith's relatives and the community fundraised and a farmhouse was bought and shifted to the land and turned into the hall.
Last year the St John Ambulance cadet program was axed and to be replaced with a "first aid in schools” program.
A program Mrs Carter says should of started at the beginning of this year but "no schools have heard of it”.
The hall was maintained by the community, especially Moore Park Lions. In 2006, St John head office tried to sell the local hall, but was met with a mob of residents who talked the real estate agent out of listing the property.
Since reading the latest St John Monto article Mrs Carter and about 30 other residents met to gain momentum to save their hall.
Mrs Carter believes the hall was given to the community and should remain in the hands of the community and not sold off.
In July last year, Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett wrote to the St John Ambulance CEO, stating the community had a strong attachment to the land and the hall, and a pride of ownership.
He advised the community had wished to make "good use of the property for the benefit of the wider community”.
Mr Bennett gave his support to return the ownership and management of the land and hall to the local residents.
The NewsMail contacted St John CEO Alex Hutton asking what the position of the local hall was.
Mr Hutton said he had nothing to add to previous communications regarding the Welcome Creek Hall other than to correct a couple of points.
"The Moore Creek property is owned by St John Qld as per the property titles,” he said.
"The Moore Creek property was decommissioned and is no longer operational.
"Decisions on the future use of the property will be determined in 2019.”