March 20th 2008
Island rallies to save last camp
Following yesterday's article, "Mike back at crease over Island Camp," we learned of Community Development Association President Lorna Hempstead's efforts to lobby the Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation in a letter to the Department's Director Generals which puts the issue into an historical context. The letter, which follows, was sent on March 2 and is yet to be answered by the Department.
Dear Ms Farmer and Ms O'Bryan,
I write on behalf of the community of Magnetic Island concerning the current options paper that is being developed on the future of the Magnetic Island Recreation Camp.
Magnetic Island, once had 3 such camps, Camp Magnetic, run by the Uniting Church that would take about 80 groups a year from 25 people to 120 people (though Outward Bound for 10 days each Easter was always of the order of 160 people). In the last full year of operation they hosted more than 7200 people. It was closed in May 1998 and the land sold as part of a rationalisation of Church assets.
Churches of Christ Camp on the Island had a smaller capacity (about 40 when they closed) closed shortly after this as the entity did not reach the current building standards.
The community would not want to see our last camp close. As well as hosting school groups, and specialised youth camps such as music and other art forms, the Picnic Bay Camp is a welcome break for Camp Quality and other children with special needs, as well as many adult groups. World Heritage Magnetic Island has much to offer to those who live in less idyllic circumstances and the Island community wishes to continue sharing its unique location with others, both by offering the opportunities afforded by the Camp itself and the associated educational and recreational opportunities of the Island.
I hope that this might be the start of a constructive dialogue.
So that other Island residents can express their opinions over the camp's possible closure Magnetic Times has provided the email addresses for correspondence to the Departmental Director Generals: Ms Dianne Farmer - Dianne.Farmer@srq.qld.gov.au and Ms Tracy O'Bryan - Tracy.OBryan@srq.qld.gov.au
Island residents and readers who wish to contact the appropriate Queensland Government Minister over the issue can email, The Honourable Judy Spence: email@example.com
Story and photo: George Hirst
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