Magnetic Island North Queensland
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May 16th 2008
Recreation Centre to stay open but on trial

The Magnetic Island Recreation Centre Magnetic Island Active Recreation Centre has been given a chance to remain open, after the Government today confirmed it will continue to operate the Centre on a trial basis for a further 18 months.

In a presss release issued by Sport Minister Judy Spence, the Minister said major changes will be made to its operating structure - including new activities and programs, improved marketing and minor works - to try to keep it open.

"The simple fact is the Centre has been unviable. It has an annual occupancy rate under 20 per cent. It is costing taxpayers more than $328,000 per annum to keep open, yet returning less than $64,000 in generated revenue," Ms Spence said.

"The Member for Townsville Mike Reynolds has made very strong representations to keep the Centre open and has stressed the high usage by schools and other community groups across Townsville.

"Member for Mt Isa Betty Kiernan has also had strong concerns about the closure of the Centre because Magnetic Island has been the favoured recreational centre for rural and remote students.

"The Centre will remain open until the 31 December 2009, to see if usage rates improve.

"The future of the Centre is now in the hands of the local community. It's as simple as use it or lose it.

"The Centre will now introduce a Stay and Play Program, which will include overnight accommodation and daily activities organised by the clients and supported by centre staff.

Minor facility works will be undertaken to resurface the tennis courts. The pilot will also see the introduction of new activities to maximise use of the centre grounds and facilities such as fishing, kite building, beach games and court sports.

"The Government will also develop a comprehensive marketing plan to support the proposed trial.

"We have granted this Centre a reprieve and are hopeful these measures will improve its financial position, but we are ever mindful that if the Centre can not attract clientele we will not continue to spend taxpayers' money on supporting it.

"That's why we are trialling this initiative and will conduct a thorough evaluation of the Centre's viability once the trial has concluded.

"The Service Delivery Performance Commission (SDPC) report recommended the Department consider alternative management options for the Magnetic Island Centre and also recommended the immediate divestment of the Christmas Creek, Ficks Crossing, Lake Julius, Seaforth and Storm King Dam Active Recreation Centres," Ms Spence said.

Magnetic Times is presently seeking to clarify in greater detail just what the new approaches will include and how they might work to generate greater income than the camp's present operations and expect to report further on this as information comes to hand.

To learn about the camp it is worth visiting their page at the Department's web site at then open the brochure.

To add your comment, see below

Recreation Centre to stay open but on trial
Mike Reynolds, Member for Townsville
May 16th 2008
I welcome this commitment by the Minister to guarantee that the iconic Magnetic Island Recreation Centre will be kept open until at least the end of 2009. It has been a matter of great concern both to myself and the community that our Rec Centre was under threat of closure this year.

I have been fighting for this Recreation Centre to stay open for many years now, and arguments about the Centre being unviable have been used before. I have fought several times against this statistical madness and have strongly pushed the cause in Brisbane about how vital it is to both Northern and Western Queensland to have this Centre.

Earlier this year I highlighted to the Minister that marketing the Centre was a significant problem and may be what was letting the Centre and Magnetic Island down. Magnetic Island, as a unique North Queensland attraction, is the envy of other regions. The Recreation Centre itself has been used by thousands of school children over the years; it holds a dear place in many peoples
May 17th 2008
Statistical madness is correct. Speaking to bureaucrats, in the planning of the Community Develpment Association's campaign, I found that occupancy is measured using the hotel formula of bed nights, rather than just how many nights of the year groups are in the camp. (There aren't many nights in the year when the camp is empty)
This is significant as Maggie's facilites are of an older design with one central ablutions block. (Unlike new Tinaroo which has several). Under child safety regulations, I understand that if a groups of say 25 grade 6 are booked in, the remaining places cannot be given to a group of grade 11 from another school. Thus the camp is "occupied" but only at 23% under the bed formula, but as no other group can use it simultaneously, it is also at 100%!!
What is clear is that we need to pusuade the Govt to buy some of the smart demountable toilets and showers so that the camp could immediately double capacity. As visit to the camp's website as seen at the bottom of the story will pleasantly surprise many in the community at the extent and attractiveness of the facilities.
June 2nd 2008
Excellent suggestion Lorna. Thank you for explaining the statistics trick being used by the Department.
August 28th 2009
This centre is amazing! Tropic Sun Theatre has found this to be the most creative environment for artists that we have ever worked at. We hope to continue to use the venue on a regular basis to host masterclasses and workshops.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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