Information Gathering at Robert's House

Notes from information gathering at Robert's House, Orchard St.  Boreen Point, 18 June 2011 Purpose of Meeting: is to bring like-minded people together, to find out the reasons for the decrease in vitality of the Kinaba Information Centre and options for its restoration and maintenance.  To gather names and contacts for volunteers and to keep the Community in touch with options and outcomes.  This is an information forum only; a discussion and relevant questions.

Welcome from Charlie: Thanks to:

  • Ross Belcher, Regional Manager Great Sandy Region
  • Marc Dargush, Great Sandy Region Tourism Officer
  • Tony Haslam, Treasurer
  • NICA: Noosa Integrated Catchment Association
  • Cootharaba Community Association for printing and notices
  • Anglican Church for venue for gathering
  • Gonzo for PA system
  • Rikki Coulston for note taking
  • Alan Cutts for pledge seeking groundwork, and for initial letters sent to relevant Ministers and reply received.
  • and a reminder for any one wishing to be kept informed and/or interested in being involved in the future developments to add their contacts and skills to the list circulating at the end of the meeting.

Ross Belcher:  Thanked the Community for the opportunity to meet and speak with us.  He is aware that Kinaba is not living up to its potential, and recognizes that we have impetus and are willing to move forward with this.  He is very supportive of local groups being involved in local maintenance.  There are 3 departments which have an interest in Kinaba – National Parks, Sunshine Coast Council and Department of Environment and Resource Management – which deal with tenure, responsibility for electrics, sewerage, minor repairs etc.  Recently an Engineer’s Assessment of the building was carried out, which found only superficial deterioration, which is very encouraging. The Government supports commercial enterprise, and that cannot be ruled out, so what mix are we able to consider?  National Parks supports community involvement with ownership and management, and Ross hopes we can get something happening.

Marc Dargush:  He sees that there is lots of Community interest here, and Kinaba needs everyone to be caring.  There is an equity question – who looks after it?  We have to get the balance right.

Tony Haslam:  NICA is involved in land use and management in the Noosa River Catchment.  The National Park presence is mostly responsible for the quality of the catchment with good management practices. An interpretative and information centre instructs visitors on environmental values of the Park, and how to enjoy it and preserve it.  NICA facilitates and supports community groups and has many diverse projects happening. NICA can facilitate our project by assisting with grants and funding applications, manage funds, audits, reports, volunteer public liability insurance – our volunteers join as members of NICA (free membership) and are then covered by their $20m public liability.  As the building is owned by DERM – will they hold that insurance?  We would have to consider a Memorandum of Understanding. Questions:Peter:  What would be DERM’s requirements of us? There would have to be a volunteers’ sign-on for liability insurance.  Possible partnership.

Noel: Would National Parks deliver any training? There would be induction and training in information being delivered to visitors.  You would be required to give accurate interpretative information to visitors.  It would be good to know the background and experience of volunteers.

Derek: Would working holidays be possible on site? Yes it could be in the mix.  Some projects already have participants paying to holiday and work in National Parks – they could pay for accommodation at Kinaba, or be involved in maintenance, caretaking or liase with the public.  The community group would train volunteers.

Ada: Are funds available for materials for maintenance?  We have lots of skills amongst us, and would National Parks supervise or assist with work? Yes, there is a maintenance budget of $5000 – $10000 annually.  A strong community group can get political support.    There is an Assett Maintenance Team which prioritizes projects and applies for funding.  They would be available for quality control and work co-operatively with us.

Rob: If nothing happens from this group – what happens to Kinaba? There would be a call for Expressions of Interest.  It’s unlikely to have a high priority.

Annie: Are there any commercial interests?  We would not be keen to be doing the maintenance for a commercial interest. The community group could be giving the environmental information to the commercial operators and their clients, and building relationships.

Vanessa: How often does the Centre need to be manned?  7 days?  Does someone need to be there every day?  What are the numbers of visitors using the facility, or passing on up the river? Don’t know.

Charlie: Kinaba is not a money-making venture for National Parks – a stone around their neck.  It has in the past been manned by 2 Rangers who lived on site, but it is not manned now.   Here is a great opportunity to make a commitment and maintain the Centre.

Ada: If Community Group’s campaign is successful, would the tender be put off? If successful, we would leave it alone, and support community management and maintenance.  A commercial venture may give funds, or hire out space.

Noel:  Do Rangers manage whole of Cooloola National Park?  Is there exclusive commercial use areas at Harry’s Hut camping area? Brett manages patrolling.  Elanda will be phased out, and facilities moved to Beckman’s Road, which will be a co-operative.  Elanda is a useful facility – may possibly be open to volunteers in the future.  The camping at Harry’s has been segregated to allow for quiet and more private areas for campers separate and away from backpacker groups or school groups.

Laurie: Are there copies of the letters Alan sent to the Ministers and the reply available? Yes there are copies here.

Rikki: What is expected of us by Parks: A concise proposal.  Keep it simple – basic framework

Jeremy: From your experience with volunteer groups in National Parks, we need a time frame to get up and running.  What is essential for us to know?   Parks wants to make something work.  We need to understand the capacity of the group – what skills you have from carpentry to admin, management and painting.  Even a small group can be a strong group.  We need outcomes, timeframe – in 6 months have people in there managing.  Parks’ years are financial years.

Vanessa: Do volunteers run Noosa Heads kiosk? Yes – it will be reviewed in 5 years.  They maintain information centre, hand out walk guides and sell books.  They also do general maintenance and weeding around centre.

Jenny: Is it a commercial based agreement? Yes – they are looking for some income.

Noel: What about on-going safety?  Will we be responsible for rescue, first aid?  Is there land access, boat available, OH&S issues? Could be SES involvement and safety training and maintenance of gear. Centre is accessible by land in dry conditions.

Charlie: Possibly might there may be a dedicated boat eventually for Kinaba project? The Rangers are available for transport.
Need to form a Steering Group from the Community.

Annie: If there is an increase in accommodation (for working bees, or commercial operation) would the present toilet facilities cope? No.  The present system is not able to take more people.

Lorraine: The Noosa Biosphere Limited supports businesses doing ecologically sound practices.  They support community groups and encourage community engagement, and are involved in conservation, sustainable development, education, research and learning.  There is a whole network of support for long term successful projects.

Proposal:   have a look at the site and make an assessment of the maintenance required  what interpretative material is needed how to man the Centre see possibilities, potential and problems and how to address them
Ross to seek approval to work with us on this project this week, and meet with us again in 2-3 weeks.

Tom:  Will the engineer’s report be released? Yes.

Brian:  Visitor numbers.  How many?   Don’t know.  Figures not kept since not manned.

Dominic:  Does this project include the walkways and jettys or just the building? Just the building.

Ada:  What is the communication like there? Blue public phone is with a private company now and is not operational at the moment.   There is a radio system, good mobile signal and power.

Jeremy:  What is the sewerage system? It was septic, and is now an aerated aerobic system with effluent discharge – it has not much more ability to cope.  There are waste management issues.  When we have a working bee – bring our own toilets.
Steering Committee:  Derek, Ada, Brian, Paul, Rhonda, Geoff, Ian, Charlie, Rikki to meet asap to draft proposal.

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