Topics:  maleny, mary cairncross scenic reserve, sunshine coast regional council

Concerns for kiosk

Sarah Castaldi loves the rustic feel of the Mary Cairncross Kiosk.
Sarah Castaldi loves the rustic feel of the Mary Cairncross Kiosk. Lauren Grounsell

NESTLED against an idyllic rainforest backdrop, the Mary Cairncross Cafe Kiosk is a place to unwind and get in touch with nature.

As the bush turkeys forage under the tables and the odd snake slithers down to make an appearance, it truly is one of a kind.

But cafe owner Sarah Castaldi is worried the integrity of the cafe will be lost under the council's proposed redevelopment for the scenic reserve.

"It is a unique and beautiful experience as it is. It's rustic and people have this sense they're sitting in the rainforest. It's a lovely experience," Ms Castaldi said.

"The animals go through - snakes go down poles and turkeys nick things. It's these spontaneous things that you won't have when it closes down.

"The park is so precious my fear is once they start building, it will lose a lot of its ambience."

She said she understood buildings got old and needed to be maintained but not to the extent which the council had proposed.

"I would love to do up what's here rather than spend money on recreating," she said.

"I have been here knowing full well at some stage there will be a development. I just never knew to what extent.

"Now we are voicing our opposition and it's important it is protected as close to its natural state as possible."

Ms Castaldi has worked hard to gain a steady clientele over the past five years. She employs 11 local people and relies on the business for her livelihood.

But once the cafe has been redeveloped, there is no guarantee Ms Castaldi will get the lease again.

"As far as I understand it will go to public tender and I can put in a tender," she said.

"The council haven't ever offered it to me. They never said I have first option."

At a community question and answer forum at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre last Thursday, a Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson said the ongoing maintenance costs for the cafe were more than the cost to rebuild.

"In the last year we have undertaken a range of repairs and improvements to the cafe building and associated eating area," the spokesperson said.

Repair work has included a gutter replacement, repairing leaks, installing a water filtration system, repairing existing blinds to the eating area, removing a trip hazard to back staff entry and replacing a broken water tank.

"Other reasons include the fact that it was designed as a caretaker's residence and does not make the best use of existing limited space on site."

Optimising the view of the Glasshouse Mountains was another reason for a rebuild rather than renovating.



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