REUSE FACILITY: Former employee of the mothballed Borallon Correctional Centre, Hans Andersen, at the front of the centre with son William, has a proposal to turn the site into a community centre.
REUSE FACILITY: Former employee of the mothballed Borallon Correctional Centre, Hans Andersen, at the front of the centre with son William, has a proposal to turn the site into a community centre. Sarah Harvey

Call to put former prison to use for the community

FOR more than two decades, Borallon Correctional Centre was a place from which people desperately wanted to leave.

But now, following its closure, one man is looking to transform the former jail into a refuge for people in need of support.

North Ipswich father Hans Andersen - who used to work at the facility - has put forward plans to turn the centre into a community centre.

The prison was decommissioned in 2012 in conjunction with the opening of the new Southern Queensland Correctional Centre near Gatton.

Since then, it has been left as an empty relic, with no replacement use for the facility yet decided.

Mr Andersen said the layout of the correctional centre was ideal for establishing accommodation for people in need, youth training workshops, detox and rehabilitation programs and many more vital services.

He said the correctional centre had a capacity of 492 prisoners which could easily be renovated into comfortable accommodation for the homeless.

"The beauty about it is the way it's set up - each cell, which we will call a room, has its own toilet and shower," he said.

"So it helps give residents independent living ... you could give people their own key, so they could lock their room if they were out for the day."

Mr Andersen said small properties on the reserve could be used to help train and employ youth from the Ipswich area by giving them a farm environment to teach skills and provide employment.

The 57-year-old said the centre's metal and carpentry workshops, industrial laundry, kitchen and classrooms could also provide employment and training opportunities.

He said BCC had the potential to also offer a mental health facility for those with depression or at risk of suicide who need a place away from hospitals with trained professionals who could care for them.

Mr Andersen said the first step would be to gain permission from the State Government to hand over the centre to an organisation on a 99 year lease.

He said he has a meeting scheduled with Ipswich West MP Sean Choat in September to discuss his proposal.

"Before anything is done, I'd like to see proper community consultation."



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