Why is state-of-the-art Tewantin TAFE going to waste
WHILE the Coast groans under the weight of homelessness, high rents and youth unemployment, as we sit back and watch a television full of the poorest people in the world risking their lives on the rickety boats, it appears we couldn't care less about leaving a state-of-the-art building empty - and paying for its maintenance.
Next month is 12 months since the previous LNP government closed Tewantin TAFE.
Today, the multi-million dollar building, located in a forest of towering white scribbly Gums on Noosa Cooroy Rd, lies abandoned with an unclear future.
The TAFE, built in 2006 with an arts-based focus, is a showcase of green values from the sort of materials used to the recycling of water from the roof to the tanks and climate control features.
At the time, environmental care extended to a Noosa conservation group raking away the top soil and replacing it once construction was completed to ensure the seeds of original native plants would not be lost.
At its inception, 714 students walked up the long tree-flanked drive into the architect-designed setting of three modern, pavilion-style structures for classes that included courses in visual arts, ceramics and music. By 2013, numbers dropped to 265.
Some people including Noosa MLA Glen Elmes blames a decline in numbers on the arts-based curriculum. He believes courses need to be more employment orientated with a community focus. But at the moment, the syllabus style is not up for debate.
In their election campaign, the Labor government promised a turnaround in the skill training section. Last month they introduced a bill to parliament that would return the ownership of all state training facilities back to the government.
Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D'Ath believes the bill will be the first step in bringing back the TAFE to the community.
However, Noosa MLA Glen Elmes said he was looking forward to seeing how TAFEs such as Tewantin, which have been closed, will fare.
He said he was well on the way to selling the Noosa TAFE to Noosa Council for $1.8 million, but the process stalled due to the election.
He said the footprint of the TAFE building could not be changed because of environmental concerns - which meant it could not realistically be sold to anyone other than council.
But he said now he would like to see the TAFE open with meaningful courses.
"I would like a job creation centre," he said.
"We need to identify the jobs we want in Noosa community."
Meanwhile, one thing is clear, there are no jobs, no use and no purpose for the big modern building.
What a waste.