New access road for Rocky church

IT’S enough to try the patience of a saint.

Not even the prayers of the faithful could speed up the creation of a new access road for one of Rockhampton’s oldest and biggest churches.

Four years after it was asked to consider creating a safer access road to its premises in Norman Road, the Rockhampton Baptist Tabernacle is faced with a bill for $142,000.

And it would have been even more.

After paying $42,000 to Ergon to move three street lights, the Rockhampton Regional Council was proposing to charge $136,000 to build the new road after initially quoting $70,000 in 2007.

Embarrassed councillors this week ordered a rethink after hearing a plea from Geoff Sueff, chairman of the church council.

He told them that it had taken Ergon 18 months to shift the lights and that’s why the work had been delayed for so long and the costs had gone up so much.

Mr Sueff appealed to the councillors’ sense of natural justice and fair play.

He said the church had been happy to enter into a contract with the council four years ago in the interests of safety.

But the revised costings were “beyond the capacity of the church”, he said.

“None of the delays have been the fault of the church and at no time were we advised that the original quotation had lapsed,” he said.

It was the council which suggested that a light pole should be moved to create a safer access.

“We implore you to see that natural justice applies,” he said.

Cr Glenda Mather told her colleagues that she had real concerns about the way the matter had been handled by the council.

And, meeting later behind closed doors, councillors agreed to charge the church $100,000 for the access road rather than $136,000.

Ergon yesterday denied it was responsible for the delays and claimed it had worked to a schedule set by the council.

The lights are due to be moved next week.

“We did not anticipate it would cost us so much,” Mr Sueff said.

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