Cockscomb Veterans Retreat near Cawarral.
Cockscomb Veterans Retreat near Cawarral.

CQ businesses rally together to support Cockscomb Veterans

A group of Central Queensland businesses have rallied around the Cockscomb Veterans Retreat, donating their time and services to help the not-for-profit organisation become compliant with council – saving them thousands of dollars in fees.

The Cawarral retreat has been in the works since 1997 and over time it has added buildings over the years, not realising it wasn’t complaint.

In an effort to become compliant, the group went to Livingstone Shire Council to do so only to find out it was a much bigger problem than it had anticipated.

“We didn’t realise it was so much involved and when the council staff came we got a rude shock because there was so much work to be done,” Cockscomb Veterans Retreat president Bob Holmes said.

The group reached out to Rockhampton mining company Manuplex for help, which was more than happy to assist.

“We thought it was a good cause,” Manuplex’s Luke Hanna said.

“We understood how much the area assists the returned veterans and their mental health.

“We would hate see them disappear because of a compliance issue.”

Mr Hanna then reached out to Gideon Town Planning and Rockhampton Building Approvals, for the help of their services.

“We put together a team and had multiple site meetings to figure out the best course of action,” Mr Hanna said.

“We project managed but it wasn’t a single effort, it was a joint effort.

“It’s astronomical, the partnerships we have done with these guys, they have done the grunt work and the hard yards.”

The site was officially approved for a material change of use for a veterans retreat by Livingstone Shire Council last month.

“We knew it was going to be a long process and it will continue to be, there are still things to work with but we partnered with these guys so we are in for the long haul,” Mr Hanna said.

“For what they do mental health wise, you couldn’t pay money for it.”

Gideon Genade of Gideon Town Planning was also heavily involved with the project.

“It’s good to work with other Central Queensland businesses on local projects that provide a much-needed facility for our veterans,” he said.

Livingstone Shire Council also waived fees for the project and were understanding in the situation.

“It was also great to see Livingstone Shire Council so supportive of the project,” Mr Genade said.

Rockhampton Building Approvals donated their services of building approval and certification.

When Bruce Krenske was approached to assist he said he didn’t hesitate.

“It’s for the firemen, policemen and war veterans who look after us so we have look them,” he said.

Steer Environmental Consulting also lent some assistance with a bushfire management plan.

Mr Holmes, of Cockscombs Veterans Retreat, said it was overwhelming how many organisations helped them.

There was also help from Yeppoon Electrical Group and patron former councillor Rose Swadling.

“They have just been fantastic, we would never be able to afford to keep going the way we have,” he said.

If it wasn’t for the business’ generosity, the retreat may not have been able to stay open.

“We would have been sitting back scratching our heads figuring out what to do,” Mr Holmes said.

“We still have a road to go to get everything done.

“It has been a lot of backwards and forwards work over the last couple of years, it’s been horrendous.

“Now that we have this through, it’s a load off our mind.”

There are some compliances issues that need to be fixed.

“We need to put a water treatment plant in, the disabled toilet is not big enough for council requirements, put in different drains and sewerage and a lot of the buildings don’t meet requirements, some need beams put in and strapping,” Mr Holmes said.

The group hopes it can get some funding and grants to do the work.

“Our members we are all in our 70s and we don’t get too many young people,” Mr Holmes said.

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