Fate of Canning St site rests on nearly $50M funding push
ALLENSTOWN residents will see a drastic change in their local landscape if Central Queensland University is successful in its bid to move TAFE facilities off the Canning Street campus.
University, civic and industry leaders called on the State Government today to fund $49.8 million worth of facilities on its North Rockhampton campus, freeing up the 35-year old South Rockhampton site for alternate development.
CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Klomp said the proposed TAFE Centre of Excellence would replace the ageing South Rockhampton facilities, and attract 48 per cent growth in enrolments during the next decade.
“There are other exciting developments on the northside campus such as the mining and manufacturing facility on which we’ll turn the sod in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“It makes sense to align all our training and apprenticeships on one campus and save money on duplication.”
He said the project would create 350 construction jobs in the short term, and pay off ten-fold in the long term, attracting students to the region and providing employers with job-ready graduates.
Professor Klomp said it was time for the State Government to “step up” and make an investment in CQ’s training capacity, not only in traditional areas such as mining and manufacturing, but also in future growth areas such as automation and robotics.
He said the community had put a lot of thought and “savvy” over the past year into alternate uses for the Canning St site.
“It wouldn’t necessarily require demolition,” he said.
“We’ve been in conversation with the Queensland Hospital and Health group who could move in almost straight away.”
Mayor Margaret Strelow endorsed the university’s call for the State Government to fund the TAFE Centre of Excellence.
She said the community was keen to see an increase in good quality residential accommodation in South Rockhampton, as well as the provision of more health and aged care facilities.
“Once the Ring Road’s done, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Gracemere to the Parkhurst industrial estates to the North Rockhampton campus,” she said.
“There are synergies to locating all the University’s training facilities out there.”
The maintenance and care costs of the Canning St site, during its transition, as well as the redevelopment itself, will not fall to Council ratepayers.