WHEN any council decides to pour millions in ratepayers money into infrastructure projects they need to first prioritise where they are going to spend the money.
As the cost blowout on the CBD becomes a more costly embarrassment every day the projects where the council should have spent the money languish.
When I was the editor of the Queensland Times back in 2016 we did stories with former councillors David Pahlke and Charlie Pisasale who were both advocating for a new Civic Centre to replace the current one which at that stage was more than 40 years old.
Last week I attended the Phantom of the Opera performance at the centre and I wished the council had acted on those calls.
The Civic Centre is now more than 50 years old and is well past its ‘use by’ date.
Many in the audience had obstructed views, the orchestra is forced to play in the Cunningham Room downstairs watching a live feed of the stage on a pull-down screen and overall every facility is sub-par.
When I started asking questions about the Civic Centre last year I was invited to attend a meeting at council where I was shown plans to upgrade the centre.
Since that time an economic analysis was included in the budget and that has been completed.
That’s all well and good, but the situation is theatre goers in Ipswich have been dudded.
Instead of spending $48m plus on a complete rebuild of the Venue building to bring a Chinese owned theatre group to town council could have put that money to where it was really needed.
Even if it was just the $13m they initially thought they’d spend.
Last week I also went to the North Ipswich Reserve to watch the A Grade Rugby League finals and as I looked over the poor ground amenities I also wondered why council hasn’t added its $10m to the $20m that MP Shayne Neumann got from the Federal Government to upgrade the stadium.
If council had done that instead of playing the retail folly in the CBD with the Venue Building and the $11m Federal Hotel the initial stadium groundwork could have started.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20 and how the council must wish they could turn back the clock and make the right decisions.
All of Ipswich would have benefited from a new Civic Centre and a North Ipswich stadium fit to host major events, maybe even Olympic ones.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
A man went on a trip to the holy land with his wife and his mother-in-law.
While he was there his mother-in-law died.
The undertaker said we could have her body shipped back to Ipswich for $5000 or we could bury her here for $150.
The man thought about it for a minute and then said please ship the body back.
The undertaker said why wouldn’t you just let us bury her here in this wonderful place for just $150.
The man said 2000 years ago a man died here and rose from the dead, I don’t want to take that chance.