People power changes Government's plans for rehab centre
THURSDAY night's community consultation for the Rockhampton rehabilitation centre gave outraged residents the best outcome possible, according to Stand Together and Say No group leader Mark Birkbeck.
The Riverside Waters estate managing director was yesterday (Friday) delighted to hear the State Government had agreed to pause plans for the Parkhurst site.
He said choosing the site was a rash decision but he hoped the progress pause would help Queensland Health choose the right location.
"I'm very happy there could be a workable solution found," Mr Birkbeck said.
Mr Birkbeck has led hundreds of residents for the past ten days, protesting the site of Rockhampton's first drug rehab centre.
He wasn't surprised by the dozens of hecklers who passionately protested the panel members to move the location throughout the night, but he said he was impressed by the responses of panel members.
While the night was meant to be an opportunity to calm the fears of enraged residents, Mr Birkbeck said residents were still concerned about the danger the site would pose if construction went ahead.
Deputy Director-General Clinical Excellence Queensland Dr John Wakefield led the forum at CQUniversity - he confirmed Queensland Health would pause progression for the centre while negotiations for an alternate site were under way.
An area of the Music Bowl facility was previously identified as a preferred site for the rehab centre but The Rockhampton Regional Council and State Government failed to agree on a specific location.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said the Parkhurst site wasn't off the table yet but she would work with the State Government to find the best solution possible.
Cr Strelow said the past few days she had been in discussion with Keppel MP Brittany Lauga, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Queensland Health about the Music Bowl site.
"I can't 100 per cent confirm we've found a solution but I think the thing we are looking at will work," she said.
Mrs Lauga said the situation had not changed, the process had just been paused during negotiations.
"What we need here is the council to work together with Queensland Health to find the best site possible for our community," Mrs Lauga said.
"We don't need political brand stamping at the detriment of this community consultation process."