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Porter's land purchase
goes ahead

by Elise  Martin

The sale of 62 hectares of land behind the Maleny Hotel, known as Porter’s land, settled last Friday, July 30.  Caloundra City Council purchased most of Stephen Porter’s property, transferring the land to Calaqua through boundary realignment. The council now has a total of 126 hectares of land in public ownership.

Mr Porter said he was pleased with the settlement, but sad to say goodbye as the land had been in his family since about 1910.  “It’s the end of an era in our family and in Maleny.  We have had five generations living on the land,” he said. Mr Porter sold all but 1.61 hectares of his land, where he will continue to live.  Mr Porter said the family had received many offers for the purchase of the land over the years.

“We could have sold it to developers stacks of times.  None of us wanted to see it developed for houses.  We like the farming life,” he said.  “I would like to see only a limited number of houses go on it, I would like to see the golf course go ahead and community amenities including a swimming pool,” he said.  “I think it is a great idea, maybe not for our generation, but for future generations.”

Division 1 Councillor Dick Newman said he hoped the community would be fairly represented in the decision-making process for the land’s use.  “What I want is a trimmed down Task Force with no more than 12 members; meetings to be open to the public; and for them to operate with an agenda and proper minutes.”  “The challenge will be to organise a selection process where community is fairly represented.  People who aren’t selected will still have input via a wider consultation process.  My input for their next job is to determine what our social needs are, what are the best uses for the land, and how do we best consult with the wider community,” he said.  Maleny Golf Club President Max Whitten said the community would benefit greatly from the sale.

“I think it is timely that both Stephen and the Council be congratulated for taking this action; and that we, the Maleny community, should pledge our commitment to take full advantage of the opportunity to develop and implement a master plan which will greatly benefit the whole community, now and well into the future; something that will surely be the envy of many other communities,” said Dr Whitten.

Platypus Action Group Leader Jon Woodlands said he supported the purchase of the land. “I believe it could be a great asset to the community,’’ he said.  “The question now is how the land is used.   I believe there is a more appropriate use than a golf course and another couple of hundred houses.

“You’d have to question the viability of a golf course.  One of Maleny’s biggest attractions is Mary Cairncross Park.  I’ve always supported the gardens group.  It would be great to get another significant area of rainforest where people could go walking and it would be a great asset to the environment and to local wildlife.  So it’s a sensible purchase, but now we have to look hard at how we use it.”

However Dr Whitten said the figure of 200 houses was not due to the construction costs of a golf course but was to finance around $20 million worth of community facilities.  “If the community doesn’t want the houses then it will have to think carefully about which facilities are deleted from the wish list,” he said.

"It is the end of an era for Stephen Porter, pictured on the land
which has been sold to the Council.  "We have had 5 generations on the land."

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.