Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says that a replacement Shire Library should be reinstated as a priority for the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, and some lateral thinking may be required on their part, including tapping into community-minded business people that may be prepared to construct a purpose-built facility.

“The Cassowary Coast was recently identified as one of the fastest growing local government areas outside of South East Queensland. A wider variety of books and less-cramped facility is needed to keep pace with this growth,” Mr Pitt said.

“Mayor Shannon recently announced that water and sewerage projects would be put on the backburner for two years rather than borrow from Queensland Treasury Corporation to stage the work.

“While this is regrettable, it should mean that a replacement Shire Library for the Innisfail community should be put squarely back on the agenda.

“I stand by my commitment I made at the last election that I would work with the Council to advance what is clearly a strong priority for the community in Innisfail.

“It appears to me that the Council is limiting itself to constructing a library from the ground up using its already stretched budget.”

“Other options, including co-locating the shire library with the Innisfail State College, have been considered and ruled out as they are neither practical nor do they have strong community support.

Mr Pitt cited the Cairns Regional Council Library based at Stockland Cairns Shopping Centre as one example of what other councils are doing.

“Many councils across Australia have realised that the best place for a library is where the people are. This is why they are increasingly built in places such as shopping centres, rather than council-owned buildings,” Mr Pitt said.

“When it comes to leasing options, Council must look beyond the existing premises available in town. 

“I’m confident that if you put it out there and get a local entrepreneurs or developers interested, there is a strong chance of getting an outcome for the community.

Mr Pitt was unable to attend the 25 June public meeting due to the birth of his son but was represented by his Electorate Officer Andrew Talbot.