The official opening on Thursday of the dual purpose Edmonton Leisure Centre (ELC) and cyclone shelter has been welcomed by Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt.  

The State Government funding component of the $14.6 million building, constructed to provide shelter in a Category 5 cyclone, was jointly funded by a $60 million fund established by the previous Bligh Labor Government and a contribution of $30 million from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Yasi in 2011.  

The project has also received $1.5 million from the Federal Labor Government and $8.1 million from Cairns Regional Council.   

“Tomorrow’s opening is the culmination of a project which began with detailed lobbying two and a half years ago,” said Mr Pitt.

“Cairns Regional Council had been in the process of designing the first stage of a large community recreational facility and that project was made bigger as a result of the state funding.

[singlepic id=539 w=320 h=240 float=left] “To see the centre today, providing great facilities for young people and, when needed, emergency shelter and a safe haven for more than 1,500 people, is a real cause for celebration.  

“It is something I fought hard for from day one. There were more than 90 applications from across the state and it was a big achievement for the Edmonton site to be selected.”  

Mr Pitt said the new multi-purpose cyclone shelter was designed and constructed to be:

• capable of providing protection from winds up to 300km/h

• located above storm tide inundation areas and not vulnerable to landslip and creek or river flooding

• capable of allowing the floor level of the shelter building to be above the storm tide level or a 1-in-500-year defined flood event level

• located sufficiently away from significant hazards such as: hazardous materials, large trees, power or communications towers and potential sources of large windborne debris.

But Mr Pitt said the importance of the facility’s everyday use cannot be overlooked.

“There’s a recognised need for an indoor multi-purpose facility for the Edmonton area, particularly for young people under 18 who make up around one-third of the population,” Mr Pitt said.

“One of my key priorities has been to push for such a facility to serve the needs of local people to help them lead active and healthy lives.

“This is a real win for our community, not only as a place of safety during a cyclonic event but also for sport and recreation in the southern suburbs of Cairns.

“The centre will play a big role in helping to keep young people occupied and out of trouble which is why I also lobbied for a PCYC to be delivered from the centre.

[singlepic id=385 w=320 h=240 float=left] “Already the programs being delivered from the ELC are being well embraced by local community members.  

“I wish to thank former Mayor Val Schier and former Councillor Nancy Lanskey for their support of the project.

I also congratulate Matrix Projects, the architects and all those involved in the construction of this wonderful community asset.”