Warwick groups' future up in air

9th August 2017 7:17 AM
ON THE MOVE: Warwick Men's Shed secretary Ian Stevens said it was surprising to learn Southern Downs Regional Council were planning to relocate the Men's Shed, along with Warwick Wood Crafters, Artists' Group and Rainbow FM. ON THE MOVE: Warwick Men's Shed secretary Ian Stevens said it was surprising to learn Southern Downs Regional Council were planning to relocate the Men's Shed, along with Warwick Wood Crafters, Artists' Group and Rainbow FM. Sophie Lester

A BID to drive down council debt could soon have four Warwick community groups on the move.

Southern Downs Regional Council intends to spend $420,000 to relocate the Warwick Men's Shed, Warwick Wood Crafters, Warwick Artists' Group and Rainbow FM from council-leased land in Rosenthal Heights.

The relocation is one of 14 projects the council has applied for.

SDRC has applied for the project under the $2.9million already allocated under the funding program.

Men's Shed secretary Ian Stevens said with five years left on the group lease of their space on the corner of Tooth St and Glen Rd, moving would be an impost.

"We set up about five years ago for the benefit of older men in the community,” he said.

"It's about improving mental health and giving them something to do.

"We've heard rumours around since the start but nothing's ever come of it.

"I would be opposed to moving at this stage - we're happy where we are and haven't been contacted by the council at this point.”

Mayor Tracy Dobie said the land occupied by the groups was prime real estate.

"From a long-term financial perspective we are trying to sell off land to reduce our debt,” Cr Dobie said.

"Before we can do anything in that regard we want to prepare that alternate accommodation for those groups and my understanding is council officers have discussed alternate locations.”

Warwick Artists' Group member Sue Keong said the organisation had been on Willi St since the 1960s.

Ms Keong said while she was open to moving, she suspected more funding may be needed to set up all four groups in new locations.

"We're really happy where we are but it is far out of town,” she said.

"We did approach the council at the beginning of the year about moving closer into town and whether there would be any suitable place in town for us as there is something to be said for us being in a creative hub.

"I am not sure if this will be enough money to relocate us all in theory.

"This would be a starting point but we'd need to source more funding potentially.”

Mr Stevens said the men's shed, and neighbouring Warwick Wood Crafters, were well established in their current home.

"We can't complain about council as they've given us a good run,” he said.

"But there is some concern for the future of the men's shed if we moved.”