What does this button do?
PORT Douglas State School’s Parents and Citizens committee president Ray Pitman is very proud of the state of the art cyclone shelter that has been perched on the school grounds for the past 10 months, but he’s got a few questions.
Who’s servicing the building, who pays for its upkeep, and, um . . who knows how to run it?
The generously donated building - provided by a sheikh from Abu Dhabi as one of five in Far North Queensland - is a showpiece of purpose-oriented engineering and construction. That it is more solid than the proverbial goes without saying. More than that, though, it is lavishly fitted out, running along smoothly from a bank of electronic system controls.
But the ramification of this sophisticated building - which has yet to be officially opened even - are something with which the P&C committee is struggling to come to terms.
Though the school has been given 10 huge manuals - each about 9 cm thick and including digital discs themselves holding thousands of pages, which document every facet of the facility and its maintenance - just exactly who’s paying for its upkeep is a bit of a mystery. School logs show that regular maintenance of the systems in the building is occurring but no one is quite sure who is carrying this out and who’s paying for it.
On top of that, so far no one has stepped up to say who will run the facility in the event of a cyclone or other emergency which puts the building to its core use - as a shelter.
It can care for 300 souls in an emergency and is certainly impressively designed and fitted out to do that. It just needs someone who knows how to run it!
At the moment Mr Pitman feels the top class facility in Endeavour St is drastically under-used and he’s keen for locals to put it to good use. The school does use it - there’s a classroom space, and of course the topnotch basketball and gym floor in the building - but for much of the time the floor space in the main auditorium is not being used, especially after school.
‘‘At the moment it is used for kids basketball on a Wednesday afternoon and there is interest to start up indoor soccer, but other than that nothing,’’ says Mr Pitman. ‘‘The potential of the building is enormous and I’m sure if people knew about it it would be well sought out and appreciated.’’
He says some of the uses of the space could be: Badminton, indoor soccer, handball, floorball, indoor cricket, indoor hockey, meeting venue, gymnastics, conference venue, yoga, theatre arts, dances (teaching of old time, line, etc), netball m/f mixed, basketball m/f/mixed, carpet bowls, martial arts.
The P&C of the Port Douglas SS is inviting representatives of local sporting and other clubs, event organisers, members of the Chamber of Commerce and interested individuals to inspect the Evacuation Centre at 5pm on Thursday, October 3.
Ray Pitman and one of the system consoles at the cyclone shelter