Youth on a mis­sion at for­mer city TAFE

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHAR­LIE PEEL

SINCE re­lo­cat­ing to their new premises in the Townsville cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict nearly two years ago, the Youth With a Mis­sion team has trans­formed the for­mer Bar­rier Reef TAFE.

With ca­pac­ity to house 300 stu­dents in dor­mi­tory ac­com­mo­da­tion, the re­fit of the YWAM cam­pus on Walker St is seen as the type of de­vel­op­ment needed to achieve the Townsville City Coun­cil’s vi­sion to have 30,000 peo­ple liv­ing in the CBD by 2030.

YWAM took over the 9000sqm prop­erty in Au­gust 2013 un­der a long- term lease agree­ment with the coun­cil.

The hol­low shell of the for­mer TAFE has since been re­vamped into a hub for train­ing, ac­tiv­i­ties for lo­cal youth and a head­quar­ters for YWAM’s med­i­cal ship that de­liv­ers healthcare and train­ing in Pa­pua New Guinea.

The re­fit in­cludes stu­dent and staff ac­com­mo­da­tion, a din­ing room and cafe and a freshly land­scaped court­yard.

YWAM Townsville man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ken Mul­li­gan said the goal was to pre­serve the unique her­itage of the build­ing, while max­imis­ing the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties, space and lo­ca­tion of the cam­pus.

“It’s been won­der­ful see­ing the place come alive again over the past 18 months – we have 230 of our vol­un­teers and stu­dents from 23 na­tions liv­ing on cam­pus with room for many more,” Mr Mul­li­gan said.

“Our ship also at­tracts hun­dreds of med­i­cal and marine vol­un­teers ev­ery year.

“This fa­cil­ity has given us the plat­form to be able to ex­pand our work through­out North Queens­land and into Pa­pua New Guinea.”

More than 80 lo­cal busi­nesses con­trib­uted to the de­vel­op­ment and its $ 5 mil­lion value has dou­bled.

Mayor Jenny Hill said YWAM was mak­ing a sub­stan­tial eco­nomic and so­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the city.

“It has been an ex­tremely pleas­ing re­sult for a prime in­ner- city site, which, with­out the coun­cil’s in­ter­ven­tion, could well have been left to de­te­ri­o­rate,” she said.

The coun­cil’s Cor­po­rate Gov­er­nance Com­mit­tee yesterday sup­ported a re­port rec­om­mend­ing the de­fer­ment of a $ 2.6 mil­lion re­pay­ment due in De­cem­ber.

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