Scouting for cash to save Den

Published 1:00pm 26 October 2023

Scouting for cash to save Den
Words by Nick Crockford

Oyster Point Scout Group needs to raise $140,000 to fix major structural issues to its den which has been home for more than 60 years.

If repairs are not made to the buildings at Fernlea Ave, Scarborough, Moreton Bay City Council will not renew the group’s lease on the den, which has been its base since the early 1960s.

The Scouts have been fundraising all year, applied for grants and are holding a jumble sale - at the suggestion of Cub Holly Hobbins - on Saturday at the den, 8am-1pm.

Holly wanted to help her scout group and having plenty of items she had grown out of, thought a sale would benefit both parties.

Council has extended the lease for one year and Oyster Point Scout Group leader Mel Burke hopes that will “give us time to make the necessary structural repairs”.

“We did know we had some substantial structural issues to deal with, however, we believed as they are Council buildings, Council would repair them,” she said.

“Council said it had no money left in the budget, having spent a substantial amount on flood repairs and other Scout buildings.

“We are hoping after this fundraiser, we will have enough to start the first stage of this project.

“We are committed to meeting Council's timelines.”

Oyster Point Scouts group was formed in 1962 and has been operating in Fernlea Ave ever since. The Den buildings were funded and built by the Scouts.

Scouting for cash to save Den

What Moreton Bay City Council says

A Moreton Bay City Council spokeswoman said Scouts Queensland holds a standard lease over the building, paying a peppercorn rent of $1 per year and is responsible for all ‘general building maintenance’.

She confirmed council had extended the lease until September 30, 2024, to give Scouts Queensland time to complete and fund the ‘rectification works’.

“Scouts Queensland has confirmed their commitment and financial capacity to undertake the rectification works,” the spokeswoman said.

“Council undertook liaison with Scouts Queensland in mid-2022 to discuss Council’s decision.

“Scouts Queensland requested Council’s consideration to keep the building in the Scouts Network under tenure arrangements if Scout’s Queensland undertook the necessary rectification works (at their expense).”

The spokeswoman said Moreton Bay City Council had one of the best community leasing policies in South East Queensland, offering this nominal rental fee on council facilities to more than 350 local community groups.

“Findings from the Scouts Network Service Plan 2019 indicated that the Oyster Point Scouts Group are only operating at the site four hours each week,” the spokeswoman said.

“Given these findings from the Scouts Network Service Plan, it was considered that a demonstration of a significant community benefit and social return on Council’s investment would be necessary before Council could consider any commitment to further financial investment to rectify or redevelop the Scarborough site.”

Scouting for cash to save Den

Community support

The “very active” Group has youth members in all five sections, from Joeys to Rovers and a membership base of 100, Mel Burke said.

“I really am thrilled with the support we've had from our Scout families,” she added.

“All year they have been volunteering on fundraisers, sometimes doing jobs that are not particularly fun, like directing traffic and collecting rubbish, to make sure we keep our doors open here.

“Their support reinforces to our Leaders and Committee members they see the value of our Scout program.”

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