Mayor stays mum on price

MAYOR Ron Bellingham yesterday held firm on a refusal by the Southern Downs Regional Council to publicly release the sale price of Slade Campus to Christian Community Ministries, but said ratepayers would not be "disappointed" with the outcome.

As reported yesterday, the sale, which will enable Warwick Christian College to move to the Horsman Rd site next year, is yet to be finalised due to State Government stamp duty requirements.

Council bought the campus from the Anglican Church Grammar School in 2007 for $3.65 million, with Cr Bellingham's vision being for a tertiary education facility.

But after several redevelopment plans fell over, a majority of councillors - excluding the mayor - voted last year to sell Slade off.

Council figures released yesterday show Slade has returned a net deficit on operating costs since 2007, leaving ratepayers out of pocket to the tune of $354,955.

Total revenue from hiring of buildings on the site and catering totals $593,839, with expenses - including employee costs, materials and services and plant hire - coming in at a whopping $948,794.

Cr Bellingham yesterday reiterated that council had funded the Slade purchase from its own coffers, so no loan interest applied.

But he stopped short of saying the sale would return a net gain, only going so far as to say that even if it made a loss, it would not be "too far behind the eight ball".

"We can't provide the sale figure as the contract has not yet been signed, pending State Government approval of the new school," he said.

"It's too early to talk specific figures, but I do not believe the community will be disappointed with the end result."

Completion of the sale could be six or more months away, as the State Government requires a school to begin operating within six months of purchasing a site, to be exempt from hundreds of thousands in stamp duty.

Warwick Christian College, with a secondary level, expects to begin operating at Slade at the start of 2013.

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