Construction is set to start on the $3.27 million Horizon Foundation Community and Education Centre, a facility that will transform underutilised Council-owned land at Capalaba and provide hundreds of jobs.
Redland City mayor-elect Karen Williams, Division 7 councillor-elect Murray Elliott, Horizon Foundation Vice President Dr Wayne Clarke and Chief Executive Officer Joe Gamblin today turned the first sod on the project, marking the start of approximately nine months of construction.
“This is an exciting project that will provide immense value to vulnerable members of the Redlands community and great opportunities for Council and our region,” Cr Williams said.
“The 4 hectare site on the corner of Runnymede and Redland Bay Roads, adjacent to Redland IndigiScapes Centre, has been unoccupied for about 10 years and today starts its transformation into a vibrant community and disability services hub.
“This project will inject an estimated $8 million into the local economy through construction investment and new jobs and it will provide Horizon Foundation with a platform from which to add more services when the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rolls out in coming years.
“Our community will gain new job opportunities and life-changing services through the new centre once it is operational and through the NDIS service streams.
“One program which will really make a difference to Redlands families is the Baby Bridges program. It’s an early intervention service for parents of children with a disability up to the age of five and it is set to start when the new building opens around November this year.”
Horizon Foundation is a highly respected disability service provider and currently employs 200 staff at the organisation’s Capalaba office. It is expected 20 new full time equivalent jobs will be created at the new Runnymede centre, plus hundreds of jobs during construction.
Mr Gamblin said the Runnymede Community and Education Centre would be the largest community services infrastructure project in the Redlands.
“We are proud to have the support of Council to make this exciting initiative possible and to be building what is probably the biggest community services infrastructure project in the region,” he said.
“The new Early Intervention Centre has been purpose-designed. Thanks to the generous support of the Ian McDougall Trust we will be able to reach more parents of children with a disability in Redland City and enhance their experience by providing them with access to facilities that are specifically tailored to meet their needs.”
Redland City Council has given Horizon Foundation a 50-year lease of the footprint of its new building at 377-385 Redland Bay Road.
Cr Elliott said each year over 1,700 people with a disability receive vital services from Horizon Foundation and the new centre would ensure residents in his region are well supported into the future.
“I’m pleased to have played a role in facilitating this new centre which will meet the needs of my community moving forward,” Cr Elliott said.
“Research has indicated demand for disability services will increase by 12 per cent in the Redlands by 2021, so this new facility will go a long way toward providing these much needed services for our community.”
Council is continuing to work on a concept plan for potential uses for the remainder of the site in conjunction with community groups, Horizon Foundation and Council’s own IndigiScapes Centre.