Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

July 9th 2013
New operators for Recreation Camp announced

There was strong community support to keep the camp open Apex Queensland Youth Camps have been the successful nominees to operate the Magnetic Island Active Recreation Centre (ARC) at Picnic Bay in an announcement today by Sport and Recreation Minister Steve Dickson.

“The Newman Government has been firmly committed to finding a solution that would allow this important community asset to remain open, while lessening the costs burden for Queensland taxpayers,” Mr Dickson said.

“This is a great outcome for Magnetic Island, with Apex to continue to use the centre for school children and corporate and community groups, with potential for visitors to be taken on excursions with a marine, reef and environmental focus.

The Camp's closure last year and retrenchment of 14 staff led to widespread protest on Magnetic Island with further support from the many schools who use the camp through the year. The strong expression of community feeling for the camp's continuation now appears to have paid off.

Mr Dickson said Apex had operated the Apex Camp Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast for more than 30 years and the organisation had wide experience in managing outdoor centres.

Member for Townsville John Hathaway said the announcement meant the island and its surrounding communities could continue to enjoy top-class facilities for a range of activities.

“This is a great outcome for Magnetic Island residents, the community and local schools,” Mr Hathaway said.

“Apex has a long track record of serving the community and I believe they will make the camp at Picnic Bay even better than it was previously, as well as boosting our economy with local jobs.”

President of Apex Queensland Youth Camps Wayne Greenham said his organisation was one hundrend per cent committed to getting Apex Camp Magnetic Island up and running quickly, making it bigger and better than ever.

“We look forward to welcoming back the many schools and community groups that have established traditions of attending the camp and showing them a great time,” Mr Greenham said.

“Apex is committed to supporting the Magnetic Island and Townsville economies by employing locals, purchasing from locally owned businesses and using local activity operators.”

Apex is expected to take over the centre’s operation from 1 August this year.

For further information and booking enquiries contact Apex Queensland Youth Camps on 07 5448 7637 or email magneticisland@apexyouthcamps.com.au.


New operators for Recreation Camp announced
 
7 comments
 
Alan
July 8th 2013
Great result, tell every school that came here before they book & go elsewhere!
 
tony paps
July 10th 2013
The elephant in the room there is who are "Apex" ?

Commercial enterprise, charity, church, death sect?

Who are they and how have they lessened the cost to the taxpayer?

I'd like to know.

 
Jason S.
July 10th 2013
Judging by the enormous amount of comments to this story it would seem all the blowhards looking for their 5 minutes of fame couldn't really give a stuff about the future of the camp... I think its great its gone to Apex, i couldn't think of a more appropriate and responsible "private operator". See folks, the world hasn't caved in, the camp is "saved" and i agree with Alan, now we have an operator lets hope the right channels tell every school, scouts, sports juniors groups etc etc, that the Magentic Island camp can host groups once again.
 
Anon
July 10th 2013
I do question the decision to hand the facility to an organisation with no local presence, that didn't engage the local community, has a limited understanding of local needs and issues, and will rely on government funding for any infrastructure upgrades or if anything major breaks/goes wrong (defeats the purpose of assigning the facility to someone else in order to remove financial burden on gov).
 
James D.
July 12th 2013
Hello all,

Just to answer some of your queries and explain who Apex is...

Apex has a longstanding and positive history of running youth camps. Apex Camp Mudjimba at the Sunshine Coast has been operating for over 20 years and hosts many school and other camps annually. Apex Queensland Youth Camps is a non-profit organisation and all profits raised by running the camps go back into the community. For example, Apex regularly operates camps that underprivileged children can attend at no charge.

Apex certainly does have a local presence (albeit in Townsville and not on the island itself). There are two clubs (Townsville and Ross River) that are active in the local area.

Apex Australia, the parent organisation of Apex Queensland Youth Camps, is an organisation comprised of 159 service clubs located Australia wide. Men and women between the ages of 18 and 45 volunteer in Apex clubs to undertake altruistic service work in their local communities. The organisation is not faith based, to answer a specific question above.

Apex clubs from throughout Queensland will assist with operating and improving Apex Camp Magnetic Island. Matt Gahan, President of the Townsville Apex Club says, "As a club here in Townsville we're really excited to seeing the camp's doors opening again given the benefits it will bring to those that use the camp and the benefits to the local community." Amanda Gillespie, President of the Ross River Apex Club states, "Being able to apply Apex's considerable experience running camps down south to the camp at Magnetic Island is going to be great for all involved and we really look forward to being a part of it.

Costs should be less for taxpayers through the elimination of the bureaucracy normally associated with government operations. All paid staff are actively involved in operating the camps - as in on site, working with campers. The executive that overseas Apex Queensland Youth Camps are all volunteers with substantial experience in running successful businesses.

Unfortunately Apex was not able to engage with the local community until the announcement was made earlier this week due to confidentially constraints. However the intention now is not only to engage with the local community but to start sourcing materials, hiring staff and identifying activity operators to partner with all locally.

Apex's history at other camps demonstrates that long term maintenance will not be a problem. Not only will things that break be fixed but in all likelihood facilities will be improved by Apex to a standard that could not be expected when run by the government.
 
Anon
July 21st 2013
James - given that there was no engagement with local community how do Apex even know what the local (and regional) community needs? Is there any real understanding of the issues faced previously and into the future by the centre beyond just 'we're going to eliminate the bureaucracy normally associated with government operations'.

How do Apex plan to tackle some of the larger and (for those who know anything about the history of the camp) obvious problems?

How does Apex plan to get the facility up to code (is there even an awareness of how much money this is going to take and where is that cost going to be paid for)?

Is Apex planning anything to do anything to improve on the community benefit of the facility or is it just going to be business as usual?

Apex's history at other camps demonstrates a reliance on government funding including $150,000.00 (approx) from the very same department who tendered the camp out so that it wouldn't continue to be a financial burden on the government.

@Tony Paps - Who are they and how have they reduced the financial burden to the government? The answer - a charity like most, with a strong reliance on volunteers and local/state/federal funding and from what I've seen and those I've spoken with little understanding of the facility, the island, local/regional needs or any kind of viable plan to create sustainability of a type which will actually ensure that the government doesn't end up putting further dollars into the facility in some way/shape/form and that the facility not only continues its community benefit but develops it into the future.
 
Patrick Collins
August 8th 2013
Dear Tony
I am Gob Smacked that you are nor aware of what good clubs such as Apex
Lions & Rotary contribute to & for our Australian Community.

Patrick Collins


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